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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Decade: 2010-2019
 Degree Discipline: Biology
Aging Is a Determinant in Anoxia Stress Tolerance in Caenorhabditis Elegans
Oxygen availability is critical for survival for most organisms. The nematode, C. elegans, has been useful for studying genetic regulation of anoxia tolerance due to the oxygen deprivation response mechanisms shared with other metazoans. Studies examining long-term anoxia (72h, LTA) tolerance have only been conducted at adult day 1. To investigate the effect of aging on anoxia tolerance wild-type and mutant strains were exposed to LTA between adult day 1 and day 9. Wild-type isolates and daf-16(mu86) (FOXO transcription factor regulated by insulin-signaling) and aak-2(gt33) (catalytic subunit of AMP-activated protein kinase) strains were anoxia sensitive at day 1 and displayed increased LTA tolerance with aging correlated with reproductive senescence followed by a decline in survivorhsip through day 9. The daf-2(e1370) (insulin receptor homologue of C. elegans), glp-1(e2141) (a lin-12/Notch receptor) and fog-2(q71) (required for spermatogenesis) strains were LTA-tolerant through day 5. I conclude that aging influences LTA-tolerance in a strain- and age-dependent manner. In addition to being LTA-tolerant the daf-2(e1370) and glp-1(e2141) strains have a longevity phenotype that is suppressed by loss of kri-1 or daf-12. While loss of kri-1 did not suppress the LTA-tolerant phenotype of glp-1(e2141) at day 1 the portion of impaired survivors increased at day 3 and by day 5 tolerance was suppressed. Similarly, when exposed to 4 days of anoxia the glp-1(e2141);daf-12(rh41rh611) double mutant had a reduced survivor rate at all ages analyzed compared to glp-1(e2141) controls. To better understand formation of an anoxia-tolerant physiology I exposed adults to one or more 24h bouts. Recurrent bouts increased LTA tolerance in wild-type hermaphrodites in a dose-dependent manner. Bout-treated daf-16(mu86) animals had increased survival rate compared to controls yet maximum survival remained below age-matched wild-type. Anoxia bouts decreased LTA-tolerance in aak-2(gt33) mutants, indicating the requirement for ATP regulation in establishing an LTA-tolerant phenotype. These data support the idea that anoxia tolerance is multi-factorial and influenced by environment, metabolism, food, reproduction, sex phenotype and likely additional factors. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271821/
Anatomical and Morphological Responses of Cardiospermum Halicacabum L. (Balloon Vine), to Four Levels of Water Availability
C. halicacabum (Sapindaceae) is an invasive plant that is considered a nuisance species in Texas riparian environments. Little is known of the tolerance of C. halicacabum to flooding and drought; however, this information may provide insight into the characteristics that contribute to C. halicacabum purported invasiveness. C. halicacabum seedlings (n = 92) were exposed to one of four levels of water availability (flooded, saturated, intermediate and dry) over six weeks under greenhouse conditions. Plant performance was affected by water availability; however, there was no effect on survivorship. Flooded and saturated plants exhibited morphological adaptations; producing adventitious roots, hypertrophy, and aerenchyma tissue. Morphological measures, anatomical responses, and patterns of biomass allocation all indicate that C. halicacabum is able to survive periodic inundation, perform in saturation, and establish and thrive on the drier end of a moisture gradient. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67974/
Benthic Macroinvertebrates of Temperate, Sub-Antarctic Streams: The Effects of Altitudinal Zoning and Temperature on the Phenology of Aquatic Insects Associated to the Robalo River, Navarino Island (55°S), Chile
The Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, within the remote Sub-Antarctic ecoregion is a reservoir of expressions of biological and cultural diversity. Although it is considered one of 24 wilderness areas remaining in the world, it is not free from local and global threats, such as invasive species, and climate change. Field biologists and philosophers associated to the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program and the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, have worked to describe the region’s biocultural diversity, linking ecological and philosophical research into education, ecotourism, and conservation, through a methodology called field environmental philosophy (FEP), which integrates ecological sciences and environmental ethics through a 4-step cycle consisting of: 1) interdisciplinary research; 2) composition of metaphors; 3) design of field activities with an ecological and ethical orientation; and 4) implementation of in situ conservation areas. In this context, the purposes of this dissertation were to: 1) provide a comprehensive review of publications regarding the conservation status of aquatic and terrestrial insects at a global scale and with an emphasis in southern South America; 2) study the distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates through the sharp altitudinal gradient of the Róbalo River watershed; 3) describe the life histories of Gigantodax sp (Simuliidae: Diptera) and Meridialaris chiloeense (Leptophlebiidae: Ephemeroptera) in the Róbalo River and to assess the potential effects of climate change on their phenology; and 4) to apply FEP methodology in order to better understand and communicate the intrinsic and instrumental values of freshwater invertebrates in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103303/
Beta-adrenergic Blockade Via Atenolol and Its Effects on Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and Renal Morphology in the Developing Chicken Gallus Gallus Domesticus
Chicken embryos were chronically exposed to the ?1- blocker atenolol during one of three stages: mesonephros (E7-E9), mesonephros-metanephros (E11-E13), or metanephros (E15-E17). Mesonephros group hearts were larger than all other groups (P < 0.01). Mesonephros and metanephros group kidneys were larger than all remaining groups (P < 0.0001). The mesonephros group nephron number was ~40% lower than control values (P = 0.002). Glomerular areas were 26% and 18% larger than the control group in the mesonephros and metanephros groups, respectively (P < 0.001). These data suggest an E7-E9 critical window of cardiovascular and renal development for atenolol. Acute atenolol exposure in E15 embryos showed an increase in mean arterial pressure with all but the highest dose. All doses significantly decreased heart rate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177248/
Bioconcentration and Morphological Effects of Triclosan on Three Species of Wetland Plants
