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Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Moyer, Craig L.

Second Advisor

Schwarz, Dietmar, 1974-

Third Advisor

Fullerton, Heather


Hydrothermal vents host a diverse community of microorganisms that utilize chemical gradients from the venting fluid for their metabolisms. The venting fluid can solidify to form chimney structures that these microbes adhere to and colonize. These chimney structures are found throughout many different locations in the world’s oceans. In this study, comparative metagenomic analyses of microbial communities on five chimney structures from around the Pacific Ocean were elucidated focusing on the core taxa and genes that are characteristic for each of these hydrothermal vent chimneys, as well as highlighting differences among the taxa and genes found at each chimney due to parameters such as physical characteristics, chemistry, and activity of the vents. DNA from the chimneys was sequenced, assembled into contigs, annotated for gene function, and binned into metagenome assembled genomes, or MAGs. Genes used for carbon, oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, iron, and arsenic metabolism were found at varying abundances at each of the chimneys, largely from either Gammaproteobacteria or Campylobacteria. Many taxa had overlap of these metabolism genes, indicating that functional redundancy is critical for life at these hydrothermal vents. It was found that high relative abundance of oxygen metabolism genes coupled with low carbon fixation genes could be used as a unique identifier for inactive chimneys. Genes used for DNA repair, chemotaxis, and transposases were found to be at higher abundances at each of these hydrothermal chimneys allowing for enhanced adaptations to the ever-changing chemical and physical conditions encountered. The combination of genes detected in this study sheds light on the community structure and metabolic potential of hydrothermal vent chimneys throughout the Pacific Ocean.




Hydrothermal Vents, Chimneys, Metagenomics, Bacteria, Archaea, Metabolism


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Hydrothermal vents--Microbiology; Metagenomics; Archaebacteria; Bacteria; Microbial metabolism




masters theses




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