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Redesigning Police Beat Zone Placement to Improve 911 Response Time: A Data Driven Approach

Description: Research suggests that using data driven solutions in policing strategies improves the quality of service provided by the police department. Unfortunately, many police departments, including the Denton Police Department, do not use their spatial data to inform beat zone placement. Analysis of the current beat zone configuration found that there are disparities in the workload, as measured by number of calls for service, between beat zones. Further, there was also a statistically significant difference between the median response times across all the five beat zones in Denton. This means that the median response time varies depending on where the call for service originates. Using readily available data, these police departments can apply methods such as UPAS to improve the quality of service provided by the department. UPAS is a deterministic algorithm that produces a given number of contiguous spatial partitions of approximately equal population size; in this case, calls for service are substituted for population. Although this algorithm was originally developed to create solutions for bio-terrorism response planning, it has been applied to the problem of creating beat zones of roughly equal workload in this research. I have shown that this algorithm results in a beat zone configuration that significantly reduces the difference in workload between the busiest and least busy beat zone (~94% reduction). Assuming an equal distribution of resources across beat zones, having approximately similar workloads should lead to fewer disparities in quality of service.
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Date: August 2018
Creator: Jones, Brince Robert

Retail District Evolution: An Exploration of Retail Structure and Diversity, a Case Study in Denton, Texas

Description: It is well established that national retail chains impact small, single location retail businesses in terms of revenue generation, retail structure, retail type diversity, and location. This study examines the retail structure and diversity of five retail districts in the City of Denton, Texas. The analysis focuses on one central business district (CBD), one traditional retail strip center (University Drive, also known as US HWY 380), one special retail district (Fry Street District), one traditional enclosed shopping mall and associated development (Golden Triangle Mall), and one power retail center (Denton Crossing). The empirical foundation for the investigation is a historical business database covering years 1997 to 2010, obtained from Info Group's Reference USA. This Reference USA database includes location, industry, and status (single versus chain location) information for each business. Retail diversity and evenness were measured for each of the five retail districts using the Simpson's Diversity Index and the Simpsons Measure of Evenness, leading to specification of the differences that exist in retail structure and diversity among the districts. Golden Triangle Mall and Denton Crossing were primarily chain location in composition while Fry Street District, the CBD, and University Drive were primarily single location in composition. Across all years, the single versus chain status of the local business communities did not substantially change within any of the districts. The Fry Street District exhibited the most change in diversity as well as the lowest overall diversity among the retail districts, followed by University Drive and Golden Triangle Mall. The CBD did not experience any major change in retail type diversity. However, all retail districts experienced major changes in retail evenness. Overall for the city, single location retail businesses accounted for the majority of all the retail businesses, however, chain locations employed more people. In total, these findings indicate that the ...
Date: August 2018
Creator: Bova, Joshua Paul

Social Vulnerability and Bio-Emergency Planning: Identifying and Locating At-Risk Individuals

Description: In 2006, the United States Congress passed the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) which mandated that all emergency preparedness planning shall address at-risk populations. Further, in 2013, the reauthorization of this act, known as PAHPRA, defined at-risk individuals as "children, older adults, pregnant women, and individuals who may need additional response assistance." This vague definition leaves emergency managers, planners, and public health officials with the difficult task of understanding what it means to be at-risk. Further, once identified, the geographic location of at-risk individuals must be obtained. This research first uses the concept of social vulnerability to enhance the understanding of what it means to be "at-risk." Then, by comparing two data disaggregation techniques, areal weighted interpolation and dasymetric mapping, I demonstrate how error of estimation is affected by different scenarios of population distribution and service area overlap. The results extend an existing framework of vulnerability by stratifying factors into quantifiable and subjective types. Also, dasymetric mapping was shown to be a superior technique of data disaggregation compared to areal weighted interpolation. However, the difference in error estimates is low, 5 percent or less in 72 percent of the test cases. Only through local collaboration with community entities can emergency planners access the appropriate data to both: 1) understand the nature of at-risk individuals in their service areas and 2) spatially target resources needed to ensure all individuals are planned for in case of a bio-emergency.
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Date: August 2018
Creator: Richardson, Brian T

