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Residential Grid-Connected Photovoltaics Adoption in North Central Texas: Lessons from the Solarize Plano Project

Description: Residential Grid-Connected Photovoltaics (GPV) systems hold remarkable promise in their potential to reduce energy use, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy costs to consumers, while also providing grid efficiency and demand-side management benefits to utilities. Broader adoption of customer-sited GPV also has the potential to transform the traditional model of electricity generation and delivery. Interest and activity has grown in recent years to promote GPV in north central Texas. This study employs a mixed methods design to better understand the status of residential GPV adoption in the DFW area, and those factors influencing a homeowner's decision of whether or not to install a system. Basic metrics are summarized, including installation numbers, distribution and socio-demographic information for the case study city of Plano, the DFW region, Texas, and the United States. Qualitative interview methods are used to gain an in-depth understanding of the factors influencing adoption for the Solarize Plano case study participants; to evaluate the effectiveness of the Solarize Plano program; and to identify concepts that may be regionally relevant. Recommendations are presented for additional research that may advance GPV adoption in north central Texas.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Jack, Katherine G.

The Influence of Urban Green Spaces on Declining Bumble Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

Description: Bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are adept pollinators of countless cultivated and wild flowering plants, but many species have experienced declines in recent decades. Though urban sprawl has been implicated as a driving force of such losses, urban green spaces hold the potential to serve as habitat islands for bumble bees. As human populations continue to grow and metropolitan areas become larger, the survival of many bumble bee species will hinge on the identification and implementation of appropriate conservation measures at regional and finer scales. North Texas is home to some the fastest-growing urban areas in the country, including Denton County, as well as at least two declining bumble bee species (B. pensylvanicus and B. fraternus). Using a combination of field , molevular DNA and GIS methods I evaluated the persistence of historic bumble bee species in Denton County, and investigated the genetic structure and connectivity of the populations in these spaces. Field sampling resulted in the discovery of both B. pensylvanicus and B. fraternus in Denton County's urban green spaces. While the relative abundance of B. fraternus in these spaces was significantly lower than historic levels gleaned from museum recors, that of B. pensylvanicus was significantly higher. Statistical analyses found that both bare ground and tree cover surrounding sample sites were negatively associated with numbers of bumble bee individuals and hives detected in these green spaces. Additionally, limited genetic structuring of bumble bee populations was detected, leading to the conclusion that extensive gene flow is occurring across populations in Denton County.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Beckham, Jessica Lorene

Informing Conservation Management Using Genetic Approaches: Greater Sage-grouse and Galápagos Short-eared Owls as Case Studies

Description: Small isolated populations are of particular conservation interest due to their increased extinction risk. This dissertation investigates two small wild bird populations using genetic approaches to inform their conservation. Specifically, one case study investigated a Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) population located in northwest Wyoming near Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park. Microsatellite data showed that the Jackson sage-grouse population possessed significantly reduced levels of neutral genetic diversity and was isolated from other Wyoming populations. Analysis with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and microsatellite data provided further evidence that the population's timing of isolation was relatively recent and most likely due to recent anthropogenic habitat changes. Conservation recommendations include maintaining or increasing the population's current size and reestablishing gene flow with the nearest large population. The second case study investigated the genetic distinctiveness of the Floreana island population of the Galápagos Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus galapagoensis). Mitochondrial DNA sequence data did not detect differences across nine island populations, yet microsatellite and morphometric data indicated that limited gene flow existed with the population and surrounding island populations, which appeared asymmetric in direction from Floreana to Santa Cruz with no indication of gene flow into Floreana. These results have important conservation implications and recommend that the Floreana Short-eared Owl population be held in captivity during the rodenticide application planned for an ecosystem restoration project in 2018. The population is less likely to receive immigrants from surrounding island populations if negatively effected by feeding on poisoned rodents.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Schulwitz, Sarah E

Photo-induced Toxicity of Deepwater Horizon Spill Oil to Four Native Gulf of Mexico Species

Description: The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill resulted in the accidental release of millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). Photo-induced toxicity following co-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is one mechanism by which polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from oil spills may exert toxicity. Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) are an important commercial and ecological resource in the Gulf of Mexico and their largely transparent larvae may make them sensitive to PAH photo-induced toxicity. Mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus), an important fishery resource, have positively buoyant, transparent eggs. These characteristics may result in mahi-mahi embryos being at particular risk from photo-induced toxicity. Red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) and speckled seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) are both important fishery resources in the GoM. They spawn near-shore and produce positively buoyant embryos that hatch into larvae in about 24 h. The goal of this body of work was to determine whether exposure to UV as natural sunlight enhances the toxicity of crude oil to early lifestage GoM species. Larval and embryonic organisms were exposed to several dilutions of water accommodated fractions (WAF) from several different oils collected in the field under chain of custody during the 2010 spill and two to three gradations of natural sunlight in a factorial design. Here, we report that co-exposure to natural sunlight and oil significantly reduced larval survival and embryo hatch compared to exposure to oil alone.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Alloy, Matthew Michael

