Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Animal Biosciences

First Advisor

John Barlow

Second Advisor

Matthew Wargo


This dissertation provides a detailed investigation of Staphylococcus aureus in Vermont dairy farms, with a focus on the pathogen's genomic adaptability, antimicrobial resistance, and its potential for zoonotic transmission. Initiated by the pressing need to understand the impact of S. aureus in agricultural settings, particularly for public health and dairy farm management, the study encompasses a comprehensive literature review followed by a cross-sectional study, high throughput genomic sequencing, and comparative genomics study.Significant findings include the prevalence of beta-lactam-resistant S. aureus strains, primarily among human isolates on organic and conventional dairies, raising concerns about the management of antimicrobial resistance and the risk of transmission between humans and animals. The research further delves into the genetic adaptability of the pathogen, uncovering a range of resistance mechanisms and host-specific adaptations. This highlights the pathogen's ability to navigate complex interactions between hosts within dairy farms. The thesis culminates in advocating for a One Health approach, emphasizing the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the environment. This holistic perspective is crucial in addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by S. aureus in dairy farms, where the close interaction between livestock and humans creates a complex ecological nexus. The conclusion calls for integrated strategies in research, policymaking, and practice to effectively manage S. aureus in dairy settings. Overall, this research enhances the understanding of S. aureus in agricultural environments and lays the groundwork for future initiatives aimed at controlling and preventing its spread in dairy farms.



Number of Pages

256 p.

Available for download on Wednesday, March 12, 2025