Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Bacteria, Baseline, Biomonitor, Marcellus, Natural gas
As drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale becomes increasingly prevalent, both human safety and environmental concerns have arisen. The aim of this study was to assemble an environmental baseline to make an accurate assessment of its possible impacts. Water samples and chemical parameters were collected from Bates Fork, a stream with Marcellus Shale drilling activity and Fonner Run, a sister stream with no drilling activity, on a monthly basis beginning in the summer of 2010. Bacterial DNA was also extracted from water collected at each site and then amplified using primers for the variable ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of 16S and 23S rRNA. The bacterial ribosomal ITS has both sequence and length variability, which can be used to approximate species abundance and diversity along both streams. The conserved 16S rRNA gene was also amplified, and sequenced to taxonomically categorize organisms. To date, it has been observed that Bates Fork has consistently higher conductivity and chloride levels than Fonner Run. The bacterial diversity was found to be similar between the two streams. As a baseline study, these results show that there have not been any detectable impacts to Bates Fork thus far, but the stream should continue to be monitored.
Rutter, J. (2012). A Baseline Study of Chemical Parameters and Microbial Diversity of Two Streams in the Ten Mile Creek Watershed in Southwestern Pennsylvania (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1135