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N-Acylethanolamine (NAE) Profiles Change During Arabidopsis Thaliana Seed Germination and Seedling Growth

Description: An understanding of the potential roles as lipid mediators of a family of bioactive metabolites called N-acylethanolamines (NAEs) depends on their accurate identification and quantification. The levels of 18C unsaturated NAEs (e.g. NAE18:2, NAE 18:3, etc.) in wild-type seeds (about 2000 ng/g fw) generally decreased by about 80% during germination and post-germinative growth. In addition, results suggest NAE-degradative fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) expression does not play a major role in normal NAE metabolism as previously thought. Seedlings germinated and grown in the presence of abscisic acid (ABA), an endogenous plant hormone, exhibited growth arrest and secondary dormancy, similar to the treatment of seedlings with exogenous N­lauroylethanolamine (NAE12:0). ABA-mediated growth arrest was associated with higher levels of unsaturated NAEs. Overall, these results are consistent with the concept that NAE metabolism is activated during seed germination and suggest that the reduction in unsaturated NAE levels is under strict temporal control and may be a requirement for normal seed germination and post-germinative growth.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Wiant, William C.

Analysis and Development of Post Secondary Curriculum on Sustainability

Description: This thesis examines existing curricula at colleges and universities about sustainability and uses results to develop an introductory post secondary course curriculum. The proposed course is organized around three major elements - - science, philosophy, and economics - - all integral to understanding sustainability. Materials needed to teach the proposed 3-semester hour course including syllabus, teaching modules, transparencies, handouts, and exams were developed. Suggestions on how to teach a one-semester hour course on sustainability and a workshop on sustainability are also presented. The following research and curriculum development was a project established and funded by the Texas Energy Office, Renewable Resources and Sustainability Program.
Date: May 2000
Creator: White, Miki Machell

Analysis of the One-Horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros Unicornis) Habitat in the Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal.

Description: This study analyzes the remaining suitable habitat of the one-horned rhinoceros, Rhinoceros unicornis, in Royal Chitwan National Park of Nepal. An April 2003 Landsat image was classified into eight land cover types: wetland, sand, water, mixed forest, sal forest, agriculture, settlement, and grassland. This image was converted into habitat suitability maps using cover, food, and water. The rhinoceros prefers grassland habitat with oxbow lakes and closed canopy during the monsoon season. Nominal values of five parameters were used to create a map of habitat suitability index. The map was categorized into four habitat classes: highly unsuitable, unsuitable, moderately suitable habitat, and suitable. Landscape metrics, patch metrics and class metrics associated with habitat were determined through the use of FRAGSTATS.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Thapa, Vivek

Applications of Remote Sensing and GIS to Modeling Fire for Vegetative Restoration in Northern Arizona

Description: An accurate fire model is a useful tool in predicting the behavior of a prescribed fire. Simulation of fire requires an extensive amount of data and can be accomplished best using GIS applications. This paper demonstrates integrative procedures of using of ArcGIS™, ERDAS Imagine™, GPS, and FARSITE© to predict prescribed fire behavior on the Kaibab-Paiute Reservation. ArcGIS was used to create a database incorporating all variables into a common spatial reference system and format for the FARSITE model. ArcGIS Spatial Analyst was then used to select optimal burn sites for simulation. Our predictions will be implemented in future interagency efforts towards vegetative restoration on the reservation.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Hardison, Tanya

Aspartate Transcarbamoylase of Aeromonas Hydrophila

Description: This study focused on the enzyme, aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) from A. hydrophila, a Gram-negative bacterium found in fresh water. The molecular mass of the ATCase holoenzyme from A. hydrophila is 310 kDa. The enzyme is likely composed of 6 catalytic polypeptides of 34 kDa each and 6 regulatory polypeptides of 17 kDa each. The velocity-substrate curve for A. hydrophila ATCase is sigmoidal for both aspartate and carbamoylphosphate. The Km for aspartate was the highest to date for an enteric bacterium at 97.18 mM. The Km for carbamoylphosphate was 1.18 mM. When heated to 60 ºC, the specific activity of the enzyme dropped by more than 50 %. When heated to 100 ºC, the enzyme showed no activity. The enzyme's activity was inhibited by ATP, CTP or UTP.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Higginbotham, Leah

