It's a Daily Mail headline waiting to happen. Hertford Geographer Jamie Lorimer is involved in a pilot study with colleagues from the Interdisciplinary Microbiome Institute to collect data on pathogens in rivers, and, yes, they really will be studying dog poo.
The aim of the study is to gather data that begins to map out the microbes that dogs are exposed to when interacting with the river Thames, as well as gathering associated qualitative data from dog walkers. This research will involve a mixed methods approach, including the analysis of genetic material from dog faeces and a qualitative survey, with follow up interviews and a focus group with dog owners. The team will be linking up with the OH-STAR project out of the University of Bristol, to provide additional microbiological analysis and perspective.
The team will be collecting specimens in Wallingford on November 18th: do call by to do your (or rather your dog's) bit for science.