Bacterial Tracking For Coastal Water Quality Standards

Monday, January 5, 2015.

Is that water safe to swim in? This is a huge question in our state where beach goers contribute something north of $61 billion a year to our economy. A new EPA definition for what is considered a “problem” level of bacteria in our coastal waters might at times be too strict and lead to unnecessary beach closures when there is no real health threat. CSU Channel Islands’ ESRM Program is partnering with the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project on a study funded by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to investigate the sources of bacteria in our nearshore waters.

CI students taking samples at Leo Carrillo State Beach.
CI students collecting samples at Leo Carrillo State Beach
CI student Tevin Schmitt collecting water samples at Leo Carrillo State Beach.
Photos courtesy of Sean Anderson

ESRM undergraduate researchers are sampling nearshore water at Leo Carrillo State Beach daily for approximately 5 months. Bacterial DNA within each day’s sample are quantified using a qPCR molecular technique, allowing researchers to directly measure the amount of bacteria coming from various sources (humans, raccoons, mountain lions, etc.). In addition to helping improve the accuracy of our water quality regulations, these data are bolstering ESRM’s long-term exploration of the natural history, ecology, and management of sandy beach ecosystems.

  • ESRM students testing Leo Carrillo water samples.
  • ESRM students testing Leo Carrillo State Beach water samples.
  • ESRM students testing Leo Carrillo State Beach water samples.

ESRM/BIO 313 Conservation Biology students visit Santa Rosa Island.

Wednesday, November 3, 2014.

Santa Rosa Island provides a wealth of illustrations of the principles of Conservation Biology and the Fall 2014 Conservation Biology class greatly enjoyed the opportunity to see the practical implications of their studies during a visit to the research station on the island. In addition to conducting ongoing student research on sandy beach infauna, opportunities for future capstone research were discussed and a number of capstone students were also able to showcase their research on the island to classmates.
Dr. Clare Wormald Steele would like to thank the "Student Access to Santa Rosa Island Research and Educational Opportunities" fund for providing transportation and housing for the students at the CSU Channel Islands Santa Rosa Undergraduate Research Station.

  • ESRM's Conservation Biology class hike up to the Torrey Pines, Santa Rosa Island, October 2014.
  • Conservation Biology class sample sandy beach infauna at Water Canyon Beach, Santa Rosa Island, October 2014.
  • ESRM's Conservation Biology class on the pier at Santa Rosa Island, October 2014.
  • Here we have ESRM's Conservation Biology class hiking up to Torrey Pines, sampling sandy beach infauna, and taking a photo on the pier of Santa Rosa Island, October 2014.
    Photos courtesy of Clare Steele.

ESRM 462 Students travel up the Pacific Coast for the annual Central Coast Field Trip.

Monday, November 24, 2014.

This weekend, students in Sean Anderson's ESRM 462 class: Coastal and Marine Resource Management drove up the coast to central California to learn about current coastal and marine resource management techniques taking place in protected areas as well as on private lands.

  • ESRM students looking over the Rancho Marino Reserve in Cambria, CA.
    ESRM students spent an evening at the Rancho Marino Marine Protected Area in Cambria, CA
  • A view of the ocean from Big Sur.
    ESRM students stayed at Big Creek Reserve in Big Sur, a protected area that is part of the University of California Natural Reserve System

Learn about more recent events on our Spotlight Page.

About ESRM

The Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM) program is an interdisciplinary program designed for students interested in a variety of environmental topics. Graduates in Environmental Science and Resource Management have a solid understanding of the environment from both scientific and human perspectives.

ESRM students are grounded in the fundamentals of ecology, physics, and chemistry by examining the intersection between the biological and the physical environments in the lab and field. Effective management of these natural systems are explored from a variety of social science and humanities perspectives including demography, economics, political science, sociology, literature, and environmental history. In addition to theoretical underpinnings, our students are trained in a variety of skills necessary for the environmental science professional of the 21st century; Geographic Information Systems, quantitative data analyses and presentation, technical writing, and a variety of field and lab methodologies. Service Learning and Civic Engagement feature prominently in several of our courses from the introductory level to the advanced. ESRM graduates leave us with a deep appreciation for the complexities involved in balancing human needs and desires with sustainable use of Earth's renewable and non-renewable resources and the ability to contribute to the effective management of these resources into the future.

ESRM faculty and their students are engaged in a wide variety of research efforts across Ventura County, the United States, and the globe. We have particular strengths in human dimensions of resource management, geospatial analysis, and ecological restoration.

Alternate Languages

Turkish ESRM Website Overview