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Comparison of Heteranthera Dubia (Jacq.) MacM.-associated Macroinvertebrates Between Georgraphical Regions in the United States

Description: Macroinvertebrates associated with the aquatic plant, water stargrass (Heteranthera dubia), were sampled from 12 waterbodies in four regions of the United States from June to August 2005. Taxa richness, evenness, and diversity were lowest in the Lower Midwest (LMW) region, and higher in Northern sites, especially the Upper Midwest (UMW), and Northeast (NE). While relative abundance varied from site to site and region to region, utilization of the plant by functional groups remained fairly constant. Collector-gatherers consistently comprised the largest portion of invertebrates sampled. The shredder/ herbivore functional group comprised an average of 17 % of total groups. Through an exhaustive literature review, it was found that shredder/ herbivores of water stargrass have not been reported in the literature. Because of this, the herbivore group was analyzed separately and consisted of 2,383 specimens representing 23 species. The most common groups were Rhopalosiphum sp., Nectopsyche spp. and chironomids. No differences were found in herbivore diversity or evenness between sampling regions, but species richness was significantly different.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Harms, Nathan Earl

Determination of Bioconcentration Potential of Selected Pharmaceuticals in Fathead Minnow, Pimephales promelas, and Channel Catfish, Ictalurus punctatus

Description: The primary objective of this work was to determine the tissue-specific bioconcentration factors (BCFs) of the selected pharmaceuticals: norethindrone (NET), ibuprofen (IBU), verapamil (VER), clozapine (CLZ) and fenofibrate (FFB) in two freshwater fishes: fathead minnow and channel catfish. BCF tests on fathead followed the standard OECD 42-day test while a 14-day abridged test design was used in catfish exposures. Additional objectives included a) comparing the measured BCFs to the US EPA's BCFWIN model predicted values, b) comparing the BCF results from the standard and reduced tests, and c) prediction of chronic risk of the pharmaceuticals in fish using the human therapeutic plasma concentrations. Each test included uptake and depuration phases to measure tissue-specific kinetic BCFs. The results indicated that all the pharmaceuticals, except IBU, have the potential for accumulation in fish. Estimated BCFs for NET, VER and FFB may not be significant in view of the current regulatory trigger level (BCF ≥ 2000); however, CLZ's BCF in the liver had approached the criterion level. Significant differences were noticed in the tissue-specific uptake levels of the pharmaceuticals with the following general trend: (liver/kidney) > (gill/brain) > (heart/muscle) > plasma. IBU uptake was highest in the plasma. When compared to the measured BCFs, predicted values for NET, IBU, VER and FFB were slightly overestimated but did not differ largely. However, the measured BCF of CLZ in the liver was approximately two-orders of magnitude higher than the predicted level. The tissue-BCFs for the two species were not widely different indicating the potential usefulness of the reduced BCF test. Comparison of fish and human plasma levels indicated that NET, CLZ and VER have the potential to cause chronic effects in fish.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Nallani, Gopinath C.

Endocannabinoid System in a Planarian Model

Description: In this study, the presence and possible function of endocannabinoid ligands in the planarian is investigated. The endocannabinoids ananadamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and entourage NAE compounds palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), stearoylethanolamide (SEA) and oleoylethanolamide (OEA) were found in Dugesia dorotocephala. Changes in SEA, PEA, and AEA levels were observed over the initial twelve hours of active regeneration. Exogenously applied AEA, 2-AG and their catabolic inhibition effected biphasic changes in locomotor velocity, analogous to those observed in murines. The genome of a close relative, Schmidtea mediterranea, courtesy of the University of Utah S. med genome database, was explored for cannabinoid receptors, none were found. A putative fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) homolog was found in Schmidtea mediterranea.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Mustonen, Katie Lynn

Functional Neural Toxicity and Endocrine Responses in Mice Following Naphthalene Exposure

Description: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a well studied and diverse class of environmental toxicants. PAHs act via the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), and studies have suggested that PAHs may elicit neurological and estrogenic effects. Doses of PAHs between 50 to 150 ppm may elicit neurotoxicity in rodent models. The present study investigated the effects of naphthalene on in vivo steroidogenesis in Swiss Webster male mice, and in vitro neural function of Balb-C/ICR mice frontal cortex neurons. These data suggest that naphthalene may not elicit steroidogenic effects at concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 25 mg/kg/day, following a 7 day subcutaneous dosing regime. In addition, naphthalene may cause functional toxicity of frontal cortex neurons at concentrations of 32 to 160 ppm naphthalene.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Colbert, Crystal

