Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Biological Science



First Advisor

Erik F. Y. Hom

Second Advisor

Marjorie M. Holland

Third Advisor

Gregg Roman

Relational Format



Roseofilum reptotaenium is a marine cyanobacteria responsible for the loss of 50% of corals worldwide due to Black Band Disease (BBD). Investigating the basis for secondary metabolite production by R. reptotaenium cultures revealed a suite of potent anti-malarial and anticancer compounds that likely include dolastatin 10 and monomethyl auristatin D (MMAD). These R. reptotaenium cultures are non-axenic (not pure monocultures) and R. reptotaenium appears to require the presence of several heterotrophic bacteria to survive. Scanning Election Microscope (SEM) images show closely associated bacteria. Preliminary metagenomic analysis indicates three dominant non-cyanobacterial phyla: Bacteroidetes, Planctomycetes, and Proteobacteri (?-proteobacteria accounted for >50% of the entire community). We are explored the role of these bacteria with R. reptotaenium in producing the complex of dolastatin/MMAD compounds, seeking to understand the chemical ecology and genetic basis by which these compounds are produced. The potential involvement of the dolastatin-like suite of compounds in Black Band Disease in corals merits further study given the destructiveness of this disease on corals worldwide.

Included in

Biology Commons



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