Spatially Explicit Modeling of West Nile Virus Risk Using Environmental Data

Description: West Nile virus (WNV) is an emerging infectious disease that has widespread implications for public health practitioners across the world. Within a few years of its arrival in the United States the virus had spread across the North American continent. This research focuses on the development of a spatially explicit GIS-based predictive epidemiological model based on suitable environmental factors. We examined eleven commonly mapped environmental factors using both ordinary least squares regression (OLS) and geographically weighted regression (GWR). The GWR model was utilized to ascertain the impact of environmental factors on WNV risk patterns without the confounding effects of spatial non-stationarity that exist between place and health. It identifies the important underlying environmental factors related to suitable mosquito habitat conditions to make meaningful and spatially explicit predictions. Our model represents a multi-criteria decision analysis approach to create disease risk maps under data sparse situations. The best fitting model with an adjusted R2 of 0.71 revealed a strong association between WNV infection risk and a subset of environmental risk factors including road density, stream density, and land surface temperature. This research also postulates that understanding the underlying place characteristics and population composition for the occurrence of WNV infection is important for mitigating future outbreaks. While many spatial and aspatial models have attempted to predict the risk of WNV transmission, efforts to link these factors within a GIS framework are limited. One of the major challenges for such integration is the high dimensionality and large volumes typically associated with such models and data. This research uses a spatially explicit, multivariate geovisualization framework to integrate an environmental model of mosquito habitat with human risk factors derived from socio-economic and demographic variables. Our results show that such an integrated approach facilitates the exploratory analysis of complex data and supports reasoning about the underlying spatial ...
Date: December 2015
Creator: Kala, Abhishek K.

Dynamics of Stream Fish Metacommunities in Response to Drought and Re-connectivity

Description: This dissertation investigates the spatio-temporal dynamics of intermittent stream fish metacommunities in response drought-induced fragmentation and re-connectivity using both field and experimental approaches. A detailed field study was conducted in two streams and included pre-drought, drought, and post-drought hydrological periods. Fish assemblages and metacommunity structure responded strongly to changes in hydrological conditions with dramatic declines in species richness and abundance during prolonged drought. Return of stream flows resulted in a trend toward recovery but ultimately assemblages failed to fully recover. Differential mortality, dispersal, recruitment among species indicates species specific responses to hydrologic fragmentation, connectivity, and habitat refugia. Two manipulative experiments tested the effects of drought conditions on realistic fish assemblages. Fishes responded strongly to drought conditions in which deeper pools acted as refugia, harboring greater numbers of fish. Variability in assemblage structure and movement patterns among stream pools indicated species specific habitat preferences in response predation, resource competition, and desiccation. Connecting stream flows mediated the impacts of drought conditions and metacommunity dynamics in both experiments. Results from field and experimental studies indicate that stream fish metacommunities are influenced by changes in hydrological conditions and that the timing, duration, and magnitude of drought-induced fragmentation and reconnecting stream flows have important consequences metacommunity dynamics.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Driver, Lucas J.

Developing a Forest Gap Model to Be Applied to a Watershed-scaled Landscape in the Cross Timbers Ecoregion Using a Topographic Wetness Index

Description: A method was developed for extending a fine-scaled forest gap model to a watershed-scaled landscape, using the Eastern Cross Timbers ecoregion as a case study for the method. A topographic wetness index calculated from digital elevation data was used as a measure of hydrologic across the modeled landscape, and the gap model modified to have with a topographically-based hydrologic input parameter. The model was parameterized by terrain type units that were defined using combinations of USDA soil series and classes of the topographic wetness index. A number of issues regarding the sources, grid resolutions, and processing methods of the digital elevation data are addressed in this application of the topographic wetness index. Three different grid sizes, 5, 10, and 29 meter, from both LiDAR-derived and contour-derived elevation grids were used, and the grids were processed using both single-directional flow algorithm and bi-directional flow algorithm. The result of these different grids were compared and analyzed in context of their application in defining terrain types for the forest gap model. Refinements were made in the timescale of gap model’s weather model, converting it into a daily weather generator, in order to incorporate the effects of the new topographic/hydrologic input parameter. The precipitation model was converted to use a Markov model to initiate a sequence of wet and dry days for each month, and then daily precipitation amounts were determined using a gamma distribution. The output of the new precipitation model was analyzed and compared with a 100-year history of daily weather records at daily, monthly, and annual timescales. Model assumptions and requirements for biological parameters were thoroughly investigated and questioned. Often these biological parameters are based on little more than assumptions and intuition. An effort to base as many of the model’s biological parameters on measured data was made, including a new ...
Date: August 2014
Creator: Goetz, Heinrich

