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Unique applications of cultured neuronal networks in pharmacology, toxicology, and basic neuroscience

Description: This dissertation research explored the capabilities of neuronal networks grown on substrate integrated microelectrode arrays in vitro with emphasis on utilizing such preparations in three specific application domains: pharmacology and drug development, biosensors and neurotoxicology, and the study of burst and synaptic mechanisms. Chapter 1 details the testing of seven novel AChE inhibitors, demonstrating that neuronal networks rapidly detect small molecular differences in closely related compounds, and reveal information about their probable physiological effects that are not attainable through biochemical characterization alone. Chapter 2 shows how neuronal networks may be used to classify and characterize an unknown compound. The compound, trimethylol propane phosphate (TMPP) elicited changes in network activity that resembled those induced by bicuculline, a known epileptogenic. Further work determined that TMPP produces its effects on network activity through a competitive inhibition of the GABAA receptor. This demonstrates that neuronal networks can provide rapid, reliable warning of the presence of toxic substances, and from the manner in which the spontaneous activity changes provide information on the class of compound present and its potential physiological effects. Additional simple pharmacological tests can provide valuable information on primary mechanisms involved in the altered neuronal network responses. Chapter 3 explores the effects produced by a radical simplification of synaptic driving forces. With all synaptic interactions pharmacologically limited to those mediated through the NMDA synapse, spinal cord networks exhibited an extremely regular burst oscillation characterized by a period of 2.9 ± 0.3 s, with mean coefficients of variation of 3.7, 4.7, and 4.9 % for burst rate, burst duration, and inter-burst interval, respectively (16 separate cultures). The reliability of expression of this oscillation suggests that it may represent a fundamental mechanism of importance during periods of NMDA receptor dominated activity, such as embryonic and early postnatal development. NMDA synapse mediated activity produces a precise ...
Date: May 2001
Creator: Keefer, Edward W.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Age-Dependent Effects Of Chronic GABAA Receptor Blockade In Barrel Cortex

Description: GABAA receptor binding is transiently increased in rat whisker barrels during the second postnatal week, at a time when neurons in the developing rat cortex are vulnerable to excitotoxic effects. To test whether these GABAA receptors might serve to protect neurons from excessive excitatory input, polymer implants containing the GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline were placed over barrel cortex for a 4-day period in young (postnatal days 8 - 12) and adult rats. In the cortex of young, but not adult rats, the chronic blockade of GABAA receptors resulted in substantial tissue loss and neuron loss. The greater loss of neurons in young rats supports the hypothesis that a high density of GABAA receptors protects neurons from excessive excitatory input during a sensitive period in development.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Gargan, Lynn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Automated Low-cost Instrument for Measuring Total Column Ozone

Description: Networks of ground-based and satellite borne instruments to measure ultraviolet (UV) sunlight and total column ozone have greatly contributed to an understanding of increased amounts of UV reaching the surface of the Earth caused by stratospheric ozone depletion. Increased UV radiation has important potential effects on human health, and agricultural and ecological systems. Observations from these networks make it possible to monitor total ozone decreases and to predict ozone recovery trends due to global efforts to curb the use of products releasing chemicals harmful to the ozone layer. Thus, continued and expanded global monitoring of ozone and UV is needed. However, existing automatic stratospheric ozone monitors are complex and expensive instruments. The main objective of this research was the development of a low-cost fully automated total column ozone monitoring instrument which, because of its affordability, will increase the number of instruments available for ground-based observations. The new instrument is based on a high-resolution fiber optic spectrometer, coupled with fiber optics that are precisely aimed by a pan and tilt positioning mechanism and with controlling programs written in commonly available software platforms which run on a personal computer. This project makes use of novel low-cost fiber optic spectrometer technology. A cost advantage is gained over available units by placing one end of the fiber outdoors to collect sunlight and convey it indoors, thereby allowing the spectrometer and computer to be placed in a controlled environment. This reduces the cost of weatherproofing and thermal compensation. Cost savings also result from a simplified sun targeting system, because only a small pan and tilt device is required to aim the lightweight fiber optic ends. Precision sun-targeting algorithms, optical filter selection, and software to derive ozone from spectral measurements by the spectrometer are a major contribution of this project. This system is a flexible platform ...
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Date: May 2006
Creator: Nebgen, Gilbert Bernard
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Use of Genetic Polymorphisms and Discriminant Analysis in Evaluating Genetic Polymorphisms as a Predictor of Population

