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An Experiment To Test For Rapid Evolution In An Introduced Ectomycorrhizal Symbiosis, Valerie Rewa 2021 University of Mississippi

An Experiment To Test For Rapid Evolution In An Introduced Ectomycorrhizal Symbiosis, Valerie Rewa

Honors Theses

The rapid evolution of introduced ectomycorrhizal-plant partnerships is an under- explored topic that may have immense impacts on ecosystems around the world. This experiment sought to identify and quantify this evolution and its impacts on both fungal colonization as well as plant growth. I used a laboratory experiment to analyze these factors in native and exotic genotypes of Suillus cothurnatus and Pinus species. Much of the data was not able to be collected, but that which was did not support the presence of rapid evolution in the mutualistic partnership. Pine species was seen to have a significant effect on plant ...


Mechanisms Of Overyielding And Coexistence In Diverse Tallgrass Prairie Communities, Leslie E. Forero 2021 Utah State University

Mechanisms Of Overyielding And Coexistence In Diverse Tallgrass Prairie Communities, Leslie E. Forero

All Graduate Theses and Dissertations

Plants compete for the same basic nutrient and water resources. According to the competitive exclusion principle, when a substantial overlap in resource pools exists, the best competitor for resources should drive all other species to extinction. The ability for plants to coexist in violation of the competitive exclusion principle is the “biodiversity paradox”. Coexistence is actually beneficial for plants: as species diversity increases, you typically see increases in plant biomass production (known as the biodiversity-productivity relationship). The mechanisms behind coexistence and the biodiversity-productivity relationship remain an ecological mystery. One hypothesis is that plants obtain water and nutrients from different places ...


Range-Wide Migratory Connectivity Of Painted Buntings, Andrew J. Sharp 2021 Utah State University

Range-Wide Migratory Connectivity Of Painted Buntings, Andrew J. Sharp

All Graduate Theses and Dissertations

The Painted Bunting (Passerina cirus) is a small (~16g), short/medium-distance migratory songbird that is listed as a species of conservation concern by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Painted Buntings breed in two distinct populations, one eastern population and one interior population, separated by a 500 km gap that stretches from Mississippi to Georgia. I analyzed tracking data from 112 Painted Buntings from 11 different breeding sites to explore how individuals from different breeding sites differ in wintering location (chapter 2) and migratory timing (chapter 3). Additionally, I examined differences in migratory behavior between male and females in the ...


Patterns Of Post-Fire Aspen Seedling Establishment, Growth, And Mortality In The Western United States, Mark Regier Kreider 2021 Utah State University

Patterns Of Post-Fire Aspen Seedling Establishment, Growth, And Mortality In The Western United States, Mark Regier Kreider

All Graduate Theses and Dissertations

Sexual seedling establishment in aspen is increasingly recognized as an important natural regeneration pathway for the species in the western U.S. However, information on seedling abundance as well as factors influencing aspen sexual regeneration is limited and frequently anecdotal, due to historical assumptions of seedling rarity as well as difficulty identifying sexual seedlings from asexual aspen sucker regeneration. This thesis contributes to the field of aspen seedling ecology in three major ways. Chapter 1 utilizes historical aspen seedling occurrences in the western U.S. and a systematic field survey of 2018 fire footprints to explore patterns and test assumptions ...


The Fate And Cycling Of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, And Trace Heavy Metals In Beaver-Altered Headwater Streams, Desneiges S. Murray 2021 Utah State University

The Fate And Cycling Of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, And Trace Heavy Metals In Beaver-Altered Headwater Streams, Desneiges S. Murray

All Graduate Theses and Dissertations

Human land-use can increase the amount of non-point source (NPS) pollution in a stream, negatively affecting ecosystem health and beneficial services provided by an ecosystem. Unfortunately, NPS pollution remains high in many waterbodies. Beaver dams may be a passive, cost-effective strategy for removing NPS pollution in headwater streams because beaver dams slow stream flow and collect sediments. Impounded sediments can change how nutrients and pollutants are cycled in a stream through multiple pathways. In the first part of our study, we investigated whether beaver activity can reduce nitrogen, phosphorous and heavy metals from otherwise traveling downstream. Results suggest beaver ponds ...


