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- Adaptive Advantages of Carotenoid Pigments in Alpine and Subalpine Copepod Responses to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Induced Phototoxicity
- Alpine zooplankton are exposed to a variety of stressors in their natural environment including ultraviolet radiation. Physiological coping mechanisms such as the accumulation of photoprotective compounds provide these zooplankton protection from many of these stressors. Elevated levels of carotenoid compounds such as astaxanthin have been shown to help zooplankton survive longer when exposed to ultraviolet radiation presumably due to the strong antioxidant properties of carotenoid compounds. This antioxidant capacity is important because it may ameliorate natural and anthropogenic stressor-induced oxidative stress. While previous researchers have shown carotenoid compounds impart increased resistance to ultraviolet radiation in populations of zooplankton, little work has focused on the toxicological implications of PAH induced phototoxicity on zooplankton containing high levels of carotenoid compounds. This thesis discusses research studying the role that carotenoid compounds play in reducing PAH induced phototoxicity. By sampling different lakes at elevations ranging from 9,500' to 12,700' in the front range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, copepod populations containing different levels of carotenoid compounds were obtained. These populations were then challenged with fluoranthene and ultraviolet radiation. Results discussed include differences in survival and levels of lipid peroxidation among populations exhibiting different levels of carotenoid compounds, and the toxicological and ecological implications of these results.
- Analysis and Development of Post Secondary Curriculum on Sustainability
- This thesis examines existing curricula at colleges and universities about sustainability and uses results to develop an introductory post secondary course curriculum. The proposed course is organized around three major elements - - science, philosophy, and economics - - all integral to understanding sustainability. Materials needed to teach the proposed 3-semester hour course including syllabus, teaching modules, transparencies, handouts, and exams were developed. Suggestions on how to teach a one-semester hour course on sustainability and a workshop on sustainability are also presented. The following research and curriculum development was a project established and funded by the Texas Energy Office, Renewable Resources and Sustainability Program.
- Analysis of the one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) habitat in the Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal.
- This study analyzes the remaining suitable habitat of the one-horned rhinoceros, Rhinoceros unicornis, in Royal Chitwan National Park of Nepal. An April 2003 Landsat image was classified into eight land cover types: wetland, sand, water, mixed forest, sal forest, agriculture, settlement, and grassland. This image was converted into habitat suitability maps using cover, food, and water. The rhinoceros prefers grassland habitat with oxbow lakes and closed canopy during the monsoon season. Nominal values of five parameters were used to create a map of habitat suitability index. The map was categorized into four habitat classes: highly unsuitable, unsuitable, moderately suitable habitat, and suitable. Landscape metrics, patch metrics and class metrics associated with habitat were determined through the use of FRAGSTATS.
- Assessing Outcomes of a Recycling Education and Service Program within an Elementary School
- During the spring 2004 a pilot school recycling program was implemented within Robert E. Lee Elementary. The primary goal of the program was to determine how recycling education in the school would affect curbside recycling rates within the surrounding community. The program was a cooperative effort between the University of North Texas, City of Denton Solid Waste Department and Keep Denton Beautiful. Throughout the first months of the study during the spring 2004, an increase in curbside recycling within the Robert E. Lee Elementary attendance zone was observed, with a dramatic decrease in participation over the summer and a rapid increase once again during the second full semester of the study. In a survey conducted with 3rd and 5th grade students at the pilot project school, most students expressed positive attitudes about recycling. Students whose survey responses indicated a high level of knowledge about what could be recycled were 37% more likely to claim to recycle regularly, than those students that scored low on the knowledge portion of the survey. Although the total amount of waste generation (recyclable and non-recyclable) at Robert E. Lee Elementary did not decrease during the study, the campus was able to divert recyclable material from their trash at a much higher rate than two other local elementary campuses with paper-only recycling and no associated recycling education program. Based upon the success of the recycling program at Robert E. Lee Elementary, the City of Denton Recycling Division has agreed to move forward with offering recycling to more schools within the Denton Independent School District during the 2005-2006 school year.
- Assessing the Spatial and Temporal Distribution of MTBE and BTEX Compounds in Lake Lewisville, Texas February 1999 - February 2000
- The spatial and temporal distribution of Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE) and BTEX (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylenes) compounds were assessed in a multipurpose reservoir, Lake Lewisville, Texas between February 1999 and February 2000. Concentrations of MTBE ranged from 0.0 - 16.7 mg/L. Levels of MTBE in the lake were related to watercraft. BTEX concentrations were never detected above 2.0 mg/L during the sampling period. Finished drinking water from Denton and the Upper Trinity Regional Water District (UTRWD) Treatment Plants were also tested for MTBE and BTEX. MTBE and BTEX were not detected in UTRWD water samples. Denton's finished water samples never exceeded 2.2 mg/L for MTBE and BTEX was not detected except for one replicate of 1.1 mg/L toluene.
- Assessment of the efficacy of a constructed wetland to reduce or remove wastewater effluent estrogenicity and toxicity using biomarkers in male fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas Rafinesque, 1820).
- Vitellogenin in Pimephales promelas was used to assess estrogenicity of a local municipal effluent. Vitellogenin induction in male P. promelas increased in frequency and magnitude with increased exposure duration and was greater ("=0.05) than controls after 2 and 3 weeks of exposure. The level of vitellogenesis induced by effluent exposure was high compared to similar studies. A spring season evaluation followed. Biomarkers in P. promelas were used to assess the efficacy of a treatment wetland to remove toxicity and estrogenicity in final treated wastewater effluent. Comparisons were made with an effluent dominated stream and laboratory controls. Vitellogenin, GSIs (gonado-somatic indices), HSIs (hepato-somatic indices) and secondary sexual characteristics were biomarkers used in P. promelas models to assess aqueous estrogenicity. Biological indicators used to assess general fish health included hematocrit and condition factors. The estrogenic nature of the effluent was screened, concurrent with fish exposure, with GC/MS analysis for target estrogenic compounds including: 17-b estradiol, estrone, ethynylestradiol, Bisphenol A, nonylphenolic compounds, phthalates, and DDT. Plasma vitellogenin measured in P. promelas was significantly elevated (p < 0.0001) at the inflow site of the wetland and stream sites. GSIs for these exposures were less (a=0.001) at the wetland inflow site. At wetland sites closest to the inflow, secondary sexual charateristics, tubercle numbers and fat pad thickness, were less (a=0.0001). Hematocrit and condition factors were less (a=0.001) at sites closer to the wetland inflow. Seasonal variation was examined by repeating the effluent characterization in summer. Additionally, summer testing included exposure to an effluent dilution series. Fish condition heavily influenced interpretation of the results. Pre-acclimation exposure to spawning stresses may have altered many of the biological markers measured. Results are discussed relative to fish health and pre-exposure environment. Toxicity assessed with P. promelas biomarkers was compared with Ceriodaphnia dubia and Vibrio fischeri toxicty tests on this effluent. Biomarkers of fish health were somewhat less sensitive than C. dubia test endpoints, but more sensitive than V. fisheri.
