Michael Gasbarro ’15 Recognized for his Talk at the Science and Environmental Summit

Mike Gasbarro ’15 initiated and carried out a study of fecal bacteria in the lagoons of Ocean City, NJ to ascertain whether or not the lagoons are safe for swimming.

He measured the levels of bacteria that indicate fecal (human sewage) contamination according to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s methods and standards throughout the summer and fall of 2015.  He found that most of the lagoons had low levels of bacteria, but one had levels of fecal bacteria that indicated the water is not safe for swimming.  While the bacteria that he studied are not usually dangerous themselves, they are indicators of sewage contamination that could harbor disease causing bacteria and viruses. With the help of the city, he further pinpointed the source in the storm water pipe system beneath the streets of Ocean City.   Michael competed against graduate students and other undergrads for the best student talk at the Science and Environmental Summit in January 2015, a meeting in Cape May, NJ that is organized by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.  Michael received an honorable mention in the competition because he was judged to have given the best presentation by an undergraduate.  We are very proud of him!