Description: Discriminant analysis is a procedure for identifying the relationships between qualitative criterion variables and quantitative predictor variables. Data bases of genetic polymorphisms are currently available that group such polymorphisms by ethnic origin or nationality. Such information could be useful to entities that base financial determinations upon predictions of disease or to medical researchers who wish to target prevention and treatment to population groups. While the use of genetic information to make such determinations is unlawful in states and confidentiality and privacy concerns abound, methods for human “redlining” may occur. Thus, it is necessary to investigate the efficacy of the relationship of certain genetic information to ethnicity to determine if a statistical analysis can provide information concerning such relationship. The use of the statistical technique of discriminant analysis provides a tool for examining such relationship.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Howell, Bruce F.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Neuronal Network Analyses in vitro of Acute Individual and Combined Responses to Fluoxetine and Ethanol

Description: Embryonic murine neuronal networks cultured on microelectrode arrays were used to quantify acute electrophysiological effects of fluoxetine and ethanol. Spontaneously active frontal cortex cultures showed highly repeatable, dose-dependent sensitivities to both compounds. Cultures began to respond to fluoxetine at 3 µM and were shut off at 10-16 µM. EC50s mean ± S.D. for spike and burst rates were 4.1 ± 1.5 µM and 4.5 ± 1.1 µM (n=14). The fluoxetine inhibition was reversible and without effect on action potential wave shapes. Ethanol showed initial inhibition at 20 mM, with spike and burst rate EC50s at 52.0 ± 17.4 mM and 56.0 ± 17.0 mM (n=15). Ethanol concentrations above 100 -140 mM led to cessation of activity. Although ethanol did not change the shape and amplitude of action potentials, unit specific effects were found. The combined application of ethanol and fluoxetine was additive. Ethanol did not potentiate the effect of fluoxetine.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Xia,Yun
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Physiological Age-Grading System for Female Hydrellia pakistanae Deonier (Diptera: Ephydridae)

Description: Conflicting opinions about the effectiveness of H. pakistanae as a biological control agent for hydrilla prompt researchers to find a method for assessing the fly's success. Developing a physiological age-grading system for the fly using ovarian morphology to detect changes in reproductive activity is useful for evaluating reproductive status of the fly in field populations. Changes in the appearance of follicular relics in ovaries with oviposition provide a reliable method to estimate fecundity. Characteristics of follicular relics were used to develop a system with eight physiological age classes, three nulliparous and five parous. Changes that occur in the fat body were used to assist in classification of nulliparous females or those with low egg counts.
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Date: December 2002
Creator: Lenz, Jennifer Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries

Influence of copper on resistance of Lumbricus terrestris to bacterial challenge

Description: Earthworms, Lumbricus terrestris, were challenged orally and intracoelomically with two bacterial species, Aeromonas hydrophila and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and mortality rates were observed. Neither were found to be particularly pathogenic at injected doses of up to 108 bacteria per earthworm. The influence of Cu++ (as CuSO4) on the earthworm's response to bacterial challenge was investigated by exposing earthworms to sublethal levels of Cu++ prior to bacterial challenge. Exposure at sublethal concentrations up to 3 m g/cm2 did not have a pronounced influence on host resistance to challenge as measured by earthworm mortality. Cu++ increased the earthworm's ability to agglutinate rabbit erythrocytes, indicating that Cu++ exposure caused coelomocyte death, autolysis and release of agglutinins into the coelom, possibly explaining resistance to bacterial challenge.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Simmons, Carla Stull
Partner: UNT Libraries

