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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Patterns Of Morphological Plasticity In Metriaclima Zebra And Danio Rerio Suggest Differently Canalized Phenotypes Due To Form-Function Relationships, Dylan Jockel Oct 2019

Patterns Of Morphological Plasticity In Metriaclima Zebra And Danio Rerio Suggest Differently Canalized Phenotypes Due To Form-Function Relationships, Dylan Jockel

Masters Theses

In order to ascertain the degree of compatibility in developmental restructuring and behavioral plasticity between two fish species frequently made subject of laboratory research (Metriaclima zebra & Danio rerio), alternative trophic niche exposure experiments utilizing novel three-prong feeding treatments were conducted to obtain morphometric data, which demonstrated both species do bear some degree of plasticity. The results are somewhat complicated by differences in locality of detectable restructuring, which may be due to disparity in the form-function relationship for each species’ lineage. Each is notable in the manner of respective species’ jaw protrusion, as it is driven by anterior kinethmoid rotation in ...


Population Viability And Connectivity Of The Federally Threatened Eastern Indigo Snake In Central Peninsular Florida, Javan Bauder Mar 2019

Population Viability And Connectivity Of The Federally Threatened Eastern Indigo Snake In Central Peninsular Florida, Javan Bauder

Doctoral Dissertations

Understanding the factors influencing the likelihood of persistence of real-world populations requires both an accurate understanding of the traits and behaviors of individuals within those populations (e.g., movement, habitat selection, survival, fecundity, dispersal) but also an understanding of how those traits and behaviors are influenced by landscape features. The federally threatened eastern indigo snake (EIS, Drymarchon couperi) has declined throughout its range primarily due to anthropogenically-induced habitat loss and fragmentation making spatially-explicit assessments of population viability and connectivity essential for understanding its current status and directing future conservation efforts.

The primary goal of my dissertation was to understand how ...


Not Gone With The Wind: Addressing Effects Of Offshore Wind Development On Bat Species In The Northeastern United States, Zara Rae Dowling Nov 2018

Not Gone With The Wind: Addressing Effects Of Offshore Wind Development On Bat Species In The Northeastern United States, Zara Rae Dowling

Doctoral Dissertations

Development of coastal and offshore wind energy resources has the potential to add considerable renewable electricity capacity to the United States electrical grid, but could have detrimental impacts on wildlife. Land-based wind energy facilities are estimated to kill hundreds of thousands of bats every year in the United States, and could threaten population viability of some species. Little is known about the potential impacts of offshore wind development on bat populations along the North Atlantic coast, but a number of species are known to frequent marine islands or fly over the ocean during migration. This dissertation helps to characterize risks ...


Optimization Of Vegetative Filter Strips For Mitigation Of Runoff From Golf Course Turf, Barbara Deflorio Mar 2018

Optimization Of Vegetative Filter Strips For Mitigation Of Runoff From Golf Course Turf, Barbara Deflorio

Masters Theses

ABSTRACT

OPTIMIZATION OF VEGETATIVE FILTER STRIPS FOR MITIGATION OF RUNOFF FROM GOLF TURF

SEPTEMBER 2017

BARBARA A. DEFLORIO, B.S., UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST

Directed by: Professor John M. Clark

Many pesticides are listed as possible or probable human carcinogens, leading to a public concern over their environmental impact. Vegetative filter strips (VFS) have been developed to intercept runoff water and prevent pesticides from contaminating surface and ground water.

The first half of this project identified five plants (big blue stem, blue flag iris, eastern gama grass, prairie cord grass and wool grass) that best removed pesticides from contaminated soil ...


Characterization Of Calcium Homeostasis Parameters In Trpv3 And Cav3.2 Double Null Mice, Aujan Mehregan Dec 2017

Characterization Of Calcium Homeostasis Parameters In Trpv3 And Cav3.2 Double Null Mice, Aujan Mehregan

Masters Theses

In mammals, calcium influx is required for oocyte maturation and egg activation, as it supports the persistent calcium oscillations induced by fertilization. These oscillations are required for the initiation of embryo development. The molecular identities of the plasma membrane calcium-permeant channels that underlie calcium influx are not established. Among these channels, Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid, member 3 (TRPV3) allows divalent cations, namely strontium (Sr2+) and calcium (Ca2+) with high permeability, into cells, and its expression pattern seems to predict an essential role in the initiation of development. Another channel that was identified to be expressed in oocytes/eggs ...


