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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: Department of Geography
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Hyperspectral and Multispectral Image Analysis for Vegetation Study in the Greenbelt Corridor near Denton, Texas
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In this research, hyperspectral and multispectral images were utilized for vegetation studies in the greenbelt corridor near Denton. EO-1 Hyperion was the hyperspectral image and Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) was the multispectral image used for this research. In the first part of the research, both the images were classified for land cover mapping (after necessary atmospheric correction and geometric registration) using supervised classification method with maximum likelihood algorithm and accuracy of the classification was also assessed for comparison. Hyperspectral image was preprocessed for classification through principal component analysis (PCA), segmented principal component analysis and minimum noise fraction (MNF) transform. Three different images were achieved after these pre-processing of the hyperspectral image. Therefore, a total of four images were classified and assessed the accuracy. In the second part, a more precise and improved land cover study was done on hyperspectral image using linear spectral unmixing method. Finally, several vegetation constituents like chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, caroteoids were distinguished from the hyperspectral image using feature-oriented principal component analysis (FOPCA) method and which component dominates which type of land cover particularly vegetation were correlated.
Identifying Cultural and Non-cultural Factors Affecting Litter Patterns in Hickory Creek, Texas
Plastic deposition in hydrological systems is a pervasive problem at all geographic scales from loci of pollution to global ocean circulation. Much attention has been devoted to plastic deposition in marine contexts, but little is known about inputs of plastics into local hydrological systems, such as streams. Any attempt to prevent plastic litter must confront people’s behaviors, so archaeological concepts are used to distinguish between various cultural inputs (e.g., littering) and non-cultural forces (e.g., stream transport) that affect litter patterns on the landscape. Litter surveys along Hickory Creek in Denton, TX, are used to assess these factors.
The Impact Of Land Use And Land Cover Change On The Spatial Distribution Of Buruli Ulcer In Southwest Ghana
Buruli ulcer (BU) is an environmental bacterium caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. Modes of transmission and hosts of the disease remain unknown. The purposes of this study are to explore the environmental factors that are possibly explain the spatial distribution of BU, to predict BU cases by using the environmental factors, and to investigate the impact of land use and land cover change on the BU distribution. The study area covers the southwest portion of Ghana, 74 districts in 6 regions. The results show that the highest endemic areas occur in the center and expand to the southern portion of the study area. Statistically, the incidence rates of BU are positively correlated to the percentage of forest cover and inversely correlated to the percentages of grassland, soil, and urban areas in the study area. That is, forest is the most important environmental risk factor in this study. Model from zero-inflated Poisson regression is used in this paper to explain the impact of each land use and land cover type on the spatial distribution of BU. The results confirm that the changes of land use and land cover affect the spatial distribution of BU in the study area.
Importance and Spatial Distribution of Phytophthora Ramorum Host Species in a Coast Redwood Forest
Phytophthora ramorum, an exotic forest pathogen known as ‘sudden oak death’ (SOD), has received considerable attention in recent years because of its effects on vegetation structure, composition, and fire disturbance regimes in western U.S. coastal forests. This research examines differences in the importance (e.g., density, dominance, and frequency) and distribution of five host species of P. ramorum–– Umbellularia californica (California bay laurel), Quercus agrifolia (coast live oak), Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir), Sequoia sempervirens (Coast redwood), and Arbutus menziesii (Madrone)––in Soquel, California. A stratified random sampling design was used to select 66 plots surrounding a managed forest edge in Soquel Demonstration State Forest. Vegetation measurements were conducted in summer 2013. In each plot, all trees ≥3 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) were identified to species, counted, and DBH, height, and canopy position measured. Leaf area index (LAI) of bay laurel was measured to quantify the amount of leaves available for pathogen dispersal with a LiCOR 2200 Plant Canopy Analyzer. In addition, morning (9:00 am) and afternoon (1:00 pm) photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) were quantified using a quantum light sensor. This paper examines the influence of environmental variables, including distance to edge, aspect, slope, and light availability on host species spatial patterns in Soquel, CA. Studying P. ramorum host pattern and importance among managed forest edges is critical for determining hotspots most susceptible to infection and spread, thus relevant for implementing control measures.
The Influence of Local Forage Variability on White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) Body Size at Fort Hood, Texas
Nutritional quality and availability is thought to regulate geographic patterns of variability in animal body size due to phenotypic plasticity. The purpose of this study is to determine how vegetation quality, abundance and population density influence white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) body size on a subregional spatial scale at Fort Hood, Texas. Harvest and census records are used to test the hypothesis that white-tailed deer exhibit phenotypic plasticity (e.g. larger body size) in response to differences in vegetation quality and availability. Results from these analyses suggest that forage quality and abundance alone is not a main driver of white-tailed deer body size. Analysis of deer population density (generally) resulted in an inverse relationship with body size. Areas with high quality forage and low population density support larger deer while areas with low quality forage and high density support smaller than average deer. The few exceptions occur in areas exhibiting poor quality forage and low population density or high forage quality and high density. Results from this study suggest that continued overcrowding of deer within isolated areas may eventually lead to efficiency phenotypic conditions producing smaller sized deer. These results could prove useful in interpreting deer population responses to harvest management. For successful local management of deer, studies examining the combined influence of habitat variables (such as forage quality, abundance and population density) on deer health offer managers valuable information needed to establish annual harvest goals and understand deer-habitat relationships relative to carrying capacity.
