Altitudinal gradients in Sub-Antarctic freshwater systems present unique opportunities to study the effect of distinct environmental gradients on benthic macroinvertebrate community composition and dispersal. This study investigates patterns in biodiversity, dispersal and population genetic structure of benthic macroinvertebrate fauna across an altitudinal gradient between two watersheds on Navarino Island in southern Chile. Patterns in diversity, density, evenness and functional feeding groups were not significantly different across the altitudinal gradient in both the Windhond and Róbalo Rivers. Taxa richness in both rivers generally increased from the headwaters of the river to the mouth, and functional feeding group patterns were consistent with the predictions of the River Continuum Concept. Population genetic structure and gene flow was investigated by sampling the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene in two invertebrate species with different dispersal strategies. Hyalella simplex (Amphipoda) is an obligate aquatic species, and Meridialaris chiloeense (Ephemeroptera) is an aquatic larvae and a terrestrial winged adult. Contrasting patterns of population genetic structure were observed. Results for Hyalella simplex indicate significant differentiation in genetic structure in the Amphipod populations between watersheds and lower genetic diversity in the Róbalo River samples, which may be a result of instream dispersal barriers. Meridialaris chiloeense exhibited weak population structure but higher genetic diversity, which suggests this species is able to disperse widely as a winged adult.
Since their emergence in the early 1990s, neonicotinoid use has increased exponentially to make them the world's most prevalent insecticides. Although there is considerable research concerning the lethality of neonicotinoids, their sub-lethal and developmental effects are still being explored, especially with regards to non-mammalian species. The goal of this research was to investigate the effects of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid on the morphological and physiological development of northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus). Bobwhite eggs (n = 650) were injected with imidacloprid concentrations of 0 (sham), 10, 50, 100 and 150 grams per kilogram of egg mass, which was administered at day 0 (pre-incubation), 3, 6, 9, or 12 of growth. Embryos were dissected on day 19 when they were weighed, staged, and examined for any overt structural deformities. Embryonic heart, liver, lungs and kidneys were also weighed and preserved for future use. Treated embryos exhibited increased frequency of severely deformed beaks and legs, as well as larger hearts and smaller lungs at the higher dosing concentrations. Some impacts are more pronounced in specific dosing periods, implying that there may be critical windows of development when embryos are highly susceptible to neonicotinoid exposure. This investigation suggests that imidacloprid could play a significant role in chick survival and declining quail populations in treated regions of the country.
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.
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.
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.
Multiple dimensions of biodiversity within and across producer and consumer guilds in the food web affect an ecosystem’s functionality and stability. Tropical and subtropical aquatic ecosystems, which are extremely diverse, have received much less attention than terrestrial ecosystems in regards to the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning. We conducted a field experiment that tested for effects of macrophyte functional diversity on diversity and stability of associated fish assemblages in floodplain lakes of the Upper Paraná River floodplain, Brazil. Three levels of macrophyte functional diversity were maintained through time in five floodplain lakes and response variables included various components of fish taxonomic and functional diversity and stability. Components of functional diversity of fish assemblages were quantified using a suite of ecomorphological traits that relate to foraging and habitat use. Response variables primarily distinguished macrophyte treatments from the control. Macrophyte treatments had, on average, double the number of species and total abundance than the control treatment, but only limited effects on stability. The high diversity treatment was essentially nested within the low diversity for assemblage structure and had similar or even slightly lower levels of species richness and abundance in most cases. Gymnotiformes and young-of-year were diverse and relatively abundant in macrophyte treatments contributing to the large differences in diversity between macrophyte and control treatments. Higher fish diversity in structured habitats compared to more homogenous habitats is likely associated with increased ecomorphological diversity to exploit heterogeneous microhabitats and resources provided by the macrophytes.
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.
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 ...
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.
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill resulted in a large release of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) into the Gulf of Mexico. PAH can interact with ultraviolet radiation (UV) resulting in increased toxicity, particularly to early lifestage organisms. The goal of this research was to determine the sensitivity of fiddler crab larvae (Uca longisignalis) to photo-induced toxicity following exposure to Deepwater Horizon spill oil in support of the DWH Natural Resource Damage Assessment. Five replicate dishes each containing 20 larvae, were exposed to one of three UV treatments (10%, 50%, and 100% ambient natural sunlight) and one of five dilutions of water accommodated fractions of two naturally weathered source oils. A dose dependent effect of PAH and UV on larval mortality was observed. Mortality was markedly higher in PAH treatments that included co-exposure to more intense UV light. PAH treatments under low intensity sunlight had relatively high survival. These data demonstrate the importance of considering combined effects of non-chemical (i.e. UV exposure) and chemical stressors and the potential for photo-induced effects after exposure to PAH following the Deepwater Horizon spill.
