Related Research Areas
Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems, Water & Energy Cycles

Several species of pathogenic bacteria occur naturally in coastal waters worldwide, some of which can cause disease outbreaks in marine animals and in humans during specific environmental conditions. Death and illness as a result of eating raw or undercooked seafood or from ingesting or contacting water containing high levels of Vibrio cholerae and other pathogenic Vibrio spp. are a major concern worldwide. Building on pioneering research directed at V. cholerae distribution and abundance in the Bay of Bengal, we have been able to predict the abundance and distribution of V. parahaemolyticus (Vp) in oyster reefs in the Mississippi Sound by using remotely sensed (RS) data. Our success in the prediction of Vp levels is actually an example of “nowcasting” and is based on populating a modified U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mathematical model with RS data, specifically sea surface temperature (SST), obtained with NASA’s MODIS sensor. We further found that when hand measured salinity values were added to a modified FDA model driven by SST, the ability to nowcast Vp was greatly improved. We therefore propose to use several water quality parameters that will be collected simultaneously with Vibrio isolations as part of a large NSF grant the we have just received. These data will be used to improve the ability to nowcast the abundance of Vp in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Further, we hope to expand this nowcasting ability to incidence of the other two major Vibrio human pathogens, V. cholerae and V. vulnificus, in both oysters and recreational bathing beaches. This team includes Vibrio experts, biogeochemical experts, and remote sensing experts. The results of this research are expected to help regulatory agencies fulfill their public health mission to monitor microbial water quality at beaches and shellfish beds in the Gulf of Mexico.

Project PI: Darrell Grimes/The University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory 703 East Beach Drive Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Phone: (228) 872-4210



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Started: Sep 27, 2010

Last Activity: Jan 04, 2011


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