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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Anatomical and Morphological Responses of Cardiospermum Halicacabum L. (Balloon Vine), to Four Levels of Water Availability

Description: C. halicacabum (Sapindaceae) is an invasive plant that is considered a nuisance species in Texas riparian environments. Little is known of the tolerance of C. halicacabum to flooding and drought; however, this information may provide insight into the characteristics that contribute to C. halicacabum purported invasiveness. C. halicacabum seedlings (n = 92) were exposed to one of four levels of water availability (flooded, saturated, intermediate and dry) over six weeks under greenhouse conditions. Plant performance was affected by water availability; however, there was no effect on survivorship. Flooded and saturated plants exhibited morphological adaptations; producing adventitious roots, hypertrophy, and aerenchyma tissue. Morphological measures, anatomical responses, and patterns of biomass allocation all indicate that C. halicacabum is able to survive periodic inundation, perform in saturation, and establish and thrive on the drier end of a moisture gradient.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Dempsey, Matthew Anthony

The Ecology and Paleobiogeography of Freshwater Mussels (Family: Unionidae) from Selected River Basins in Texas

Description: This dissertation has two overall objectives: first, to demonstrate the utility of paleozoological data for ongoing and future mussel-conservation efforts in Texas and second, to evaluate whether simple measures of habitat (e.g., water depth, velocity and particle size) are important for demonstrating the within-habitat spatial separation of mussels. Although these topics may seem disparate, both are important for increasing our understanding of unionid ecology and biogeography. Chapters 1 through 3 examine the use of paleozoological data for mussel conservation. Although these types of data are not new they have rarely been used in mussel conservation efforts within Texas. This is unfortunate because paleozoological data can provide an excellent record of the mussel fauna prior to wide-scale modern impacts and in areas where historical survey data are lacking. Chapter 4 examines whether assessments of microhabitat for mussels using simple measures of habitat (e.g., water velocity, depth and particle size) are useful. Recent studies have suggested that these measures do not explain the mussel distribution in flowing streams. If this is correct, instream flow studies using this approach need to be revised. Results of Chapter 4 indicate that mussels in the lower Brazos River basin are constrained in distribution by the availability of heterogenous substrate. Appendix A, details the first account of a living population of Truncilla macrodon, which is a candidate species for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The population was found while conducting mussel instream flow studies in the lower Brazos River basin.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Randklev, Charles R.

Retinoic acid Treatment Affects Kidney Development and Osmoregulatory System in the Developing Chicken (Gallus Gallus)

Description: Development is a dynamic process characterized by critical periods in which organ systems are sensitive to changes in the surrounding environment. In the current study, critical windows of embryonic growth and kidney development were assessed in the embryonic chicken. All‐trans retinoic acid (tRA) influences not only organogenesis and cell proliferation, but also targets metanephric kidney nephrogenesis. Embryonic chickens were given a single injection of tRA on embryonic day 8. tRA decreased embryo, kidney, and heart mass from day 16 to day 18. However, mass specific kidney and heart masses showed no differences. Whole blood, plasma, and allantoic fluid osmolality were altered in tRA treated embryos from day 16 to day 18. In addition, hematocrit, red blood cell count, and hemoglobin concentration were altered in tRA treated embryos. The results suggest that although nephrogenesis was not affected by tRA, the developing osmoregulatory system was altered in tRA treated embryos.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Alvine, Travis Douglas

Solvent Effects and Bioconcentration Patterns of Antimicrobial Compounds in Wetland Plants

Description: This study looked at effects of organic solvents dimethylsulfoxide, dimethylformamide and acetone at 0.01%, 0.05% and 0.1% concentration on germination and seedling development wetland plants. Even at 0.01% level, all solvents affected some aspect of seed germination or seedling growth. Acetone at 0.01% was least toxic. Root morphological characteristics were most sensitive compared to shoot morphological characteristics. This study also looked at bioconcentration patterns of antimicrobial compounds triclosan, triclocarban and methyl-triclosan in wetland plants exposed to Denton Municipal Waste Water Treatment Plant effluent. Bioconcentration patterns of antimicrobial compounds varied among species within groups as well as within organs of species. The highest triclocarban, triclosan and methyltriclosan concentration were in shoot of N. guadalupensis, root of N. lutea and in shoots of P. nodous respectively.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Adhikari, Sajag

Effects of CFT Legumine™ Rotenone on Macroinvertebrates in Four Drainages of Montana and New Mexico

Description: Rotenone is considered essential in the restoration of native fish populations; however, the technique is contentious and criticized, specifically concerning impacts to invertebrates. Knowledge of effects to non-target organisms is important for the management and conservation of fish populations. This thesis has two general objectives: (1) demonstrate the influence CFT Legumine™ rotenone has on benthic macroinvertebrates for restoration projects in Montana and New Mexico and (2) evaluate the immediate response by means of invertebrate drift. Chapters 2 and 4 incorporate results from four different restoration projects that examine benthic macroinvertebrate response. Results indicate treatment effects are minimal for Specimen and Cherry Creek projects in Montana. New Mexico projects, Comanche and Costilla Creek suggest a greater influence. Potassium permanganate used to neutralize rotenone, influenced communities in three of the four projects. Regardless, invertebrates in all four projects recovered one-year after treatment. Chapter 3 examines macroinvertebrate drift during rotenone treatment. Results suggest a delayed response compared to previous literature. Rotenone appears to have the greatest immediate influence on the early life stages of Ephemeroptera and Plecoptera. To reduce impacts of rotenone to invertebrates, managers should apply CFT Legumine and use the minimal dosage and duration to complete the projects goal of removing non-indigenous fish species.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Skorupski, Joseph A., Jr.

