Alpine zooplankton are exposed to a variety of stressors in their natural environment including ultraviolet radiation. Physiological coping mechanisms such as the accumulation of photoprotective compounds provide these zooplankton protection from many of these stressors. Elevated levels of carotenoid compounds such as astaxanthin have been shown to help zooplankton survive longer when exposed to ultraviolet radiation presumably due to the strong antioxidant properties of carotenoid compounds. This antioxidant capacity is important because it may ameliorate natural and anthropogenic stressor-induced oxidative stress. While previous researchers have shown carotenoid compounds impart increased resistance to ultraviolet radiation in populations of zooplankton, little work has focused on the toxicological implications of PAH induced phototoxicity on zooplankton containing high levels of carotenoid compounds. This thesis discusses research studying the role that carotenoid compounds play in reducing PAH induced phototoxicity. By sampling different lakes at elevations ranging from 9,500' to 12,700' in the front range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, copepod populations containing different levels of carotenoid compounds were obtained. These populations were then challenged with fluoranthene and ultraviolet radiation. Results discussed include differences in survival and levels of lipid peroxidation among populations exhibiting different levels of carotenoid compounds, and the toxicological and ecological implications of these results.
Investigations of cholinergic and adrenergic tone on heart rate (fH) and mean arterial pressure (Pm) during embryonic development have been conducted on numerous avian species. While these investigations have documented that adrenergic tone, a continuous stimulation, on fH and Pm is vital to embryonic development in the birds studied to date, development of cholinergic tone on fH has been shown to vary even within species. Further, past studies have been bias to focus primarily on precocial species while altricial species remain poorly understood in this context. The goal of this investigation was to investigate the role of cholinergic and adrenergic tone on fH and Pm of an altricial species, the neotropic cormorant (P. brasilianus) to address this bias. The embryonic neotropic cormorant possesses B-and-a adrenergic tone on fH and Pm at 70% and 90% incubation while cholinergic tone on fH occurs at 90% incubation. This pattern of control is similar to that previously reported for several species of precocial birds suggesting the development of tonic cardiovascular regulation may be conserved across avian taxa.
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.
This study examined the impact of the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Teachers (RET) in engineering at University of North Texas on students after their teachers' participation in the program. Students were evaluated in terms of self-efficacy, knowledge of engineering, perceptions of engineering, and interest in engineering. A 22-item Likert pre/post survey was used for analysis, and participants included 589 students from six high schools, one middle school, and one magnet school. Paired surveys were analyzed to determine if there was a statistically significant difference in attitudes and knowledge after teachers implemented lessons from their time at the RET. Surveys were also analyzed to determine if there was a statistically significant difference in student response based on gender or student school type. Results showed no statistically significant difference in the self-efficacy of students, however there was a statistically significant difference in knowledge, perceptions, and interest in engineering. In addition, there was a statistically significant difference between genders on an isolated question, and seven out of the 22 Likert questions showed a statistically significant difference between student school types.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vitellogenin in Pimephales promelas was used to assess estrogenicity of a local municipal effluent. Vitellogenin induction in male P. promelas increased in frequency and magnitude with increased exposure duration and was greater ("=0.05) than controls after 2 and 3 weeks of exposure. The level of vitellogenesis induced by effluent exposure was high compared to similar studies. A spring season evaluation followed. Biomarkers in P. promelas were used to assess the efficacy of a treatment wetland to remove toxicity and estrogenicity in final treated wastewater effluent. Comparisons were made with an effluent dominated stream and laboratory controls. Vitellogenin, GSIs (gonado-somatic indices), HSIs (hepato-somatic indices) and secondary sexual characteristics were biomarkers used in P. promelas models to assess aqueous estrogenicity. Biological indicators used to assess general fish health included hematocrit and condition factors. The estrogenic nature of the effluent was screened, concurrent with fish exposure, with GC/MS analysis for target estrogenic compounds including: 17-b estradiol, estrone, ethynylestradiol, Bisphenol A, nonylphenolic compounds, phthalates, and DDT. Plasma vitellogenin measured in P. promelas was significantly elevated (p < 0.0001) at the inflow site of the wetland and stream sites. GSIs for these exposures were less (a=0.001) at the wetland inflow site. At wetland sites closest to the inflow, secondary sexual charateristics, tubercle numbers and fat pad thickness, were less (a=0.0001). Hematocrit and condition factors were less (a=0.001) at sites closer to the wetland inflow. Seasonal variation was examined by repeating the effluent characterization in summer. Additionally, summer testing included exposure to an effluent dilution series. Fish condition heavily influenced interpretation of the results. Pre-acclimation exposure to spawning stresses may have altered many of the biological markers measured. Results are discussed relative to fish health and pre-exposure environment. Toxicity assessed with P. promelas biomarkers was compared with Ceriodaphnia dubia and Vibrio fischeri toxicty tests on this ...
