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Animal Contribution to Human Medicine

Description: The use of animal models in research has led to a fierce debate between animal rights activists and scientists. The former claim that little useful information is gained from animal studies and the suffering of animals does not preclude any treatments which may be used to treat human illnesses. Yet, research scientists claim that in vivo animal models are of absolute necessity to developing treatments and cures to disease. To determine the necessity of animal use, one must examine the models currently in research. Have the animal models for disorders such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy given scientists enough information to develop effective treatments? This paper will examine the role of animal subjects in several disease research protocols, as well as the applicability of the research.
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Date: May 2001
Creator: Kvernes, Kayce

Application of Cultured Neuronal Networks for Use as Biological Sensors in Water Toxicology and Lipid Signaling.

Description: This dissertation research explored the capabilities of neuronal networks grown on substrate integrated microelectrode arrays in vitro to be applied to toxicological research and lipid signaling. Chapter 1 details the effects of chlorine on neuronal network spontaneous electrical activity and pharmacological sensitivity. This study demonstrates that neuronal networks can maintain baseline spontaneous activity, and respond normally to pharmacological manipulations in the present of three times the chlorine present in drinking water. The findings suggest that neuronal networks may be used as biological sensors to monitor the quality of water and the presence of novel toxicants that cannot be detected by conventional sensors. Chapter 2 details the neuromodulatory effects of N-acylethanolamides (NAEs) on the spontaneous electrical activity of neuronal networks. NAEs are a group of lipids that can mimic the effects of marijuana and can be derived from a variety of plant sources including soy lecithin. The most prominent NAEs in soy lecithin, palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and linoleoylethanolamide (LEA), were tested individually and were found to significantly inhibit neuronal spiking and bursting activity. These effects were potentiated by a mixture of NAEs as found in a HPLC enriched fraction from soy lecithin. Cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB1-R) antagonists and other cannabinoid pathway modulators indicated that the CB1-R was not directly involved in the effects of NAEs, but that enzymatic degradation and cellular uptake were more likely targets. The results demonstrate that neuronal networks may also be a viable platform for the elucidation of biochemical pathways and drug mechanisms of action.
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Date: August 2004
Creator: Dian, Emese Emöke

Applications of Molecular Genetics to Human Identity.

Description: The primary objectives of this project were: 1. to develop improved methods for extraction of DNA from human skeletal remains, 2. to improve STR profiling success of low-copy DNA samples by employing whole genome amplification to amplify the total pool of DNA prior to STR analysis, and 3. to improve STR profiling success of damaged DNA templates by using DNA repair enzymes to reduce the number/severity of lesions that interfere with STR profiling. The data from this study support the following conclusions. Inhibitory compounds must be removed prior to enzymatic amplification; either during bone section pretreatment or by the DNA extraction method. Overall, bleach outperformed UV as a pretreatment and DNA extraction using silica outperformed microconcentration and organic extraction. DNA repair with PreCR™ A outperformed both whole genome amplification and repair with PreCR™ T6. Superior DNA extraction results were achieved using the A6 PMB columns (20 ml capacity column with 6 layers of type A glass fiber filter), and DNA repair with PreCR™ A led to an overall improvement in profile quality in most cases, although whole genome amplification was unsuccessful. Rapid, robust DNA isolation, successful amplification of loci from the sample-derived DNA pool, and an elimination of DNA damage and inhibitors may assist in providing sufficient genetic information from cases that might otherwise lie on the fringe of what is possible to obtain today.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Turnbough, Meredith A.

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

Aquatic Heterotrophic Bacteria Active in the Biotransformation of Anthracene and Pentachlorophenol

Description: Dominant genera of bacteria were isolated from three river waters during anthracene and pentachlorophenol biotransformation studies. The genera Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Micrococcus, Chromobacterium, Alcaligenes, Azomonos, Bacillus, and Flavobacterium were capable of biotransforming one or both of these compounds. These isolates were subjected to further biotransformation tests, including river water and a basal salt medium with and without additional glucose. The results of these experiments were evaluated statistically. It was concluded that only a limited number of the bacteria identified were able to transform these chemicals in river water. The addition of glucose to the growth medium significantly affected the biotransformation of these chemicals. It was also determined that the size of the initial bacterial population is not a factor in determining whether biotransformation of anthracene or pentachlorophenol can occur.
Date: August 1985
Creator: Entezami, Azam A. (Azam Alsadat)

The aquatic insect communities of Holbrook Creek and Cochetopa Creek in Colorado.