Modeling the Effects of Chronic Toxicity of Pharmaceutical Chemicals on the Life History Strategies of Ceriodaphnia Dubia: a Multigenerational Study

Description: Trace quantities of pharmaceuticals (including carbamazepine and sertraline) are continuously discharged into the environment, which causes concern among scientists and regulators regarding their potential long-term impacts on aquatic ecosystems. These compounds and their metabolites are continuously interacting with the orgranisms in various life stages, and may differentially influence development of embryo, larvae, juvenile, and adult stages. To fully understand the potential ecological risks of two candidate pharmaceutical chemicals (carbamazepine (CBZ) and sertraline (SERT)) exposure on survival, growth and reproduction of Ceriodaphnia dubia in three sucessive generations under static renewal toxicity test, a multigenerational approach was taken. Results indicate that SERT exposure showed higher sensitivity to chronic exposure to C. dubia growth and reproduction than CBZ exposure. The lowest concentration to affect fecundity and growth was at 50 µg L-1 SERT in the first two generations. These parameters become more sensitive during the third generation where the LOEC was 4.8 µg L-1. The effective concentrations (EC50) for the number of offspring per female, offspring body size, and dry weight were 17.2, 21.2, and 26.2 µg SERT L-1, respectively. Endpoints measured in this study demonstrate that chronic exposure of C. dubia to SERT leads to effects that occur at concentrations an order of magnitude higher than predicted environmental concentrations indicating potential transgenerationals effects. Additionally, a process-based dynamic energy budget (DEB) model is implemented to predict the simulated effects of chronic toxicity of SERT and CBZ to C. dubia individual behavior at laboratory condition. The model‘s output indicates the ecotoxicological mode of action of SERT exposure, which acts on feeding or assimilation with an effect that rapidly saturates at higher concentrations. Offspring size decreases with the toxic effects on feeding, and offspring number is thus less affected than total investment in reproduction. Consequently, CBZ affects direclty in reproduction which are captured by DEBtox ...
Date: December 2013
Creator: Lamichhane, Kiran

Population Dynamics of Zebra Mussels (Dreissena Polymorpha) in a North Texas Reservoir: Implications for Invasions in the Southern United States

Description: This dissertation has two main objectives: first, quantify the effects of environmental conditions on spatio-temporal spawning and larval dynamics of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha [Pallas 1771]) in Lake Texoma, and second, quantify the effects of environmental conditions on survival, growth, and reproduction of young of the year (YOY) juvenile zebra mussels. These biological responses directly influence population establishment success and invasive spread dynamics. Reproductive output of the zebra mussel population in Lake Texoma was significantly related to water temperature and lake elevation. Annual maximum larval (veliger) density decreased significantly indicating a population crash, which was likely caused by thermal stress and variability of lake elevation. In 2011, temperatures peaked at 34.3°C and lake elevation decreased to the lowest level recorded during the previous 18 years, which desiccated a substantial number of settled mussels in littoral zones. Estimated mean date of first spawn in Lake Texoma was observed approximately 1.5 months earlier than in Lake Erie, and peak veliger densities were observed two months earlier. Veligers were observed in the deepest oxygenated water after lake stratification. During a 69-day in situ experiment during summer in Lake Texoma, age-specific mortality of zebra mussels was generally high until temperatures decreased to approximately 28°C, which was observed after lake turnover in late summer. No study organism died after temperatures decreased to less than 26°C, which indicates individuals that survive high summer temperatures are likely to persist into autumn/winter. Shell length growth and soft tissue growth rates were related to temperature and chlorophyll-a concentration, respectively. Growth rates of study organisms were among the highest ever reported for D. polymorpha. Water temperature and body size influenced reproduction of YOY zebra mussels in Lake Texoma. Fecundity of females were positively related to temperature; however, sperm production was negatively related to temperature, which indicates males could be more ...
Date: December 2013
Creator: Churchill, Christopher J.

