Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Bill J. Baker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edward Turos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeffrey R. Raker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Laurent J.-P. Calcul, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Matthew D. Lebar, Ph.D.


Natural Products, Cheminformatics, Ecology, Metabolomics, Deep Sea, Octocorals, Algae, Plocamium, Plumarella


The chemicals produced by biological systems, whether proteins, peptides, or terpenes, will always provide an intriguing topic for researchers. Invisibly controlling every aspect of nature, these molecules are responsible for life, evolution, and death. Specifically, here is described the secondary metabolites produced by Antarctic marine organisms as well as others, and how they are used to defend or attract other animals while potentially providing health benefits to mankind. This is done through collection, extraction, and separation of individual specimens. The respective mixtures of compounds after isolation are then analyzed via spectroscopic methods such as nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and X-ray crystallography. Once identified, these compounds are tested in biological assays to provide a hypothesis for their use in nature or evidence that there may be a use for them in medicine.

For this thesis, the Antarctic organisms described are an alga, Pocamium cartilagineum, an amphipod, Paradexamine fissicauda, a sponge, Dendrilla membranosa, and one undescribed and two known deep sea coral species, Briareopsis aegeon and Plumarella delicatissima. Beyond these specific specimens, their chemistry as well as natural products from other origins were combined to create a diverse compound library for biological screening against human pathogens. This was done using computational modeling and statistical analysis of the compound library and its comparison to other known chemical libraries. The diversity and impact of these molecules are assessed.