Triclosan (TCS) is an antimicrobial compound found in several types of common household products. After being washed down the drain, TCS will then end up in the local watershed. Although numerous studies have been conducted to evaluate the fate and effects of TCS in aquatic environments, there have been no studies evaluating the role arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM) play in a plants response to TCS exposure. Three species of wetland plants native North Texas were inoculated with AM spores and exposed to 0, 0.4 g/L and 4.0 g/L TCS concentrations. Root morphology of E. prostrata and S. herbacea showed AM and exposure responses. S. herbacea produced the greatest amounts biomass and TCS bioaccumulation, in all but one treatment. It also displayed opposing results to E. prostrata in measures of root length, root surface area, relative root mass, relative shoot mass and shoot:root ratio. TCS root tissue concentrations increased with increased exposures for both E. prostrata and S. herbacea. Even though E. prostrata had the lowest levels in each measure of biomass production, it had the highest amount of root TCS bioaccumulation in the AM inoculated 4.0 g/L treatment. H. laevis was between the other two species in terms of biomass production, and did not demonstrate any exposure or inoculation effects in morphology or TCS accumulation. Overall, no clear patterns were detected, which highlights the fact that further study is required to completely understand the effects compounds like TCS can have on plant community structure, and ultimately ecosystem function. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271900/
Characterization of Arthrobacter Globiformis Aspartate Transcarbamylase Concentrations of Substrates
This thesis consists of one major section with two subsections. The first subsection investigates the activity of Arthrobacter globiformis aspartate transcarbamylase's specific activity with increasing concentrations of the enzyme's substrate. Dihydroorotase (DHOase) activity was also measured with increasing concentrations of the substrate dihydroorotate. The second subsection collected data in order to classify the enzyme, resulting in a classification into the category of class A ATCases with bifunctional ATCase-DHOase complexes. The thesis provides evidence to broaden understanding of the ATCase and DHOase enzymes for members of the family that Arthrobacter belongs to. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271918/
Chronic Hypoxia and Hyperoxia Modifies Morphology and Vegf Expression of the Lungs of the Developing Chicken (Gallus Gallus Domesticus)
This study determines effects of oxygen levels on morphology and VEGF expression of developing chicken lungs following incubation in normoxia (21% O2), hypoxia (15% O2) or hyperoxia (30% O2), until developmental days 16 or 18. Lung morphology was assessed using light microscopy, while VEGF expression was determined with ELISA. In hypoxia, the proportion of parabronchial tissue and parabronchi including lumina increased from day 16 to 18 (61 to 68% and 74.2 to 82.2%, respectively). Non-parabronchial tissue was higher in hypoxia than in hyperoxia on day 16 (26 to 20%). However, by day 18, there were no differences between groups. VEGF expression was 33% higher in hypoxia than in hyperoxia on day 16 (736 vs. 492 pg/ml). On day 18, VEGF expression was 43% higher in hyperoxia than in normoxia (673 to 381pg/ml), and remained elevated by 40% in hypoxia over normoxia (631 pg/ml). VEGF may be a mechanism by which parabronchial tissue is stimulated from day 16 to 18 following exposure to chronic hypoxia. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177224/
Clustering Algorithms for Time Series Gene Expression in Microarray Data
Clustering techniques are important for gene expression data analysis. However, efficient computational algorithms for clustering time-series data are still lacking. This work documents two improvements on an existing profile-based greedy algorithm for short time-series data; the first one is implementation of a scaling method on the pre-processing of the raw data to handle some extreme cases; the second improvement is modifying the strategy to generate better clusters. Simulation data and real microarray data were used to evaluate these improvements; this approach could efficiently generate more accurate clusters. A new feature-based algorithm was also developed in which steady state value; overshoot, rise time, settling time and peak time are generated by the 2nd order control system for the clustering purpose. This feature-based approach is much faster and more accurate than the existing profile-based algorithm for long time-series data. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177269/
Comparison of Heteranthera Dubia (Jacq.) MacM.-associated Macroinvertebrates Between Georgraphical Regions in the United States
Macroinvertebrates associated with the aquatic plant, water stargrass (Heteranthera dubia), were sampled from 12 waterbodies in four regions of the United States from June to August 2005. Taxa richness, evenness, and diversity were lowest in the Lower Midwest (LMW) region, and higher in Northern sites, especially the Upper Midwest (UMW), and Northeast (NE). While relative abundance varied from site to site and region to region, utilization of the plant by functional groups remained fairly constant. Collector-gatherers consistently comprised the largest portion of invertebrates sampled. The shredder/ herbivore functional group comprised an average of 17 % of total groups. Through an exhaustive literature review, it was found that shredder/ herbivores of water stargrass have not been reported in the literature. Because of this, the herbivore group was analyzed separately and consisted of 2,383 specimens representing 23 species. The most common groups were Rhopalosiphum sp., Nectopsyche spp. and chironomids. No differences were found in herbivore diversity or evenness between sampling regions, but species richness was significantly different. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28427/
Detection of Mercury Among Avian Trophic Levels at Caddo Lake and Lake Lewisville, TX
Mercury (Hg) is a globally distributed toxicant that has been shown to have negative effects on birds. in the United States, avian taxa have been shown to possess high Hg concentrations in the northeast, Great Lakes and Everglades ecosystems; however, few studies have measured avian Hg concentrations in other geographic regions. Previous studies have documented high Hg concentrations in multiple organisms in east Texas, but birds were not included in these studies. the main objective of the present study was to quantify Hg concentrations in birds in differing trophic levels at Caddo Lake and Lake Lewisville, TX. Results suggest that Hg concentrations may be high enough to negatively impact some bird taxa, particularly those at high trophic levels, residing at both Caddo Lake and Lake Lewisville. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115153/
Determination of Bioconcentration Potential of Selected Pharmaceuticals in Fathead Minnow, Pimephales Promelas, and Channel Catfish, Lctalurus Punctatus
