Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Research Sponsor

Dr. John Senko

First Reader

Dr. Anne Wiley

Second Reader

Dr. David Singer


This paper uses the composition and abundance of microbial species to analyze soil recovery in disturbed land. Surface mining disturbs ecological communities throughout the world. As organizations seek to reclaim these disturbed lands, a proper analysis of recovery is needed. In previous studies, recovery of disturbed land was limited to surface examinations, which do not characterize the possible unseen devastating effects of the subsoil. Soil microorganisms are extremely sensitive to environmental changes such as strip mining. It is proposed that these microorganisms may serve as better indicators of recovery post disturbance. Our analysis indicates microbial recovery, however it may not depict recovery of the entire ecosystem.