Tidal fluctuations influence E. coli concentrations in urban estuaries

Dusan Jovanovic, Rhys Coleman, Ana Deletic, David T. McCarthy

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7 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the influence of water level and velocity on Escherichia coli levels over multiple tidal cycles in an urban microtidal estuary in Melbourne, Australia. Over 3,500 E. coli samples and high resolution water level and velocity measurements from two locations within the estuary were used for the analysis. E. coli negatively correlated with water level in the upper estuary which was proposed to be linked to increased resuspension of estuarine sediments during low tide. No relationship was found in the lower estuary, likely due to wet weather inputs dwarfing subtler tidal-related processes. Removal of wet weather data enabled significant relationships to emerge in the lower estuary: 1) positive with water level (when a 9-h shift applied corresponding to the phase shift between water levels and velocities) and; 2) positive with velocity (no shift applied). This supports a link between increased E. coli levels and tidal-related resuspension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-230
Number of pages5
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2017


  • Distribution
  • Flow velocity
  • Pathogens
  • Tidal currents
  • Tidal stage
  • Water level

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