Investigation of Pyrimidine Salvage Pathways to Categorize Indigenous Soil Bacteria of Agricultural and Medical Importance and Analysis of the Pyrimidine Biosynthetic Pathway's Enzyme Properties for Correlating Cell Morphology to Function in All Phases of Growth

Description: This dissertation comprises three parts and is presented in two chapters. Chapter 1 concerns Arthrobacter, a bacterium with an intriguing growth cycle. Whereas most bacteria exist as either a rod or coccus, this bacterium shares the rod/coccus lifestyle. It therefore seemed important to examine the growth regulatory pathways from the rod and coccus. The committed step, that catalyzed by aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase), in the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway was chosen. The ATCase in Arthrobacter is like the well known Pseudomonas enzyme except that it has an active dihydroorotase (DHOase) associated. Included in Chapter 1 is the description of a microorganism, Burkholderia cepacia, whose ATCase has characteristics that are at once reminiscent of bacteria, mammals, and fungi. It differs in size or aggregation based on environmental conditions. In addition, it has an active DHOase associated with the ATCase, like Arthrobacter. B. cepacia is important both medically and for bioremediation. Since B. cepacia is resistant to most antibiotics, its unique ATCase is a prime target for inhibition. Whereas the first chapter deals with the de novo pathway to making pyrimidines, which is found mainly in the lag and log phase, Chapter 2 addresses the salvage pathway, which comes more into play during the stationary phase. This section focuses on the isolation, identification, and grouping of a number of natural soil bacteria from various soil locations. These organisms are important agriculturally, medically, and industrially. Addition of these soil isolates to poor soils has been found to improve the soil. In a previous study by D.A. Beck, the salvage schemes for a number of laboratory strains of microorganisms were determined. Nine separate classes of salvage were designated by determining the salvage enzymes present. In this study emphasis has been placed on soil bacteria, which had not previously been analyzed. A number of species of soil ...
Date: May 2003
Creator: Meixner, Jeffery Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries

Morphological and physiological developmental consequences of parental effects in the chicken embryo (Gallus gallus domesticus) and the zebrafish larva (Danio rerio).

Description: Cardiac, metabolic and growth response of early-stage chicken embryos to perturbations in yolk environment was investigated. Also, effects of parental hypoxia exposure on hypoxia resistance, thermal tolerance and body length of zebrafish larvae were investigated. In the first study, thyroxine, triiodothyronine and testosterone produced differential effects on heart rate and development rate of chicken embryos during the first 4 days of development. Triiodothyronine caused a dose-dependent increase in heart rate when applied at 40 or 70 hours of age, while thyroxine caused a dose-dependent increase in heart rate when applied at 40 hours only. Testosterone and propyl-thiouracil (deiodinase antagonist) did not have an effect on heart rate. Development rate was not changed by thyroxine, triiodothyronine, testosterone or propyl-thiouracil, which suggested that heart rate changes did not result from changes in embryo maturity. In the second study, chicken embryos exposed to yolks of different bird species during early-stage embryonic development showed changes in heart rate, mass-specific oxygen consumption and body mass that scaled with the egg mass, incubation period length, and yolk triiodothyronine and testosterone levels of the species from which yolk was derived. In the third study, this phenomenon was investigated between layer and broiler chickens. Heart rate, oxygen consumption and body mass of broiler and layer embryos were significantly changed by a breed-specific change in yolk environment. Yolk triiodothyronine and testosterone concentrations of broiler and layer eggs did not suggest that these hormones were responsible for physiological and morphological changes observed. The final study demonstrated that hypoxia resistance and body lengths, but not thermal tolerance of zebrafish larvae was increased by parental hypoxia exposure.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Ho, Dao H.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Immunohistochemical characterization of neuronal cilia in the rat central nervous system.