Description: The first objective for this problem in lieu of thesis project was to gather, identify to the lowest practical taxonomic level and organize all available aquatic insects collected from high altitude Colorado aquatic systems during the summers of 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2002 for the University of North Texas Environmental Science Field Course (BIOL 5650). The curated collection will be housed in the Elm Fork Natural History Museum, located at the University of North Texas. The second objective was to provide a summary and discussion of the occurrence and distribution of the aquatic insects collected from Mt. Blanca in 1994, 1996, and 1998 and to create a taxa list of aquatic insects collected from Cochetopa Creek during the summer of 2002.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Wallace, Mark Allen

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

An Assay Method for Determining Extra-Cellular Lipases from Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Description: The applicability of an isotopically labelled assay system to determine the lipase production in Pseudomonas aeruginosa was evaluated. Supernatant from cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa grown in a medium containing olive oil was incubated with a substrate containing labelled trioleate. Fatty acids were isolated by means of a liquid-liquid partition system. Enzyme activity was determined by measuring the amounts of free fatty acid by liquid scintillation counting. Findings indicate that the isotopicallylabelled, liquid-liquid partitioning assay is reliable, sensitive and adaptable to rapid assay conditions. It was also determined that different strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa produce varying amounts of lipase. Partial purification of supernatant by gel filtration produced two protein peaks showing enzymatic activity.
Date: May 1978
Creator: Christensen, John N.

Assembly of Pseudomonas putida Aspartate Transcarbamoylase and Possible Roles of the PyrC' Polypeptide in the Folding of the Dodecameric Enzyme

Description: Aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) of Pseudomonas putida consists of two different polypeptides, PyrB and PyrC' (Schurr et al, 1995). The role of the PyrC' and the assembly of PyrB and PyrC' have been studied. The ATCase made in vitro of P.putida PyrB with P.putida PyrC', and of E.coli PyrB with P.putida PyrC ' were generated under two different conditions, denaturation and renaturation, and untreated. It was found that PyrC' plays a role in the enzymatic regulation by ATP, CTP and UTP. In addition to playing a role in substrate binding, the PyrB polypeptide is also involved in effector binding (Kumar et al., manuscript in preparation). The most energetically preferred form of the P.putida WT is a dodecamer with a molecular mass of 480 kDa. The ratio between the PyrB and the PyrC' is 1:1. In studies of nucleotide binding, it was discovered that the P.putida PyrB was phosphorylated by a protein kinase in the cell extract. In the presence of 20 mM EDTA, this phosphorylation was inhibited and the inhibition could be overcome by the addition of divalent cations such as Zn2+ and Mg2+. This result suggested that the phosphorylation reaction required divalent cations. In the CAD complex of eukaryotes, phosphorylations of the CPSase and the linker region between ATCase and DHOase did not occur in the presence of UTP and it was hypothesized (Carrey, 1993) that UTP and phosphorylation(s) regulated the conformational change in the enzyme complex. Therefore, the same idea was approached with P.putida ATCase, where it was found that 1.0 mM UTP inhibited the phosphorylation of PyrB by more than 50%. These results suggested that the regulation of the conformational change of the P.putida ATCase might be similar to that of CAD. Furthermore, peptide mapping for phosphorylation sites was performed on P.putida ATCase WT, WT --11 amino acids ...
Date: May 1999
Creator: Hongsthong, Apiradee, 1970-

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 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 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

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.

