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Sediment Microbe Respiration and Pollutant Response Using Differential Scanning Calorimetry

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Faculty Advisor: Dr. John Osegovic

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Microorganisms are commonly bioindicators of environmental conditions, thus making microbe respiration a valuable tool for assessing sediment health and the impact of pollutants released into water systems. Although it is known that pollution impacts every level of a marine ecosystem, there is limited research available on the impact of the introduction of pollutants on a microscopic level at a concentrated initial exposure. This study used Differential Scanning Calorimetry to assess the difference in microbial respiration rates of sediment samples, obtained from the Tampa Bay shoreline, before and after the introduction of hexane, a major component of gasoline. The data showed lower microbial respiration after introduction of the pollutant, indicating that hexane slows sediment microbe respiration or kills the microbes. These findings suggest that more research should be done regarding pollutant impact on microbial populations, especially considering the prevalence of gasoline runoff in highly urbanized areas.

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Sediment Microbe Respiration and Pollutant Response Using Differential Scanning Calorimetry

Microorganisms are commonly bioindicators of environmental conditions, thus making microbe respiration a valuable tool for assessing sediment health and the impact of pollutants released into water systems. Although it is known that pollution impacts every level of a marine ecosystem, there is limited research available on the impact of the introduction of pollutants on a microscopic level at a concentrated initial exposure. This study used Differential Scanning Calorimetry to assess the difference in microbial respiration rates of sediment samples, obtained from the Tampa Bay shoreline, before and after the introduction of hexane, a major component of gasoline. The data showed lower microbial respiration after introduction of the pollutant, indicating that hexane slows sediment microbe respiration or kills the microbes. These findings suggest that more research should be done regarding pollutant impact on microbial populations, especially considering the prevalence of gasoline runoff in highly urbanized areas.

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