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N-Acylethanolamines and Plant Phospholipase D

Description: Recently, three distinct isoforms of phospholipase D (PLD) were identified in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLD α represents the well-known form found in plants, while PLD β and γ have been only recently discovered (Pappan et al., 1997b; Qin et al., 1997). These isoforms differ in substrate selectivity and cofactors required for activity. Here, I report that PLD β and γ isoforms were active toward N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE), but PLD α was not. The ability of PLD β and γ to hydrolyze NAPE marks a key difference from PLD α. N-acylethanolamines (NAE), the hydrolytic products of NAPE by PLD β and γ, inhibited PLD α from castor bean and cabbage. Inhibition of PLD α by NAE was dose-dependent and inversely proportional to acyl chain length and degree of unsaturation. Enzyme kinetic analysis suggested non-competitive inhibition of PLD α by NAE 14:0. In addition, a 1.2-kb tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) cDNA fragment was isolated that possessed a 74% amino acid identity to Arabidopsis PLD β indicating that this isoform is expressed in tobacco cells. Collectively, these results provide evidence for NAE producing PLD activities and suggest a possible regulatory role for NAE with respect to PLD α.
Date: December 1998
Creator: Brown, Shea Austin

Assessing Effects of an Environmental Education Field Science Program Fostering Responsibility at an Urban Middle School

Description: The study investigated the ability of an extracurricular program to influence environmental responsibility of sixth and seventh graders. The Children's Environmental Attitude and Knowledge Survey (CHEAKS) was evaluated for appropriateness in assessing the worth of this particular environmental education strategy emphasizing water quality fieldwork and technology. CHEAKS is designed with psychometric reliability and validity that may be used in comparing disparate programs. Wilcoxon two sample tests were used to analyze data gathered from two student groups; one participated in an "Enviro-Mentals Club"; the other received no treatment. Analysis showed no significant change in environmental attitudes between groups, but did show significance (p <= 0.05) in environmental knowledge growth. Therefore, the investigated program had marginal success in influencing environmental responsibility.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Sills, Blake

Assessing the Effects of a Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent on Zooplankton, Phytoplankton and Corbicula Flumina in a Constructed Wetland

Description: Wetland wastewater treatment offers low-cost, energy efficient alternatives to conventional wastewater technologies. In this study, an artificial wetland was constructed at the City of Denton, Texas Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant to facilitate diazinon removal from treated effluent.
Date: May 1995
Creator: Hymel, Stephanie Ramick

An Assessment of Storm Water Toxicity from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and Denton, Texas

Description: With the advent of national storm water regulations, municipalities with populations greater than 100,000 are required to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits (NPDES) for storm water discharges. In addition to the sampling required for the permit process, the City of Fort Worth contracted with the University of North Texas' Institute of Applied Sciences to conduct acute toxicity testing using Pimephales prcmelas and Ceriodaphnia dubia on storm water samples received from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. A Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE) was performed on four samples that exhibited acute toxicity to C. dubia. High levels of metals as well as diazinon were some of the probable toxicants found.
Date: August 1995
Creator: Keating, Paul Redmond

Attenuation of Escherichia Coli Aspartate Transcarbamoylase Expressed in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Mutant and Wild Type Strains

Description: No apparent repression of pyr gene expression in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is observed upon addition of exogenous pyrimidines to the growth medium. Upon introduction of the subcloned Escherichia coli pyrBI genes for aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) into a P. aeruginosa pyrB mutant strain, repression was observed in response to exogenously fed pyrimidine compounds. The results proved that it is possible to bring about changes in pyrimidine nucleotide pool levels and changes in transcriptional regulation of gene expression as a result. Thus, the lack of regulatory control in P. aeruginosa pyr gene expression is not due to an inability to take up and incorporate pyrimidine compounds into metabolic pools, or to an inability of the RNA polymerase to respond to regulatory sequences in the DNA but is probably due to a lack of specific regulatory signals in the promoter of the genes themselves.
Date: December 1994
Creator: Liu, Haiyan, 1966-

A Behavioral Model for Detection of Acute Stress in Bivalves

Description: A behavioral model for acute responses in bivalves, was developed using time series analysis for use in a real-time biomonitoring unit. Stressed bivalves closed their shell and waited for the stressful conditions to pass. Baseline data showed that group behavior of fifteen bivalves was periodic, however, individuals behaved independently. Group behavior did not change over a period of 20 minutes more than 30 percent, however, following toxic exposures the group behavior changed by more than 30 percent within 20 minutes. Behavior was mathematically modeled using autoregression to compare current and past behavior. A logical alarm applied to the behavior model determined when organisms were stressed. The ability to disseminate data collected in real time via the Internet was demonstrated.
Date: May 1998
Creator: Allen, H. Joel

