Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Bacterial Community Composition and Extracellular Enzymatic Function in Marine Waters

Bacteria play an important role in the degradation of marine organic matter. A crucial first step involves bacterial release of extracellular enzymes to break large molecules into smaller, more manageable pieces. These enzymes are substrate-specific; if a community does not have a particular extracellular enzyme, it cannot access that portion of organic matter. This study is a first step in connecting bacterial community composition and hydrolytic function. Bacterial communities were compared from several different perspectives: particle-associated versus free-living, active versus extant, coastal versus offshore, and at the surface versus at depth. The community composition analysis was paired with enzymatic hydrolysis analysis from the same community. This parallel approach has revealed important information about factors affecting bacterial community composition, provided an enlightening context for the interpretation of the hydrolytic capabilities of bacterial communities, and identified possible connections and points of disconnect between bacterial community composition and function.