Tests of a New Model of Paclitaxel-Induced Neuropathy and the Effects of Paclitaxel on the Dorsal Root Ganglia

Description: This study examined a new model of paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain and the effects of systemic paclitaxel on the gap junction protein subunit Cx43 and potassium inwardly-rectifying channel Kir4.1 within the dorsal root ganglia. In the new neuropathic pain model, subplantar injections of paclitaxel resulted in decreased conduction velocities of A-beta fiber compound action potentials in the sciatic (5.9%) and tibial nerves (6.8%) as well as in M (10.6%) and H (10.2%) waves. By using repeated recordings it was found that following paclitaxel injection, conduction velocities in the contralateral plantar nerve increased (9.2%). Systemic injections of paclitaxel resulted in reduced Kir4.1 immunolabeling in the dorsal root ganglia compared to vehicle injections. This reduction was observed in total labeling (32.4%) as well as in areas of intense labeling (28.7%). Reductions in overall Cx43 immunolabeling (25%) and area (25%) following systemic paclitaxel injections were not statistically significant. The results of these studies suggest that subplantar injections of paclitaxel can result in reduced peripheral nerve conduction velocities. The results also show that a unilateral neuropathy can result in contralateral changes in conduction velocities. The effects of paclitaxel on reducing Kir4.1 levels suggest that neuropathic pain caused by paclitaxel may share mechanisms in common with other types of neuropathies which show similar changes in Kir4.1 levels.
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Date: August 2011
Creator: McWilliams, Steven P.

Benthic Macroinvertebrates of Temperate, Sub-Antarctic Streams: The Effects of Altitudinal Zoning and Temperature on the Phenology of Aquatic Insects Associated to the Robalo River, Navarino Island (55°S), Chile

Description: The Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, within the remote Sub-Antarctic ecoregion is a reservoir of expressions of biological and cultural diversity. Although it is considered one of 24 wilderness areas remaining in the world, it is not free from local and global threats, such as invasive species, and climate change. Field biologists and philosophers associated to the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program and the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, have worked to describe the region’s biocultural diversity, linking ecological and philosophical research into education, ecotourism, and conservation, through a methodology called field environmental philosophy (FEP), which integrates ecological sciences and environmental ethics through a 4-step cycle consisting of: 1) interdisciplinary research; 2) composition of metaphors; 3) design of field activities with an ecological and ethical orientation; and 4) implementation of in situ conservation areas. In this context, the purposes of this dissertation were to: 1) provide a comprehensive review of publications regarding the conservation status of aquatic and terrestrial insects at a global scale and with an emphasis in southern South America; 2) study the distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates through the sharp altitudinal gradient of the Róbalo River watershed; 3) describe the life histories of Gigantodax sp (Simuliidae: Diptera) and Meridialaris chiloeense (Leptophlebiidae: Ephemeroptera) in the Róbalo River and to assess the potential effects of climate change on their phenology; and 4) to apply FEP methodology in order to better understand and communicate the intrinsic and instrumental values of freshwater invertebrates in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Contador Mejías, Tamara Andrea

Life History And Secondary Production Of Cheumatopsyche Lasia Ross (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae) With Respect To A Wastewater Treatment Facility In A North Texas Urban Stream

Description: This study represents the first shift in multivoltine life history of Cheumatopsyche species from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in North America. Populations of C. lasia were examined upstream and downstream of the Denton’s Pecan Creek WWTP August 2009 through November 2010. C. lasia is multivoltine in Pecan Creek with three cohorts observed upstream of the WWTP and four possible cohorts downstream. A fourth generation was possible downstream as thermal inputs from WWTP effluent resulted in elevated water temperatures that allowed larval development to progress through the winter producing a cohort ready to emerge in spring. Production of C. lasia was 5 times greater downstream of the WWTP with secondary production estimates of 1.3 g m-2 yr-1 and 4.88- 6.51 g m-2 yr-1, respectively. Differences in abundance were due to increased habitat availability downstream of the WWTP in addition to continuous stream flow from inputs of wastewater effluent. Results also suggest that C. lasia is important for energy transfer in semiarid urban prairie streams and may serve as a potential conduit for the transfer of energy along with emergent contaminants to terrestrial ecosystems. These finding highlight the need for more quantitative accounts of population dynamics (voltinism, development rates, secondary production, and P/B) of aquatic insect species to fully understand the ecology and energy dynamics of urban systems.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Paul, Jenny Sueanna

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.

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

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

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