Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Krish Jayachandran

First Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Major Professor

Second Advisor's Name

Eric von Wettberg

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Major Professor

Third Advisor's Name

Suzanne Koptur


Rhizobia, Legumes, Pine Rocklands, Salinity, Microbial Biogeography, Bradyrhizobium spp., Cajanus cajan, Chamaecrista fasciculata, Tephrosia angustissima, Abrus precatorious, nifH

Date of Defense



Pine rocklands are endangered ecosystems unique to south Florida, the Bahamas and Cuba. As a result of their karstic calcium carbonate­rich soil, these systems are limited in phosphorus and nitrogen, making symbiotic associations critical to plant growth. Four leguminous species (Cajanus cajan, Chamaecrista fasciculata, Tephrosia angustissima, and Abrus precatorious) were used to determine the relationship between rhizobial partners and plant performance, and the symbiosis related gene nifH was amplified to characterize the diversity of rhizobial symbionts. Plants were grown in soils from four different south Florida pine rocklands, and a salinity treatment was added to determine how storm surge and sea level rise could affect this symbiotic relationship. While plant performance and nodulation were highly impacted by soil type, salinity did not represent a significant effect. Phylogenetic analysis determined that all four plant species were found to associate with Bradyrhizobium spp. and no rhizobial shift between salinity treatment and soil type was found.





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