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Evolvability: What Is It And How Do We Get It?, Matthew Moreno 2017 University of Puget Sound

Evolvability: What Is It And How Do We Get It?, Matthew Moreno

Honors Program Theses

Biological organisms exhibit spectacular adaptation to their environments. However, another marvel of biology lurks behind the adaptive traits that organisms exhibit over the course of their lifespans: it is hypothesized that biological organisms also exhibit adaptation to the evolutionary process itself. That is, biological organisms are thought to possess traits that facilitate evolution. The term evolvability was coined to describe this type of adaptation. The question of evolvability has special practical relevance to computer science researchers engaged in longstanding efforts to harness evolution as an algorithm for automated design. It is hoped that a more nuanced understanding of biological evolution ...


Long-Term Records Of Climate-Induced Changes In The Zooplankton Of West-Greenland Lakes, Helen Schlimm 2017 Dickinson College

Long-Term Records Of Climate-Induced Changes In The Zooplankton Of West-Greenland Lakes, Helen Schlimm

Student Honors Theses By Year

Recent research documents climate-induced changes in the algal communities of West Greenland lakes; however, less is known about the response of zooplankton to climate change effects in this region. Zooplankton are predominantly the top predator in these lakes, and thus may be changing due to direct climate effects on physical lake habitat and chemistry or indirect effects on their food source. Cladoceran remains from two lake sediment cores were collected in the Kangerlussuaq region of southwest Greenland: SS1341, located midway between the Greenland ice sheet and the coast, and SS901, close in proximity to the ice sheet. Modern zooplankton data ...


Adaptive Therapy: Modeling Evolutionary Principles In Anticancer Therapy, Jeffrey B. West 2017 University of Southern California

Adaptive Therapy: Modeling Evolutionary Principles In Anticancer Therapy, Jeffrey B. West

Biology and Medicine Through Mathematics Conference

No abstract provided.


A Comparison Of Wildlife Monitoring Techniques In Riparian Ecosystems Of The Western United States, Shelan Zuhdi 2017 University of San Francisco

A Comparison Of Wildlife Monitoring Techniques In Riparian Ecosystems Of The Western United States, Shelan Zuhdi

Master's Projects and Capstones

Many riparian restoration projects in the western United States have not implemented monitoring plans. This lack of wildlife monitoring has resulted in a loss riparian ecosystem services and missed opportunities to conserve them. Data collected from wildlife monitoring assists researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders in efficiently allocating time and resources to improve the effectiveness of resource management. This paper discusses the level of feasibility and practicality as a sum of the benefits, limitations, and financial costs for each of the following mammal and avian monitoring methods: wildlife camera trapping, GPS devices, mark-recapture, fecal DNA surveying, circular plot point counts, mist-net transects ...


Understanding The Complex Relationships Between Climate, Vegetation, And Foraging Behavior Of A Climate-Sensitive Alpine Mammal In Order To Explain Patterns Of Persistence, Evan Cole 2017 University of San Francisco

Understanding The Complex Relationships Between Climate, Vegetation, And Foraging Behavior Of A Climate-Sensitive Alpine Mammal In Order To Explain Patterns Of Persistence, Evan Cole

Master's Projects and Capstones

Mountain ecosystems offer substantial ecosystem services but are highly sensitive to climate change. The American pika (Ochotona princeps) serves as an indicator species of climate change and a model organism for studying its impacts on mountain mammals. Certain aspects of plant community composition and structure can function as predictors of pika distribution, but understanding the links between climate, forage quality, and foraging behavior is necessary to identify the mediating mechanism. Pika foraging pressure help shape the local plant community, which can confound modeling efforts and must be considered when evaluating the influence of vegetation on pika persistence. Plant Secondary Metabolites ...


Size-Dependent Patterns Of Reproductive Investment In The North American Invasive Plant Species Triadica Sebifera (L.) Small (Euphorbiaceae), Courtney H. Babin 2017 University of New Orleans

Size-Dependent Patterns Of Reproductive Investment In The North American Invasive Plant Species Triadica Sebifera (L.) Small (Euphorbiaceae), Courtney H. Babin

University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations

Knowledge of sex allocation trade-offs with tree growth in insect-pollinated woody plants is limited, particularly in invasive plants. This study examined patterns of growth and reproductive investment in a North American invasive plant species, Triadica sebifera, I hypothesized that the energy limitations of smaller trees may result in the production of more male reproductive structures that are energetically less costly. Diameter at breast height was a significant predictor of seed and catkin mass and regression can describe these relationships across sites. Seed and catkin mass were positively correlated across sites. The relationship between the seed mass:catkin mass ratio and ...


Evolutionary Genetic Aspects Of Host Association In Generalist Ectoparasites, Benoit Talbot 2017 The University of Western Ontario

Evolutionary Genetic Aspects Of Host Association In Generalist Ectoparasites, Benoit Talbot

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Despite the use of the host for dispersal by most parasite species, the extremely loose relationship typical between highly mobile hosts and generalist ectoparasites may lead to very different gene flow patterns between the two, leading in turn to different spatial genetic structure, and potentially different demographic history. I examined how similar gene flow patterns are between Cimex adjunctus, a generalist ectoparasite of bats present throughout North America, and two of its key bat hosts. I first analyzed the continent-scale genetic structure and demographic history of C. adjunctus and compared it to that of two of its hosts, the little ...


