Characterization of microbial communities from coastal waters using microarrays

O. Colin Stine, Amy Carnahan, Ruby Singh, Jan Powell, Jon P. Furono, Alicia Dorsey, Ellen Silbergeld, Henry N. Williams, J. Glenn Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Molecular methods, including DNA probes, were used to identify and enumerate pathogenic Vibrio species in the Chesapeake Bay; our data indicated that Vibrio vulnificus exhibits seasonal fluctuations in number. Our work included a characterization of total microbial communities from the Bay; development of microarrays that identify and quantify the diversity of those communities; and observation of temporal changes in those communities. To identify members of the microbial community, we amplified the 16S rDNA gene from community DNA isolated from a biofilm sample collected from the Chesapeake Bay in February, 2000. The resultant 75 sequences were 95% or more similar to 7 species including two recently described Shewanella species, baltica and frigidimarina, that have not been previously isolated from the Chesapeake. When the genera of bacteria from biofilm after culturing are compared to those detected by subcloning amplified 16S fragments from community DNA, the cultured sample exhibited a strong bias. In oysters collected in February, the most common bacteria were previously unknown. Based on our 16S findings, we are developing microarrays to detect these and other microbial species in these estuarine communities. The microarrays will detect each species using four distinct loci, with the multiple loci serving as an internal control. The accuracy of the microarray will be measured using sentinel species such as Aeromonas species, Escherichia coli, and Vibrio vulnificus. Using microarrays, it should be possible to determine the annual fluctuations of bacterial species (culturable and non-culturable, pathogenic and non-pathogenic). The data may be applied to understanding patterns of environmental change; assessing the "health" of the Bay; and evaluating the risk of human illness associated with exposure to and ingestion of water and shellfish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-336
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Chesapeake Bay
  • DNA sequencing
  • Microarrays
  • Microbial ecology
  • Non-culturable bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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