Bighorn Sheep Demographics Following Pneumonia Die-Off Events, Kylie Sinclair 2021 Utah State University

Bighorn Sheep Demographics Following Pneumonia Die-Off Events, Kylie Sinclair

All Graduate Theses and Dissertations

Bighorn sheep populations across the Intermountain West are subject to disease pressure from the respiratory bacteria Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae. Although the effects of M. ovipneumoniae-associated disease die-offs are well documented, less is known about the factors driving long-term differences in post-die-off population responses. While many herds experience years to decades in which recruitment is less than 20 lambs per 100 ewes, some herds’ lamb survival rates are able to rebound rapidly following die-off events. The reason why these herds recover quickly while others do not is currently unknown. Here, we assess the roles environmental, demographic, and pathogen-associated factors could play ...


An Eulerian Perspective On Spring Migration In Mule Deer, Tatum Del Bosco 2021 Utah State University

An Eulerian Perspective On Spring Migration In Mule Deer, Tatum Del Bosco

All Graduate Theses and Dissertations

Many herbivores travel between low-elevation winter ranges and high-elevation summer sites. These seasonal movements allow them to avoid deep snow cover, ensure access to favorable habitat, and maximize food intake throughout the year. During the spring season, plants at lower elevations green up earlier at lower elevations than at higher elevations. It has been shown that individual animals will track this vegetation growth during their spring migration, which allows them to maximize forage intake coming out of the nutrient scarce winter. This phenomena has previously been studied by monitoring individual movement trajectories, but it is unknown how this pattern scales ...


Interactive Effects Of Soil And Browsing On Big Sagebrush: Implications For Restoration Success, Kyle Nehring 2021 Utah State University

Interactive Effects Of Soil And Browsing On Big Sagebrush: Implications For Restoration Success, Kyle Nehring

All Graduate Plan B and other Reports

Heterogeneity in landscape conditions (e.g., soil types) precludes a “one size fits all” management strategy across large landscapes. New management approaches that explicitly account for heterogeneous landscapes (and the variable conditions therein) will be required to maintain habitat quality. In particular, we require an improved mechanistic understanding of how the outcomes of conservation and restoration actions are contingent upon a) contextual abiotic factors (e.g., moisture availability mediated by soils and precipitation) and b) their interactions with biotic factors (e.g., browsing wildlife).

We propose to answer fundamental questions about how big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), the foundational species for ...


Taphonomy Of Late Jurassic (Tithonian) Morrison Formation Apatosaurus Sp. Vertebrae Found Associated With Teeth From Allosaurus Sp. And Ceratosaurus Sp., And Body Size Extrapolation From The Associated Theropod Teeth., Greg C. Agyan 2021 Utah State University

Taphonomy Of Late Jurassic (Tithonian) Morrison Formation Apatosaurus Sp. Vertebrae Found Associated With Teeth From Allosaurus Sp. And Ceratosaurus Sp., And Body Size Extrapolation From The Associated Theropod Teeth., Greg C. Agyan

All Graduate Plan B and other Reports

An Apatosaurus sp. locality from Dinosaur National Monument designated DNM-15 was excavated in 1985, and associated with two Allosaurus teeth and one Ceratosaurus tooth that were near one of the caudal vertebrae. The Ceratosaurus tooth was buried between an overlying rib and that same caudal vertebra. The caudal vertebrae of the DNM-15 Apatosaurus were intact and articulated, but the anterior skeleton was mostly absent, with a row of articulated sacral vertebrae in close association with a femur. Two other Allosaurus teeth were reported near the preserved ilium of the Apatosaurus, but they could not be located in the collections.

Field ...


Resistance Of The Freshwater Microbiome To A Combination Of Pesticides, Gabriel Hooper 2021 Liberty University

Resistance Of The Freshwater Microbiome To A Combination Of Pesticides, Gabriel Hooper

Senior Honors Theses

Pesticides are used prevalently throughout the United States and can negatively affect non-target organisms. Rain run-off can move multiple pesticides into freshwater ecosystems and bring them in contact with non-target organisms that have variable tolerances to pollution. This study seeks to improve our understanding of how an acute exposure to a combination of pesticides may restructure microbial communities by examining the microbiome before and after a 48-hour exposure to 2000 ppb of herbicides (glyphosate, atrazine, and 2,4-D). Pesticide exposure did not significantly alter the alpha or beta diversity of the sample types, which demonstrates the ability of freshwater microbiomes ...


