Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
College of Science
In a previous study from this lab (Stevens, Evans, & Aguirre, 2012) yeast colonies were isolated and grown grown from sand collection at pristine, medium use and high use beaches along the grand strand. In that study greater yeast abundance and greater diversity both correlated with higher census of human use, suggesting that some yeast growth of sites was anthropogenic. However the sand matrix itself also varied from very fine, uniform, dark sand at the pristine beach to coarser, color varying, less tightly packed sand at residential and commercial beaches. This suggested an alternative hypothesis to differential colonization and growth depending on abiotic properties of sand itself.
This study aimed to distinguish between these two hypothesis and to further examine the likely origin and mechanism by which yeast are introduced onto the beaches of the grand strand. Growth of yeast seeded in control experiments in vitro showed equivalent growth patterns in all three types of sand, arguing against the abiotic hypothesis. A pattern of increasing abundance in high traffic areas than in lower traffic areas along a single commercial beach was observed from collected beach samples, suggesting that people and their pets are the likely source of greater abundance and diversity of yeast observed in beaches of the Grand Strand.
Wright, Ruth L., "Investigation of Origin and Growth of Fungi in Coastal Beach Sand" (2019). Honors Theses. 334.