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.
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.
Triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC), widely used antimicrobial agents found in numerous consumer products, are incompletely removed by wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) processing. Methyl-triclosan (M-TCS) is a more lipophilic metabolite of its parent compound, TCS. The focus of this study was to quantify bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for TCS, M-TCS, and TCC in Pecan creek, the receiving stream for the City of Denton, Texas WWTP by using field samples mostly composed of the alga Cladophora sp. and the caged snail Helisoma trivolvis as test species. Additionally, TCS effects on E. coli and Arabidopsis have been shown to reduce fatty acid biosynthesis and total lipid content by inhibiting the trans-2 enoyl- ACP reductase. The lipid synthesis pathway effects of TCS on field samples of Cladophora spp. were also investigated in this study by using [2-14C]acetate radiolabeling procedures. Preliminary results indicate high TCS concentrations are toxic to lipid biosynthesis and reduce [2-14C]acetate incorporation into total lipids. These results have led to the concern that chronic exposure of algae in receiving streams to environmentally relevant TCS concentrations might affect their nutrient value. If consumer growth is limited, trophic cascade strength may be affected and serve to limit population growth and reproduction of herbivores in these riparian systems.
TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene) is a persistent contaminant at many military installations and poses a threat to aquatic ecosystems. Data from environmental fate and toxicity studies with TNT revealed that sediment toxicity test procedures required modification to accurately assess sediment TNT toxicity. Key modifications included aging TNT-spiked sediments 8-14 d, basing lethal dose on measured sediment concentrations of the molar sum of TNT and its main nitroaromatic (NA) transformation products (SNA), basing sublethal dose on average sediment SNA concentrations obtained from integration of sediment SNA transformation models, avoiding overlying water exchanges, and minimizing toxicity test durations. Solid phase microextraction fibers (SPMEs) were investigated as a biomimetic chemical measure of toxicity and bioavailability. Both organism and SPME concentrations provided measures of lethal dose independent of exposure scenario (TNT-spiked sediment or TNT-spiked water) for Tubifex tubifex. Among all benthic organisms tested (Chironomus tentans, Ceriodaphnia dubia, T. tubifex) and matrixes, median lethal dose (LC50) estimates based on SPME and organism concentrations ranged from 12.6 to 55.3 mmol SNA/ml polyacrylate and 83.4 to 172.3 nmol SNA/g tissue, ww, respectively. For Tubifex, LC50s (95% CI) based on SNA concentrations in sediment and SPMEs were 223 (209-238) nmol SNA/g, dw and 27.8 (26.0-29.8) mmol SNA/ml, respectively. Reproductive effects occurred at slightly lower exposures. Median effective dose (EC50) estimates (95% CI) for Tubifex cocoon production, based on sediment and SPME concentrations, were 118 (114-122) nmol SNA/g, dw and 21.8 (21.2-22.4) mmol SNA/ml, respectively. Bioconcentration experiments with Tubifex revealed that compound hydrophobicity predicted the toxicokinetics and bioconcentration of these compounds from water, however, there was a large discrepancy between the toxicokinetics of absorbed versus metabolically-generated aminodinitrotoluenes. A large portion of bioconcentrated, radiolabeled TNT transformation products could not be identified. In addition to their ability to provide matrix-independent measures of dose, SPME concentrations were more accurate indicators of bioavailable NAs than ...
Triclosan and triclocarban are antimicrobial compounds added to a variety of consumer products that are commonly detected in waste water effluent. The focus of this study was to determine whether the bioconcentration of these compounds in wetland plants and sediments exhibited species specific and site specific differences by collecting field samples from a constructed wetland in Denton, Texas. The study showed that species-specific differences in bioconcentration exist for triclosan and triclocarban. Site-specific differences in bioconcentration were observed for triclosan and triclocarban in roots tissues and sediments. These results suggest that species selection is important for optimizing the removal of triclosan and triclocarban in constructed wetlands and raises concerns about the long term exposure of wetland ecosystems to these compounds.
Altitudinal gradients in Sub-Antarctic freshwater systems present unique opportunities to study the effect of distinct environmental gradients on benthic macroinvertebrate community composition and dispersal. This study investigates patterns in biodiversity, dispersal and population genetic structure of benthic macroinvertebrate fauna across an altitudinal gradient between two watersheds on Navarino Island in southern Chile. Patterns in diversity, density, evenness and functional feeding groups were not significantly different across the altitudinal gradient in both the Windhond and Róbalo Rivers. Taxa richness in both rivers generally increased from the headwaters of the river to the mouth, and functional feeding group patterns were consistent with the predictions of the River Continuum Concept. Population genetic structure and gene flow was investigated by sampling the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene in two invertebrate species with different dispersal strategies. Hyalella simplex (Amphipoda) is an obligate aquatic species, and Meridialaris chiloeense (Ephemeroptera) is an aquatic larvae and a terrestrial winged adult. Contrasting patterns of population genetic structure were observed. Results for Hyalella simplex indicate significant differentiation in genetic structure in the Amphipod populations between watersheds and lower genetic diversity in the Róbalo River samples, which may be a result of instream dispersal barriers. Meridialaris chiloeense exhibited weak population structure but higher genetic diversity, which suggests this species is able to disperse widely as a winged adult.