Biology and Energetics of Tropisternus Lateralis Nimbatus (SAY) (Coleoptera: Hydrophilidae) in a Playa on the Southern High Plains of Texas and Aquatic Coleoptera Diversity from Seven Playas on the Southern High Plains of Texas

Description: A study of the biology of Tropisternus lateralis, a hydrophilid beetle, was conducted during the flood period of a single playa on the Southern High Plains of Texas from early June 1995 through early September 1995. Mechanism of colonization, tolerance/avoidance to drought, larval density, and secondary production were analyzed. T. lateralis colonized playas from surrounding aquatic habitats and avoided drought through aerial dispersion. Once in the playa, larval density increased over time. Secondary production was 1.31 g/m2/.25 yr. In addition, aquatic Coleoptera diversity was studied in seven playas on the Southern High Plains of Texas. A total of twenty three species were identified from the study region. Nine species not reported in playa literature were identified.
Date: December 1997
Creator: Cook, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1969-

Biotic Factors and Temperature Tolerances via Critical Thermal Methodology in Goldfish

Description: CTMinimum and CTMaximum were measured in 620 goldfish to determine if biotic factors, in particular starvation, condition factor and size, affect temperature tolerance. Twenty-eight days of starvation adversely affected both upper and lower temperature tolerance. Condition factor was related to upper but not lower temperature tolerance.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Ford, Tiiu Kirsti, 1972-

Cassette Systems for Creating Intergeneric Hybrid ATCases

Description: Cassette systems for creating intergeneric hybrid ATCases were constructed. An MluI restriction enzyme site was introduced at the carbamoylphosphate binding site within the pyrB genes of both Pseudomonas putida and Escherichia coli. Two hybrids, E. coli pyrB polar domain fused with P. putida pyrB equatorial domain and P. putida pyrB polar domain fused with E. coli pyrB equatorial domain, are possible. The intergeneric E. coli-P. putida hybrid pyrB gene was constructed and found to encode an active ATCase which complemented an E. coli Pyr- strain. These hybrids are useful for kinetic and expression studies of ATCase in E. coli.
Date: December 1999
Creator: Simpson, Luci N.

Characterization of Aspartate Transcarbamoylase and Dihydroorotase in Moraxella Catarrhalis

Description: Bacterial aspartate transcarbamoylases (ATCase's) are divided into three classes that correspond to taxonomic relationships within the bacteria. The opportunistic pathogen Moraxeila catarrhalis has undergone several reclassifications based on traditional microbiological criteria. The previously uncharacterized ATCase from M. catarrhalis was purified to homogeneity and its chemical properties characterized. The ATCase from M. catarrhalis is a class C ATCase with an apparent molecular mass of 480-520 kDa. The M. catarrhalis ATCase is a dodecomer composed of six 35 kDa polypeptides and six 45 kDa polypeptides. The enzyme has an unusually high pH optimum of greater than pH 10. The enzyme exhibited hyperbolic kinetic with a Km for aspartate of 2 mM. A single, separate 78 kDa dihydroorotase from M. catarrhalis was identified and it was not associated with ATCase. These data support the reclassification of M. catarrhalis out of the Neisseriaceae family.
Date: May 1998
Creator: Fowler, Michael A. (Michael Allen), 1961-

Characterizing Spontaneous Neurophysiological Activity with Measures of Statistical Serial Dependence: a Summary Statistic and an Extension of the Joint Interval Histogram

Description: Two measures which indicate statistical serial dependence were evaluated. The n-dimensional Average Stored Information index (ndASI) is a measure of conditional information, which compares the entropies of higher order conditional distributions to estimate average statistical serial dependence. The generalized ranked joint interval histogram (RJIH-o) is a new nonparametric graphical analysis method. It extends the joint interval histogram by depicting longer interval sequences and can be interpereted precisely analagously to the joint interval histogram. The generalized ranked joint interval histogram correctly represents independence in a Poisson process model and statistical serial dependence in a directionally reinforced Markov model. The generalized ranked joint interval histogram correctly depicts the underlying periodic and strange attractors in a standard map model. Both measures can be used to effectively analyze interspike interval sequences from spontaneous neurophsyiological activity effectively.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Weil, Jon C. (Jon Christopher)

Chemotactic Response of Lumbricus terrestris Coelomocytes to Larval and Adult Stages of Rhabditis pellio