The Impact Of Anthropocentrism On Christian Environmentalism, Alexis Grasse 2017 Abilene Christian University

The Impact Of Anthropocentrism On Christian Environmentalism, Alexis Grasse

Dialogue & Nexus

This paper will discuss the effects of anthropocentrism in Christian theology, doctrine, and environmentalism. The development and history of Christian environmentalism will be examined, with emphasis on the time since the 1960s, when environmentalism came to the forefront in the Western world. Alternative interpretations and worldviews, mainly ecocentrism and biocentrism, will be considered and compared to the prevalent anthropocentric view. I will close with a presentation of two possible means for developing a Christian ecological theology without anthropocentrism. An environmental position most coherent with Christian principles will be left open to the reader; my purpose is to examine the impact ...


Human Evolution And Divine Agency, Alexandra Rakestraw 2017 Abilene Christian University

Human Evolution And Divine Agency, Alexandra Rakestraw

Dialogue & Nexus

Modern Christians often find themselves at a crossroads when confronted with the two predominant understandings of human and universal origins. Plain sense readings of Genesis lead many to believe in a historical six-day creation that occurred in the past ten thousand years while proponents on the other side of the spectrum use current scientific understanding to support a creation that occurs through evolutionary means. How one views human origins has a profound impact on one’s concept of how God works in the cosmos. In this paper, I will lay out a background to better understand the characters of Adam ...


Moral Awareness, Original Sin And The Atonement, Tanner Gregory 2017 Abilene Christian University

Moral Awareness, Original Sin And The Atonement, Tanner Gregory

Dialogue & Nexus

I will explore how evolution impacts the Christian notion of The Fall of man, and, ultimately, the atonement. Various theories of atonement in the Christian tradition generally assume universal and individual sinfulness in humanity. In some cases, this sinfulness is thought to be the result of a distinct moment of rebellion against God, and is transmitted to all of the descendants of Adam. Here, atonement involves Christ’s sacrifice as the means liberate humanity from the bondage of our sinful nature. Evolution collides with these traditional models. Instead of a creation originally void of death and later corrupted by sin ...


Race Relations: A Dialogue Between Science And Theology On The Basis Of Race, Shanice Latham 2017 Abilene Christian University

Race Relations: A Dialogue Between Science And Theology On The Basis Of Race, Shanice Latham

Dialogue & Nexus

When the topic of race is breached the emotions expressed can range from extreme feelings of guilt to extreme feelings of anger. Why is a word that is, today, commonly associated with a person’s skin color and other physical characteristics responsible for such strong emotional reactions? Much of the violence, poverty, injustice, and hurt in the world has been and is caused by racial division. With the continued use of such an arbitrary system as race these issues will continue to persist and deteriorate. This paper will explore the origin, as well as scientific and theological perspectives of race ...


“Bone Of My Bones And Flesh Of My Flesh”: A Feminist Analysis Of Christianity, Evolutionary Theory, And The Provenance Of Patriarchy, Heather Bishop 2017 Abilene Christian University

“Bone Of My Bones And Flesh Of My Flesh”: A Feminist Analysis Of Christianity, Evolutionary Theory, And The Provenance Of Patriarchy, Heather Bishop

Dialogue & Nexus

While perceived by many as conflicting in nearly every sphere, science and religion both play an important role in the promotion of patriarchal ideologies. My research has found that neither Christianity nor evolutionary theory are inherently patriarchal, neither do they justify patriarchy. Instead, it is the misinterpretation and misuse of these subjects that contribute to the justification of patriarchy for the deep-seated goal of reproductive power. I will show this by analyzing theological themes present throughout the Christian scriptures, as well as investigating findings of evolutionary psychology and hominid ancestry. The implication of this study is that there is no ...


Volume 3 Editorial, Daniel Brannan 2017 Abilene Christian University

Volume 3 Editorial, Daniel Brannan

Dialogue & Nexus

No abstract provided.


Beta-Diversity Patterns And Community Assembly Across Latitudes, Emma Moran 2017 Washington University in St. Louis

Beta-Diversity Patterns And Community Assembly Across Latitudes, Emma Moran

Arts & Sciences Electronic Theses and Dissertations

A major goal of community ecology is in understanding variation in community composition, generally termed β-diversity. This variation can result from a variety of mechanisms, including deterministic factors, wherein species sort along biotic or abiotic gradients; stochastic processes, whereby random fluctuations in population sizes cause variation in community composition; and/or dispersal limitation. Although all of these processes are likely occurring in all biological communities, a key question in community ecology research is if their relative importance may vary systematically across environmental or biogeographic gradients. In this dissertation, we combine both observational and experimental research to investigate β-diversity across a ...


