Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Biological Sciences

Program or Major

Biomedical Sciences

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Vaughn Cooper

Second Advisor

Cheryl Whistler


One well-known pathogen that has been the topic of many recent studies is Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which causes thousands of foodborne illnesses a year, mostly from the ingestion of raw or undercooked oysters. It has been shown cyanobacteria can act as a long-term reservoir of Vibrio cholerae, another pathogenic Vibrio, by encasing the cells within mucilaginous sheaths during which Vibrios enter a viable but non-culturable state. In this study we investigated the interaction of V. parahaemolyticus with cyanobacteria to determine whether cyanobacteria aid in the longevity and survival of V. parahaemolyticus. We found that non-pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus strain G445 was able to persist better in the presence of cyanobacteria compared to pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus MDOH-04-5M732. G445 cells seem to cluster non-discriminately within the cyanobacterial mats, which may be due to specific interactions with cyanobacteria, yet further investigation is necessary.