Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Downer, Donald

Committee Member

Brown, Lewis R.

Committee Member

French, W. Todd

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


This study demonstrated the presence of hyperthermophilic organisms in the upper Jurassic Smackover formation in Womack Hills, AL. Evidence for the presence of these organisms was shown by the cultivation of an aerobic and an anaerobic, oil-degrading hyperthermophilic culture from the cuttings of an oil well in the Jurassic Smackover at 90¢ªC. Viability of microorganisms in the formation was established through electron microscopy, by carbon dioxide production, and by protein production during incubation in medium at 90¢ªC. Not only was the presence of viable microorganisms in the reservoir established, but as a result of this study, new cultivation methods were also developed that may prove useful in future studies of these types of organisms.