Quantifying Forest Vertical Structure to Determine Bird Habitat Quality in the Greenbelt Corridor, Denton, Tx

Description: This study presents the integration of light detection and range (LiDAR) and hyperspectral remote sensing to create a three-dimensional bird habitat map in the Greenbelt Corridor of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. This map permits to examine the relationship between forest stand structure, landscape heterogeneity, and bird community composition. A biannual bird census was conducted at this site during the breeding seasons of 2009 and 2010. Census data combined with the three-dimensional map suggest that local breeding bird abundance, community structure, and spatial distribution patterns are highly influenced by vertical heterogeneity of vegetation surface. For local breeding birds, vertical heterogeneity of canopy surface within stands, connectivity to adjacent forest patches, largest forest patch index, and habitat (vegetation) types proved to be the most influential factors to determine bird community assemblages. Results also highlight the critical role of secondary forests to increase functional connectivity of forest patches. Overall, three-dimensional habitat descriptions derived from integrated LiDAR and hyperspectral data serve as a powerful bird conservation tool that shows how the distribution of bird species relates to forest composition and structure at various scales.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Matsubayashi, Shiho

Optimizing Scientific and Social Attributes of Pharmaceutical Take Back Programs to Improve Public and Environmental Health

Description: Research continues to show that pharmaceutical environmental contamination has caused adverse environmental effects, with one of the most studied effects being feminization of fish exposed to pharmaceutical endocrine disruptors. Additionally, there are also public health risks associated with pharmaceuticals because in-home reserves of medications provide opportunities for accidental poisoning and intentional medication abuse. Pharmaceutical take back programs have been seen as a remedy to these concerns; however a thorough review of peer-reviewed literature and publicly available information on these programs indicates limited research has been conducted to validate these programs as a purported solution. Furthermore, there are significant data gaps on key factors relating to take back program participants. The purpose of this dissertation was therefore to address these gaps in knowledge and ultimately determine if take back programs could actually improve public and environmental health. This was accomplished by conducting social and scientific research on a take back program called Denton Drug Disposal Day (D4). Socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic characteristics of D4 participants were investigated using surveys and geographic analysis. Impacts on public health were determined by comparing medications collected at D4 events with medications reported to the North Texas Poison Center as causing adverse drug exposures in Denton County. Impacts to environmental health were determined by monitoring hydrocodone concentrations in wastewater effluent released from Denton’s wastewater treatment plant before and after D4 events. Data collected and analyzed from the D4 events and the wastewater monitoring suggests D4 events were successful in contributing to improvements in public and environmental health; however there was insufficient evidence to prove that D4 events were exclusively responsible for these improvements. An additional interesting finding was that willingness to travel to participate in D4 events was limited to a five to six mile threshold. This geographic information, combined with other findings related to socioeconomic, ...
Date: August 2012
Creator: Stoddard, Kati Ireland

A Comparison of Mercury Localization, Speciation, and Histology in Multiple Fish Species From Caddo Lake, a Fresh Water Wetland

Description: This work explores the metabolism of mercury in liver and spleen tissue of fish from a methylmercury contaminated wetland. Wild-caught bass, catfish, bowfin and gar were collected. Macrophage centers, which are both reactive and primary germinal centers in various fish tissues, were hypothesized to be the cause of demethylation of methylmercury in fish tissue. Macrophage centers are differentially expressed in fish tissue based on phylogenetic lineage, and are found primarily in the livers of preteleostean fish and in the spleen of teleostean fish. Histology of liver and spleen was examined in both control and wild-caught fish for pathology, size and number of macrophage centers, and for localization of mercury. Total mercury was estimated in the muscle tissue of all fish by direct mercury analysis. Selenium and mercury concentrations were examined in the livers of wild-caught fish by liquid introduction inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Total mercury was localized in histologic sections by laser ablation ICP-MS (LA-ICP-MS). Mercury speciation was determined for inorganic and methylmercury in liver and spleen of fish by bas chromatography-cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (GC-CVAFS). Macrophage center tissue distribution was found to be consistent with the literature, with a predominance of centers in preteleostean liver and in spleens of teleostean fish. Little evidence histopathology was found in the livers or spleens of fish examined, but differences in morphology of macrophage centers and liver tissue across species are noted. the sole sign of liver pathology noted was increased hepatic hemosiderosis in fish with high proportions of liver inorganic mercury. Inorganic mercury was found to predominate in the livers of all fish but bass. Organic mercury was found to predominate in the spleens of all fish. Mercury was found to accumulate in macrophage centers, but concentrations of mercury in this compartment were found to vary less in relation ...
Date: May 2012
Creator: Smith, James Durward

Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland

Description: To assess sustainability of privately owned rangeland, a questionnaire was used to gathered data from ranches in Cooke, Montague, Clay, Wise, Parker, and Jack counties in North Central Texas. Information evaluated included: management philosophy, economics, grazing practices, environmental condition, quality of life, and demographics. Sustainability indices were created based on economic and land health indicator variables meeting a minimum Cronbach‘s alpha coefficient (α = 0.7). Hierarchical regression analysis was used to create models explaining variance in respondents’ indices scores. Five predictors explained 36% of the variance in rangeland economic sustainability index when respondents: 1) recognized management inaction has opportunity costs affecting economic viability; 2) considered forbs a valuable source of forage for wildlife or livestock; 3) believed governmental assistance with brush control was beneficial; 4) were not absentee landowners and did not live in an urban area in Texas, and; 5) valued profit, productivity, tax issues, family issues, neighbor issues or weather issues above that of land health. Additionally, a model identified 5 predictors which explained 30% of the variance for respondents with index scores aligning with greater land health sustainability. Predictors indicated: 1) fencing cost was not an obstacle for increasing livestock distribution; 2) land rest was a component of grazing plans; 3) the Natural Resource Conservation Service was used for management information; 4) fewer acres were covered by dense brush or woodlands, and; 5) management decisions were not influenced by friends. Finally, attempts to create an index and regression analysis explaining social sustainability was abandoned, due to the likely-hood of type one errors. These findings provide a new line of evidence in assessing rangeland sustainability, supporting scientific literature concerning rangeland sustainability based on ranch level indicators. Compared to measuring parameters on small plots, the use of indices allows for studying replicated whole- ranch units using rancher insight. Use ...
Date: December 2011
Creator: Becker, Wayne

Measuring Atmospheric Ozone and Nitrogen Dioxide Concentration by Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy

Description: The main objective was to develop a procedure based on differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) to measure atmospheric total column of ozone, using the automated instrument developed at the University of North Texas (UNT) by Nebgen in 2006. This project also explored the ability of this instrument to provide measurements of atmospheric total column nitrogen dioxide. The instrument is located on top of UNT’s Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building. It employs a low cost spectrometer coupled with fiber optics, which are aimed at the sun to collect solar radiation. Measurements taken throughout the day with this instrument exhibited a large variability. The DOAS procedure derives total column ozone from the analysis of daily DOAS Langley plots. This plot relates the measured differential column to the airmass factor. The use of such plots is conditioned by the time the concentration of ozone remains constant. Observations of ozone are typically conducted throughout the day. Observations of total column ozone were conducted for 5 months. Values were derived from both DOAS and Nebgen’s procedure and compared to satellite data. Although differences observed from both procedures to satellite data were similar, the variability found in measurements was reduced from 70 Dobson units, with Nebgen’s procedure, to 4 Dobson units, with the DOAS procedure.A methodology to measure atmospheric nitrogen dioxide using DOAS was also investigated. Although a similar approach to ozone measurements could be applied, it was found that such measurements were limited by the amount of solar radiation collected by the instrument. Observations of nitrogen dioxide are typically conducted near sunrise or sunset, when solar radiation experiences most of the atmospheric absorption.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Jerez, Carlos J.

Soil and Forest Variation by Topography and Succession Stages in the Greenbelt Corridor, Floodplain of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, North Texas.

Description: The Greenbelt Corridor (GBC), located in a floodplain of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, contains patches of bottomland forest and serves as part of Lake Lewisville’s flood control backwaters. This study examines forest structure and composition in relation to topographic position and forest stage in the GBC. Thirty two plots were surveyed within various stage classes, topographic positions, and USDA soil types. Trees were identified and measured for height and DBH. Density, basal area, and importance value for each of species was calculated. Soil and vegetation were analyzed using ANOVA, Principal Component Analysis, Canonical Correlation, Canonical Correspondence Analysis and Cluster Analysis. Tests confirmed that calcium carbonate and pH show significant differences with topographic positions but not with forest stage. Potassium shows no significant difference with soil texture class. Sand shows a strong negative correlation with moisture, organic matter, organic carbon and negative correlation with calcium carbonate and potassium. Silt shows positive correlation with moisture, organic matter, organic carbon, and calcium carbonate. Clay shows strong positive correlation with moisture, organic matter and organic carbon but negative correlations with pH. Swamp privet is dominant tree types in wetland forest. Sugarberry cedar elm, green ash and American elm are widely distributed species in the study area covering low ridges, flats, and slough. In total, density is significantly different in wetland low forest and late successional stage and basal area is significantly different in early successional stage and late successional stage. Other results show that clay is negatively correlated with American elm but positively correlated with cedar elm. Organic matter and moisture shows a strong positive correlation with cedar elm. Calcium carbonate is associated with green ash and swamp privet, sand is associated with sugarberry and red mulberry, silt and pH with cedar elm and bur oak.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Rijal, Rajan

Characterization of Triclocarban, Methyl- Triclosan, and Triclosan in Water, Sediment, and Corbicula Fluminea (Müller, 1774) Using Laboratory, in Situ, and Field Assessments

