Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Nitrogen-Cycling Microorganisms in Louisiana Salt Marshes
By: Khushbu Pandya '16
Advising Faculty: Anne Bernhard
The overall goal of this project is to study communities of nitrogen-cycling bacteria in salt marshes in Louisiana that were impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to learn more about how the microbes in the marsh responded to the oil. Using molecular techniques, including PCR and gene cloning and sequencing, Khushbu characterized microbial community members responsible for converting nitrogen in the marsh into different forms used by plants and algae and other bacteria through a process known as nitrification. So far, the results suggest that the oil results in a shift in some of the microbial communities, leading to a shift in types of microbes that are processing the nitrogen. Community shifts such as these could have significant impacts on ecosystem function. Khushbu will travel to Boston to present her findings at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
Related Fields: Biological Sciences, Biology