The City of Denton Landfill, Permit #1590A, utilizes “Dry-Tomb” techniques for disposal and promotion of municipal solid waste stabilization, as described by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) prohibition in 40 CFR. Bioreactor research suggests re-circulating leachate increases biodegradation rates and reduces long-term monitoring from fifty years to less than ten years. Current procedures that are followed at Denton's landfill, literature review and the use of the Hydrologic Evaluation of Landfill Performance (HELP) model, suggest that a bioreactor landfill cell is worthy of further research. Re-circulating leachate and augmenting it with additional liquid will increase biodegradation and the need to design and build a landfill gas collection system to capture methane for energy recovery uses.
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.
Jackson Blue is a first magnitude spring in the karst terrane of northeast Florida. Previous studies have identified inorganic fertilizer as the source of high nitrate levels in the spring. Agricultural land use and karst vulnerability make Jackson Blue a good model for conservation concerns. This work offers an aggregation of studies relating to the springshed, providing a valuable tool for planning and conservation efforts in the region. An analysis of nitrate levels and other water quality parameters within the springshed did not reveal significantly different values between agricultural and forested land use areas. Confounding factors include: high transmissivity in the aquifer, interspersed land use parcels, and fertilizer application in forested areas due to commercial pine stand activity.
In the last decade emerging contaminants research has intensified in a bid to answer questions about fate, transport, and effects as these chemicals as they get released into the environment. The chemicals of interest were the antimicrobials; triclocarban (TCC) and triclosan (TCS), and a metabolite of triclosan, methyl triclosan (MTCS). This research was designed to answer the question: what is the fate of these chemicals once they are released from the waste water treatment plant into receiving streams. Three different assessment methods; field monitoring, in-situ experiments, and laboratory studies were used to answer the overall question. TCS, TCC, and MTCS levels were measured in surface water, sediment and the Asiatic clam Corbicula fluminea. Field studies were conducted using four sites at Pecan Creek, Denton TX. Levels of all three chemicals in clams were up to fives orders of magnitude the water concentrations but an order of magnitude lower than in sediment. Highest sediment levels of chemicals were measured in samples from the mouth of Pecan Creek (highest organic matter). TCC was the most and TCS was the least accumulated chemicals. In-situ and lab studies both indicated that uptake of these chemicals into the clams was very rapid and measurable within 24hours of exposure. The after clams were transferred into clean water most of the compounds were depurated within 14 days.
In order to better understand runoff characteristics from natural gas well sites in north central Texas, the City of Denton, with assistance through an EPA funded 104b3 Water Quality Cooperative Agreement, monitored storm water runoff from local natural gas well sites. Storm water runoff was found to contain high concentrations of total suspended solids (TSS). Observed TSS concentrations resulted in sediment loading rates that are similar to those observed from typical construction activities. Petroleum hydrocarbons, in contrast, were rarely detected in runoff samples. Heavy metals were detected in concentrations similar to those observed in typical urban runoff. However, the concentrations observed at the gas well sites were higher than those measured at nearby reference sites. Storm water runoff data collected from these sites were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the water erosion prediction project (WEPP) model for predicting runoff and sediment from these sites. Runoff and sediment predictions were adequate; however, rainfall simulation experiments were used to further characterize the portion of the site where drilling and extraction operations are performed, referred to as the "pad site." These experiments were used to develop specific pad site erosion parameters for the WEPP model. Finally, version 2 of the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE 2.0) was used to evaluate the efficiency of best management practices (BMPs) for natural gas well sites. BMP efficiency ratings, which ranged from 52 to 93%, were also evaluated in the context of site management goals and implementation cost, demonstrating a practical approach for managing soil loss and understanding the importance of selecting appropriate site-specific BMPs.
Forty-two commercially collected dumpsters from Dentons Municipal Solid Waste Stream were emptied, sorted and weighed to characterize the material types and make preliminary recycling policy recommendations. The general composition of Dentons solid waste stream was not significantly different from the composition of the nations 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.
