This research project began last year (March 12, 2018) and has been through 3 iterations. Over the past year, each cohort of students have chosen to pursue the same general question regarding the abundance of antibiotic (ampicillin) resistance genes in soils from two different land-use locations (crop-lands used for agriculture and soils from areas adjacent to rivers and streams). They have hypothesized that there should be more antibiotic resistant bacteria and therefore more resistance genes in soils around flowing water sources. They think this would be a consequence of watershed drainage systems having input of runoff from surrounding areas, especially in low-lying creek and river bottoms.
Each student was randomly assigned a set of coordinates to serve as their collection point, followed by the randomly allocation of one of the two land-use types: (1) agricultural or (2) river/creek bank. Utilizing Google maps, students located the nearest site to their collection point that met their allocated land-use type. We will be following the protocol for detection presented by Bell et al. 2016. After determining the presence of any ampicillin resistance genes, we may further test for susceptibility to other antibiotics (penicillin, erythromycin, streptomycin, and tetracycline), using the basic Kirby-Bauer testing method for the first time during the project.