This study examined the impact of the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Teachers (RET) in engineering at University of North Texas on students after their teachers' participation in the program. Students were evaluated in terms of self-efficacy, knowledge of engineering, perceptions of engineering, and interest in engineering. A 22-item Likert pre/post survey was used for analysis, and participants included 589 students from six high schools, one middle school, and one magnet school. Paired surveys were analyzed to determine if there was a statistically significant difference in attitudes and knowledge after teachers implemented lessons from their time at the RET. Surveys were also analyzed to determine if there was a statistically significant difference in student response based on gender or student school type. Results showed no statistically significant difference in the self-efficacy of students, however there was a statistically significant difference in knowledge, perceptions, and interest in engineering. In addition, there was a statistically significant difference between genders on an isolated question, and seven out of the 22 Likert questions showed a statistically significant difference between student school types.
This research investigated the impact of invertebrates to four species of native aquatic macrophytes: V. americana, P. nodosus, P. illinoensis, and N. mexicana. Two treatments were utilized on each plant species, an insecticide treatment to remove most invertebrates and a non-treated control. Ten herbivore taxa were collected during the duration of the study including; Synclita, Paraponyx, Donacia, Rhopalosiphum, and Hydrellia. Macrophyte biomass differences between treatments were not measured for V. americana or N. mexicana. The biomasses of P. nodosus and P. illinoensis in non-treated areas were reduced by 40% and 63% respectively. This indicated that herbivory, once thought to be insignificant to aquatic macrophytes, can cause substantial reductions in biomass.
This thesis investigates how air pollution, both natural and anthropogenic, affects changes in the proximal small intestine and ileum microbiota profile, as well as intestinal barrier integrity, histological changes, and inflammation. APO-E KO mice on a high fat diet were randomly selected to be exposed by whole body inhalation to either wood smoke (WS) or mixed vehicular exhaust (MVE), with filtered air (FA) acting as the control. Intestinal integrity and histology were assessed by observing expression of well- known structural components tight junction proteins (TJPs), matrix metallopeptidase-9 (MMP-9), and gel-forming mucin (MUC2), as well known inflammatory related factors: TNF-α, IL-1β, and toll-like receptor (TLR)-4. Bacterial profiling was done using DNA analysis of microbiota within the ileum, utilizing 16S metagenomics sequencing (Illumina miSeq) technique. Overall results of this experiment suggest that air pollution, both anthropogenic and natural, cause a breach in the intestinal barrier with an increase in inflammatory factors and a decrease in beneficial bacteria. This evidence suggests the possibility of air pollution being a potential causative agent of intestinal disease as well as a possible contributing mechanism for induction of systemic inflammation.
Investigations of cholinergic and adrenergic tone on heart rate (fH) and mean arterial pressure (Pm) during embryonic development have been conducted on numerous avian species. While these investigations have documented that adrenergic tone, a continuous stimulation, on fH and Pm is vital to embryonic development in the birds studied to date, development of cholinergic tone on fH has been shown to vary even within species. Further, past studies have been bias to focus primarily on precocial species while altricial species remain poorly understood in this context. The goal of this investigation was to investigate the role of cholinergic and adrenergic tone on fH and Pm of an altricial species, the neotropic cormorant (P. brasilianus) to address this bias. The embryonic neotropic cormorant possesses B-and-a adrenergic tone on fH and Pm at 70% and 90% incubation while cholinergic tone on fH occurs at 90% incubation. This pattern of control is similar to that previously reported for several species of precocial birds suggesting the development of tonic cardiovascular regulation may be conserved across avian taxa.
Limitations from reduced light and increasing water depth on Nelumbo lutea seedlings were determined in tank experiments. Survival was high in all tested light levels. Total biomass increased significantly with increasing light. Biomass allocation shifted significantly to root production between 3 and 6 weeks in the 10 and 24% levels. Survival decreased with increasing planting depth, and biomass of survivors reduced significantly between 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 m depths. Nelumbo lutea and Myriophyllum spicatum populations were monitored for one season in a 0.7 ha pond to track changes in species dominance. Myriophyllum spicatum dominated early, and N. lutea dominated from July through October, suppressing M. spicatum at all depths. Competitive interactions between N. lutea and M. spicatum were investigated for two seasons in a container experiment situated within a pond. Where established, N. lutea dominated in the presence of M. spicatum. However, N. lutea could not be established in depths greater than 1 meter.
