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Submerged wood inhabiting macoinvertebrates of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, Texas: Assemblage analyses, comparisons to the benthic fauna, and a study of Cyrnellus fraternus (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae)

Description: Taxonomic composition and spatio-temporal variability of macroinvertebrates inhabiting snags were examined from an 8-km segment of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. Seventy-seven macroinvertebrate taxa were collected from submerged wood during the study. Assemblages were highly variable spatially and temporally, especially among seasons. An ordination of species and environment did not find snag taxa to have striking correlations with many of the selected environmental variables, although there were some trends in flow-mediated species distributions. There were significant seasonal differences in the abundances of some taxa, particularly among the Chironomidae (Diptera). The Tribe Orthocladiini was numerically abundant during the winter, while the Tribes Chironomini and Tanytarsini dominated the summer and autumn. Additionally, this study included a secondary production and microdistribution analysis of a population of the caddisfly Cyrnellus fraternus. Distributions of C. fraternus were restricted to snags, the most stable substratum for retreat building and for resisting periodic high waters. Larvae were not found in the soft sand and mud benthic habitats near submerged wood. The insects were multivoltine with a minimum of three generations per year. Pupae were collected July through September and adults emerged from May through October. The population overwintered as larvae. Estimated annual production was 1,015.4 mg/m2/yr. Mean standing stock biomass was 61.24 mg/m2, the cohort production/biomass ratio was 4.59, and the annual production/biomass rate was 16.58/yr for this population. Standing stock biomass ranged from 1.6 to 349.1 mg/m2 during the year and was significantly higher in autumn and summer than winter. Larvae were more abundant in the lower portions of the study area where flow was reduced for much of the year, than in the upper reaches, characterized by higher current velocities. C. fraternus larvae were found in their highest numbers on snags with dense deposits of silt and sand.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Johnson, Zane B.

Understanding Microbial Biodegradation of Environmental Contaminants

Description: The accumulation of industrial contaminants in the natural environments have rapidly become a serious threat for human and animal life. Fortunately, there are microorganisms capable of degrading or transforming environmental contaminants. The present dissertation work aimed to understand the genomic basis of microbial degradation and resistance. The focus was the genomic study of the following bacteria: a) Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB 11764, a unique bacterium with specific enzymes that allow cyanide adaptation features. Potential cyanide degradation mechanisms found in this strain included nit1C cluster, and CNO complex. Potential cyanide tolerance genes found included cyanide insensitive oxidases, nitric oxide producing gene, and iron metabolism genes. b) Cupriavidus sp. strain SK-3 and strain SK-4. The genome of both bacteria presented the bph operon for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) degradation, but we found differences in the sequences of the genes. Those differences might indicate their preferences for different PCB substrates. c) Arsenic resistant bacterial communities observed in the Atacama Desert. Specific bacteria were found to thrive depending on the arsenic concentration. Examples were Bacteroidetes and Spirochaetes phyla whose proportions increased in the river with high arsenic concentrations. Also, DNA repair and replication metabolic functions seem to be necessary for resistance to arsenic contaminated environments. Our research give us insights on how bacteria communities, not just individually, can adapt and become resistant to the contaminants. The present dissertation work showed specific genes and mechanisms for degradation and resistance of contaminants that could contribute to develop new bioremediation strategies.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Vilo Muñoz, Claudia Andrea

Use of Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing Technologies to Describe Mosquito Population Dynamics in the Ray Roberts Greenbelt, Denton County, Texas

Description: A population survey was conducted from April through September 2002 on mosquito species occurring on the Ray Roberts Greenbelt, a riparian corridor used for public recreation on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, in Denton County, Texas. ArcGIS software was used to set up a stratified random sampling design based on habitat parameters. Multivariate analyses of sampling data and climatic variables were used to describe spatial and temporal patterns of mosquito species. A total of 33 species were collected during this study belonging to the following genera: Aedes, Anopheles, Coquillettidia, Culex, Mansonia, Ochlerotatus, Orthopodomyia, Psorophora, Toxorhynchites, and Uranotaenia. Seasonal distributions of the dominant species revealed population fluctuations. Aedes vexans was the primary species collected in April and May, occurring in low numbers throughout the rest of the sampling period. Psorophora columbiae reached its highest population density in June, with a smaller peak occurring in late July. Present from May through the end of September, Culex erraticus was the most abundant species collected with major peaks in mid-June and the end of July. Abundance of Culex salinarius followed the same general trend as that for Cx. erraticus, but with smaller numbers. The specimens were tested for a variety of arboviruses by the Texas Department of Health. One pool of Cx. erraticus and Cx. salinarius, collected in August 2002, tested positive for West Nile virus. Variables that were important factors for determining dominant species abundance were temperature, wind speed, rain accumulation occurring one-week and two-weeks prior to sampling, number of day since last rain event, dew point, and average canopy coverage.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Bolling, Bethany G.

