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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Moyer, Craig L.

Second Advisor

Schwarz, Dietmar, 1974-

Third Advisor

Young, Jeff C. (Jeffery C.)


Members of the neutrophilic iron-oxidizing candidate class "Zetaproteobacteria" have predominantly been found at sites of microbially mediated iron oxidation in marine environments around the Pacific Ocean. Eighty-four full-length (>1,400 bp) and forty-eight partial-length Zetaproteobacteria small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) gene sequences from five novel clone libraries, one novel Zetaproteobacteria isolate, and the GenBank database were analyzed to assess the biodiversity of this burgeoning class of the Proteobacteria and to investigate its biogeography between three major sampling regions in the Pacific Ocean: Loihi Seamount, the Southern Mariana Trough, and the Tonga Arc. Sequences were grouped into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) based on a 97% minimum similarity. Of the 28 OTUs detected, 13 were found to be endemic to one of the three main sampling regions, and 2 were ubiquitous throughout the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, two deeply-rooted OTUs were identified that potentially dominate communities of iron-oxidizers originating in the deep subsurface. Spatial autocorrelation analysis and analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that geographic distance played a significant role in the distribution of Zetaproteobacteria biodiversity, whereas environmental parameters, such as temperature, pH, or total Fe concentration, did not have a significant effect. These results, detected using the coarse resolution of the SSU rRNA gene, indicate that the Zetaproteobacteria have a strong biogeographic signal.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Prokaryotes; Microbial diversity




masters theses




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