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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project


Biological Sciences


Methane, Metagenomics, Microbial diversity, Methane-Oxidation, Metazoa, Methane ice worm, Gas hydrate, Anaerobic oxidation of methane, Hydrates


Methane gas hydrates are the crystal form of methane gas found mainly in marine sediments and represent the largest potential fossil fuel reserve on earth. The methane ice worm is the only known metazonan organism to live on methane gas hydrate. The activities of the methane ice worm and its associated microbial community have important potential influence on the formation, composition and stability of gas hydrates. This thesis studied the methane ice worm and its associated microbial community using a metagenomic approach. I investigated the microbial taxonomic and metabolic diversity inside the methane ice worm's gut and in the gas hydrate environment. I also evaluated the influence of different parameters on metagenomic assembly and annotation, including input sequence quality and assembly programs. I used the Sanger sequencing method to compare the results with metagenomic annotations. Overall, this study should provide insights into the biological community in the methane gas hydrate environment and contribute to the understanding of this important energy source.




v, 44 p. : ill. (some col.), map. Honors project-Smith College, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 38-43)