Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Johansen


San Nicholas Island, California, USA is a geographically-isolated island that experiences a semiarid climate and exhibits significant topographic and geologic diversity. Access to the island is restricted to the public and, as a result, only one previous study has been done on the algal biodiversity of its biological soil crusts. The previous study used morphology as the sole basis of species identification, and it was the aim of this study to corroborate and expand upon the results by including molecular data. Using 16S rRNA and 16S–23S ITS sequences and phylogenetic analyses, a diverse set of taxa were identified and are presented herein. Multiple taxa were determined to be common to both studies based on morphological similarity, and several putative new genera and species were identified based on molecular analyses. Several genera were identified that had not been observed in the Northen Hemisphere, raising questions about the distribution of taxa at the genus and species level.

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