"Do Seas Make Us Sick? Surfers May Have the Answer"


Published in The York Times
Text by: Peter Andrey Smith

Cliff Kapono a native Hawaiian and a 29 year old biochemist who is earning his doctorate at the University of California, San Diego. Cliff "heads up the Surfer Biome Project, a unique effort to determine whether routine exposure to the ocean alters the microbial communities of the body, and whether those alterations might have consequences for surfers — and for the rest of us."


Cliff will be traveling to five continents, collecting samples "by rubbing cotton-tipped swabs over the heads, mouths, navels and other parts of surfers’ bodies, as well as their boards. Volunteers also donate a fecal sample." So far he has collected over 500 samples.


"He and his colleagues are looking for signs of antibiotic resistance organisms.  Part of their aim is to determine whether, and to what extent, the ocean spreads the genes for resistance."


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