Publication Date

Summer 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Environmental Biology

First Advisor

Timothy Gsell, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Mary E. Carrington, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Diane Gohde, Ph.D.


Retention ponds at Governors State University play an important role in collecting and treating storm water runoff before leaving campus and entering Thorn Creek. Many chemical and physical factors influence the diversity of bacterial populations in freshwater ecosystems. The main objective of this study was to compare the interactions of various bacterial populations with chemical and physical factors from seasonal inputs and outputs of Governors State University retention ponds before being discharged into Thorn Creek. The retention ponds studied include the Café Settling pond, Café pond and Beaver pond. Water and sediment were collected from inputs and outputs every other month for a year. Aerobic bacteria, Escherichia coli and coliform abundances were assessed using 3M Petrifilms and colony morphologies used to determine overall diversity. BiOLOG Gen III plates gave species IDs, and BiOLOG™ EcoPlates were used to determine the physiological fingerprints from each site. Aerobic counts for water and sediment were higher in summer. June rainfall and drier August conditions may have attributed to differences between water and sediment. Chemical factors appeared to also play a role in changes in the ponds. A repeated measure MANOVA was run in SAS and statistical significance was found with a p-value ofE.colicounts. Specific conductivity, pH and water/sediment, input/output (pond) interactions also showed statistical significance. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was performed for water and sediment separately using PC-ORD™ software and graphed.


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