The primary objective of this work was to determine the tissue-specific bioconcentration factors (BCFs) of the selected pharmaceuticals: norethindrone (NET), ibuprofen (IBU), verapamil (VER), clozapine (CLZ) and fenofibrate (FFB) in two freshwater fishes: fathead minnow and channel catfish. BCF tests on fathead followed the standard OECD 42-day test while a 14-day abridged test design was used in catfish exposures. Additional objectives included a) comparing the measured BCFs to the US EPA's BCFWIN model predicted values, b) comparing the BCF results from the standard and reduced tests, and c) prediction of chronic risk of the pharmaceuticals in fish using the human therapeutic plasma concentrations. Each test included uptake and depuration phases to measure tissue-specific kinetic BCFs. The results indicated that all the pharmaceuticals, except IBU, have the potential for accumulation in fish. Estimated BCFs for NET, VER and FFB may not be significant in view of the current regulatory trigger level (BCF &#8805; 2000); however, CLZ's BCF in the liver had approached the criterion level. Significant differences were noticed in the tissue-specific uptake levels of the pharmaceuticals with the following general trend: (liver/kidney) > (gill/brain) > (heart/muscle) > plasma. IBU uptake was highest in the plasma. When compared to the measured BCFs, predicted values for NET, IBU, VER and FFB were slightly overestimated but did not differ largely. However, the measured BCF of CLZ in the liver was approximately two-orders of magnitude higher than the predicted level. The tissue-BCFs for the two species were not widely different indicating the potential usefulness of the reduced BCF test. Comparison of fish and human plasma levels indicated that NET, CLZ and VER have the potential to cause chronic effects in fish. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33189/
The Ecology and Paleobiogeography of Freshwater Mussels (Family: Unionidae) from Selected River Basins in Texas
This dissertation has two overall objectives: first, to demonstrate the utility of paleozoological data for ongoing and future mussel-conservation efforts in Texas and second, to evaluate whether simple measures of habitat (e.g., water depth, velocity and particle size) are important for demonstrating the within-habitat spatial separation of mussels. Although these topics may seem disparate, both are important for increasing our understanding of unionid ecology and biogeography. Chapters 1 through 3 examine the use of paleozoological data for mussel conservation. Although these types of data are not new they have rarely been used in mussel conservation efforts within Texas. This is unfortunate because paleozoological data can provide an excellent record of the mussel fauna prior to wide-scale modern impacts and in areas where historical survey data are lacking. Chapter 4 examines whether assessments of microhabitat for mussels using simple measures of habitat (e.g., water velocity, depth and particle size) are useful. Recent studies have suggested that these measures do not explain the mussel distribution in flowing streams. If this is correct, instream flow studies using this approach need to be revised. Results of Chapter 4 indicate that mussels in the lower Brazos River basin are constrained in distribution by the availability of heterogenous substrate. Appendix A, details the first account of a living population of Truncilla macrodon, which is a candidate species for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The population was found while conducting mussel instream flow studies in the lower Brazos River basin. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68035/
Ecology and Recolonization of Benthic Macroinvertebrates in a Groundwater-dependent Stream in North Central Texas During a Supra-seasonal Drought
Extreme climatic events such as droughts are known to eliminate aquatic biota and alter community structure and function. Perennial headwater springs provide important drought refugia to benthic macroinvertebrates and an important source of colonists via drift or aerial adults to intermittent streams post-drought. During a supra-seasonal drought in North-central Texas summer and fall 2006, benthic macroinvertebrates from persistent groundwater-dependent macrohabitats of varying hydrological connectivity and riparian shading were studied: perennial riffles, connected pools, shaded disconnected pools, and full sun disconnected pools. Riffles were a distinct habitat with significantly higher taxa richness, proportion of lotic taxa, diversity and evenness than other macrohabitats. Macrohabitats were found to be important refugia for 106 benthic macroinvertebrates and 4 microcrustacean taxa. Throughout the extreme drought, perennially flowing habitats were refugia to 19 taxa (17.9% total taxa) not collected in disconnected pools. Shaded disconnected pools contained lotic taxa not previously known to be able to complete their lifecycles in lentic habitats, emphasizing the importance of groundwater effluent and shading. With the resumption of flow at a downstream intermittent site of Ash Creek in mid-October 2006, an annual recolonization study was conducted comparing the perennial headwaters’ benthic macroinvertebrate taxa richness, densities and community ecology with the downstream intermittent site. The headwaters supported higher mean taxa richness than the intermittent site over the duration of the study (ANOVA P < 0.001). However, the unexpected result of overall decreasing taxa richness at the perennial headwater site from August 2006 to April 2008 appears to reflect lag effects of the supra-seasonal drought combined with effects of multiple spates of 2007, which are factors confounding the point of recovery for taxa richness. Recovery of taxa richness at the intermittent site took 9 months compared to 1 to 2 months reported in other arid and semi-arid streams in the United States recovering from seasonal drying and floods. Sustainable use of groundwater resources and conservation of riparian corridors is vital to protecting groundwater-dependent ecosystems that play a vital role in maintaining regional biodiversity by serving as biotic refugia during catastrophic disturbance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115054/
Effects of CFT Legumine™ Rotenone on Macroinvertebrates in Four Drainages of Montana and New Mexico
Rotenone is considered essential in the restoration of native fish populations; however, the technique is contentious and criticized, specifically concerning impacts to invertebrates. Knowledge of effects to non-target organisms is important for the management and conservation of fish populations. This thesis has two general objectives: (1) demonstrate the influence CFT Legumine™ rotenone has on benthic macroinvertebrates for restoration projects in Montana and New Mexico and (2) evaluate the immediate response by means of invertebrate drift. Chapters 2 and 4 incorporate results from four different restoration projects that examine benthic macroinvertebrate response. Results indicate treatment effects are minimal for Specimen and Cherry Creek projects in Montana. New Mexico projects, Comanche and Costilla Creek suggest a greater influence. Potassium permanganate used to neutralize rotenone, influenced communities in three of the four projects. Regardless, invertebrates in all four projects recovered one-year after treatment. Chapter 3 examines macroinvertebrate drift during rotenone treatment. Results suggest a delayed response compared to previous literature. Rotenone appears to have the greatest immediate influence on the early life stages of Ephemeroptera and Plecoptera. To reduce impacts of rotenone to invertebrates, managers should apply CFT Legumine and use the minimal dosage and duration to complete the projects goal of removing non-indigenous fish species. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84278/