Description: Experiments were performed to assess the suitability of Rhabditis pellio, a nematode found in earthworms, as a challenge organism for use in development of a biomarker assay to determine the potential of chemicals to suppress the immunocompetence of the non-specific immune system. To accomplish this goal, information on the life cycle of R. pellio was determined; including effects of incubation time and temperature on growth rates; along with information on the immune response elicited in the earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris. Immune parameters measured were coelomocyte migration toward and attachment to R. pellio larvae and adults. Preliminary background information showed that R. pellio has potential as a challenge organism for development of a biomarker assay.
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Date: December 1999
Creator: Medrano, Jennifer Centurion

Classification of Toolmark Surfaces on Zipper Teeth

Description: This study proposes the classification of the toolmark under the heads of zipper teeth as a subclass characteristic as outlined by the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE). Two separate cases in which zipper teeth were found at crime scenes prompted this study. Brass zipper teeth manufactured by YKK were taken from 20 pairs of jeans and studied using a Reichert comparison microscope at 4X power. Photographs were taken and over 750 comparisons made. It was found that the toolmarks on each side on the 20 zippers were unique and independent of all other sides. The observations made in this study indicate that classifying zipper teeth toolmarks as a subclass characteristic is valid.
Date: December 1999
Creator: Jacobsen, Dawn

Cloning of Carbonic Anhydrase from Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

Description: Carbonic anhydrase is a ubiquitous zinc-metalloenzyme that catalyzes the interconversion of carbon dioxide and carbonate and has been found to play a wide range of roles in animals, plants and bacteria. Cotton genomic and cDNA libraries were screened for the plastidial isoform of carbonic anhydrase. The nucleotide sequences of two 1.2 Kb partial cDNA clones were determined. These clones exhibit high homology to carbonic anhydrases from other dicot plants and possess all the expected peptide motifs. For example, serine and threonine rich chloroplastic targeting peptide and conserved zinc binding residues are both present. These clones were utilized to isolate two carbonic anhydrase genes that were shown to encode different isoforms by PCR and RFLP analysis.
Date: December 1998
Creator: Local, Andrea

Comparative Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Diversity in Isolated and Open Populations of Southern Flying Squirrels

Description: Three populations of Southern flying squirrels were studied in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas to assess the impact of population subdivision-due to island formation--on the population genetics of Glaucomys volans. One island, one mainland, and one open population were investigated. A 367 nucleotide hypervariable region of mitochondrial DNA was sequenced in individuals from each population. Individuals and populations were compared to assess relatedness. Higher sequence diversity was detected in the open and island populations. One island individual shared characters with both the island and mainland populations. Results support the hypothesis that the mainland population may have reduced gene flow. Also, the island population may have been originally founded by at least two maternal lineages.
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Date: August 1999
Creator: Cook, Melaney Birdsong

Comparison of Aspartate Transcarbamoylase and Pyrimidine Salvage in Sporosarcina urea, Sprolactobacillus inulinus, Lactobacillus fermentum, and Micrococcus luteus

Description: The enzyme that catalyzes the committed step in pyrimidine biosynthesis, aspartate transcarbamoylase, has been compared in selected endospore-forming organisms and in morphologically similar control organisms. The ATCases and pyrimidine salvage from Sporosarcina ureae, Sporolactobacillus inulinus, Lactobacillus fermentum, and Micrococcus luteus were compared to those of Bacillus subtilis. While the ATCases from Sporosarcina ureae, Sporolactobacillus inulinus, and L. fermentum were found to exhibit characteristics to that of Bacillus with respect to molecular weight and kinetics, M. luteus ATCase was larger at approximately 480 kDa. Furthermore, pyrimidine salvage in Sporosarcina ureae and M. luteus was identical to those of B. subtilis, while pyrimidine salvage of Sporolactobacillus inulinus and L. fermentum resembled that of the pseudomonads.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Barron, Vincent N. (Vincent Neal)

Comparison of Remediation Methods in Different Hydrogeologic Settings Using Bioplume II

Description: A contaminant fate and transport computer model, Bioplume II, which allows simulation of bioremediation in ground water systems, was used to compare the effects of 11 remediation scenarios on a benzene plume. The plume was created in three different hydrogeologic settings from the simulation of an underground gasoline storage tank leak.
Date: May 1996
Creator: White, Sherry A. (Sherry Anne)

Conception and Design of Constructed Wetland Systems to Treat Wastewater at the Biosphere 2 Center with Use of Reaction Rate Models and the Habitat Evaluation Procedure to Determine the Effects of Designing for Wildlife Habitat on Treatment Efficiency