Modelling Bird Migration With Motus Data And Bayesian State-Space Models, Justin Baldwin Oct 2017

Modelling Bird Migration With Motus Data And Bayesian State-Space Models, Justin Baldwin

Masters Theses

Bird migration is a poorly-known yet important phenomenon, as understanding movement patterns of birds can inform conservation strategies and public health policy for animal-borne diseases. Recent advances in wildlife tracking technology, in particular the Motus system, have allowed researchers to track even small flying birds and insects with radio transmitters that weigh fractions of a gram. This system relies on a community-based distributed sensor network that detects tagged animals as they move through the detection nodes on journeys that range from small local movements to intercontinental migrations. The quantity of data generated by the Motus system is unprecedented, is on ...


Direct And Indirect Effects Of Climate On Bird Abundance Along Elevation Gradients In The Northern Appalachians, Timothy Duclos Oct 2017

Direct And Indirect Effects Of Climate On Bird Abundance Along Elevation Gradients In The Northern Appalachians, Timothy Duclos

Masters Theses

The stratification of bird species along elevational gradients is widely reported, with montane bird communities typically characterized by distinctive species occurring in relatively small and isolated populations; as such, these species are the subject of considerable interest to ecologists and conservationists. The stratification of species along elevation is largely attributed to compressed climatic zonation. Recent evidence that bird species are shifting up in elevation has fueled speculation that these species are tracking their climactic niches in response to climate change. However, there is also evidence plant communities are shifting in elevation, presenting a potential additional mechanism explaining changes observed in ...


Botswana’S Elephant-Back Safari Industry – Stress-Response In Working African Elephants And Analysis Of Their Post-Release Movements, Tanya Lama Jul 2017

Botswana’S Elephant-Back Safari Industry – Stress-Response In Working African Elephants And Analysis Of Their Post-Release Movements, Tanya Lama

Masters Theses

Understanding how African elephants (Loxodonta africana) respond to human interactions in ecotourism operations is critical to safeguarding animal and human welfare and sustaining wildlife ecotourism activities. We investigated the stress response of elephants to a variety of tourist activities over a 15-month period at Abu Camp in northern Botswana. We compared fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) concentrations across three elephant groups, including: eight elephants in an elephant-tourism operation (Abu herd), three elephants previously reintroduced back into the wild from the Abu herd, and wild elephants. There were no differences in FGM concentrations between the three groups of elephants. The highest observed ...


The Role Of Phenotypic Integration In Mammalian Tooth Function And Jaw Morphological Diversity, Andrew Conith Jul 2017

The Role Of Phenotypic Integration In Mammalian Tooth Function And Jaw Morphological Diversity, Andrew Conith

Doctoral Dissertations

Here I investigate how two major components of the mammalian feeding system, teeth and jaws, are influenced by functional, environment, and developmental factors. First, I build physical models of the molars from two early mammals, Morganucodon and Kuehneotherium, and compare their ability to process a proxy food item. Early mammals were under strong selection to reduce metabolic costs, so any savings in energy during feeding would be advantageous. I tested the ability of both mammals to process a hard and soft food item with material properties similar to that of the insects they would have likely consumed. Morganucodon was better ...


Burrowing And Walking Mechanisms Of North American Moles, Yi-Fen Lin Jul 2017

Burrowing And Walking Mechanisms Of North American Moles, Yi-Fen Lin

Doctoral Dissertations

Moles (Family Talpidae) are a classic example of extreme specialization, in their case highly derived forelimb morphologies associated with burrowing. Despite many observations of mole burrows and behaviors gathered in the field, we know very little about how and how well moles use their forelimbs to dig tunnels and to walk within the built tunnels to collect and transport food. The first chapter investigates the effect of soil compactness on two sympatric mole species under controlled laboratory conditions. My results demonstrate that increasing soil compactness impedes tunneling performance as evidenced by reduced burrowing speed, increased soil transport, shorter tunnels, shorter ...


