Fecal indicators, pathogens, antibiotic resistance genes, and ecotoxicity in Galveston Bay after Hurricane Harvey. Academic Article uri icon


  • Unprecedented rainfall after Hurricane Harvey caused a catastrophic flood in the southern coast of Texas, and flushed significant floodwater and sediments into Galveston Bay, the largest estuary along the Texas Gulf Coast. This study investigated the immediate and long-term (6 months post-Harvey) fecal indicators, pathogenic bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), and ecotoxicity in the Galveston Bay. Dramatic decrease of salinity profile to zero, increased levels of fecal indicator bacteria and pathogenic bacteria, and detection of various ARGs were observed in the water and sediment samples collected 2 weeks post-Harvey. High levels of BlaTEM and cytotoxicity measured by yeast bioluminescent assay (BLYR) were also observed especially near the river mouths. While Vibrio spp. was dominant in water, much higher abundance of fecal indicator bacteria and pathogen were detected in the sediments. A decreasing trend of BlaTEM and cytotoxicity was observed in March 2018 samples, suggesting the Bay has returned to its pre-hurricane conditions 6 months post-Harvey. Interestingly, the abundance of fecal indicator bacteria and pathogens were shifted dramatically according to high-streamflow and low-streamflow seasons in the Bay. The data are useful to construct the model of risk assessment in coastal estuaries system and predict the effects of extreme flooding events in the future.

published proceedings

  • J Hazard Mater

altmetric score

  • 1.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Yang, S., Chen, C., & Chu, K.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Yang, Shih-Hung||Chen, Chih-Hung||Chu, Kung-Hui

publication date

  • January 2021