Automated Tree Crown Discrimination Using Three-Dimensional Shape Signatures Derived from LiDAR Point Clouds

Description: Discrimination of different tree crowns based on their 3D shapes is essential for a wide range of forestry applications, and, due to its complexity, is a significant challenge. This study presents a modified 3D shape descriptor for the perception of different tree crown shapes in discrete-return LiDAR point clouds. The proposed methodology comprises of five main components, including definition of a local coordinate system, learning salient points, generation of simulated LiDAR point clouds with geometrical shapes, shape signature generation (from simulated LiDAR points as reference shape signature and actual LiDAR point clouds as evaluated shape signature), and finally, similarity assessment of shape signatures in order to extract the shape of a real tree. The first component represents a proposed strategy to define a local coordinate system relating to each tree to normalize 3D point clouds. In the second component, a learning approach is used to categorize all 3D point clouds into two ranks to identify interesting or salient points on each tree. The third component discusses generation of simulated LiDAR point clouds for two geometrical shapes, including a hemisphere and a half-ellipsoid. Then, the operator extracts 3D LiDAR point clouds of actual trees, either deciduous or evergreen. In the fourth component, a longitude-latitude transformation is applied to simulated and actual LiDAR point clouds to generate 3D shape signatures of tree crowns. A critical step is transformation of LiDAR points from their exact positions to their longitude and latitude positions using the longitude-latitude transformation, which is different from the geographic longitude and latitude coordinates, and labeled by their pre-assigned ranks. Then, natural neighbor interpolation converts the point maps to raster datasets. The generated shape signatures from simulated and actual LiDAR points are called reference and evaluated shape signatures, respectively. Lastly, the fifth component determines the similarity between evaluated and reference shape ...
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Date: May 2018
Creator: Sadeghinaeenifard, Fariba

Developing a Soil Moisture-Based Irrigation Scheduling Tool (SMIST) Using Web-GIS Technology

Description: Software as a service (SaaS) is a primary working pattern and a significant application model for next generation Internet application. Web GIS services are the new generation of the Software as a service that can provide the hosted spatial data and GIS functionalities to the practical customized applications. This study focused on developing a webGIS based application, Soil Moisture-Based Irrigation Scheduling Tool (SMIST), for predicting soil moisture in the next seven days using the soil moisture diagnostic equation (SMDE) and the upcoming seven precipitation forecasts made by the National Weather Service (NWS), and ultimately producing an accurate irrigation schedule based on the predicted soil moisture. The SMIST is expected to be capable of improving the irrigation efficiency to protect groundwater resources in the Texas High Plains and reducing the cost of energy for pumping groundwater for irrigation, as an essential public concern in this area. The SMIST comprised an integration of web-based programs, a Hydrometeorological model, GIS, and geodatabase. It integrates two main web systems, the soil moisture estimating web application for irrigation scheduling based on the soil moisture diagnostic equation (SMDE), and an agricultural field delineation webGIS application to prepare input data and the model parameters. The SMIST takes advantage of the latest historical and forecasted precipitation data to predict soil moisture in the user-specified agricultural field(s). In this regard, the next seven days soil moisture versus the soil moisture threshold for normal growth would be presented in the result page of the SMIST to help users to adjust irrigation rate and sequence.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Nikfal, Mohammadreza

Evaluating Sea-Level Rise Hazards on Coastal Archaeological Sites, Trinity Bay, Texas

