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Oyster Spat Stick Communities to Improve Water Quality in Coastal Georgia

PIs: Marsha C. Black (UGA, Dept. of Environmental Health Sciences), E.K. Lipp (UGA, Dept. of Environmental Health Sciences), H.J. Qingguo (UGA - Griffin, Dept. of Crop and Soil Science). UGA = University of Georgia

Support: Georgia Sea Grant College Program

Timeframe: 2010-2011

Project Objectives:
This study aims to measure the accumulation of enteric pathogens and four target pharmaceuticals (ibuprofen, naproxen, triclosan, and 17β-estradiol) across the lifetime of Crassostrea  virginica as well as address the ability of experimental oyster reefs to remediate the effects of human sewage contamination.

Results to Date:

During the first six months of the study, three sites representing a gradient of pollution in coastal Georgia exhibited measurable contamination of enteric pathogens, likely due to human inputs from faulty septic systems. Oyster spat have accumulated enteric pathogens at greater levels than adult oysters. None of the targeted pharmaceuticals were detected in adult or spat tissues. This could be related to the relatively short exposure duration (for spate) and the very low levels of pharmaceuticals in the selected tidal creeks. An additional study site near a larger human population with additional septic outfalls may be added in the next year of this study to increase the probability of detecting the target pharmaceuticals.



Ankley, G.T., M.C.Black, J. Garric, T.H. Hutchinson and T. Iguchi. 2005. A framework for assessing the hazard of pharmaceutical materials to aquatic species, in R. Williams (ed), Human Pharmaceuticals: Assessing the Impact on Aquatic Ecosystems. SETAC Press, Pensacola, FL.


Related Project:

Singleton, M.C., Danforth, J.M, Frischer, M.E., Pulster, E.L., Maruya,K.A. 2005. “Georgia Oyster Watch (GEOW) - Can oysters be utilized as integrative monitors of bacteriological and chemical water quality.” Poster presented at the annual meeting for the American Fisheries Society, Anchorage, AK.

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This page was updated February 24, 2014