Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Gary E. Schultz, Jr.

Second Advisor

Wendy C. Trzyna

Third Advisor

Charles C. Somerville


The ability to sequence bacterial genetic material directly from environmental samples has unlocked the field of metagenomics. Next-generation sequencing techniques, such as pyrosequencing, have been instrumental in providing knowledge about bacterial communities. This study focused on identifying the bacterial diversity of the Ohio River via pyrosequencing and compared the diversity of cultivable bacteria versus the entire river community. To ensure the maximum number of cultivable bacteria was obtained, cultures were grown on nonselective media and incubated at river temperature. Bacterial DNA was extracted, sequenced, and classified. The dominant phyla for the Ohio River included Cyanobacteria (38-66% of the total), Actinobacteria (18-33%), and Proteobacteria (14-25%). In contrast, Proteobacteria was the dominant phylum (80-93%) of the cultivable bacteria, with Actinobacteria and Cyanobacteria accounting for less than 1% or uncultivable. Based on the results from this study, pyrosequencing is a highly useful technique for identifying large bacterial communities accurately from environmental samples.


Bacterial genetics.

Ohio River - Ecology.