Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Biology

Advisor(s)

Joanna B. Mott

Abstract

Vibrio vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus are gram-negative, halophilic bacteria that are found throughout estuarial waters during the summer months, and are commonly associated with human infection. Gastroenteritis and other related symptoms can occur following infection from either organism, which most often occurs as a result of consumption of raw oysters or other seafood. V. vulnificus is particularly virulent, and can also produce wound infections that lead to severe septicemia and death. Due to the increasing rates of infection for these two organisms, recent research efforts have focused on potential environmental conditions and reservoirs that would be indicative of increased Vibrio spp. concentrations, and a higher potential for human exposure. This study was conducted in order to locate, isolate, and analyze reservoirs that potentially harbor both species of Vibrio near commercial and recreational water sources. Water, sediment, algae, fecal, and invertebrate samples were collected from the mud flats of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. These were processed and analyzed by means of dilution, vacuum filtration, and plating on selective media in order to accurately quantify the abundance of Vibrio spp. in various reservoirs on the coastal flats. Presumptive isolates will be confirmed with PCR, which will give an accurate estimate of the abundance of Vibrio spp. on the Virginia coastline. Future studies may include other qualitative analyses of the Vibrio isolates, such as Antibiotic Resistance Analysis (ARA).

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