Date of Award:

5-2020

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Biology

Committee

Bonnie Waring

Committee

Paul Wolf

Committee

Will Pearse

Abstract

Microbes are the most diverse life forms on the planet and perform many important ecological functions. However, despite the abundance, diversity, and ecological importance of microbes they are often overlooked and understudied in many natural systems, including freshwater habitats. This thesis details the first ever investigation of the microbial diversity and community composition within fresh water rock pools and slot canyons of the Colorado Plateau, Utah. The purpose of the study was to determine the relative importance of various microbial community assembly processes. This thesis also includes a meta-analysis of the microbial alpha diversity in other perennial and ephemeral aquatic systems around the globe. The purpose of the meta-analysis was to identify the relationship between microbial alpha diversity and disturbance from drying. Together, these studies complement one another by describing the microbial ecology of a very specific habitat type, rock pools, as well as a diverse group of globally distributed aquatic habitats.

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