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Analyzing Tuberculosis Vulnerabilities and Variables in Tarrant County

Description: Over 9 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) were reported worldwide in 2013. While the TB rate is much lower in the US, its uneven distribution and associated explanatory variables require interrogation in order to determine effective strategies for intervention and control. However, paucity of case data at fine geographic scales precludes such research. This research, using zip code level data from 837 confirmed TB cases in Tarrant County obtained from Texas Department of State Health Services, explores and attempts to explain the spatial patterns of TB and related risk markers within a framework of place vulnerability. Readily available census data is then used to characterize the spatial variations in TB risk. The resulting model will enable estimations of the geographic differences in TB case variables using this readily available census data instead of time-consuming and expensive individual data collection.
Date: December 2016
Creator: McGlone, John
Partner: UNT Libraries

Western Spruce Budworm Effects on Throughfall C, N, and P Fluxes in a Central Washington Forest

Description: Western spruce budworm (Choristoneura occidentalis) outbreaks periodically disturb Western US conifer forests by defoliating canopies, which could alter the quantity and chemistry of throughfall delivered to the forest floor. Our objectives were to: i) quantify throughfall water, carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) fluxes under budworm-impacted canopies, and ii) examine the influence of herbivore intensity on flux magnitudes. In June 2015, we installed throughfall collectors in two watersheds experiencing high and background levels of herbivory. In each watershed, four plots, each with three throughfall collectors, were established (n=24) collectors), and two bulk rainfall collectors were installed in areas without canopy cover. Throughfall and rainfall were collected from late June to early November 2015. Samples were analyzed for dissolved organic carbon (DOC), ammonium (NH4-N), and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP). Over the sampling period, throughfall fluxes ranged 8.57 to 47.59 kg/ha for DOC, 0.004-0.011 kg/ha for NH4-N, and 007 - 0.29 kg/ha for SRP. Percent throughfall was slightly, but not significantly, higher in the high (48%) compared to the background watershed (42%). There were no differences in solute concentrations among the watersheds. Net throughfall fluxes, the sum of canopy uptake and leaching and dry/fog deposition, differed significantly for NH4-N by herbivory level and through time for NH4-N and DOC but not SRP. Over time, net NH4-N throughfall fluxes showed a clear transition from net uptake of NH4-N to net leaching of NH4-N in the high herbivory watershed. There was also a clearn NH4-N pulse in the high herbivory watershed after the first, but not subsequent, rainfall events. In this N-limited forest, altered throughfall N may affect soil nutrient cycling and downstream water quality.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Bailey, Jennifer Meghan
Partner: UNT Libraries

What's in Your Garden? Assessing the "Eco-friendliness" of Plant Choices of Denton, Texas Gardeners

Description: Urbanization is seen as a threat to biodiversity within urban ecosystems, which are largely reliant on humans for their composition. Two types of extremes exist in the spectrum of urban domestic gardens; on one end, the typical urban garden which is planted by landscapers at the time the house is built and is generally left unchanged, and, at the other, a "wild" landscape planted entirely with native plants which provides habitat for native fauna and pollinators. This study assesses the plant choices made by members of organized gardening groups-the Denton County Master Gardeners (DCMG), the Elm Fork Master Naturalists (EFMN), the Trinity Forks Native Plant Society (TFNPS), and Keep Denton Beautiful (KDB)-and toward which extreme these choices put these gardens on the psectrum. TFNPS and EFMN both fall closer to the wild garden extreme, with TFNPS the closest to a "wild garden." DCMG was almost directly between the two extremes, but fell closer to the typical urban garden. By looking at how these groups manage their gardens, we begin to understand the ways in which gardeners can mitigate and soften the harsh changes between wild landscapes and urban environments. Collaboration between groups could have the potential to encourage more people to use native plants which provide habitat for native fauna and pollinators if those in the typical urban garden spectrum could find in the "wild" gardens of those on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Cloutier, Andrea Nicole
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Impact of Chinese Privet (Ligustrum Sinense) on the Survival and Re-Establishment of Native Plants at the Dallas Floodway Extension

