Date of Award

Winter 2010

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Cheryl Whistler


Within the last two decades the number of gastroenteritis seafood-borne outbreaks due to Vibrio species has increased. These infections are usually caused by the consumption of raw or undercooked shellfish. I took two approaches to describe the ecology of Vibrios in the Great Bay Estuary, Durham, New Hampshire. First, I performed a phenotypic and multi-locus sequence analysis of 31 V. cholerae strains isolated from oysters, water and sediment in 2008 and 2009. I concluded that the V. cholerae population is endemic, diverse and highly recombinatory, but none of the isolates contain the virulence markers indicative of clinical strains. Next, I performed a metagenetic microbial census of 39 individual oysters and the overlying water from the Nannie Island and Oyster River oyster beds. I concluded that the microbial populations in the oyster are differential from the overlying water. Furthermore, the microbial populations structure in V. parahaemolyticus contaminated oysters contain unique signatures.