Faculty Mentor(s)

Professor Jill VanderStoep, Mathematics, Dr. Paul Pearson, Mathematics

Document Type


Event Date



The goal of this experiment was to identify non-sulfur bacteria counts in the Muskegon Watershed area. We did so by cultivating bacteria in twelve different Winogradsky columns to determine if non-sulfur bacteria life is viable in the four different waterways that were sampled: Gilligan Lake, Lake Macatawa, Lake Michigan, and the Kalamazoo River. Bacteria grown in shade had highest colony counts in Lake Macatawa and the forest area of Lake Michigan. Bacteria grown in sunlight had highest colony counts in the forest area of Lake Michigan. Extended research could identify the non-sulfur bacteria types and allow us to discern how each affects the biome in which it lives. This research lays the groundwork for future studies involving sulfur-bacterial growth.