Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Assessing the Presence and Abundance of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Percy Priest Lake

Publication Date

Summer 4-21-2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Biology, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Matthew Heard

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


The emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria poses a significant threat to urban freshwater ecosystems. This threat is of particular concern in areas that are used for recreation or as a source for drinking water. In this study, we assessed whether antibiotic resistant bacteria are present and how they vary in abundance at an important area of recreation in Nashville, TN – Percy Priest Lake. To do this, we collected water samples over the course of 8-weeks in the Spring of 2022 at Percy Priest Lake and we looked for the presence of antibiotic resistant E. coli, which is commonly used as an indicator species for freshwater ecosystems. Over the course of our study period, we found that while E. coli was commonly present, the colonies we isolated were infrequently resistant to most antibiotics. In addition, we found that when resistance occurred, the isolates varied in terms of which antibiotics they were resistant to. Collectively, our findings suggest that while there are antibiotic resistant bacteria present in Percy Priest Lake, more work is needed to understand the importance of this threat to both human and ecosystem health.

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