An in-depth look at water quality of Hilo Bay

Efforts partially funded by PI-CASC have yielded a publication presenting a thorough look at microbial pollution in Hilo Bay on Hawaiʻi Island. Published in Water Environmental Research, the paper, titled “Detection and modeling of Staphylococcus aureus and fecal bacteria in Hawaiian coastal waters and sands,” included sampling over three years across six locations exploring connections between environmental conditions and the presence of harmful bacteria like S. aureus, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and fecal indicator bacteria (FIB). Concentrations were found to be substantially higher at beaches with freshwater inputs as well as the density of onsite wastewater sewage disposal systems in the feeding watershed. The authors recommend the benefits of regular monitoring of these beaches to mitigate exposure to S. aureus, MRSA, and FIB.

This work included research from a PI-CASC Manager Climate Corp (MCC) project led by Dr. Tracy Wiegner, Marine Science Department at UH Hilo, with Louis Economy, titled “Investigating climate driven shifts in Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA for water resource and land management solutions.”