Team of students who participated in the Saw Kill sample collection for this study. (L-R) Becket Landsbury ’16, Pola Khun ’17, Clea Shumer, Daniela Azulai ’17, Haley Goss-Holmes ’17, Yuejiao Wan ’17, and Marco Spodek ’17.
Associate Professor of Environmental and Urban Studies M. Elias Dueker, Associate Professor of Biology Gabriel G. Perron, and Bard biology graduates Daniella Azulai ’17 and Mary Reid ’21 have copublished a new study, “Bacteria communities and water quality parameters in riverine water and sediments near wastewater discharges,” in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Data
. Over five months, they monitored microbial contaminants relating to the treated water outflow of the wastewater treatment plant operated by Bard, which releases into the Saw Kill, a tributary of the Hudson River and also the source of fresh water for the campus. This is the first of many datasets and research papers that they hope to publish on Bard’s water system. Preliminary data analyses provide insight into the impacts of watershed-wide usage of the Saw Kill as both drinking water source and treated sewage receiver. Future use of this dataset will include a focus on endotoxins and antibiotic resistant bacterial genes, water contaminants only now gaining broader attention in water quality and microbiological sciences.
All of the sampling was conducted as a joint Bard Summer Research Institute project between Dueker’s lab and Perron's lab in summer 2015. Lab members included: Marco Spodek ’17, Beckett Lansbury ’16, Yuejiao Wan ’17, Pola Kuhn ’17, Haley Goss-Holmes ’17. Coauthors Azulai and Reid worked on this project both as undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students.
“This project demonstrates the power of community asking scientific questions, and academia–students, faculty, and staff–being able to help answer those questions through careful observational and applied research,” said Dueker. “Our hope is that this database serves as a tool for researchers and communities around the world trying to respond to stewardship challenges in a science-based and community-accessible way.”