Aquatic bacterial communities are crucial for a healthy lake ecosystem, but certain bacteria may also pose health risks to humans and animals.
In my research, I am interested in how lake bacterial communities, and thus the ecosystem services they provide, are impacted by land usage and human activity in the watershed.
Secondly, I am interested in the link between lake health and public health: do lakes that have high levels of human disturbance have an increased reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes?
Using computational and molecular methods, I utilize DNA isolated from lake water samples to infer their bacterial community. Utilizing next generation sequencing techniques, I can reconstitute the (nearly) complete genome of the bacteria that were present in the samples and infer their metabolism and ecological role. Moreover, I can screen the samples for genes that might pose public health risks such as antibiotic resistance genes and toxins.
Connecting this genomic profile with information pertaining to human activity and land usage within the watershed allows me to infer causal relationships and will ultimately permit predicting the lake health of ‘non-sampled’ lakes across Canada based on their watershed land usage.
Project start and finish dates: July 2017 to April 2020
Supervisor: David Walsh (Concordia University)
LakePulse survey sampling 680 lakes across Canada
Summer 2018: Processing and data analysis of both the 220 samples collected during the summer of 2017 and the new samples as they arrive in the summer of 2018.
Summer 2017: Sampling with the Purple Team across Quebec (8 weeks).