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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Degree Discipline: Biology
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Thermal Identification of Clandestine Burials: A Signature Analysis and Image Classification Approach

Thermal Identification of Clandestine Burials: A Signature Analysis and Image Classification Approach

Date: December 2010
Creator: Servello, John A.
Description: Clandestine burials, the interred human remains of forensic interest, are generally small features located in isolated environments. Typical ground searches can be both time-consuming and dangerous. Thermal remote sensing has been recognized for some time as a possible search strategy for such burials that are in relatively open areas; however, there is a paucity of published research with respect to this application. This project involved image manipulation, the analyses of signatures for "graves" of various depths when compared to an undisturbed background, and the use of image classification techniques to tease out these features. This research demonstrates a relationship between the depth of burial disturbance and the resultant signature. Further, image classification techniques, especially object-oriented algorithms, can be successfully applied to single band thermal imagery. These findings may ultimately decrease burial search times for law enforcement and increase the likelihood of locating clandestine graves.
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Functional Neural Toxicity and Endocrine Responses in Mice Following Naphthalene Exposure

Functional Neural Toxicity and Endocrine Responses in Mice Following Naphthalene Exposure

Date: August 2010
Creator: Colbert, Crystal
Description: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a well studied and diverse class of environmental toxicants. PAHs act via the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), and studies have suggested that PAHs may elicit neurological and estrogenic effects. Doses of PAHs between 50 to 150 ppm may elicit neurotoxicity in rodent models. The present study investigated the effects of naphthalene on in vivo steroidogenesis in Swiss Webster male mice, and in vitro neural function of Balb-C/ICR mice frontal cortex neurons. These data suggest that naphthalene may not elicit steroidogenic effects at concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 25 mg/kg/day, following a 7 day subcutaneous dosing regime. In addition, naphthalene may cause functional toxicity of frontal cortex neurons at concentrations of 32 to 160 ppm naphthalene.
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The Influence of in Vitro Gill and Liver Metabolism of Xenobiotics on Fish Bioconcentration

The Influence of in Vitro Gill and Liver Metabolism of Xenobiotics on Fish Bioconcentration

Date: August 2010
Creator: Gomez, Cristi Frasier
Description: This dissertation examines the ability of in vitro biotransformation assays to provide an indication of metabolic potential. The potential for xenobiotic compounds to bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms is expressed through the bioconcentration factor (BCF). The metabolic loss of ibuprofen, norethindrone and propranolol was measured using rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) gill and liver S9 fractions, microsomes and cell suspensions. Metabolic transformation rates (kM) were extrapolated from in vitro intrinsic clearance of parent compound (CLm) and integrated into a refined BCF model. In general, CLm of test compounds was greater in liver S9 fractions and hepatocytes. However, the influence of hepatic metabolism on kM and BCF was limited by hepatic blood flow (20-25%) compared to gill blood flow (~100%). A significant difference was noted between BCF solely based on KOW and BCF including kM. These studies indicate that the inclusion of kM in BCF models can bring predicted bioconcentration estimates closer to in vivo values. Primary cell suspensions are preferred over subcellular fractions as cell suspensions possess both phase I and phase II enzyme activity. Further study was conducted on ibuprofen biotransformation pathways. As fish do not contain the same cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2C homologs known to ...
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Molecular systematics of Baird's pocket gopher (Geomys breviceps)

Molecular systematics of Baird's pocket gopher (Geomys breviceps)

Date: August 2010
Creator: Bodine, Deanna Martinez
Description: Baird's pocket gopher (Geomys breviceps) is found in eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, central and western Arkansas, and western Louisiana. The cytochrome-b gene was sequenced and analyzed for 16 pocket gophers from throughout the range of the species. Similar phylogenetic trees were obtained using maximum-parsimony, maximum-likelihood, neighbor-joining, and Bayesian analyses. Two major clades were formed with northern individuals belonging to clade I and southern individuals belonging to clade II. G. b. sagittalis was paraphyletic in relation to G. b. breviceps in all analyses. Based on inconsistencies between the taxonomic classification and systematic relationships within Baird's pocket gopher, a taxonomic restructuring appears warranted.
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Thermal Stress During Pre-Incubation Induces Subsequent Developmental Plasticity in Northern Bobwhites