The spatial and temporal distribution of Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE) and BTEX (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylenes) compounds were assessed in a multipurpose reservoir, Lake Lewisville, Texas between February 1999 and February 2000. Concentrations of MTBE ranged from 0.0 - 16.7 mg/L. Levels of MTBE in the lake were related to watercraft. BTEX concentrations were never detected above 2.0 mg/L during the sampling period. Finished drinking water from Denton and the Upper Trinity Regional Water District (UTRWD) Treatment Plants were also tested for MTBE and BTEX. MTBE and BTEX were not detected in UTRWD water samples. Denton's finished water samples never exceeded 2.2 mg/L for MTBE and BTEX was not detected except for one replicate of 1.1 mg/L toluene.
The purpose of this study was to use the Global Water Stormwater Sampler SS201 to characterize the urban runoff in Pecan Creek. Location of the samplers was influenced by land use and ease of installation. Determination of the constituents for analysis was modeled after those used in the NPDES permit for seven cities within the Dallas/Ft.Worth metroplex. Some metals, notably cadmium and arsenic, exceeded the U.S. EPA's MCL's. Statistical analysis revealed first flush samples to be significantly more concentrated than composite samples. Minimum discharge loadings were found to be significantly lower than maximum discharge loadings. Additionally there were significant differences of specific constituents between station locations and storm events.
Vitellogenin in Pimephales promelas was used to assess estrogenicity of a local municipal effluent. Vitellogenin induction in male P. promelas increased in frequency and magnitude with increased exposure duration and was greater ("=0.05) than controls after 2 and 3 weeks of exposure. The level of vitellogenesis induced by effluent exposure was high compared to similar studies. A spring season evaluation followed. Biomarkers in P. promelas were used to assess the efficacy of a treatment wetland to remove toxicity and estrogenicity in final treated wastewater effluent. Comparisons were made with an effluent dominated stream and laboratory controls. Vitellogenin, GSIs (gonado-somatic indices), HSIs (hepato-somatic indices) and secondary sexual characteristics were biomarkers used in P. promelas models to assess aqueous estrogenicity. Biological indicators used to assess general fish health included hematocrit and condition factors. The estrogenic nature of the effluent was screened, concurrent with fish exposure, with GC/MS analysis for target estrogenic compounds including: 17-b estradiol, estrone, ethynylestradiol, Bisphenol A, nonylphenolic compounds, phthalates, and DDT. Plasma vitellogenin measured in P. promelas was significantly elevated (p < 0.0001) at the inflow site of the wetland and stream sites. GSIs for these exposures were less (a=0.001) at the wetland inflow site. At wetland sites closest to the inflow, secondary sexual charateristics, tubercle numbers and fat pad thickness, were less (a=0.0001). Hematocrit and condition factors were less (a=0.001) at sites closer to the wetland inflow. Seasonal variation was examined by repeating the effluent characterization in summer. Additionally, summer testing included exposure to an effluent dilution series. Fish condition heavily influenced interpretation of the results. Pre-acclimation exposure to spawning stresses may have altered many of the biological markers measured. Results are discussed relative to fish health and pre-exposure environment. Toxicity assessed with P. promelas biomarkers was compared with Ceriodaphnia dubia and Vibrio fischeri toxicty tests on this ...
Coelomocyte migration responses, both random and chemotatic, were examined in the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris. Coelomocyte random migration patterns towards non-stimulatory, non-chemotatic solutions were described. Migration responses to immunostimulatory agents lipopolysaccharides (LPS), N-formly-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP), sheep erythrocytes, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Aeromonas hydrophila, Eisenia fetida and Rhabditis pellio were characterized. Chemotaxis was reported to LPS, FMLP, sheep erythrocytes, S. cerivesae and E. fetida. Bio-indicator potential of chemotaxis is discussed relative to variability in migration responses.
This study explored the application of compost onto a small loblolly pine tree forest in northeast Texas. Its purpose was to determine if the application of various amounts of compost would provide for accelerated rates of growth for the trees. Soil parameters were also monitored. A total of 270 trees were planted and studied in a northeast Texas forest ecosystem. Compost rates of 5, 25, and 50 tons per acre with either soil or compost backfill were utilized and compared to a control without compost. Nonparametric and parametric ANOVA and Chi-Square tests were utilized. The results indicated that greater application rates retained greater moisture and higher pH levels in the soil. Compost applications also yielded a greater survival rate as well as larger tree height and diameter when compared to the control. The 25 ton/acre application backfilled in native soil achieved the greatest average in height and diameter when compared to the averages for the control plot. Greater growth differences for the 25S application can be attributed to additional nutrients coupled with a stable pH consistent with native soil acidity.
