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Open-File Report 2015–1013

Prepared in cooperation with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Occurrence and Distribution of Fecal Indicator Bacteria and Gene Markers of Pathogenic Bacteria in Great Lakes Tributaries, March–October 2011

By Angela K. Brennan, Heather E. Johnson, Alex R. Totten, and Joseph W. Duris

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.15 MB)Abstract

From March through October 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), conducted a study to determine the frequency of occurrence of pathogen gene markers and densities of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in 22 tributaries to the Great Lakes. This project was funded as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and included sampling at 22 locations throughout 6 states that border the Great Lakes.

A total of 177 environmental samples were collected at USGS streamgaging stations during both normal-flow and high-flow conditions and were analyzed by the Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory at the USGS Water Science Center in Lansing, Michigan.

Water samples were analyzed for the presence of FIB concentrations (FIB; fecal coliform bacteria, Escherichia coli [E. coli], and enterococci) by using membrane filtration and serial dilution methods. The resulting enrichments from standard culturing of the samples were then analyzed by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to determine the occurrence of pathogen gene markers for Shigella species, Campylobacter jejuni and coli, Salmonella species, and pathogenic E. coli, including Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC).

First posted February 20, 2015

For additional information, contact:
Director, Michigan Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
6520 Mercantile Way, Suite 5
Lansing, MI 48911-5991

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Suggested citation:

Brennan, A.K., Johnson, H.E., Totten, A.R., and Duris, J.W., 2015, Occurrence and distribution of fecal indicator bacteria and gene markers of pathogenic bacteria in Great Lakes tributaries, March–October 2011: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1013, 29 p.,

ISSN 2331–1258 (online)




Sampling and Analytical Methods

Results of Microbiological Analyses

Quality-Control Results



References Cited


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