Use of Satellite Imagery and GIS to Model Brood-Rearing Habitat for Rio Grande Wild Turkey Populations Occurring in the Western Cross Timbers Region of Texas

Description: Remote sensing and GIS have become standard tools for evaluating spatial components of wildlife habitats. These techniques were implemented to evaluate Rio Grande wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) poult-rearing habitat in the Western Cross Timbers region of Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) random roving turkey counts for 1987-1989 and 1998-2000 were selected, indicating locations where hens with poults were observed. Satellite imagery from 1988 and 1999 was classified and then processed with Patch Analyst. To add robustness, stream, road and census population densities were also evaluated for each turkey location. Analysis of the 1988 canopy cover image, comparing observed locations with randomly-selected habitat cells (N = 20) indicated significant differences (p <.05) for patch edge variables. Mean patch edge was significantly greater for habitat locations where hens with poults were observed than for those selected at random. Spatial data for 1999 did not indicate a significant difference (p < .05) between sampling groups (observed vs. random, N = 30). Significant differences (p <.05) did occur for turkey locations observed in both 1988 and 1999 (N = 7). This demonstrates the adaptability of wild turkey hens, as habitats change over time, hens continued to visit the same locations even though the habitat had significantly changed for select spatial variables.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Miller, Christopher J.

Utilization of Corridor Habitat by White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Denton County, Texas

Description: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) (N=15) movements were determined with use of radio telemetry techniques to determine the utilization of corridor habitat on the Lake Ray Roberts Greenbelt Corridor (RRGC) in north central Texas. Home ranges were calculated using three estimation types. Male white-tailed deer tend to have home ranges twice that of female home ranges. Seasonal home ranges were largest during spring (Feb. - April) and fall (Aug. - Oct.) seasons. Males had greater seasonal variation in utilization than females. No statistically significant difference (p=0.24) between white-tailed deer locations when the RRGC experiences heavy human traffic compared to days when there is light human traffic. Linearity indices indicated home ranges less linear than expected (LI = 3.02). The RRGC should be maintained at its current status to provide a variety of vegetational types and protective cover for white-tailed deer and other wildlife of Denton County.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Bruce, Troy Kenneth

Women Have Higher Skin Temperature on the Back during Treadmill Exercise in a Hot, Humid Environment

Description: A common measurement of body temperature during exercise in a hot, humid environment is mean skin temperature collected from 3-12 sites on the body. However, such an approach fails to demonstrate localized differences in skin temperature that are likely to exist as a function of gender. The purpose of this study was to examine potential differences in skin temperature between men and women at 17 different locations on the body. Young women (21 ± 1 y; n = 11) and men (23 ± 3; n = 10) were recruited to complete a 60-min walk/jog interval protocol in a hot (34 ± 1 °C), humid (64 ± 8%) environment while skin temperature was measured. Data was analyzed using a repeated-measures ANOVA (p < 0.05) and location of interaction effects determined using a Fisher’s least squares difference test. We observed a higher change (p < 0.05) from baseline skin temperatures (ΔTsk) for women in three locations: left upper back (women: avg. ΔTsk = 4.12 ± 0.20 °C; men: avg. ΔTsk = 2.70 ± 0.10 °C), right upper back (women: avg. ΔTsk = 4.19 ± 0.07 °C; men: avg. ΔTsk = 2.92 ± 0.05 °C), and right mid-back (women: avg. ΔTsk = 4.62 ± 0.14 °C; men: avg. ΔTsk =3.55 ± 0.09 °C). Individual time differences between genders occurred after 7- (left upper back) and 15-min (right upper back, right mid-back) of exercise and were maintained until the end of exercise. Women have a greater increase in skin temperature at three locations on the back following the onset of exercise in a hot, humid environment. This report provides important information regarding the implications of women exercising in a hot, humid environment.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Venable, Adam Steven