Due to concern about diminishing landfill space, the City of Denton contracted a municipal solid waste characterization study in 1999 that would identify materials for diversion. This paper describes the results of 5 1-week waste sorting events, a scale-house analysis, a recycling participation study, a recycler profile and a similar city study. The results of the characterization studies suggest that at least 50% of each waste stream is recyclable or divertible though paper products accounted for no more than 45% by weight of any waste stream. Curbside recycling participation rate was 71% during the 6-week study period though the average weekly set-out rate was 37%. Recycling participation rates varied significantly by zip code and by home value categories but not by gender. Denton is fairly progressive in its waste management approach when compared to demographically similar cities on a 15-question assessment though recommendations for improvement have been identified.
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.
Few studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of phytoremediation of pharmaceutical compounds, although the persistent and non-acutely toxic nature of many of these compounds in today's water bodies may yield an ideal application for this practice. To quantify the potential effectiveness of plant uptake, kinetic and proportional bioconcentration factors (BCFk, and BCFp, respectively) in nanograms (ng) carbamazepine and amiodarone per gram (g) wet weight plant tissue for Lemna spp. were determined utilizing a 14-day continuous flow-through study. Samples were analyzed using isotope dilution liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (ID-LC-MS/MS) running in positive ion mode. Kinetic BCF was estimated at 0.538, while proportional BCF was estimated at 0.485. Kinetic BCF for the amiodarone study was estimated at 23.033, whereas proportional BCF was estimated at 41.340. Possible contamination of the C18 column and peristaltic pump failure may have impacted uptake results. In light of variability and current lack of research in the field, this work should be considered exploratory rather than conclusive.
Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA) is an 809-hectare property in Denton County, TX. A study of the vegetation community identified 466 species in 104 families, with 25% of the species from only two families, Asteraceae and Poaceae. The property demonstrates the characteristics of an early successional community, dominated by weedy species. Prairie communities are dominated by Johnson grass and ragweed, with climax tall grass prairie communities only in areas that have been planted with native grass seed. Forest communities are similarly in an early successional stage, dominated by the hackberry-elm-ash alliance, with small remnants of native Cross Timbers found in isolated patches. Species richness and diversity were highest in the forests and lowest in the wetlands; evenness, though not different across ecosystems, demonstrated a strong seasonal component. The species list was compared with previously reported lists for Denton County, and 256 species identified had not been previously reported for the county. A wetland restoration study was conducted to determine if there was a difference in survival and growth between potted transplants with intact root systems and bare-root transplants. Two different mesh sizes were used for protection, and the success of the different caging was evaluated. Of eight species, only four survived through the second growing season. There was no significant difference in the success of the propagule types for Sagittaria latifolia. The treatments planted with intact root systems showed significantly higher growth and reproduction than the bare-root treatments for Eleocharis quadrangulata, Heteranthera dubia, and Vallisneria americana. There was no survival recorded in the coarse mesh cages, likely due to the presence of crayfish that are able to get through the coarser mesh and feed on the transplants.
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.
This work explores the metabolism of mercury in liver and spleen tissue of fish from a methylmercury contaminated wetland. Wild-caught bass, catfish, bowfin and gar were collected. Macrophage centers, which are both reactive and primary germinal centers in various fish tissues, were hypothesized to be the cause of demethylation of methylmercury in fish tissue. Macrophage centers are differentially expressed in fish tissue based on phylogenetic lineage, and are found primarily in the livers of preteleostean fish and in the spleen of teleostean fish. Histology of liver and spleen was examined in both control and wild-caught fish for pathology, size and number of macrophage centers, and for localization of mercury. Total mercury was estimated in the muscle tissue of all fish by direct mercury analysis. Selenium and mercury concentrations were examined in the livers of wild-caught fish by liquid introduction inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Total mercury was localized in histologic sections by laser ablation ICP-MS (LA-ICP-MS). Mercury speciation was determined for inorganic and methylmercury in liver and spleen of fish by bas chromatography-cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (GC-CVAFS). Macrophage center tissue distribution was found to be consistent with the literature, with a predominance of centers in preteleostean liver and in spleens of teleostean fish. Little evidence histopathology was found in the livers or spleens of fish examined, but differences in morphology of macrophage centers and liver tissue across species are noted. the sole sign of liver pathology noted was increased hepatic hemosiderosis in fish with high proportions of liver inorganic mercury. Inorganic mercury was found to predominate in the livers of all fish but bass. Organic mercury was found to predominate in the spleens of all fish. Mercury was found to accumulate in macrophage centers, but concentrations of mercury in this compartment were found to vary less in relation ...
A prospective ecological risk assessment method was developed evaluating the cumulative probabilistic impact of chemical stressors to aquatic organisms. This method was developed in response to the need to evaluate the magnitude, duration and episodic nature of chemical stressors on aquatic communities under environmental exposure scenarios. The method generates a probabilistic expression of the percent of an ecosystem's species at risk from a designated chemical exposure scenario.