Cdna Sequences Of The Caprine Gamma Delta T Cell Hybrid Co-Receptor And Pathogen Recognition Receptor Wc1 Multigene Family, Maria Solangi Mar 2017

Cdna Sequences Of The Caprine Gamma Delta T Cell Hybrid Co-Receptor And Pathogen Recognition Receptor Wc1 Multigene Family, Maria Solangi

Masters Theses

Workshop cluster 1 (WC1) molecules are exclusively expressed on the surface of gamma delta T cells and act as co-receptors and bind pathogens thus also functioning as pattern recognition receptors. The aim was to obtain cDNA evidence to support the recent caprine genome annotation of the WC1 multigene family conducted by a colleague. To get cDNA sequences three strategies were used. Strategy 'I' was used to obtain three clones that corresponded to WC1 SRCR domain d9 through the intracytoplasmic tail sequence. Strategy 'II' was used to obtain 6 clones. A PCR was conducted using SRCR domain b7 through the intracytoplasmic ...


Distribution And Population Dynamics Of Ungulates In The Mongolian Gobi, Buuveibaatar Bayarbaatar Dr Nov 2016

Distribution And Population Dynamics Of Ungulates In The Mongolian Gobi, Buuveibaatar Bayarbaatar Dr

Doctoral Dissertations

The Mongolian Gobi is one of the most spectacular and important regions in Central Asia, comprising the largest area of intact grassland in the world. In recent years, a growing human population, expanding exploitation of natural resources, and the development of infrastructure in the region place increasing pressure on these species and their habitats. This dissertation has focused on three species of ungulates such as Mongolian saiga (Saiga tatarica mongolica) in western Mongolia, and Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus), and goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) in Southern Gobi. The study on endangered saiga antelope in western Mongolia found that the calving ...


Regional Recruitment Dynamics And Seasonal Ecology Of Juvenile Bluefish (Pomatomus Saltatrix), David G. Stormer Nov 2016

Regional Recruitment Dynamics And Seasonal Ecology Of Juvenile Bluefish (Pomatomus Saltatrix), David G. Stormer

Doctoral Dissertations

Recruitment in fishes, defined as the survival of a cohort through the first year of life, can be highly variable and affected by small changes in biological and physical factors. Much of the historical focus into the sources of recruitment variability has concentrated on the larval stage, but recent attention has shifted to the relatively longer juvenile period. Spawning behavior that results in the production of multiple cohorts over time and space within a year-class may dampen recruitment variability by decreasing natural mortality risk. The bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) is a migratory marine species that produces multiple cohorts of offspring during ...


Ecological Consequences Of Lost Anadromous Forage Fish In Freshwater Ecosystems, Steven R. Mattocks Nov 2016

Ecological Consequences Of Lost Anadromous Forage Fish In Freshwater Ecosystems, Steven R. Mattocks

Masters Theses

Beginning in the early 1600s, dam construction in New England obstructed anadromous fish access to spawning grounds during migration. As a result, anadromous forage fish populations have declined, which has impacted freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems. To determine the impacts of dams on anadromous forage fish and freshwater ecosystems, I used historical and current data to estimate population changes in alewives (Alosa pseudoharengus) from 1600-1900. A significant reduction in spawning habitat occurred in New England as a result of 1,642 dams constructed between 1600 and 1900, resulting in 14.8% and 16.6% lake and stream habitat remaining by ...


River Herring Conservation In Freshwater: Investigating Fish Reproductive Success And The Educational Value Of Citizen Monitoring Programs, Meghna Marjadi Nov 2016

River Herring Conservation In Freshwater: Investigating Fish Reproductive Success And The Educational Value Of Citizen Monitoring Programs, Meghna Marjadi

Masters Theses

Over the last century anadromous alewife (Alosa psuedoharengus) and blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis), collectively called river herring, suffered drastic declines throughout their range from Newfoundland (Canada) to North Carolina (USA). A 2011 petition to include river herring in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was rejected, partly due to inadequate information towards identifying coast-wide population status. Additionally, knowledge gaps were identified with basic ecology of the river herring life cycle in freshwater, including species reproductive strategies. In Chapter 2, I investigated how body size, spawning arrival time, and sex influence river herring reproductive success. I collaborated with the Massachusetts Division of ...


