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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project


Biological Sciences


Ciliates-New England-Geographical distribution, Ciliates-Phylogeny, Intertidal organisms-New England, Microbial diversity, Vernal pools-New England, Electrophoresis, Ephemeral habitats, Phylogeny, Denaturing, Gradient gel, Species diversity, Species distribution


As of yet there, have been no investigations into the molecular diversity of ciliate populations in the marine rocky intertidal habitat. Global distribution of ciliate diversity still remains largely under-studied and under-characterized. Studying ciliate species within the well studied environmental parameters of the rocky intertidal will bring further understanding to the environmental factors driving ciliate biogeography, as well as help elucidate the role these important marine grazers play within the intertidal habitat. In this study I employ molecular techniques, such as Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE), to investigate ciliate community composition across the following environmental parameters: I) between open ocean environment and rocky intertidal environment; II) between tide pools at varying distances from the low tide mark; and III) over the course of time that rock pools in the intertidal are isolated from the open ocean. In this study, I find that, across the tide pools sampled, there are abundant ciliate haplotypes that are either rare or absent in the open ocean, and which appear to quickly dominate the tide pool environment once it is isolated from the open ocean. I also find that ciliate distribution with in the tide pool community is complex and variable across spatial and temporal scales.




53 pages : illustrations (some color), color map. Honors project, Smith College, 2016. Includes bibliographical references (page 37-41)