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 Degree Discipline: Biology
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Ecology and Recolonization of Benthic Macroinvertebrates in a Groundwater-dependent Stream in North Central Texas During a Supra-seasonal Drought

Ecology and Recolonization of Benthic Macroinvertebrates in a Groundwater-dependent Stream in North Central Texas During a Supra-seasonal Drought

Date: May 2012
Creator: Burk, Rosemary A.
Description: Extreme climatic events such as droughts are known to eliminate aquatic biota and alter community structure and function. Perennial headwater springs provide important drought refugia to benthic macroinvertebrates and an important source of colonists via drift or aerial adults to intermittent streams post-drought. During a supra-seasonal drought in North-central Texas summer and fall 2006, benthic macroinvertebrates from persistent groundwater-dependent macrohabitats of varying hydrological connectivity and riparian shading were studied: perennial riffles, connected pools, shaded disconnected pools, and full sun disconnected pools. Riffles were a distinct habitat with significantly higher taxa richness, proportion of lotic taxa, diversity and evenness than other macrohabitats. Macrohabitats were found to be important refugia for 106 benthic macroinvertebrates and 4 microcrustacean taxa. Throughout the extreme drought, perennially flowing habitats were refugia to 19 taxa (17.9% total taxa) not collected in disconnected pools. Shaded disconnected pools contained lotic taxa not previously known to be able to complete their lifecycles in lentic habitats, emphasizing the importance of groundwater effluent and shading. With the resumption of flow at a downstream intermittent site of Ash Creek in mid-October 2006, an annual recolonization study was conducted comparing the perennial headwaters’ benthic macroinvertebrate taxa richness, densities and community ecology with the downstream ...
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Examining the Shade/flood Tolerance Tradeoff Hypothesis in Bottomland Herbs Through Field Study and Experimentation

Examining the Shade/flood Tolerance Tradeoff Hypothesis in Bottomland Herbs Through Field Study and Experimentation

Date: May 2012
Creator: Sloop, Jordan
Description: While there is growing evidence that shade/flood tolerance tradeoffs may be important in distributions of bottomland hardwood trees and indications that they should apply to herbs, no studies have definitively explored this possibility. Four years of field data following historic flooding were supplemented with a greenhouse experiment designed to identify interactions congruent with tradeoffs. Fifteen bottomland species were grown in two levels of water availability and three levels of shade over 10 weeks. Results indicate responses of Fimbristylis vahlii and Ammannia robusta are consistent with tradeoffs. Modification of classical allometric responses to shade by substrate saturation indicates a potential mechanism for the tradeoff in A. robusta. Responses indicating potential for increased susceptibility to physical flooding disturbance are also discussed.
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Investigating Realistic Scenarios of Biodiversity Loss on Ecosystem Functioning: Extirpation of Rare Species and Food Web Collapse in Tropical Floodplain Lagoons

Investigating Realistic Scenarios of Biodiversity Loss on Ecosystem Functioning: Extirpation of Rare Species and Food Web Collapse in Tropical Floodplain Lagoons

Date: May 2012
Creator: Pendleton, Richard McCall
Description: This thesis investigates the influence of nonrandom species loss on the structure and functioning of trophic floodplain lagoons. Two experiments were conducted based on different realistic scenarios of biodiversity loss using multitrophic fish assemblages derived from long-term survey data. Loss of fish diversity influenced overall ecosystem multifunctionality of these lagoons through complex multitrophic interactions throughout the aquatic food web. These results indicate that biodiversity loss from diverse multitrophic ecosystems can influence ecosystem structure and function and likely deviate from simplified food chain dynamics or patterns that emerged from single trophic level studies.
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Benthic Macroinvertebrates of Temperate, Sub-Antarctic Streams: The Effects of Altitudinal Zoning and Temperature on the Phenology of Aquatic Insects Associated to the Robalo River, Navarino Island (55°S), Chile

Benthic Macroinvertebrates of Temperate, Sub-Antarctic Streams: The Effects of Altitudinal Zoning and Temperature on the Phenology of Aquatic Insects Associated to the Robalo River, Navarino Island (55°S), Chile