Thermal Stress During Pre-Incubation Induces Subsequent Developmental Plasticity in Northern Bobwhites

Date: August 2010
Creator: Reyna, Kelly Shane
Description: Northern bobwhite populations have declined concurrent with global warming. The focal period of this study was the 12-d pre-incubation period, when bobwhite eggs remain in the nest without the thermal protection of the incubating parent. This study first established the storage and thermal limits of bobwhite eggs, then investigated how global warming may impact oviparous embryos and how bobwhite embryos react to acute and chronic doses of simulated drought temperatures during pre-incubation. First, the maximum storage limit of bobwhite eggs was determined by storing eggs ≤21 d and measuring hatching success and pH of egg albumen and yolk. Hatching success of stored eggs declined after 14 d, when yolk and albumen pH reached levels detrimental to embryonic development. Secondly, thermal limits were determined by exposing bobwhite eggs to hyperthermic temperatures (38-52 °C). Bobwhite embryos survived 50 °C for 1 h, 49 °C for 3 h and 46 °C for 6 h. Results indicate an adaptation to the naturally occurring temperature extremes that can occur in the bobwhite's southern range during pre-incubation. Subsequently, bobwhite eggs were exposed to either low constant (LC), low fluctuating (LF), high constant (HC), or high fluctuating (HF) temperatures during pre-incubation to determine if the nature of ...
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Comparison of Heteranthera Dubia (Jacq.) MacM.-associated Macroinvertebrates Between Georgraphical Regions in the United States

Comparison of Heteranthera Dubia (Jacq.) MacM.-associated Macroinvertebrates Between Georgraphical Regions in the United States

Date: May 2010
Creator: Harms, Nathan Earl
Description: Macroinvertebrates associated with the aquatic plant, water stargrass (Heteranthera dubia), were sampled from 12 waterbodies in four regions of the United States from June to August 2005. Taxa richness, evenness, and diversity were lowest in the Lower Midwest (LMW) region, and higher in Northern sites, especially the Upper Midwest (UMW), and Northeast (NE). While relative abundance varied from site to site and region to region, utilization of the plant by functional groups remained fairly constant. Collector-gatherers consistently comprised the largest portion of invertebrates sampled. The shredder/ herbivore functional group comprised an average of 17 % of total groups. Through an exhaustive literature review, it was found that shredder/ herbivores of water stargrass have not been reported in the literature. Because of this, the herbivore group was analyzed separately and consisted of 2,383 specimens representing 23 species. The most common groups were Rhopalosiphum sp., Nectopsyche spp. and chironomids. No differences were found in herbivore diversity or evenness between sampling regions, but species richness was significantly different.
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Modulation of the Coelomic Fluid Protein Profile in the Earthworm, Lumbricus Terrestris, After Exposure to Copper as Copper Sulfate

Modulation of the Coelomic Fluid Protein Profile in the Earthworm, Lumbricus Terrestris, After Exposure to Copper as Copper Sulfate

Date: May 2010
Creator: Herring, Reese
Description: Proteomic techniques were used to analyze the protein profile of earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris, coelomic fluid collected by either whole body dissection method or the coelomic cavity puncture method. Data demonstrated that collection of coelomic fluid using the coelomic cavity puncture method protocol resulted in a 32% reduction, 377 +/- 4.5 vs 253+/- 19.9 (p=0.0007), in the number of individual proteins. It was determined that the coelomic cavity puncture method yielded a "cleaner" preparation, one less contaminated with extraneous proteins from intestinal tissue, gut contents, and body wall materials. This protocol was used in all later studies. The same proteomic techniques were used to evaluate the effects that exposure to Cu (1.0 μg/cm2) as CuSO4 had on the earthworm coelomic fluid profile. Comparison of protein profile from exposed earthworms demonstrated a significant reduction in the number of proteins expressed (184 ± 2.64 vs 253 ±19.9 p=0.0192) when compared to control organisms. Cu exposure also resulted in a modulation of the protein profile with treated earthworms expressing 47 new proteins that were not identified in unexposed worm coelomic fluid. Additionally, 116 proteins found in coelomic fluid collected from normal worms were absent in Cu exposed organisms. Finally, 137 proteins were conserved or ...
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Hypoxic and hyperoxic incubation affects the ductus arteriosus in the developing chicken embryo (Gallus gallus).