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

An Assessment of the Use of Seeding, Mowing, and Burning in the Restoration of an Oldfield to Tallgrass Prairie in Lewisville, Texas

Description: An examination of the effectiveness of seeding, burning, and mowing in the reestablishment of tallgrass prairie species on overgrazed and abandoned pastureland. The study site is a 20 acre tract on U.S. Corps of Engineers land below Lake Lewisville in Denton County, Texas. The site was partitioned into thirty-nine 40 by 40 meter plots with seeding (carried out in 1996) and management treatment (burning, mowing, and no maintenance carried out in 1998) randomly applied following a two level design. For each plot, nine stratified-random 0.1 m2 subplots were examined and shoot counts for each species recorded. The effects of the treatments on individual species and species richness were analyzed with a two-way ANOVA followed by a SNK multiple range test, both on ranked data. Community level analysis was conducted with both a MANOVA on ranked data and a Canonical Correspondence Analysis on raw data. Results indicate that seeding positively affected species richness, particularly when combined with either burning or mowing in the early spring. Mowing also significantly increased species richness in areas that were not seeded, while burning negatively affected species richness on unseeded plots. Treatments significantly affected community composition with treatments having the most clear effect on spring and summer forbs.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Windhager, Steven

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-

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

Autophosphorylation and Autoactivation of an S6/H4 Kinase Isolated From Human Placenta

Description: A number of protein kinases have been shown to undergo autophosphorylation, but few have demonstrated a coordinate increase or decrease in enzymatic activity as a result. Described here is a novel S6 kinase isolated from human placenta which autoactivates through autophosphorylation in vitro. This S6/H4 kinase, purified in an inactive state, was shown to be a protein of Mr of 60,000 as estimated by SDS-PAGE and could catalyze the phosphorylation of the synthetic peptide S6-21, the histone H4, and myelin basic protein. Mild digestion of the inactive S6/H4 kinase with trypsin was necessary, but not sufficient, to activate the kinase fully
Date: May 1994
Creator: Dennis, Patrick B. (Patrick Brian)

Autoradiographic Localization of Carbachol-Induced Second Messenger Response in the Rat Spinal Cord Following Inflammation.

Description: This study examined central mechanisms of persistent pain using an autoradiographic technique to localize phosphoinositide hydrolysis (PI) in the rat spinal cord dorsal horn. The lateral half of laminae I-II showed the highest levels of baseline PI turnover and carbachol-stimulated PI turnover in normal animals as well as after inflammation. Inflammation resulted in increased baseline PI turnover in this region of the ipsilateral (76%) and contralateral (65%) dorsal horns. Carbachol increased PI turnover in this region in normal rats (55%) and following inflammation (ipsilateral: 46%, contralateral: 45%). The absolute magnitudes of these increases were 1.85, 2.71, and 2.51 nCi/mg, respectively. The results of this study demonstrate the involvement of PI turnover in neural mechanisms of persistent pain, and provide evidence for the involvement of cholinergic systems in this process. Because spinal cholinergic systems have been reported to be anti-nociceptive, the present results appear to reflect an upregulation of anti-nociceptive activity in response to inflammation. Thus, the spinal cholinergic system may be a regulatory site within the anti-nociceptive pathway, and may provide an attractive target for the development of new therapeutic agents.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Moore, Jack

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

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

Benthic Macroinvertebrates of Temperate, Sub-Antarctic Streams: The Effects of Altitudinal Zoning and Temperature on the Phenology of Aquatic Insects Associated to the Robalo River, Navarino Island (55°S), Chile

Description: The Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, within the remote Sub-Antarctic ecoregion is a reservoir of expressions of biological and cultural diversity. Although it is considered one of 24 wilderness areas remaining in the world, it is not free from local and global threats, such as invasive species, and climate change. Field biologists and philosophers associated to the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program and the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, have worked to describe the region’s biocultural diversity, linking ecological and philosophical research into education, ecotourism, and conservation, through a methodology called field environmental philosophy (FEP), which integrates ecological sciences and environmental ethics through a 4-step cycle consisting of: 1) interdisciplinary research; 2) composition of metaphors; 3) design of field activities with an ecological and ethical orientation; and 4) implementation of in situ conservation areas. In this context, the purposes of this dissertation were to: 1) provide a comprehensive review of publications regarding the conservation status of aquatic and terrestrial insects at a global scale and with an emphasis in southern South America; 2) study the distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates through the sharp altitudinal gradient of the Róbalo River watershed; 3) describe the life histories of Gigantodax sp (Simuliidae: Diptera) and Meridialaris chiloeense (Leptophlebiidae: Ephemeroptera) in the Róbalo River and to assess the potential effects of climate change on their phenology; and 4) to apply FEP methodology in order to better understand and communicate the intrinsic and instrumental values of freshwater invertebrates in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Contador Mejías, Tamara Andrea