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 Degree Discipline: Environmental Science
Determination of Habitat Preferences of Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) on the Rolling Plains of Texas Using GIS and Remote Sensing

Determination of Habitat Preferences of Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) on the Rolling Plains of Texas Using GIS and Remote Sensing

Date: May 2005
Creator: Aiken, Robin A.
Description: 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.
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Development of a Pre-Impact Environmental Site Characterization for the Bryan Mound, Texas Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Development of a Pre-Impact Environmental Site Characterization for the Bryan Mound, Texas Strategic Petroleum Reserve

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Date: December 2001
Creator: Hernandez, Sylvia A.
Description: 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.
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Development of a procedure to evaluate groundwater quality and potential sources of contamination in the East Texas Basin

Development of a procedure to evaluate groundwater quality and potential sources of contamination in the East Texas Basin

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Date: May 2001
Creator: Alderman, John H.
Description: 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 ...
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Development, validation, and evaluation of a continuous, real-time, bivalve biomonitoring system.

Development, validation, and evaluation of a continuous, real-time, bivalve biomonitoring system.

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Date: December 2002
Creator: Allen, H. Joel
Description: 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 ...
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Dissolved Organic Carbon Assessment on Selected Creeks and Rivers within the Elmfork Subwatersheds of Denton, Texas

Dissolved Organic Carbon Assessment on Selected Creeks and Rivers within the Elmfork Subwatersheds of Denton, Texas

Date: May 2004
Creator: Jackson, Pamela J.
Description: 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.
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Ecological Enhancement of Timber Growth: Applying Compost to Loblolly Pine Plantations

Ecological Enhancement of Timber Growth: Applying Compost to Loblolly Pine Plantations

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Date: December 1999
Creator: Stuckey, Harold Troy
Description: 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.
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Ecological Significance and Underlying Mechanisms of Body Size Differentiation in White-tailed Deer

Ecological Significance and Underlying Mechanisms of Body Size Differentiation in White-tailed Deer

Date: May 2012
Creator: Barr, Brannon
Description: 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
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Ecotoxicological Investigations in Effluent-Dominated Stream Mesocosms

Ecotoxicological Investigations in Effluent-Dominated Stream Mesocosms

Date: December 2002
Creator: Brooks, Bryan W.
Description: 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 ...
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Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland

Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland

Date: December 2011
Creator: Becker, Wayne
Description: 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 ...
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Effects of Layer Double Hydroxide Nanoclays on the Toxicity of Copper to Daphnia Magna

Effects of Layer Double Hydroxide Nanoclays on the Toxicity of Copper to Daphnia Magna

Date: May 2012
Creator: Blake, Deanne Renee
Description: 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.
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