Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Biology, MS

Committee Chair

Emery, Sarah

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Remold, Susanna

Committee Member

Remold, Susanna

Committee Member

Forbes, Robert

Author's Keywords

plants; invasive; bacteria; community function


Soil bacteria play important roles in nutrient cycling and other ecosystem functions, and many biotic and abiotic factors can influence bacterial functional diversity. The goal of this field study was to examine differences among bacterial communities in sand dunes of Lake Michigan. I used Biolog Ecoplates™ to compare bacteria functional diversity associated with four different plant species: the native dune-building grass Ammophila breviligulata, invasive species Leymus arenarius and Gypsophila paniculata, and native legume Lathyrus japonicus across 13 sites in Michigan, representing a gradient in abiotic factors such as precipitation and temperature. I found no differences in bacterial function associated with plant species, but did find strong effects of precipitation, elevation, organic matter, plot distance from forest, and latitude. I conclude that abiotic and edaphic factors played a much larger role in shaping bacteria community function than changes in plant species.