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Public Talk Features E. coli in Lake Superior

March 3, 2004

The public is invited to the next free talk in the “Liquid Science” speaker series, hosted by the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mid-Continent Ecology Division.

On March 9 at 7 p.m. at Hartley Nature Center (3001 Woodland Ave.), and on March 10 at 7 p.m. at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais (500 W Highway 61), Randall Hicks, associate professor and head of the Department of Biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth, will present, “E. coli in the Lake Superior Watershed.” Hicks will speak about the life of bacteria, the pathogen Salmonella, and his current research which, in part, is determining what portions of the E. coli found in the region’s streams come from humans, shorebirds, other wildlife, agricultural animals, and pets. He will also discuss last year’s beach closings and answer audience questions.

“Except for a few strains, E. coli is not generally a harmful bacterium,” said Hicks. “Its presence suggests that there may be other harmful bacteria in the water, like Salmonella, which may be less abundant but much more virulent. Bacteria are among the earliest forms of life that appeared on the planet so they’ve had billions of years to evolve into a surprisingly complex group of organisms.”

A reception will follow the talk. For more information, visit Liquid Science online or contact Minnesota Sea Grant by e-mail or by phone (218-726-8106).

This series was made possible in part by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources-Waters and Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program through the Coastal Zone Management Act, which is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

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