Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Kathryn Docherty

Second Advisor

Carol Beaver


Bacteria, extremely small prokaryotic cells, are everywhere throughout the world. One striking thing about bacteria is their size: comparing a 2-micrometer bacterial cell to a 6-foot-tall human is similar in scale to comparing a 6-foot-tall human to the distance between Chicago, IL and Denver, CO! Despite their small size, bacteria are found in almost every ecosystem and environment imaginable. From deep sea hydrothermal vents to the clouds miles in the sky, there are trillions of bacteria flourishing in all of Earth’s ecosystems, performing many important functions in global nutrient cycles. While the majority of bacteria are beneficial to humans, such as the ones living in your intestines that help with digestion, some can cause devastating diseases. Certain types of bacteria produce toxic compounds, and if these bacteria colonize your body, life-threatening infections can result.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

Biology Commons