Reclaim is: Protecting the Environment from Ridge to Reef

Contributors to blogpost: Zaida Darley University of South Florida Amy Duggan and Logan Williams University of the Virgin Islands

This week’s video discusses how improving waste water management on land can improve marine ecosystems. The human opportunist pathogen, Serratia marcescens, is often associated with hospital acquired infections and is found in human waste. When this waste is not treated properly and makes its way into marine environments it can cause white pox disease in endangered elkhorn corals (Acropora palmata). Although Serratia marcescens is found in the waste of other animals it was the strain found in sewage that was causing the white pox. The city of Key West, Florida which faced problems with white pox killing their corals is a good case study showing that improving waste water treatment can decrease white pox epidemics. Since they upgraded their waste water treatment facility they have not had any white pox outbreaks.

We have found white pox disease in the Virgin Islands and are currently doing research to see whether this is also caused by the Serratia marcescens pathogen.       

Additional readings

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/17/139705482/caribbean-coral-catch-disease-from-sewage

http://news.uga.edu/releases/article/human-pathogen-killing-corals-in-the-florida-keys/

http://soils.ifas.ufl.edu/docs/pdf/academic/papers/Higginbotham_William_Tom.pdf

http://www.horsleywitten.com/STEERwatersheds/pdf/otherStudies/usvi_phase3_report_092311_508.pdf

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/08/23/disease-from-human-sewage-is-killing-caribbean-corals/#.VQnyS454q5c

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/septic/upload/onsite_handbook.pdf

http://www.fkaa.com/

http://dep.state.fl.us/south/Keys/Keys_Report_to_DCA_04-22-08.pdf

http://www.klwtd.com/

http://www.tsgwater.com/portfolio/frenchman-test-portfolio/

http://www.coris.noaa.gov/portals/pdfs/status_coralreef_usvi.pdf

Watch this video and respond to the questions on the YouTube page.  

Questions

  1.         Discuss an example of how nutrient reclamation could benefit a marine ecosystem or organism?
  2.         What could motivate more Caribbean communities to upgrade their wastewater treatment and sewer systems? What are some of the challenges these communities may face?
  3.         How could this video be improved?

This is the blog for week # of the Spring 2015 “Reclaim Is…” seminar.

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