Description: This study uses the predictive modeling program Sea-Levels Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) to evaluate sea-level rise hazards, such as erosion and inundation, on coastal archaeological sites with a vertical rise of sea level of .98 meters from 2006 to 2100. In total 177 archaeological site locations were collected and georeferenced over GIS outputs maps of wetlands, erosion presence, surface elevation, and accretion. Wetlands data can provide useful information about characteristics of the wetland classes, which make a difference in the ability for coastal archaeological sites to combat sea level rise. Additionally, the study evaluated predicted erosion of archaeological sites by presence or absence of active erosion on a cell-by-cell basis. Elevation map outputs relative to mean tide level allowed for a calculation of individual archaeological site datums to use NOAA tidal databases to identify the potential for their inundation. Accretion maps acquired from the SLAMM run determined the potential for the archaeological site locations to combat rising sea levels and potentially provide protection from wave effects. Results show that the most significant hazard predicted to affect coastal archaeological sites is inundation. Approximately 54% of the total archaeological sites are predicted to be inundated at least half the time by 2100. The hazard of erosion, meanwhile, is expected to affect 33% of all archaeological sites by the end of the century. Although difficult to predict, the study assumes that accretion will not be able to keep pace with sea-level rise. Such findings of hazards prove that SLAMM is a useful tool for predicting potential effects of sea-level rise on coastal archaeological sites. With its ability to customize and as it is complementary, it provides itself not only an economical choice but also one that is adaptable to many scenarios.
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Date: May 2018
Creator: Elliott, Patrick

Improvement of the Soil Moisture Diagnostic Equation for Estimating Root-Zone Soil Moisture

Description: Soil moisture information can be used accurately in determining the timing and amount of irrigation applied to plants. Pan and Pan et al. proposed a robust and simple daily diagnostic equation for estimating daily soil moisture. The diagnostic equation evaluates the relationship between the soil moisture loss function and the summation weighted average of precipitation. The loss function uses the sinusoidal wave function which employs day of the year (DOY) to evaluate the seasonal variation in soil moisture loss for a given year. This was incorporated into the daily diagnostic equation to estimate the daily soil moisture for a location. Solar radiation is an energy source that drives the energy and water exchanges between vegetation and the atmosphere (i.e., evapotranspiration), and thus impacts the soil moisture dry-down. In this paper, two parameters (the actual solar radiation and the clear sky solar radiation) are introduced into loss function coefficient to improve the estimation of soil moisture. After the Introduction of the solar radiation data into soil moisture loss function, a slight improvement was observed in the estimated daily soil moisture. Pan observed that generally the correlation coefficient between the estimated and the observed soil moisture is above 0.75 and the root mean square error is below 5.0 (%v/v). The introduction solar radiation data (i.e. clear sky solar radiation and actual solar) improve the correlation coefficient average for all the sites evaluated by 0.03 when the root mean square error is generally below 4.5(%v/v) for the entire root zone.
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Date: May 2018
Creator: Omotere, Olumide Olubunmi

Public Market Trade Areas: Local Goods, Farmers, and Community in the US Southwest Region, 1996-2016

Description: The number of public markets in the United States increased from more than 300 in the 1970s to more than 8,600 by 2016. This increase in markets is related to changes in food production, localism and the local food systems movement, socioeconomic changes, cultural changes, and perceptions of embeddedness. Research on the underlying conditions for the success of public markets is scant in the United States, and especially in the USDA Southwest Region. This study provides analysis of public market locations as compared with non-market locations by drive-time trade areas during a 20-year period, 1996 and 2016, to gain further insights into factors leading to their success. The results from logit regression analyses and simulations of socioeconomic, college-town status, and climate-grid classifications find an increased likelihood of public markets with population, education, college town status, and some climate-grid locations. Median income, surprisingly, has an inverse relationship with public market success. Qualitative data and a literature review point to three types of embeddedness that motivate customers to attend public markets. This study concludes that "local nontradable consumer goods" tied to place are offered at these "nontradable consumption amenities." These amenities are "third places" that promote social interaction and become important places of community, farmer support, and commerce across the Southwest Region.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Oppenheim, Vicki Ann