This thesis examines existing curricula at colleges and universities about sustainability and uses results to develop an introductory post secondary course curriculum. The proposed course is organized around three major elements - - science, philosophy, and economics - - all integral to understanding sustainability. Materials needed to teach the proposed 3-semester hour course including syllabus, teaching modules, transparencies, handouts, and exams were developed. Suggestions on how to teach a one-semester hour course on sustainability and a workshop on sustainability are also presented. The following research and curriculum development was a project established and funded by the Texas Energy Office, Renewable Resources and Sustainability Program.
This study focused on the effectiveness of integrating traditional plant community analyses with landscape ecological analyses based on remotely sensed data. A temporal analysis of plant community diversity was conducted for major plant communities of the Ray Roberts Lake area using transect monitoring data collected between 1987 and 1997. Landscape analyses were performed with FRAGSTATS*ARC using classified SPOT satellite imagery for 1987 and 1997. Although the methodology developed in this work was exploratory, it was found that characterizing the dynamics of major plant communities in the study area produced a more effective and insightful analysis of Ray Roberts Lake area landscape dynamics.
Forty-two commercially collected dumpsters from Dentons Municipal Solid Waste Stream were emptied, sorted and weighed to characterize the material types and make preliminary recycling policy recommendations. The general composition of Dentons solid waste stream was not significantly different from the composition of the nations solid waste stream. Fifty-eight percent of the observed waste stream was recyclable. Paper made up the largest portion of recyclable materials and the "grocery" source category had more paper than any of the other five categories. Based on these findings, an incrementally aggressive approach is recommended to reduce certain types of wastes observed in the waste stream. This would include a Pay-As-You-Throw Program followed by an Intermediate Processing Center that can be converted to a Materials Recovery Facility.
Throughout history floods have been part of the human experience. They are recurring phenomena that form a necessary and enduring feature of all river basin and lowland coastal systems. In an average year, they benefit millions of people who depend on them. In the more developed countries, major floods can be the largest cause of economic losses from natural disasters, and are also a major cause of disaster-related deaths in the less developed countries. Flood disaster mitigation research was conducted to determine how remotely sensed data can effectively be used to produce accurate flood plain maps (FPMs), and to identify/quantify the sources of error associated with such data. Differences were analyzed between flood maps produced by an automated remote sensing analysis tailored to the available satellite remote sensing datasets (rFPM), the 100-year flooded areas "predicted" by the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, and FPMs based on DEM and hydrological data (aFPM). Landuse/landcover was also examined to determine its influence on rFPM errors. These errors were identified and the results were integrated in a GIS to minimize landuse / landcover effects. Two substantial flood events were analyzed. These events were selected because of their similar characteristics (i.e., the existence of FIRM or Q3 data; flood data which included flood peaks, rating curves, and flood profiles; and DEM and remote sensing imagery.) Automatic feature extraction was determined to be an important component for successful flood analysis. A process network, in conjunction with domain specific information, was used to map raw remotely sensed data onto a representation that is more compatible with a GIS data model. From a practical point of view, rFPM provides a way to automatically match existing data models to the type of remote sensing data available for each event under investigation. Overall, results showed how remote sensing could contribute to ...
An examination of the effectiveness of seeding, burning, and mowing in the reestablishment of tallgrass prairie species on overgrazed and abandoned pastureland. The study site is a 20 acre tract on U.S. Corps of Engineers land below Lake Lewisville in Denton County, Texas. The site was partitioned into thirty-nine 40 by 40 meter plots with seeding (carried out in 1996) and management treatment (burning, mowing, and no maintenance carried out in 1998) randomly applied following a two level design. For each plot, nine stratified-random 0.1 m2 subplots were examined and shoot counts for each species recorded. The effects of the treatments on individual species and species richness were analyzed with a two-way ANOVA followed by a SNK multiple range test, both on ranked data. Community level analysis was conducted with both a MANOVA on ranked data and a Canonical Correspondence Analysis on raw data. Results indicate that seeding positively affected species richness, particularly when combined with either burning or mowing in the early spring. Mowing also significantly increased species richness in areas that were not seeded, while burning negatively affected species richness on unseeded plots. Treatments significantly affected community composition with treatments having the most clear effect on spring and summer forbs.
This study assessed the water quality of the Elm Fork Watershed with regards to the herbicide Atrazine. Atrazine is a potential environmental endocrine disruptor and carcinogen. Overall, concentrations were lower than the four-quarter drinking water average of 3 µg/Lthe Maximum Contaminant Level set by the USEPA. However, three creek stations had four-quarter average concentrations greater than 3 µg/L, and virtually all samples exceeded the 0.1 µg/L standard set in Europe [1,2]. Statistically significant differences in concentrations were detected between the 27 sampling stations and areas of high concentrations were identified. However correlations between Atrazine concentrations and land-use and precipitation were not statistically significant. Further analysis with more detailed data should be conducted before any relationships are discarded.
