USGS - science for a changing world

U.S. Geological Survey - Great Lakes Science Center

Meredith B. Nevers


Research Ecologist Lake Michigan Ecological Station Email: Phone: (219) 926-8336 ext. 425 Fax: (219) 929-5792 Professional Page:


B.A. (Biology) Wittenberg University, 1994
M.S. (Marine Biology) University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 1996

Current Studies

Examination of Large-Scale Physical and Biological Dynamics Along Coastal Great Lakes

This research will make advances toward lake-wide monitoring systems for recreational water quality. With the expansion of water quality predictions and the characterization of natural and human-derived bacterial populations, better assessments of public health risk can be made. Next research steps will include the continued expansion and refinement of predictive models with independent variables that incorporate dynamic biological and physical processes. Modeling will also incorporate new dependent variables that are better indicators of recent human sewage contamination and associated pathogens and disease-causing organisms.

Principal Investigator: Meredith Nevers
Improving the Timeliness and Accuracy of Recreational Water Monitoring

There is a decided need for a rapid means of characterizing microbiological water quality and for distinguishing sources of these natural indicator bacteria populations and associated human health risk. Currently, all Great Lakes coastal beaches (and marine beaches) are monitored for fecal indicator bacteria to determine when there is human fecal sewage contamination that may be harmful to human health. In recent years, numerous problems with the currently accepted indicator have been recognized. Notably, the analytical assay for E. coli requires 24 hours of culturing, a time frame lengthier than the rate of potentially significant changes in E. coli concentration in natural waters. A strong need for rapid assessment of microbiological water quality has developed. Recent research has targeted several means of rapidly measuring water quality, among them faster analytical assays, a new indicator, and the use of empirical/statistical predictive models. Each possibility has advantages and disadvantages, many tied to specific situations at individual beaches. A clearer understanding of the application and implications of these rapid methods is needed so that beach managers can effectively manage their beaches to protect beachgoers. Different beaches may require different approaches to monitoring.

Principal Investigator: Meredith Nevers

Recent Publications

Meredith B. Nevers, Kasia Przybyla-Kelly, Ashley Spoljaric, Dawn Shively, Richard L. Whitman, and Muruleedhara N. Byappanahalli 2016. Freshwater wrack along Great Lakes coasts harbors Escherichia coli: Potential for bacterial transfer between watershed environments. Elsevier . Journal of Great Lakes Research . 42 (4). 760-767.
Contribution #2036
Muruleedhara N. Byappanahalli, Meredith B. Nevers, Richard L. Whitman, Zhongfu Ge, Dawn Shively, Ashley Spoljaric, Katarzyna Przybyla-Kelly 2015. Wildlife, urban inputs, and landscape configuration are responsible for degraded swimming water quality at an embayed beach. Elsevier . Journal of Great Lakes Research . 41 (1). 156-163.
Contribution #1894
Sabino, R., R. Rodrigues, I. Costa, C. Carneiro, M. Cunha, A. Duarte, N. Faria, F.C. Ferreira, M.J. Gargaté, C. Júlio, M.L. Martins, M.B. Nevers, M. Oleastro, H. Solo-Gabriele, C. Veríssimo, C. Viegas, R.L. Whitman, J. Brandão. 2014. Routine screening of harmful microorganisms in beach sands: Implications to public health. Science of the Total Environment . 472 1062-1069.
Contribution #1806
Nevers, Meredith B., Murulee N. Byappanahalli, Thomas A. Edge, Richard L. Whitman 2014. Beach science in the Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research . 40 1-14.
Contribution #1812
Richard L. Whitman, Muruleedhara N. Byappanahalli, Ashley M. Spoljaric, Kasia Przybyla-Kelly, Dawn A. Shively, Meredith B. Nevers 2014. Evidence for free-living Bacteroides in Cladophora along the shores of the Great Lakes. Inter-Research Science Center . Aquatic Microbial Ecology . 72 (2). 117-126.
Contribution #1824

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