Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Robert Meredith

Committee Member

Paul Bologna

Committee Member

John Gaynor


The Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station (OCNGS; Lacey Township, New Jersey, USA), affects the surrounding aquatic environment as the outflow water is approximately 5oC warmer than ambient water temperature. A metagenomic analysis was performed to assess microbial biodiversity at 4 sites located in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, USA possibly in response to thermal gradients. A total of twelve samples from four sites was examined using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). These represented the outflow and intake of the OCNGS, as well as bay area and river control sites. In addition, we compared targeted (16S) and Whole Genome Shotgun (WGS) methods. The microbiome analysis package QIIME2 and The Metagenomics RAST server (MG-RAST) were used to taxonomically identify bacterial composition and to compare the taxonomic makeup of sites. The sites where the higher temperatures were recorded showed a decrease in diversity compared to other sites. The OCNGS outflow site showed the lowest taxonomic diversity compared to all other sites. The comparison between targeted and WGS found the same overall trends in terms of the most abundant taxa identified. However, WGS identified more individuals at all levels of taxonomy.

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Biology Commons