Factors Affecting Habitat Quality For Wintering Wood Thrushes In A Coffee Growing Region In Honduras, Brett A. Bailey Nov 2016

Factors Affecting Habitat Quality For Wintering Wood Thrushes In A Coffee Growing Region In Honduras, Brett A. Bailey

Masters Theses

Amongst the diversity of taxa that occur in the Neotropics, 200 migratory bird species that breed in temperate North America can be found. Many of these populations have seen significant declines since the 1960s. The Wood Thrush, Hylocichla mustelina, is one such species. Shade coffee and other agroforestry practices show potential for benefiting migratory species, but the quality of coffee habitat and optimal habitat characteristics for Wood Thrushes remain unknown.

I surveyed a spatially complex, agricultural landscape in Honduras outside the recognized winter range of the Wood Thrush and radio-tagged 46 individuals within rustic coffee farms during the winters of ...


Primate Aesthetics, Chelsea L. Sams Jul 2016

Primate Aesthetics, Chelsea L. Sams

Masters Theses

A cultural, historical, and scientific survey of the phenomena of primate pictorial behavior, presented in a series of interconnected vignettes. What do primates find visually appealing? What is their motivation when creating images? What are the implications for art and for science? By drawing explicit and implicit connections between science, art, case studies, research, and personal narrative, I attempt to weave together what we know, and what we may never be able to know about this complex field.


Population Genetic Analysis Of Atlantic Horseshoe Crabs (Limulus Polyphemus) In Coastal Massachusetts., Katherine T. Johnson Mar 2016

Population Genetic Analysis Of Atlantic Horseshoe Crabs (Limulus Polyphemus) In Coastal Massachusetts., Katherine T. Johnson

Masters Theses

Atlantic horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) have endured decades of intense harvest pressure. Genetics studies have shown evidence of distinct sub-groups spanning the coast, although few fine-scale studies have been done to delineate these groups on a local level. Massachusetts lies directly between two of these sub-groups. With documented differences in prosomal widths of horseshoe crabs from either side of Cape Cod, it is possible that Cape Cod is a barrier to gene flow and that there are two distinct genetic groups within Massachusetts. Regulations currently consider all horseshoe crabs to be of one stock. I examined 6 microsatellite loci from ...


The Human Intruder Test: An Anxiety Assessment In Rhesus Macaques (Macaca Mulatta), Emily J. Peterson Nov 2015

The Human Intruder Test: An Anxiety Assessment In Rhesus Macaques (Macaca Mulatta), Emily J. Peterson

Masters Theses

The human intruder test (HIT) is a noninvasive tool widely used for assessing anxiety in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). This thesis explores the HIT procedure and applies it to a population of monkeys with a self-injurious behavioral pathology. Individual variation on this test can be used to assess anxiety and temperament. The first experiment of this thesis applied two different procedures of the HIT to 17 monkeys at UMass. Monkeys displayed little response to the intruder, and no significant differences were detected for the two procedures. To determine whether these responses were unique to the UMass monkeys, their behavior was ...


Associations Between Anxiety And Attention In Laboratory-Housed Rhesus Macaques (Macaca Mulatta), Lauren E. Hobbs Jul 2015

Associations Between Anxiety And Attention In Laboratory-Housed Rhesus Macaques (Macaca Mulatta), Lauren E. Hobbs

Masters Theses

Previous studies completed with humans have revealed insight into the effects of anxiety on attention tasks such the dot-probe task, but there is little information about such effects on non-human primates. This study aimed to assess whether anxiety or anxious behaviors would impact rhesus macaque performance on a three stimuli paradigm similar to the dot-probe task. Utilizing images of conspecifics (strong threat, mild threat, and neutral), eight monkeys were video recorded completing a task that required them to slide two doors, which held these images, to the side to obtain a treat. We hypothesized that behavioral phenotype (high or low ...


