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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances


U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 20-24, 1993, Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4015

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Overview of Research on the Distribution and Role of Protozoa in an Organically Contaminated Aquifer at Cape Cod, Massachusetts


Nancy E. Kinner (Dept. of Civil Engineering, Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.) and Ronald W. Harvey (U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, Colo.)


The distribution, nature, and role of protozoa that inhabit contaminated and uncontaminated ground water were investigated at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Cape Cod Toxic-Substances Hydrology Research Site. New information has included identification of large protozoan populations (up to 105/gram dry weight) in anoxic zones of the aquifer; a lack of correlation between dissolved oxygen concentrations and protozoan abundance or degree of encystment; a strong relation among concentrations of dissolved organic carbon, phosphate, sulfate, nitrate, numbers of free-living bacteria (FLB) and protozoa; and a ratio of FLB to protozoa that is 10-100 times lower than that typically found in other aqueous environments. An improved direct-counting procedure has allowed more accurate enumeration of protozoa in sandy, aquifer sediments than was previously possible.

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