Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Discovery Lecture Series
presented by AltaSea and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Friday, June 2, 2017
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Advances in beach water quality monitoring

By Stephen B. Weisberg, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP)

Beach water quality monitoring has undergone a huge transformation in the last two decades as we have started to transition from traditional culture-based methods to genomic-based methods for quantifying bacteria. These new methods allow us to provide answers more quickly, leading to a better warning system for the public. Moreover, the genetic information captured by these new molecular methods also allows us to better define what type of animal served as the fecal source when contamination occurs.

This additional knowledge about fecal source, in turn, enhances our ability to clean up the beach and we have seen a remarkable improvement in beach water quality in southern California over the last two decades. This is a prime example of where scientific advances have facilitated a cleaner environment and enhanced public health.

Dr. Stephen Weisberg is Executive Director of the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority, a research consortium formed by 14 leading water quality agencies in California to ensure a solid scientific foundation for their management activities. Dr. Weisberg’s research emphasis is in developing molecular assessment tools to support environmental monitoring programs. Beyond his research activities, Dr. Weisberg focuses on linking the needs of the management community with science. He serves on numerous advisory committees, including the State of California’s Clean Beach Task Force, the California Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team, the California Sea Grant Program Advisory Council, and the California Water Quality Monitoring Council. Dr. Weisberg received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware.

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