Description: In the last decade emerging contaminants research has intensified in a bid to answer questions about fate, transport, and effects as these chemicals as they get released into the environment. The chemicals of interest were the antimicrobials; triclocarban (TCC) and triclosan (TCS), and a metabolite of triclosan, methyl triclosan (MTCS). This research was designed to answer the question: what is the fate of these chemicals once they are released from the waste water treatment plant into receiving streams. Three different assessment methods; field monitoring, in-situ experiments, and laboratory studies were used to answer the overall question. TCS, TCC, and MTCS levels were measured in surface water, sediment and the Asiatic clam Corbicula fluminea. Field studies were conducted using four sites at Pecan Creek, Denton TX. Levels of all three chemicals in clams were up to fives orders of magnitude the water concentrations but an order of magnitude lower than in sediment. Highest sediment levels of chemicals were measured in samples from the mouth of Pecan Creek (highest organic matter). TCC was the most and TCS was the least accumulated chemicals. In-situ and lab studies both indicated that uptake of these chemicals into the clams was very rapid and measurable within 24hours of exposure. The after clams were transferred into clean water most of the compounds were depurated within 14 days.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Edziyie, Regina E.

Reproductive and Growth Responses of the Fathead Minnow (Pimephales Promelas) and Japanese Medaka (Oryzias Latipes) to the Synthetic Progestin, Norethindrone

Description: A commonly prescribed contraceptive, the synthetic progestin norethindrone (NET) inhibits ovulation in humans. However, ecotoxicological data are lacking. Preliminary tests produced an LC50 for NET of > 1.0 mg/L (96-hour, fathead minnow (FHM) and medaka) and a NOEC of 242.0 µg/L, a LOEC of 485.0 µg/L (7-day, growth for FHM and medaka). Reproductive testing revealed a LOEC for fecundity of 24.1 ng/L (21 days, medaka). Further testing confirmed the LOEC of 24.1 ng/L while defining a NOEC of 4.7 ng/L (28 days, medaka). Effect of NET in medaka life-cycle exposure at concentrations exceeding 4.7 ng/L was evident. Few females were present in the 24.7 ng/L exposure concentration, with none in the 104.6 ng/L. Egg production was significantly reduced at concentrations exceeding 4.7 ng/L. Additionally, weight, condition factor and somatic indices were significantly different in males exposed to concentrations exceeding 4.7 ng/L. For fecundity and sexual differentiation; the NOEC was 4.7 ng/L, the LOEC 24.6 ng/L; growth and somatic indices, the NOEC was more appropriately 0.9 ng/L, with effect evident at 4.7 ng/L. Sexual differentiation of the F1 population was similar to the F0. A defining result of this test was development of exceptionally large ovaries in NET- exposed female medaka, perhaps indicative of a threshold limit for exposure in these fish. Results of FHM life-cycle testing were similar, establishing a NOEC for fecundity of 0.9 ng/L, a LOEC of 4.8 ng/L. NET's inhibitory effect on gonadal development was obvious; GSI NOEC for males, 4.8 ng/L, and histological examination confirmed the presence of intersex development at elevated concentrations. Normal physical development and growth were impaired, generally at concentrations exceeding 24.1 ng/L. At exposure concentrations exceeding 4.8 ng/L, external sexual confirmation of fish was difficult; LOEC for finspot development in females, 4.8 ng/L. Sexual determination of the 97.1 ng/L exposure group was ...
Date: May 2011
Creator: Paulos, Peter M.

Evaluation of the Developmental Effects and Bioaccumulation Potential of Triclosan and Triclocarban Using the South African Clawed Frog, Xenopus Laevis

Description: Triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC) are antimicrobials found in U.S. surface waters. This dissertation assessed the effects of TCS and TCC on early development and investigated their potential to bioaccumulate using Xenopus laevis as a model. The effects of TCS on metamorphosis were also investigated. For 0-week tadpoles, LC50 values for TCS and TCC were 0.87 mg/L and 4.22 mg/L, respectively, and both compounds caused a significant stunting of growth. For 4-week tadpoles, the LC50 values for TCS and TCC were 0.22 mg/L and 0.066 mg/L; and for 8-week tadpoles, the LC50 values were 0.46 mg/L and 0.13 mg/L. Both compounds accumulated in Xenopus. For TCS, wet weight bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for 0-, 4- and 8-week old tadpoles were 23.6x, 1350x and 143x, respectively. Lipid weight BAFs were 83.5x, 19792x and 8548x. For TCC, wet weight BAFs for 0-, 4- and 8-week old tadpoles were 23.4x, 1156x and 1310x. Lipid weight BAFs were 101x, 8639x and 20942x. For the time-to-metamorphosis study, TCS showed an increase in weight and snout-vent length in all treatments. Exposed tadpoles metamorphosed approximately 10 days sooner than control tadpoles. For the hind limb study, although there was no difference in weight, snout-vent length, or hind limb length, the highest treatment was more developed compared to the control. There were no differences in tail resorption rates between the treatments and controls. At relevant concentrations, neither TCS nor TCC were lethal to Xenopus prior to metamorphosis. Exposure to relatively high doses of both compounds resulted in stunted growth, which would most likely not be evident at lower concentrations. TCS and TCC accumulated in Xenopus, indicating that the compound has the potential to bioaccumulate through trophic levels. Although TCS may increase the rate of metamorphosis in terms of developmental stage, it did not disrupt thyroid function and metamorphosis in ...
Date: December 2010
Creator: King, Marie Kumsher

