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Poster Presentation

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Remote sensing of bacterial populations in small and large bodies of water can significantly enhance our ability to understand fresh water ecosystems and monitor water quality. Although the identification of individual species is still unfeasible, the detection of certain bacterial groups and the likelihood of occurrence would be very valuable. Spectral analysis of satellite imagery is currently used to determine water parameters like temperature, turbidity, phytoplankton and dissolved organic matter. In order to establish a correlation between some of these parameters and the presence of microorganisms, we collected water samples from several locations in the Lake Ontario Rochester Embayment and Irondequoit Bay that were imaged by the new Landsat 8 OLI and TIRS sensors. Using bacterial 16S rRNA, we mapped the diversity and distribution of microorganisms isolated from the samples and then linked this information to the bio-optical properties of the water. Our results represent an early attempt to develop a method for the remote detection of bacteria. A comprehensive understanding of the factors affecting the conditions favoring the establishment of the various colonies will require a library of seasonal ground truth sampling and remote sensing observations to assess potential probability and geographic distributions of the bacterial populations.


Presented at the American Society of Microbiology 114th General Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, May 19, 2014.

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