Effects of Peripheral Nerve Injury on the Cells of the Dorsal Root Ganglion: a Role for Primary Cilia
Primary cilia are ubiquitous sensory organelles found on most cell types including cells of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG). The DRG are groups of peripheral neurons that relay sensory information from the periphery to the CNS. Other cell types in the DRG include a type of glial cell, the satellite glial cells (SGCs). The SGCs surround the DRG neurons and, with the neurons, form functional sensory units. Currently are no reports describing the numbers of DRG cells that have cilia. We found that 26% of the SGCs had primary cilia. The incidence of cilia on neurons varied with neuron size, a property that roughly correlates with physiological characteristics. We found that 29% of the small, 16% of the medium and 5% of the large neurons had primary cilia. Primary cilia have been shown to have a role in cell proliferation in a variety of cell types. In some of the cells the cilia mediate the proliferative effects of Sonic hedgehog (Shh). In the CNS, Shh signaling through primary cilia affects proliferation during development as well as following injury, but no studies have looked at this function in the PNS. The SGCs and neurons of the DRG undergo complex changes following peripheral nerve injury such as axotomy. One marked change seen after axotomy is SGC proliferation and at later stages, neuronal death. We found that following axotomy there is a significant increase in the percentage of SGCs with primary cilia. We also found a significant increase in the percentage of medium-sized neurons with primary cilia. In other experiments we tested the idea that Shh plays a role in SGC proliferation. When Shh signaling was blocked following axotomy we found decreased proliferation of SGCs. This is the first report of a change in the percentage of cells with cilia following injury in the PNS, and the first report of a role for Shh in SGC proliferation following axotomy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177258/
Endocannabinoid System in a Planarian Model
In this study, the presence and possible function of endocannabinoid ligands in the planarian is investigated. The endocannabinoids ananadamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and entourage NAE compounds palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), stearoylethanolamide (SEA) and oleoylethanolamide (OEA) were found in Dugesia dorotocephala. Changes in SEA, PEA, and AEA levels were observed over the initial twelve hours of active regeneration. Exogenously applied AEA, 2-AG and their catabolic inhibition effected biphasic changes in locomotor velocity, analogous to those observed in murines. The genome of a close relative, Schmidtea mediterranea, courtesy of the University of Utah S. med genome database, was explored for cannabinoid receptors, none were found. A putative fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) homolog was found in Schmidtea mediterranea. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33188/
Endocrine Disruption of Levonorgestrel in Early-life Stages of Fathead Minnows, Pimephales Promelas
Pharmaceuticals have routinely been detected in the environment resulting in a growing concern about whether these drugs could elicit effects on aquatic organisms. The concerns are centered on the highly conserved nature of mammalian therapeutic targets in fish. These pharmaceuticals are found at very low levels in the environment, which can result in sub-lethal effects in aquatic organisms. Therefore, 28 d early-life stage studies were conducted on six pharmaceuticals to assess their impacts on survival and growth fathead minnow larvae. Two pharmaceuticals tested, carbamazepine and fenofibrate, resulted in no alterations to survival and growth. However, amiodarone, clozapine, dexamethasone, and levonorgestrel (LNG) reduced survival at concentrations tested with LNG being the most potent at 462 ng/L. Survival was increased with amiodarone and clozapine; however LNG significantly decreased growth at 86 ng/L. Therefore, the most potent pharmaceutical tested was the synthetic progestin LNG with survival and growth impacts at concentrations less than 1 μg/L. Further analysis was conducted by measuring specific endocrine related mRNA transcript profiles in FHM larvae following the 28 d ELS exposure to LNG. Transcripts of 3β-HSD, 20β-HSD, and FSH were significantly down-regulated following 28 d exposure to both 16.3 and 86.9 ng/L LNG. Also, CYP19a expression was significantly down-regulated at 86.9 and 2392 ng/L LNG. Subsequently, a second study examined time periods that may be most sensitive (e.g., windows of sensitivity) for FHM larvae exposed to LNG. Larvae were exposed to a single concentration of LNG (i.e. LOECgrowth of 86.2 ng/L as determined in the 28 d ELS study) for different time periods starting with fertilized egg through 28 dph. Growth and mRNA expression of the four differentially expressed transcripts from the first study were measured. Regardless of the duration of exposure, LNG significantly decreased growth in fathead minnow larvae at day 28. For both 20β-HSD and CYP19a, mRNA expression was decreased following exposure to LNG; however, these transcripts returned to baseline levels after removal of LNG. 3β-HSD and FSH showed similar trends after exposure to LNG with 7-14 d and 14-28 d exposures exhibiting a decrease in expression; however, FSH expression returned to baseline once removed for LNG exposure. Based on these data, 3β-HSD was the only transcript to remain down regulated after LNG exposure. Together these data suggest LNG can negatively impact FHM larval survival and growth, with significant alterations in endocrine related responses. However, these changes in endocrine related responses may not directly correlate to the changes in growth demonstrated with LNG exposure to fathead minnows. Therefore, additional research is warranted to ascertain additional mechanisms, either endocrine related or non-endocrine functions, related to changes in growth of larval fathead minnows. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283848/
Evaluating the Habitat Requirements of the Golden Orb Mussel (Quadrula Aurea) for Conservation Purposes
