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Beta-adrenergic Blockade Via Atenolol and Its Effects on Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and Renal Morphology in the Developing Chicken Gallus Gallus Domesticus

Description: Chicken embryos were chronically exposed to the ?1- blocker atenolol during one of three stages: mesonephros (E7-E9), mesonephros-metanephros (E11-E13), or metanephros (E15-E17). Mesonephros group hearts were larger than all other groups (P < 0.01). Mesonephros and metanephros group kidneys were larger than all remaining groups (P < 0.0001). The mesonephros group nephron number was ~40% lower than control values (P = 0.002). Glomerular areas were 26% and 18% larger than the control group in the mesonephros and metanephros groups, respectively (P < 0.001). These data suggest an E7-E9 critical window of cardiovascular and renal development for atenolol. Acute atenolol exposure in E15 embryos showed an increase in mean arterial pressure with all but the highest dose. All doses significantly decreased heart rate.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Rossitto Lopez, Josie Jovita

Characterization of Arthrobacter Globiformis Aspartate Transcarbamylase Concentrations of Substrates

Description: This thesis consists of one major section with two subsections. The first subsection investigates the activity of Arthrobacter globiformis aspartate transcarbamylase's specific activity with increasing concentrations of the enzyme's substrate. Dihydroorotase (DHOase) activity was also measured with increasing concentrations of the substrate dihydroorotate. The second subsection collected data in order to classify the enzyme, resulting in a classification into the category of class A ATCases with bifunctional ATCase-DHOase complexes. The thesis provides evidence to broaden understanding of the ATCase and DHOase enzymes for members of the family that Arthrobacter belongs to.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Wright, Jackie

Chronic Hypoxia and Hyperoxia Modifies Morphology and Vegf Expression of the Lungs of the Developing Chicken (Gallus Gallus Domesticus)

Description: This study determines effects of oxygen levels on morphology and VEGF expression of developing chicken lungs following incubation in normoxia (21% O2), hypoxia (15% O2) or hyperoxia (30% O2), until developmental days 16 or 18. Lung morphology was assessed using light microscopy, while VEGF expression was determined with ELISA. In hypoxia, the proportion of parabronchial tissue and parabronchi including lumina increased from day 16 to 18 (61 to 68% and 74.2 to 82.2%, respectively). Non-parabronchial tissue was higher in hypoxia than in hyperoxia on day 16 (26 to 20%). However, by day 18, there were no differences between groups. VEGF expression was 33% higher in hypoxia than in hyperoxia on day 16 (736 vs. 492 pg/ml). On day 18, VEGF expression was 43% higher in hyperoxia than in normoxia (673 to 381pg/ml), and remained elevated by 40% in hypoxia over normoxia (631 pg/ml). VEGF may be a mechanism by which parabronchial tissue is stimulated from day 16 to 18 following exposure to chronic hypoxia.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Lewallen, Melissa Anjanette

Clustering Algorithms for Time Series Gene Expression in Microarray Data

Description: Clustering techniques are important for gene expression data analysis. However, efficient computational algorithms for clustering time-series data are still lacking. This work documents two improvements on an existing profile-based greedy algorithm for short time-series data; the first one is implementation of a scaling method on the pre-processing of the raw data to handle some extreme cases; the second improvement is modifying the strategy to generate better clusters. Simulation data and real microarray data were used to evaluate these improvements; this approach could efficiently generate more accurate clusters. A new feature-based algorithm was also developed in which steady state value; overshoot, rise time, settling time and peak time are generated by the 2nd order control system for the clustering purpose. This feature-based approach is much faster and more accurate than the existing profile-based algorithm for long time-series data.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Zhang, Guilin

Detection of Mercury Among Avian Trophic Levels at Caddo Lake and Lake Lewisville, TX

Description: Mercury (Hg) is a globally distributed toxicant that has been shown to have negative effects on birds. in the United States, avian taxa have been shown to possess high Hg concentrations in the northeast, Great Lakes and Everglades ecosystems; however, few studies have measured avian Hg concentrations in other geographic regions. Previous studies have documented high Hg concentrations in multiple organisms in east Texas, but birds were not included in these studies. the main objective of the present study was to quantify Hg concentrations in birds in differing trophic levels at Caddo Lake and Lake Lewisville, TX. Results suggest that Hg concentrations may be high enough to negatively impact some bird taxa, particularly those at high trophic levels, residing at both Caddo Lake and Lake Lewisville.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Schulwitz, Sarah Elizabeth

