Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Joan Slonczewski

Second Advisor

Dr. Siobhan Fennessy


Over the course of two years, we investigated the microbial taxa in four agriculturally adjacent ponds: Burtnett, Foundation, McManis, and Porter ponds. The microbial communities of these ecosystems are poorly understood. Expression patterns of multi-drug efflux pumps in response to acidity and acid-contributing compounds in ecological systems is also understudied. Microbial phyla that made up more than one percent of sample populations were Alpha-, Beta-, and Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Planctomycetes, and Cyanobacteria. Betaproteobacteria were the most abundant organism in these samples. Genera that made up more than five percent of the Betaproteobacteria population across all four ponds were Acidovorax, Candidatus Methylopumilus, Comamonas, Hydrogenophaga, Limnohabitans, Polynucleobacter, Rhodoferax, and Variovorax. In addition, we investigated the Cyanobacteria genera that made up more than five percent of sample in Foundation Pond where Cyanobacteria was especially abundant. These genera were Anabaena, Cyanobium, Dolichospermum, Microcystic, Nostoc, Planktothrix, and Synechococcus. There was an increase in abundance of Cyanobacteria in Foundation Pond over the course of the sampling period in both datasets, and a seasonal community shift from non-blooming Synechococcus to Planktothrix, a taxon capable of blooms and toxin production. Phosphate and tannin concentration (mg/L) contributed significantly to acidity in pond samples. We found evidence that these acidifying elements show positive correlation with highly abundant antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs).

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