Induced Bradycardia Effects on Angiogenesis, Growth and Development in Early Development in Chicken Embryos, Gallus Domesticus

Description: Cardiac performance, angiogenesis and growth was investigated during early chicken development. Heart rate, and thus arterial pulse pressure and cardiac output, were altered with the bradycardic drug ZD7288. Heart rates at 72 h of development of control embryos and those dosed with chicken Ringer were not different at 171 bpm. Acute and chronic application of ZD7288 caused significant bradycardia. Chronic dosing of Ringer and ZD7288 changed neither eye diameter nor development rate. Chronic dosing of ZD7288 did not significantly alter CAM vessel density close to the embryo (2, 3 and 4 mm) but at farther distances (5 and 6 mm) chronic dosing with both Ringer and ZD7288 decreased vessel density by 13 - 16%. Chronic dosing with ZD7288 also reduced body mass by 20%. Thus, lowered heart rate and cardiac output had little effect on vessel density or developmental stage, but did reduce embryo growth.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Ruck, Sylvia A.

The Influence of in Vitro Gill and Liver Metabolism of Xenobiotics on Fish Bioconcentration

Description: This dissertation examines the ability of in vitro biotransformation assays to provide an indication of metabolic potential. The potential for xenobiotic compounds to bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms is expressed through the bioconcentration factor (BCF). The metabolic loss of ibuprofen, norethindrone and propranolol was measured using rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) gill and liver S9 fractions, microsomes and cell suspensions. Metabolic transformation rates (kM) were extrapolated from in vitro intrinsic clearance of parent compound (CLm) and integrated into a refined BCF model. In general, CLm of test compounds was greater in liver S9 fractions and hepatocytes. However, the influence of hepatic metabolism on kM and BCF was limited by hepatic blood flow (20-25%) compared to gill blood flow (~100%). A significant difference was noted between BCF solely based on KOW and BCF including kM. These studies indicate that the inclusion of kM in BCF models can bring predicted bioconcentration estimates closer to in vivo values. Primary cell suspensions are preferred over subcellular fractions as cell suspensions possess both phase I and phase II enzyme activity. Further study was conducted on ibuprofen biotransformation pathways. As fish do not contain the same cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2C homologs known to metabolize ibuprofen in mammals, it cannot be assumed that piscine biotransformation is similar. Metabolite analysis found 2-hydroxy-ibuprofen as the major metabolite in S9 and microsomal fractions. Additional assays involving the induction and inhibition of specific CYP isozymes support CYP1A2 as an alternative metabolic pathway.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Gomez, Cristi Frasier

Modulation of the Coelomic Fluid Protein Profile in the Earthworm, Lumbricus Terrestris, After Exposure to Copper as Copper Sulfate

Description: Proteomic techniques were used to analyze the protein profile of earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris, coelomic fluid collected by either whole body dissection method or the coelomic cavity puncture method. Data demonstrated that collection of coelomic fluid using the coelomic cavity puncture method protocol resulted in a 32% reduction, 377 +/- 4.5 vs 253+/- 19.9 (p=0.0007), in the number of individual proteins. It was determined that the coelomic cavity puncture method yielded a "cleaner" preparation, one less contaminated with extraneous proteins from intestinal tissue, gut contents, and body wall materials. This protocol was used in all later studies. The same proteomic techniques were used to evaluate the effects that exposure to Cu (1.0 μg/cm2) as CuSO4 had on the earthworm coelomic fluid profile. Comparison of protein profile from exposed earthworms demonstrated a significant reduction in the number of proteins expressed (184 ± 2.64 vs 253 ±19.9 p=0.0192) when compared to control organisms. Cu exposure also resulted in a modulation of the protein profile with treated earthworms expressing 47 new proteins that were not identified in unexposed worm coelomic fluid. Additionally, 116 proteins found in coelomic fluid collected from normal worms were absent in Cu exposed organisms. Finally, 137 proteins were conserved or found in both control and exposed organisms; however of these proteins, 24 were up-regulated, 105 were down-regulated, and 8 were unchanged as a result of Cu exposure.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Herring, Reese

