Factors influencing the survival of enteric micro-organisms in the sea: an overview
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Within the last 25 years, researchers from a variety of disciplines have attempted to unravel the complex problem presented by the rapid decline of enteric microbial populations in the sea. Investigation of this problem both in the laboratory and in the field led this diverse group to consider sedimentation, solar radiation, predation, bacteriophages, nutrient deficiencies, algal toxins, bacterial toxins, and physicochemical factors as possible causes of the decline or die-off. ....Such conceptual separation between laboratory and field work would certainly be avoided if estimates of the significance of each factor were based on the factor's relative contribution to the die-off of entereic bacteria in the marine environment. ....However, the central issue of the bulk of these studies remains: which factors are responsible for the observed rapid die-off of enteric bacteria in the sea? In attemping to answer this question, a mathematical and conceptual framework for interpreting and comparing laboratory and field results would serve as a valuable tool. The framework utilized in this brief paper will be a multi-factor model of die-off and dispersion of enteric bacteria in the sea. An outline of the development of the model will be presented partly as a brief survey and summary of relevant literature, and partly as a functional analysis and subsequent formulation of the model itself. In the final section, the model will be used to evaluate quantitatively the relative contribution of the various factors in producing the observed die-off and to draw some tentative conclusions. Other applications of the model will also be discussed briefly.