Microbial Functional Diversity and Growth Strategies in Response to Disturbance

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Biology



Major Advisor

Robert C. Rychert


Ecology is "the study of the natural environment and the relations of organisms to each other and to their surroundings" (Ricklefs 1990). Traditionally, ecologists have focused on macro-communities, such as plants and vertebrates, with little consideration given to the microorganisms within these communities (Kennedy and Gewin 1997). The productivity of terrestrial ecosystems is interdependent with soil microbial communities and their activities; however, our knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of micro-communities is limited (DeLeij et al. 1993; Kennedy and Gewin 1997; Zak et al. 1994). By better understanding changes in microbial growth strategies and microbial activities following a disturbance (fire, water table changes, grazing, agriculture), it may be possible to predict the immediate and lasting effects on macro-ecosystem functioning (Perry 1989).

Files over 30MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."