Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Charles C. Somerville

Second Advisor

Thomas G. Jones

Third Advisor

Wendy Trzyna


The Ohio River extends 981 miles from Pittsburgh, PA to Cairo, Ill providing drinking water to over three million people, a natural habitat for aquatic life, a public recreation resource, a major transportation route, and a source of water for industry. The Guyandotte River is a highly impacted tributary emptying into the Ohio River in Huntington, WV. The objectives of this study were to determine if sediment load is correlated to the number of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and determine if a single surface sample is a sufficient representative measurement of ARB populations in a large river. In 2007, subsurface and bottom water samples from the Ohio River were analyzed for total coliforms, E. coli, as well as tetracycline resistant and ciprofloxacin resistant coliforms and E. coli. In 2008, samples were collected from the mouth of the Guyandotte River and the mainstem Ohio River via SCUBA. Samples wereanalyzed for coliforms and E. coli using IDEXX Quanti-Tray/2000©. The R2A plate count method was used to determine antibiotic resistance to tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, and virginiamycin. Water chemistry and sediment data were also collected. SigmaStat 3.5 and Statistica 8.0 were used to analyze and detect significant differences between sites and samples. Results show that depth and sediment were not contributing factors; however, location was a factor due to the direct input of water and bacteria from the tributary. Intense sampling may beneeded in order to detect the impact of a source as well as in determining whether water quality standards are met at that location.


Ohio River.

Guyandotte River (W. Va.)