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.
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.
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.
Throughout history floods have been part of the human experience. They are recurring phenomena that form a necessary and enduring feature of all river basin and lowland coastal systems. In an average year, they benefit millions of people who depend on them. In the more developed countries, major floods can be the largest cause of economic losses from natural disasters, and are also a major cause of disaster-related deaths in the less developed countries. Flood disaster mitigation research was conducted to determine how remotely sensed data can effectively be used to produce accurate flood plain maps (FPMs), and to identify/quantify the sources of error associated with such data. Differences were analyzed between flood maps produced by an automated remote sensing analysis tailored to the available satellite remote sensing datasets (rFPM), the 100-year flooded areas "predicted" by the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, and FPMs based on DEM and hydrological data (aFPM). Landuse/landcover was also examined to determine its influence on rFPM errors. These errors were identified and the results were integrated in a GIS to minimize landuse / landcover effects. Two substantial flood events were analyzed. These events were selected because of their similar characteristics (i.e., the existence of FIRM or Q3 data; flood data which included flood peaks, rating curves, and flood profiles; and DEM and remote sensing imagery.) Automatic feature extraction was determined to be an important component for successful flood analysis. A process network, in conjunction with domain specific information, was used to map raw remotely sensed data onto a representation that is more compatible with a GIS data model. From a practical point of view, rFPM provides a way to automatically match existing data models to the type of remote sensing data available for each event under investigation. Overall, results showed how remote sensing could contribute to ...
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.
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.
A method was developed for extending a fine-scaled forest gap model to a watershed-scaled landscape, using the Eastern Cross Timbers ecoregion as a case study for the method. A topographic wetness index calculated from digital elevation data was used as a measure of hydrologic across the modeled landscape, and the gap model modified to have with a topographically-based hydrologic input parameter. The model was parameterized by terrain type units that were defined using combinations of USDA soil series and classes of the topographic wetness index. A number of issues regarding the sources, grid resolutions, and processing methods of the digital elevation data are addressed in this application of the topographic wetness index. Three different grid sizes, 5, 10, and 29 meter, from both LiDAR-derived and contour-derived elevation grids were used, and the grids were processed using both single-directional flow algorithm and bi-directional flow algorithm. The result of these different grids were compared and analyzed in context of their application in defining terrain types for the forest gap model. Refinements were made in the timescale of gap model’s weather model, converting it into a daily weather generator, in order to incorporate the effects of the new topographic/hydrologic input parameter. The precipitation model was converted to use a Markov model to initiate a sequence of wet and dry days for each month, and then daily precipitation amounts were determined using a gamma distribution. The output of the new precipitation model was analyzed and compared with a 100-year history of daily weather records at daily, monthly, and annual timescales. Model assumptions and requirements for biological parameters were thoroughly investigated and questioned. Often these biological parameters are based on little more than assumptions and intuition. An effort to base as many of the model’s biological parameters on measured data was made, including a new ...
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.
This study contributes a procedure, based on data analysis and geostatistical methods, to evaluate the distribution of chemical ratios and differentiate natural and anthropogenic contaminant sources of groundwater quality in the East Texas Basin. Four aquifers were studied, Sparta, Queen City, Carrizo and Wilcox. In this study, Carrizo- Wilcox is considered as one aquifer, and Sparta-Queen City as another. These aquifers were divided into depth categories, 0-150 feet for Sparta-Queen City and 300-600 feet and 600-900 feet for Carrizo-Wilcox in order to identify individual sources of contamination. Natural sources include aquifer mineral make up, salt domes and lignite beds. Major anthropogenic sources include lignite and salt dome mining and oil-gas production. Chemical ratios selected were Na/Cl, Ca/Cl, Mg/Cl, SO4/Cl, (Na+Cl)/TDS, SO4/Ca and (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K). Ratio distributions and their relationships were examined to evaluate physical-chemical processes occurring in the study area. Potential contaminant sources were used to divide the Basin into three areas: Area 1 to the east, Area 2 in the west and Area 3 in the center. Bivariate analysis was used to uncover differences between the areas. The waters in Area 1 are potentially impacted primarily from oil field waters. Sources present in Area 2 include lignite beds and oil field operations. Area 3 is the cap rock of salt domes that can contain gypsum and anhydrite. Based on the exploratory data analysis (Na+Cl)/TDS, (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K), and SO4/Ca ratios were chosen for geostatistical analysis. Chemical ratios that provided indications of cation exchange, salt domes and oil fields were (Na+Cl)/TDS, (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K) and SO4/Ca. In the Sparta-Queen City 150 zone the procedure did not provide a good method for differentiating between contaminant sources. However, the procedure was effective to indicate impacted ground water in the Carrizo-Wilcox 600 and 900 foot zones.
