Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)


Are Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Present in Nashville Bird Feces

Publication Date

Spring 4-21-2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Biology, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Matthew Heard

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


The widespread use of antibiotics by humans and wildlife has led to a spillover of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in many ecosystems. Of particular concern is the spillover to wildlife species, including wild birds and other organisms that can be detrimentally impacted by this emergence and may serve as vectors that can spread these bacteria to new environments. To better understand this issue, we examined in this study if we could find antibiotic-resistant bacteria in bird feces found at a popular recreational park in Nashville, TN. To do this, we collected bird feces samples over a period of 8 weeks from the walking trails and coves surrounding Anderson Road Recreation Area at Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, TN. Over the course of our study, we ran into difficulty finding living bacteria in bird samples, which was likely since bacteria species may not persist long in the open air. However, we did not find that antibiotic-resistant bacteria were present in our samples. Ultimately, our findings suggest that birds in Nashville do not harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but more work is needed to determine the scope of this potential threat.

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