Seeds of Disempowerment: Bt cotton and Accumulation by Dispossession in the States of Maharashtra, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh in India

Description: In 1991, India adopted neoliberalism, a system of political economic practices that promotes private property and free trade, as its political and economic system to promote development in their country. India's neoliberal reform has created issues surrounding human development, resource accumulation, and power struggles. Eleven years later, in 2002, Bt cotton was introduced to the Indian agricultural sector. This research examines how the genetically modified organism Bt cotton is being used to commodify nature in the context of agriculture under neoliberalism. The research focuses on the dispossession of the rural farmers through the commodification of agriculture using Bt cotton. Dispossession of the rural farmers happen through the implications that arise from the commodification of nature. Through Marxist theory of primitive accumulation, this research analyzes accumulation by dispossession and how it neglects the working class and its struggle in rural India. Through this examination, the research will argue alternatives to the dispossession of the working class and the commodification of nature through Bt cotton. Dispossession, in this research, is examined both through working class, but also through the dispossession of biodiversity. Through the loss of biodiversity, the rural farmers are becoming dispossessed from a more sustainable environment. Along with these goals, the research will also incorporate themes of food security through changing landscape of agriculture due to the incorporation of Bt cotton. This research argues the contradictions that are presented through the commodification of agriculture under neoliberalism and provide a contribution to social justice literature, and our understanding of the relationship between technology and the commodification of nature.
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Date: May 2018
Creator: Hoyt, Andrew

Urban Trees as Sinks for Soot: Deposition of Atmospheric Elemental Carbon to Oak Canopies and Litterfall Flux to Soil

Description: Elemental carbon (EC), a product of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass, contributes to climate warming and poor air quality. In urban areas, diesel fuel trucks are the main source of EC emissions from mobile sources. After emission, EC is deposited to receptor surfaces via two main pathways: precipitation (wet deposition) and directly as particles (dry deposition). Urban trees may play an important role in removing EC from the atmosphere by intercepting and delivering it directly to the soil. The goal of this research was to quantify the magnitude of EC retention in leaf waxes (in-wax EC) and EC fluxes to the soil via leaf litterfall in the City of Denton, Texas. Denton is a rapidly growing urban location in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. A foliar extraction technique was used to determine EC retention in leaf waxes. Foliar samples were collected monthly, from April through July, from pairs of Quercus stellata (post oak, n=10) and Quercus virginiana (live oak, n = 10) trees. Samples were rinsed with water and chloroform in a two-step process to determine EC retained in leaf waxes. A Sunset OC/EC aerosol analyzer was utilized to analyze the EC content of extracts filtered onto quartz-fiber filters. From April through July, leaf litter was collected bi-weekly under 35 trees (20 post oak, 15 live oak), and oven dried to determine dry weight. EC retained by tree canopies was estimated by multiplying in-wax EC by canopy leaf area index, while EC flux to soil was estimated by multiplying in-wax EC by leaf litterfall mass. This study shows that through retention of EC in leaf waxes, urban tree canopies represent important short-term sinks for soot in urban areas.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Rindy, Jenna

Are Streams Protected? Outcomes of Environmental Regulation

Description: Urban areas experience the loss of natural stream channels through conversion to artificial conveyances. This process tends to target headwater and other low order streams. The purpose of this study is to determine the patterns of stream loss in Denton, Texas, and explore the regulatory structure that manages these streams. Historic and current maps and stream data are used to map Denton's streams and categorize them according to their vertical connectivity as: 1) "intact", streams that are open to the atmosphere and connect to groundwater; 2) "concrete", channelized streams open to the atmosphere but cut off from groundwater; and 3) "buried", streams disconnected from the atmosphere and groundwater. A review of federal, state, and local regulatory codes and interviews with local government officials and other stakeholders elucidates stream management in Denton. Results from these analyses reveal high rates of stream loss in the urban center with low rates overall. The federal Clean Water Act and the local Environmentally Sensitive Areas code serve as the primary protective measures for natural streams. These regulations discourage stream impacts through expensive and complex permitting requirements. However the policies allow minor impacts which may cause cumulative effects. This study aims to inform future policy-making decisions and contribute to the knowledge of the environmental regulation of streams.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Rowen, Zachary