Many freshwater mussels are imperiled, due to a number of interrelated factors such as habitat alteration, degradation of water quality, and impoundments. The Golden Orb mussel (Quadrula aurea, I. Lea, 1859) is endemic to the state of Texas and is currently a candidate for the endangered species list, as the number of known populations has been declining in recent years. Little is currently known about Q. aurea aside from basic distribution data. This study is focused on evaluating a combination of macro-habitat and micro-habitat variables to determine their influence on the distribution and density of this species. Macro-habitat variables, including dominant land cover, surface geology, and soil erodibility factor, did not have a significant relationship with mussel distributions. The best model of micro-habitat variables that impacts the Q. aurea distributions is comprised of relative substrate stability (RSS) at moderate flows and current velocity at low flows. For all mussel species in this study, current velocity at low flows is the primary variable that influences distribution. Q. aurea are associated with habitats where larger sediment particles (large gravel and cobble) help to stabilize the substrate in areas with higher current velocities. An understanding of the preferred habitats for Q. aurea can be used to help focus conservation efforts and practices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271827/
Examination of the Relationship Between Glucuronic Acid and Vascular Damage in Rats
The goal of this experiment was to examine the role of glucuronic acid in the development of vascular damage in the kidneys and retinas of diabetic individuals. Glucuronic acid was provided to rats in their water at various concentrations in order to increase plasma levels of the compound. Kidneys and retinas were excised and compared to control specimens using microscopy to determine the effect of elevated blood glucuronic acid levels on the occurrence of microaneurysms in renal capillary networks. No differences were seen between the treatment and control groups. Further study needs to be conducted to determine a more suitable time frame for this experiment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271866/
Examining the Shade/flood Tolerance Tradeoff Hypothesis in Bottomland Herbs Through Field Study and Experimentation
While there is growing evidence that shade/flood tolerance tradeoffs may be important in distributions of bottomland hardwood trees and indications that they should apply to herbs, no studies have definitively explored this possibility. Four years of field data following historic flooding were supplemented with a greenhouse experiment designed to identify interactions congruent with tradeoffs. Fifteen bottomland species were grown in two levels of water availability and three levels of shade over 10 weeks. Results indicate responses of Fimbristylis vahlii and Ammannia robusta are consistent with tradeoffs. Modification of classical allometric responses to shade by substrate saturation indicates a potential mechanism for the tradeoff in A. robusta. Responses indicating potential for increased susceptibility to physical flooding disturbance are also discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115161/
Exploring the Evolutionary History of North American Prairie Grouse (Genus: Tympanuchus) Using Multi-locus Coalescent Analyses
Conservation biologists are increasingly using phylogenetics as a tool to understand evolutionary relationships and taxonomic classification. The taxonomy of North American prairie grouse (sharp-tailed grouse, T. phasianellus; lesser prairie-chicken, T. pallidicinctus; greater prairie-chicken, T. cupido; including multiple subspecies) has been designated based on physical characteristics, geography, and behavior. However, previous studies have been inconclusive in determining the evolutionary history of prairie grouse based on genetic data. Therefore, additional research investigating the evolutionary history of prairie grouse is warranted. In this study, ten loci (including mitochondrial, autosomal, and Z-linked markers) were sequenced across multiple populations of prairie grouse, and both traditional and coalescent-based phylogenetic analyses were used to address the evolutionary history of this genus. Results from this study indicate that North American prairie grouse diverged in the last 200,000 years, with species-level taxa forming well-supported monophyletic clades in species tree analyses. With these results, managers of the critically endangered Attwater's prairie-chicken (T. c. attwateri) can better evaluate whether outcrossing Attwater's with greater prairie-chickens would be a viable management tool for Attwater's conservation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271815/
Functional Neural Toxicity and Endocrine Responses in Mice Following Naphthalene Exposure
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a well studied and diverse class of environmental toxicants. PAHs act via the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), and studies have suggested that PAHs may elicit neurological and estrogenic effects. Doses of PAHs between 50 to 150 ppm may elicit neurotoxicity in rodent models. The present study investigated the effects of naphthalene on in vivo steroidogenesis in Swiss Webster male mice, and in vitro neural function of Balb-C/ICR mice frontal cortex neurons. These data suggest that naphthalene may not elicit steroidogenic effects at concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 25 mg/kg/day, following a 7 day subcutaneous dosing regime. In addition, naphthalene may cause functional toxicity of frontal cortex neurons at concentrations of 32 to 160 ppm naphthalene. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31529/
Genetic Interest Assessment
Genetics is becoming increasingly integrated into peoples' lives. Different measures have been taken to try and better genetics education. This thesis examined undergraduate students at the University of North Texas not majoring in the life sciences interest in genetic concepts through the means of a Likert style survey. ANOVA analysis showed there was variation amongst the interest level in different genetic concepts. In addition age and lecture were also analyzed as contributing factors to students' interest. Both age and lecture were evaluated to see if they contributed to the interest of students in genetic concepts and neither showed statistical significance. The Genetic Interest Assessment (GIA) serves to help mediate the gap between genetic curriculum and students' interest. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271807/
Hypoxia and the Development of Endothermic Capacity in Chickens (Gallus Gallus)
Adult chickens employ endothermy – internal generation of heat that maintains a constant body temperature (Tb). Prior to hatching, chicken embryos are ectothermic - controlling Tb by external heat sources. Upon hatching, the hatchling transitions from an ectotherm to an endotherm that has been shown to be delayed by hypoxia. In this study, whole animal oxygen consumption () and liver, heart, and skeletal muscle citrate synthase activity (CSA) and were measured during this transition to endothermy in chickens incubated in normoxia and hypoxia (15% O2). The only significant differences in occurred in 48 hour old hatchlings where was lower in normoxic hatchlings. There were no differences in CS activity between age and incubation oxygen levels. Additionally, preliminary 2-D protein gels of embryo and hatchling liver show changes in the proteome upon hatching. Results suggest that hypoxia had no significant effect on CSA and a minimal effect on . digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149643/