- An Assessment of the Use of Seeding, Mowing, and Burning in the Restoration of an Oldfield to Tallgrass Prairie in Lewisville, Texas
- An examination of the effectiveness of seeding, burning, and mowing in the reestablishment of tallgrass prairie species on overgrazed and abandoned pastureland. The study site is a 20 acre tract on U.S. Corps of Engineers land below Lake Lewisville in Denton County, Texas. The site was partitioned into thirty-nine 40 by 40 meter plots with seeding (carried out in 1996) and management treatment (burning, mowing, and no maintenance carried out in 1998) randomly applied following a two level design. For each plot, nine stratified-random 0.1 m2 subplots were examined and shoot counts for each species recorded. The effects of the treatments on individual species and species richness were analyzed with a two-way ANOVA followed by a SNK multiple range test, both on ranked data. Community level analysis was conducted with both a MANOVA on ranked data and a Canonical Correspondence Analysis on raw data. Results indicate that seeding positively affected species richness, particularly when combined with either burning or mowing in the early spring. Mowing also significantly increased species richness in areas that were not seeded, while burning negatively affected species richness on unseeded plots. Treatments significantly affected community composition with treatments having the most clear effect on spring and summer forbs.
- Bioaccumulation of triclocarban, triclosan, and methyl-triclosan in a North Texas wastewater treatment plant receiving stream and effects of triclosan on algal lipid synthesis.
- Triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC), widely used antimicrobial agents found in numerous consumer products, are incompletely removed by wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) processing. Methyl-triclosan (M-TCS) is a more lipophilic metabolite of its parent compound, TCS. The focus of this study was to quantify bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for TCS, M-TCS, and TCC in Pecan creek, the receiving stream for the City of Denton, Texas WWTP by using field samples mostly composed of the alga Cladophora sp. and the caged snail Helisoma trivolvis as test species. Additionally, TCS effects on E. coli and Arabidopsis have been shown to reduce fatty acid biosynthesis and total lipid content by inhibiting the trans-2 enoyl- ACP reductase. The lipid synthesis pathway effects of TCS on field samples of Cladophora spp. were also investigated in this study by using [2-14C]acetate radiolabeling procedures. Preliminary results indicate high TCS concentrations are toxic to lipid biosynthesis and reduce [2-14C]acetate incorporation into total lipids. These results have led to the concern that chronic exposure of algae in receiving streams to environmentally relevant TCS concentrations might affect their nutrient value. If consumer growth is limited, trophic cascade strength may be affected and serve to limit population growth and reproduction of herbivores in these riparian systems.
- Bioavailability and toxicity of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene in sediment.
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TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene) is a persistent contaminant at many military installations and poses a threat to aquatic ecosystems. Data from environmental fate and toxicity studies with TNT revealed that sediment toxicity test procedures required modification to accurately assess sediment TNT toxicity. Key modifications included aging TNT-spiked sediments 8-14 d, basing lethal dose on measured sediment concentrations of the molar sum of TNT and its main nitroaromatic (NA) transformation products (SNA), basing sublethal dose on average sediment SNA concentrations obtained from integration of sediment SNA transformation models, avoiding overlying water exchanges, and minimizing toxicity test durations. Solid phase microextraction fibers (SPMEs) were investigated as a biomimetic chemical measure of toxicity and bioavailability. Both organism and SPME concentrations provided measures of lethal dose independent of exposure scenario (TNT-spiked sediment or TNT-spiked water) for Tubifex tubifex. Among all benthic organisms tested (Chironomus tentans, Ceriodaphnia dubia, T. tubifex) and matrixes, median lethal dose (LC50) estimates based on SPME and organism concentrations ranged from 12.6 to 55.3 mmol SNA/ml polyacrylate and 83.4 to 172.3 nmol SNA/g tissue, ww, respectively. For Tubifex, LC50s (95% CI) based on SNA concentrations in sediment and SPMEs were 223 (209-238) nmol SNA/g, dw and 27.8 (26.0-29.8) mmol SNA/ml, respectively. Reproductive effects occurred at slightly lower exposures. Median effective dose (EC50) estimates (95% CI) for Tubifex cocoon production, based on sediment and SPME concentrations, were 118 (114-122) nmol SNA/g, dw and 21.8 (21.2-22.4) mmol SNA/ml, respectively. Bioconcentration experiments with Tubifex revealed that compound hydrophobicity predicted the toxicokinetics and bioconcentration of these compounds from water, however, there was a large discrepancy between the toxicokinetics of absorbed versus metabolically-generated aminodinitrotoluenes. A large portion of bioconcentrated, radiolabeled TNT transformation products could not be identified. In addition to their ability to provide matrix-independent measures of dose, SPME concentrations were more accurate indicators of bioavailable NAs than were sediment concentrations.
- Bioconcentration of Triclosan, Methyl-Triclosan, and Triclocarban in the Plants and Sediments of a Constructed Wetland
- Triclosan and triclocarban are antimicrobial compounds added to a variety of consumer products that are commonly detected in waste water effluent. The focus of this study was to determine whether the bioconcentration of these compounds in wetland plants and sediments exhibited species specific and site specific differences by collecting field samples from a constructed wetland in Denton, Texas. The study showed that species-specific differences in bioconcentration exist for triclosan and triclocarban. Site-specific differences in bioconcentration were observed for triclosan and triclocarban in roots tissues and sediments. These results suggest that species selection is important for optimizing the removal of triclosan and triclocarban in constructed wetlands and raises concerns about the long term exposure of wetland ecosystems to these compounds.
- Bioreactor Landfill Cell Feasibility Study ' Reference to City of Denton Subtitle-D Permit #1590A Landfill
- The City of Denton Landfill, Permit #1590A, utilizes “Dry-Tomb” techniques for disposal and promotion of municipal solid waste stabilization, as described by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) prohibition in 40 CFR. Bioreactor research suggests re-circulating leachate increases biodegradation rates and reduces long-term monitoring from fifty years to less than ten years. Current procedures that are followed at Denton's landfill, literature review and the use of the Hydrologic Evaluation of Landfill Performance (HELP) model, suggest that a bioreactor landfill cell is worthy of further research. Re-circulating leachate and augmenting it with additional liquid will increase biodegradation and the need to design and build a landfill gas collection system to capture methane for energy recovery uses.
- A Characterization Of Jackson Blue Spring, Jackson County, Florida
- Jackson Blue is a first magnitude spring in the karst terrane of northeast Florida. Previous studies have identified inorganic fertilizer as the source of high nitrate levels in the spring. Agricultural land use and karst vulnerability make Jackson Blue a good model for conservation concerns. This work offers an aggregation of studies relating to the springshed, providing a valuable tool for planning and conservation efforts in the region. An analysis of nitrate levels and other water quality parameters within the springshed did not reveal significantly different values between agricultural and forested land use areas. Confounding factors include: high transmissivity in the aquifer, interspersed land use parcels, and fertilizer application in forested areas due to commercial pine stand activity.
