Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type



Life & Environmental Sciences


It has been suggested that bacteriophages are the most abundant entities on the planet. The goal of this study was to isolate and characterize a novel phage. Few phages have been isolated, which provides this study a good chance to isolate a novel phage from Northwest Montana where a phage has never been isolated. Using plaque techniques, restriction digest, and phage enzyme tool a phage was isolated and named the Flathead Lake Monster (FLM) and is a novel phage based on results from the study. FLM had abnormally small plaque diameters and an unusually long tail. Compared to literature on other isolated phage’s tail lengths, the FLM has the longest tail ever isolated using M. smegmatis as a host. This led to the investigation of a correlation between plaque diameter and phage tail length. Comparisons within our lab confirmed that there is a correlation. An additional question of this study was to see if tape measure gene length, which is highly conserved in all isolated phages, correlates with phage tail length. Genome analysis of the phage will help to answer that question for the FLM and possibly reveal genes that are unique.