Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
First Advisor's Name
DeEtta Mills, PhD
First Advisor's Committee Title
Second Advisor's Name
John Kominoski, PhD
Second Advisor's Committee Title
Third Advisor's Name
Jessica Liberles, PhD
Third Advisor's Committee Title
Fourth Advisor's Name
Bruce McCord, PhD
Fourth Advisor's Committee Title
Fifth Advisor's Name
Jeffrey Wells, PhD
Fifth Advisor's Committee Title
Microbiome, Soil microbial communities, Microbial Functional Genes, Biogeochemical Cycling, Saltwater Intrusion, Everglades, Forensics
Date of Defense
Coastal wetlands, such as the Everglades, are increasingly being exposed to stressors that have the potential to modify their existing ecological processes because of global climate change. Their soil microbiomes include a population of organisms that are important for biogeochemical cycling, but continual stresses can disturb the community's composition, causing functional changes. The Everglades features wetlands with varied salinity levels, implying that they contain microbial communities with a variety of salt tolerances and microbial functions. Therefore, it's critical to track the effects of stresses on these populations in both freshwater and brackish marshes. The study addressed this by first constructing a baseline microbial community, then analyzing taxonomic alterations that happened after a long-term disturbance like seawater intrusion, and then determining the soil characteristics that most contributed to the difference in soil communities.
To estimate the microbiome’s diversity, two standard genetic study approaches were compared in Chapter 2. Length Heterogeneity-PCR (LH-PCR) was used to detect the initial diversity, and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) was used to detect the taxonomic diversity. The Archaea and bacteria populations were examined. With both techniques, it was determined that each location had a distinct bacterial and Archaeal community distribution. Changes in relative abundance of taxonomies before and after experimental saline treatment revealed that various taxa react to stresses in different ways, providing insight into how communities are responding.
By analyzing taxonomic alterations, Chapter 3 defined the microbial communities participating in important biogeochemical cycles and evaluated how their functional potential altered following long-term salt inputs. The nitrogen, carbon, sulfur, and phosphorus cycles were studied by sequencing a microbial functional gene involved in each of these processes. The relationships between the observed soil physiochemical properties and microbial composition before and after saline treatment were investigated in Chapter 4. Once saline was introduced, changes in the properties responsible for alterations in community variation were observed. The microbiome's value for ecological and forensic purposes was also investigated, specifying its enormous potential. These findings add to the understanding of microbiomes by demonstrating how changes in soil qualities impact communities both before and after a disturbance such as saltwater intrusion.
Jordan, Deidra Christina, "A Multi-Taxa Metagenomic Evaluation of the Everglades Soil Microbiome and the Impact of Salinity on Community Structure and Biogeochemical Cycles with a Soil Forensic Application" (2022). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4969.
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