Date of Submission

Spring 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Eli Dueker

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The quality and safety of the air we breathe is essential to maintaining public health. As humans spend more time indoors, understanding the inside environment that we create and live in (otherwise known as the “built” environment) becomes crucial. In this study, the impact that stress has on the air in a classroom was examined. The air from two locations, one indoor and one outdoor, was sampled over two months. The groups of microorganisms inhabiting the same air living space - bacterial aerosol communities - of both locations were characterized and analyzed with each other for interaction. In addition, indoor samples were analyzed for the effects of academic stress. Stress was defined as high concentration of exams and papers due in the sampled classroom. Results showed that the environmental metrics of aerosol particle counts and turbidity measurements were significantly higher in the outdoor location, whereas genetic metrics of 16s rRNA abundance, p. acnes and class 1 integron (int1) Cycle Quantification (CQ) levels were not significantly different between locations. Outdoor and indoor bacterial aerosol communities were distinct from each other. Correlational analysis revealed no significant interaction occurring between the two locations indicating that all measurements in the inside location were not dependent on the outside location. Indoor air microbiomes had significantly higher levels of 16s abundance during stress weeks and higher turbidity in stress week 1 (as well as elevated levels of int1 and p. acnes genes) compared to normal weeks. Notable results include the detection of the antibiotic resistant gene, int1, in both indoor and outdoor locations.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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