Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Jordan, Heather

Committee Member

Barton, Brandon

Committee Member

Thornton, Justin

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


An increasing trend in mass mortality events (MMEs) has been observed in recent years, leading to an increased study of these events and their causes. Still to be investigated are the immediate and long-term effects of these environmental disturbances. Microbial communities found on and within the carcass are a major contributor to decomposition. With an increased biomass from several carcasses, transfer of these microbes to secondary death events may be affected. For this project, several simulated MMEs were used in conjunction with a secondary death event to observe the effects of transfer between the microbial communities and changes in the communities over time. It was found that microbial diversity decreases over time as decomposition progresses, and that an initial difference which can be observed between skin and internal microbial communities homogenizes over time. This result will contribute to an understanding of microbial succession and the impact of increasing MMEs.



necrobiome||mass mortality||decomposition||microbiology