Breeding Ecology And Habitat Use Of Unisexual Salamanders And Their Sperm-Hosts, Blue-Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma Laterale), Kristine Hoffmann 2017 UMaine

Breeding Ecology And Habitat Use Of Unisexual Salamanders And Their Sperm-Hosts, Blue-Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma Laterale), Kristine Hoffmann

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Unsexual Salamanders within the Blue-Spotted Salamander Complex carry combinations of ambystomatid genomes (those of Blue-Spotted Salamanders, Ambystoma laterale, and Jefferson Salamanders, A. jeffersonianum in Maine). They are nearly all female, breed in wetlands, and use sperm of related species to reproduce. Little is known about their ecology to guide the conservation of this unique lineage. I examined breeding site occupancy, demographics, orientation, and terrestrial habitat selection of Unisexual Salamanders in comparison to Blue-Spotted Salamanders and other amphibians. I compared statistical tests of orientation to determine which was most appropriate for pitfall data.

Unisexual Salamander occupancy at breeding sites was positively ...


The Biogeographic Origins And Trophic Ecology Of Maine’S Island Red-Backed Salamanders (Plethodon Cinereus), Nikko-Ideen Shaidani 2017 University of Maine

The Biogeographic Origins And Trophic Ecology Of Maine’S Island Red-Backed Salamanders (Plethodon Cinereus), Nikko-Ideen Shaidani

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Island populations of terrestrial species have an increased potential, compared to mainland populations, to adapt and diverge, as these populations often are isolated with respect to gene flow from other populations and may be subjected to novel pressures. Indeed, extended isolation of individuals can elicit dramatic changes within populations and is recognized as a common driver of speciation. It is for these reasons that island populations are often a priority for conservation. Plethodontid salamanders are among the most terrestrial of Maine’s amphibians and are not tolerant of prolonged exposure to seawater, and yet, they are found on a number ...


Population Ecology Of Colonially Breeding Seabirds: How Intrinsic Processes, Mediating Influences, And Individual Heterogeneity Affect Population Vital Rates, Aly McKnight 2017 University of Maine - Main

Population Ecology Of Colonially Breeding Seabirds: How Intrinsic Processes, Mediating Influences, And Individual Heterogeneity Affect Population Vital Rates, Aly Mcknight

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Seabirds have great potential to serve as marine indicators. However, before we can interpret seabird trends with confidence, we need a better understanding of the role of intrinsic processes, mediating influences, and lifetime experience in modulating relationships between prey availability and seabird population dynamics.

Intrinsic processes, mediating influences, and seabird productivity. I assessed productivity (chicks per breeding attempt) at Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) colonies in Prince William Sound, AK and managed Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) colonies in the Gulf of Maine. Both systems showed evidence of intrinsic control; factors mediating access to prey were also important.

Mediating influences, individual heterogeneity ...


Effects Of Dam Removal On Assemblage Composition And The Interactions Of Fishes In The Penobscot River, Maine, Jonathan Watson 2017 University of Maine

Effects Of Dam Removal On Assemblage Composition And The Interactions Of Fishes In The Penobscot River, Maine, Jonathan Watson

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Dams and their impoundments disrupt river habitat connectivity to the detriment of migratory fishes. Removal of dams improves riverine connectivity and lotic habitat which benefits these fishes along with resident fluvial specialist species. Restoration efforts on the Penobscot River (Maine, USA) are among the largest recently completed in the United States, and include the removal of the two lower-most dams and improvements to fish passage at several remaining barriers. Here we describe initial and potential future changes to fish communities in the Penobscot River associated with these restoration efforts.

We assessed fish assemblages in the mainstem river and several major ...


Measuring Fertilization In Populations Of Sea Scallop (Placopecten Magellanicus): Developing And Testing Methods In The Laboratory And Field, Skylar Bayer 2017 University of Maine

Measuring Fertilization In Populations Of Sea Scallop (Placopecten Magellanicus): Developing And Testing Methods In The Laboratory And Field, Skylar Bayer

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Most marine organisms are broadcast spawners, releasing their sperm and eggs into the water column. Methods of measuring in situ fertilization have proven successful with a few model species, which are reviewed in my introductory chapter. However, many commercially exploited species, such as the sea scallop Placopecten magellanicus, have been neglected. Sea scallop populations have greatly increased from fishing closures, but the mechanism behind this response is uncertain, particularly in regard to fertilization. In this dissertation I developed a methodology of measuring fertilization success and spawning events of P. magellanicus, tested it in laboratory and field settings, and developed a ...


Precipitation Patterns And Fungal Community Succession In A Seasonally Dry Secondary Tropical Savanna, Sara R. Lopez 2017 University of New Mexico - Main Campus

Precipitation Patterns And Fungal Community Succession In A Seasonally Dry Secondary Tropical Savanna, Sara R. Lopez

Biology ETDs

Life in seasonally dry areas strongly depends on pulses of precipitation during certain portions of the year. This is particularly relevant for Tropical savannas on the Caribbean coast of Colombia that have been converted from Tropical Dry Forests and subjected to permanent agricultural and grazing practices that in turn induce changes in nutrient status in these systems. Several studies have presented evidence for a shift in C and N dynamics following forest conversion, including a decrease in total soil organic carbon and changes in nitrogen status, but the consequences of forest conversion on soil microbial processes are poorly understood. No ...


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