Projects in the Marine Microbiology Group

Vibrio Ecology
The Grimes lab is interested in the ecology of Vibrios including what traits allow the 13 species to colonize and cause disease in humans. Dr. Jay Grimes and his students are also investigating the ability of 48 Vibrio bacteria strains, including V. cholerae, V. parahaemolyticus, V. vulnificus and Photobacterium damselae subspecies damselae, to metabolize petroleum, specifically oil recovered during the Deepwater Horizon "top hat" operation.  The  work is also considering naphthalene and phenanthrene, PAH compounds present in crude oil. D. Jay Grimes, Principal Investigator.

Remote Sensing to Assess Microbial Water Quality at Beaches and Shellfish Beds
Funded by NASA, Earth Science for Decision Making– GOM region.  Research includes In- situ environmental parameter measurements to determine the efficacy of using remotely sensed environmental parameters.  These measurements will be used to construct predictive, and ultimately, real time models that provide coastal water quality information as it pertains to microorganism proliferation.  Modeling of this type is useful in providing public information on the likelihood of infectious disease in coastal waters and seafood. D. Jay Grimes, Principal Investigator.

Beach Monitoring Program
In the Summer of 1997, the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory began working with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to assess the bathing beaches of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Since that time, the program has grown into a year-round operation to monitor bacterial water quality.

Samples are collected from twenty-two stations from the Mississippi-Louisiana state line to the Mississippi-Alabama state line. The regular sampling regime consists of weekly sampling regardless of season. The water is tested for bacteria and other physical parameters.  The USM GCRL Microbiology Laboratory analyses the water samples for Enterocci using EPA method 1600. The MDEQ and the Mississippi Beach Monitoring Task Force use these data to manage beach water quality issues. (USM GCRL provides field and analytical support only. GCRL is not associated with management decisions regarding beach advisories or closures.) D. Jay Grimes, Principal Investigator.

Shellfish Sanitation Program
Since 1987, the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (USM GCRL) had provided laboratory support for the Mississippi Shellfish Sanitation Program. The USM GCRL Microbiology Laboratory still maintains this important service to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR).

The laboratory maintains strict compliance with the guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) under the National Shellfish Sanitation Program.  Each state that harvests live shellfish must continuously monitor the growing waters for bacterial levels. The USM GCRL Microbiology Laboratory personnel analyze sea water samples and oyster meats for fecal coliforms and total aerobic bacterial count in support of this national program. The USM GCRL is the only laboratory in Mississippi currently compliant with FDA-CFSAN (FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition) standards to perform these tests. All data are reported to MDMR for management decisions for the harvesting of this resource. (The USM GCRL provides analytical support ONLY; decisions on opening or closing of harvest areas is the responsibility of the MDMR).

Creation of a Website Based on Remote Sensing to Nowcast the Abundance and Distribution of Vibrios in the Costal Ocean. D. Jay Grimes, Principal Investigator.

The use of remote sensing and molecular detection to predict the risk of infection by Vibrio parahaemolyticus
NOAA Oceans and Human Health Initiative, D. Jay Grimes, Principal Investigator.

Revitalizing Taxonomic Expertise in Digenea for the 21st Century
The haploporid monographs. National Science Foundation, Robin M. Overstreet, Principal Investigator.

Effects on and Recovery of Mississippi Fish Digenean Populations Resulting from Hurricane Katrina
National Science Foundation, Small Grant for Exploratory Research (SGER). Robin M. Overstreet, Principal Investigator.

Mississippi Gopher Frog
Dermomycoides sp. infectivity and disease studies plus ranid monitoring at The Nature Conservancy Pond. Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Robin M. Overstreet, Principal Investigator.