Description: An anti-G"11 antibody was used to label neuronal cilia throughout the rat central nervous system. Immunoreactive cilia were observed in every examined region of the rat CNS, but not in monkey or mouse tissue. Antibodies to G"q and G"q/11 failed to label cilia. Immunoreactive cilia were observed as early as postnatal day 0 in spinal tissue, and postnatal day 3 in hypothalamic tissue. There was a statistically significant negative correlation between a region's mean cilium length and that region's distance to the nearest ventricle; regions nearest ventricles were those with the longest cilia. This correlation suggests neuronal cilia may function as chemosensors, detecting substances as they move out from the cerebrospinal fluid and into the extracellular space of the brain.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Hughes, Rhome
Partner: UNT Libraries

College Freshman Biology Two Semester Course: Integrating Deep Processing Teaching Techniques

Description: Development of a college level freshman biology course was undertaken in response to government reports that American students have fallen behind students of other countries in the area of the sciences. Teaching strategies were investigated to accomplish two objectives, to define essential academic material to include in the course and to investigate teaching techniques that would increase deep processing of the information. An active process that consisted of applying the cognitive information to solving problems or developing answers to questions was defined as critical thinking. Critical thinking was incorporated into the course by the use of case studies.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Blevins, Mary Jean
Partner: UNT Libraries

Comparative biochemistry and genetic analysis of nucleoside hydrolase in Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Pseudomonas fluorescens.

Description: The pyrimidine salvage enzyme, nucleoside hydrolase, is catalyzes the irreversible hydrolysis of nucleosides into the free nucleic acid base and D-ribose. Nucleoside hydrolases have varying degrees of specificity towards purine and pyrimidine nucleosides. In E. coli, three genes were found that encode homologues of several known nucleoside hydrolases in protozoa. All three genes (designated yaaF, yeiK, and ybeK) were amplified by PCR and cloned. Two of the gene products (yeiK and ybeK) encode pyrimidine-specific nucleoside hydrolases, while the third (yaaF) encodes a nonspecific nucleoside hydrolase. All three were expressed at low levels and had different modes of regulation. As a comparative analysis, the homologous genes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and P. fluorescens (designated nuh) were cloned. Both were determined to encode nonspecific nucleoside hydrolases. The nucleoside hydrolases of the pseudomonads exhibited markedly different modes of regulation. Both have unique promoter structures and genetic organization. Furthermore, both pseudomonad nucleoside hydrolase were found to contain an N-terminal extension of 30-35 amino acids that is shown to act as a periplasmic-signaling sequence. These are the first two nucleoside hydrolases, to date,that have been conclusively demonstrated to be exported to the periplasmic space. The physiological relevance of this is explained.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Fields, Christopher J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Concentration-dependent Effects of D-Methylphenidate on Frontal Cortex and Spinal Cord Networks in vitro

Description: Spontaneously active frontal cortex and spinal cord networks grown on microelectrode arrays were used to study effects of D-methylphenidate. These central nervous system tissues have relatively low concentrations of dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurons compared to the richly populated loci, yet exhibit similar neurophysiological responses to methylphenidate. The spontaneous spike activity of both tissues was inhibited in a concentration-dependent manner by serial additions of 1-500 µM methylphenidate. Methylphenidate is non-toxic as spike inhibition was recovered following washes. The average concentrations for 50% spike rate inhibition (IC50 ± SD) were 118 ± 52 (n= 6) and 57 ± 43 (n = 11) for frontal cortex and spinal cord networks, respectively. A 3 hour exposure of a network to 1 mM methylphenidate was nontoxic. The effective concentrations described in this study are within the therapeutic dosage range. Therefore, the platform may be used for further investigations of drug mechanisms.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Miller, Benjamin R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Spatial and temporal patterns exhibited by select physicochemical and biological water quality parameters in Lake Texoma, Oklahoma and Texas.