Molecular systematics of Baird's pocket gopher (Geomys breviceps)

Description: Baird's pocket gopher (Geomys breviceps) is found in eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, central and western Arkansas, and western Louisiana. The cytochrome-b gene was sequenced and analyzed for 16 pocket gophers from throughout the range of the species. Similar phylogenetic trees were obtained using maximum-parsimony, maximum-likelihood, neighbor-joining, and Bayesian analyses. Two major clades were formed with northern individuals belonging to clade I and southern individuals belonging to clade II. G. b. sagittalis was paraphyletic in relation to G. b. breviceps in all analyses. Based on inconsistencies between the taxonomic classification and systematic relationships within Baird's pocket gopher, a taxonomic restructuring appears warranted.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Bodine, Deanna Martinez

Museum education: Creation, implementation, and evaluation of a web-based Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum

Description: Evaluation of museum audiences both in their physical and web-based spaces is a necessary component of museum education. For smaller museums without the personnel or knowledge to create a website and evaluate the on-line audience, using a web-based learning tool may be able to help these museums properly maintain an online site. A web-based Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum (WBEFNHM) was created during the 2008 fall semester at the University of North Texas. The site included photographs and information from specimens housed within the physical Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum. The site was available to three non-science majors' biology laboratory courses, and three science majors' biology laboratory courses during the 2009 spring and fall semesters. Student use of the WBEFNHM was tracked and found no significant difference between the amount of time science majors and non-majors spent on the site. This evaluation helps in understanding future use of an online EFNHM.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Lundeen, Melissa

Thermal Identification of Clandestine Burials: A Signature Analysis and Image Classification Approach

Description: Clandestine burials, the interred human remains of forensic interest, are generally small features located in isolated environments. Typical ground searches can be both time-consuming and dangerous. Thermal remote sensing has been recognized for some time as a possible search strategy for such burials that are in relatively open areas; however, there is a paucity of published research with respect to this application. This project involved image manipulation, the analyses of signatures for "graves" of various depths when compared to an undisturbed background, and the use of image classification techniques to tease out these features. This research demonstrates a relationship between the depth of burial disturbance and the resultant signature. Further, image classification techniques, especially object-oriented algorithms, can be successfully applied to single band thermal imagery. These findings may ultimately decrease burial search times for law enforcement and increase the likelihood of locating clandestine graves.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Servello, John A.

Thermal Stress During Pre-Incubation Induces Subsequent Developmental Plasticity in Northern Bobwhites

Description: Northern bobwhite populations have declined concurrent with global warming. The focal period of this study was the 12-d pre-incubation period, when bobwhite eggs remain in the nest without the thermal protection of the incubating parent. This study first established the storage and thermal limits of bobwhite eggs, then investigated how global warming may impact oviparous embryos and how bobwhite embryos react to acute and chronic doses of simulated drought temperatures during pre-incubation. First, the maximum storage limit of bobwhite eggs was determined by storing eggs ≤21 d and measuring hatching success and pH of egg albumen and yolk. Hatching success of stored eggs declined after 14 d, when yolk and albumen pH reached levels detrimental to embryonic development. Secondly, thermal limits were determined by exposing bobwhite eggs to hyperthermic temperatures (38-52 °C). Bobwhite embryos survived 50 °C for 1 h, 49 °C for 3 h and 46 °C for 6 h. Results indicate an adaptation to the naturally occurring temperature extremes that can occur in the bobwhite's southern range during pre-incubation. Subsequently, bobwhite eggs were exposed to either low constant (LC), low fluctuating (LF), high constant (HC), or high fluctuating (HF) temperatures during pre-incubation to determine if the nature of temperatures differentially affected development. Although eggs exposed to high heat loads (HC and HF), and low heat loads (LF and LC) had equal heating degree-hours within groups, they exhibited differential growth during pre-incubation. Oxygen consumption, hatch timing, and hatching success were also affected by the thermal regimes. Eggs in simulated drought (HF) had a 47% lower hatch rate than eggs in simulated non-drought (LF) indicating that thermal stress during pre-incubation may contribute to population declines during drought. Finally, northern bobwhite eggs were exposed to acute or chronic doses of simulated drought temperatures, which tested for critical periods of development during ...
Date: August 2010
Creator: Reyna, Kelly Shane