Particle Tracking Reveals Pelagic Red Crabs As Indicators Of Climate-Driven Range Expansion In The California Current, Elizabeth Saraf 2021 University of Rhode Island

Particle Tracking Reveals Pelagic Red Crabs As Indicators Of Climate-Driven Range Expansion In The California Current, Elizabeth Saraf

Senior Honors Projects

Since their first recorded occurrence in 1859, Pelagic Red Crabs (PRC; Pleuroncodes planipes) have experienced increased frequency of episodic mass stranding events in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. PRC’s are transported over 1,000 km northward of their central domain from the coast of central Baja California, Mexico. They have been reported by the thousands on the beaches of central and southern California. Their presence influences the surrounding ecosystem and commercial fisheries because they are nutritional prey items and large predators change their diet to incorporate PRC’s when they are available. Seasonal coastal currents and the California Undercurrent transport ...


Effects Of Environmentally Relevant Concentrations Of 4-Methyl-1- Cyclohexanemethanol (Mchm) On General Esterase And Glutathione-S-Transferase Activity In Fathead Minnows (Pimephales Promela), Emily De Wind 2021 Southern Adventist University

Effects Of Environmentally Relevant Concentrations Of 4-Methyl-1- Cyclohexanemethanol (Mchm) On General Esterase And Glutathione-S-Transferase Activity In Fathead Minnows (Pimephales Promela), Emily De Wind

Research in Biology

Abstract

In 2014, several thousand gallons of coal-processing chemicals, which included 4-methyl-1- cyclohexanemethanol (MCHM), spilled into the Elk River in West Virginia. The location of this spill in West Virginia’s chemical valley is historically significant in defining the exploitations of people residing in this area. The concentration of crude MCHM in the river was approximated at 0.15 µg/L. Although some initial studies did consider the effects of MCHM exposure on humans, little attention has been given to aquatic wildlife. In this project, I will expose fathead minnows, Pimephales promelas, an environmentally relevant species, to concentrations of MCHM ...


Soil Salinity And The Occurrence Of Invasive Phragmites Australis In Scarborough Marsh, Anthony DeVecchis 2021 University of Southern Maine

Soil Salinity And The Occurrence Of Invasive Phragmites Australis In Scarborough Marsh, Anthony Devecchis

Thinking Matters Symposium

In North America, Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. is a common invasive reed that competes well in wetland ecosystems and wet ditches. According to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Natural Areas Program, P. australis is disruptive to both tidal and freshwater marshes throughout Maine, including Scarborough Marsh, the state’s largest salt marsh covering an area of 3100 acres (≈ 1,254 hectares). Like many tidal marshes, Scarborough Marsh plays an important role buffering against high tides and flood waters, whilst providing key habitat for numerous species of fishes, birds, and insects. Previous research suggests that changes in ...


A Baseline Documentation Report For The Delta Wind Birds Sky Lake Nature Reserve, James Dubberly 2021 University of Mississippi

A Baseline Documentation Report For The Delta Wind Birds Sky Lake Nature Reserve, James Dubberly

Honors Theses

The purpose of this baseline documentation is to conduct a report on our subject property and discuss the findings. A conservation easement is established by upholding a certain standard of a property’s current condition which makes a baseline documentation necessary for an easement to be enacted. Baseline documentation reports are used as a resource to monitor and enforce the legal agreements of the conservation easement. The subject property is currently owned by the Delta Wind Birds organization. In our scenario, this documentation report will serve to aid in the conversion of our subject property into a conservation easement in ...


Effects Of Artificial Enrichment For Captive Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla) Activity Budgets, Angela Perretti, Rebecca Chancellor 2021 West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Effects Of Artificial Enrichment For Captive Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla) Activity Budgets, Angela Perretti, Rebecca Chancellor

Anthropology & Sociology Student Work

The benefits of enrichment and proper husbandry protocols and their applicability in wildlife research have been important topics of zoological research. Examining activity budgets of various species throughout zoological facilities reap biological, educational and conservation benefits. We collected data on the behavioral responses of five western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) (1 adult male, 2 adult females, 2 infants/juveniles) to a novel climbing structure in the outdoor enclosure at the Philadelphia Zoo. Over a period of 53 nonconsecutive months, we conducted 30-minute focals with 2-minute scan samples on the gorillas (488 total observation hours). We recorded frequency of behaviors ...


