Project Director

Giles, David

Department Examiner

Beasley, DeAnna; Hayes, Loren


Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


After sampling the exoskeleton microbiomes of 225 ants from 3 different locations along a rural-urban gradient in the Chattanooga area, a photo library was collected and microbial diversity and morphospecies evenness of each location was determined. It was determined that there was no significant difference in either microbial diversity or morphospecies evenness between sites along the rural-urban gradient, even after adjusting data to be between only rural and urban areas. Urbanization was quantified using % impervious surface; however, a future study could quantify urbanization by other means, such as soil nutrient composition. Additionally, it was determined that there was no difference between sites in the number of Gram-negative rods, Gram-positive rods, and Gram-negative cocci found in samples from ants (p = 0.151, p = 0.419, and p = 0.571 respectively). There was also no significant difference in the number of fungi observed in samples from ants (p = 0.172). However, there was a statistically significant difference in the number of Gram-negative rods between sites when categorized into Urban and Rural (p = 0.0469).


I would like to first thank my loving family that have always been there to support me and motivate me to push myself and try to exceed my limits. I would also like to thank my advisors, Dr. Deanna Beasley, Dr. David Giles, and Dr. Loren Hayes, that I approached with this project, and they took their chances on me. I appreciate the opportunity they have provided me to take up this challenge and grow both academically and as a person. Any time I came looking for guidance, they were more than happy to oblige and share their experience with me. I wish to practice the same passion in my life as they do for learning and research. I would like to thank Dr. Giles for providing me with the necessary resources and his laboratory required to complete this project along with his expertise on maintaining microbial cultures and characterizing them. I would also like to thank Dr. Beasley for teaching me how to identify Monomorium minimum effectively and providing the initial research paper that inspired me to do this project. Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Hayes for allowing me to be a part of his lab for the past year and a half to interact with fellow research students and developing this project along the way.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Monomorium--Microbiology--United States--Tennessee


Monomorium minimum; microbial diversity; urbanization; ant; ant-microbe interactions; microbiome

Document Type



31 leaves







Date Available


Available for download on Friday, December 13, 2024