Description: A study was undertaken to explore relationships between wetland characteristics which make them efficient water purifiers versus their ability to serve as wildlife habitat. The effects of designing constructed wetlands for improved habitat on water treatment efficiencies were quantified. Results indicate that some sacrifice in treatment efficiency is required and that the degree of efficiency reduction is dependant upon pollutant loading rates. However, sacrifice in efficiency is much smaller than increase in habitat quality, and can be offset by increasing wetland area. A practical, theoretical application was then attempted.
Date: May 1998
Creator: Clingenpeel, Glenn C. (Glenn Christopher)

Construction of a Physical Map of Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis Strain ATCC25238

Description: In order to gain a better understanding of this microorganismand its role in human pathogenesis, a physical map of Moraxella catarrhalis type strain ATCC25238 was constructed using pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) in combination with Southern hybridization techniques. Restriction endonucleases Not I, Rsr II, and Sma I were used to digest the chromosomal DNA. An overlapping circular map was generated by cross-hybridization of isolated radiolabeled fragments of Moraxella catarrhalis genomic DNA to dried PFGE gels. The number and location of the 16S and 23S ribosomal RNA genes were determined by digestion with l-Ceul enzyme and by Southern hybridization. Virulence-associated genes, the gene for β-lactamase, and housekeeping genes were also placed onto the physical map.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Nguyen, Kim Thuy

Contemporary Biology Curriculum for Non-majors

Description: The proposed biology curriculum for non-majors has one main objective, namely to improve scientific literacy among college students. The National Science Education Standards defines scientific literacy as "the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity". The suggested strategies to accomplish this goal are to limit the number of topics covered, introduce relevant scientific terminology, emphasize general biological concepts and themes, and hone critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Activities such as group projects, written and oral assignments, and class discussions are effective tools to assess student ability to communicate scientifically. It is also important for students to make connections between the course subject matter and how it affects real life events.
Date: August 1998
Creator: Smallwood, Susan

Descriptions, Life History and Case-Building Behavior of Culoptila cantha (Trichoptera: Glossosomatidae) in the Brazos River, Texas

Description: Larval, pupal and adult samples of Culoptila cantha, from a large riffle of the Brazos River in north-central Texas from January, 1995 to March, 1997, indicated a predominately trivoltine cycle during both years; the over-wintering generation spanned 6-7 months and warm-season generations spanned 2-3 months. Eggs, larvae of all instars, larval cases, case reconstruction progression and behavior, pupae, and adults are described.
Date: August 1997
Creator: Houghton, David Charles

Distribution of a Novel Gram Negative, Capsule-Forming Bacterium

Description: A novel Gram negative, capsule-forming bacterium was previously isolated in Dr. G. Roland Vela's laboratory. The distribution of this bacterium in soils from various locations was investigated. Soil samples from 188 locations around the world were examined. Isolates of the bacterium were obtained from 50 of these soils, with 48 of the isolates found in soils from the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. This suggests that this region is the natural habitat of the bacterium. The other two isolates were obtained from Madrid, Spain and Taipei, Taiwan. None were found in soils from South America or Australia. A lack of variation in morphology and physiological properties in the isolates suggests that a homogeneous population exists, even from widespread geographical locations.
Date: December 1997
Creator: Hughes, Roxana Bejarano

DNA Typing of HLA-B by PCR with Primer Mixes Utilizing Sequence-Specific Primers

Description: The aim of this study was to design a resolution typing system for the HLA-B gene. This technique involves a one-step PCR reaction utilizing genomic DNA and sequence-specific primers to determine the specificity of each allele and to produce a larger primer data base ideal for serological analysis. The application of this technique to serological analysis can improve serology detection which is currently hindered by antibody cross-reactivity and the unavailability of useful typing reagents.
Date: August 1997
Creator: Chiu, Angela Chen-Yen

Documentation of Biodiversity Impacts (Including Cumulative Biodiversity Impacts) in Environmental Impact Statements

Description: In the United States, biodiversity impact assessment has historically received little attention. Responding in 1993, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released guidelines on incorporating biodiversity into environmental impact assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The objectives of the study here were to identify the level of documentation of biodiversity impact assessment in sample Environmental Impact Statements (EISs); identify whether in the years following the release of 1993 CEQ guidelines any significant changes have taken place in assessment of biodiversity; identify deficiencies, and if the need exists, formulate appropriate recommendations and approaches for addressing biodiversity in EISs. The study involved a systematic review of 30 EISs published since the release of CEQ guidelines, and five EISs published prior to it. The review involved answering a series of standard questions, which attempted to ascertain the level of biodiversity impacts included in each impact statement. Trends in approaches to biodiversity impact assessment were investigated and deficiencies summarized. The analysis resulted in a series of recommendations for improving the manner in which biodiversity impact assessment can be approached.
Date: August 1998
Creator: Bhatia, Sarika