Vibrio vulnificus dynamics in a south Texas bay

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Title: Vibrio vulnificus dynamics in a south Texas bay
Author: Meyer, Shelli Lee
Abstract: Vibrio vulnificus is a human pathogen commonly found in coastal and estuarine waters in temperate and subtropical regions across the world . The ecology of V . vulnificus has been studied in these regions primarily using cultured -based methods for enumeration of V . vulnificus from the environment . Optimal temperature and salinity ranges have been established , but relationships with other environmental parameters have not been studied as extensively . The primary objective of this study was to better understand the ecology of V . vulnificus and how environmental parameters found in south Texas bays and estuaries regulate its distribution . A recently developed molecular biological technique for the direct enumeration of V . vulnificus from estuarine water column samples was used to test three hypotheses : 1 ) V . vulnificus makes up a greater percentage of the total bacterial population in the water column under low oxygen conditions ; 2 ) Powderhorn Lake serves as a pointsource for V . vulnificus in Matagorda Bay ; 3 ) Higher V . vulnificus concentrations are found in the water column when oyster reefs are present . These hypotheses were formed to improve predictive models , identify potential hot -spots for V . vulnificus in the water column , and to better inform stakeholders as to when and where risk of infection might be greatest . Dissolved oxygen was rarely low enough in the environment to stress aerobic bacteria in the water column , so the first hypothesis could not be appropriately tested . Neither higher concentrations nor detection frequencies of V . vulnificus were found in Powderhorn Lake compared to the rest of the bay , so Powderhorn Lake was not identified as a point -source for V . vulnificus . Higher concentrations and detection frequencies of V . vulnificus were not found at sites with oyster beds , so oyster beds cannot be used as indicators of higher concentrations of V . vulnificus in the water column . Interestingly , patchiness of V . vulnificus was observed temporally and spatially throughout the sampling region of Matagorda Bay , on a scale that has not been frequently examined . Variation occurred between samples in close proximity to one another , as well as between sampling dates . This distribution exhibited a small scale patchiness not frequently reported in past studies .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1587
Date: 2009-05-15


Vibrio vulnificus dynamics in a south Texas bay. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1587 .

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