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Lily Hayes

Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Second Advisor

Dr. Debra Wohl


What is the importance of biodiversity among microorganisms? More specifically, how do bacteria develop mechanisms for survival in adverse conditions and does human interference induce more tolerant mutant strains? This project examines bacterial acquisition of antibiotic resistance from exposure to a point source of pollution within an aquatic system. Using sediment sampling upstream and downstream from a point source of sewage treatment effluent within two Powhatan County streams, this experiment tested for bacterial strains that are tolerant to three common antibiotic treatments for human pathogens (i.e., tetracycline, erythromycin, streptomycin).However, no positive correlation was seen between acquired antibiotic resistance and the sewage effluent exposure.