Vibrio choleraeis the etiological agent of the severe diarrheal disease-cholera and natural inhabitant of estuarine and coastal waters. The proximity of the Florida Indian River Lagoon (IRL) to areas affected by recent cholera outbreaks makes this estuary ideal to investigate the environmental dynamics and their potential role in V. cholerae's pathogen emergence. We identified two locations in the IRL, Feller's House UCF Field Station and Shepard Park, as our collection sites. We collected samples from three different fractions - water, plankton, and sediment - and recorded data for several water parameters such as pH, temperature, and, turbidity. In the laboratory, we enriched samples in alkaline peptone water and isolated V. choleraeusing widely used selective media Thiosulfate-Citrate Bile Salts-sucrose agar (TCBS) and CHROMagar Vibrio. From our study, we isolated 100 potential V. cholerae isolates, which were confirmed using biochemical tests such as oxidase and Kligler's Iron Agar. V. cholerae has allelic variations in the core genes such as ompU, which provide pre-adaptation to virulence. We investigated the allelic variations within ompU to characterize V. cholerae isolates. We elucidated the sequenced allele of ompU and built a neighboring-joining phylogeny tree to view the differentiation among vibrios. Our findings provide insight into the endemic population of V. cholerae in the Eastern Coast of Florida. Further studies include a screen for additional virulence genes and investigate the role of environmental dynamics on the distribution of V. cholerae and emergence as a human pathogen.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Almagro-Moreno, Salvador


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Medicine



Access Status

Campus Access

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Release Date