Assessing Rainfall Interception by Urban Tree Canopies in Denton, Texas

Description: Rainfall interception is one mechanism by which tree canopies can reduce surface runoff in urban areas. The objectives of this research were to: 1) quantify rainfall interception by urban tree canopies, and 2) determine the influence of vegetation and microenvironmental factors on rainfall interception rates. In the city of Denton, Texas, 30 mature post oak (Quercus stellata) and blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica) trees were selected for study. Trees were assigned to one of three categories: clusters of trees on greenspace (CG), isolated trees on greenspace (IG), and isolated trees surrounded by pavement (IP). Throughfall (the volume of water that travels through the canopy and reaches the soil surface) collectors were placed beneath these trees and rainfall collectors were placed in nearby open areas. Throughfall and rainfall were collected daily from 19 March to 4 July. Interception was calculated as the difference between throughfall and gross rainfall. Over the study period, there were 27 days with measurable rainfall; daily rainfall ranged from 1-51 mm. Over the sampling period, rainfall interception for individual trees ranged from -10% to 49%, indicating high spatial variability in interception. Percent interception was highest for the CG treatment (22.7 ± 3.8 SE), intermediate for IG (27.4 ± 2.3 SE), and lowest for IP (9.1 ± 4.9 SE). Factors like wind exposure, wind-driven rain and overall tree health may help explain this variability. This research will contribute to our knowledge of hydrological fluxes in urban areas and the role of urban green infrastructure in stormwater runoff mitigation.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Edington, Patrick

Emergency Fire Response in Ghana: The Case of Fire Stations in Kumasi

Description: Comprehensive emergency management and response is crucial for disaster prevention and health emergencies. However, in African countries with an abundance of natural disasters and a rising surge in cardiovascular and obstetric emergencies, little research exists on emergency response. This study examines the fire emergency response in Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Ghana's second largest city. We use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools including location -allocation modeling to evaluate the existing system of fire facilities, identify gaps in service, and suggest locations for new fire stations to maximize population coverage. Our results show that fire stations within KMA are poorly distributed and large portions of the metropolis are underserved, a situation that is partly responsible for the huge losses of lives and property during fire outbreaks.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Boakye, Kwadwo Adu

The Geography of Maternal Health Indicators in Ghana

Description: Ghana is identified among the developing countries with high maternal mortality ratio in Africa. This study unpacked the Demographic and Health Survey data by examining the maternal health indicators at the district level using GIS methods. Understanding the geographic patterns of antenatal care, place of delivery, and skilled birth attendants at the small scale will help to formulate and plan for location-specific health interventions that can improve maternal health care behavior among Ghanaian women. Districts with high rates and low rates were identified. Place of residence, Gini-Coefficient, wealth status, internet access, and religious affiliation were used to explore the underlying factors associated with the observed patterns. Economic inequality was positively associated with increased use of maternal health care services. The ongoing free maternal health policy serves as a cushion effect for the economic inequality among the districts in the Northern areas. Home delivery is common among the rural districts and is more prominent mostly in the western part of Northern Region and southwest of Upper West. Educating women about the free maternal health policy remains the most viable strategy for positive maternal health outcomes and in reducing MMR in Ghana.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Iyanda, Ayodeji Emmanuel

Reconstructing Identity through Urban Community Agriculture: How Refugees Confront Displacement, Food Insecurity, and Othering through Community Farming

