Tracking Vibrio: Population Dynamics and Community Ecology in Alabama Estuaries

Dataset extent

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Vibrio is a genus of halophilic, gram-negative bacteria found in estuaries around the globe. Integral parts of coastal cultures- like those along the Alabama Gulf Coast- often involve contact with vectors of pathogenic Vibrio spp. bacteria (e.g. consuming raw shellfish, fishing, water sports). High rates of morbidity and mortality from Vibrio spp. infections demonstrate the need for improved understanding, and ultimately prediction, of Vibrio spp. population dynamics in estuarine regions. Our study assessed meteorological, hydrographic, and biological correlates of V. parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus at 10 sites in the Eastern Mississippi Sound System (EMSS) from April - October 2019. During the sampling period, median abundances of V. parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus were 2.31 log MPN/L and 2.90 log MPN/L, respectively. Vibrio spp. population dynamics were largely driven by site-based variation, with sites closest to freshwater inputs having the highest abundances. The E-W wind scalar was a novel Vibrio spp. correlate in the EMSS- a relationship that warrants further study in other shallow estuarine basins. A potential salinity effect on bacterial-particle associations was identified, where V. vulnificus associated with large particles (>5 microns) in conditions outside of their optimal salinity (>18 ppt). Additionally, V. vulnificus abundances were correlated to those of harmful algal species like Akashiwo sanguinea and Heterocapsa spp. Correlates from this study may be used to inform the next iteration of predictive Vibrio models for the EMSS region and may lend additional insight to Vibrio spp. ecology and population dynamics in other shallow, microtidal estuaries.


This dataset was generated from a thesis project funded through the FDA-DISL Fellowship Program. The dataset includes information on Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus abundances at various planktonic particle size classes, hydrographic parameters, wind speed and direction, biogeochemical parameters, and phytoplankton counts at 10 sites within the Eastern Mississippi Sound System.

DOI: 10.57778/2x11-xn28

Suggested Citation

Morrison, B., Jones, J., Dzwonkowski, B., & Krause, J. (2023). Tracking Vibrio: Population Dynamics and Community Ecology in Alabama Estuaries (Version 1) [Data set]. Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Author Blair H Morrison
Last Updated May 4, 2023, 15:40 (UTC)
Created May 4, 2023, 14:13 (UTC) Jessica L Jones <> Brian Dzwonkowski <> Jeffrey W Krause <>
Temporal Begin 2019-04-23
Temporal End 2019-10-29
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