Biomonitoring using microbial biodiversity as indicator of water quality changes in the Buffalo River, Eastern Cape.

Student: Mr B Zuma
Supervisors: Dr WJ Muller, Dr J Burgess (Department of Biochemisty, Microbiology and Biotechnology)
Degree: MSc (Water Resource Science)

A number of indices exist in which organisms from different trophic levels are used to provide an indication of the aquatic ecosystem health of surface waters. However, very little is known about the response of microbial biodiversity to changes in water quality. Bacteria provide a key role in the breakdown of many environmental pollutants and also form a significant component of biofilm, a primary food source for many higher order species. Changes in the community composition of these species may therefore have significant ecological impacts. In this study, the microbial biodiversity (of both the water column and biofilm) at selected sites, both upstream and downstream of known sources of water quality impact to the Buffalo River, using standard microbial techniques was undertaken. Several sampling fieldtrips have been undertaken, and will continue in 2008.

Last Modified: Fri, 14 Aug 2015 10:56:26 SAST