Description: Invasive woody shrubs are a problem when they displace native species and threaten habitats, especially those that harbor rare or endangered species. They not only compete with native plants, but also alter habitat and food that many organisms depend upon. Invasive plants undergo a release from their specialist predators in the nonnative range, providing them advantages over native species. Because modes and pathways of how invasive species spread are not fully understood, predicting spread and implementing restoration ecological controls remain inexact. Due to the lack of comparative studies on woody shrubs, especially invasive privets, we understand very little about conditions affecting their invasiveness. A study was conducted near Dallas, Texas to determine if privet has allelopathic properties that influences growth of native plants. Soil nutrients and other analyses were made and compared between field plots supporting privet, plots in which privet has been removed, and plots where privet has not been observed. In some field plots, natives were planted under the three previously mentioned conditions, and their survival and condition were monitored to evaluate effects of privet on their establishment and growth. It was found that Chinese privet did hinder seed germination in red mulberry, soapberry and beautyberry and root formation in beautyberry cuttings. The soil in the sites were found to be normal for bottomland forests that endured two flooding events within one year.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Barnett, Jennifer M
Partner: UNT Libraries

Looking Outward from the Village: The Contingencies of Soil Moisture on the Prehistoric Farmed Landscape near Goodman Point Pueblo

Description: Ancestral Pueblo communities of the central Mesa Verde region (CMVR) became increasingly reliant on agriculture for their subsistence needs during Basketmaker III (BMIII) through Terminal Pueblo III (TPIII) (AD 600–1300) periods. Researchers have been studying the Ancestral Pueblo people for over a century using a variety of methods to understand the relationships between climate, agriculture, population, and settlement patterns. While these methods and research have produced a well-developed cultural history of the region, studies at a smaller scale are still needed to understand the changes in farming behavior and the distribution of individual sites across the CMVR. Soil moisture is the limiting factor for crop growth in the semi-arid region of the Goodman Watershed in the CMVR. Thus, I constructed the soil moisture proxy model (SMPM) that is on a local scale and focuses on variables relevant to soil moisture – soil particle-size, soil depth, slope, and aspect. From the SMPM output, the areas of very high soil moisture are assumed to represent desirable farmland locations. I describe the relationship between very high soil moisture and site locations, then I infer the relevance of that relationship to settlement patterns and how those patterns changed over time (BMIII – TPIII). The results of the model and its application help to clarify how Ancestral Pueblo people changed as local farming communities. The results of this study indicates that farmers shifted away from use of preferred farmland during Terminal Pueblo III, which may have been caused by other cultural factors. The general outcome of this thesis is an improved understanding of human-environmental relationships on the local landscape in the CMVR.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Brown, Andrew D
Partner: UNT Libraries

Hurricane Storm Surge Sedimentation on the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, Texas: Implications for Coastal Marsh Aggradation

Description: This study uses the storm surge sediment beds deposited by Hurricanes Audrey (1957), Carla (1961), Rita (2005) and Ike (2008) to investigate spatial and temporal changes in sedimentation rates on the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Texas. Fourteen sediment cores were collected along a transect extending from 90 to 1230 meters inland from the Gulf Coast. Storm-surge-deposited sediment beds were identified by texture, organic content, carbonate content, the presence of marine microfossils, and Cesium-137 dating. The hurricane-derived sediment beds are marker horizons that facilitate assessment of marsh sedimentation rates from nearshore to inland locations as well as over decadal to annual timescales. Near the shore, on a Hurricane Ike washover fan, where hurricane-derived sedimentation has increased elevation by up to 0.68 m since 2005, there was no measurable marsh sedimentation in the period 2008-2014. Farther inland, at lower elevations, sedimentation for the period 2008-2014 averaged 0.36 cm per year. The reduction in sedimentation in the period 2008-2014 on the nearshore part of the marsh is likely due to reduced flooding in response to increased elevation from hurricane storm surge sediment deposition. These results provide valuable knowledge about the sedimentary response of coastal marshes subject to storm surge deposition and useful guidance to public policy aimed at combating the effects of sea level rise on coastal marshes along the Gulf of Mexico.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Hodge, Joshua Brian
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Landscape Legacies of Gas Drilling in North Texas