Date: December 2011
Creator: Contador Mejías, Tamara Andrea
Description: The Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, within the remote Sub-Antarctic ecoregion is a reservoir of expressions of biological and cultural diversity. Although it is considered one of 24 wilderness areas remaining in the world, it is not free from local and global threats, such as invasive species, and climate change. Field biologists and philosophers associated to the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program and the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, have worked to describe the region’s biocultural diversity, linking ecological and philosophical research into education, ecotourism, and conservation, through a methodology called field environmental philosophy (FEP), which integrates ecological sciences and environmental ethics through a 4-step cycle consisting of: 1) interdisciplinary research; 2) composition of metaphors; 3) design of field activities with an ecological and ethical orientation; and 4) implementation of in situ conservation areas. In this context, the purposes of this dissertation were to: 1) provide a comprehensive review of publications regarding the conservation status of aquatic and terrestrial insects at a global scale and with an emphasis in southern South America; 2) study the distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates through the sharp altitudinal gradient of the Róbalo River watershed; 3) describe the life histories of Gigantodax sp (Simuliidae: Diptera) and Meridialaris chiloeense (Leptophlebiidae: Ephemeroptera) ...
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Life History And Secondary Production Of Cheumatopsyche Lasia Ross (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae) With Respect To A Wastewater Treatment Facility In A North Texas Urban Stream

Life History And Secondary Production Of Cheumatopsyche Lasia Ross (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae) With Respect To A Wastewater Treatment Facility In A North Texas Urban Stream

Date: December 2011
Creator: Paul, Jenny Sueanna
Description: This study represents the first shift in multivoltine life history of Cheumatopsyche species from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in North America. Populations of C. lasia were examined upstream and downstream of the Denton’s Pecan Creek WWTP August 2009 through November 2010. C. lasia is multivoltine in Pecan Creek with three cohorts observed upstream of the WWTP and four possible cohorts downstream. A fourth generation was possible downstream as thermal inputs from WWTP effluent resulted in elevated water temperatures that allowed larval development to progress through the winter producing a cohort ready to emerge in spring. Production of C. lasia was 5 times greater downstream of the WWTP with secondary production estimates of 1.3 g m-2 yr-1 and 4.88- 6.51 g m-2 yr-1, respectively. Differences in abundance were due to increased habitat availability downstream of the WWTP in addition to continuous stream flow from inputs of wastewater effluent. Results also suggest that C. lasia is important for energy transfer in semiarid urban prairie streams and may serve as a potential conduit for the transfer of energy along with emergent contaminants to terrestrial ecosystems. These finding highlight the need for more quantitative accounts of population dynamics (voltinism, development rates, secondary production, ...
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Effects of CFT Legumine™ Rotenone on Macroinvertebrates in Four Drainages of Montana and New Mexico

Effects of CFT Legumine™ Rotenone on Macroinvertebrates in Four Drainages of Montana and New Mexico

Date: August 2011
Creator: Skorupski, Joseph A., Jr.
Description: Rotenone is considered essential in the restoration of native fish populations; however, the technique is contentious and criticized, specifically concerning impacts to invertebrates. Knowledge of effects to non-target organisms is important for the management and conservation of fish populations. This thesis has two general objectives: (1) demonstrate the influence CFT Legumine™ rotenone has on benthic macroinvertebrates for restoration projects in Montana and New Mexico and (2) evaluate the immediate response by means of invertebrate drift. Chapters 2 and 4 incorporate results from four different restoration projects that examine benthic macroinvertebrate response. Results indicate treatment effects are minimal for Specimen and Cherry Creek projects in Montana. New Mexico projects, Comanche and Costilla Creek suggest a greater influence. Potassium permanganate used to neutralize rotenone, influenced communities in three of the four projects. Regardless, invertebrates in all four projects recovered one-year after treatment. Chapter 3 examines macroinvertebrate drift during rotenone treatment. Results suggest a delayed response compared to previous literature. Rotenone appears to have the greatest immediate influence on the early life stages of Ephemeroptera and Plecoptera. To reduce impacts of rotenone to invertebrates, managers should apply CFT Legumine and use the minimal dosage and duration to complete the projects goal of removing ...
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Tests of a New Model of Paclitaxel-Induced Neuropathy and the Effects of Paclitaxel on the Dorsal Root Ganglia

Tests of a New Model of Paclitaxel-Induced Neuropathy and the Effects of Paclitaxel on the Dorsal Root Ganglia