Evaluating The Effects Of Temperature And Time Of Day On The Activity Of Captive Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla), Jennifer Ryan, William Volpe, Emily Mauser, Laura DeHart, Angela Perretti, Maddy Vandevere 2021 West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Evaluating The Effects Of Temperature And Time Of Day On The Activity Of Captive Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla), Jennifer Ryan, William Volpe, Emily Mauser, Laura Dehart, Angela Perretti, Maddy Vandevere

Anthropology & Sociology Student Work

Research on captive animals reaps substantial benefits for conservation, education, and enrichment efforts. As more species become displaced in their natural habitats, it is the job of the researcher to better understand how these animals behave in captivity. To contribute to these efforts, we have been observing the activity budgets of a group of captive western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) (1 adult male, 2 subadult males, 2 adult females, 2 infant/juveniles) at the Philadelphia Zoo. Over a period of 16 non-consecutive months, we conducted 30-minute focals with 2-minute scan samples on the gorillas (54.66 hours), recording time ...


The Impacts Of Atrazine Exposure On The Performance Of Northern Two-Lined Salamander Larvae (Eurycea Bislineata), Kody Streeter 2021 Susquehanna University

The Impacts Of Atrazine Exposure On The Performance Of Northern Two-Lined Salamander Larvae (Eurycea Bislineata), Kody Streeter

Senior Scholars Day

Atrazine is one of the most common herbicides used in the United States. Despite having a large spectrum of weed control, the herbicide has many negative consequences on stream integrity, specifically on aquatic organisms. Amphibians have many biological characteristics that make them highly susceptible to agricultural contaminants. Understanding the effects of herbicides on vulnerable species will allow for inferences to be made about the effects on the entire ecosystem. We investigated the hypothesis that herbicide exposure would affect the survival and growth of northern two lined salamander larvae (Eurycea bislineata). We exposed larvae to one of four different treatments of ...


A Study Of The Impact Of Walker Lake On The North Branch Of Middle Creek Using Metrics Generated By Diatom Biofilm Communities, Shannon Ryan, Jack R. Holt 2021 Susquehanna University

A Study Of The Impact Of Walker Lake On The North Branch Of Middle Creek Using Metrics Generated By Diatom Biofilm Communities, Shannon Ryan, Jack R. Holt

Senior Scholars Day

Middle Creek is a tributary of the main stem of the Susquehanna River, and its watershed is confined mostly to Snyder County. The upper reaches of the stream are defined by two major branches, the North Branch and the West Branch, each of which is interrupted by a reservoir, Walker Lake and Faylor Lake, respectively. Walker Lake is an impoundment of a deep V-shaped valley and is 9-10 meters deep at the dam, which allows it to be stratified in the summer and winter. Summer stratification produces an anoxic hypolimnion, which is drawn off by the bottom outflow dam into ...


Sub-Lethal Effects Of Herbicides On The Wolf Spider Pardosa Milvina, Rachel Morehouse, Joe'l Morris, Aaron Romano 2021 Susquehanna University

Sub-Lethal Effects Of Herbicides On The Wolf Spider Pardosa Milvina, Rachel Morehouse, Joe'l Morris, Aaron Romano

Senior Scholars Day

We tested the sub-lethal effects of six commonly applied herbicides on juveniles of the agriculturally abundant wolf spider Pardosa milvina. We compared spider toxicological effects from herbicides that were freshly applied to soil, aged for 69 days indoors at room temperature, or aged for 69 days in a greenhouse with variable temperature, humidity, light, and evaporative water cycling. Field-collected juvenile P. milvina were exposed to one of eight herbicide treatments (atrazine, glyphosate, mesotrione, Smetolachlor, 2,4-D, dicamba, a combination of all six herbicides, or a distilled water control; N = 960, n = 40, across 24 treatments) and maintained for 49 days ...


The Lethal Effects Of Herbicides And Herbicide Residues On The Agriculturally Important Wolf Spider Pardosa Milvina, Tyler Gross, Kevin Rainey 2021 Susquehanna University

The Lethal Effects Of Herbicides And Herbicide Residues On The Agriculturally Important Wolf Spider Pardosa Milvina, Tyler Gross, Kevin Rainey

Senior Scholars Day

Herbicides are applied to commercial crops with increasing frequency and diversity yet are rarely tested for acute or chronic toxicity effects on beneficial non target species such as spiders We measured the lethal effects of chronic exposure to field relevant doses of herbicide treated soil on an agriculturally abundant wolf spider, Pardosa milvina. We tested six herbicides including atrazine, S-metolachlor, mesotrione, glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba. We also tested a mixture of all six herbicides and a distilled water control. Spiders were housed individually in containers with topsoil previously sprayed with a recommended herbicide dosage or water control group To ...


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