Publication Date

2020

First Advisor

Laura A. Katz

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Biological Sciences

Keywords

Biology, Protists, Eukaryotic microbes, Community ecology, Community diversity, Bob ecology

Abstract

Testate Amoebae (TA) are important bioindicators in the ecology of peat bogs containing sphagnum mosses. Despite the potential for TA to inform studies relating to the health of the bogs they live in and their global distribution, they are understudied. Research on TA is often done using morphology which poses a series of problems as there is some debate about species delineation and phylogeny. As molecular data is being gathered species as well as genera are being redefined, but there is not enough molecular data to completely resolve this issue. This study aims to describe the TA community diversity of New England bogs and fens across space as well as season by combining morphological methods with a newly developed molecular method. By combining these two methods, I aim to create a more holistic picture of TA communities and the effect of ecology, distance, and time on their diversity. The results of this study show that there is a difference in TA community diversity across time, and that the ecology of their environment has more to do with community difference than spatial distance. Combining molecular and morphological methods has great potential as a way of analyzing the health of these communities. As the climate changes, these sensitive environments are subject to massive change as temperatures rise. Having an accurate picture of these communities now will have a huge impact on the effectiveness of studies done in the future to predict how climate change will affect these environments on both a short and long term time scale.

Rights

2020 Olivia Katherine Dufour. 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.

Language

English

Comments

47 pages : color illustrations, map. Includes bibliographical references (page 41-45)

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