Description: From August 1996 through September 1997 eleven fixed stations were sampled monthly in January, March , April , July, August, September, and November and fortnightly in May and June for the purposes of establishing baseline conditions present in Lake Texoma as related to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers chloride control activities in the upper Wichita River, Texas. Five reservoir zones were identified a priori using historical chloride concentration data and include the Red River Zone (RRZ), Red River Transition Zone (RRTZ), Main Lake Body (MLB), Washita River Transition Zone (WRTZ), and Washita River Zone (WRZ) in order of decreasing chloride concentration. The existence of the WRTZ is not supported here, however the Big Mineral Arm in the RRTZ was observed to be highly independent of the mixing patterns observed in the RRTZ and was treated post priori separately from the RRTZ. Spatial and temporal comparisons between reservoir zones were performed on seventeen (17) physicochemical parameters from each of the eleven sampling stations and phytoplankton count data from one sampling station within each reservoir zone and physicochemical parameters were observed to exhibit a fixed spatial gradient. Strong density gradients throughout the reservoir were observed to occur in conjunction with vertical stratification of the water column. Stratification stability at individual stations was attributable to both thermal and salinity density gradients throughout the period of stratification with the degree to which stratification is thermally or chemically induced influenced by inter-annual variability in hydraulic residence time. Hypolimnetic oxygen depletion rates were also observed to be affected by changes in hydraulic residence time with a long-term trend of decreasing relative areal hypolimnetic oxygen rates detected between the 1970s and 1990s. The algal assemblage present in Lake Texoma is dominated by the Cyanophyta, which comprises 82.1 % of the assemblage total standing crop with one species, ...
Date: August 2004
Creator: Clyde, Gerard A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Inquiry-based science for high school students: a forensic unit

Description: This project constitutes an instructional unit for honors biology that involves the use of science in the field of criminal investigation and forensics. Before beginning the unit, the learners should have mastered basic laboratory skills, including use of the microscope. They should also have an understanding of the basic structure and function of DNA and its role in heredity and protein synthesis. The standard time frame is 24 days with 70-minute periods, but can be easily adjusted to meet classroom needs. Several instructional strategies enhance student learning and make science fun. The unit is inquiry-driven and activity-based. Students are surprised by the crime, gather and analyze evidence, and work towards proposing an explanation. This real world problem involves the use of cooperative learning and a variety of assessment techniques.
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Date: August 2000
Creator: Apple, Kendra Kea
Partner: UNT Libraries

Biogeography of Montane Mammals on the Colorado Plateau and Adjacent Regions

Description: This study identifies the biogeographic factors that structure small mammal communities on mountains of the Colorado Plateau and adjacent regions. Forty six isolated ranges were characterized across a 5-state study area encompassing the Colorado Plateau, including the central high plateaus of Utah and the Basin and Range Province (i.e. the Great Basin and mountains of Arizona and New Mexico). Presence/absence data of 25 montane mammal species were used to explore the interactions between historical and ecological processes affecting local and regional diversity patterns. Multivariate analyses, such as non-metric dimensional scaling, were used to explore factors which influence community composition. Results of these analyses revealed the Colorado River as a significant biogeographic barrier that affects montane mammal community structure. MtDNA cytochrome b sequence variation was analyzed among populations of the long-tailed vole, Microtus longicaudus, sampled from five interior ranges of the Colorado Plateau- Abajo, LaSal, Henry, and Chuska Mts., and Boulder Mountain of the Aquarius Plateau-and analyzed using traditional phylogenetic approaches (parsimony and likelihood) as well as nested clade analysis. Results support previous documentation of a major east-west phylogeographic break occurring between populations southeast of the Colorado River (eastern Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico) and all other western populations, which include a central clade, a northwest clade, and an Alaskan island clade. Evidence also supports differentiation of a 'southern Rockies' clade and a distinct 'southwest island' clade. Populations of M. longicaudus north and west of the Colorado River (Boulder and Henry Mts.) share two haplotypes, form a well-supported subclade with populations from the Kaibab plateau, and are closely related to the Northwest clade. Past approaches to studying montane mammal communities utilizing theory based on island biogeography have overemphasized area and isolation as the only forces structuring insular communities. As a result, there has been a lack of recognition of the ...
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Date: May 2004
Creator: Carr, Carla B.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Histological age estimation of the midshaft clavicle using a new digital technique.

