Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Bioinformatics & Computational Biology


The objective of this study was to examine the interaction of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP) and microbial communities in freshwater ecosystems. This study included two components. The first component consisted of an artificial stream study in which sediment was exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of three different pharmaceuticals (diphenhydramine, ciprofloxacin, and fluoxetine) individually and as a mixture. Pharmaceutical exposure had no effect on denitrification rates or respiration rates in the sediments, and sediment microbial community composition showed only slight differences between streams dosed with pharmaceuticals and control streams. The second component consisted of a field study in which 5 field sites on 3 different streams were sampled. One stream received no wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent. The two other streams received direct inputs of WWTP effluent, and two sites on each of these streams, one upstream of the effluent point and one downstream, were sampled in order to determine if the effluent was influencing the streams communities. Based on the physical characteristics nitrate, SRP, and temperature, the WWTP effluent affected the stream with the highest effluent input. Microbial communities from both streams demonstrated compositional differences when comparing downstream to upstream sites. One of the microbes that contributed to the composition change is a group that can degrade complex aromatic compounds. Future work will include analysis of antibiotic resistance genes present within the microbial communities and quantification of specific PPCPs in these streams.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.