Influence of the Choice of Disease Mapping Method on Population Characteristics in Areas of High Disease Burdens
Disease maps are powerful tools for depicting spatial variations in disease risk and its underlying drivers.  However, producing effective disease maps requires careful consideration of the statistical and spatial properties of the disease data. In fact, the choice of mapping method influences the resulting spatial pattern of the disease, as well as the understanding of its underlying population characteristics. New developments in mapping methods and software in addition to continuing improvements in data quality and quantity are requiring map-makers to make a multitude of decisions before a map of disease burdens can be created. The impact of such decisions on a map, including the choice of appropriate mapping method, not been addressed adequately in the literature. This research demonstrates how choice of mapping method and associated parameters influence the spatial pattern of disease. We use four different disease-mapping methods – unsmoothed choropleth maps, smoothed choropleth maps produced using the headbanging method, smoothed kernel density maps, and smoothed choropleth maps produced using spatial empirical Bayes methods and 5-years of zip code level HIV incidence (2007- 2011) data from Dallas and Tarrant Counties, Texas. For each map, the leading population characteristics and their relative importance with regards to HIV incidence is identified using a regression analysis of a CDC recommended list of socioeconomic determinants of HIV. Our results show that the choice of mapping method leads to different conclusions regarding the associations between HIV disease burden and the underlying demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Thus, the choice of mapping method influences the patterns of disease we see or fail to see. Accurate depiction of areas of high disease burden is important for developing and targeting appropriate public health interventions.
Installation and Manufacturing of Photovoltaics: an Assessment Using California and New York
Renewable energy studies are becoming increasingly important as world energy demand rises and current energy sources are increasingly questioned. Solar photovoltaics (PV) are the focus of this study as a renewable industry still in its infancy. This research examines the geography of solar panel installation and manufacturing from 2007 to 2010 in California and New York. California is the larger of the two markets and has implemented more policy support; programs that appear to have increased the pace of installations, reduce the size of the subsidy, and help lower total costs. Similar trends are observable in New York. US based companies are still making solar panels, but foreign competitors, most notably from China and Mexico, are capturing an increasing share of the market.
Integrating GIS with Benthic Metrics: Calibrating a Biotic Index to Effectively Discriminate Stream Impacts in Urban Areas of the Blackland Prairie Eco-Region
Rapid Bioassessment Protocols integrate a suite of community, population, and functional metrics, determined from the collection of benthic macroinvertebrates or fish, into a single assessment. This study was conducted in Dallas County Texas, an area located in the blackland prairie eco-region that is semi-arid and densely populated. The objectives of this research were to identify reference streams and propose a set of metrics that are best able to discriminate between differences in community structure due to natural variability from those caused by changes in water quality due to watershed impacts. Using geographic information systems, a total of nine watersheds, each representing a different mix of land uses, were chosen for evaluation. A total of 30 metrics commonly used in RBP protocols were calculated. Efficacy of these metrics to distinguish change was determined using several statistical techniques. Ten metrics were used to classify study area watersheds according to stream quality. Many trends, such as taxa presence along habitat quality gradients, were observed. These gradients coincided with expected responses of stream communities to landscape and habitat variables.
Interpreting Prehistoric Patterns: Site Catchment Analysis in the Upper Trinity River Basin of North Central Texas
Archaeologically site catchment analysis produces valuable information regarding prehistoric subsistence strategies and social organization. Incorporating archaeological data into catchment analyses is an effective strategy to develop regional models of prehistoric site selection and settlement patterns. Digital access to data permits the incorporation of multiple layers of information into the process of synthesizing regional archaeology and interpreting corresponding spatial patterning. GIS software provides a means to integrate digital environmental and archaeological data into an effective tool. Resultant environmental archaeology maps facilitate interpretive analysis. To fulfill the objectives of this thesis, GIS software is employed to construct site catchment areas for archaeological sites and to implement multivariate statistical analyses of physical and biological attributes of catchments in correlation with assemblage data from sites. Guided by ecological, anthropological and geographical theories hypotheses testing evaluates patterns of prehistoric socio-economic behavior. Analytical results are summarized in a model of prehistoric settlement patterns in North Central Texas.
An Investigation of the Relationship between HIV and Prison Facilities in Texas: The Geographic Variation and Vulnerable Neighborhood Characteristics
Previous research suggests that prisons may be fueling the spread of HIV infection in the general population. In 2005, the HIV rate was more than 2.5 times higher in US prison populations. Environmental factors in prisons such as illicit drug use and unprotected sexual activities can be conducive for HIV transmission. Because the vast majority of prison inmates are incarcerated for less than three years, transmission of HIV between prison inmates and members of the general population may occur at a high rate. The environment in which an individual lives and the entities that comprise it affect the health of that person. Thus the location of prisons within communities, as well as socio-demographic characteristics may influence the geography of HIV infection. HIV surveillance data, obtained from the Texas Department of State Health Services, were used to investigate the relationship between the location of prison units in Texas and HIV infection rates in the surrounding zip codes. The results suggest that HIV prevalence rates are higher among geographic areas in close proximity to a prison unit. With continued behavioral risks and low treatment adherence rates among individuals infected with HIV, there is a possibility of increased HIV prevalence. Vulnerable places, locations with higher HIV prevalence, should be targeted for resource allocation and HIV prevention and care service. This study illustrates the importance of spatial analysis of places vulnerable to increased HIV prevalence in creating more effective public health prevention strategies and interventions.
The Landscape Legacies of Gas Drilling in North Texas
In North Texas, the Barnett Shale underlies large areas of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (DFW), which magnifies debates about the externalities of shale gas development (SGD). Continued demand for natural gas and expansive urbanization in DFW will cause more people to come in contact with drilling rigs, gas transport, and other urban shale gas landscapes. Thousands of gas wells within the DFW region occupy a large, yet scattered land surface area. DFW city planners, elected officials, and other stakeholders must deal with current and future urban growth and the surface impacts that are associated with gas development. This research examines how shale gas landscapes affect urban land uses, landscapes, and patterns of development in DFW. The study focuses on multiple fast growing DFW municipalities that also have high numbers of gas well pad sites. This study asks what are the spatial characteristics of gas well production sites in DFW and how do these sites vary across the region; how do gas well production sites affect urban growth and development; and how are city governments and surface developers responding to gas well production sites, and what are the dominant themes of contestation arising around gas well production sites and suburban growth?
