Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences

Major Professor

Ferris, Michael; Clancy, Mary

Second Advisor

Anthony, Nicola


A cultivation-independent approach, sequence analysis of 18S rRNA genes PCR-amplified from environmental DNA, was used to explore the diversity and distribution of eukaryotic microbes inhabiting algal mats in two acidic geothermal streams in Yellowstone National Park. The objectives were to: (1) clarify the identity of mat forming algae in Nymph Creek (2) survey microbial species in the Nymph Creek mat over seasonal intervals along a thermal gradient (3) compare microbial species in the Nymph Creek mat with those in Alluvium Creek mats (4) evaluate microbial species in algal mats formed on different substrates in Alluvium Creek. The results show that a novel red alga dominates high temperature regions (~50ºC) of Nymph Creek and two "Chlorella-like" algae predominate the cooler regions (<38ºC). The predominant algae in Alluvium Creek were distinctly different from those in Nymph Creek. Several stramenophiles and fungi were detected in each algal mat.


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