Assessing Outcomes of a Recycling Education and Service Program within an Elementary School

Description: During the spring 2004 a pilot school recycling program was implemented within Robert E. Lee Elementary. The primary goal of the program was to determine how recycling education in the school would affect curbside recycling rates within the surrounding community. The program was a cooperative effort between the University of North Texas, City of Denton Solid Waste Department and Keep Denton Beautiful. Throughout the first months of the study during the spring 2004, an increase in curbside recycling within the Robert E. Lee Elementary attendance zone was observed, with a dramatic decrease in participation over the summer and a rapid increase once again during the second full semester of the study. In a survey conducted with 3rd and 5th grade students at the pilot project school, most students expressed positive attitudes about recycling. Students whose survey responses indicated a high level of knowledge about what could be recycled were 37% more likely to claim to recycle regularly, than those students that scored low on the knowledge portion of the survey. Although the total amount of waste generation (recyclable and non-recyclable) at Robert E. Lee Elementary did not decrease during the study, the campus was able to divert recyclable material from their trash at a much higher rate than two other local elementary campuses with paper-only recycling and no associated recycling education program. Based upon the success of the recycling program at Robert E. Lee Elementary, the City of Denton Recycling Division has agreed to move forward with offering recycling to more schools within the Denton Independent School District during the 2005-2006 school year.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Cunningham-Scott, Carey Beth

Assessing the Spatial and Temporal Distribution of MTBE and BTEX Compounds in Lake Lewisville, Texas February 1999 - February 2000

Description: The spatial and temporal distribution of Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE) and BTEX (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylenes) compounds were assessed in a multipurpose reservoir, Lake Lewisville, Texas between February 1999 and February 2000. Concentrations of MTBE ranged from 0.0 - 16.7 mg/L. Levels of MTBE in the lake were related to watercraft. BTEX concentrations were never detected above 2.0 mg/L during the sampling period. Finished drinking water from Denton and the Upper Trinity Regional Water District (UTRWD) Treatment Plants were also tested for MTBE and BTEX. MTBE and BTEX were not detected in UTRWD water samples. Denton's finished water samples never exceeded 2.2 mg/L for MTBE and BTEX was not detected except for one replicate of 1.1 mg/L toluene.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Lee, Anne W.

Bacterial Challenge in Lumbricus Terrestris: A Terrestrial Invertebrate Immunotoxicity Model.

Description: A bacterial challenge assay was developed utilizing the earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris, in order to assess potential immunotoxic effects from exposure to specific polychlorinated biphenyl congeners. Earthworms were inoculated with Aeromonous hydrophila, establishing a 10-day LD50. In vitro assays for effects of PCBs on phagocytosis agreed with mammalian studies, demonstrating potent suppression of phagocytosis by the non-coplanar PCB congener 138 and no suppression by the coplanar congener 126. However, when the effects of the two PCB congeners were evaluated for suppression of resistance to a whole animal infection challenge assay, coplanar PCB 126 decreased the ability of L. terrestris to withstand infection while non-coplanar PCB 138 did not.
Date: May 2007
Creator: McDonald, Jennifer C.

Bacterial Cyanide Assimilation: Pterin Cofactor and Enzymatic Requirements for Substrate Oxidation

Description: Utilization of cyanide as the sole nitrogen source by Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB 11764 (Pf11764) occurs via oxidative conversion to carbon dioxide and ammonia, the latter satisfying the nitrogen requirement. Substrate attack is initiated oxygenolytically by an enzyme referred to as cyanide oxygenase (CNO), which exhibits properties of a pterin-dependent hydroxylase. The pterin requirement for Pf11764 CNO was satisfied by supplying either the fully (tetrahydro) or partially (dihydro) reduced forms of various pterin compounds at catalytic concentrations (0.5 µM). These compounds included, for example, biopterin, monapterin and neopterin, all of which were also identified in cell extracts. A related CNO-mediated mechanism of cyanide utilization was identified in cyanide-degrading P. putida BCN3. This conclusion was based on (i) the recovery of CO2 and NH3 as enzymatic reaction products, (ii) the dependency of substrate conversion on both O2 and NADH, and (iiii) utilization of cyanide, O2 and NADH in a 1:1:1 reaction stoichiometry. In contrast to findings reported for Pf11764, it was not possible to demonstrate a need for exogenously added pterin as a cofactor for the PpBCN3 enzyme system. However, results which showed that cells of PpBCN3 contained approximately seven times the amount of pterin as Pf11764 (of which a significant portion was protein-bound) were interpreted as indicating that sufficient bound CNO-cofactor exists, thus eliminating any need for a supplemental source.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Dolghih, Elena

