Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Microbiology

Major Professor

Steven Wilhelm

Committee Members

Alison Buchan, Erik Zinser

Abstract

Striking rates of environmental changes combined with increased demand make it essential to develop a better understanding of global freshwater resources. Seasonal hypoxia in the central basin of Lake Erie is the result of thermal stratification and lake morphology. Limnetic physics can, however, only explain part of Lake Erie‟s “behavior”: the activity(s) of the ecosystem‟s biological members can be equally important. The goal of this study was to identify picocyanobacterial community members in the central basin of Lake Erie during summer stratification and the winter season to see how they may vary with season. Identification of microbial communities under the present environmental conditions establishes a relationship (i.e. baseline) from which changes can be seen over time. Seasonal variations in cyanobacterial communities can also offer insight into the biogeochemistry of Lake Erie. Information gained from the microbial ecology of Lake Erie can be applied to other lake systems.

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