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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

The Association Between Dietary Niche Variation In Rodents And Climate Change Across The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, Hannah K. Vermeer Aug 2019

The Association Between Dietary Niche Variation In Rodents And Climate Change Across The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, Hannah K. Vermeer

Masters Theses

Mammalian teeth play a crucial role in food acquisition and breakdown and are therefore closely tied to dietary niche. This study reconstructed the diet of early Paleogene paramyid rodents across the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) climatic event in an effort to understand the role of climate in mammalian dietary niche change. Dietary niches were quantified using three dental topographic measures: Dirichlet normal energy, relief index, and orientation patch count rotated. A Kruskal-Wallis test was conducted over eight time periods to determine if each of the dental topographic measures (i.e., diet) varied over time. Regression analysis of these measures with ...


Thermal Quality Explains Shift In Habitat Association From Forest To Clearings For Terrestrial-Breeding Frogs Along An Elevation Gradient In Colombia, Zachary Lange Jul 2019

Thermal Quality Explains Shift In Habitat Association From Forest To Clearings For Terrestrial-Breeding Frogs Along An Elevation Gradient In Colombia, Zachary Lange

Masters Theses

Tropical ectotherms are considered particularly sensitive to changes in the thermal environment from climate change and habitat alteration. Understanding how such species’ thermal physiology relates to their habitat associations in thermally heterogeneous landscapes may help us predict responses and develop sound conservation strategies for the future. We conducted a mark-recapture study of three terrestrial breeding anuran species (Pristimantis medemi, P. savagei, P. frater) in adjacent forest and anthropogenic clearings at field sites spread across seven elevations (415-1350 m asl) in the Colombian Andes. We also performed thermal preference and critical thermal maximum assays in the lab to investigate the relationship ...


Ecological Considerations And Application Of Urban Tree Selection In Massachusetts, Ashley Mcelhinney Jan 2019

Ecological Considerations And Application Of Urban Tree Selection In Massachusetts, Ashley Mcelhinney

Masters Theses

Trees provide countless environmental, economic, and societal benefits to the urban environment, and may become increasingly important to maintaining environmental quality and human well-being in the face of increasing urbanization and climate change. However, trees in these urban areas are rapidly diminishing across the United States. Much of this loss can be prevented with proper planning and management, focused on selecting tree species that are both well-suited to the area’s growing conditions and able to survive the many stress factors in an urban setting. Choosing which tree species to plant in Massachusetts is especially challenging considering the lack of ...


Plasticity And Biotic Interactions Mediate Plant Persistence In A Changing World, Alix Ann Pfennigwerth May 2017

Plasticity And Biotic Interactions Mediate Plant Persistence In A Changing World, Alix Ann Pfennigwerth

Masters Theses

Anthropogenic global change is occurring today at a faster rate and larger scale than ever before. Understanding how plants will respond to such large-scale disturbance is critical for biodiversity conservation, yet the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms underlying these responses remain poorly understood. In this thesis, I investigated the mechanisms underlying plant response to two major drivers of global change, climate change and the widespread mortality of foundation species. First, I examined genetic and plastic plant trait responses to climatic variation using elevation gradients, which serve as space-for-time substitutions for climate change. Through field observations in three populations of the North ...


Detection And Attribution Of Long-Term Vegetation Changes In Northern Alaska, Robert Barrett Apr 2016

Detection And Attribution Of Long-Term Vegetation Changes In Northern Alaska, Robert Barrett

Masters Theses

Climate change is impacting terrestrial ecosystems world-wide and the Arctic is particularly vulnerable as it is warming faster and with greater magnitude than other regions. Understanding the responses of arctic plants species to abiotic factors is crucial to predicting the impact climate change will have on the Arctic because plants play critical roles in carbon exchange, energy balance, and trophic interactions. Using data from long-term research sites in Barrow and Atqasuk, Alaska, the purpose of this thesis was to investigate how arctic plants respond to 17-19 years of experimental warming, establish the relative strengths of various abiotic factors in predicting ...


Modeling Historical And Future Range Of Variability Scenarios In The Yuba River Watershed, Tahoe National Forest, California, Maritza Mallek Jan 2016

Modeling Historical And Future Range Of Variability Scenarios In The Yuba River Watershed, Tahoe National Forest, California, Maritza Mallek

Masters Theses

In California's northern Sierra Nevada mountains, the fire-dependent processes of forest ecosystems have been interrupted and altered by human land use and fire suppression. U.S. Forest Service policy directs land managers to plan for a future that includes multiple use and the restoration of resilient ecosystems. Planning decisions are to be informed by an analysis of the range of variability of ecological processes at multiple scales. Current climate trends in the northern Sierra are of increasing temperatures, increased precipitation, and earlier snowmelt, as well as changes to the frequency and duration of drought. These climate changes have and ...


Toxin Production And Population Dynamics Of Gloeotrichia Echinulata With Considerations Of Global Climate Change, Sarah Stamann Aug 2015

Toxin Production And Population Dynamics Of Gloeotrichia Echinulata With Considerations Of Global Climate Change, Sarah Stamann

Masters Theses

Global climate change has been identified as a driver for increasing cyanobacteria blooms world-wide. Blooms of the cyanobacterium, Gloeotrichia echinulata, (hereafter, G. echinulata) have been observed in Silver Lake (Oceana County, MI), often forming dense surface scums. This organism is known to produce the hepatotoxin, microcystin- LR, and its growth is linked to phosphorus accumulation from sediment and temperature.

A series of experiments at ambient and elevated temperatures (+2° and +6°above ambient) with sediment from four locations in Silver Lake with varying phosphorus concentrations were conducted to examine the effect of these variables on G. echinulata growth. These experiments ...


Wetland Sediment Nutrient Flux In Response To Proposed Hydrologic Reconnection And Climate Warming, James T. Smit Aug 2014

Wetland Sediment Nutrient Flux In Response To Proposed Hydrologic Reconnection And Climate Warming, James T. Smit

Masters Theses

Wetland restoration and creation are common practices, but wetlands restored or created on former agricultural land may act as a source of nutrients, rather than as a sink. I studied P sediment-water exchange in two flooded celery fields (west and east), which are designated for wetland restoration, in order to assess the effects that hydrologic reconnection of the area to an adjacent creek would have on P dynamics. We also examined the influence of climate change, specifically warming temperatures, by conducting the sediment-water exchange experiments at ambient and plus 2°C temperature conditions. Lab-based sediment core incubations revealed that TP ...


Sensitivity And Exposure Of Brook Trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis) Habitat To Climate Change, Bradly Allen Trumbo Dec 2010

Sensitivity And Exposure Of Brook Trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis) Habitat To Climate Change, Bradly Allen Trumbo

Masters Theses

Predicting coldwater fisheries distributions under various climate scenarios is of interest to many fisheries managers and researchers. Larger scale models have been useful in highlighting the potential large scale threat. However, the error associated with these models makes predictions of the persistence of individual cold water fisheries problematic. Most of this error is associated with predicted air and water temperatures which typically are simple elevation and location (latitude/longitude) models with simple caveats such as 1°C increase in air temperature equals 0.8°C increase in water temperatures. I directly measured paired air and water temperatures in watersheds containing ...