Microbial Tracking to Identify Fecal Contaminants in Recreational Surface Waters

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Michael Pikaart and Dr. Graham Peaslee

Document Type


Event Date



Over the past 2 years, the Pikaart research group has been working in parallel with the Outdoor Discovery Center to help remediate the Lake Macatawa Watershed. Project Clarity, is a $12M plan set forth by the Outdoor Discovery Center/Macatawa Greenway and other organizations to restore the watershed to its former glory. Project Clarity’s goals are to improve the water quality by reducing the amount of sediment, nutrients, and bacterial pollution. With a multi-faceted approach to long-term sustainability, best management practices, land restoration, and community education, the watershed can be restored in time. To further investigate the cleanliness of the water, the Pikaart group has been working to identify the fecal contaminants in the Lake Macatawa watershed. This is done by tracking the source of the contaminants using qPCR. With qPCR, the microbiological 16s RNA gene sequence is amplified based on primer sets to track the potential sources of the microorganisms. The findings from various sample locations will be discussed along with plans for the future.


Research funded by Outdoor Discovery Center/Macatawa Greenway and the National Science Foundation.

This document is currently not available here.