- Characterization of Triclocarban, Methyl- Triclosan, and Triclosan in Water, Sediment, and Corbicula Fluminea (Müller, 1774) Using Laboratory, in Situ, and Field Assessments
- In the last decade emerging contaminants research has intensified in a bid to answer questions about fate, transport, and effects as these chemicals as they get released into the environment. The chemicals of interest were the antimicrobials; triclocarban (TCC) and triclosan (TCS), and a metabolite of triclosan, methyl triclosan (MTCS). This research was designed to answer the question: what is the fate of these chemicals once they are released from the waste water treatment plant into receiving streams. Three different assessment methods; field monitoring, in-situ experiments, and laboratory studies were used to answer the overall question. TCS, TCC, and MTCS levels were measured in surface water, sediment and the Asiatic clam Corbicula fluminea. Field studies were conducted using four sites at Pecan Creek, Denton TX. Levels of all three chemicals in clams were up to fives orders of magnitude the water concentrations but an order of magnitude lower than in sediment. Highest sediment levels of chemicals were measured in samples from the mouth of Pecan Creek (highest organic matter). TCC was the most and TCS was the least accumulated chemicals. In-situ and lab studies both indicated that uptake of these chemicals into the clams was very rapid and measurable within 24hours of exposure. The after clams were transferred into clean water most of the compounds were depurated within 14 days.
- Characterizing Storm Water Runoff from Natural Gas Well Sites in Denton County, Texas
- In order to better understand runoff characteristics from natural gas well sites in north central Texas, the City of Denton, with assistance through an EPA funded 104b3 Water Quality Cooperative Agreement, monitored storm water runoff from local natural gas well sites. Storm water runoff was found to contain high concentrations of total suspended solids (TSS). Observed TSS concentrations resulted in sediment loading rates that are similar to those observed from typical construction activities. Petroleum hydrocarbons, in contrast, were rarely detected in runoff samples. Heavy metals were detected in concentrations similar to those observed in typical urban runoff. However, the concentrations observed at the gas well sites were higher than those measured at nearby reference sites. Storm water runoff data collected from these sites were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the water erosion prediction project (WEPP) model for predicting runoff and sediment from these sites. Runoff and sediment predictions were adequate; however, rainfall simulation experiments were used to further characterize the portion of the site where drilling and extraction operations are performed, referred to as the "pad site." These experiments were used to develop specific pad site erosion parameters for the WEPP model. Finally, version 2 of the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE 2.0) was used to evaluate the efficiency of best management practices (BMPs) for natural gas well sites. BMP efficiency ratings, which ranged from 52 to 93%, were also evaluated in the context of site management goals and implementation cost, demonstrating a practical approach for managing soil loss and understanding the importance of selecting appropriate site-specific BMPs.
- Characterizing the Municipal Solid Waste Stream in Denton, Texas
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Forty-two commercially collected dumpsters from Dentons Municipal Solid Waste Stream were emptied, sorted and weighed to characterize the material types and make preliminary recycling policy recommendations. The general composition of Dentons solid waste stream was not significantly different from the composition of the nations solid waste stream. Fifty-eight percent of the observed waste stream was recyclable. Paper made up the largest portion of recyclable materials and the "grocery" source category had more paper than any of the other five categories. Based on these findings, an incrementally aggressive approach is recommended to reduce certain types of wastes observed in the waste stream. This would include a Pay-As-You-Throw Program followed by an Intermediate Processing Center that can be converted to a Materials Recovery Facility.
- City of Denton municipal solid waste characterization and management strategies.
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Due to concern about diminishing landfill space, the City of Denton contracted a municipal solid waste characterization study in 1999 that would identify materials for diversion. This paper describes the results of 5 1-week waste sorting events, a scale-house analysis, a recycling participation study, a recycler profile and a similar city study. The results of the characterization studies suggest that at least 50% of each waste stream is recyclable or divertible though paper products accounted for no more than 45% by weight of any waste stream. Curbside recycling participation rate was 71% during the 6-week study period though the average weekly set-out rate was 37%. Recycling participation rates varied significantly by zip code and by home value categories but not by gender. Denton is fairly progressive in its waste management approach when compared to demographically similar cities on a 15-question assessment though recommendations for improvement have been identified.
- Comparative Bioavailability of Dietary and Dissolved Cadmium to Freshwater Aquatic Snails
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Heavy metal bioaccumulation in aquatic organisms may occur through direct or indirect uptake routes. Research indicates that the significance of uptake route varies with contaminant and organism exposed. The relative importance of different metal sources in aquatic systems was investigated by exposing freshwater snails to dietary or dissolved sources of cadmium. Snails were exposed to control, contaminated food only, contaminated water only, and contaminated food and water treatments. During the 15-day exposure, samples were taken to determine Cd concentration in snail soft tissue, snail shell, algal food, and overlying water. Analyses of snail soft tissue and shells indicate that exposure route significantly affects Cd concentrations in the tissues. In both cases, dissolved Cd is the primary contributor to metal body burden.
- Comparison of Bare Root vs. Potted Plants, Species Selection, and Caging Types for Restoration of a Prairie Wetland, and Quantitative Analysis and Descriptive Survey of Plant Communities and Associations at Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA), Lewisville, TX
- Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA) is an 809-hectare property in Denton County, TX. A study of the vegetation community identified 466 species in 104 families, with 25% of the species from only two families, Asteraceae and Poaceae. The property demonstrates the characteristics of an early successional community, dominated by weedy species. Prairie communities are dominated by Johnson grass and ragweed, with climax tall grass prairie communities only in areas that have been planted with native grass seed. Forest communities are similarly in an early successional stage, dominated by the hackberry-elm-ash alliance, with small remnants of native Cross Timbers found in isolated patches. Species richness and diversity were highest in the forests and lowest in the wetlands; evenness, though not different across ecosystems, demonstrated a strong seasonal component. The species list was compared with previously reported lists for Denton County, and 256 species identified had not been previously reported for the county. A wetland restoration study was conducted to determine if there was a difference in survival and growth between potted transplants with intact root systems and bare-root transplants. Two different mesh sizes were used for protection, and the success of the different caging was evaluated. Of eight species, only four survived through the second growing season. There was no significant difference in the success of the propagule types for Sagittaria latifolia. The treatments planted with intact root systems showed significantly higher growth and reproduction than the bare-root treatments for Eleocharis quadrangulata, Heteranthera dubia, and Vallisneria americana. There was no survival recorded in the coarse mesh cages, likely due to the presence of crayfish that are able to get through the coarser mesh and feed on the transplants.
- Comparison of GPS Point Selection Methods for GIS Area Measurement of Small Jurisdictional Wetlands
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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regulates fill of jurisdictional waters of the United States including wetlands. Recent USACE regulations set a threshold of impacts to wetlands at one-half acre. Impact area can be determined by Global Positioning System (GPS) measurement of wetland boundary and Geographic Information System (GIS) calculation of impact area. GPS point selection methods include (1) equal time interval, (2) transect and (3) intuition. Four two-acre shapes were measured with each GPS method and brought into GIS for area calculation. Analysis of variance and Root Mean Square Error analyses determine that the transect method is an inferior point selection method in terms of accuracy and efficiency.