Characterizing the Municipal Solid Waste Stream in Denton, Texas

Description: Forty-two commercially collected dumpsters from Denton’s Municipal Solid Waste Stream were emptied, sorted and weighed to characterize the material types and make preliminary recycling policy recommendations. The general composition of Denton’s solid waste stream was not significantly different from the composition of the nation’s solid waste stream. Fifty-eight percent of the observed waste stream was recyclable. Paper made up the largest portion of recyclable materials and the "grocery" source category had more paper than any of the other five categories. Based on these findings, an incrementally aggressive approach is recommended to reduce certain types of wastes observed in the waste stream. This would include a Pay-As-You-Throw Program followed by an Intermediate Processing Center that can be converted to a Materials Recovery Facility.
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Date: August 2000
Creator: Brady, Patricia D.

Coelomic Fluid Protein Profile in Earthworms Following Bacterial Challenge.

Description: Proteomic techniques were used to evaluate the protein profile of the earthworm, (Lumbricus terrestris), following a bacterial challenge. One control group received no injection; a second control group received injections of phosphate buffer solution (PBS). The experimental group received injections of PBS containing (Aeromonas hydrophila). After incubation for 12 hours at 20°C, coelomic fluid was collected from each group for analysis by 2-D electrophoresis. There were significant differences in spot appearance and density between control and experimental groups. Sixteen spots showed a two-fold increase in density and 63 showed at least a two-fold decrease in density between samples from control and bacteria-challenged earthworms, respectively, suggesting up- and down-modulation of proteins potentially involved in the earthworm's response to bacterial challenge.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Brooks, Geoffrey Lance

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

Comparative Bioavailability of Dietary and Dissolved Cadmium to Freshwater Aquatic Snails

Description: Heavy metal bioaccumulation in aquatic organisms may occur through direct or indirect uptake routes. Research indicates that the significance of uptake route varies with contaminant and organism exposed. The relative importance of different metal sources in aquatic systems was investigated by exposing freshwater snails to dietary or dissolved sources of cadmium. Snails were exposed to control, contaminated food only, contaminated water only, and contaminated food and water treatments. During the 15-day exposure, samples were taken to determine Cd concentration in snail soft tissue, snail shell, algal food, and overlying water. Analyses of snail soft tissue and shells indicate that exposure route significantly affects Cd concentrations in the tissues. In both cases, dissolved Cd is the primary contributor to metal body burden.
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Date: December 2003
Creator: White, Jessica C.

Comparison of GPS Point Selection Methods for GIS Area Measurement of Small Jurisdictional Wetlands

Description: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regulates fill of jurisdictional waters of the United States including wetlands. Recent USACE regulations set a threshold of impacts to wetlands at one-half acre. Impact area can be determined by Global Positioning System (GPS) measurement of wetland boundary and Geographic Information System (GIS) calculation of impact area. GPS point selection methods include (1) equal time interval, (2) transect and (3) intuition. Four two-acre shapes were measured with each GPS method and brought into GIS for area calculation. Analysis of variance and Root Mean Square Error analyses determine that the transect method is an inferior point selection method in terms of accuracy and efficiency.
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Date: August 2001
Creator: Shelton, Michael

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.

