Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2020

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Biological Sciences

Department Chair or Program Director

Lewis, Lynn

First Advisor

Lewis, Lynn

Second Advisor

Barra, Rosemary

Third Advisor

Slunt, Kelli

Major or Concentration



Sand samples from the intertidal zone of beaches surrounding the Norfolk Naval Station were used to isolate 19 diesel-degrading bacteria. The isolation of these bacteria indicates that diesel contamination in Hampton Roads has impacted the bacterial community of its beach sands, and these bacteria could be used as markers of diesel contamination. In addition to these isolates, 3 marine-diesel-degrading bacteria were also isolated from unfiltered, contaminated marine diesel that was being used to test the hydrocarbon-degrading capabilities of the diesel degraders. Only one of the marine diesel degraders, “Salmon”, can directly grow on Bushnell Haas medium with marine diesel as the sole carbon source. The growth of the other two marine diesel degraders depends on the presence of “Salmon” in the environment, indicating a synergistic interaction between the three bacteria. All 22 isolates are Gram-negative, halotolerant rods that readily grow on Zobell Marine agar. Future studies may reveal that these isolates could be used to remediate hydrocarbon spills.

Included in

Biology Commons