Project Overview

Quantitative microbial risk assessment along coastal Los Angeles

Faculty Sponsor

Linda Tseng (


Environmental Studies
Physics and Astronomy


California is known for its beach. Coastal ocean water is monitored at least weekly if not during every weekday to ensure beachgoers' health and safety. If the fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) concentration is too high, then the beach may be closed. However, since Southern California has arid climate, the water that goes to the coastal ocean containing FIB is mostly from storm water drains (containing lawn irrigation water, etc.). Data were collected in the storm drains to trace the source of FIB and other pathogens. However, the health risk to human after the pathogens enter the coastal ocean is still not known. You will be using computer models to evaluate the likelihood for recreational swimmers and surfers to contract gastrointestinal illness due to the presence of pathogens. You will also be making a connection between policy (acceptable health risk in a population) and risk models for predicting and estimating health risk that would have economic implications for the coastal LA.

Student Qualifications

The student must be able to use MATLAB or other programming language. The application must indicate the student's coding experience.

Number of Student Researchers

1 student

Project Length

8 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2021 and close on 03/22/2021

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (