Use of Environmental Predictors to Model Pathogenic Vibrios in Chesapeake Bay

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014: 9:15 AM
Room C211 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Erin A. Urquhart, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; and B. F. Zaitchik, D. Waugh, and C. Del Castillo

Estuaries and coastal waters are dynamic environments, subject to variable currents and mixing processes that produce high temporal and spatial variability in water properties relevant to hydrodynamics, water quality, and ecology. These environments are also increasingly vulnerable to adverse environmental, biological, and societal change under pressures of human population growth, sea level rise, land degradation, and climate change. In coastal regions such as the Chesapeake Bay, for example, it has been documented that both the abundance and distribution of pathogenic Vibrio spp. is increasing throughout various near shore regions. The highly variable and evolving nature of these environments makes them notoriously difficult to survey and monitor. As conditions continue to change in poorly characterized and unpredicted ways, there is a vital need for more advanced and spatially complete monitoring networks. In this study, the Chesapeake Bay estuary was used as a model “test bed” to which we applied the power of near real-time satellite-derived observations to the issue of monitoring and ecological forecasting of environmental Vibrio spp. bacterium. Satellite-remote sensing, which has the ability to utilize optical and thermal signatures of the surface waters, can offer near-real time detection of Vibrio bacteria in coastal waters. Geospatially interpolated MODIS-derived salinity and temperature observations can be used as input into several ecological models capable of estimating the probability and concentration of Vibrio in the Bay. In this way, spatially complete hindcast estimates of Vibrio spp. can be produced pixel by pixel, enabling assessment of the spatial and temporal trends of Vibrio bacteria across the Bay. The intended outcome of this research is to use the information of these satellite products to inform public health risk models for Vibrio spp. in shellfish and recreational waters in the Chesapeake Bay.

Supplementary URL: www.erinurquhart.com