Concentrations of Triclosan in the City of Denton Wastewater Treatment Plant, Pecan Creek, and the Influent and Effluent of an Experimental Constructed Wetland

Description: The Pecan Creek Waste Reclamation Plant in Denton, Texas, an activated sludge WWTP, was sampled monthly for ten months to determine seasonal and site variation in concentrations of triclosan (5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol), an antibacterial additive. SNK separation after the highly significant ANOVA on ranked data were: summer = fall > winter = spring and influent > downstream = effluent = wetland inflow > wetland outflow (a=0.05). After the plant converted to ultraviolet disinfection, measurements were made before and after the UV basin to determine if significant amounts of triclosan were converted to dioxin. Percent loss at each of the treatment steps was determined. Concentrations of triclosan in the downstream site were below the published NOEC for the most sensitive species.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Waltman, Elise Lyn

Correspondence Between Aquatic Ecoregions and the Distribution of Fish Communities of Eastern Oklahoma

Description: I assessed fish community data collected by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission from 82 minimally impaired wadeable reference streams in eastern Oklahoma to determine whether existing aquatic ecoregions provide the best framework for spatial classification for the development of biological assessment methods and biocriteria. I used indirect ordination and classification to identify groups of sites that support similar fish communities. Although correspondence was observed between fish assemblages and three montane ecoregions, the classification system must be refined and expanded to include major drainage basins and physical habitat attributes for some areas to adequately partition variance in key measures of biological integrity. Results from canonical correspondence analysis indicated that substrate size and habitat type were the primary physical habitat variables that influenced the fish species composition and community structure.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Howell, Charles E.

Culturing Vallisneria americana for Restoration Efforts

Description: Robust Vallisneria americana was cultured for restoration purposes. Preliminary studies, with various iron treatments, were conducted to ascertain the amount of phosphorous release into the water column from sediments. There was a significant difference in the amount of phosphorous released if commercial sediment was used with a low iron amendment or without an iron amendment. The second study consisted of planting V. americana on two different sediment types while supplying half of the plants with additional CO2. Plants grown on pond sediment with additional CO2 had significantly more biomass. In the third study all plants were grown on pond sediment, and half were treated with CO2. All plants that were treated with additional CO2 had significantly more biomass than those that were aerated.
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Date: May 2004
Creator: Tanski, Erin M.

Density, Distribution and Habitat Requirements for the Ozark Pocket Gopher (Geomys Bursarius Ozarkensis)

Description: A new subspecies of the plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius ozarkensis), located in the Ozark Mountains of north central Arkansas, was recently described by Elrod et al. (2000). Current range for G. b. ozarkensis was established, habitat preference was assessed by analyzing soil samples, vegetation and distance to stream and potential pocket gopher habitat within the current range was identified. A census technique was used to estimate a total density of 3, 564 pocket gophers. Through automobile and aerial survey 51 known fields of inhabitance were located extending the range slightly. Soil analyses indicated loamy sand as the most common texture with a slightly acidic pH and a broad range of values for other measured soil parameters and 21 families of vegetation were identified. All inhabited fields were located within an average of 107.2m from waterways and over 1,600 hectares of possible suitable habitat was identified.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Kershen, Audrey Allbach

Determination of Dissociation Constants for GABAA Receptor Antagonists using Spontaneously Active Neuronal Networks in vitro

Description: Changes in spontaneous spike activities recorded from murine frontal cortex networks grown on substrate-integrated microelectrodes were used to determine the dissociation constant (KB) of three GABAA antagonists. Neuronal networks were treated with fixed concentrations of GABAA antagonists and titrated with muscimol, a GABAA receptor agonist. Muscimol decreased spike activity in a concentration dependent manner with full efficacy (100% spike inhibition) and a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 0.14 ± 0.05 µM (mean ± SD, n=6). At 10, 20, 40 and 80 µM bicuculline, the muscimol IC50 values were shifted to 4.3 ± 1.8 µM (n=6), 6.8 ± 1.7 µM (n=6), 19.3 ± 3.54 µM (n=10) and 43.5 µM (n=2), respectively (mean ± SD). Muscimol titration in the presence of 10, 20, 40 µM of gabazine resulted in IC50s values of 20.1 (n=2), 37.17 (n=4), and 120.45 (n=2), respectively. In the presence of 20, 80, and 160 µM of TMPP (trimethylolpropane phosphate) the IC50s were 0.86 (n=2), 3.07 (n=3), 6.67 (n=2) µM, respectively. Increasing concentrations of GABAA antagonists shifted agonist log concentration-response curves to the right with identical efficacies, indicating direct competition for the GABAA receptor. A Schild plot analysis with linear regression resulted in slopes of 1.18 ± 0.18, 1.29 ± 0.23 and 1.05 ± 0.03 for bicuculline, gabazine and TMPP, respectively. The potency of antagonists was determined in terms of pA2 values. The pA2 values were 6.63 (gabazine), 6.21 (bicuculline), and 5.4 (TMPP). This suggests that gabazine has a higher binding affinity to the GABAA receptor than bicuculline and TMPP. Hence, using spike rate data obtained from population responses of spontaneously active neuronal networks, it is possible to determine key pharmacological properties of drug-receptor interactions.
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Date: December 2005
Creator: Oli-Rijal, Sabnam

