Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Factors affecting the spatial and temporal distribution of E. coli in intertidal estuarine sediments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access Status

  • Embargoed (until 14/01/20)


Microbiological water quality monitoring of bathing waters does not account for faecal indicator organisms in sediments. Intertidal deposits are a significant reservoir of FIOs and this indicates there is a substantial risk to bathers through direct contact with the sediment, or through the resuspension of bacteria to the water column. Recent modelling efforts include sediment as a secondary source of contamination, however, little is known about the driving factors behind spatial and temporal variation in FIO abundance. E. coli abundance, in conjunction with a wide range of measured variables, was used to construct models to explain E. coli abundance in intertidal sediments in two Scottish estuaries. E. coli concentrations up to 6 log10 CFU 100 g dry wt-1 were observed, with optimal models accounting for E. coli variation up to an adjusted R2 of 0.66. Introducing more complex models resulted in overfitting of models, detrimentally effected the transferability of models between datasets. Salinity was the most important single variable, with season, pH, colloidal carbohydrates, organic content, bulk density and maximum air temperature also featuring in optimal models. Transfer of models, using only lower cost variables, between systems explained an average deviance of 42 %. This study demonstrates the potential for cost-effective sediment characteristic monitoring to contribute to FIO fate and transport modelling and consequently the risk assessment of bathing water safety.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-167
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date14 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019

    Research areas

  • FIO, Estuaries, Pathogens, Bathing water quality, Sediments

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Assessing risk of E. coli resuspension from intertidal estuarine sediments: implications for water quality

    Wyness, A. J., Paterson, D. M., Rimmer, J., Defew, E. C., Stuttter, M. I. & Avery, L. M., 5 Sep 2019, In : International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 16, 18, 13 p., 3255.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. The role of zeta potential in the adhesion of E. coli to suspended intertidal sediments

    Wyness, A., Paterson, D. M., Defew, E., Stutter, M. & Avery, L., 1 Oct 2018, In : Water Research. 142, p. 159-166

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Impacts of physical disturbance on the recovery of a macrofaunal community: A comparative analysis using traditional and novel approaches

    Wan Hussin, W. M. R., Cooper, K. M., Frojan, C. R. S. B., Defew, E. C. & Paterson, D. M., Jan 2012, In : Ecological Indicators. 12, 1, p. 37-45 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Implications of dredging induced changes in sediment particle size composition for the structure and function of marine benthic macrofaunal communities

    Cooper, KM., Curtis, M., Wan Hussin, W. M. R., Barrio Frojan, CRS., Defew, E. C., Nye, V. & Paterson, D. M., Oct 2011, In : Marine Pollution Bulletin. 62, 10, p. 2087-2094 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Science of the Total Environment (Journal)

    Adam James Wyness (Member of editorial board)
    10 Jun 201810 Jul 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. Linking organochlorine contaminants with demographic parameters in free-ranging common bottlenose dolphins from the northern Adriatic Sea

    Genov, T., Jepson, P. D., Barber, J. L., Hace, A., Gaspari, S., Centrih, T., Lesjak, J. & Kotnjek, P., 20 Mar 2019, In : Science of the Total Environment. 657, p. 200-212 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Mercury in cetaceans: exposure, bioaccumulation and toxicity

    Kershaw, J. & Hall, A., 30 Jul 2019, In : Science of the Total Environment. 694, p. 1-11 11 p., 133683.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  3. Preconcentration techniques for trace explosive sensing

    Gillanders, R. N., Glackin, J. M. E., Filipi, J., Kezic, N., Samuel, I. D. W. & Turnbull, G. A., Mar 2019, In : Science of the Total Environment. 658, p. 650-658

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Concentration of perfluorinated compounds and cotinine in human foetal organs, placenta, and maternal plasma

    Mamsen, L. S., Jönsson, B. A. G., Lindh, C. H., Olesen, R. H., Larsen, A., Ernst, E., Kelsey, T. W. & Andersen, C. Y., 15 Oct 2017, In : Science of the Total Environment. 596-597, p. 97-105 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 257353793