Measuring the value of transit access for Dallas County: A hedonic approach.
Advocates of urban light rail transit argue that positive developments around station area(s) should offset the costs of implementing a transit system by creating more livable communities and enhance surrounding residential property values. In some cases, decreased urban landscape aesthetics have been reported. The purpose of this study is to contribute to this debate via an analysis of the impact of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system on residential property values in Dallas County. By examining the impact of distance on property values of two features of the DART system: the transit station and the rail line, and by holding a series of structural variables constant, a net change in value can be calculated using a multi-regression model.
More buildings about songs and food: A case study of Omaha's Slowdown project.
The success of independent rock music ("indie rock"), once a marginalized sub-genre of the rock idiom and now a globally recognized cultural force, has impacted the urban landscape of Omaha, Nebraska via the mixed-use urban redevelopment project, "Slowdown" - a result of cultural production by the city's successful indie rock business entities. While geographic research has previously analyzed urban redevelopment initiated by fine artists, the event of indie rock music being a catalyst for urban redevelopment has never been considered in a geographic scope. By examining the topics of affordable technological tools, Omaha's reduced cost-of-living, and cooperative efforts by city leaders, insight into how an indie rock "scene" can become a successful urban redevelopment catalyst is gained.
A Multiscalar Analysis of Buruli Ulcer in Ghana: Environmental and Behavioral Factors in Disease Prevalence
Buruli ulcer (BU), an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is the third most common mycobacterial disease after leprosy and tuberculosis and a WHO-defined neglected tropical disease. Despite years of research, the mode of transmission of BU remains unknown. This master’s thesis provides an integrated spatial analysis of disease dynamics in Ghana, West Africa, an area of comparatively high BU incidence. Within a case/matched control study design, environmental factors associated with BU infection and spatial behaviors are investigated to uncover possible links between individual daily activity spaces and terrains of risk across disturbed landscapes. This research relies upon archival and field-collected data and analyses conducted with geographical information systems (GIS).
National Patterns and Community Impacts of Major Domestic U.S. Military Base Closures, 1988-present
This thesis analyses major U.S. military bases closed by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission since 1988. The study focuses on geographic patterns of pre-existing versus BRAC bases, statistical attributes, environmental restoration, and reuse of bases. Comparative case studies supplement the analysis, highlighting rural versus urban location, success versus failure, politics, conflict, and local versus national goals. Thesis findings are that: 92 bases closed versus 97 commonly published; a fairly even national closure pattern occurred, indicating Commission efforts to achieve equity, except for three closure clusters indicating efforts to consolidate functions in some regions and leave others; base reuse, while commonly perceived negatively, has been positive in most cases; the BRAC process is becoming more efficient, such that allowed years between BRAC closure decisions and base closures should be reduced from six to three years to benefit both communities and the Defense Department.
Neural Tube Defect, Heart Defect, Oral Cleft and Their Geospatial Associations with Supermarket and Convenience Stores in the City of Dallas, Texas
Birth defects are the leading cause of infant death in the United States. Research has linked poor maternal micronutrient intake to birth defects including neural tube defects, heart defects, and oral clefts. After investigating spatial patterns of these birth defects in the City of Dallas and the neighborhood characteristics within clusters, geospatial access to supermarkets and convenience stores measured by proximity and concentrations are examined as environmental risk factors for nutrition-related birth defects. Spatial clusters of all three nutrition-related birth defects exist in the City of Dallas. Cluster for NTD occurs in vulnerable places with lower income and high minority population specifically Hispanics with no supermarkets. Cluster for heart defects mostly occurs in high income and predominantly white neighborhoods with many supermarkets. Clusters of oral clefts mostly occurs in middle-class income with relatively high minority populations with many convenience stores. For the entire study area, geographical access to supermarkets that include healthy foods are shown to be spatially reachable from most of mothers of infants with nutrition-related birth defects as well as convenience stores that typically include the majority of unhealthy processed foods with very few nutrients. Thus, not only easy geographical access to healthy food vendors but to convenience stores with low quality produces is observed at the same time.
A New Lacunarity Analysis Add-In for ArcGIS
This thesis introduces a new lacunarity analysis add-in for ArcGIS
Pastoral Livelihoods and Household Water Management in the Central Argentine Andes
Pastoralists tend to occupy highlands and drylands lands with uncertain climates and are experienced at coping with climatic variability and drought. Increasingly, however, the speed with which climate patterns are changing has become an issue of concern. This study examines household water management strategies of pastoralists in western Argentina. In this semi-arid region, pastoralists rely primarily on streams and springs fed by snow and glacier melt from the Andes, and have developed various strategies to meet their water needs. They also deal with myriad challenges posed by climate, economic, and socio-cultural change and work vigorously to maintain their herds – a combination of cattle, goats, and sheep – in this water scarce region. The goal of this study is to understand: 1) different household water management strategies; 2) the ways pastoral livelihoods are changing in response to changes in water supply; and 3) the socio-economic changes that affect pastoral livelihoods. Information from interviews, household surveys, and participant observations reveals that climate fluctuation impacts water supplies and use, herd size, and expenses made on tanks, technology, and infrastructure for the storage and transport of water, food for animals, and subsistence crops. Understanding the micro-scale, water practices of pastoral households provides insight into the ways rural populations in semi-arid and arid environments respond to changes in climate and meet their water needs. Moreover, these findings can contribute to scholarship on traditional and local knowledge and resource management systems, and may potentially inspire the development of adaptive management solutions.