Description: In North Texas, the Barnett Shale underlies large areas of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (DFW), which magnifies debates about the externalities of shale gas development (SGD). Continued demand for natural gas and expansive urbanization in DFW will cause more people to come in contact with drilling rigs, gas transport, and other urban shale gas landscapes. Thousands of gas wells within the DFW region occupy a large, yet scattered land surface area. DFW city planners, elected officials, and other stakeholders must deal with current and future urban growth and the surface impacts that are associated with gas development. This research examines how shale gas landscapes affect urban land uses, landscapes, and patterns of development in DFW. The study focuses on multiple fast growing DFW municipalities that also have high numbers of gas well pad sites. This study asks what are the spatial characteristics of gas well production sites in DFW and how do these sites vary across the region; how do gas well production sites affect urban growth and development; and how are city governments and surface developers responding to gas well production sites, and what are the dominant themes of contestation arising around gas well production sites and suburban growth?
Date: May 2016
Creator: Sakinejad, Michael C
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Study of Temporal and Spatial Variability of Degree Day Factor of Snowmelt in Colorado

Description: Snowmelt is one of the major sources of surface water supply and ground-water recharge in high elevation areas and can also cause flooding in snow dominated watersheds. Direct estimation of daily snowmelt requires daily snow water equivalent (SWE) measurements that are not always available, especially in places without monitoring stations. There are two alternative approaches to modeling snowmelt without using direct measurements of SWE, temperature-based and energy-based models. Due to its simplicity, computational efficiency, and less input data requirement, the temperature-based method is commonly used than the energy-based method. In the temperature-index approach snowmelt is estimated as a linear function of average air temperature, and the slope of the linear function is called the degree-day factor (DDF). Hence, the DDF is an essential parameter for utilizing the temperature-based method to estimate snowmelt. Thereby, to analyze the spatial properties of DDF, 10 years DDF from the entire state of Colorado was calculated for this research. Likewise, to study the temporal properties, DDFs for 27 years from the White Yampa water basin and the Colorado Headwaters water basin were calculated. As a part of the spatial analysis, the calculated DDFs were correlated with spatial variables (slope, aspect, latitude and elevation) and a spatial correlation graph was created to observe the possibility of predicting DDF. Also a multivariate regression model was prepared using these spatial variables to predict the DDF using spatial variables. Further, the DDFs calculated from Colorado headwaters and the White Yampa water basins were correlated for annual temporal variation, daily variation, variation with peak snow water equivalent and variation with important temporal cycles like accumulation period and melting period of snowmelt. The result obtained from this study showed that the variability of DDF is more dependent upon temporal factors compared to the spatial factors. Also, the results showed that predicting ...
Date: May 2016
Creator: Pokhrel, Pranav
Partner: UNT Libraries

Decoding the Formation of a Retail Giant: the Evolving Geography of Costco’s Store Network

Description: Although Costco operates over 580 warehouse stores throughout North America, their location strategy remains relatively unexamined in the economic geography literature. A cursory examination of Costco’s network makes it clear that the firm chooses to locate primarily in the suburbs of major cities, where income levels are somewhat higher than the national average. However, what is not clear is the extent to which other demographic and geographic factors adequately account for Costco’s store locations, and what strategy underlies the geography of the firm’s warehouse stores, especially in relation to its distribution network. This research studies Costco in order to decode the location strategies that have guided the company’s North American and international expansions. The investigation attempts to identify key elements of Costco’s multinational retail network, including this network’s evolution over time. This paper seeks to benefit both retail business and public policymakers by highlighting elements of Costco’s location strategy that have contributed to the firm’s success.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Testa, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Influence of Local Forage Variability on White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) Body Size at Fort Hood, Texas

