Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Charles Somerville

Second Advisor

Anita Walz

Third Advisor

Juan de Dios Barrios


Recent studies indicate that antibiotic resistant bacteria can be useful as indicators of water quality (1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10). Studies in our laboratory have shown that fecal pollution did not fully explain the distribution or the frequency of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the Ohio River (27, 28). Therefore, it is important to understand the factors that affect the distribution of antibiotic resistant bacteria in aquatic habitat. The purpose of this study was to examine the correlations between land use, water quality, and concentration of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the Ohio River. Mid-channel water samples were collected at five mile intervals in the Ohio River and all major tributaries. Total cultivable bacteria and selected antibiotic resistant bacteria were cultivated on R2A agar. Antibiotic resistant total coliforms and Escherichia coli were enumerated using ColilertÔ reagent (IDEXX Laboratories, Inc., Westbrook, ME) and Quanti-Tray/2000Ô. Land use features were obtained from the national land cover data (NLCD) gathered from the USGS website. The data were then put into ArcGIS® (ESRI, Redlands, CA) and were used with microbiological data to analyze the association between land use and microbial communities. CANOCO 4.5 was used to determine the spatial differences between each site. Linear regression models were used to determine trends between land use and individual microbial communities. The data suggested residential, commercial and, in some cases, wetland land use types have a significant and proportional relationship and that farming and forested areas have a significant but inverse relationship between land use and bacterial abundance.


Bacteria - Ohio River.

Water quality - Ohio River.