Description: Histological methods to estimate skeletal age at death, in forensic cases, are an alternative to the more traditional gross morphological methods. Most histological methods utilize counts of bone type within a given field for their estimation. The method presented in this paper uses the percentage area occupied by unremodeled bone to estimate age. The percentage area occupied by unremodeled bone is used in a linear regression model to predict skeletal age at death. Additionally, this method uses digital software to measure area rather than the traditional technique in which a gridded microscope is used to estimate area. The clavicle was chosen as a sample site since it is not a weight bearing bone and has little muscular insertion. These factors reduce the variation seen as a result of differences in lifestyle or activity pattern.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Ingraham, Mark R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Establishing genetic and physiological baselines for the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).

Description: The black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) has experienced dramatic declines over much of its historical range due to habitat loss, plague, poisonings, and shootings. Many populations now occur as isolated genetic relicts. A multiple locus genetic profile was obtained using microsatellite analyses of six polymorphic nucleotide repeats from 319 black-tailed prairie dogs collected from 16 colonies throughout the state of Texas. This assessment revealed that existing populations have sufficient variation at all six loci to verify the usefulness of this approach as a primary genetic tool in conservation and preservation. The data reveals regional-dependent frequency patterns as well as support for founder/bottleneck effects for several of the 16 sites. Although the prairie dog population in Texas as a whole may appear genetically diverse, considerable genetic divergence has already occurred among the subpopulations (FST = 0.164). Isolation by distance is supported by genic differentiation analysis (P < 0.001) and pairwise correlation analysis between genetic distance and geographic distance (P < 0.001). Prairie dogs from six (COC, LUBA, LUBC, LUBD, LUBE, and TAR) of the original 16 sites have been relocated or exterminated, or were in the process of being relocated. Results indicated the following colonies (COT, DAL, HOW, and HUD) are of sufficient size and possess ample genetic diversity to be characterized as candidate foundation populations for future preservation efforts. The proximity of small colonies (< 20 hectares) such as HEMB, LUBB, and PEC, to other colonies should be examined to determine if they are isolated or part of a metapopulation. Colonies (HAR, HEMA, and SCH) with low genetic diversity would be ideal candidates for supplementation. Alternatively, these colonies could be relocated or blended with other similar but genetically distinct colonies. Baselines for healthy, pet prairie dog hematology and blood chemistries were also established. Results signify that data gathered from pet ...
Date: May 2007
Creator: Biggs, Cindy Dawn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Influence of parental swimming stamina on the cardiac and metabolic performance of larval zebrafish (Danio rerio).