Induced Bradycardia Effects on Angiogenesis, Growth and Development in Early Development in Chicken Embryos, Gallus Domesticus
Cardiac performance, angiogenesis and growth was investigated during early chicken development. Heart rate, and thus arterial pulse pressure and cardiac output, were altered with the bradycardic drug ZD7288. Heart rates at 72 h of development of control embryos and those dosed with chicken Ringer were not different at 171 bpm. Acute and chronic application of ZD7288 caused significant bradycardia. Chronic dosing of Ringer and ZD7288 changed neither eye diameter nor development rate. Chronic dosing of ZD7288 did not significantly alter CAM vessel density close to the embryo (2, 3 and 4 mm) but at farther distances (5 and 6 mm) chronic dosing with both Ringer and ZD7288 decreased vessel density by 13 - 16%. Chronic dosing with ZD7288 also reduced body mass by 20%. Thus, lowered heart rate and cardiac output had little effect on vessel density or developmental stage, but did reduce embryo growth. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33199/
The Influence of in Vitro Gill and Liver Metabolism of Xenobiotics on Fish Bioconcentration
This dissertation examines the ability of in vitro biotransformation assays to provide an indication of metabolic potential. The potential for xenobiotic compounds to bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms is expressed through the bioconcentration factor (BCF). The metabolic loss of ibuprofen, norethindrone and propranolol was measured using rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) gill and liver S9 fractions, microsomes and cell suspensions. Metabolic transformation rates (kM) were extrapolated from in vitro intrinsic clearance of parent compound (CLm) and integrated into a refined BCF model. In general, CLm of test compounds was greater in liver S9 fractions and hepatocytes. However, the influence of hepatic metabolism on kM and BCF was limited by hepatic blood flow (20-25%) compared to gill blood flow (~100%). A significant difference was noted between BCF solely based on KOW and BCF including kM. These studies indicate that the inclusion of kM in BCF models can bring predicted bioconcentration estimates closer to in vivo values. Primary cell suspensions are preferred over subcellular fractions as cell suspensions possess both phase I and phase II enzyme activity. Further study was conducted on ibuprofen biotransformation pathways. As fish do not contain the same cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2C homologs known to metabolize ibuprofen in mammals, it cannot be assumed that piscine biotransformation is similar. Metabolite analysis found 2-hydroxy-ibuprofen as the major metabolite in S9 and microsomal fractions. Additional assays involving the induction and inhibition of specific CYP isozymes support CYP1A2 as an alternative metabolic pathway. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30457/
Investigating Realistic Scenarios of Biodiversity Loss on Ecosystem Functioning: Extirpation of Rare Species and Food Web Collapse in Tropical Floodplain Lagoons
This thesis investigates the influence of nonrandom species loss on the structure and functioning of trophic floodplain lagoons. Two experiments were conducted based on different realistic scenarios of biodiversity loss using multitrophic fish assemblages derived from long-term survey data. Loss of fish diversity influenced overall ecosystem multifunctionality of these lagoons through complex multitrophic interactions throughout the aquatic food web. These results indicate that biodiversity loss from diverse multitrophic ecosystems can influence ecosystem structure and function and likely deviate from simplified food chain dynamics or patterns that emerged from single trophic level studies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115137/
Life History And Secondary Production Of Cheumatopsyche Lasia Ross (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae) With Respect To A Wastewater Treatment Facility In A North Texas Urban Stream
This study represents the first shift in multivoltine life history of Cheumatopsyche species from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in North America. Populations of C. lasia were examined upstream and downstream of the Denton’s Pecan Creek WWTP August 2009 through November 2010. C. lasia is multivoltine in Pecan Creek with three cohorts observed upstream of the WWTP and four possible cohorts downstream. A fourth generation was possible downstream as thermal inputs from WWTP effluent resulted in elevated water temperatures that allowed larval development to progress through the winter producing a cohort ready to emerge in spring. Production of C. lasia was 5 times greater downstream of the WWTP with secondary production estimates of 1.3 g m-2 yr-1 and 4.88- 6.51 g m-2 yr-1, respectively. Differences in abundance were due to increased habitat availability downstream of the WWTP in addition to continuous stream flow from inputs of wastewater effluent. Results also suggest that C. lasia is important for energy transfer in semiarid urban prairie streams and may serve as a potential conduit for the transfer of energy along with emergent contaminants to terrestrial ecosystems. These finding highlight the need for more quantitative accounts of population dynamics (voltinism, development rates, secondary production, and P/B) of aquatic insect species to fully understand the ecology and energy dynamics of urban systems. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103372/
Modulation of the Coelomic Fluid Protein Profile in the Earthworm, Lumbricus Terrestris, After Exposure to Copper as Copper Sulfate
Proteomic techniques were used to analyze the protein profile of earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris, coelomic fluid collected by either whole body dissection method or the coelomic cavity puncture method. Data demonstrated that collection of coelomic fluid using the coelomic cavity puncture method protocol resulted in a 32% reduction, 377 +/- 4.5 vs 253+/- 19.9 (p=0.0007), in the number of individual proteins. It was determined that the coelomic cavity puncture method yielded a "cleaner" preparation, one less contaminated with extraneous proteins from intestinal tissue, gut contents, and body wall materials. This protocol was used in all later studies. The same proteomic techniques were used to evaluate the effects that exposure to Cu (1.0 &#956;g/cm2) as CuSO4 had on the earthworm coelomic fluid profile. Comparison of protein profile from exposed earthworms demonstrated a significant reduction in the number of proteins expressed (184 ± 2.64 vs 253 ±19.9 p=0.0192) when compared to control organisms. Cu exposure also resulted in a modulation of the protein profile with treated earthworms expressing 47 new proteins that were not identified in unexposed worm coelomic fluid. Additionally, 116 proteins found in coelomic fluid collected from normal worms were absent in Cu exposed organisms. Finally, 137 proteins were conserved or found in both control and exposed organisms; however of these proteins, 24 were up-regulated, 105 were down-regulated, and 8 were unchanged as a result of Cu exposure. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28428/