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.
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 ...
Copepods in high elevation lakes and ponds in Colorado are exposed to significant levels of ultraviolet radiation (UV), necessitating development of UV avoidance behavior and photoprotective physiological adaptations. The copepods are brightly pigmented due to accumulation of astaxanthin, a carotenoid which has photoprotective and antioxidant properties. Astaxanthin interacts with a crustacyanin-like protein, shifting its absorbance from 473 nm (hydrophobic free form, appears red) to 632 nm (protein-bound complex, appears blue). In six sites in Colorado, habitat-specific coloration patterns related to carotenoprotein complex have been observed. The objective of this study was to determine whether pigment accumulation or carotenoprotein expression has a greater effect on resistance to UV exposure. For each site, copepod tolerance to UV was assessed by survivorship during UV exposure trials. Average UV exposure was determined for each habitat. Astaxanthin profiles were generated for copepods in each site. Ability to withstand UV exposure during exposure trials was significantly different between color morphs (p < 0.0001). Red copepods were found to tolerate 2-fold greater levels of UVB than blue or mixed copepods. Additionally, red copepods have much higher levels of total astaxanthin than blue or mixed copepods (p < 0.0001) and receive a higher daily UV dose (p < 0.0003). Diaptomid carotenoprotein sequence is not homologous with that of other crustaceans in which crustacyanin has been characterized which prevented quantification of carotenoprotein transcript expression. Overall, diaptomid color morph may be an important indicator of UV conditions in high elevation lentic ecosystems.
Exotic invasive aquatic weeds such as alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) threaten native ecosystems by interfering with native plant communities, disrupting hydrology, and diminishing water quality. Development of new tools to combat invaders is important for the well being of these sensitive areas. Integrated pest management offers managers an approach that combines multiple control methods for better control than any one method used exclusively. In a greenhouse and field study, we tested the effects of selective herbicide application frequency, native competitor plant introduction, and their integration on alligator weed. In the greenhouse study, alligator weed shoot, root, and total biomass were reduced with one herbicide application, and further reduced with two. Alligator weed cumulative stem length and shoot/root ratio was only reduced after two applications. In the greenhouse, introduction of competitors did not affect alligator weed biomass, but did affect shoot/root ratio. The interaction of competitor introduction and herbicide did not significantly influence alligator weed growth in the greenhouse study. In the field, alligator weed cover was reduced after one herbicide application, but not significantly more after a second. Introduction of competitor species had no effect on alligator weed cover, nor did the interaction of competitor species and herbicide application. This study demonstrates that triclopyr amine herbicide can reduce alligator weed biomass and cover, and that two applications are more effective than one. To integrate selective herbicides and native plant introduction successfully for alligator weed control, more research is needed on the influence competition can potentially have on alligator weed growth, and the timing of herbicide application and subsequent introduction of plants.
Jackson Blue is a first magnitude spring in the karst terrane of northeast Florida. Previous studies have identified inorganic fertilizer as the source of high nitrate levels in the spring. Agricultural land use and karst vulnerability make Jackson Blue a good model for conservation concerns. This work offers an aggregation of studies relating to the springshed, providing a valuable tool for planning and conservation efforts in the region. An analysis of nitrate levels and other water quality parameters within the springshed did not reveal significantly different values between agricultural and forested land use areas. Confounding factors include: high transmissivity in the aquifer, interspersed land use parcels, and fertilizer application in forested areas due to commercial pine stand activity.
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.
Tree cores of Fraxinus pennsylvanica were used in a dendrochronological analysis investigating the species' responses to climate and flooding. The objective was to develop a model that incorporates the effects of precipitation, temperature, and flooding on radial growth in this species in north-central Texas. The trees exhibited strong climatic signals. The study clearly shows that all three factors have significant impacts on tree ring growth both prior to and during growth; however, the nature and extent of these impacts are highly dependent on what time of year they occur. The large temporal variations in growth responses emphasize the importance of considering the timing of environmental events when studying tree growth responses.
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 ...
