This data will help us understand the effects of pasture type (Improved or Semi-Native) and wetland management (grazing and prescribed fire and their interactions) on water quality.
Escherichia coli , abbreviated E. coli are bacteria that are found in the environment, foods, and the intestines of people and animals. While most kinds of E. coli are harmless, others can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, and pneumonia.
We are measuring E. coli loads in 12 semi-native pasture and 12 improved pasture surrounded sub-tropical wetlands, that have had different management techniques (fenced vs. unfenced and burned vs. unburned) applied since 2007.
Sampling was initiated after the start of the wet season in 2013. During each monthly sampling event, three water samples were collected at a random location stratified by depth (deep-medium-shallow) for each wetland and pooled.
Initial data indicates that E. coli loads in fenced wetlands (no grazing) are actually higher than unfenced wetlands. This may be due to more use by feral swine in fenced wetlands, because of increased cover.
Water samples are filtered at 3 dilutions and plated on a special media in which E. coli colonies will appear bright blue.
E. coliassociations with surrounding pasture type, cattle grazing, and fire (and their interactions), will be analyzed. The results will be used to estimate E. coli in wetlands and help examine how wetland management practices affect E. coliloads on ranchlands.
This project was made possible by funding and collaboration with
UC Davis School of
Veterinary Medicine, Atwill Water & Foodborne Zoonotic Disease Laboratory.
Collaborators: Rob Atwill and Guy Ragosta, UC Davis. Elizabeth Boughton, the MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center. Contributors: MAERC Interns.