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 Christina  Moss

Christina Moss

Christina Moss

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Advisor : James Garey

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Ph.D.

Monte Conca Cave is in Sicily, Italy. Inside this gypsum karst system is a sulfidic spring shown to have microbial activity. This is the first sulfidic spring in a gypsum karst system to demonstrate biological activity. A one-year preliminary study was performed from 2015-2016 to determine the microbial community structure of the Monte Conca Cave sulfidic spring. The results of this preliminary study suggest that the microbial community varies temporally, but not spatially. These initial results also indicate that the microbial community structure is influenced more by seasonality, perhaps due to hydrological factors, than by geochemical factors. Studying the microbial genomics through next-generation sequencing and fragment analysis techniques provide insight into these microbial communities. A two-year study is underway to determine the source of variation in and the functional changes of the microbial ecosystem.