Description: Superior swimming stamina in adult fish is presumably passed on to their offspring, but the ontogeny of the appearance of superior stamina and the requisite enhanced cardio-respiratory support for locomotion in larval fishes has not been determined. Is the expression of the suite of parental traits enabling superior swimming stamina in their offspring dependent upon their achieving juvenile/adult morphology, or does it appear earlier in their larvae? To answer this, adults were classified into three groups based on swimming stamina, followed by measurement of length, mass, and width. Larval offspring from the two parental groups -high stamina larvae (HSL) and low stamina larvae (LSL)- were reared at 27°C in aerated water (21% O2). Routine and active heart rate, routine and active mass specific oxygen consumption were recorded through 21dpf, and cost of transport (COT) and factorial aerobic scope were derived from oxygen consumption measurements. Routine heart rate at 2dpf of LSL was 164 ± 1 b·min-1, compared to only 125 ± 2 b·min-1 for HSL. Routine heart rate subsequently peaked at 203 ± 1 b·min-1 at 5dpf in the HSL group, compared to 207 ± 1 b·min-1, at 4dpf in the LSP larvae. Active heart rate at 5 dpf of LSL was 218 ± 2 b·min-1 compared to 216 ± 2 b·min-1 for HSL. Active heart rate increased slightly to 227 ± 2 b·min-1 for LSL before decreasing again, while active heart rate remained relatively constant for HSL. Routine O2 consumption at 2dpf of HSL was 0.09 μmol·mg-1·hr-1, compared to 0.03 μmol·mg-1·hr-1 in LSL. Routine O2 consumption subsequently peaked at 0.70 μmol·mg-1·hr-1 at 9dpf in the HSL, compared to 0.71 μmol·mg-1·hr-1, at 9dpf in the LSL. These values dramatically decreased before leveling off at around 0.20 μmol·mg-1·hr-1 and 0.15 μmol·mg-1·h-1, respectively. Active O2 consumption at 5dpf for HSL was 0.38 ...
Date: May 2007
Creator: Gore, Matthew R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Evaluation of City of Denton Sub-Watershed by Benthic Macroinvertebrate Field Experimental Approach

Description: In this study, two different field experiments were designed to assess the relative influence of urbanization on benthic communities. During spring and summer, four urban and one reference sites from Denton County, Texas were selected for benthic macroinvertebrate evaluation. Statistically significant differences in colonized benthic macroinvertebrate taxa on artificial substrates were observed among the four urban sites and the reference site. Oligochaetes and chironomids were the dominant taxa at all sites. Identification of chironomid larvae at the subfamily and genus level to detect differences between sites had higher statistical power than the evaluation based on total chironomids. At the reference site, Caenis, Cladotanytarsus, Orthocladius, and Ceratopogonidae were the dominant taxa, while the urban sites were dominated by Dero, Physella, Ancylidae, Chironomus, Dicrotendipes, Glyptotendipes, Polypedilum, Pseudochironomus, Stenochironomus, and Tanytarsus. These differences may have been dependent upon differences in hydrologic regime and water quality between sites. Significant differences (ANOVA, p < 0.01) in water quality parameters (alkalinity, hardness, nitrates, phosphates, chlorides, sulfates, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and triazine) were found among water samples collected from the reference and urban sites. During the transfer period, most of the Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera taxa and a few other taxa disappeared from artificial substrates that were colonized at the reference site and then moved to the urban sites. Also, local abundant taxa from the urban site significantly (t test, p < 0.05) increased in number on the transferred artificial substrates. Seasonal differences in colonization patterns were also observed between the spring and summer experimental periods, which indicate that temporal variation is equally important, as is the anthropogenic effect in benthic community evaluation. Field survival and growth experiments using Erpetogomphus designatus larvae were designed to detect differences between evaluated sites. Larvae were collected from the reference site, measured in the laboratory, and exposed at the urban sites for ...
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Date: August 2006
Creator: Mahato, Mahendra
Partner: UNT Libraries

Utilization of Corridor Habitat by White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Denton County, Texas

Description: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) (N=15) movements were determined with use of radio telemetry techniques to determine the utilization of corridor habitat on the Lake Ray Roberts Greenbelt Corridor (RRGC) in north central Texas. Home ranges were calculated using three estimation types. Male white-tailed deer tend to have home ranges twice that of female home ranges. Seasonal home ranges were largest during spring (Feb. - April) and fall (Aug. - Oct.) seasons. Males had greater seasonal variation in utilization than females. No statistically significant difference (p=0.24) between white-tailed deer locations when the RRGC experiences heavy human traffic compared to days when there is light human traffic. Linearity indices indicated home ranges less linear than expected (LI = 3.02). The RRGC should be maintained at its current status to provide a variety of vegetational types and protective cover for white-tailed deer and other wildlife of Denton County.
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Date: May 2004
Creator: Bruce, Troy Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries

Hematocrit, hematocrit Regulation and its effect on oxygen consumption in the late stage chicken embryo (Gallus domesticus).