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Date: August 2011
Creator: McWilliams, Steven P.
Description: This study examined a new model of paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain and the effects of systemic paclitaxel on the gap junction protein subunit Cx43 and potassium inwardly-rectifying channel Kir4.1 within the dorsal root ganglia. In the new neuropathic pain model, subplantar injections of paclitaxel resulted in decreased conduction velocities of A-beta fiber compound action potentials in the sciatic (5.9%) and tibial nerves (6.8%) as well as in M (10.6%) and H (10.2%) waves. By using repeated recordings it was found that following paclitaxel injection, conduction velocities in the contralateral plantar nerve increased (9.2%). Systemic injections of paclitaxel resulted in reduced Kir4.1 immunolabeling in the dorsal root ganglia compared to vehicle injections. This reduction was observed in total labeling (32.4%) as well as in areas of intense labeling (28.7%). Reductions in overall Cx43 immunolabeling (25%) and area (25%) following systemic paclitaxel injections were not statistically significant. The results of these studies suggest that subplantar injections of paclitaxel can result in reduced peripheral nerve conduction velocities. The results also show that a unilateral neuropathy can result in contralateral changes in conduction velocities. The effects of paclitaxel on reducing Kir4.1 levels suggest that neuropathic pain caused by paclitaxel may share mechanisms in common with ...
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Anatomical and Morphological Responses of Cardiospermum Halicacabum L. (Balloon Vine), to Four Levels of Water Availability

Anatomical and Morphological Responses of Cardiospermum Halicacabum L. (Balloon Vine), to Four Levels of Water Availability

Date: May 2011
Creator: Dempsey, Matthew Anthony
Description: C. halicacabum (Sapindaceae) is an invasive plant that is considered a nuisance species in Texas riparian environments. Little is known of the tolerance of C. halicacabum to flooding and drought; however, this information may provide insight into the characteristics that contribute to C. halicacabum purported invasiveness. C. halicacabum seedlings (n = 92) were exposed to one of four levels of water availability (flooded, saturated, intermediate and dry) over six weeks under greenhouse conditions. Plant performance was affected by water availability; however, there was no effect on survivorship. Flooded and saturated plants exhibited morphological adaptations; producing adventitious roots, hypertrophy, and aerenchyma tissue. Morphological measures, anatomical responses, and patterns of biomass allocation all indicate that C. halicacabum is able to survive periodic inundation, perform in saturation, and establish and thrive on the drier end of a moisture gradient.
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The Ecology and Paleobiogeography of Freshwater Mussels (Family: Unionidae) from Selected River Basins in Texas

The Ecology and Paleobiogeography of Freshwater Mussels (Family: Unionidae) from Selected River Basins in Texas

Date: May 2011
Creator: Randklev, Charles R.
Description: This dissertation has two overall objectives: first, to demonstrate the utility of paleozoological data for ongoing and future mussel-conservation efforts in Texas and second, to evaluate whether simple measures of habitat (e.g., water depth, velocity and particle size) are important for demonstrating the within-habitat spatial separation of mussels. Although these topics may seem disparate, both are important for increasing our understanding of unionid ecology and biogeography. Chapters 1 through 3 examine the use of paleozoological data for mussel conservation. Although these types of data are not new they have rarely been used in mussel conservation efforts within Texas. This is unfortunate because paleozoological data can provide an excellent record of the mussel fauna prior to wide-scale modern impacts and in areas where historical survey data are lacking. Chapter 4 examines whether assessments of microhabitat for mussels using simple measures of habitat (e.g., water velocity, depth and particle size) are useful. Recent studies have suggested that these measures do not explain the mussel distribution in flowing streams. If this is correct, instream flow studies using this approach need to be revised. Results of Chapter 4 indicate that mussels in the lower Brazos River basin are constrained in distribution by the availability ...
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Retinoic acid Treatment Affects Kidney Development and Osmoregulatory System in the Developing Chicken (Gallus Gallus)

Retinoic acid Treatment Affects Kidney Development and Osmoregulatory System in the Developing Chicken (Gallus Gallus)

Date: May 2011
Creator: Alvine, Travis Douglas
Description: Development is a dynamic process characterized by critical periods in which organ systems are sensitive to changes in the surrounding environment. In the current study, critical windows of embryonic growth and kidney development were assessed in the embryonic chicken. All‐trans retinoic acid (tRA) influences not only organogenesis and cell proliferation, but also targets metanephric kidney nephrogenesis. Embryonic chickens were given a single injection of tRA on embryonic day 8. tRA decreased embryo, kidney, and heart mass from day 16 to day 18. However, mass specific kidney and heart masses showed no differences. Whole blood, plasma, and allantoic fluid osmolality were altered in tRA treated embryos from day 16 to day 18. In addition, hematocrit, red blood cell count, and hemoglobin concentration were altered in tRA treated embryos. The results suggest that although nephrogenesis was not affected by tRA, the developing osmoregulatory system was altered in tRA treated embryos.
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