- A Comparison of Mercury Localization, Speciation, and Histology in Multiple Fish Species From Caddo Lake, a Fresh Water Wetland
- This work explores the metabolism of mercury in liver and spleen tissue of fish from a methylmercury contaminated wetland. Wild-caught bass, catfish, bowfin and gar were collected. Macrophage centers, which are both reactive and primary germinal centers in various fish tissues, were hypothesized to be the cause of demethylation of methylmercury in fish tissue. Macrophage centers are differentially expressed in fish tissue based on phylogenetic lineage, and are found primarily in the livers of preteleostean fish and in the spleen of teleostean fish. Histology of liver and spleen was examined in both control and wild-caught fish for pathology, size and number of macrophage centers, and for localization of mercury. Total mercury was estimated in the muscle tissue of all fish by direct mercury analysis. Selenium and mercury concentrations were examined in the livers of wild-caught fish by liquid introduction inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Total mercury was localized in histologic sections by laser ablation ICP-MS (LA-ICP-MS). Mercury speciation was determined for inorganic and methylmercury in liver and spleen of fish by bas chromatography-cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (GC-CVAFS). Macrophage center tissue distribution was found to be consistent with the literature, with a predominance of centers in preteleostean liver and in spleens of teleostean fish. Little evidence histopathology was found in the livers or spleens of fish examined, but differences in morphology of macrophage centers and liver tissue across species are noted. the sole sign of liver pathology noted was increased hepatic hemosiderosis in fish with high proportions of liver inorganic mercury. Inorganic mercury was found to predominate in the livers of all fish but bass. Organic mercury was found to predominate in the spleens of all fish. Mercury was found to accumulate in macrophage centers, but concentrations of mercury in this compartment were found to vary less in relation to total mercury than hepatocyte mercury. No association was found between selenium content and inorganic mercury proportions. Overall, findings from this study to not support a primary role for macrophage centers in the demethylation of methylmercury in fish tissues.
- Concentrations of Triclosan in the City of Denton Wastewater Treatment Plant, Pecan Creek, and the Influent and Effluent of an Experimental Constructed Wetland
- The Pecan Creek Waste Reclamation Plant in Denton, Texas, an activated sludge WWTP, was sampled monthly for ten months to determine seasonal and site variation in concentrations of triclosan (5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol), an antibacterial additive. SNK separation after the highly significant ANOVA on ranked data were: summer = fall > winter = spring and influent > downstream = effluent = wetland inflow > wetland outflow (a=0.05). After the plant converted to ultraviolet disinfection, measurements were made before and after the UV basin to determine if significant amounts of triclosan were converted to dioxin. Percent loss at each of the treatment steps was determined. Concentrations of triclosan in the downstream site were below the published NOEC for the most sensitive species.
- Correspondence between aquatic ecoregions and the distribution of fish communities of eastern Oklahoma
- I assessed fish community data collected by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission from 82 minimally impaired wadeable reference streams in eastern Oklahoma to determine whether existing aquatic ecoregions provide the best framework for spatial classification for the development of biological assessment methods and biocriteria. I used indirect ordination and classification to identify groups of sites that support similar fish communities. Although correspondence was observed between fish assemblages and three montane ecoregions, the classification system must be refined and expanded to include major drainage basins and physical habitat attributes for some areas to adequately partition variance in key measures of biological integrity. Results from canonical correspondence analysis indicated that substrate size and habitat type were the primary physical habitat variables that influenced the fish species composition and community structure.
- Culturing Vallisneria americana for Restoration Efforts
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Robust Vallisneria americana was cultured for restoration purposes. Preliminary studies, with various iron treatments, were conducted to ascertain the amount of phosphorous release into the water column from sediments. There was a significant difference in the amount of phosphorous released if commercial sediment was used with a low iron amendment or without an iron amendment. The second study consisted of planting V. americana on two different sediment types while supplying half of the plants with additional CO2. Plants grown on pond sediment with additional CO2 had significantly more biomass. In the third study all plants were grown on pond sediment, and half were treated with CO2. All plants that were treated with additional CO2 had significantly more biomass than those that were aerated.
- A Data Fusion Framework for Floodplain Analysis using GIS and Remotely Sensed Data
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Throughout history floods have been part of the human experience. They are recurring phenomena that form a necessary and enduring feature of all river basin and lowland coastal systems. In an average year, they benefit millions of people who depend on them. In the more developed countries, major floods can be the largest cause of economic losses from natural disasters, and are also a major cause of disaster-related deaths in the less developed countries. Flood disaster mitigation research was conducted to determine how remotely sensed data can effectively be used to produce accurate flood plain maps (FPMs), and to identify/quantify the sources of error associated with such data. Differences were analyzed between flood maps produced by an automated remote sensing analysis tailored to the available satellite remote sensing datasets (rFPM), the 100-year flooded areas "predicted" by the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, and FPMs based on DEM and hydrological data (aFPM). Landuse/landcover was also examined to determine its influence on rFPM errors. These errors were identified and the results were integrated in a GIS to minimize landuse / landcover effects. Two substantial flood events were analyzed. These events were selected because of their similar characteristics (i.e., the existence of FIRM or Q3 data; flood data which included flood peaks, rating curves, and flood profiles; and DEM and remote sensing imagery.) Automatic feature extraction was determined to be an important component for successful flood analysis. A process network, in conjunction with domain specific information, was used to map raw remotely sensed data onto a representation that is more compatible with a GIS data model. From a practical point of view, rFPM provides a way to automatically match existing data models to the type of remote sensing data available for each event under investigation. Overall, results showed how remote sensing could contribute to the complex problem of flood management by providing an efficient way to revise the National Flood Insurance Program maps.
- Density, Distribution and Habitat Requirements for the Ozark Pocket Gopher (Geomys Bursarius Ozarkensis)
- A new subspecies of the plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius ozarkensis), located in the Ozark Mountains of north central Arkansas, was recently described by Elrod et al. (2000). Current range for G. b. ozarkensis was established, habitat preference was assessed by analyzing soil samples, vegetation and distance to stream and potential pocket gopher habitat within the current range was identified. A census technique was used to estimate a total density of 3, 564 pocket gophers. Through automobile and aerial survey 51 known fields of inhabitance were located extending the range slightly. Soil analyses indicated loamy sand as the most common texture with a slightly acidic pH and a broad range of values for other measured soil parameters and 21 families of vegetation were identified. All inhabited fields were located within an average of 107.2m from waterways and over 1,600 hectares of possible suitable habitat was identified.
- Determination of Habitat Preferences of Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) on the Rolling Plains of Texas Using GIS and Remote Sensing
- The Rocker b Ranch on the southern Rolling Plains has one of the last sizeable populations of pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) in Texas. To investigate habitat utilization on the ranch, pronghorn were fitted with GPS/VHF collars and were released into pastures surrounded by a variety of fences to determine how fence types affected habitat selection. Habitat parameters chosen for analysis were vegetation, elevation, slope, aspect, and distances to water, roads, and oil wells. Results showed that pronghorn on the ranch crossed modified fencing significantly less than other types of fencing. Pronghorn selected for all habitat parameters to various degrees, with the most important being vegetation type. Habitat selection could be attributed to correspondence of vegetation type with other parameters or spatial arrangements of physical features of the landscape. Seasonal differences in habitat utilization were evident, and animals tended to move shorter distances at night than they did during daylight hours.