Hypoxic and hyperoxic incubation affects the ductus arteriosus in the developing chicken embryo (Gallus gallus).

Date: December 2009
Creator: Copeland, Jennifer
Description: Developing chicken embryos have two ductus arteriosus (DA) that shunt blood away from the lungs and to the chorioallantoic membrane, the embryonic gas exchanger. In mammals, DA closure is stimulated by an increase in blood gas O2 that occurs as the animal begins to breathe with its lungs. The goal of this study was to determine the influence of O2 levels during incubation on the vascular reactivity and morphology of the O2-sensitive DA and to examine the effects of changing O2 levels during late incubation on the morphology of the DA from chicken embryos. In comparison to normoxia, hypoxia (15%) reduced venous O2 levels in day 16 and day 18 embryos and reduced aircell O2 values in day 16, day 18, and internally pipped (IP) embryos, whereas hyperoxia (30%) increased venous O2 levels and aircell O2 level in day 16, day 18, and IP embryos. In comparison to normoxia, hypoxia delayed closure of the DA, whereas hyperoxia accelerated DA closure. In comparison to the left DA from externally pipped (EP) normoxic embryos, the left DA from EP hypoxic embryos exhibited a significantly weaker contractile response to O2. The DA from day 18 hypoxic embryos exhibited a significantly weaker contractile response ...
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In vitro Cultures of Morus alba for Enhancing Production of Phytoestrogens

In vitro Cultures of Morus alba for Enhancing Production of Phytoestrogens

Date: December 2009
Creator: Bakshi, Vibhu
Description: Plant estrogens have long been associated with health benefits. The potential of tissue culture techniques for the production of several secondary metabolites has been known for many years. Tissue cultures stimulate the production or induce the biosynthesis of novel compounds not found in the mature plant. Tissue culture of Morus alba, family Moraceae, is known to contain phytoestrogens, was established on plant-hormone supplemented Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium. Petiole and the stem tissue from mature trees were the best explants for initiation and proliferation of calli. The best callus proliferation was obtained on MS medium containing 1-napthalene acetic acid (1mg/ml) and benzylaminopurine (0.5mg/ml) for M. alba. Comparison of phytoestrogens of Moraceae species from in vivo and in vitro tissue isolation were carried out. The estrogenic activities of callus extracts were assayed in an estrogen-responsive yeast system expressing the human estrogen receptor alpha. Male callus extracts had higher estrogenic activity than male and female extracts from in vivo and in vitro tissues. Isolation and characterization of phytoestrogens from above tissues were carried out using solid phase extraction, high perfomance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques. Biochanin A, an isoflavonoid, was isolated as one of the compounds in male callus extracts. Biochanin ...
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Investigation of cryopreservation methods for adherent nerve cell networks in vitro.

Investigation of cryopreservation methods for adherent nerve cell networks in vitro.

Date: December 2009
Creator: Webb, Veronica Fine
Description: Cryopreservation in suspension is commonplace for a variety of cell types. However, cryopreservation of adherent cells has achieved limited success. This research aimed to cryopreserve adherent nerve cell networks in vitro in a manner that preserved network morphology and physiology. Successful implementation would enable long term storage of adherent neuronal networks on microelectrode arrays and on-demand access for use in pharmacological and toxicological testing. Based upon morphological assessments, excellent post-thaw preservation was obtained and post-thaw cultures survived in a transitional medium for up to 3.5 hours. However, transitions to native culture medium post-thaw presented difficulties, ultimately resulting in necrosis. A discussion of methods to supplement the current research and increase post-thaw viability is included in the thesis.
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