The proposed Fastrill Reservoir in east Texas: A study using geographic information systems.
Geographic information systems and remote sensing software were used to analyze data to determine the area and volume of the proposed Fastrill Reservoir, and to examine seven alternatives. The controversial reservoir site is in the same location as a nascent wildlife refuge. Six general land cover types impacted by the reservoir were also quantified using Landsat imagery. The study found that water consumption in Dallas is high, but if consumption rates are reduced to that of similar Texas cities, the reservoir is likely unnecessary. The reservoir and its alternatives were modeled in a GIS by selecting sites and intersecting horizontal water surfaces with terrain data to create a series of reservoir footprints and volumetric measurements. These were then compared with a classified satellite imagery to quantify land cover types. The reservoir impacted the most ecologically sensitive land cover type the most. Only one alternative site appeared slightly less environmentally damaging.
A Quantitative Assessment of Site Formation at the Dmanisi Archaeological Site, Republic of Georgia
The focus of this thesis was to gather and analyze micromorphological and petrographic data on soils at the archaeological site of Dmanisi in order to better understand the extent to which the deposition and alteration of the sediments has affected the preservation of artifacts and faunal remains. A major goal of this research was to test hypothesis related to why bone material is discovered in some strata and not in others. This research focuses on the application of micromorphology (supplemented with other methods) to the soils through the use of petrographic analysis of thin sections and scanning electron microscopy. These techniques complement previous field analyses by providing a quantitative assessment of individual strata through point counting and chemical mapping. The results of this research support the hypothesis that the sediments are predominantly mafic ashes, while showing that there is very little soil development in the strata. This suggests quick episodic burial in a relatively dry climate, confirming the hypothesis for a short time sequence in the strata. Additionally, differential weathering probably did not play a significant role in the differential abundance of bone remains among the strata at Dmanisi.
Quantitative Comparison of Lidar Data and User-generated Three-dimensional Building Models From Google Building Maker
Volunteered geographic information (VGI) has received increased attention as a new paradigm for geographic information production, while light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data is widely applied to many fields. This study quantitatively compares LiDAR data and user-generated 3D building models created using Google Building Maker, and investigate the potential applications of the quantitative measures in support of rapid disaster damage assessment. User-generated 3D building models from Google Building Maker are compared with LiDAR-derived building models using 3D shape signatures. Eighteen 3D building models are created in Fremont, California using the Google Building Maker, and six shape functions (distance, angle, area, volume, slope, and aspect) are applied to the 18 LiDAR-derived building models and user-generated ones. A special case regarding the comparison between LiDAR data and building models with indented walls is also discussed. Based on the results, several conclusions are drawn, and limitations that require further study are also discussed.
Rail Transit and Its Influence on Land Use: A Dallas Case Study
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Mass transit investments continue to be utilized in many cities as means of dealing with various transportation issues. In Dallas Texas, light rail transit was developed with the hopes of encouraging compact and orderly growth. This research uses the DART system as a case study in examining transportation/land use relationships in Dallas. As such, this thesis reviews past research that examined transit systems impacts on urban areas, analyzes historical changes in land use pattern development around the existing twenty stations of the DART light rail starter system, and summarizes the progression of land use trends in the transit corridor as they relate to DART impacts. Results of this study suggest that DART's light rail system has been an effective tool used in achieving the transportation and land use goals for the region. Finally, recommendations are presented with respect to what can be expected for future light rail development in Dallas.
Resource Intensification of Small Game Use at Goodman Point, Southwestern Colorado
This analysis of faunal remains from eleven archaeological sites in the northern San Juan region, extensively occupied by the Ancestral Pueblo people until they leave the region by AD 1300, explores the effects of resource intensification of small wild and domestic resources leading up to this regional depopulation. By examining multiple lines of evidence, in addition to faunal abundance, causal factors are identified to address changes in abundances through time. In particular, age- and sex-based mortality are examined for lagomorphs (jackrabbits and cottontails) and domesticated turkey, respectively, to test hypotheses generated using the prey and patch choice models. Analyses of these resources follow a systematic paleontology which provides explicit identifications made of five sites from a large study area, Goodman Point Pueblo Unit. These data are integrated with those from large village sites from the encompassing central Mesa Verde region. The results of both analyses help clarify why the Ancestral Pueblo people left southwestern Colorado. During the final twenty-year occupation period, the results of this study support a shift from reliance on turkey husbandry to intense exploitation of locally available garden resources (i.e. cottontails).
Retail Change and Light Rail: an Exploration of Business Location Changes Accompanying Commuter Rail Development in Denton County, Texas
Within the past few decades, commuter rail routes in several major metropolitan areas have been implemented to provide an alternative to automobile transportation. Urban planners in these cities are looking to commuter rail to mitigate congestion and pollution. However, research on the impacts of commuter rail development on the surrounding retail landscape is still needed. In metropolitan Dallas-Fort Worth, the Denton County Transportation Authority recently opened its new A-Train light rail service linking suburban Denton and downtown Dallas. This thesis examines urban changes that occurred in the years before and after the A-Train line's 2011 opening, with a focus on restaurant and retail development in the vicinity of the A-Train stations in Denton County. This analysis evaluates changes in retail density and type, the population surrounding stations, and municipal initiatives that shape the retail landscape of station vicinities. This was done by gathering field data, retailer listings, population data, and conducting interviews with local businesses and city planners. The findings suggest that A-train stations have had a differential impact on the surrounding landscape, depending on the existing retail landscape, the types of retailers present, and the current state of municipal infrastructure that promotes accessibility. Overall, results suggest that urban planners play a vital role in harnessing the potential of commuter rail to promote nearby retail growth.
