The urban environment is complex and often highly contaminated. Our latest study looks at how this contamination influences bacteria in urban air. We sampled the air and water at three waterfront sites in New York City to evaluate the potential for local connections in water and air quality. Despite the absence of obvious ecological structures, the air harbored a much more diverse bacterial community than that found in the city’s waterways.
Watersheds connect people in multiple communities through a shared interest in water. Water doesn’t respect municipal boundaries, so watershed protection encourages water users to form partnerships—not only among towns and villages but also with colleges and universities.