- Development of a Pre-Impact Environmental Site Characterization for the Bryan Mound, Texas Strategic Petroleum Reserve
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This thesis presents a model for developing site-specific contingency plans to be used during spill response, remediation, and post-spill monitoring using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve's Bryan Mound site as a case study. Bird and vegetation observations provide baseline data for biological conditions, and sediment sampling for total petroleum hydrocarbons serves as a chemical component of the model. Results demonstrate previously unknown conditions that would hinder remediation and affect the persistence of petroleum contaminants. Results also established previously unmapped dominant bird and vegetation types likely to be impacted by a spill at the site. This model points to a reconsideration of individual facilities' responsibilities when planning for large-scale disasters and protecting the sensitive ecosystems surrounding their sites.
- Development of a procedure to evaluate groundwater quality and potential sources of contamination in the East Texas Basin
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This study contributes a procedure, based on data analysis and geostatistical methods, to evaluate the distribution of chemical ratios and differentiate natural and anthropogenic contaminant sources of groundwater quality in the East Texas Basin. Four aquifers were studied, Sparta, Queen City, Carrizo and Wilcox. In this study, Carrizo- Wilcox is considered as one aquifer, and Sparta-Queen City as another. These aquifers were divided into depth categories, 0-150 feet for Sparta-Queen City and 300-600 feet and 600-900 feet for Carrizo-Wilcox in order to identify individual sources of contamination. Natural sources include aquifer mineral make up, salt domes and lignite beds. Major anthropogenic sources include lignite and salt dome mining and oil-gas production. Chemical ratios selected were Na/Cl, Ca/Cl, Mg/Cl, SO4/Cl, (Na+Cl)/TDS, SO4/Ca and (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K). Ratio distributions and their relationships were examined to evaluate physical-chemical processes occurring in the study area. Potential contaminant sources were used to divide the Basin into three areas: Area 1 to the east, Area 2 in the west and Area 3 in the center. Bivariate analysis was used to uncover differences between the areas. The waters in Area 1 are potentially impacted primarily from oil field waters. Sources present in Area 2 include lignite beds and oil field operations. Area 3 is the cap rock of salt domes that can contain gypsum and anhydrite. Based on the exploratory data analysis (Na+Cl)/TDS, (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K), and SO4/Ca ratios were chosen for geostatistical analysis. Chemical ratios that provided indications of cation exchange, salt domes and oil fields were (Na+Cl)/TDS, (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K) and SO4/Ca. In the Sparta-Queen City 150 zone the procedure did not provide a good method for differentiating between contaminant sources. However, the procedure was effective to indicate impacted ground water in the Carrizo-Wilcox 600 and 900 foot zones.
- Development, validation, and evaluation of a continuous, real-time, bivalve biomonitoring system.
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A biological monitoring tool to assess water quality using bivalve gape behavior was developed and demonstrated. The purpose of this work was to develop methodologies for screening water quality appropriate to the goals of the watershed paradigm. A model of bivalve gape behavior based on prediction of behavior using autoregressive techniques was the foundation of the bivalve biomonitoring system. Current technology was used in developing the system to provide bivalve gape state data in a continuous real-time manner. A laboratory version of the system, including data collection and analysis hardware and software, was developed for use as a toxicological assay for determination of effective concentrations of toxicant(s) or other types of stress on bivalve gape behavior. Corbicula fluminea was monitored and challenged with copper, zinc, and chlorpyrifos using the system. Effective concentrations of 176±23µg/L copper, 768±412µg/L zinc, and 68µg/L chlorpyrifos were observed using a natural water with high dissolved organic carbon concentrations. A rugged field version of the bivalve biomonitoring system was developed and deployed in two locations. The field systems were fitted with a photovoltaic array, a single board computer, and a CDPD telemetry modem for robust remote operation. Data were telemetered at a time relevant rate of once every ten minutes. One unit was deployed in Lake Lewisville, Denton County, TX in February 2000. Data were telemetered and archived at a 92% success rate. Bivalve gape data demonstrated significant behavioral deviations on average 5 times per month. A second unit was deployed in Pecan Creek, Denton, TX in June 2001. Data from this site were telemetered and archived at a 96% success rate. Over the months of June-August 2001, 16 significant behavioral deviations were observed, 63% of which were correlated with changes in physical/chemical parameters. This work demonstrated the relative sensitivity of bivalve gape as a toxicological endpoint and the feasibility of its use in a continuous, real-time, bivalve biomonitoring system. Technical aspects of collecting, telemetering, and analyzing this type of data in a time-relevant manner were developed resulting in a system appropriate for use as a means of data collection within the watershed paradigm.
- Dissolved Organic Carbon Assessment on Selected Creeks and Rivers within the Elmfork Subwatersheds of Denton, Texas
- The primary focus of the study was to compare dissolved organic carbon (DOC) at baseline stream flow to DOC at a higher post-rain stream flow, with a secondary focus on comparison of DOC between sites. Comparisons were also done on suspended solids at baseline flow to those of the higher post-rain flow, as well as suspended solids between sites. Significant differences did exist between DOC sampled at baseline flow and DOC in samples taken at peak flow. The study found no difference in suspended solids among sites neither on either baseflow sampling nor on the post rain event sampling.
- Ecological Enhancement of Timber Growth: Applying Compost to Loblolly Pine Plantations
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This study explored the application of compost onto a small loblolly pine tree forest in northeast Texas. Its purpose was to determine if the application of various amounts of compost would provide for accelerated rates of growth for the trees. Soil parameters were also monitored. A total of 270 trees were planted and studied in a northeast Texas forest ecosystem. Compost rates of 5, 25, and 50 tons per acre with either soil or compost backfill were utilized and compared to a control without compost. Nonparametric and parametric ANOVA and Chi-Square tests were utilized. The results indicated that greater application rates retained greater moisture and higher pH levels in the soil. Compost applications also yielded a greater survival rate as well as larger tree height and diameter when compared to the control. The 25 ton/acre application backfilled in native soil achieved the greatest average in height and diameter when compared to the averages for the control plot. Greater growth differences for the 25S application can be attributed to additional nutrients coupled with a stable pH consistent with native soil acidity.