Molecular systematics of Baird's pocket gopher (Geomys breviceps)
Baird's pocket gopher (Geomys breviceps) is found in eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, central and western Arkansas, and western Louisiana. The cytochrome-b gene was sequenced and analyzed for 16 pocket gophers from throughout the range of the species. Similar phylogenetic trees were obtained using maximum-parsimony, maximum-likelihood, neighbor-joining, and Bayesian analyses. Two major clades were formed with northern individuals belonging to clade I and southern individuals belonging to clade II. G. b. sagittalis was paraphyletic in relation to G. b. breviceps in all analyses. Based on inconsistencies between the taxonomic classification and systematic relationships within Baird's pocket gopher, a taxonomic restructuring appears warranted. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30438/
Museum education: Creation, implementation, and evaluation of a web-based Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum
Evaluation of museum audiences both in their physical and web-based spaces is a necessary component of museum education. For smaller museums without the personnel or knowledge to create a website and evaluate the on-line audience, using a web-based learning tool may be able to help these museums properly maintain an online site. A web-based Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum (WBEFNHM) was created during the 2008 fall semester at the University of North Texas. The site included photographs and information from specimens housed within the physical Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum. The site was available to three non-science majors' biology laboratory courses, and three science majors' biology laboratory courses during the 2009 spring and fall semesters. Student use of the WBEFNHM was tracked and found no significant difference between the amount of time science majors and non-majors spent on the site. This evaluation helps in understanding future use of an online EFNHM. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67941/
Primary Cilia in the Oligodendrocyte Lineage
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oligodendrocytes migrate from the corpus callosum into the overlying cortex. The incidence of cilia did not change markedly across age groups, and did not vary consistently with the number of processes per cell, which was used as an indication of the maturation stage of OPCs and young OLs. The mean percent of Olig1 immunopositive (Olig1+) cells having cilia across ages was 33.1% + 16.5%, with all ages combined. In O4+ cells of these mice, 56.7 + 3.6% had primary cilia. If it is the case that adult OLs do not have cilia, the point in the lineage when primary cilia are lost is still unknown. Adult mice that had been injected with cyclopamine to block cilia-dependent Shh signaling were examined to determine whether the rate of generating new OPCs was influenced. In the CC of control mice, the numerical density of Olig1+/BrdU+ cells was 1.29 + 0.07/mm2 was reduced to 0.68 + 0.38/mm2 in the cyclopamine-injected group, and the numerical density of all BrdU+ cells (including both Olig1+ and Olig1- cells) of 4.55 + 1.50/mm2 in the control group was reduced to 3.14 + 1.27/mm2 in the cyclopamine-injected group. However, there were only 2 mice in each group and the differences were not statistically significant. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271828/
Retinoic acid Treatment Affects Kidney Development and Osmoregulatory System in the Developing Chicken (Gallus Gallus)
Development is a dynamic process characterized by critical periods in which organ systems are sensitive to changes in the surrounding environment. In the current study, critical windows of embryonic growth and kidney development were assessed in the embryonic chicken. All&#8208;trans retinoic acid (tRA) influences not only organogenesis and cell proliferation, but also targets metanephric kidney nephrogenesis. Embryonic chickens were given a single injection of tRA on embryonic day 8. tRA decreased embryo, kidney, and heart mass from day 16 to day 18. However, mass specific kidney and heart masses showed no differences. Whole blood, plasma, and allantoic fluid osmolality were altered in tRA treated embryos from day 16 to day 18. In addition, hematocrit, red blood cell count, and hemoglobin concentration were altered in tRA treated embryos. The results suggest that although nephrogenesis was not affected by tRA, the developing osmoregulatory system was altered in tRA treated embryos. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67956/
A Socio-ecological Assessment of Watershed Ecosystem Services in Southern Patagonia
This thesis utilizes a theoretical framework which links biophysical and social domains of ecosystems via ecosystem services (ES), in order to conduct a socio-ecological assessment of urban watersheds in three communities in Chilean and Argentine regions of southern Patagonia. Results from this study show that expanding urban areas may be undermining the ability of local watersheds to provide for high quality ES posing potential risks to community wellbeing. Secondly, researchers and decision makers influencing regional natural resource management share similar values to general community members but do not capture the diversity of values that exist within the broader community, and dialogue between these groups on management issues is poor. A community-based management structure is recommended for the creation of adaptive and locally relevant management strategies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149693/
Solvent Effects and Bioconcentration Patterns of Antimicrobial Compounds in Wetland Plants
This study looked at effects of organic solvents dimethylsulfoxide, dimethylformamide and acetone at 0.01%, 0.05% and 0.1% concentration on germination and seedling development wetland plants. Even at 0.01% level, all solvents affected some aspect of seed germination or seedling growth. Acetone at 0.01% was least toxic. Root morphological characteristics were most sensitive compared to shoot morphological characteristics. This study also looked at bioconcentration patterns of antimicrobial compounds triclosan, triclocarban and methyl-triclosan in wetland plants exposed to Denton Municipal Waste Water Treatment Plant effluent. Bioconcentration patterns of antimicrobial compounds varied among species within groups as well as within organs of species. The highest triclocarban, triclosan and methyltriclosan concentration were in shoot of N. guadalupensis, root of N. lutea and in shoots of P. nodous respectively. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67953/
