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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project


Biological Sciences


Microbial diversity, Microbial ecology, Amoebida-Geographical distribution, Eukaryotic cells, Hawley Bog


Most of the biodiversity on this planet is microbial. Despite this, we know little about how the single celled organisms that are distributed through out the globe, particularly within the Eukaryotes. Testate amoebae, a group of microbial eukaryotes, are important in studies of peat land environments in the present day and in the geologic record. In this study, I sampled testate amoeba from Hawley Bog, MA four times between the months of September through November 2012. In order to assess the ecological factors that might influence the distribution of amoeba throughout the bog, specifically microelevation, distance between samples and association with moss species. I collected moss samples containing amoebae from three points each ~17 cm apart on two moss hillocks and at two hollows. Which in turn were approximately 20 ft apart. Although, I had hypothesized that abundances would decrease as the temperatures also decreased, the total abundance increased during the onset of winter, even after the first frost. I also show that DNA sequencing and phylogenetic tree construction can be used to deepen our understanding of the biodiversity of testate amoeba. Greater abundance in morphospecies was detected at low locations compared to high locations and on the side of the bog dominated by Sphagnum bartlettianum. The lowest abundances of live amoeba were found at high locations, particularly from one location dominated by Sphagnum magellanicum and other rare moss species. The abundances of two testate amoebae morphospecies, Heleopera spp. and Hyalosphenia elegans, were 3 significantly different between the sides of the bog, which were separated by 20 ft, as assessed by a mixed effect liner model.




53 p. : ill. (some col.) Honors project-Smith College, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 51-53)