Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Life Sciences

First Committee Member

Brian Hedlund

Number of Pages



Microorganisms have traditionally been characterized based on their morphology and physiology. However, this formula does not account for the importance of a microorganism's habitat, which is intimately linked to its physiology. The Korarchaeota comprise a deeply branching archaeal lineage that has proven to be difficult to isolate and, consequently, has remained uncharacterized until recently. The aim of this study was to evaluate the physicochemical and biogeographical distribution of Korarchaeota in hot springs of the Great Basin and Yellowstone National Park. Ninety-nine sediment samples were collected from hot springs with temperatures ranging from 40.7-94.3°C and pH ranging from 1.3-9.2, while recording as many coincident chemical properties as feasible. Polymerase chain reaction was used to screen samples for Korarchaeota 16S rRNA genes, and products were sequenced and phylogenetically analyzed. The resultant data set identified novel korarchaeal phylotypes and showed that korarchaeal phylotypes are not randomly distributed with respect to biogeography.


Biogeography; Continental; Diversity; Geochemical; Habitat; Hot; Korarchaeota; Springs

Controlled Subject

Microbiology; Geochemistry

File Format


File Size

1751.04 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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