A biological monitoring tool to assess water quality using bivalve gape behavior was developed and demonstrated. The purpose of this work was to develop methodologies for screening water quality appropriate to the goals of the watershed paradigm. A model of bivalve gape behavior based on prediction of behavior using autoregressive techniques was the foundation of the bivalve biomonitoring system. Current technology was used in developing the system to provide bivalve gape state data in a continuous real-time manner. A laboratory version of the system, including data collection and analysis hardware and software, was developed for use as a toxicological assay for determination of effective concentrations of toxicant(s) or other types of stress on bivalve gape behavior. Corbicula fluminea was monitored and challenged with copper, zinc, and chlorpyrifos using the system. Effective concentrations of 176±23µg/L copper, 768±412µg/L zinc, and 68µg/L chlorpyrifos were observed using a natural water with high dissolved organic carbon concentrations. A rugged field version of the bivalve biomonitoring system was developed and deployed in two locations. The field systems were fitted with a photovoltaic array, a single board computer, and a CDPD telemetry modem for robust remote operation. Data were telemetered at a time relevant rate of once every ten minutes. One unit was deployed in Lake Lewisville, Denton County, TX in February 2000. Data were telemetered and archived at a 92% success rate. Bivalve gape data demonstrated significant behavioral deviations on average 5 times per month. A second unit was deployed in Pecan Creek, Denton, TX in June 2001. Data from this site were telemetered and archived at a 96% success rate. Over the months of June-August 2001, 16 significant behavioral deviations were observed, 63% of which were correlated with changes in physical/chemical parameters. This work demonstrated the relative sensitivity of bivalve gape as a toxicological endpoint ...
The primary focus of the study was to compare dissolved organic carbon (DOC) at baseline stream flow to DOC at a higher post-rain stream flow, with a secondary focus on comparison of DOC between sites. Comparisons were also done on suspended solids at baseline flow to those of the higher post-rain flow, as well as suspended solids between sites. Significant differences did exist between DOC sampled at baseline flow and DOC in samples taken at peak flow. The study found no difference in suspended solids among sites neither on either baseflow sampling nor on the post rain event sampling.
This dissertation investigates the spatio-temporal dynamics of intermittent stream fish metacommunities in response drought-induced fragmentation and re-connectivity using both field and experimental approaches. A detailed field study was conducted in two streams and included pre-drought, drought, and post-drought hydrological periods. Fish assemblages and metacommunity structure responded strongly to changes in hydrological conditions with dramatic declines in species richness and abundance during prolonged drought. Return of stream flows resulted in a trend toward recovery but ultimately assemblages failed to fully recover. Differential mortality, dispersal, recruitment among species indicates species specific responses to hydrologic fragmentation, connectivity, and habitat refugia. Two manipulative experiments tested the effects of drought conditions on realistic fish assemblages. Fishes responded strongly to drought conditions in which deeper pools acted as refugia, harboring greater numbers of fish. Variability in assemblage structure and movement patterns among stream pools indicated species specific habitat preferences in response predation, resource competition, and desiccation. Connecting stream flows mediated the impacts of drought conditions and metacommunity dynamics in both experiments. Results from field and experimental studies indicate that stream fish metacommunities are influenced by changes in hydrological conditions and that the timing, duration, and magnitude of drought-induced fragmentation and reconnecting stream flows have important consequences metacommunity dynamics.
This study explored the application of compost onto a small loblolly pine tree forest in northeast Texas. Its purpose was to determine if the application of various amounts of compost would provide for accelerated rates of growth for the trees. Soil parameters were also monitored. A total of 270 trees were planted and studied in a northeast Texas forest ecosystem. Compost rates of 5, 25, and 50 tons per acre with either soil or compost backfill were utilized and compared to a control without compost. Nonparametric and parametric ANOVA and Chi-Square tests were utilized. The results indicated that greater application rates retained greater moisture and higher pH levels in the soil. Compost applications also yielded a greater survival rate as well as larger tree height and diameter when compared to the control. The 25 ton/acre application backfilled in native soil achieved the greatest average in height and diameter when compared to the averages for the control plot. Greater growth differences for the 25S application can be attributed to additional nutrients coupled with a stable pH consistent with native soil acidity.
