Shooting the poop

So I’ve read a lot about different kinds of poop these past few days…cow, bird, elk, and human to be specific (yes, there is a difference). Why? Because my mentor (Amy) is focusing on determining the sources of feces that contribute to the microbial load in Tillamook Bay. Although the details are still in flux, the current plan for the summer is to take water and sediment samples from various estuaries that empty into the bay and gather nutrient, chlorophyll, and microbial data. The microbial data Amy is looking to collect is specifically regarding fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), microbes that are found in feces that can signal the potential presence of other harmful pathogens in the water. We will also be using qPCR to determine the abundance of specific genetic markers from certain microbes in order to do microbial source tracking (MST). MST allows us to determine whose poop is where and how much of it there is. I’m sure that I’ll learn more as the next week unfolds and we do some field work for the first time. If time permits I’m also going to be able to work on my own side-project related to microbes in the Tillamook Bay; I’m thinking of looking at the concentrations of microbes in oyster gut tissues or on the biofilm produced by eelgrass, Zostrea marina. I’m getting really excited for all the data to start coming it, it’s going to be a cool time at the EPA!

On a non-science related note Newport is pretty sweet! It feels a lot like Boston (my hometown) and Maine; it’s great to be around actual trees instead of being in the SoCal desert. Newport itself is a quaint little town that really only exists on one main street by the bay; it’s a nice small-town feel.


P.S. Dungeness crab is really good


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About Angus

I'm a rising senior studying marine biology at the University of California, San Diego. This summer I'm working with the EPA to study the causes and impacts of acidification in pacific northwest estuary systems.

3 thoughts on “Shooting the poop

  1. Great explanation of your project in this report. I hope you find time to complete an independent project as well – that sounds like great experience! It’s wild to think that Newport is a quaint little town when it’s really one of the largest towns on the Oregon coast. Population of beaches in Oregon is nothing like California or anywhere on the east coast as I’m sure you’ve seen.

  2. Poop is not nearly as common of a topic on the blog as it should be – glad that you’ll be exploring this important issue right here (and with EPA). You may also be in the running for most acronyms per blog post – maybe you need a poop-based acronym to really set your research apart…glad to hear you like the dungies. Definitely good eating!

  3. Poop is awesome! I think I might write about poop later this summer (the human kind, and it is related to oceans!). I know next to nothing about microbes and all the interesting lab techniques of analyzing them, but I hope to learn as much as I can from what you share.

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