Ecology and Recolonization of Benthic Macroinvertebrates in a Groundwater-dependent Stream in North Central Texas During a Supra-seasonal Drought

Description: Extreme climatic events such as droughts are known to eliminate aquatic biota and alter community structure and function. Perennial headwater springs provide important drought refugia to benthic macroinvertebrates and an important source of colonists via drift or aerial adults to intermittent streams post-drought. During a supra-seasonal drought in North-central Texas summer and fall 2006, benthic macroinvertebrates from persistent groundwater-dependent macrohabitats of varying hydrological connectivity and riparian shading were studied: perennial riffles, connected pools, shaded disconnected pools, and full sun disconnected pools. Riffles were a distinct habitat with significantly higher taxa richness, proportion of lotic taxa, diversity and evenness than other macrohabitats. Macrohabitats were found to be important refugia for 106 benthic macroinvertebrates and 4 microcrustacean taxa. Throughout the extreme drought, perennially flowing habitats were refugia to 19 taxa (17.9% total taxa) not collected in disconnected pools. Shaded disconnected pools contained lotic taxa not previously known to be able to complete their lifecycles in lentic habitats, emphasizing the importance of groundwater effluent and shading. With the resumption of flow at a downstream intermittent site of Ash Creek in mid-October 2006, an annual recolonization study was conducted comparing the perennial headwaters’ benthic macroinvertebrate taxa richness, densities and community ecology with the downstream intermittent site. The headwaters supported higher mean taxa richness than the intermittent site over the duration of the study (ANOVA P < 0.001). However, the unexpected result of overall decreasing taxa richness at the perennial headwater site from August 2006 to April 2008 appears to reflect lag effects of the supra-seasonal drought combined with effects of multiple spates of 2007, which are factors confounding the point of recovery for taxa richness. Recovery of taxa richness at the intermittent site took 9 months compared to 1 to 2 months reported in other arid and semi-arid streams in the United States recovering ...
Date: May 2012
Creator: Burk, Rosemary A.

Effects of Peripheral Nerve Injury on the Cells of the Dorsal Root Ganglion: a Role for Primary Cilia

Description: Primary cilia are ubiquitous sensory organelles found on most cell types including cells of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG). The DRG are groups of peripheral neurons that relay sensory information from the periphery to the CNS. Other cell types in the DRG include a type of glial cell, the satellite glial cells (SGCs). The SGCs surround the DRG neurons and, with the neurons, form functional sensory units. Currently are no reports describing the numbers of DRG cells that have cilia. We found that 26% of the SGCs had primary cilia. The incidence of cilia on neurons varied with neuron size, a property that roughly correlates with physiological characteristics. We found that 29% of the small, 16% of the medium and 5% of the large neurons had primary cilia. Primary cilia have been shown to have a role in cell proliferation in a variety of cell types. In some of the cells the cilia mediate the proliferative effects of Sonic hedgehog (Shh). In the CNS, Shh signaling through primary cilia affects proliferation during development as well as following injury, but no studies have looked at this function in the PNS. The SGCs and neurons of the DRG undergo complex changes following peripheral nerve injury such as axotomy. One marked change seen after axotomy is SGC proliferation and at later stages, neuronal death. We found that following axotomy there is a significant increase in the percentage of SGCs with primary cilia. We also found a significant increase in the percentage of medium-sized neurons with primary cilia. In other experiments we tested the idea that Shh plays a role in SGC proliferation. When Shh signaling was blocked following axotomy we found decreased proliferation of SGCs. This is the first report of a change in the percentage of cells with cilia following injury in ...
Date: December 2012
Creator: Smith, Sarah K.

