Oceans and Human Health

Recreational beaches are monitored through measures of bacteria. Many records show sporadic increases in bacterial levels with no well understood cause. Our research has shown that in many cases the source of microbes to recreational waters comes from the intertidal zone. We study the mechanisms by which bacteria are released from this zone, including studies that focus on pore water transport and wave action. We collaborate with colleagues to model this release and also to understand the impacts of these releases on human health. Our most recent work has shifted towards focusing on the influence of chemical contaminants, in particular oil and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the characteristics of the microbial community, and ultimately human health, within this zone. This research fits well within the theme of oceans and human health (OHH), a Center at the University of Miami, which is where much of the collaboration has taken place.

Please visit the following web sites to see listings of some of our research projects.


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The intertidal zone is an area where microbes accumulate and also an area where people tend to recreate.