The fungus gardening-ant system is considered a complex, multi-tiered symbiosis between the ants, their fungus, and their corresponding microbes. We examine the bacterial microbiome of Trachymyrmex septentrionalis and Trachymyrmex turrifex ants and their corresponding fungus, using 16S rRNA, over a large geographical region to determine if horizontal transmission was occurring. The goals of this study was to determine how the ant microbiome was transmitted and how the fungus microbiome was transmitted. We determined that the microbiomes of T. septentrionalis and T. turrifex ants were different because of the species, while the microbiomes of T. septentrionalis and T. turrifex fungi were spatially structured and were not determined by the species of ant growing them but the region in which the fungus resided. The most abundant bacterial orders found with T. septentrionalis ants were Actinomycetales, Soilrubrobacterales, Xanthomonadales, and Burkholderiales. In T. turrifex ants the most abundant bacteria found were Actinomycetales, Entomoplasmatales, and Burkholderiales. The most abundant bacteria associated with the Central Texas fungus gardens, regardless of the ant species growing it, were Entomoplasmatales, Streptophta, and Enterobacteriales. The most abundant bacterial orders in East Texas fungus was Entomoplasmatales and Streptophta.

Date of publication

Summer 8-2-2017

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Jon Seal, Dr. Josh Banta, Dr. Kate Hertweck, Dr. Katrin Kellner


Masters in Biology

Included in

Biology Commons