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

Description: The Rocker b Ranch on the southern Rolling Plains has one of the last sizeable populations of pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) in Texas. To investigate habitat utilization on the ranch, pronghorn were fitted with GPS/VHF collars and were released into pastures surrounded by a variety of fences to determine how fence types affected habitat selection. Habitat parameters chosen for analysis were vegetation, elevation, slope, aspect, and distances to water, roads, and oil wells. Results showed that pronghorn on the ranch crossed modified fencing significantly less than other types of fencing. Pronghorn selected for all habitat parameters to various degrees, with the most important being vegetation type. Habitat selection could be attributed to correspondence of vegetation type with other parameters or spatial arrangements of physical features of the landscape. Seasonal differences in habitat utilization were evident, and animals tended to move shorter distances at night than they did during daylight hours.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Aiken, Robin A.

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

Description: This thesis presents a model for developing site-specific contingency plans to be used during spill response, remediation, and post-spill monitoring using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve's Bryan Mound site as a case study. Bird and vegetation observations provide baseline data for biological conditions, and sediment sampling for total petroleum hydrocarbons serves as a chemical component of the model. Results demonstrate previously unknown conditions that would hinder remediation and affect the persistence of petroleum contaminants. Results also established previously unmapped dominant bird and vegetation types likely to be impacted by a spill at the site. This model points to a reconsideration of individual facilities' responsibilities when planning for large-scale disasters and protecting the sensitive ecosystems surrounding their sites.
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Date: December 2001
Creator: Hernandez, Sylvia A.

Developmental Patterns of Metabolism and Hematology in the Late Stage Chicken Embryo (Gallus Domesticus) at Two Incubation Temperatures.

Description: How temperature affects physiological development in the chicken embryo is unknown. Embryos incubated at 38°C or 35°C showed no difference in growth or survival. The time to hatching was longer in 35°C than 38°C embryos (23.7 vs. 20.6 days), but unaffected was the relative timing of appearance of developmental landmarks (internal, external pipping). At stage 43-44, 38°C embryos maintained oxygen consumption around 1 mL/g/h despite acute temperature reduction (suggesting thermoregulatory maturation), unlike 35°C embryos. In 35°C embryos the lower oxygen-carrying capacity and temperature insensitive blood O2 affinity (P50 about 30 mmHg) may restrict O2 delivery to tissues, limiting metabolism during decreased ambient temperature. Reduced incubation temperature retards normal hematological and thermoregulatory development.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Black, Juli

Effector Response of the Aspartate Transcarbamoylase From Wild Type Pseudomonas Putida and a Mutant with 11 Amino Acids Deleted at the N-terminus of PyrB.

Description: Like its enteric counterpart, aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) from Pseudomonas putida is a dodecamer of two different polypeptides. Unlike the enterics, the Pseudomonas ATCase lacks regulatory polypeptides but employs instead inactive dihydroorotases for an active dodecamer. Previous work showed that PyrB contains not only the active site but also the effector binding sites for ATP, UTP and CTP at its N-terminus. In this work, 11 amino acids were deleted from the N-terminus of PyrB and the ATCase with the truncated protein was expressed in E. coli pyrB- and purified. The wild type enzyme was similarly treated. Velocity-substrate plots without effectors gave Michaelis-Menten kinetics in all cases. Deleting 11 amino acids did not affect dodecameric assembly but altered effector responses. When carbamoylphosphate was varied, the mutant enzyme was inhibited by UTP while the wild type enzyme was activated 2-fold. When the aspartate was varied, CTP had no effect on the mutant enzyme but strongly inhibited the wild type enzyme.
Date: May 2002
Creator: AsFour, Hani