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Week Four: Continuing Research

This week I continued to research my topic, in order to have a strong background. I want to be able to make a real difference for the Quinault Indian Nation, so I need to know the topic extremely well. I have learned what criteria is used by the Department of Health (DOH) to determine whether a commercial shellfish growing area is approved, conditionally approved, restricted, or prohibited.  DOH has taken samples, and they know that there is contamination present. I will now need to take the data, and organize it in a way that we can tell what could be causing the increase of contamination. This could be multiple things such as; weather changes, sewage problems, or issues with waste removal. I have also studied ways that I could help control the problem. I found that in order to monitor shellfish-growing areas for Vibrio species, it would be helpful to have a harvest-control strategy that can predict concentrations of V. vulnificus based on temperature and salinity. If this model could be coupled with data on the identification and ecology of disease causing strains, it would be possible to predict when harvesting areas should be closed to minimize risk. This would work well for steady state conditions, however, since salinity and temperature fluctuate so rapidly where the tide meets the stream, another method would be needed. I think this is a good start and I look forward to meeting with my mentor to discuss my ideas.