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Pal-Mac science class leads charge on major Erie Canal water study

by WayneTimes.com
June 8, 2024

A High School science class recently connected with a nearby university on a special project.

Mrs. Schneggenburger and Mrs. Frisiras’s Applied Living Environment class capped off a yearlong metagenomics project in conjunction with the University at Buffalo by attending a poster session at UB on Tuesday, May 21. 

The class and 12 other schools from western New York each took samples of a local waterway and examined it for bacteria. 

The Applied Living Environment class chose to go to Aqueduct Park in Palmyra and sample water from the Erie Canal-Ganargua Creek confluence. 

UB Professor Dr. Sandra Small came to Palmyra-Macedon five times over the year, bringing with her cutting-edge technology that allowed the students to sequence the DNA of the bacterial species that were found. 

The resulting genomic sequences were classified by researchers at UB, who sent the data back to the students for them to analyze.  

The students found that several species were potential human pathogens.

Students also discovered that the bacteria Serratia Marcescens was present in the canal.

The strain is a common aquatic bacteria that has, in recent years, become a significant source of hospital-acquired infections.

The student’s data will be pooled with all of the data from the other schools and used in future analysis of bodies of water in western New York waterways to assess the health of those bodies of water.

Students involved in the project include: Natalee Abbott, Nathan Bulgia, Logan Jones, Myleek McDonald, Nicklas Moon, Stephanie Street and Riley Sturgill.

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