Description: Ethnic and religious conflict, and the deepening of capitalism have led to global diaspora at unprecedented levels. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that as of 2015, 1 in every 122 persons worldwide were either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. The U.S. currently admits the largest number of refugees worldwide. However, policies fail to reflect the multitude of elements that constitute successful resettlement. Moreover, many refugees come from farming backgrounds and are forced to migrate to a landless urban environment, where their skill sets may not be utilized and farm land is not available. I argue that existing resettlement processes are embedded in logics and practices that alienate humans from nature and from each other through competition, isolation, and placeless environments. Through an exploration in concepts of urban agriculture, place-making, identity, and otherness, and illuminating the experiences of resettled refugees involved in a community gardening project in Fort Worth, Texas, show how the urban refugee garden provides the individual a space to narrate an identity, and to resist industrial agriculture and labor outside their industry. Exploring best practices in resettlement should be a priority to governments, politicians, and communities involved in the process and highlight the reasons to advocate these types of resettlement alternatives.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Griffin, Marinda

Urban Hydraulic Rhizome: Water, Space, and the City in 20th Century North Texas

Description: During the modern era, the urbanization of water has been facilitated by various privileged discourses, which valorize major engineering interventions for the sake of continued urban growth. This research examines discourse surrounding the 2-th Century proposal and construction of a reservoir near the then-tiny farming community of Grapevine, Texas, for the benefit of urban interests. I argue that urban interests produced Grapevine space as nothing more than a container for city water, by rendering meaningless any conception of space that was not directly articulated with urban economic networks. Modern discourse collapsed Denton Creek space from a watershed and landscape into a dimensionless node in the urban space of flows. In return, rural inhabitants were encouraged to progress and to modernize their own spaces: to become urban. Whereas urban discourse entails an implicit spatial imaginary of networks, I deploy the conceptual framework of settler colonialism to show that a core-periphery relationship remains relevant, and is not reducible to a network spatial ontology.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Simon, James-Eric H

Analyzing Tuberculosis Vulnerabilities and Variables in Tarrant County

Description: Over 9 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) were reported worldwide in 2013. While the TB rate is much lower in the US, its uneven distribution and associated explanatory variables require interrogation in order to determine effective strategies for intervention and control. However, paucity of case data at fine geographic scales precludes such research. This research, using zip code level data from 837 confirmed TB cases in Tarrant County obtained from Texas Department of State Health Services, explores and attempts to explain the spatial patterns of TB and related risk markers within a framework of place vulnerability. Readily available census data is then used to characterize the spatial variations in TB risk. The resulting model will enable estimations of the geographic differences in TB case variables using this readily available census data instead of time-consuming and expensive individual data collection.
Date: December 2016
Creator: McGlone, John

Memory and Continuity Amidst Irreversible Decline in the Texas Big Empty

Description: This thesis interrogates sense of place and place attachment in the Big Empty on the north central Texas plains. The region stretches from the Red River on the north to the Colorado River basin on the south and from the Cross Timbers on the east to the Caprock escarpment on the west. Since 1930, the Big Empty has seen sustained and severe population decline such that some counties there now register less than a quarter the population they did at their peaks during the interwar years. Through in-depth field interviews, I examine sense of place and place attachment amidst apparently irreversible decline. I also describe conditions of postindustrial rurality arising from rolling reconfigurations of economic and social relations, particularly changes in scale in farming and the diminished centrality of productivist agriculture in local economies and culture, and how these conditions become legible through the study of place.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Underwood, Robert Reed

Parcel-Based Change Detection Using Multi-Temporal LiDAR Data in the City of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Description: Change detection is amongst the most effective critical examination methods used in remote sensing technology. In this research, new methods are proposed for building and vegetation change detection using only LiDAR data without using any other remotely sensed data. Two LiDAR datasets from 2009 and 2013 will be used in this research. These datasets are provided by the City of Surrey. A Parcel map which shows parcels in the study area will be also used in this research because the objective of this research is detecting changes based on parcels. Different methods are applied to detect changes in buildings and vegetation respectively. Three attributes of object –slope, building volume, and building height are derived and used in this study. Changes in buildings are not only detected but also categorized based on their attributes. In addition, vegetation change detection is performed based on parcels. The output shows parcels with a change of vegetation. Accuracy assessment is done by using measures of completeness, correctness, and quality of extracted regions. Accuracy assessments suggest that building change detection is performed with better results.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Yigit, Aykut

