Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School



Cyanobacteria are a phylum of bacteria that possess a diverse number of biological characteristics. One of the evolutionary innovations of the cyanobacteria are its ability to perform oxygenating photosynthesis, which all cyanobacteria are able to perform. It is believed that a form of metabolism became the dominant method for producting fixed carbon from carbon dioxide (CO2) at around 3.5 billion years ago. Instead of using hydrogen sulfide, whose generated waste products were difficult to eliminate, the photosynthetic cyanobacteria used water as their hydrogen source (1). Many cyanobacteria are also capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen (2). Cyanobacteria are present in many habitats, ranging from hot springs to fresh water lakes. Cyanobacteria are sometimes also referred to as blue-green algae, but unlike their name suggests, are rarely truly blue-green or green in color. Although they contain green chlorophyll, blue-green algae are often blue-black or black in color. They are capable of producing every possible color except for green (1).

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Chemistry Commons