The Role of Knowledge and Attitude in Residential Irrigation Efficiency
Residential irrigation efficiency is a long-term concern for any community that faces water supply stress. When ability to raise water prices is constrained, public education and conservation programs can produce reduced water usage. Understanding the factors behind residential irrigation efficiency allows the design of more effective conservation campaigns. Combining site-specific water budgets with usage data for four hundred homes in North Texas enables quantifying efficient irrigation behavior. A survey of homeowners tests for the presence of conservation-positive attitudes and the knowledge required to implement those attitudes. The influence of neighbors’ watering habits is investigated using spatial clustering tools. Findings are analyzed in the context of an attitude, knowledge, and habit model of conservation behavior. The presence of automatic irrigation systems, small irrigated areas, and having knowledge of the amount that one waters one’s lawn are found to contribute to more intensive irrigation. Mixed evidence for small-scale clustering in irrigation intensity is presented.
Selecting Optimal Residential Locations Using Fuzzy GIS Modeling
Integrating decision analytical techniques in geographic information systems (GIS) can help remove the two primary obstacles in spatial decision making: inaccessibility to required geographic data and difficulties in synthesizing various criteria. I developed a GIS model to assist people seeking optimal residential locations. Fuzzy set theory was used to codify criteria for each factor used in evaluating residential locations, and weighted linear combination (WLC) was employed to simulate users' preferences in decision making. Three examples were used to demonstrate the applications in the study area. The results from the examples were analyzed. The model and the ArcGIS Extension can be used in other geographic areas for residential location selection, or in other applications of spatial decision making.
Shoreline Erosion at Mad Island Marsh Preserve, Matagorda County, Texas
The Nature Conservancy of Texas (TNC) is concerned with the amount of shoreline erosion taking place at its Mad Island Marsh Preserve (MIMP), located in Matagorda Bay, Texas. The MIMP is a 7,100 acre nature preserve that borders the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and is eroded by waves generated by barge traffic. TNC is concerned that erosion will shorten Mad Island Bayou which may increase the salinity of Mad Island Lake; with detrimental effects on lake and marsh habitats. This study uses GPS technology to map the current shoreline and GIS to determine ten year erosion rates (1995 - 2005). Results show that erosion is occurring at various rates along the shoreline as well as along the oxbow bend in Mad Island Bayou.
Site Formation Processes and Bone Preservation Along the Trinity River Basin, North Central Texas
This thesis presents the results of geoarchaeological investigations of several archaeological sites along the Elm Fork of the Trinity River in north central Texas. Archaeological data recorded from mitigation excavations in Denton and Cooke counties were analyzed to understand the geologic impacts on faunal preservation resulting from site formation processes. The faunal assemblages are highly fragmented, even in settings known for good preservation. A combined approach using geoarchaeological and taphonomic techniques was implemented to examine how fragmentation, evidence of soil weathering, and differential preservation were impacted by differing geologic conditions throughout the river basin. Intrasite and intersite results of the sites show that a great deal of variability of faunal preservation is present at difference scales of analysis.
Small Town Retail Change in East Texas: an Analysis of Retail Growth, Decline, and Spatial Reconfiguration
In recent years, small towns have experienced declining levels of retail activity attributable to a variety of factors. Previously conducted research identifies a number of these factors such as changing population dynamics, continuously evolving retail practices, locational factors, and an assortment of other macroeconomic factors. Although retail decline is common for many small towns, there are some small towns that have been able to maintain their viability in an ever-changing economic climate. The primary purpose of this research is to better understand what spatial and socio-economic characteristics contribute to retail growth and decline in a series of small towns. This research highlights a selection of small towns across a 14 county area within east Texas. The selection of small towns includes a number of towns with an increasing number of retail establishments as well as a number of towns with decreasing retail establishments over the 14 year study timeframe. Contained within this research is a discussion of small town economic and retail development, as well as findings regarding spatial and socio-economic characteristics as they relate to retail growth and decline in small towns. This research finds that locational characteristics do have an effect on retail growth and decline. The research also supports the literature, which states retail growth and decline is more pronounced within certain retail categories.
Soil Characteristics Estimation and Its Application in Water Balance Dynamics
This thesis is a contribution to the work of the Texas Environmental Observatory (TEO), which provides environmental information from the Greenbelt Corridor (GBC) of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. The motivation of this research is to analyze the short-term water dynamic of soil in response to the substantial rainfall events that occurred in North Texas in 2007. Data collected during that year by a TEO soil and weather station located at the GBC includes precipitation, and soil moisture levels at various depths. In addition to these field measurements there is soil texture data obtained from lab experiments. By comparing existing water dynamic models, water balance equations were selected for the study as they reflect the water movement of the soil without complicated interrelation between parameters. Estimations of water flow between soil layers, infiltration rate, runoff, evapotranspiration, water potential, hydraulic conductivity, and field capacity are all obtained by direct and indirect methods. The response of the soil at field scale to rainfall event is interpreted in form of flow and change of soil moisture at each layer. Additionally, the analysis demonstrates that the accuracy of soil characteristic measurement is the main factor that effect physical description. Suggestions for model improvement are proposed. With the implementation of similar measurements over a watershed area, this study would help the understanding of basin-scale rainfall-runoff modeling.
