Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

S. Leigh McCallister, PhD

Second Advisor

Bonnie Brown, PhD


Metabolomics is the rapidly-growing field which focuses on the endpoints of biological processes, and has the capability to provide a snapshot of an organisms’ interaction with their environment on a molecular scale. The objective of the experiment herein was to develop a standard metabolic extraction technique coupled with ultrahigh-precision analytical tools to build a global metabolic pathway of the keystone species Crassostrea virginica. To achieve this, C. virginica whole-body samples were extracted using acetonitrile and methanol, then split into a dehydrated group and a diluted group. Following reversed-phase solid phase extraction (RP-SPE) of both groups, metabolites were identified using a 12 T Fourier-transform ion-cyclotron-resonance mass spectrometer. Following peak alignment and formulae assignments, there remained 1,026 m/z ions in the diluted group and 370 m/z ions in the dehydrated group of the methanol elution, and 725 and 510 m/z ions in the respective groups from the acetone elution. t-tests and power analysis of the RP-SPE preparation treatments revealed they were different in ions detected and their respective abundances. Additionally, there are different compounds captured in the methanol elution than in the acetone elution. The results from this experiment lay the groundwork of streamlining an untargeted metabolic study to assess the current state of C. virginica in Chesapeake Bay, and can be used to address a number of issues and challenges present in the face of climate change.


© Alyssa A. Darling

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Available for download on Wednesday, August 06, 2025