Trends In Human-Wildlife Interactions As Related To Land Use And Human Density In Massachusetts, Michael A. Huguenin Jr Mar 2015

Trends In Human-Wildlife Interactions As Related To Land Use And Human Density In Massachusetts, Michael A. Huguenin Jr

Masters Theses

We conducted a study of human-wildlife interactions in Massachusetts, USA between April 2010 and May 2012. Our objectives were to (1) compile and summarize public-generated reports on human-wildlife interactions across Massachusetts; (2) evaluate reports based on species, public concerns, and seasonal distribution; and (3) evaluate public perceptions of human-wildlife interactions. We collected unsolicited reports of human-wildlife interaction submitted to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW) through phone calls, emails, and face-to-face communications from the public. We received 2,730 reports from 332 of 351 towns in Massachusetts regarding 76 different wildlife species ranging from moose (Alces alces) to ...


A Novel Population Of Natural Killer Cells Plays A Critical Role In The Depletion Of Splenic B2 B Cells During Experimental African Trypanosomiasis, Deborah Frenkel Mar 2015

A Novel Population Of Natural Killer Cells Plays A Critical Role In The Depletion Of Splenic B2 B Cells During Experimental African Trypanosomiasis, Deborah Frenkel

Doctoral Dissertations

Loss of humoral immune competence in T. brucei-infected mice is associated with the apoptotic depletion of splenic transitional, marginal zone and follicular B cells as well as a depletion of CD8+ T cells. This occurs rapidly after infection and impairs responses to vaccine antigens in addition to responses to newly arising VSG antigenic variants, leading to uncontrolled parasite growth and death of the infected mice. Infection-induced B2 B cell and CD8+ T cell loss requires the presence of a novel population of natural killer (NK) cells and is mediated by a perforin-dependent process consistent with perforin- and granzyme-mediated cytotoxicity ...


The Effects Of Suburbanization On Nest Ectoparasites And Nest Defense Behavior In The Wood Thrush, Evan N. Dalton Nov 2014

The Effects Of Suburbanization On Nest Ectoparasites And Nest Defense Behavior In The Wood Thrush, Evan N. Dalton

Masters Theses

The Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) is declining throughout its range, yet is capable of persisting in both contiguous forests and small forest patches surrounded by human suburban development. Thus, it is an ideal species for gaining insight into the effects of suburbanization on migrant songbirds. I investigated two aspects of Wood Thrush nesting ecology: nest ectoparasites and nest defense behavior in order to determine if suburbanization influences either aspect. Nests from suburban forests had fewer haematophagous mites, though the abundance of haematophagous blowfly larvae did not differ between suburban and contiguous forests. There was no relationship between the abundance of ...


Vocal Performance In Songbirds: Territorial Defense And The Development Of Male Song And Female Mating Preferences, Dana L. Moseley Apr 2014

Vocal Performance In Songbirds: Territorial Defense And The Development Of Male Song And Female Mating Preferences, Dana L. Moseley

Doctoral Dissertations

The evolution of sexually selected signals has been a major topic of scientific research since Darwin. In recent years, scientists have focused on how elaborate signals can indicate honest information about the quality of their bearers, as predicted by reliability theory. A key concept relating to how mating displays could reliably reveal quality is "performance." Animals face limits in display production, and producing high-­‐performance displays depends on the adept coordination of multiple motor systems. Thus, by observing motor performance, signal-­‐receivers can assess the quality of signalers. Birdsong is a prime example of a display that involves motor challenges ...


Cd4 Silencing In Thymocytes Is Opposed By The Enforced Association Of P300 Hat, Hdac1 Or Suv39h1 With Runx Transcription Factors, Christyne Ayne Kane Apr 2014

Cd4 Silencing In Thymocytes Is Opposed By The Enforced Association Of P300 Hat, Hdac1 Or Suv39h1 With Runx Transcription Factors, Christyne Ayne Kane

Doctoral Dissertations

The transcription factors Runx1 and Runx3 are required for permanent silencing of CD4 in maturing CD8+ thymocytes. Runx binding to consensus sites within the CD4 silencer region is required for CD4 silencing post-positive selection. The Runx nuclear matrix targeting sequence (NMTS) is required for CD4 silencing and is implicated in binding to the histone acetyltransferase (HAT) p300, histone deacetylases (HDAC), and histone methyltransferase (HMT) SUV39H1 proteins. Epigenetic modifications of chromatin or post-translational modifications of Runx itself as a result of Runx association with these enzymes may be important for establishment of long-term CD4 silencing. In this study, we show that ...


