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Analysis of Hyalosphenia spp
Laura A. Katz
Bachelor of Arts
Genetics, Testate amoeba, Molecular biology, Cryptic species, Phylogeny, Microbial diversity, Protists, Microbes, Bioinformatics, Eukaryotic, Amoeba, Protista
Eukaryotic diversity on Earth is predominantly microbial. In spite of their abundance and diversity, microbes remain largely understudied, contributing to potentially inaccurate phylogenies. Testate amoebae, a group of common and morphologically diverse unicellular eukaryotes, are a prime example of understudied microbial taxa with profound ecological relevance. In addition to being promising bioindicators for their environments, testate amoebae are top microbial predators and contribute to important ecosystem functions including silica cycling. The focus of this study is to investigate Hyalosphenia , a common genus of testate amoeba. For this project, I implement a combination of molecular and morphology-based approaches to analyze two prominent described species within this genus: H. papilio and H. elegans . The transcriptome data support the non-monophyly of Hyalosphenia , though there was no evidence of species interdigitation among the data I analyzed. The morphology-based results of this study suggests that H. elegans shell dimensions exist along continuums. Based on morphology data alone, I found no evidence for unique morphological types among H. elegans . The results of this study offer some interesting insights regarding Hyalosphenia spp., which can be expanded upon in further studies. Continuing this research using powerful molecular tools such as transcriptomics, as well as the morphology-based methods included in this project, may ultimately contribute to a better understanding of testate amoebae and microbial diversity.
2018 Angela Colleen O'Donnell. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.
O'Donnell, Angela Colleen, "Elucidating testate amoeba biodiversity : an analysis of Hyalosphenia spp" (2018). Honors Project, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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