- Ecological Significance and Underlying Mechanisms of Body Size Differentiation in White-tailed Deer
- Body size varies according to nutritional availability, which is of ecological and evolutionary relevance. The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that differences in adult body size are realized by increasing juvenile growth rate for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Harvest records are used to construct growth rate estimates by empirical nonlinear curve fitting. Results are compared to those of previous models that include additional parameters. The rate of growth increases during the study period. Models that estimate multiple parameters may not work with harvest data in which estimates of these parameters are prone to error, which renders estimates from complex models too variable to detect inter-annual changes in growth rate that this simpler model captures
- Ecotoxicological Investigations in Effluent-Dominated Stream Mesocosms
- The University of North Texas Stream Research Facility (UNTSRF) was designed to examine contaminant impacts on effluent-dominated stream ecosystems. Stream mesocosms, fed municipal effluent from the City of Denton, TX, Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant (PCWRP), were treated with 0, 15 or 140 µg/L cadmium for a 10-day study in August 2000. Laboratory toxicity test and stream macroinvertebrate responses indicated that cadmium bioavailability was reduced by constituents of effluent-dominated streams. The Biotic Ligand Model (BLM) for Cd was used to predict a 48 hour Cd EC50 for Ceriodaphnia dubia of 280 µg/L in these effluent-dominated streams. This value is higher that an EC50 of 38.3 µg/L Cd and a 7-day reproduction effect level of 3.3 µg/L Cd generated for C. dubia in reconstituted laboratory hard water. These results support use of a cadmium BLM for establishing site-specific acute water quality criteria in effluent-dominated streams. Although not affected by 15 µg/L treatments, organisms accumulated Cd in 15 µg/L treated streams. Hence, over longer exposure periods, Cd accumulation may increase and a no effect level may be lower than the observed 10-day no effect level of 15 µg/L. A toxicity identification evaluation procedure was utilized with in vitro and in vivo bioassays to identify estrogenic compounds in PCWRP effluent, previously identified to seasonally induce vitellogenin (VTG) in male fathead minnows. Steroids, nonylphenol ethoxylate metabolites, and other unidentified compounds were identified as causative effluent estrogens. These findings suggest that in vivo VTG bioassays should be used to confirm in vitro Yeast Estrogen Screening assay activity when effluents are fractionated or screened for estrogenicity. A subsequent 90-day cadmium study was initiated to assess long-term effluent and cadmium effects on fish endocrine function. Juvenile fathead minnows were placed in UNTSRF pool sections of replicate streams treated with 0, 5, 20 or 80 µg/L Cd. Male VTG was induced at each treatment level, indicating that PCWRP effluent was estrogenic during fall 2001. 20 and 80 µg/L Cd treatments reduced male circulating estradiol levels and critical swimming performance. Future studies are needed to assess impacts of environmental estrogen exposure on fish calcium metabolism and vertebral integrity.
- Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland
- To assess sustainability of privately owned rangeland, a questionnaire was used to gathered data from ranches in Cooke, Montague, Clay, Wise, Parker, and Jack counties in North Central Texas. Information evaluated included: management philosophy, economics, grazing practices, environmental condition, quality of life, and demographics. Sustainability indices were created based on economic and land health indicator variables meeting a minimum Cronbach‘s alpha coefficient (α = 0.7). Hierarchical regression analysis was used to create models explaining variance in respondents’ indices scores. Five predictors explained 36% of the variance in rangeland economic sustainability index when respondents: 1) recognized management inaction has opportunity costs affecting economic viability; 2) considered forbs a valuable source of forage for wildlife or livestock; 3) believed governmental assistance with brush control was beneficial; 4) were not absentee landowners and did not live in an urban area in Texas, and; 5) valued profit, productivity, tax issues, family issues, neighbor issues or weather issues above that of land health. Additionally, a model identified 5 predictors which explained 30% of the variance for respondents with index scores aligning with greater land health sustainability. Predictors indicated: 1) fencing cost was not an obstacle for increasing livestock distribution; 2) land rest was a component of grazing plans; 3) the Natural Resource Conservation Service was used for management information; 4) fewer acres were covered by dense brush or woodlands, and; 5) management decisions were not influenced by friends. Finally, attempts to create an index and regression analysis explaining social sustainability was abandoned, due to the likely-hood of type one errors. These findings provide a new line of evidence in assessing rangeland sustainability, supporting scientific literature concerning rangeland sustainability based on ranch level indicators. Compared to measuring parameters on small plots, the use of indices allows for studying replicated whole- ranch units using rancher insight. Use of sustainability indices may prove useful in future rangeland research activities.
- Effects of Layer Double Hydroxide Nanoclays on the Toxicity of Copper to Daphnia Magna
- Nanoparticles may affect secondary pollutants such as copper. Layer Double Hydroxides (LDH) are synthetically produced nanoparticles that adsorb copper via cation exchange. Pretreatment of copper test solutions with LDH nanoparticles followed by filtration removal of LDH nanoparticles demonstrated the smallest LDH aggregates removed the most copper toxicity. This was due to increased surface area for cation exchange relative to larger particle aggregates. Co-exposure tests of copper chloride and clay were run to determine if smaller clay particles increased copper uptake by D. magna. Coexposure treatments had lower LC50 values compared to the filtration tests, likely as a result of additive toxicity. LDH nanoclays do reduce copper toxicity in Daphnia magna and may serve as a remediation tool.
- Effects of Sublethal Copper Exposure on Escape Behavior and Growth of Rana pipiens Tadpoles
- This research is designed to test how sublethal exposure to copper affects tadpole predator-escape behavior and how quickly tadpoles recover. After exposure, tadpoles were separated. Escape behavior was recorded for two-thirds of exposed tadpoles while one-third of the exposed population was measured weekly to determine growth and recovery. Control tadpoles were consumed within 15 minutes whereas those exposed to higher concentrations were consumed at a slower rate, which does not support the hypotheses. Although the rate of predation was lower, tadpoles exposed to higher Cu concentrations were on average, 1.47 cm in total body length. Those exposed to 0.93 mg/L averaged 0.86 cm. After being placed into clean water, treatment tadpoles recovered after 20 days.
- Effects of Suspended Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes on Daphnid Growth and Reproduction
- Multi-walled carbon nanotube aggregates can be suspended in the aqueous phase by natural organic matter. These aggregates are ingested by filter feeding zooplankton. Ingested aggregates result in decreased growth and decreased reproduction. These effects may be caused by reduction in energy input from normal feeding behavior. pH alters natural organic matter structure through changes in electrostatic repulsion. Altered natural organic matter structure changes multi-walled carbon nanotube aggregate size. This size variation with variation in pH is significant, but not large enough a change in size to alter toxicity, as the aggregate size range remains well within the particle size selection of the organisms.
- Effects on Survival, Reproduction and Growth of Ceriodaphnia dubia following Single Episodic Exposure to Copper or Cadmium
- Effects of episodic exposures have gained attention as the regulatory focus of the Clean Water Act has shifted away from continuous-flow effluents. Standardized laboratory toxicity tests require that exposure be held constant. However, this approach may not accurately predict organism responses in the field following episodic exposures such as those associated with rain-driven runoff events or accidental pollutant discharge. Using a modified version of the 7-day short-term chronic test recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Ceriodaphnia dubia were exposed to copper or cadmium for durations ranging from 1 minute to 24 hours. In addition, adult reproductive recovery and effects on second generation individuals was assessed following select copper exposures. Finally, cadmium exposures were compared in reconstituted hard water (RHW) and municipal treated wastewater effluent (TWE). Following exposure, organisms were transferred to clean RHW or TWE and maintained for the remainder of the test. No- and lowest observed effect concentrations (NO- and LOECs) increased logarithmically with respect to logarithmic decreases in duration regardless of metal, endpoint or water type. Effective concentrations of cadmium however, were usually higher than those of copper, especially in TWE. LOECs for C. dubia survival following 24-hour and 5-minute exposures to copper were 116 and 417 µg/L, respectively. LOECs for fecundity were 58 and 374 µg/L, respectively. Neonate production of first generation adult C. dubia appeared to recover from pulsed copper exposure upon examination of individual broods. Cumulative mean neonate production however, showed almost no signs of recovery at exposure durations ≥3 hours. Pulse exposure to copper also resulted in diminished fecundity of unexposed second generation individuals. Such effects were pronounced following parental exposure for 24 hours but lacking after parental exposures ≤3 hours. LOECs for C. dubia survival following 24-hour and 5-minute exposures to cadmium in RHW were 44 and 9000 µg/L, respectively. LOECs for fecundity were 16 and 5000 µg/L, respectively. In TWE, LOECs for C. dubia survival were 83 and >10,000 µg/L, respectively. LOECs for fecundity in TWE were 48 and 7000 µg/L, respectively. Runoff pollution is site and event specific, however, data presented herein may be useful as a predictive tool under various conditions.