Performance And Signaling In The Green Anole Lizard, Justin P. Henningsen Sep 2013

Performance And Signaling In The Green Anole Lizard, Justin P. Henningsen

Open Access Dissertations

Green anoles are small lizards of the Southeastern United States. They possess an extensible throat-fan called a dewlap. Males have larger dewlaps and display them more often than females. Displays occur during courtship, during agonistic interaction, and during encounters with potential predators. The size of the dewlap of male green anoles is positively correlated with maximum bite force capacity. Bite force capacity, in turn, is predictive of the winner during agonistic interactions. The correlation between these traits suggests that dewlap size may be used as a reliable signal of maximum bite force capacity. In this dissertation, I address three components ...


Molecular Characterization Of The Pathophysiology Of The Digital Laminae In Acute Carbohydrate-Induced Equine Laminitis, Erica Ann Pawlak Sep 2013

Molecular Characterization Of The Pathophysiology Of The Digital Laminae In Acute Carbohydrate-Induced Equine Laminitis, Erica Ann Pawlak

Open Access Dissertations

Equine laminitis is a devastating condition that results in the failure of the tissue responsible for suspending the skeleton within the hoof capsule. The digital laminae is composed of two interdigitated layers, the dermal lamellae surrounding the distal pedal bone, and the epidermal lamellae, which interfaces with the hoof wall. During laminitis, these layers separate, allowing for rotation and sinking of the pedal bone. While there are multiple diseases and physiological conditions associated with the development of laminitis, including sepsis, metabolic syndrome, and unequal weight bearing, the exact cause remains elusive. Prior work by our research group identified the metalloprotease ...


The Role Of Notch In Th17 Differentiation, Reem Suleiman Sep 2013

The Role Of Notch In Th17 Differentiation, Reem Suleiman

Open Access Dissertations

Th17 cells are pro-inflammatory cells that are characterized by the production of their signature cytokine, IL-17. Although they are thought to have arisen to protect against extracellular bacteria and fungi they have been shown to mediate autoimmune diseases such as EAE and psoarisis. Notch protein is a cell-surface receptor that has been widely conserved among species. It plays an essential role in determining multiple cell fates. More recently, it has been implicated in regulating peripheral CD4+ T-cell responses. In these studies, we report that blockade of Notch signaling significantly down-regulates the production of IL-17 and associated cytokines in both mouse ...


Birdsong Variation As A Source Of Information For Migrating Common Yellowthroats, Rachel Theresa Bolus Sep 2013

Birdsong Variation As A Source Of Information For Migrating Common Yellowthroats, Rachel Theresa Bolus

Open Access Dissertations

Social information affects the movement decisions of animals and is often an essential factor in habitat selection. Social information should be especially relevant to long-distance migrating birds that navigate over long distances through unfamiliar habitats to find resources to survive. This information likely varies in both availability and importance at the different spatial scales relevant to migrating birds. Using the common yellowthroat as a case study, I tested whether cues might be available in the songs of locally breeding birds at the continental, within-site, and within-territory scales. At the continental scale, I described the geographic variation in song among genetic ...


Ecology And Conservation Of The Montane Forest Avian Community In Northeastern North America, William V. Deluca Feb 2013

Ecology And Conservation Of The Montane Forest Avian Community In Northeastern North America, William V. Deluca

Open Access Dissertations

Montane forests provide habitat for unique assemblages of flora and fauna that contribute significantly to a region’s biodiversity. Previous work indicates that montane forest ecosystems are exceedingly vulnerable to a host of anthropogenic stressors including climate change, atmospheric deposition, and recreation, to name a few. Montane forests and other high elevation ecosystems are considered to be among the first and most severely impacted by climate change. It is therefore, imperative to evaluate anthropogenic impacts on montane ecosystems and maintain reliable monitoring methods that are capable of tracking potential shifts in the distribution of species dependent on these systems. I ...