Body size varies according to nutritional availability, which is of ecological and evolutionary relevance. The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that differences in adult body size are realized by increasing juvenile growth rate for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Harvest records are used to construct growth rate estimates by empirical nonlinear curve fitting. Results are compared to those of previous models that include additional parameters. The rate of growth increases during the study period. Models that estimate multiple parameters may not work with harvest data in which estimates of these parameters are prone to error, which renders estimates from complex models too variable to detect inter-annual changes in growth rate that this simpler model captures
Nanoparticles may affect secondary pollutants such as copper. Layer Double Hydroxides (LDH) are synthetically produced nanoparticles that adsorb copper via cation exchange. Pretreatment of copper test solutions with LDH nanoparticles followed by filtration removal of LDH nanoparticles demonstrated the smallest LDH aggregates removed the most copper toxicity. This was due to increased surface area for cation exchange relative to larger particle aggregates. Co-exposure tests of copper chloride and clay were run to determine if smaller clay particles increased copper uptake by D. magna. Coexposure treatments had lower LC50 values compared to the filtration tests, likely as a result of additive toxicity. LDH nanoclays do reduce copper toxicity in Daphnia magna and may serve as a remediation tool.
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, ...
Pyrmnesium parvum, commonly known as golden algae, is an algal species that under certain circumstances releases toxins which can lead to fish kills and the death of other economically and ecologically important organisms. One of the major objectives of the study was to investigate whether a relationship exists between land use and Prymnesium parvum abundance in littoral sites of Lake Texoma, USA. Another objective was to investigate whether a relationship exists between other physical variables and counts of P. parvum. Lastly, developing a valid model that predicts P. parvum abundance was an objective of the study. Through stepwise regression, a small but highly significant amount of the variation in P. parvum counts was found to be explained by wetlands, soil erodibility and lake elevation. The developed model provides insight for potential golden algae management plans, such as maintaining wetlands and teaching land owners the relationship between soil erosivity and golden algae blooms.
This research is designed to test how sublethal exposure to copper affects tadpole predator-escape behavior and how quickly tadpoles recover. After exposure, tadpoles were separated. Escape behavior was recorded for two-thirds of exposed tadpoles while one-third of the exposed population was measured weekly to determine growth and recovery. Control tadpoles were consumed within 15 minutes whereas those exposed to higher concentrations were consumed at a slower rate, which does not support the hypotheses. Although the rate of predation was lower, tadpoles exposed to higher Cu concentrations were on average, 1.47 cm in total body length. Those exposed to 0.93 mg/L averaged 0.86 cm. After being placed into clean water, treatment tadpoles recovered after 20 days.
Tissue samples from spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) were collected from Caddo Lake. Gar and bass livers were subjected to histological investigation and color analysis. Liver color (as abs at 400 nm) was significantly correlated with total mercury in the liver (r2 = 0.57, p = 0.02) and muscle (r2 = 0.58, p = 0.01) of gar. Evidence of liver damage as lipofuscin and discoloration was found in both species but only correlated with liver mercury concentration in spotted gar. Inorganic mercury was the predominant form in gar livers. In order to determine the role of mercury speciation in fish liver damage, a laboratory feeding study was employed. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) were fed either a control (0.12 ± 0.002 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), inorganic mercury (5.03 ± 0.309 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), or methylmercury (4.11 ± 0.146 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt) diet. After 78 days of feeding, total mercury was highest in the carcass of zebrafish fed methylmercury (12.49 ± 0.369 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), intermediate in those fed inorganic mercury (1.09 ± 0.117 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), and lowest in fish fed the control diet (0.48 ± 0.038 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt). Total mercury was highest in the viscera of methylmercury fed zebrafish (11.6 ± 1.86 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), intermediate in those fed inorganic diets (4.3 ± 1.08 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), and lowest in the control fish (below limit of detection). Total mercury was negatively associated with fish length and weight in methylmercury fed fish. Condition factor was not associated with total mercury and might not be the best measure of fitness for these fish. No liver pathologies were observed in zebrafish from any treatment.
Constructed wetlands are considered an inefficient technology for long-term phosphorus (P) removal. The P retention effectiveness of subsurface wetlands can be improved by using appropriate substrates. The objectives of this study were to: (i) use sorption isotherms to estimate the P sorption capacity of the two materials, masonry sand and light weight expanded shale; (ii) describe dissolved P removal in small (2.7 m3) subsurface flow wetlands; (iii) quantify the forms of P retained by the substrates in the pilot cells; and (iv) use resulting data to assess the technical and economic feasibility of the most promising system to remove P. The P sorption capacity of masonry sand and expanded shale, as determined with Langmuir isotherms, was 60 mg/kg and 971 mg/kg respectively. In the pilot cells receiving secondarily treated wastewater, cells containing expanded shale retained a greater proportion of the incoming P (50.8 percent) than cells containing masonry sand (14.5 percent). After a year of operation, samples were analyzed for total P (TP) and total inorganic P (TIP). Subsamples were fractionated into labile-P, Fe+Al-bound P, humic-P, Ca+Mg-bound P, and residual-P. Means and standard deviations of TP retained by the expanded shale and masonry sand were 349 + 169 and 11.9 + 18.6 mg/kg respectively. The largest forms of P retained by the expanded shale pilot cells were Fe+Al- bound P (108 mg/kg), followed by labile-P (46.7 mg/kg) and humic-P (39.8). Increases in the P forms of masonry sand were greatest in labile-P (7.5 mg/kg). The cost of an expanded shale wetland is within the range of costs conventional technologies for P removal. Accurate cost comparisons are dependent upon expansion capacity of the system under consideration. Materials with a high P sorption capacity also have potential for enhancing P removal in other constructed wetland applications such as stormwater wetlands and wetlands ...