Spatial Analysis of Hiv/aids Survival in Dallas and Harris Counties, Texas
More Texans are living with HIV infection than ever before. in fact, there has been a 6% increase annually, since 2002. This trend is not a result of increased HIV/AIDS incidence, but rather improving life expectancy of those living with HIV. Due to significant advances in HIV/AIDS testing, prevention, and treatment, individuals with HIV are living longer than ever before. However, throughout the state, the life expectancy of a person infected with HIV/AIDS varies spatially. This study investigates and attempts to explain the spatial distribution of HIV/AIDS survival rates by examining neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics. the results suggest that, contrary to expectation, the lowest survival rates occur, not in extreme poverty areas, but rather in moderate SES areas. Too rich to qualify for free treatments, but not rich enough to afford purchasing such treatments, the middle income living with HIV infection are caught between the cracks. the results provide important input for targeting public health interventions to improve HIV/AIDS survival.
Spatial Analysis of North Central Texas Traffic Fatalities 2001-2006
A traditional two dimensional (planar) statistical analysis was used to identify the clustering types of North Central Texas traffic fatalities occurring in 2001-2006. Over 3,700 crash locations clustered in ways that were unlike other researched regions. A two dimensional (x and y coordinates) space was manipulated to mimic a one dimensional network to identify the tightest clustering of fatalities in the nearly 400,000 crashes reported from state agencies from 2003-2006. The roadway design was found to significantly affect crash location. A one dimensional (linear) network analysis was then used to measure the statistically significant clustering of flow variables of after dark crashes and daylight crashes. Flow variables were determined to significantly affect crash location after dark. The linear and planar results were compared and the one dimensional, linear analysis was found to be more accurate because it did not over detect the clustering of events on a network.
Spatial Analysis of Teen Births in North Central Texas
The United States has the highest teen birth rate among western industrialized countries and the highest levels of pregnancy among adolescents (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1994). While the rate of teen births is high throughout the country, considerable variations exist between and within regions. Texas is one of the 5 leading states with the highest teen birth rates to mothers less than 18 years of age. This research provides a detailed analysis of births to mothers aged between 10 and 19 years in North Central Texas counties. Due to the modifiable area unit problem and to provide a finer geographical scale of analysis, teen births in Dallas County zip codes were examined as a special case study. Statistical and Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis reveal that race/ethnicity, education and income are significant factors in teen births in the region. Single parent households and receipt of public assistance were not statistically significant. Suggestions for reducing vulnerability to teen births are presented.
Spatial Mismatch Between Hiv Infection and Access to Hiv Service Facilities in Texas
Since 2004, the number of people living with HIV (PLWH) has steadily increased by about 5% and currently, the number in Texas is about 86,000. Though the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan seeks to ensure “unfettered access to quality healthcare”, barriers to access still exist especially among minority populations. This study examines the relationship between HIV infection rates and the geographic location of HIV service centers with a focus on 4 counties: namely, Dallas, Denton, Harris and Tarrant. The goal is to show whether there is a spatial mismatch between HIV rates and service providers. Are service facilities located in zip codes where they are most needed? Using the vulnerability framework and the Inverse Care Law (ICL), we address the research question using demographic variables (race/ethnicity, sex, poverty, education attainment) and HIV data. Our results show that extreme vulnerable zip codes have high HIV rates and closest proximity to HIV service providers.
Spatial Patterns in Development Regulation: Tree Preservation Ordinances of the DFW Metropolitan Area
Land use regulations are typically established as a response to development activity. For effective growth management and habitat preservation, the opposite should occur. This study considers tree preservation ordinances of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area as a means of evaluating development regulation in a metropolitan context. It documents the impact urban cores have on regulations and policies throughout their region, demonstrating that the same urban-rural gradient used to describe physical components of our metropolitan areas also holds true in terms of policy formation. Although sophistication of land use regulation generally dissipates as one moves away from an urban core, native habitat is more pristine at the outer edges. To more effectively protect native habitat, regional preservation measures are recommended.
A Spatial-Temporal Analysis of Retail Location and Clustering: A Case Study of Port Huron, MI
Retail geography is a field of study that is growing in significance and importance within the academic, business, economic, and governmental realms. This study's main focus is on the changing retail environment with regards to business location and function within a small Midwestern city. The research focuses on Port Huron, Michigan because of the growth and shift of the retail community within the city over the past twenty years. The study specifically examines the changing influence and roles of Port Huron's central business district and of Birchwood Mall a retail development opened on the urban area's north end in 1990. The study uses the chi-squared, ANOVA, and cross tabulation statistical tests to analyze the changing geography of retail functions in the city. These statistics are used along with relative entropy equations to distinguish areas of high diversification, changing area functions, and common locations for multiple retail types.
A Spatially Explicit Environmental Health Surveillance Framework for Tick-Borne Diseases
In this paper, I will show how applying a spatially explicit context to an existing environmental health surveillance framework is vital for more complete surveillance of disease, and for disease prevention and intervention strategies. As a case study to test the viability of a spatial approach to this existing framework, the risk of human exposure to Lyme disease will be estimated. This spatially explicit framework divides the surveillance process into three components: hazard surveillance, exposure surveillance, and outcome surveillance. The components will be used both collectively and individually, to assess exposure risk to infected ticks. By utilizing all surveillance components, I will identify different areas of risk which would not have been identified otherwise. Hazard surveillance uses maximum entropy modeling and geographically weighted regression analysis to create spatial models that predict the geographic distribution of ticks in Texas. Exposure surveillance uses GIS methods to estimate the risk of human exposures to infected ticks, resulting in a map that predicts the likelihood of human-tick interactions across Texas, using LandScan 2008TM population data. Lastly, outcome surveillance uses kernel density estimation-based methods to describe and analyze the spatial patterns of tick-borne diseases, which results in a continuous map that reflects disease rates based on population location. Data for this study was obtained from the Texas Department of Health Services and the University of North Texas Health Science Center. The data includes disease data on Lyme disease from 2004-2008, and the tick distribution estimates are based on field collections across Texas from 2004-2008.