Habitat Fragmentation by Land-Use Change: One-Horned Rhinoceros in Nepal and Red-Cockaded Woodpecker in Texas

Description: This research focuses on the spatial analysis of the habitat of two vulnerable species, the one-horn rhinoceros in the grasslands of southern Nepal, and the red-cockaded woodpecker in the Piney woods of southeast Texas, in the USA. A study sites relevant for biodiversity conservation was selected in each country: Chitwan National Park in Nepal, and areas near the Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas. Land-use differs in the two study areas: the first is still undergoing agrarian development while the second is in a technological phase and undergoing urbanization processes. Satellite remote sensing images were used to derive land-cover maps by supervised classification. These maps were then processed by Geographic Information Systems methods to apply habitat models based on basic resources (food and cover) and obtain habitat suitability maps. Several landscape metrics were computed to quantify the habitat characteristics especially the composition and configuration of suitable habitat patches. Sensitivity analyses were performed as the nominal values of some of the model parameters were arbitrary. Development potential probability models were used to hypothesize changes in land-use of the second study site. Various scenarios were employed to examine the impact of development on the habitat of red-cockaded woodpecker. The method derived in this study would prove beneficial to guide management and conservation of wildlife habitats.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Thapa, Vivek

Role of N-Acylethanolamines in Plant Defense Responses: Modulation by Pathogens and Commercial Antimicrobial Stressors

Description: N-acyl ethanolamines (NAEs) are a class of lipids recently recognized as signaling molecules which are controlled, in part, by their degradation by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). On the basis of previous studies indicating increased NAE levels in a tobacco cell suspension-xylanase elicitor exposure system and the availability of FAAH mutants, overexpressor and knockout (OE and KO) genotypes in Arabidopsis thaliana, further roles of NAEs in A. thaliana plant defense was investigated. The commonly occurring urban antimicrobial contaminant triclosan (TCS) has been shown to suppress lipid signaling associated with plant defense responses. Thus, a second objective of this study was to determine if TCS exposure specifically interferes with NAE levels. No changes in steady state NAE profiles in A. thaliana-Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae and A. thaliana-flagellin (bacterial peptide, flg22) challenge systems were seen despite evidence that defense responses were activated in these systems. There was a significant drop in enoyl-ACP reductase (ENR) enzyme activity, which catalyzes the last step in the fatty acid biosynthesis pathway in plants, on exposure of the seedlings to TCS at 10 ppm for 24 h and decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production due to flg22 in long term exposure of 0.1 ppm and short term exposure of 5 ppm. However, these responses were not accompanied by significant changes in steady state NAE profiles.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Vadapalli, Vatsala

Characterizing Storm Water Runoff from Natural Gas Well Sites in Denton County, Texas

Description: In order to better understand runoff characteristics from natural gas well sites in north central Texas, the City of Denton, with assistance through an EPA funded 104b3 Water Quality Cooperative Agreement, monitored storm water runoff from local natural gas well sites. Storm water runoff was found to contain high concentrations of total suspended solids (TSS). Observed TSS concentrations resulted in sediment loading rates that are similar to those observed from typical construction activities. Petroleum hydrocarbons, in contrast, were rarely detected in runoff samples. Heavy metals were detected in concentrations similar to those observed in typical urban runoff. However, the concentrations observed at the gas well sites were higher than those measured at nearby reference sites. Storm water runoff data collected from these sites were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the water erosion prediction project (WEPP) model for predicting runoff and sediment from these sites. Runoff and sediment predictions were adequate; however, rainfall simulation experiments were used to further characterize the portion of the site where drilling and extraction operations are performed, referred to as the "pad site." These experiments were used to develop specific pad site erosion parameters for the WEPP model. Finally, version 2 of the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE 2.0) was used to evaluate the efficiency of best management practices (BMPs) for natural gas well sites. BMP efficiency ratings, which ranged from 52 to 93%, were also evaluated in the context of site management goals and implementation cost, demonstrating a practical approach for managing soil loss and understanding the importance of selecting appropriate site-specific BMPs.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Wachal, David J.

