Microbial source tracking in two southern Maine watersheds :
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Microbial source tracking in two southern Maine watersheds :

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    This report describes in full a research project designed to identify more accurately the sources of fecal coliform in areas that have experienced persistent and elevated levels of bacteria. In Maine, unacceptable levels of fecal contamination forced the closure of over 150,000 acres of productive shellfish harvesting areas by the end of 2002. But while fecal coliform is generally associated with fecal material from warm-blooded animals, the simple identification of this class of bacteria in a water sample lends no clues to the origin of the fecal material. Thus it is virtually impossible to distinguish the sources of fecal contamination without more advanced testing methods. Microbial source tracking (MST) refers to a group of molecular, genetic, and chemical methods used to identify specific strains of indicator bacteria or viruses in the environment. These methods attempt to overcome the limitations of conventional bacterial testing by providing information about the species-​specific sources of fecal contamination in surface waters. This project will provide resources managers in the MBLR (Merriland River-Branch Brook-Little River, Maine) watershed with information regarding the sources of fecal coliform bacterial contamination in the region, and will be useful to other watersheds in the U.S. In this comprehensive report, the authors describe their methods of assessment, the results, and recommended management actions. Cats were the most frequently identified sources species followed by non-avian wildlife and livestock.
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