Publication Date

Fall 2022

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Bioinformatics (MSBI)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Phil Heller


Metagenomic data, environmental data, Metagenomic Analysis, Microbial 18s Eukaryotes Communities, Western Antarctic Peninsula waters, 18S rRNA eukaryotic sequences


Little is known about the environmental factors that impact eukaryotic microbial populations in the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Metagenomic and environmental data have been collected over the course of three consecutive austral summers in the Western Antarctic Peninsula off Palmer Station. More than 13 million 18S rRNA eukaryotic sequences have been taxonomically identified and categorized from the Antarctic water samples collected. Here we will investigate the environmental factors that affect eukaryotic organism populations, as well as possible indicator species that could provide insight as to the status of other eukaryotic species. Due to climate change, understanding these factors and identifying status indicating species is becoming increasingly important in understanding microbial systems, and to inform future research of Antarctic ecosystems and environmental conditions. We identified several groupings of correlated taxonomic operational units. Additionally, we found that Stramenopiles.Diatomea.ME-Euk-FW10, an uncultured diatom with a large population presence, had a particularly strong correlation to temperature.