Body size varies according to nutritional availability, which is of ecological and evolutionary relevance. The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that differences in adult body size are realized by increasing juvenile growth rate for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Harvest records are used to construct growth rate estimates by empirical nonlinear curve fitting. Results are compared to those of previous models that include additional parameters. The rate of growth increases during the study period. Models that estimate multiple parameters may not work with harvest data in which estimates of these parameters are prone to error, which renders estimates from complex models too variable to detect inter-annual changes in growth rate that this simpler model captures
The University of North Texas Stream Research Facility (UNTSRF) was designed to examine contaminant impacts on effluent-dominated stream ecosystems. Stream mesocosms, fed municipal effluent from the City of Denton, TX, Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant (PCWRP), were treated with 0, 15 or 140 µg/L cadmium for a 10-day study in August 2000. Laboratory toxicity test and stream macroinvertebrate responses indicated that cadmium bioavailability was reduced by constituents of effluent-dominated streams. The Biotic Ligand Model (BLM) for Cd was used to predict a 48 hour Cd EC50 for Ceriodaphnia dubia of 280 µg/L in these effluent-dominated streams. This value is higher that an EC50 of 38.3 µg/L Cd and a 7-day reproduction effect level of 3.3 µg/L Cd generated for C. dubia in reconstituted laboratory hard water. These results support use of a cadmium BLM for establishing site-specific acute water quality criteria in effluent-dominated streams. Although not affected by 15 µg/L treatments, organisms accumulated Cd in 15 µg/L treated streams. Hence, over longer exposure periods, Cd accumulation may increase and a no effect level may be lower than the observed 10-day no effect level of 15 µg/L. A toxicity identification evaluation procedure was utilized with in vitro and in vivo bioassays to identify estrogenic compounds in PCWRP effluent, previously identified to seasonally induce vitellogenin (VTG) in male fathead minnows. Steroids, nonylphenol ethoxylate metabolites, and other unidentified compounds were identified as causative effluent estrogens. These findings suggest that in vivo VTG bioassays should be used to confirm in vitro Yeast Estrogen Screening assay activity when effluents are fractionated or screened for estrogenicity. A subsequent 90-day cadmium study was initiated to assess long-term effluent and cadmium effects on fish endocrine function. Juvenile fathead minnows were placed in UNTSRF pool sections of replicate streams treated with 0, 5, 20 or 80 µg/L Cd. Male ...
Municipalities protect human health and environmental resources from impacts of urban natural gas drilling through setback distances; the regulation of distances between well sites and residences, freshwater wells, and other protected uses. Setback distances have increased over time, having the potential to alter the amount and geographical distribution of drillable land within a municipality, thereby having implications for future land use planning and increasing the potential for future incompatible land uses. This study geographically applies a range of setback distances to protected uses and freshwater wells in the city limits of Denton, Texas to investigate the effect on the amount of land remaining for future gas well development and production. Denton lies on the edge of a productive region of the Barnett Shale geological formation, coinciding with a large concentration of drillable land in the southwestern region of the study area. This region will have the greatest potential for impacts to future municipal development and land use planning as a result of future gas well development and higher setback standards. Given the relatively high acreage of drillable land in industrially zoned subcategory IC-G and the concern regarding gas well drilling in more populated areas, future drilling in IC-G, specifically in IC-G land cover classes mowed/grazed/agriculture and herbaceous, would have the least impact on residential uses and tree cover, as well as decreasing the potential for future incompatible land uses.
To assess sustainability of privately owned rangeland, a questionnaire was used to gathered data from ranches in Cooke, Montague, Clay, Wise, Parker, and Jack counties in North Central Texas. Information evaluated included: management philosophy, economics, grazing practices, environmental condition, quality of life, and demographics. Sustainability indices were created based on economic and land health indicator variables meeting a minimum Cronbach‘s alpha coefficient (α = 0.7). Hierarchical regression analysis was used to create models explaining variance in respondents’ indices scores. Five predictors explained 36% of the variance in rangeland economic sustainability index when respondents: 1) recognized management inaction has opportunity costs affecting economic viability; 2) considered forbs a valuable source of forage for wildlife or livestock; 3) believed governmental assistance with brush control was beneficial; 4) were not absentee landowners and did not live in an urban area in Texas, and; 5) valued profit, productivity, tax issues, family issues, neighbor issues or weather issues above that of land health. Additionally, a model identified 5 predictors which explained 30% of the variance for respondents with index scores aligning with greater land health sustainability. Predictors indicated: 1) fencing cost was not an obstacle for increasing livestock distribution; 2) land rest was a component of grazing plans; 3) the Natural Resource Conservation Service was used for management information; 4) fewer acres were covered by dense brush or woodlands, and; 5) management decisions were not influenced by friends. Finally, attempts to create an index and regression analysis explaining social sustainability was abandoned, due to the likely-hood of type one errors. These findings provide a new line of evidence in assessing rangeland sustainability, supporting scientific literature concerning rangeland sustainability based on ranch level indicators. Compared to measuring parameters on small plots, the use of indices allows for studying replicated whole- ranch units using rancher insight. Use ...
