Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2022





Degree Type

Masters in Natural Science - Biology


Natural Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Clifton B. Ruehl

Second Advisor

Dr. Guihong Fan

Third Advisor

Kevin Burgess


Global climate change is a phenomenon resulting in more extreme weather patterns and species diversity loss. In this study, I explore the impacts of climate change on regional patterns of microbial productivity. Variation in microbial productivity was explained using temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen as predictors in regression models with data from the LTER and iLTER network of sites that ranged from the poles to the equator. I found a positive relationship between temperature and productivity. Antarctica and Arctic sites exhibited the strongest positive relationships supporting prior research demonstrating temperature as one of the driving forces of productivity change in polar ecosystem composition and productivity. In addition to the temperature-productivity relationship, I found a positive relationship between chlorophyll concentration and productivity, a negative relationship between salinity and productivity, and a negative relationship between light irradiance and productivity indicating how other environmental factors affect productivity at the microscopic level.

To compare microbial productivity among regions, I merged the data from the different sites into a single analysis of productivity. Productivity change in Antarctica was significantly different from the other sites based on the interaction between time, temperature, and location that indicated temperature effects on productivity were increasing faster in Antarctica than at other latitudes, confirming the single site analysis results. This study adds to a growing body of literature demonstrating that the impacts of climate change are stronger near the poles.

Included in

Biology Commons