Impacts of a large storm disturbance on microbial community composition in the Tar River of North Carolina Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Balmonte, John Paul Piso
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Marine Sciences
  • Microbial community response to environmental disturbances is a crucial topic to investigate as changes in community composition can have widespread consequences on an ecosystem. Microbes are generally sensitive to disturbances, but can exhibit resilience, capable of returning to pre-disturbance composition or achieving an alternative stable state. Here, I investigate microbial community composition in the Tar River of North Carolina from November 2010 to November 2011, capturing the landfall of Hurricane Irene on August 27, 2011. Using 16S ribosomal RNA sequence analyses, I investigated the response of riverine microbial communities to Hurricane Irene and found a likely hurricane-induced change or signature. A finer analysis on two major groups, Betaproteobacteria and Verrucomicrobia, demonstrate the ecophysiological flexibility of their members, persisting and, in some instances, proliferating in the face of disturbance. The alteration in Tar River microbial community composition indicates sensitivity to disturbances, although a larger sampling window is required to assess resilience.
Date of publication
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  • In Copyright
  • Teske, Andreas
  • Master of Science
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2014

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