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

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

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

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

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

Effects on Survival, Reproduction and Growth of Ceriodaphnia dubia following Single Episodic Exposure to Copper or Cadmium

Description: Effects of episodic exposures have gained attention as the regulatory focus of the Clean Water Act has shifted away from continuous-flow effluents. Standardized laboratory toxicity tests require that exposure be held constant. However, this approach may not accurately predict organism responses in the field following episodic exposures such as those associated with rain-driven runoff events or accidental pollutant discharge. Using a modified version of the 7-day short-term chronic test recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Ceriodaphnia dubia were exposed to copper or cadmium for durations ranging from 1 minute to 24 hours. In addition, adult reproductive recovery and effects on second generation individuals was assessed following select copper exposures. Finally, cadmium exposures were compared in reconstituted hard water (RHW) and municipal treated wastewater effluent (TWE). Following exposure, organisms were transferred to clean RHW or TWE and maintained for the remainder of the test. No- and lowest observed effect concentrations (NO- and LOECs) increased logarithmically with respect to logarithmic decreases in duration regardless of metal, endpoint or water type. Effective concentrations of cadmium however, were usually higher than those of copper, especially in TWE. LOECs for C. dubia survival following 24-hour and 5-minute exposures to copper were 116 and 417 µg/L, respectively. LOECs for fecundity were 58 and 374 µg/L, respectively. Neonate production of first generation adult C. dubia appeared to recover from pulsed copper exposure upon examination of individual broods. Cumulative mean neonate production however, showed almost no signs of recovery at exposure durations ≥3 hours. Pulse exposure to copper also resulted in diminished fecundity of unexposed second generation individuals. Such effects were pronounced following parental exposure for 24 hours but lacking after parental exposures ≤3 hours. LOECs for C. dubia survival following 24-hour and 5-minute exposures to cadmium in RHW were 44 and 9000 µg/L, respectively. LOECs for ...
Date: August 2005
Creator: Turner, Philip K.

A geospatial tool for assessing potential wildland fire risk in central Texas.

Description: Wildland fires in the United States are not always confined to wilderness areas. The growth of population centers and housing developments in wilderness areas has blurred the boundaries between rural and urban. This merger of human development and natural landscape is known in the wildland fire community as the wildland urban interface or WUI, and it is within this interface that many wildland fires increasingly occur. As wildland fire intrusions in the WUI increase so too does the need for tools to assess potential impact to valuable assets contained within the interface. This study presents a methodology that combines real-time weather data, a wildland fire behavior model, satellite remote sensing and geospatial data in a geographic information system to assess potential risk to human developments and natural resources within the Austin metropolitan area and surrounding ten counties of central, Texas. The methodology uses readily available digital databases and satellite images within Texas, in combination with an industry standard fire behavior model to assist emergency and natural resource managers assess potential impacts from wildland fire. Results of the study will promote prevention of WUI fire disasters, facilitate watershed and habitat protection, and help direct efforts in post wildland fire mitigation and restoration.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Hunter, Bruce Allan

Rainfall-runoff changes due to urbanization: a comparison of different spatial resolutions for lumped surface water hydrology models using HEC-HMS.

Description: Hydrologic models were used to examine the effects of land cover change on the flow regime of a watershed located in North-Central Texas. Additionally, the effect of spatial resolution was examined by conducting the simulations using sub-watersheds of different sizes to account for the watershed. Using the Army Corps of Engineers, Hydrologic Engineering Center Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS), two different modeling methods were evaluated at the different sub-watershed resolutions for four rainfall events. Calibration results indicate using the smaller spatial resolutions improves the model results. Different scenarios for land cover change were evaluated for all resolutions using both models. As land cover change increased, the amount of flow from the watershed increased.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Redfearn, Howard Daniel

Simulation of physical and chemical processes in reservoirs: Two case studies.

Description: Managing water quality aspects requires the use of integrative tools that allow a holistic approach to this problem. Water quality models coupled to hydrodynamic models are these tools. This study presents the application of the water quality model WASP coupled to the hydrodynamic model DYNHYD for two distinct reservoirs: Lake Texoma and Tocoma Reservoir. Modeling the former included simulations of water velocities, water level, and four chemical and physical compounds: chlorides, dissolved oxygen (DO), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), and total suspended solids (TSS); and validation of the results by comparing with observed values during March - May, 1997. The latter is still under project status and the simulation was performed in a prospective way. The analysis included simulations of water velocities under current and for expected conditions, DO and BOD. Both models, DYNHYD and WASP, fitted pretty well to observed conditions for Lake Texoma and for where Tocoma Reservoir has been planned. Considering management and decision support purposes, the role of boundary and loading conditions also was tested. For Lake Texoma, controlling boundary conditions for chlorides is a determinant factor for water quality of the system. However, DO and TSS in the reservoir are governed by additional process besides the condition of the boundary. Estimated loadings for this system did not provided significant effects, even though the allocation of a load for chlorides resulted in significant changes in the trend for expected chloride concentrations at the Washita River Arm of Lake Texoma. For Tocoma Reservoir, the expected concentration of DO all over the reservoir is going to driven by boundary conditions, as well as by the management of autochthonous BOD loadings provided by vegetation decomposition. These two factors will be determinant for the resulting water quality of the future reservoir.
Date: December 2005
Creator: García Iturbe, Selma L.