Description: Nutritional quality and availability is thought to regulate geographic patterns of variability in animal body size due to phenotypic plasticity. The purpose of this study is to determine how vegetation quality, abundance and population density influence white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) body size on a subregional spatial scale at Fort Hood, Texas. Harvest and census records are used to test the hypothesis that white-tailed deer exhibit phenotypic plasticity (e.g. larger body size) in response to differences in vegetation quality and availability. Results from these analyses suggest that forage quality and abundance alone is not a main driver of white-tailed deer body size. Analysis of deer population density (generally) resulted in an inverse relationship with body size. Areas with high quality forage and low population density support larger deer while areas with low quality forage and high density support smaller than average deer. The few exceptions occur in areas exhibiting poor quality forage and low population density or high forage quality and high density. Results from this study suggest that continued overcrowding of deer within isolated areas may eventually lead to efficiency phenotypic conditions producing smaller sized deer. These results could prove useful in interpreting deer population responses to harvest management. For successful local management of deer, studies examining the combined influence of habitat variables (such as forage quality, abundance and population density) on deer health offer managers valuable information needed to establish annual harvest goals and understand deer-habitat relationships relative to carrying capacity.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Eddins, Amy C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Influence of the Choice of Disease Mapping Method on Population Characteristics in Areas of High Disease Burdens

Description: Disease maps are powerful tools for depicting spatial variations in disease risk and its underlying drivers. However, producing effective disease maps requires careful consideration of the statistical and spatial properties of the disease data. In fact, the choice of mapping method influences the resulting spatial pattern of the disease, as well as the understanding of its underlying population characteristics. New developments in mapping methods and software in addition to continuing improvements in data quality and quantity are requiring map-makers to make a multitude of decisions before a map of disease burdens can be created. The impact of such decisions on a map, including the choice of appropriate mapping method, not been addressed adequately in the literature. This research demonstrates how choice of mapping method and associated parameters influence the spatial pattern of disease. We use four different disease-mapping methods – unsmoothed choropleth maps, smoothed choropleth maps produced using the headbanging method, smoothed kernel density maps, and smoothed choropleth maps produced using spatial empirical Bayes methods and 5-years of zip code level HIV incidence (2007- 2011) data from Dallas and Tarrant Counties, Texas. For each map, the leading population characteristics and their relative importance with regards to HIV incidence is identified using a regression analysis of a CDC recommended list of socioeconomic determinants of HIV. Our results show that the choice of mapping method leads to different conclusions regarding the associations between HIV disease burden and the underlying demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Thus, the choice of mapping method influences the patterns of disease we see or fail to see. Accurate depiction of areas of high disease burden is important for developing and targeting appropriate public health interventions.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Desai, Khyati Sanket
Partner: UNT Libraries

Small Town Retail Change in East Texas: an Analysis of Retail Growth, Decline, and Spatial Reconfiguration

Description: In recent years, small towns have experienced declining levels of retail activity attributable to a variety of factors. Previously conducted research identifies a number of these factors such as changing population dynamics, continuously evolving retail practices, locational factors, and an assortment of other macroeconomic factors. Although retail decline is common for many small towns, there are some small towns that have been able to maintain their viability in an ever-changing economic climate. The primary purpose of this research is to better understand what spatial and socio-economic characteristics contribute to retail growth and decline in a series of small towns. This research highlights a selection of small towns across a 14 county area within east Texas. The selection of small towns includes a number of towns with an increasing number of retail establishments as well as a number of towns with decreasing retail establishments over the 14 year study timeframe. Contained within this research is a discussion of small town economic and retail development, as well as findings regarding spatial and socio-economic characteristics as they relate to retail growth and decline in small towns. This research finds that locational characteristics do have an effect on retail growth and decline. The research also supports the literature, which states retail growth and decline is more pronounced within certain retail categories.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Whitaker, Carl W.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Archaeological Site Vulnerability Modeling for Cultural Resources Management Based on Historic Aerial Photogrammetry and LiDAR

Description: GIS has been utilized in cultural resources management for decades, yet its application has been largely isolated to predicting the occurrence of archaeological sites. Federal and State agencies are required to protect archaeological sites that are discovered on their lands, but their resources and personnel are very limited. A new methodology is evaluated that uses modern light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and historic aerial photogrammetry to create digital terrain models (DTMs) capable of identifying sites that are most at risk of damage from changes in terrain. Results revealed that photogrammetric modeling of historic aerial imagery, with limitations, can be a useful decision making tool for cultural resources managers to prioritize conservation and monitoring efforts. An attempt to identify key environmental factors that would be indicative of future topographic changes did not reveal conclusive results. However, the methodology proposed has the potential to add an affordable temporal dimension to future digital terrain modeling and land management. Furthermore, the methods have global applicability because they can be utilized in any region with an arid environment.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Helton, Erin King
Partner: UNT Libraries