Spatio-temporal Variation of Nitrate Levels in Groundwater in Texas, 1970 to 2010
This study looks at spatial variation of groundwater nitrate in Texas and its fluctuations at 10 year increments using data from the Texas Water Development Board. While groundwater nitrate increased in the Ogallala and Seymour aquifers across the time period, the overall rate in Texas appears to be declining as time progresses. However, the available data is limited. Findings show that a much more targeted, knowledge based strategy for sampling would not only reduce the cost of water quality analysis but also reduce the risk of error in these analyses by providing a more realistic picture of the spatial variation of problem contaminants, thereby giving decision-makers a clearer picture on how best to handle the reduction and elimination of problem contaminants.
A Storm Water Runoff Investigation Using Gis and Remote Sensing
Environmental controls are becoming more and more expensive to implement, so environmental management is becoming more technologically advanced and efficient through the adoption of new techniques and models. This paper reviews the potential for storm water runoff for the city of Denton, Texas and with the main objective to perform storm water runoff analyses for three different land use datasets; each landuse dataset created with a different methodology. Also analyzed was the difference between two North Central Texas Council of Governments land use datasets and my own land use dataset as a part of evaluating new and emerging remote sensing techniques. The results showed that new remote sensing techniques can help to continually monitor changes within watersheds by providing more accurate data.
Structure, Composition, and Regeneration of Cross Timbers Forest Fragments in Different Land Use Contexts
Throughout its current range, the Cross Timbers forest ecosystem is vulnerable to land-use change. In this study, we examined the surrounding land use matrix on the vegetation structure, composition and regeneration of six Cross Timbers forest fragments in Denton County, Texas (north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex). Two fragments adjacent to agricultural land, two to residential neighborhoods, and two formally protected forest sites were selected. In summer 2015, five 100 m2 plots were randomly established in each fragment at least 200 meters from the edge. In each plot, all live and dead trees ≥ 3 cm diameter were identified and their height and diameter at breast height (DBH at 1.3 m aboveground) measured. Evidence of dumping (presence of trash) was recorded as an index of human frequentation. Differences in vegetation structure among the forest fragments were found. Most notably, fragments adjacent to agriculture contained 25% to 50% fewer trees per hectare than all other sites (Kruskal-Wallis, p < 0.02), especially trees <10 cm DBH. However, residential fragments had fewer trees that were ≥15 cm DBH compared to the other fragments, indicating that these are the youngest of the forest patches surveyed. Trash was observed in 60% of plots surveyed at residential forest sites, showing high levels of human frequentation compared to the protected and agricultural forest sites. Agricultural sites contained the lowest number of recorded tree species and were most similar to each other, sharing 91% of species. These findings indicate that surrounding land use affects forest structure and composition, consequently affecting valuable ecosystem services including wildlife habitat, aesthetics and recreation.
The Study of Temporal and Spatial Variability of Degree Day Factor of Snowmelt in Colorado
Snowmelt is one of the major sources of surface water supply and ground-water recharge in high elevation areas and can also cause flooding in snow dominated watersheds. Direct estimation of daily snowmelt requires daily snow water equivalent (SWE) measurements that are not always available, especially in places without monitoring stations. There are two alternative approaches to modeling snowmelt without using direct measurements of SWE, temperature-based and energy-based models. Due to its simplicity, computational efficiency, and less input data requirement, the temperature-based method is commonly used than the energy-based method. In the temperature-index approach snowmelt is estimated as a linear function of average air temperature, and the slope of the linear function is called the degree-day factor (DDF). Hence, the DDF is an essential parameter for utilizing the temperature-based method to estimate snowmelt. Thereby, to analyze the spatial properties of DDF, 10 years DDF from the entire state of Colorado was calculated for this research. Likewise, to study the temporal properties, DDFs for 27 years from the White Yampa water basin and the Colorado Headwaters water basin were calculated. As a part of the spatial analysis, the calculated DDFs were correlated with spatial variables (slope, aspect, latitude and elevation) and a spatial correlation graph was created to observe the possibility of predicting DDF. Also a multivariate regression model was prepared using these spatial variables to predict the DDF using spatial variables. Further, the DDFs calculated from Colorado headwaters and the White Yampa water basins were correlated for annual temporal variation, daily variation, variation with peak snow water equivalent and variation with important temporal cycles like accumulation period and melting period of snowmelt. The result obtained from this study showed that the variability of DDF is more dependent upon temporal factors compared to the spatial factors. Also, the results showed that predicting DDF is a difficult process and requires complex methods than simple linear models or multivariate models.
"A Tale of Two Weapons": Late Holocene Hunting Technology in North Central Texas
This research is an investigation of the Late Holocene technological transition from the spearthrower and dart to the bow and arrow in north central Texas. It is conducted through a theoretical approach that utilizes ethnographic research, experimental archaeology and the archaeological record to elucidate differences in the behaviors and hunting strategies of Late Archaic and Late Prehistoric groups. It first confirms that there was a transition. Second, a lithic analysis demonstrates that there are fundamental differences in the sizes of the stone dart and arrow points that relate to the propulsive requirements of the weapon systems. Third, it is shown these size differences constrain maintenance potentials and that indeed dart and arrow points exhibit stark differences in their life histories in spite of being employed for the same task. And finally, the faunal record suggests that this transition was associated with an increase in foraging efficiency.
