Bacteria present in water samples taken on a weekly basis, from June 2004 through June 2005, from three streams, were cultured on Coliscan® Easygel® agar plates. Colonies representative of a variety of colors and morphologies were subjected to amplification and sequencing of a 1000–1100 nt portion of the 16S rRNA gene. A total of 528 colonies were sequenced; these categorized into 26 genera and 78 species. Of 175 dark blue/purple colonies presumed to be E. coli, sequence analysis indicated that 45 (25%) were actually other genera. For the urban stream Gwynns Falls Gwynns Run, E. coli was the most common genus/species encountered, followed by Klebsiella and Aeromonas. For Pond Branch, a stream located in a forested watershed, it was Serratia, followed by Yersinia and Aeromonas. For McDonogh (MCDN), a stream associated with Zea mays (corn) row crop agriculture, E. coli was the most frequently isolated genus/species, followed by Aeromonas and Enterobacter. ERIC-PCR genotyping of isolates from the most prevalent genera/species, indicated a high degree of diversity within-stream for E. coli and K. pneumoniae. Conversely, genotyping of Y. enterocolitica isolates indicated that some were shared between different streams.

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