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Do Tourists Bug Bacteria: The Effectsof Human Presence and Pollution on Bacterial Diversity and Distribution in the Streams of Glacier National Park

Delaney, Kelsie
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Anthropogenic activity and waste can have a huge effect on the microbial biodiversity of a stream system, potentially destabilizing the ecosystem through the disruption of bacterial nutrient cycling. This project assessed the species composition of stream microbes within the streams of Glacier National Park and measured the effect of human traffic and waste on their spatial distribution. Streams of particular concern to Glacier National Park, due to heavy human activity and the presence of near-by pit toilets, were sampled from their headwaters to their confluence with higher order streams; a stream that has no known human contact was sampled as a control. Samples were taken every 700 m and species distribution determined through indicator organisms. Interest species were chosen based on their known abundance in similar waters outside of the Park and their ecological significance. Quantitative PCR was used to enumerate the number of normal flora versus the number of coliforms in each sample.
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University of Wyoming Libraries