Here is a summary from Sarah about her study:
“I am a forensic microbiologist using the necrobiome, specifically bacterial and fungal community changes, to estimate postmortem interval. Using swine carcasses as a proxy for human remains, I am analyzing epinecrotic community succession (microbial communities residing in or living on the surface of decomposing remains) at various sites along the coast of the eastern United States. Ultimately, my goal is to compare the temporal changes of microbial surface communities during decomposition along a gradient from tropical south Florida to continental southern New York. In addition to a latitudinal study, I will also look at seasonal differences by comparing between winter and summer. The purpose of my research is to add to the growing collection of postmortem microbial studies thus contributing to the ultimate goal of reliably determining postmortem interval in human death investigations. ”
Sarah used three locations on the grounds and hopes to return in the summer for another round to add to her data.