Examining the Shade/flood Tolerance Tradeoff Hypothesis in Bottomland Herbs Through Field Study and Experimentation

Description: While there is growing evidence that shade/flood tolerance tradeoffs may be important in distributions of bottomland hardwood trees and indications that they should apply to herbs, no studies have definitively explored this possibility. Four years of field data following historic flooding were supplemented with a greenhouse experiment designed to identify interactions congruent with tradeoffs. Fifteen bottomland species were grown in two levels of water availability and three levels of shade over 10 weeks. Results indicate responses of Fimbristylis vahlii and Ammannia robusta are consistent with tradeoffs. Modification of classical allometric responses to shade by substrate saturation indicates a potential mechanism for the tradeoff in A. robusta. Responses indicating potential for increased susceptibility to physical flooding disturbance are also discussed.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Sloop, Jordan

Hypoxia and the Development of Endothermic Capacity in Chickens (Gallus Gallus)

Description: Adult chickens employ endothermy – internal generation of heat that maintains a constant body temperature (Tb). Prior to hatching, chicken embryos are ectothermic - controlling Tb by external heat sources. Upon hatching, the hatchling transitions from an ectotherm to an endotherm that has been shown to be delayed by hypoxia. In this study, whole animal oxygen consumption () and liver, heart, and skeletal muscle citrate synthase activity (CSA) and were measured during this transition to endothermy in chickens incubated in normoxia and hypoxia (15% O2). The only significant differences in occurred in 48 hour old hatchlings where was lower in normoxic hatchlings. There were no differences in CS activity between age and incubation oxygen levels. Additionally, preliminary 2-D protein gels of embryo and hatchling liver show changes in the proteome upon hatching. Results suggest that hypoxia had no significant effect on CSA and a minimal effect on .
Date: August 2012
Creator: Neely, Aaron Mackallan

Investigating Realistic Scenarios of Biodiversity Loss on Ecosystem Functioning: Extirpation of Rare Species and Food Web Collapse in Tropical Floodplain Lagoons

Description: This thesis investigates the influence of nonrandom species loss on the structure and functioning of trophic floodplain lagoons. Two experiments were conducted based on different realistic scenarios of biodiversity loss using multitrophic fish assemblages derived from long-term survey data. Loss of fish diversity influenced overall ecosystem multifunctionality of these lagoons through complex multitrophic interactions throughout the aquatic food web. These results indicate that biodiversity loss from diverse multitrophic ecosystems can influence ecosystem structure and function and likely deviate from simplified food chain dynamics or patterns that emerged from single trophic level studies.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Pendleton, Richard McCall

A Socio-ecological Assessment of Watershed Ecosystem Services in Southern Patagonia

Description: This thesis utilizes a theoretical framework which links biophysical and social domains of ecosystems via ecosystem services (ES), in order to conduct a socio-ecological assessment of urban watersheds in three communities in Chilean and Argentine regions of southern Patagonia. Results from this study show that expanding urban areas may be undermining the ability of local watersheds to provide for high quality ES posing potential risks to community wellbeing. Secondly, researchers and decision makers influencing regional natural resource management share similar values to general community members but do not capture the diversity of values that exist within the broader community, and dialogue between these groups on management issues is poor. A community-based management structure is recommended for the creation of adaptive and locally relevant management strategies.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Zagarola, Jean-Paul Aguirre

Somatostatin Receptors on Neuronal Cilia: Evidence for Neuroprotection

Description: Primary cilia are essential in brain development, as mediators of sonic hedgehog signaling. However, their role in mature neurons remains elusive. One means to elucidate their function may be to investigate the function of the somatostatin type 3 receptor (SstR3), which is concentrated on the primary cilia of neurons. The inhibitory and anticonvulsant properties of somatostatin suggest that ciliary SstR3 might protect neurons against excitotoxicity, as seen in epileptic seizures. C57BL/6 wild type (wt) and SstR3 knockout mice were administered vehicle or epileptogenic agents kainic acid (KA) or pentylenetetrazole. Seizure behaviors were rated on seizure severity scales. KA-induced seizure behaviors were more severe in SstR3 mutants than in wt. Correspondingly, the mutants showed greater reactive gliosis, as indicated by increased numbers of GFAP immunoreactive (GFAP(+)) astrocyte processes. In addition, seizure severity was associated with a greater percentage of neural stem cells having an ACIII(+) cilium. Following injections of pentylenetetrazole, SstR3 mutants reached maximum seizure levels faster than wt. These results support the hypothesis that ciliary SstR3 are neuroprotective in mature neurons, and may provide a new avenue for the treatment of seizures.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Evans, Shakila K.