Description: Hematocrit and hematocrit regulation have the potential to affect developing embryos. To examine the ability of chicken embryos at day 15 to regulate hematocrit, they were subjected to either repeated saline injections (5% of total blood volume) or repeated blood removal (5% of total blood volume). Embryos showed an ability to maintain hematocrit (~20%) despite blood volume increases up to 115% of initial blood volume. Embryos were not able to maintain hematocrit in the face of dramatic blood volume loss. Oxygen consumption of embryos could be affected by their level of hematocrit. To examine this, chicken embryos at day 15, 16, and 17 of incubation were given a high hematocrit (~50-60%) sample of blood (400 μl) to artificially increase the hematocrit of the embryos (~10-12%). Despite the increase in oxygen availability, when monitored over a period of six hours, embryos showed no difference (0.36 ± 0.01 (ml O2 - min-1- egg-1) in metabolism from baseline measurements at day 15, 16 and 17.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Khorrami, Sheva
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of Whisker-Trimming on GABAA Receptors in S1 Cortex

Description: A number of studies have shown that sensory deprivation is associated with selective decreases in GABA, GAD, and GABA receptors, in deprived areas of visual and somatosensory cortex. Those studies focused on layer 4, a recipient of direct thalamocortical sensory input. However, supragranular layers 2/3 have been recently identified as a major locus of functional plasticity in sensory deprivation and long-term potentiation. To examine whether GABAA receptors in layers 2/3 are affected by sensory deprivation, rats had mystacial vibrissae in middle row C or rows ABDE trimmed for 6 weeks beginning in early adulthood. Layers 2/3 above the deprived and adjacent whisker barrels were located in tangential sections, using patterns of radial blood vessels as fiducial marks. In deprived whisker barrel columns, [3H]muscimol binding to GABAA receptors decreased by 12.8% ± 1.2 (P &lt; 0.001) in layers 2/3 and 11.4% ± 1.2 (P<0.001) in layer 4. Altered levels of GABAA α1 subunit (Fritschy et al., 1994) were indicated by reduced optical density of immunostaining, both in deprived layers 2/3 (6.4% ± 0.7; P&lt; 0.001) and in layer 4 (3.4% ± 1.0; P &lt; 0.005). Interestingly, Nissl staining density also decreased in deprived layers 2/3 (12.7% ± 1.8 P &lt; 0.001) and in 4 (6.0 ± 0.7 (P &lt; 0.001). The percent decreases were greater in layers 2/3 than in 4 for both GABAA α1 (P &lt; 0.05) and Nissl substance (P &lt; 0.005). The present results suggest that down-regulation in GABAA receptors may underlie the physiological signs of disinhibition observed in neurons of layer 2/3 and 4 in deprived whisker barrel columns.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Salazar, Eduardo
Partner: UNT Libraries

Heart rate and oxygen consumption during the critical prenatal period in chicken embryos (Gallus gallus): Influence of light cues and the onset of pulmonary ventilation.

Description: To examine if a rhythm can be entrained in either heart rate or oxygen consumption in late stage embryos (days 17-19.5) with light as a zeitgeber, chicken embryos were incubated in complete darkness (D:D) and 12:12 light:dark cycle (L:D). Light had no impact on oxygen consumption (390 µL O2∙min-1∙egg-1) but increased heart rate for non-internally pipped embryos (260 to 270 beats∙min-1 during light cycle). Oxygen consumption increased independent of pipping while heart rate increased (255 to 265 beats∙min-1) in D:D embryos due to pipping. A light-induced rhythm or effect occurred in heart rate but not oxygen consumption, suggesting heart rate and oxygen consumption may be uncoupled.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Brown, Jessie W.
Partner: UNT Libraries