Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Applied Mathematics


Dr. Lindi M. Wahl


Temperate bacteriophages have the ability to incorporate their genetic material in the host's DNA, which may be utilized by later generations of phage to overcome the host's receptor-based defences. This effect of temperance can have major implications for the long-term survival of the phages as well as on bacteria-phage community evolution. To study the impact of prophage on microbial communities we have developed models simulating lytic and lysogenic infection and host and phage coevolution with a focus on prophage-phage recombination. Our results show that recombination can be crucial for the phage to survive host diversification, and a higher incidence of lysogeny as opposed to lysis may favor the phage population in the long run. Moreover, depending on the nature of interaction between the hosts and phages, phage-prophage recombination may promote overall diversity in the phage-host community or push the hosts towards `waves' of innovation.