Somatostatin Receptors on Neuronal Cilia: Evidence for Neuroprotection
Primary cilia are essential in brain development, as mediators of sonic hedgehog signaling. However, their role in mature neurons remains elusive. One means to elucidate their function may be to investigate the function of the somatostatin type 3 receptor (SstR3), which is concentrated on the primary cilia of neurons. The inhibitory and anticonvulsant properties of somatostatin suggest that ciliary SstR3 might protect neurons against excitotoxicity, as seen in epileptic seizures. C57BL/6 wild type (wt) and SstR3 knockout mice were administered vehicle or epileptogenic agents kainic acid (KA) or pentylenetetrazole. Seizure behaviors were rated on seizure severity scales. KA-induced seizure behaviors were more severe in SstR3 mutants than in wt. Correspondingly, the mutants showed greater reactive gliosis, as indicated by increased numbers of GFAP immunoreactive (GFAP(+)) astrocyte processes. In addition, seizure severity was associated with a greater percentage of neural stem cells having an ACIII(+) cilium. Following injections of pentylenetetrazole, SstR3 mutants reached maximum seizure levels faster than wt. These results support the hypothesis that ciliary SstR3 are neuroprotective in mature neurons, and may provide a new avenue for the treatment of seizures. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177195/
Tests of a New Model of Paclitaxel-Induced Neuropathy and the Effects of Paclitaxel on the Dorsal Root Ganglia
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This study examined a new model of paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain and the effects of systemic paclitaxel on the gap junction protein subunit Cx43 and potassium inwardly-rectifying channel Kir4.1 within the dorsal root ganglia. In the new neuropathic pain model, subplantar injections of paclitaxel resulted in decreased conduction velocities of A-beta fiber compound action potentials in the sciatic (5.9%) and tibial nerves (6.8%) as well as in M (10.6%) and H (10.2%) waves. By using repeated recordings it was found that following paclitaxel injection, conduction velocities in the contralateral plantar nerve increased (9.2%). Systemic injections of paclitaxel resulted in reduced Kir4.1 immunolabeling in the dorsal root ganglia compared to vehicle injections. This reduction was observed in total labeling (32.4%) as well as in areas of intense labeling (28.7%). Reductions in overall Cx43 immunolabeling (25%) and area (25%) following systemic paclitaxel injections were not statistically significant. The results of these studies suggest that subplantar injections of paclitaxel can result in reduced peripheral nerve conduction velocities. The results also show that a unilateral neuropathy can result in contralateral changes in conduction velocities. The effects of paclitaxel on reducing Kir4.1 levels suggest that neuropathic pain caused by paclitaxel may share mechanisms in common with other types of neuropathies which show similar changes in Kir4.1 levels. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84251/
Thermal Identification of Clandestine Burials: A Signature Analysis and Image Classification Approach
Clandestine burials, the interred human remains of forensic interest, are generally small features located in isolated environments. Typical ground searches can be both time-consuming and dangerous. Thermal remote sensing has been recognized for some time as a possible search strategy for such burials that are in relatively open areas; however, there is a paucity of published research with respect to this application. This project involved image manipulation, the analyses of signatures for "graves" of various depths when compared to an undisturbed background, and the use of image classification techniques to tease out these features. This research demonstrates a relationship between the depth of burial disturbance and the resultant signature. Further, image classification techniques, especially object-oriented algorithms, can be successfully applied to single band thermal imagery. These findings may ultimately decrease burial search times for law enforcement and increase the likelihood of locating clandestine graves. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33201/
Thermal Stress During Pre-Incubation Induces Subsequent Developmental Plasticity in Northern Bobwhites
Northern bobwhite populations have declined concurrent with global warming. The focal period of this study was the 12-d pre-incubation period, when bobwhite eggs remain in the nest without the thermal protection of the incubating parent. This study first established the storage and thermal limits of bobwhite eggs, then investigated how global warming may impact oviparous embryos and how bobwhite embryos react to acute and chronic doses of simulated drought temperatures during pre-incubation. First, the maximum storage limit of bobwhite eggs was determined by storing eggs &#8804;21 d and measuring hatching success and pH of egg albumen and yolk. Hatching success of stored eggs declined after 14 d, when yolk and albumen pH reached levels detrimental to embryonic development. Secondly, thermal limits were determined by exposing bobwhite eggs to hyperthermic temperatures (38-52 °C). Bobwhite embryos survived 50 °C for 1 h, 49 °C for 3 h and 46 °C for 6 h. Results indicate an adaptation to the naturally occurring temperature extremes that can occur in the bobwhite's southern range during pre-incubation. Subsequently, bobwhite eggs were exposed to either low constant (LC), low fluctuating (LF), high constant (HC), or high fluctuating (HF) temperatures during pre-incubation to determine if the nature of temperatures differentially affected development. Although eggs exposed to high heat loads (HC and HF), and low heat loads (LF and LC) had equal heating degree-hours within groups, they exhibited differential growth during pre-incubation. Oxygen consumption, hatch timing, and hatching success were also affected by the thermal regimes. Eggs in simulated drought (HF) had a 47% lower hatch rate than eggs in simulated non-drought (LF) indicating that thermal stress during pre-incubation may contribute to population declines during drought. Finally, northern bobwhite eggs were exposed to acute or chronic doses of simulated drought temperatures, which tested for critical periods of development during pre-incubation. Collectively, data indicated that the earliest stages of bobwhite development were more affected by hyperthermic temperatures. Indeed, a critical period of development exists during the first 2/3 of pre-incubation during which exposure to hyperthermic temperatures results in aberrant development, hatching plasticity, and reduced hatch rates. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30505/