Western Spruce Budworm Effects on Throughfall C, N, and P Fluxes in a Central Washington Forest

Description: Western spruce budworm (Choristoneura occidentalis) outbreaks periodically disturb Western US conifer forests by defoliating canopies, which could alter the quantity and chemistry of throughfall delivered to the forest floor. Our objectives were to: i) quantify throughfall water, carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) fluxes under budworm-impacted canopies, and ii) examine the influence of herbivore intensity on flux magnitudes. In June 2015, we installed throughfall collectors in two watersheds experiencing high and background levels of herbivory. In each watershed, four plots, each with three throughfall collectors, were established (n=24) collectors), and two bulk rainfall collectors were installed in areas without canopy cover. Throughfall and rainfall were collected from late June to early November 2015. Samples were analyzed for dissolved organic carbon (DOC), ammonium (NH4-N), and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP). Over the sampling period, throughfall fluxes ranged 8.57 to 47.59 kg/ha for DOC, 0.004-0.011 kg/ha for NH4-N, and 007 - 0.29 kg/ha for SRP. Percent throughfall was slightly, but not significantly, higher in the high (48%) compared to the background watershed (42%). There were no differences in solute concentrations among the watersheds. Net throughfall fluxes, the sum of canopy uptake and leaching and dry/fog deposition, differed significantly for NH4-N by herbivory level and through time for NH4-N and DOC but not SRP. Over time, net NH4-N throughfall fluxes showed a clear transition from net uptake of NH4-N to net leaching of NH4-N in the high herbivory watershed. There was also a clearn NH4-N pulse in the high herbivory watershed after the first, but not subsequent, rainfall events. In this N-limited forest, altered throughfall N may affect soil nutrient cycling and downstream water quality.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Bailey, Jennifer Meghan

What's in Your Garden? Assessing the "Eco-friendliness" of Plant Choices of Denton, Texas Gardeners

Description: Urbanization is seen as a threat to biodiversity within urban ecosystems, which are largely reliant on humans for their composition. Two types of extremes exist in the spectrum of urban domestic gardens; on one end, the typical urban garden which is planted by landscapers at the time the house is built and is generally left unchanged, and, at the other, a "wild" landscape planted entirely with native plants which provides habitat for native fauna and pollinators. This study assesses the plant choices made by members of organized gardening groups-the Denton County Master Gardeners (DCMG), the Elm Fork Master Naturalists (EFMN), the Trinity Forks Native Plant Society (TFNPS), and Keep Denton Beautiful (KDB)-and toward which extreme these choices put these gardens on the psectrum. TFNPS and EFMN both fall closer to the wild garden extreme, with TFNPS the closest to a "wild garden." DCMG was almost directly between the two extremes, but fell closer to the typical urban garden. By looking at how these groups manage their gardens, we begin to understand the ways in which gardeners can mitigate and soften the harsh changes between wild landscapes and urban environments. Collaboration between groups could have the potential to encourage more people to use native plants which provide habitat for native fauna and pollinators if those in the typical urban garden spectrum could find in the "wild" gardens of those on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Cloutier, Andrea Nicole

The Impact of Chinese Privet (Ligustrum Sinense) on the Survival and Re-Establishment of Native Plants at the Dallas Floodway Extension