Efficiency of Nitrate and Phosphorus Removal in a Working Rain Garden

Description: Rain gardens are low impact developments designed to mitigate a suite of issues associated with urban stormwater runoff. The site for this study was a Denton City rain garden at the Denton Waste Water Treatment Plant. Nitrogen and phosphorus removal was examined in light of two overflow events comprised of partially treated wastewater from an upslope anaerobic digester pond. Nitrate removal efficiency was examined across differing dry spell intervals of 5, 8, and 12 d, displaying a moderate negative correlation (r2 = 0.59). Continued phosphorus removal capacity was assessed, showing phosphorus removal in cases where P was in excess of 0.8 mg/L, reflecting an equilibrium phosphorus concentration. A high expanded shale component in the soil media (25%) was likely a factor in the continued removal of phosphorus. Overall the rain garden proved to be a large source of nitrate (+425%) and total nitrogen (+61%) by mass. The study showed that while the rain garden intercepted a large volume of partially treated wastewater during the overflow events, preventing it from reaching a nearby creek, the mitigation of an acute event has extended to a chronic one as nitrogen is gradually processed and flushed from the system as nitrate.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Strong, Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries

Exceedance Frequency Analysis of Urban Stormwater Quality and Its Relation to Land Use Change, Denton, Texas

Description: Urbanization causes various environmental issues including water pollution, air pollution, and solid waste. Urbanization of watersheds has a profound influence on the quality of stormwater runoff. The quality of stormwater runoff is highly associated with land use. This study analyzed the exceedance frequency of stormwater quality in five watersheds of Denton over eleven years and also analyzed the relationship between stormwater quality and land use/cover of each watershed. The results showed that the most of the water quality parameters that were examined in the Lower Pecan watershed exceeded their threshold most frequently. The higher frequency of exceedance in this watershed can be attributed to the wastewater treatment plant and landfill site. Total suspended solids and turbidity were frequently exceeded in Hickory and Clear Creek watersheds. Conductivity was found to have highest percentage of exceedance in Upper Pecan and Cooper watersheds. Thus, rural watersheds were related with higher exceedance of TSS and turbidity whereas urban watersheds were related with higher exceedance of conductivity.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Shrestha, Manjul
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Use of Faunal Remains for Identifying Shifts in Pit Structure Function in the Mesa Verde Region: a Case Study From Goodman Point

Description: The archaeofaunal remains left by the Ancestral Puebloan people of Goodman Point Unit provides a valuable, yet underutilized resource into pit structure function. This thesis explores temporal changes in pit structure use and evaluates if a final feast occurred during a kiva decommissioning. The results from zooarchaeological analyses of a pithouse and two great kivas suggest that changes in pit structures at Goodman Point mimic the regional trend toward specialization until late Pueblo III. Cross-cultural studies on feasts, southwest ethnographies and previous zooarchaeological work established methods for identifying a feast. The analysis of differences in faunal remains from a great kiva and multiple room block middens imply that the remains in the kiva were from a final feast prior to a decommissioning ceremony and were not fill. Spatially and temporally the great kiva appears to be a unique, specialized structure in the cultural development of the Goodman Point community.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Winstead, Christy
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Descriptive Paleontology and Applied Ichthyoarchaeology of the Ponsipa Fauna

Description: The archaeology of the Northern Rio Grande region of New Mexico has recently received an increased amount scholarly attention. In particular, understanding past trends in demographics, agricultural productivity, violence, and social networks have been primary goals of archaeological research. Understanding patterns in animal exploitation has, however, received far less attention due to a small yet growing regional zooarchaeological database. Through the identification of animal remains from a site called Ponsipa (occupied ca. A.D. 1300 to 1600), this thesis adds one large dataset to this growing database. In addition, this thesis expands on the pre-impoundment distribution of an endangered native freshwater fish species in the state of New Mexico called the blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus). The blue sucker is a unique fish that is currently experiencing range reduction across all of its known North American distribution due to anthropogenic habitat fragmentation and degradation. Skeletal remains that were identified from Ponsipa represent the farthest known northern record of its occurrence in the state of New Mexico and highlight the extent of range restriction of the species in the area. The data concerning the historical biogeography of the blue sucker from Ponsipa have implications for the effective conservation and restoration of blue sucker located in the Rio Grande Basin.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Dombrosky, Jonathan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Gracias a La Nacionalización De Los Hidrocarburos: a Critical Analysis of Bolivia’s Transition to Compressed Natural Gas

