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County Level Population Estimation Using Knowledge-Based Image Classification and Regression Models

Description: This paper presents methods and results of county-level population estimation using Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) images of Denton County and Collin County in Texas. Landsat TM images acquired in March 2000 were classified into residential and non-residential classes using maximum likelihood classification and knowledge-based classification methods. Accuracy assessment results from the classified image produced using knowledge-based classification and traditional supervised classification (maximum likelihood classification) methods suggest that knowledge-based classification is more effective than traditional supervised classification methods. Furthermore, using randomly selected samples of census block groups, ordinary least squares (OLS) and geographically weighted regression (GWR) models were created for total population estimation. The overall accuracy of the models is over 96% at the county level. The results also suggest that underestimation normally occurs in block groups with high population density, whereas overestimation occurs in block groups with low population density.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Nepali, Anjeev

The Descriptive Paleontology and Applied Ichthyoarchaeology of the Ponsipa Fauna

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

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

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

Hydrological Impacts of Urbanization: White Rock Creek, Dallas Texas

Description: This research project concerns changes in hydrology resulting from urbanization of the upper sub-basin of the White Rock Creek Watershed in Collin and Dallas Counties, Texas. The objectives of this study are: to calculate the percent watershed urbanized for the period of 1961 through 1968 and the period of 2000 through 2005; to derive a 1960s average unit hydrograph and a 2000s average unit hydrograph; and, to use the two averaged hydrographs to develop a range of hypothetical storm scenarios to evaluate how the storm response of the watershed has changed between these two periods. Results of this study show that stormflow occurs under lower intensity precipitation in the post-urbanized period and that stormflow peaks and volumes are substantially larger compared to the pre-urbanized period. It is concluded that changes in watershed surface conditions resulting from urbanization have lowered the precipitation-intensity threshold that must be surpassed before storm run-off is generated.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Vicars, Julie Anne Groening

Identifying Cultural and Non-cultural Factors Affecting Litter Patterns in Hickory Creek, Texas

Description: Plastic deposition in hydrological systems is a pervasive problem at all geographic scales from loci of pollution to global ocean circulation. Much attention has been devoted to plastic deposition in marine contexts, but little is known about inputs of plastics into local hydrological systems, such as streams. Any attempt to prevent plastic litter must confront people’s behaviors, so archaeological concepts are used to distinguish between various cultural inputs (e.g., littering) and non-cultural forces (e.g., stream transport) that affect litter patterns on the landscape. Litter surveys along Hickory Creek in Denton, TX, are used to assess these factors.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Carpenter, Evan S.

Retail Change and Light Rail: an Exploration of Business Location Changes Accompanying Commuter Rail Development in Denton County, Texas

Description: Within the past few decades, commuter rail routes in several major metropolitan areas have been implemented to provide an alternative to automobile transportation. Urban planners in these cities are looking to commuter rail to mitigate congestion and pollution. However, research on the impacts of commuter rail development on the surrounding retail landscape is still needed. In metropolitan Dallas-Fort Worth, the Denton County Transportation Authority recently opened its new A-Train light rail service linking suburban Denton and downtown Dallas. This thesis examines urban changes that occurred in the years before and after the A-Train line's 2011 opening, with a focus on restaurant and retail development in the vicinity of the A-Train stations in Denton County. This analysis evaluates changes in retail density and type, the population surrounding stations, and municipal initiatives that shape the retail landscape of station vicinities. This was done by gathering field data, retailer listings, population data, and conducting interviews with local businesses and city planners. The findings suggest that A-train stations have had a differential impact on the surrounding landscape, depending on the existing retail landscape, the types of retailers present, and the current state of municipal infrastructure that promotes accessibility. Overall, results suggest that urban planners play a vital role in harnessing the potential of commuter rail to promote nearby retail growth.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Yarbrough, Trevor S.

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

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

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

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