- Establishment and competitive ability of Nelumbo lutea in relation to Myriophyllum spicatum
- Limitations from reduced light and increasing water depth on Nelumbo lutea seedlings were determined in tank experiments. Survival was high in all tested light levels. Total biomass increased significantly with increasing light. Biomass allocation shifted significantly to root production between 3 and 6 weeks in the 10 and 24% levels. Survival decreased with increasing planting depth, and biomass of survivors reduced significantly between 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 m depths. Nelumbo lutea and Myriophyllum spicatum populations were monitored for one season in a 0.7 ha pond to track changes in species dominance. Myriophyllum spicatum dominated early, and N. lutea dominated from July through October, suppressing M. spicatum at all depths. Competitive interactions between N. lutea and M. spicatum were investigated for two seasons in a container experiment situated within a pond. Where established, N. lutea dominated in the presence of M. spicatum. However, N. lutea could not be established in depths greater than 1 meter.
- Evaluating Tree Seedling Survival and Growth in a Bottomland Old-field Site: Implications for Ecological Restoration
- In order to assess the enhancement of seedling survival and growth during drought conditions, five-hundred bare-root seedlings each of Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii Buckl.) and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh.) were planted each with four soil amendments at a Wildlife Management Area in Lewisville, Texas. The treatments were a mycorrhizal inoculant, mulch fabric, and two superabsorbent gels (TerraSorb® and DRiWATER®). Survival and growth measurements were assessed periodically for two years. Research was conducted on vegetation, soil, and site history for baseline data. Both superabsorbent gels gave significant results for Shumard oak survival, and one increased green ash diameter. For overall growth, significant results were found among DRiWATER®, mycorrhizae, and mulch treatments.
- Evaluation of a Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) Exclusion and Trapping Device for Use in Aquatic Plant Founder Colony Establishment
- The focus of this study was to design and evaluate a trapping system that would reduce populations of common carp within water bodies in conjunction with establishment of native aquatic macrophytes founder colonies. A pond study and field study were conducted. A pond study was performed at the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility, located in Lewisville, Texas, followed by a field study within a constructed wetland located in southern Dallas, Texas. For the pond study, twelve funnel traps were constructed (four reps of each type: control, dual-walled and ring cage). Two anti-escape devices were tested with funnels including steel fingers and hinged flaps. Ring cage and dual-walled treatments were planted using native pondweeds, while controls were left unplanted (additional bait and a drift fence scenarios were also tested). Common carp were introduced into the study pond. Chi-square statistical analyses were utilized and showed ring cage treatments using fingers as well as the use of a drift fence to be most effective. Following completion of the pond study, the two most effective treatments (controls and ring cages) were tested within the Dallas, Texas wetland; no carp were caught during the field test.
- Evaluation of the Chlorophyll/Fluorescence Sensor of the YSI Multiprobe: Comparison to an Acetone Extraction Procedure
- The purpose of this study was to examine the suitability of the YSI model 6600 Environmental Monitoring System (multiprobe) for long term deployment at a site in Lewisville Lake, Texas. Specifically, agreement between a laboratory extraction procedure and the multiprobe chlorophyll/fluorescence readings was examined. Preliminary studies involved determining the best method for disrupting algal cells prior to analysis and examining the precision and linearity of the acetone extraction procedure. Cell disruption by mortar and pestle grinding was preferable to bath sonication. Comparison of the chlorophyll/fluorescence readings from the multiprobe and the extraction procedure indicated that they were significantly correlated but temperature dependent.
- Evaluation of the Developmental Effects and Bioaccumulation Potential of Triclosan and Triclocarban Using the South African Clawed Frog, Xenopus Laevis
- Triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC) are antimicrobials found in U.S. surface waters. This dissertation assessed the effects of TCS and TCC on early development and investigated their potential to bioaccumulate using Xenopus laevis as a model. The effects of TCS on metamorphosis were also investigated. For 0-week tadpoles, LC50 values for TCS and TCC were 0.87 mg/L and 4.22 mg/L, respectively, and both compounds caused a significant stunting of growth. For 4-week tadpoles, the LC50 values for TCS and TCC were 0.22 mg/L and 0.066 mg/L; and for 8-week tadpoles, the LC50 values were 0.46 mg/L and 0.13 mg/L. Both compounds accumulated in Xenopus. For TCS, wet weight bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for 0-, 4- and 8-week old tadpoles were 23.6x, 1350x and 143x, respectively. Lipid weight BAFs were 83.5x, 19792x and 8548x. For TCC, wet weight BAFs for 0-, 4- and 8-week old tadpoles were 23.4x, 1156x and 1310x. Lipid weight BAFs were 101x, 8639x and 20942x. For the time-to-metamorphosis study, TCS showed an increase in weight and snout-vent length in all treatments. Exposed tadpoles metamorphosed approximately 10 days sooner than control tadpoles. For the hind limb study, although there was no difference in weight, snout-vent length, or hind limb length, the highest treatment was more developed compared to the control. There were no differences in tail resorption rates between the treatments and controls. At relevant concentrations, neither TCS nor TCC were lethal to Xenopus prior to metamorphosis. Exposure to relatively high doses of both compounds resulted in stunted growth, which would most likely not be evident at lower concentrations. TCS and TCC accumulated in Xenopus, indicating that the compound has the potential to bioaccumulate through trophic levels. Although TCS may increase the rate of metamorphosis in terms of developmental stage, it did not disrupt thyroid function and metamorphosis in regards to limb development and tail resorption.
