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Alternative Title

Uncovering temporal patterns of biodiversity in microbial communities of tide pools

Publication Date


First Advisor

Laura A. Katz

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Biological Sciences


Microbial diversity, Tide pools, Microbial eukaryote, Major clade SAR, Eukaryotes cells


Tide pools scattered throughout the rocky intertidal experience fluctuations in abiotic conditions. Extreme variations in factors such as temperature, salinity, and pH are due to alternating periods of isolation and connection to the ocean. Despite these characteristics of tide pools, little knowledge exists on the distribution of microbial communities within these pools. The goal of this study is to elucidate patterns of diversity in microbial communities of tide pools in Maine and Connecticut in relation to periods of isolation (i.e. low tide). Specifically, I focus on characterizing microbial members of the major clade SAR (stramenopiles, alveolates, and rhizaria) and understanding how SAR community composition changes in response to duration of isolation from the tide. Using SSU-rDNA high-throughput amplicon sequencing, I investigate the distribution of microbial communities in tide pools before and after high tide, sampling in short time intervals. I find that tide pool communities differentiate from the ocean during periods of isolation, and that members of the alveolates display patterns of abundance before and after high tide in response to periods of isolation. I characterize these taxa as tide pool specific, and verify previous findings of tide pool specific taxa in Connecticut and Maine. Finally, I conclude that community assembly is complex and heterogeneous between different tide pools and locations, suggesting that microbial communities do not follow the same biogeography as macroorganisms.




63 pages : color illustrations. Includes bibliographical references (pages 51-54)