Northeastern Section - 50th Annual Meeting (2325 March 2015)
Paper No. 4-9
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM-11:20 AM


ENGLISH, Erika1, DOLCI, Elizabeth D.1, BENNETT, Shayna2, and MURPHY, Heather3, (1) Department of Environmental & Health Sciences, Johnson State College, 337 College Hill, Johnson, VT 05656,, (2) Department of Environmental and Health Sciences, Johnson State College, 337 College Hill, Johnson, VT 05656, (3) Environmental and Health Sciences, Johnson State College, 337 College Hill, Johnson, VT 05656

Mining activity has altered landscapes around the world creating habitats rife with conditions that challenge survival of resident species. Leaching of trace elements into the watershed at the Vermont Asbestos Group mine has resulted in an environment under several biological constraints including elevated levels of magnesium and arsenic, an alkaline pH, and significant concentrations of asbestos fibers and metals in streambed sediment. In this serpentine environment, characterized as harsh and nutrient-deficient, bacterial communities thrive.

Sequencing of a segment of the 16S rRNA gene identified cultivable bacteria and use of PhyloChip microarray revealed the identity of non-cultivable organisms in the mine’s pit pond and surrounding streams. This dual methodological approach provided a comprehensive view of the microbial community in this stressed environment. Nearly sixty percent of cultivable resident aquatic microbes possess extremophilic (alkaliphilic and psychrophilic) or pathogenic (fish and plant) properties. Several isolates are multi-drug resistant or antibiotic producers. A comparative study of microbial growth rates revealed physiological differences between mine isolates and their reference strains. The community profile is evidence of microbial adaptation to an anthropogenically-disturbed environment.

Northeastern Section - 50th Annual Meeting (2325 March 2015)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 4
Evolution of Minerals in Diverse Environments: Geobiological and Geochemical Aspects
Omni Mount Washington Resort: Jefferson Room
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Monday, 23 March 2015

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