Due to the wide spread occurrence of medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), a pharmaceutical compound, in wastewater effluent and surface waters, the objectives of this work were to determine the tissue specific uptake and bioconcentration factor (BCF) for MPA in common carp. BCFs were experimentally determined for MPA in fish using a 14-day laboratory test whereby carp where exposed to 100 μg/L of MPA for a 7-day period followed by a depuration phase in which fish were maintained in dechlorinated tap water for an additional 7 days. MPA concentrations in muscle, brain, liver and plasma were determined by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS). The results from the experiment indicate that MPA can accumulate in fish, however, MPA is not considered to be bioaccumulative based on regulatory standards (BCF ≥ 1000). Although MPA has a low BCF value in common carp, this compound may cause reproductive effects in fish at environmentally relevant concentrations.
A study of macroinvertebrate colonization and assemblages, including secondary productivity of the familiar bluet damselfly or Enallagma civile Hagen (Odonata: Coenagrionidae), associated with the aquatic macrophytes Heteranthera dubia (Jacq.) MacMill. (water stargrass) and Potamogeton nodosus Poir. (American pondweed) was conducted at the Dallas Floodway Extension Trinity River Project (DFE) Lower Chain of Wetlands (LCOW), Dallas, TX, from September 2010 through November 2011. Macroinvertebrate abundance, taxa richness, Simpson's index of diversity, and Simpson's evenness from the two macrophytes and from three different wetland cells of varying construction completion dates, water sources, and native aquatic vegetation establishment were analyzed along with basic water quality metrics (temperature °C, pH, dissolved oxygen mg/L, and conductivity µs/cm). E. civile nymphs were separated into five developmental classes for secondary productivity estimations between macrophytes and wetland cell types. Mean annual secondary productivity in the DFE LCOW among two macrophytes of E. civile was 1392.90 ash-free dry weight mg/m²/yr, standing stock biomass was 136.77 AFDW mg/m2/yr, cohort production / biomass (P/B) ratio was calculated to be 4.30 / yr and the annual production / biomass (P/B) ratio was 10.18 /yr.
This thesis estimates the spatial extent of chlorinated solvent contamination of the soil at the Naval Air Station, Dallas, then estimates the fate and transport of these contaminants, over time, using the Soil Transport and Fate database and the Vadose-Zone Interactive Processes (VIP) modeling software. Geostatistical analysis identifies two areas with serious chlorinated solvent contamination. Fate and transport modeling estimates that this contamination will degrade and disperse from the soil phase to below regulatory limits within one year, although there is a risk of groundwater contamination. Contaminants are estimated to persist in the water and air phases of the soil. Further sampling is recommended to confirm the results of this study.
Municipalities protect human health and environmental resources from impacts of urban natural gas drilling through setback distances; the regulation of distances between well sites and residences, freshwater wells, and other protected uses. Setback distances have increased over time, having the potential to alter the amount and geographical distribution of drillable land within a municipality, thereby having implications for future land use planning and increasing the potential for future incompatible land uses. This study geographically applies a range of setback distances to protected uses and freshwater wells in the city limits of Denton, Texas to investigate the effect on the amount of land remaining for future gas well development and production. Denton lies on the edge of a productive region of the Barnett Shale geological formation, coinciding with a large concentration of drillable land in the southwestern region of the study area. This region will have the greatest potential for impacts to future municipal development and land use planning as a result of future gas well development and higher setback standards. Given the relatively high acreage of drillable land in industrially zoned subcategory IC-G and the concern regarding gas well drilling in more populated areas, future drilling in IC-G, specifically in IC-G land cover classes mowed/grazed/agriculture and herbaceous, would have the least impact on residential uses and tree cover, as well as decreasing the potential for future incompatible land uses.