Description: Invasive woody shrubs are a problem when they displace native species and threaten habitats, especially those that harbor rare or endangered species. They not only compete with native plants, but also alter habitat and food that many organisms depend upon. Invasive plants undergo a release from their specialist predators in the nonnative range, providing them advantages over native species. Because modes and pathways of how invasive species spread are not fully understood, predicting spread and implementing restoration ecological controls remain inexact. Due to the lack of comparative studies on woody shrubs, especially invasive privets, we understand very little about conditions affecting their invasiveness. A study was conducted near Dallas, Texas to determine if privet has allelopathic properties that influences growth of native plants. Soil nutrients and other analyses were made and compared between field plots supporting privet, plots in which privet has been removed, and plots where privet has not been observed. In some field plots, natives were planted under the three previously mentioned conditions, and their survival and condition were monitored to evaluate effects of privet on their establishment and growth. It was found that Chinese privet did hinder seed germination in red mulberry, soapberry and beautyberry and root formation in beautyberry cuttings. The soil in the sites were found to be normal for bottomland forests that endured two flooding events within one year.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Barnett, Jennifer M

Looking Outward from the Village: The Contingencies of Soil Moisture on the Prehistoric Farmed Landscape near Goodman Point Pueblo

Description: Ancestral Pueblo communities of the central Mesa Verde region (CMVR) became increasingly reliant on agriculture for their subsistence needs during Basketmaker III (BMIII) through Terminal Pueblo III (TPIII) (AD 600–1300) periods. Researchers have been studying the Ancestral Pueblo people for over a century using a variety of methods to understand the relationships between climate, agriculture, population, and settlement patterns. While these methods and research have produced a well-developed cultural history of the region, studies at a smaller scale are still needed to understand the changes in farming behavior and the distribution of individual sites across the CMVR. Soil moisture is the limiting factor for crop growth in the semi-arid region of the Goodman Watershed in the CMVR. Thus, I constructed the soil moisture proxy model (SMPM) that is on a local scale and focuses on variables relevant to soil moisture – soil particle-size, soil depth, slope, and aspect. From the SMPM output, the areas of very high soil moisture are assumed to represent desirable farmland locations. I describe the relationship between very high soil moisture and site locations, then I infer the relevance of that relationship to settlement patterns and how those patterns changed over time (BMIII – TPIII). The results of the model and its application help to clarify how Ancestral Pueblo people changed as local farming communities. The results of this study indicates that farmers shifted away from use of preferred farmland during Terminal Pueblo III, which may have been caused by other cultural factors. The general outcome of this thesis is an improved understanding of human-environmental relationships on the local landscape in the CMVR.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Brown, Andrew D

Hurricane Storm Surge Sedimentation on the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, Texas: Implications for Coastal Marsh Aggradation

Description: This study uses the storm surge sediment beds deposited by Hurricanes Audrey (1957), Carla (1961), Rita (2005) and Ike (2008) to investigate spatial and temporal changes in sedimentation rates on the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Texas. Fourteen sediment cores were collected along a transect extending from 90 to 1230 meters inland from the Gulf Coast. Storm-surge-deposited sediment beds were identified by texture, organic content, carbonate content, the presence of marine microfossils, and Cesium-137 dating. The hurricane-derived sediment beds are marker horizons that facilitate assessment of marsh sedimentation rates from nearshore to inland locations as well as over decadal to annual timescales. Near the shore, on a Hurricane Ike washover fan, where hurricane-derived sedimentation has increased elevation by up to 0.68 m since 2005, there was no measurable marsh sedimentation in the period 2008-2014. Farther inland, at lower elevations, sedimentation for the period 2008-2014 averaged 0.36 cm per year. The reduction in sedimentation in the period 2008-2014 on the nearshore part of the marsh is likely due to reduced flooding in response to increased elevation from hurricane storm surge sediment deposition. These results provide valuable knowledge about the sedimentary response of coastal marshes subject to storm surge deposition and useful guidance to public policy aimed at combating the effects of sea level rise on coastal marshes along the Gulf of Mexico.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Hodge, Joshua Brian