Microbial Biofilms as Indicators of Estuarine Ecosystem Condition
Environmental Protection Agency
11/01/01 - 10/31/06
PI: Joe E. Lepo and Richard A. Snyder
This project is a component of a Consortium for Estuarine Ecoindicator Research for the Gulf of Mexico (CEER-GOM), one of five consortia supported by EPA's Science to Achieve Results: Estuarine and Great lakes Program. The CEER-GOM is coordinated by the University of Southern Mississippi in partnership with UWF's CEDB, University of Florida, University of Alabama, Louisiana State University, University of Texas, University of Maryland, and University of Washington. The CEDB's research focuses on biofilms - composed of bacteria, microalgae, and protists in a polymer matrix found on the surfaces of all submerged objects. The objective is to validate microbial biofilms (chemical composition, microbial community structure, and function) as indices of ecosystem integrity, resiliency, and function. A suite of biofilm analyses will be correlated to ambient water quality analyses, benthic macrofaunal indicators, remote sensing data, and novel indicators to be developed by the other participants in the CEER. The project outcomes would complement concurrent and long-term efforts of agencies to establish ecosystem-relevant nutrient-loading standards in compliance with the Clean Water Act to set Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for (303d)-listed waters.