Description: This paper critically analyzes the implementation of compressed natural gas and the ways in which it creates discourse in urban Bolivia. The rapidly developing nation is keen on making ubiquitous use of compressed natural gas a reality by issuing subsidies, citing increased mobility, savings, and environmental stewardship as the primary motives. Currently, eight out of every 10 public vehicles in Bolivia are powered by compressed natural gas. Through semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and secondary data collection, this paper elucidates the transitional process of building a natural gas-based transport network through discursive governance. This work draws on the critical discourse analysis literature to dissect disaggregated modal preference data, government documents, and news articles collected in Santa Cruz, Latin America's second fastest growing city. Moreover, this paper identifies and examines the ways in which the counter-discourse impacts the transformation of the country’s energy matrix. Results show that Bolivian automobile owners are reluctant to convert their automobiles, despite reduced transportation costs, stating that minimal compressed natural gas infrastructure exists outside of urban areas, and the conversion damages their vehicles’ motor. Additionally, the research reveals that automobile owners are currently the main beneficiaries, though respondents who do not posses an automobile speak more favorably of natural gas. Finally, this research illustrates that the compressed natural gas-oriented policies encourage personal automobile use that continues to drive socio-spatial segregation of Santa Cruz’s residents. Thus, the compressed natural gas discourse helps shape the urban landscape by persuading the public to consume domestically extracted and manufactured natural gas.
Date: May 2015
Creator: McCollum, Jerl Levi
Partner: UNT Libraries

Pastoral Livelihoods and Household Water Management in the Central Argentine Andes

Description: Pastoralists tend to occupy highlands and drylands lands with uncertain climates and are experienced at coping with climatic variability and drought. Increasingly, however, the speed with which climate patterns are changing has become an issue of concern. This study examines household water management strategies of pastoralists in western Argentina. In this semi-arid region, pastoralists rely primarily on streams and springs fed by snow and glacier melt from the Andes, and have developed various strategies to meet their water needs. They also deal with myriad challenges posed by climate, economic, and socio-cultural change and work vigorously to maintain their herds – a combination of cattle, goats, and sheep – in this water scarce region. The goal of this study is to understand: 1) different household water management strategies; 2) the ways pastoral livelihoods are changing in response to changes in water supply; and 3) the socio-economic changes that affect pastoral livelihoods. Information from interviews, household surveys, and participant observations reveals that climate fluctuation impacts water supplies and use, herd size, and expenses made on tanks, technology, and infrastructure for the storage and transport of water, food for animals, and subsistence crops. Understanding the micro-scale, water practices of pastoral households provides insight into the ways rural populations in semi-arid and arid environments respond to changes in climate and meet their water needs. Moreover, these findings can contribute to scholarship on traditional and local knowledge and resource management systems, and may potentially inspire the development of adaptive management solutions.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Parker, Julie
Partner: UNT Libraries

Structure, Composition, and Regeneration of Cross Timbers Forest Fragments in Different Land Use Contexts