This thesis investigates how air pollution, both natural and anthropogenic, affects changes in the proximal small intestine and ileum microbiota profile, as well as intestinal barrier integrity, histological changes, and inflammation. APO-E KO mice on a high fat diet were randomly selected to be exposed by whole body inhalation to either wood smoke (WS) or mixed vehicular exhaust (MVE), with filtered air (FA) acting as the control. Intestinal integrity and histology were assessed by observing expression of well- known structural components tight junction proteins (TJPs), matrix metallopeptidase-9 (MMP-9), and gel-forming mucin (MUC2), as well known inflammatory related factors: TNF-α, IL-1β, and toll-like receptor (TLR)-4. Bacterial profiling was done using DNA analysis of microbiota within the ileum, utilizing 16S metagenomics sequencing (Illumina miSeq) technique. Overall results of this experiment suggest that air pollution, both anthropogenic and natural, cause a breach in the intestinal barrier with an increase in inflammatory factors and a decrease in beneficial bacteria. This evidence suggests the possibility of air pollution being a potential causative agent of intestinal disease as well as a possible contributing mechanism for induction of systemic inflammation.
Nanoparticles may affect secondary pollutants such as copper. Layer Double Hydroxides (LDH) are synthetically produced nanoparticles that adsorb copper via cation exchange. Pretreatment of copper test solutions with LDH nanoparticles followed by filtration removal of LDH nanoparticles demonstrated the smallest LDH aggregates removed the most copper toxicity. This was due to increased surface area for cation exchange relative to larger particle aggregates. Co-exposure tests of copper chloride and clay were run to determine if smaller clay particles increased copper uptake by D. magna. Coexposure treatments had lower LC50 values compared to the filtration tests, likely as a result of additive toxicity. LDH nanoclays do reduce copper toxicity in Daphnia magna and may serve as a remediation tool.
Multiple dimensions of biodiversity within and across producer and consumer guilds in the food web affect an ecosystem’s functionality and stability. Tropical and subtropical aquatic ecosystems, which are extremely diverse, have received much less attention than terrestrial ecosystems in regards to the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning. We conducted a field experiment that tested for effects of macrophyte functional diversity on diversity and stability of associated fish assemblages in floodplain lakes of the Upper Paraná River floodplain, Brazil. Three levels of macrophyte functional diversity were maintained through time in five floodplain lakes and response variables included various components of fish taxonomic and functional diversity and stability. Components of functional diversity of fish assemblages were quantified using a suite of ecomorphological traits that relate to foraging and habitat use. Response variables primarily distinguished macrophyte treatments from the control. Macrophyte treatments had, on average, double the number of species and total abundance than the control treatment, but only limited effects on stability. The high diversity treatment was essentially nested within the low diversity for assemblage structure and had similar or even slightly lower levels of species richness and abundance in most cases. Gymnotiformes and young-of-year were diverse and relatively abundant in macrophyte treatments contributing to the large differences in diversity between macrophyte and control treatments. Higher fish diversity in structured habitats compared to more homogenous habitats is likely associated with increased ecomorphological diversity to exploit heterogeneous microhabitats and resources provided by the macrophytes.
Since their emergence in the early 1990s, neonicotinoid use has increased exponentially to make them the world's most prevalent insecticides. Although there is considerable research concerning the lethality of neonicotinoids, their sub-lethal and developmental effects are still being explored, especially with regards to non-mammalian species. The goal of this research was to investigate the effects of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid on the morphological and physiological development of northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus). Bobwhite eggs (n = 650) were injected with imidacloprid concentrations of 0 (sham), 10, 50, 100 and 150 grams per kilogram of egg mass, which was administered at day 0 (pre-incubation), 3, 6, 9, or 12 of growth. Embryos were dissected on day 19 when they were weighed, staged, and examined for any overt structural deformities. Embryonic heart, liver, lungs and kidneys were also weighed and preserved for future use. Treated embryos exhibited increased frequency of severely deformed beaks and legs, as well as larger hearts and smaller lungs at the higher dosing concentrations. Some impacts are more pronounced in specific dosing periods, implying that there may be critical windows of development when embryos are highly susceptible to neonicotinoid exposure. This investigation suggests that imidacloprid could play a significant role in chick survival and declining quail populations in treated regions of the country.
This research is designed to test how sublethal exposure to copper affects tadpole predator-escape behavior and how quickly tadpoles recover. After exposure, tadpoles were separated. Escape behavior was recorded for two-thirds of exposed tadpoles while one-third of the exposed population was measured weekly to determine growth and recovery. Control tadpoles were consumed within 15 minutes whereas those exposed to higher concentrations were consumed at a slower rate, which does not support the hypotheses. Although the rate of predation was lower, tadpoles exposed to higher Cu concentrations were on average, 1.47 cm in total body length. Those exposed to 0.93 mg/L averaged 0.86 cm. After being placed into clean water, treatment tadpoles recovered after 20 days.
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