Pathogens in Beach Water and Sediment

Identification of the sources of pathogens in wetland sediments and their influence on beach water quality  (PI), (2014-2015)

In collaboration with; Marina Eremeeva (Georgia Southern University), John Van Stan (Georgia Southern University)Georgia-coastal-resources-division-logo

This projNOAA-Transparent-Logoect is funded by NOAA as a part of Coastal Incentive Grant Program of Georgia DNR.

Indicator bacteria concept has been a powerful tool for beach monitoring but has its own limitations when tested at beaches affected by non-point sources. The technology used in this project will bridge a critical knowledge gap in Georgia and provide information necessary for making more informed planning and resource management decisions to develop, maintain and use these beaches.


Chicago Health, Environmental Exposure, and Recreation Study (CHEERS) (Researcher) (2009-2010)

In collaboration with; Samuel Dorevitch (University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health), Joan Rose (Michigan State University) and Irene Xagoraraki (Michigan State University)

This epidemiological study was funded by  Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The project focused on evaluating the1 health risks of secondary (limited) contact water recreation activities on the Chicago Water Ways (CAWS). Swimming, jet skiing and water skiing are not allowed in CAWS, but secondary contact activities such as boating, fishing, and rowing are allowed.

As a part of this project, the enteric virus concentrations and their infectivity were also analyzed and compared with the results from Lake Michigan beaches, inland lakes, rivers. pdf_icon

Based on the results of this project and the previous studies, the wastewater discharging to the CAWS will be disinfected starting in 2016.


Microbiological Pollution at Istanbul Beaches (Co-PI) (2002-2008)

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Funded by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, this 6 years project (2002-2008) provided bi-weekly fecal indicator bacteria monitoring data for shoreline water quality in Istanbul Metropolitan Area.



Using this data, the Municipality of Istanbul selected areas of concern for urban beach restoration. As a result of this project 60 creeks that carried raw sewage to the Istanbul shores were rehabilitated and the number of urban beaches were increased from 4 to 25.


Rapid Water Quality Detection

Building Beach Managers’ Capacity for Using Rapid Tools (Co-PI), (2010-2013)

In collaboration with; Erin Dreelin (Michigan State University), Julie Kinzelman (City of Racine) and Shannon Briggs (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality)epa


This project was funded by USEPA as a part of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Rapid quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) methods are ready for use to provide timely information to protect recreational-water users from waterborne pathogens. However, local health departments and beach managers currently lack the equipment and training to implement these new rapid tools.

This project aimed to bring rapid tools to public health laboratories for beach monitoring through a training and technical assistance program with a strong emphasis on quality assurance/quality control and standardized data interpretation in Michigan. This project also produced a training video and a “How to” Manual for qPCR methods for monitoring fecal pollution of beaches.

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See our qPCR for beach monitoring training video

See our online manual for the application of Method 1611

Healthier Great Lakes Beaches through Improved Communication (Co-PI), (2010-2013)

In collaboration with; Dave Poulson (Michigan State University)Erin Dreelin (Michigan State University), Joan B. Rose (Michigan State University)



This project was funded by USEPA as a part of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

This project focused on improving communication of beach monitoring to the public. Workshops and online materials were designed to improve communication between journalists and beach managers, leading to better communication of nearshore health issues to the public. A nonprofit environmental news service was sustained to explore trends in nearshore health, causes and consequences.



Global Water and Health

International Collaboration for Sewage (Co-director) (2009-present)

Other board members: Joan B. Rose (Michigan State University), Warish Ahmed (CSIRO Land and Water Water for a Healthy Country Flagship), Andreas Farnleitner (Vienna University of Technology), Huw Taylor (University of Brighton), Yoshifumi Masago (Tohoku University)

A total of 46 laboratories from 29 different countries are a part of this initiative.


Click here to see more information on IC-SewageThe overall mission of the IC-Sewage is to advance our understanding of the impact of wastewater on water quality and health worldwide and to set the stage to meet and document improved sanitation, sewerage, and wastewater treatment for the global community.

As a part of this collaboration, the group is working on developing and demonstrating how new genomics tools such as microbial source tracking methodologies can be used to characterize and quantify human fecal pollution in water in order to advance understanding of the impacts of wastewater and sanitation on human health.


Water Quality and Marine Biodiversity in Marine Specially Protected Areas

Marine Biodiversity Assessment in Datca-Bozburun SPA (Researcher) (2002-2005)


Funded by the Ministry of Environment Turkey, the marine biodiversity in Datca-Bozburun Marine Specially Protected Area was studied. This SPA has the longest shoreline (417 km) among other SPA’s in Turkey. The project lasted for 3 years and a total of 7 oceanographic expeditions were completed during this study.



Overall,  32 water quality parameters were analyzed at 73 sampling points and 1163 dives (332 skin and 831 SCUBA) were performed for marine biodiversity assessment purposes.



The SPA had rich biodiversity compared to other SPA’s in the Mediterranean region.


Among 807 species identified, 35 were under protection according to national and international agreements (Bern, Barcelona, Red List).

Several water quality related problems were identified during this study. High levels of turbidity, nutrients and fecal indicator bacteria were detected in many coastal  embayments with heavy  human activities  (i.e. settlements, yacht tourism and aquaculture). Nutrient concentrations, particularly phosphorus was 10 times higher at sampling points close to towns.  Dissolved oxygen concentrations decreased to denitrification level around aquaculture facilities.


Seagrass coverage was also studied in this project. Posedonia oceanica coverage was estimated as 41.2 km2 and was the healthiest at points with limited human activities. A marine invasive species; Caulerpa racemosa was the second most common photosynthetic organism in this SPA. The coverage was estimated as 8.7 km2. The distribution of C. racemosa was the greatest at points where  P. oceanica was deteriorated the most.

Marine Biodiversity Assessment in Gokova SPA (Researcher) (2005-2006)


Funded by the Ministry of Environment Turkey, this project was conducted at Gokova SPA. This area has 193 km shoreline and the project was completed in two years. A total 64 sampling points were analyzed for  32 water quality parameters. Also, 437 dives (128 skin and 309 SCUBA) were performed for marine biodiversity assessment.



Main water quality problems were, high levels of turbidity, nutrients and fecal indicator bacteria (FIB)  at coastal  embayments with settlements, yacht tourism and aquaculture.


Increased concentrations of FIB, turbidity, total suspended solids and depleted levels of oxygen (often at denitrification level) were detected around aquaculture facilities.

Among 684 species identified, 20 of them were new records for the literature and 26 of them were under protection according to national and international agreements (Bern, Barcelona, Red List).



Overall, 79% tourism activities were recorded within the SPA and seagrass Posedonia oceanica shoot coverage decreased from 80% to 20% within areas with heavy human  activities.



At the end of this project, the Ministry of Environment banned aquaculture facilities at shorelines and moved them to open waters in the Aegean Sea.