Description: Throughout its current range, the Cross Timbers forest ecosystem is vulnerable to land-use change. In this study, we examined the surrounding land use matrix on the vegetation structure, composition and regeneration of six Cross Timbers forest fragments in Denton County, Texas (north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex). Two fragments adjacent to agricultural land, two to residential neighborhoods, and two formally protected forest sites were selected. In summer 2015, five 100 m2 plots were randomly established in each fragment at least 200 meters from the edge. In each plot, all live and dead trees ≥ 3 cm diameter were identified and their height and diameter at breast height (DBH at 1.3 m aboveground) measured. Evidence of dumping (presence of trash) was recorded as an index of human frequentation. Differences in vegetation structure among the forest fragments were found. Most notably, fragments adjacent to agriculture contained 25% to 50% fewer trees per hectare than all other sites (Kruskal-Wallis, p < 0.02), especially trees <10 cm DBH. However, residential fragments had fewer trees that were ≥15 cm DBH compared to the other fragments, indicating that these are the youngest of the forest patches surveyed. Trash was observed in 60% of plots surveyed at residential forest sites, showing high levels of human frequentation compared to the protected and agricultural forest sites. Agricultural sites contained the lowest number of recorded tree species and were most similar to each other, sharing 91% of species. These findings indicate that surrounding land use affects forest structure and composition, consequently affecting valuable ecosystem services including wildlife habitat, aesthetics and recreation.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Dunn, Ingrid
Partner: UNT Libraries

Zooarchaeology and Biogeography of Freshwater Mussels in the Leon River During the Late Holocene

Description: The Leon River, a small-medium river in central Texas, is highly impacted by multiple impoundments, enrichment from agricultural runoff, and decreased dissolved oxygen levels. This degraded river contains sixteen unionid species, two of which are both endemic to the region and candidates for the federal endangered species listing (Quadrula houstonensis and Truncilla macrodon). While there is a short historical record for this river basin and a recent modern survey completed in 2011, zooarchaeological data adds evidence for conservation efforts by increasing the time depth of data available and providing another conservation baseline. Zooarchaeological data for the Leon River is available from the two Late Holocene archaeological sites: 41HM61 and the Belton Lake Assemblages. Data generated from these assemblages describe the prehistoric freshwater mussel community of the Leon River in terms of taxonomic composition and structure. By comparing this zooarchaeological data to the data generated by the longitudinal modern survey of the Leon River, long term changes within the freshwater mussel community can be detected. A conceptual model is constructed to evaluate how robusticity, identifiability, and life history ecology affect unionid taxonomic abundances in zooarchaeological data. This conceptual model functions as an interpretive tool for zooarchaeologists to evaluate forms of equifinality in zooarchaeological assemblages. This thesis determines differences between the late Holocene and modern freshwater community of the Leon River, explores how different alternative mechanisms influence zooarchaeological data, and exemplifies of how zooarchaeological data can be used for conservation biology.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Popejoy, Traci Glyn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Dismantling the Psychiatric Ghetto: Evaluating a Blended-Clinic Approach to Supportive Housing in Houston, Texas

Description: Locational decisions based on stigma and low funding have handicapped the efficiency of community based mental healthcare in the United States since 1963. However, the pattern of services in the 21st century American South remains largely unknown. This thesis addresses this gap in knowledge by using a mixed methodology including location allocation, descriptive statistics, and qualitative site visits to explore the geography of community clinics offering both physical and mental health services. The City of Houston has proposed using these facilities to anchor new supportive housing, but introducing more fixed costs to a mismatched system could create more problems than solutions. The findings of this study suggest the presence of an unnecessary concentration of services in the central city and a spatial mismatch between accessible clinics and the poor, sick people in need. Furthermore, this research reveals a new suburban pattern of vulnerability, calling into question long-held assumptions about the vulnerability of the inner city. Building supportive housing around existing community clinics, especially in the central city, may further concentrate vulnerable people thereby contributing to intensifying patterns of service-seeking drift and the continued traumatization of mentally ill homeless persons in Houston.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Lester, Katherine Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of Non-homogeneous Population Distribution on Smoothed Maps Produced Using Kernel Density Estimation Methods

Description: Understanding spatial perspectives on the spread and incidence of a disease is invaluable for public health planning and intervention. Choropleth maps are commonly used to provide an abstraction of disease risk across geographic space. These maps are derived from aggregated population counts that are known to be affected by the small numbers problem. Kernel density estimation methods account for this problem by producing risk estimates that are based on aggregations of approximately equal population sizes. However, the process of aggregation often combines data from areas with non-uniform spatial and population characteristics. This thesis presents a new method to aggregate space in ways that are sensitive to their underlying risk factors. Such maps will enable better public health practice and intervention by enhancing our ability to understand the spatial processes that result in disparate health outcomes.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Jones, Jesse Jack
Partner: UNT Libraries