Geology as a Georegional Influence on Quercus Fagaceae Distribution in Denton and Coke Counties of Central and North Central Texas and Choctaw County of Southeastern Oklahoma, Using GIS as an Analytical Tool.

Description: This study elucidates the underlying relationships for the distribution of oak landcover on bedrock and soil orders in two counties in Texas and one in Oklahoma. ESRI's ArcGis and ArcMap was used to create surface maps for Denton and Coke Counties, Texas and Choctaw County, Oklahoma. Attribute tables generated in GIS were exported into a spreadsheet software program and frequency tables were created for every formation and soil order in the tri-county research area. The results were both a visual and numeric distribution of oaks in the transition area between the eastern hardwood forests and the Great Plains. Oak distributions are changing on this transition area of the South Central Plains. The sandy Woodbine and Antlers formations traditionally associated with the largest oak distribution are carrying oak coverage of approximately 31-32% in Choctaw and Denton Counties. The calcareous Blackland and Grand Prairies are traditionally associated with treeless grasslands, but are now carrying oak and other tree landcover up to 18.9%. Human intervention, including the establishment of artificial, political and social boundaries, urbanization, farming and fire control have altered the natural distribution of oaks and other landcover of this unique georegion.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Maxey, George F.

Organic carbon dynamics of the Neches River and its floodplain.

Description: A large river system typically derives the majority of its biomass from production within the floodplain. The Neches River in the Big Thicket National Preserve is a large blackwater river that has an extensive forested floodplain. Organic carbon was analyzed within the floodplain waters and the river (upstream and downstream of the floodplain) to determine the amount of organic carbon from the floodplain that is contributing to the nutrient dynamics in the river. Dissolved organic carbon was significantly higher at downstream river locations during high discharge. Higher organic carbon levels in the floodplain contributed to increases in organic carbon within the Neches River downstream of the floodplain when Neches River discharges exceeded 10,000 cfs. Hurricane Rita passed through the Big Thicket National Preserve in September 2005. Dissolved organic carbon concentrations recorded after Hurricane Rita in the Neches River downstream of the floodplain were significantly higher than upstream of the floodplain. Dissolved organic carbon was twice as high after the hurricane than levels prior to the hurricane, with floodplain concentrations exceeding 50 ppm C. The increase in organic carbon was likely due to nutrients leached from leaves, which were swept from the floodplain trees prior to normal abscission in the fall. A continuum of leaf breakdown rates was observed in three common floodplain species of trees: Sapium sebiferum, Acer rubrum, and Quercus laurifolia. Leaves collected from blowdown as a result of Hurricane Rita did not break down significantly faster than leaves collected prior to abscission in the fall. Processing coefficients for leaf breakdown in a continuously wet area of the floodplain were significantly higher than processing coefficients for leaf breakdown on the floodplain floor. The forested floodplain of the Neches River is the main contributor of organic carbon. When flow is greater than 10,000 csf, the floodplain transports organic carbon directly ...
Date: December 2007
Creator: Stamatis, Allison Davis

Bioaccumulation of Triclocarban, Triclosan, and Methyl-triclosan in a North Texas Wastewater Treatment Plant Receiving Stream and Effects of Triclosan on Algal Lipid Synthesis.

Description: Triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC), widely used antimicrobial agents found in numerous consumer products, are incompletely removed by wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) processing. Methyl-triclosan (M-TCS) is a more lipophilic metabolite of its parent compound, TCS. The focus of this study was to quantify bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for TCS, M-TCS, and TCC in Pecan creek, the receiving stream for the City of Denton, Texas WWTP by using field samples mostly composed of the alga Cladophora sp. and the caged snail Helisoma trivolvis as test species. Additionally, TCS effects on E. coli and Arabidopsis have been shown to reduce fatty acid biosynthesis and total lipid content by inhibiting the trans-2 enoyl- ACP reductase. The lipid synthesis pathway effects of TCS on field samples of Cladophora spp. were also investigated in this study by using [2-14C]acetate radiolabeling procedures. Preliminary results indicate high TCS concentrations are toxic to lipid biosynthesis and reduce [2-14C]acetate incorporation into total lipids. These results have led to the concern that chronic exposure of algae in receiving streams to environmentally relevant TCS concentrations might affect their nutrient value. If consumer growth is limited, trophic cascade strength may be affected and serve to limit population growth and reproduction of herbivores in these riparian systems.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Coogan, Melinda Ann