Effects of episodic exposures have gained attention as the regulatory focus of the Clean Water Act has shifted away from continuous-flow effluents. Standardized laboratory toxicity tests require that exposure be held constant. However, this approach may not accurately predict organism responses in the field following episodic exposures such as those associated with rain-driven runoff events or accidental pollutant discharge. Using a modified version of the 7-day short-term chronic test recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Ceriodaphnia dubia were exposed to copper or cadmium for durations ranging from 1 minute to 24 hours. In addition, adult reproductive recovery and effects on second generation individuals was assessed following select copper exposures. Finally, cadmium exposures were compared in reconstituted hard water (RHW) and municipal treated wastewater effluent (TWE). Following exposure, organisms were transferred to clean RHW or TWE and maintained for the remainder of the test. No- and lowest observed effect concentrations (NO- and LOECs) increased logarithmically with respect to logarithmic decreases in duration regardless of metal, endpoint or water type. Effective concentrations of cadmium however, were usually higher than those of copper, especially in TWE. LOECs for C. dubia survival following 24-hour and 5-minute exposures to copper were 116 and 417 µg/L, respectively. LOECs for fecundity were 58 and 374 µg/L, respectively. Neonate production of first generation adult C. dubia appeared to recover from pulsed copper exposure upon examination of individual broods. Cumulative mean neonate production however, showed almost no signs of recovery at exposure durations ≥3 hours. Pulse exposure to copper also resulted in diminished fecundity of unexposed second generation individuals. Such effects were pronounced following parental exposure for 24 hours but lacking after parental exposures ≤3 hours. LOECs for C. dubia survival following 24-hour and 5-minute exposures to cadmium in RHW were 44 and 9000 µg/L, respectively. LOECs for ...
This study analyzes the remaining suitable habitat of the one-horned rhinoceros, Rhinoceros unicornis, in Royal Chitwan National Park of Nepal. An April 2003 Landsat image was classified into eight land cover types: wetland, sand, water, mixed forest, sal forest, agriculture, settlement, and grassland. This image was converted into habitat suitability maps using cover, food, and water. The rhinoceros prefers grassland habitat with oxbow lakes and closed canopy during the monsoon season. Nominal values of five parameters were used to create a map of habitat suitability index. The map was categorized into four habitat classes: highly unsuitable, unsuitable, moderately suitable habitat, and suitable. Landscape metrics, patch metrics and class metrics associated with habitat were determined through the use of FRAGSTATS.
Lack of sufficient water for irrigation is a major problem in and around the valleys surrounding the town of Aiquile, Cochabamba Bolivia. In addition, much of the region is undergoing desertification compounded by drought, deforestation, bad traditional agricultural practices, over grazing and a "torrential" rainfall pattern leading to severe soil erosion and low agricultural production. Between 1992 and 1994, the author constructed a network of 24 small, mostly rainfed farm ponds to increase agricultural production and alleviate soil erosion and land-use problems by improving cover conditions. A 5-year post-impoundment analysis was carried out in 1998. The analysis examined current pond conditions, design criteria, irrigation water / crop production increases and the alleviation of land-use problems. Current pond conditions fell into four distinct categories with only 25 percent of the ponds being deemed as "functioning well." The project increased irrigation in the region and improved cover conditions in 66 percent of the pond sites.
Archaeological and paleontological datasets are used in conservation to add time-depth to ecology. In central Texas several top carnivores including prehistoric Native American hunters have been extirpated or have had their historic ranges restricted, which has resulted in pest-level white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus texana) populations in some areas. Predator extermination has dramatically reduced the average body size of members of the extant predator guild, and large carnivores most capable of hunting white-tailed deer are extirpated. Character release in the remaining “large” predatorsmesocarnivoresis a predicted outcome related to the adaptive vacuum at the top of the trophic hierarchy. Differences in body size of deer between prehistory and modernity are expected given that a lack of predation likely has increased intraspecific competition for forage among deer resulting in smaller body size today. In fact modern deer from settings without harvest pressure are significantly smaller than those from harvested areas and from prehistoric deer. From a natural history perspective, this research highlights potential evolutionary causes and effects of top-predator removal on deer populations and related components of biological communities in central Texas.
The primary objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a system capable of rapid, continuous collection of water quality and locational data on Lake Texoma. Secondary objectives included developing monthly distribution maps for chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and specific conductivity in Lake Texoma and investigating the spatial and temporal relationships between these common water quality indicators. A modified YSI multiprobe was used to develop a system capable of surveying the lake within 4 days with samples at 330 to 400 meter intervals. Data generated with this system compared favorably with previous studies of Lake Texoma. Two sets of raster format maps were developed for the monthly distributions of chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and specific conductivity across the lake. Spatial and temporal relationships generally took the form of decreasing gradients running from the lake arms towards the Main Lake Zone in the case of chlorophyll-a and turbidity. Or, in the case of specific conductivity, a decreasing gradient from the Red River arm to the Washita River arm. All three water quality indicators were strongly influenced by river discharge levels.
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