Honors Theses

Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Erik Hom

Second Advisor

Wayne Gray

Third Advisor

Jason Hoeksema

Relational Format



Symbiotic relationships are extremely common in virtually all species. These relationships between organisms, particularly mutualistic symbioses, can have an incredibly large impact and can greatly affect the evolution of the species involved. Of particular interest is the suspected mutualistic relationship between green algae and fungi that may hold key evidence of how terrestrial plants evolved. In this experiment we established a method of quantifying the cells of each species involved in these symbioses through qPCR analysis to determine if the relationships are truly mutualistic. We developed a system for using DNA copies as a proxy for cell count in co-cultures of various species of algae and fungi to determine the nature of these symbioses. To perform a successful qPCR analysis, both primers and standards had to be created for each species and a method for quantification had to be determined. In this study, an effective method for producing reliable qPCR copy numbers in both the algal and fungal species was created and validated through preliminary experimental results. The methodology established in this thesis may be used in future studies of the fungal-algal co-culture assays to gain more insight into their possible mutualistic symbioses.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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