Testing New Measures of Age Independent Body Size in White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
The four elements of the lower hind foot (calcaneus, metatarsal, naviculo-cuboid, and tibia) were tested for use as age-independent proxies of body size in white-tailed deer using known aged specimens from Ft. Hood Texas. Statistical analysis indicates that the calcaneum and the tibia are good proxies of age-independent body size in white-tailed deer. In addition to expanding the list of elements that can be used for studies of age-independent body size, these elements can also be used to age faunal remains to an ordinal scale of juveniles and adults. This is useful for research regarding prehistoric prey populations; as a single element can be used to determine prey body size and age simultaneously, which are the two variables used to assess changes in human subsistence practices via the archaeological remains of their prey.
Use of geographic information systems and infrared-triggered cameras to assess white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) habitat in Denton County, Texas.
This study utilized geographic information systems, remote sensing, and infrared-triggered cameras to assess white-tailed deer habitat in Denton County, Texas. Denton County is experiencing tremendous growth in both population and development. Despite their presence here historically, white-tailed deer were all but extirpated by the beginning of the 20th century, and there are no data available which support their presence in Denton County again until the 1980's. This study attempts to equate the increase in white-tailed deer population to Denton County's transformation from an agricultural to an urban economy and lifestyle. Eighteen sites were chosen throughout the county to research the following metrics: geology, soils, landcover, landscape ecology, streams, shorelines, land use, population, roads, structures, and census methods.
Use of GIS to Identify and Delineate Areas of Fluoride, Sulfate, Chloride, and Nitrate Levels in the Woodbine Aquifer, North Central Texas, in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s
ArcView and ArcInfo were used to identify and delineate areas contaminated by fluoride, sulfate, chloride, and nitrate in the Woodbine Aquifer. Water analysis data were obtained from the TWDB from the 1950s to 1990s covering 9 counties. 1990s land use data were obtained to determine the relationship with each contaminant. Spearman's rank correlation coefficients and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to calculate relationships between variables. Land uses had little effect on distributions of contaminants. Sulfate and fluoride levels were most problematic in the aquifer. Depth and lithology controlled the distributions of each contaminant. Nitrate patterns were controlled mainly by land use rather than geology, but were below the maximum contaminant level. In general, contaminant concentrations have decreased since the 1950s.
Using Geographic Information Systems for the Functional Assessment of Texas Coastal Prairie Freshwater Wetlands Around Galveston Bay
The objective of this study was to deploy a conceptual framework developed by M. Forbes using a geographic information system (GIS) approach to assess the functionality of wetlands in the Galveston Bay Area of Texas. This study utilized geospatial datasets which included National Wetland Inventory maps (NWI), LiDAR data, National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) imagery and USGS National Land Cover data to assess the capacity of wetlands to store surface water and remove pollutants, including nitrogen, phosphorus, heavy metals, and organic compounds. The use of LiDAR to characterize the hydrogeomorphic characteristics of wetlands is a key contribution of this study to the science of wetland functional assessment. LiDAR data was used to estimate volumes for the 7,370 wetlands and delineate catchments for over 4,000 wetlands, located outside the 100-yr floodplain, within a 2,075 square mile area around Galveston Bay. Results from this study suggest that coastal prairie freshwater wetlands typically have a moderate capacity to store surface water from precipitation events, remove ammonium, and retain phosphorus and heavy metals and tend to have a high capacity for removing nitrate and retainremove organic compounds. The results serve as a valuable survey instrument for increasing the understanding of coastal prairie freshwater wetlands and support a cumulative estimate of the water quality and water storage functions on a regional scale.
Water systems, water policy, and Karst terrain: An analysis of the complex relationships between geology, economy, public perceptions, and policy in southern Trelawny, Jamaica.
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Jamaica has an abundance of freshwater resources, however, a lack of infrastructure makes treated, piped water inaccessible in many areas. Through literature reviews and site visits, this thesis is an analysis of how the people and land, and money and policy, interact with one another in relation to Jamaica's freshwater resources and water infrastructure. Special attention is given to the island's type-example Cockpit karst geology; tourism, mining, and farming's relation to this karst; types of water delivery systems in rural southern Trelawny's Cockpit Country; southern Trelawny residents' perceptions of the water situation; and policy and development goals in the context of Jamaica and southern Trelawny. I hope to bring attention to the unique social, geologic, and developmental context of water in Jamaica, and more specifically to garner attention for major water infrastructure improvements in south Trelawny. A number of recommendations for improvements with policy and infrastructure are made.
Zooarchaeology and Biogeography of Freshwater Mussels in the Leon River During the Late Holocene
The Leon River, a small-medium river in central Texas, is highly impacted by multiple impoundments, enrichment from agricultural runoff, and decreased dissolved oxygen levels. This degraded river contains sixteen unionid species, two of which are both endemic to the region and candidates for the federal endangered species listing (Quadrula houstonensis and Truncilla macrodon). While there is a short historical record for this river basin and a recent modern survey completed in 2011, zooarchaeological data adds evidence for conservation efforts by increasing the time depth of data available and providing another conservation baseline. Zooarchaeological data for the Leon River is available from the two Late Holocene archaeological sites: 41HM61 and the Belton Lake Assemblages. Data generated from these assemblages describe the prehistoric freshwater mussel community of the Leon River in terms of taxonomic composition and structure. By comparing this zooarchaeological data to the data generated by the longitudinal modern survey of the Leon River, long term changes within the freshwater mussel community can be detected. A conceptual model is constructed to evaluate how robusticity, identifiability, and life history ecology affect unionid taxonomic abundances in zooarchaeological data. This conceptual model functions as an interpretive tool for zooarchaeologists to evaluate forms of equifinality in zooarchaeological assemblages. This thesis determines differences between the late Holocene and modern freshwater community of the Leon River, explores how different alternative mechanisms influence zooarchaeological data, and exemplifies of how zooarchaeological data can be used for conservation biology.