Between July 2000 and August 2001 forty-three air samples were collected in the northern Caribbean: Twenty-six in the US Virgin Islands, and 17 samples aboard ship during two 1-week cruises. Samples were collected during African dust events and non-dust conditions and screened for the presence of culturable bacteria and fungi. A total of 3,652 liters of air were collected during non-dust conditions, with 19 bacteria and 28 fungi being recovered. During dust conditions a total of 2,369 liters of air were screened resulting in the recovery of 171 bacteria and 76 fungi. A statistically significant difference was found between the two data sets. These results support previous African dust research and further demonstrate that dust particles can serve as a vessel for the global dispersion of bacteria and fungi. Dustborne microorganisms may play a significant role in the ecology and health of downwind ecosystems.
Additional publication details
Atmospheric microbiology in the northern Caribbean during African dust events