Coherence among Different Microbial Source Tracking Markers in a Small Agricultural Stream with or without Livestock Exclusion Practices Journal Articles uri icon

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  • ABSTRACT Over 1,400 water samples were collected biweekly over 6 years from an intermittent stream protected and unprotected from pasturing cattle. The samples were monitored for host-specific Bacteroidales markers, Cryptosporidium species/genotypes, viruses and coliphages associated with humans or animals, and bacterial zoonotic pathogens. Ruminant Bacteroidales markers did not increase within the restricted cattle access reach of the stream, whereas the ruminant Bacteroidales marker increased significantly in the unrestricted cattle access reach. Human Bacteroidales markers significantly increased downstream of homes where septic issues were documented. Wildlife Bacteroidales markers were detected downstream of the cattle exclusion practice where stream and riparian habitat was protected, but detections decreased after the unrestricted pasture, where the stream and riparian zone was unprotected from livestock. Detection of a large number of human viruses was shown to increase downstream of homes, and similar trends were observed for the human Bacteroidales marker. There was considerable interplay among biomarkers with stream flow, season, and the cattle exclusion practices. There were no to very weak associations with Bacteroidales markers and bacterial, viral, and parasitic pathogens. Overall, discrete sample-by-sample coherence among the different microbial source tracking markers that expressed a similar microbial source was minimal, but spatial trends were physically meaningful in terms of land use (e.g., beneficial management practice) effects on sources of fecal pollution.


  • Wilkes, Graham
  • Brassard, Julie
  • Edge, Thomas
  • Gannon, Victor
  • Jokinen, Cassandra C
  • Jones, Tineke H
  • Marti, Romain
  • Neumann, Norman F
  • Ruecker, Norma J
  • Sunohara, Mark
  • Topp, Edward
  • Lapen, David R

publication date

  • October 15, 2013