- Evaluation of the Economic, Social, and Biological Feasibility of Bioconverting Food Wastes with the Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens)
- Food waste in the waste stream is becoming an important aspect of integrated waste management systems. Current efforts are composting and animal feeding. However, these food waste disposal practices rely on slow thermodynamic processes of composting or finding farmers with domestic animals capable of consuming the food wastes. Bioconversion, a potential alternative, is a waste management practice that converts food waste to insect larval biomass and organic residue. This project uses a native and common non-pest insect in Texas, the black soldier fly, which processes large quantities of food wastes, as well as animal wastes and sewage in its larval stage. The goal of this research is to facilitate the identification and development of the practical parameters of bioconversion methods at a large cafeteria. Three major factors were selected to evaluate the practicality of a bioconversion system: (1) the biological constraints on the species; (2) the economic costs and benefits for the local community; (3) the perception of and interaction between the public and management agencies with respect to the bioconversion process. Results indicate that bioconversion is feasible on all levels. Larvae tolerate and consume food waste as well as used cooking grease, reducing the overall waste volume by 30-70% in a series of experiments, with an average reduction of 50%. The economical benefits are reduced collection costs and profit from the sale of pupae as a feedstuff, which could amount to as much as $1,200 per month under optimal conditions. Social acceptance is possible, but requires education of the public, specifically targeting school children. Potential impediments to social acceptance include historical attitudes and ignorance, which could be overcome through effective educational efforts.
- An examination of the riparian bottomland forest in north central Texas through ecology, history, field study, and computer simulation
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This paper explores the characterization of a riparian bottomland forest in north central Texas in two ways: field study, and computer simulation with the model ZELIG. First, context is provided in Chapter One with a brief description of a southern bottomland forest, the ecological services it provides, and a history of bottomland forests in Texas from the nineteenth century to the present. A report on a characterization study of the Lake Ray Roberts Greenbelt forest comprises Chapter Two. The final chapter reviews a phytosocial study of a remnant bottomland forest within the Greenbelt. Details of the ZELIG calibration process follow, with a discussion of ways to improve ZELIG's simulation of bottomland forests.
- Geology as a Georegional Influence on Quercus Fagaceae Distribution in Denton and Coke Counties of Central and North Central Texas and Choctaw County of Southeastern Oklahoma, Using GIS as an Analytical Tool.
- This study elucidates the underlying relationships for the distribution of oak landcover on bedrock and soil orders in two counties in Texas and one in Oklahoma. ESRI's ArcGis and ArcMap was used to create surface maps for Denton and Coke Counties, Texas and Choctaw County, Oklahoma. Attribute tables generated in GIS were exported into a spreadsheet software program and frequency tables were created for every formation and soil order in the tri-county research area. The results were both a visual and numeric distribution of oaks in the transition area between the eastern hardwood forests and the Great Plains. Oak distributions are changing on this transition area of the South Central Plains. The sandy Woodbine and Antlers formations traditionally associated with the largest oak distribution are carrying oak coverage of approximately 31-32% in Choctaw and Denton Counties. The calcareous Blackland and Grand Prairies are traditionally associated with treeless grasslands, but are now carrying oak and other tree landcover up to 18.9%. Human intervention, including the establishment of artificial, political and social boundaries, urbanization, farming and fire control have altered the natural distribution of oaks and other landcover of this unique georegion.
- A geospatial tool for assessing potential wildland fire risk in central Texas.
- Wildland fires in the United States are not always confined to wilderness areas. The growth of population centers and housing developments in wilderness areas has blurred the boundaries between rural and urban. This merger of human development and natural landscape is known in the wildland fire community as the wildland urban interface or WUI, and it is within this interface that many wildland fires increasingly occur. As wildland fire intrusions in the WUI increase so too does the need for tools to assess potential impact to valuable assets contained within the interface. This study presents a methodology that combines real-time weather data, a wildland fire behavior model, satellite remote sensing and geospatial data in a geographic information system to assess potential risk to human developments and natural resources within the Austin metropolitan area and surrounding ten counties of central, Texas. The methodology uses readily available digital databases and satellite images within Texas, in combination with an industry standard fire behavior model to assist emergency and natural resource managers assess potential impacts from wildland fire. Results of the study will promote prevention of WUI fire disasters, facilitate watershed and habitat protection, and help direct efforts in post wildland fire mitigation and restoration.
- Green Improvements: A Consumer's Guide to Environmentally and Economically Responsible Home Repairs and Improvements for the North Central Texas Region
- The Consumer's Guide is designed to help consumers by providing guidelines for the purchase of specific energy-efficient household appliances- water heaters, air conditioning and heating systems, windows, dishwashers, refrigerators, clothes washers, and dryers. This serves two major purposes: to decrease the environmental impact of those products and to save consumers money over the lifetime of the products. The seven major appliances covered in this work are things that consumers tend to purchase quickly when their older models wear out and with little research into their energy and/or water efficiency. The guide begins with a general introduction and an explanation of the need for energy conservation. Explanations of how they work, purchasing tips, installation tips, maintenance tips, tips for additional energy efficiency, and case studies are given for each appliance. Printable pamphlets are included at the end.
- Habitat Fragmentation by Land-Use Change: One-Horned Rhinoceros in Nepal and Red-Cockaded Woodpecker in Texas
- This research focuses on the spatial analysis of the habitat of two vulnerable species, the one-horn rhinoceros in the grasslands of southern Nepal, and the red-cockaded woodpecker in the Piney woods of southeast Texas, in the USA. A study sites relevant for biodiversity conservation was selected in each country: Chitwan National Park in Nepal, and areas near the Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas. Land-use differs in the two study areas: the first is still undergoing agrarian development while the second is in a technological phase and undergoing urbanization processes. Satellite remote sensing images were used to derive land-cover maps by supervised classification. These maps were then processed by Geographic Information Systems methods to apply habitat models based on basic resources (food and cover) and obtain habitat suitability maps. Several landscape metrics were computed to quantify the habitat characteristics especially the composition and configuration of suitable habitat patches. Sensitivity analyses were performed as the nominal values of some of the model parameters were arbitrary. Development potential probability models were used to hypothesize changes in land-use of the second study site. Various scenarios were employed to examine the impact of development on the habitat of red-cockaded woodpecker. The method derived in this study would prove beneficial to guide management and conservation of wildlife habitats.
- Hepatotoxicity of Mercury to Fish
- Tissue samples from spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) were collected from Caddo Lake. Gar and bass livers were subjected to histological investigation and color analysis. Liver color (as abs at 400 nm) was significantly correlated with total mercury in the liver (r2 = 0.57, p = 0.02) and muscle (r2 = 0.58, p = 0.01) of gar. Evidence of liver damage as lipofuscin and discoloration was found in both species but only correlated with liver mercury concentration in spotted gar. Inorganic mercury was the predominant form in gar livers. In order to determine the role of mercury speciation in fish liver damage, a laboratory feeding study was employed. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) were fed either a control (0.12 ± 0.002 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), inorganic mercury (5.03 ± 0.309 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), or methylmercury (4.11 ± 0.146 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt) diet. After 78 days of feeding, total mercury was highest in the carcass of zebrafish fed methylmercury (12.49 ± 0.369 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), intermediate in those fed inorganic mercury (1.09 ± 0.117 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), and lowest in fish fed the control diet (0.48 ± 0.038 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt). Total mercury was highest in the viscera of methylmercury fed zebrafish (11.6 ± 1.86 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), intermediate in those fed inorganic diets (4.3 ± 1.08 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), and lowest in the control fish (below limit of detection). Total mercury was negatively associated with fish length and weight in methylmercury fed fish. Condition factor was not associated with total mercury and might not be the best measure of fitness for these fish. No liver pathologies were observed in zebrafish from any treatment.