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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 ...


The Effects Of Social And Physical Interactions On Lizard Morphology, Behavior, And Ecology, Casey Gilman Mar 2019

The Effects Of Social And Physical Interactions On Lizard Morphology, Behavior, And Ecology, Casey Gilman

Doctoral Dissertations

Interactions with the physical and social aspects of an animal’s surroundings direct the trajectory of local adaptation and can lead to tremendous diversity within and across taxa. In my dissertation, I explored how interactions between lizards and their environment lead to morphological, behavioral, and ecological diversity. First, I examined how a common, but unexplored habitat characteristic, perch flexibility, affects jumping performance of an arboreal lizard. I found that in the lab, green anole lizards (Anolis carolinensis) did not take advantage of the natural recoil of the flexible perches, and suffered decreased jump distance and takeoff speed as a consequence ...


Modeling The Abundance And Distribution Of Terrestrial Plants Through Space And Time, Caroline Curtis Nov 2018

Modeling The Abundance And Distribution Of Terrestrial Plants Through Space And Time, Caroline Curtis

Doctoral Dissertations

Anthropogenically-driven changes threaten ecosystems and species over regional to global scales. I addressed several questions related to how species ranges will respond to these changes over large spatial and temporal extents to better understand what determines where a species occurs.

First, I modeled presence and abundance of two widespread invasive plants in the southwest U.S. under current and projected future climatic conditions, from which I inferred impact risk. These results provide more insight than presence modeling alone and highlight the possibility of increased invasion pressure in the future.

Second, I tested the assumption that expert-based climatic tolerance data will ...


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 ...


Cumulative Adverse Effects Of Offshore Wind Energy Development On Wildlife, Morgan Goodale Oct 2018

Cumulative Adverse Effects Of Offshore Wind Energy Development On Wildlife, Morgan Goodale

Doctoral Dissertations

Offshore wind energy development is being pursued as a critical component in achieving a low-carbon energy economy. While the adverse effects of one wind farm on a particular wildlife population may be negligible, the aggregate effect of multiple wind farms through space and time could cause wildlife population declines. The risk of cumulative adverse effects (CAE) of offshore wind farms on wildlife is poorly researched and assessment processes are underdeveloped. Assessments of CAE must first calculate the cumulative exposure of a wildlife population to a hazard and then estimate how the exposure will affect the population. Our research responds to ...


Impact Of Native Natural Enemies On Populations Of The Invasive Winter Moth (Operophtera Brumata L) In The Northeast United States, Hannah J. Broadley Oct 2018

Impact Of Native Natural Enemies On Populations Of The Invasive Winter Moth (Operophtera Brumata L) In The Northeast United States, Hannah J. Broadley

Doctoral Dissertations

Invasive insects increasingly affect forested landscapes and have important ecological and economic impacts. My dissertation focuses on population dynamics of winter moth (Operophtera brumata L.), an invasive pest in the northeastern United States. Native to Europe, this is the species’ fourth accidental introduction to North America. The Elkinton lab established the biological control agent Cyzenis albicans across the range of winter moth in the northeastern U.S. Prior research indicates that C. albicans’ ability to control winter moth likely depends on additional mortality from native natural enemies. My dissertation research evaluates the identity and role of natural enemies already present ...


Performance Of Floristic Quality Assessment In Massachusetts Forested Wetlands, Carolyn Gorss Jul 2018

Performance Of Floristic Quality Assessment In Massachusetts Forested Wetlands, Carolyn Gorss

Masters Theses

In order to combat the loss of valuable wetland functions and services, federal, state and tribal governments must have the tools to accurately assess and monitor the condition of wetland ecosystems. One particular method of wetland assessment is Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA), which has been growing in popularity throughout the United States since its creation in the 1970s. FQA relies on vegetative indicators of human disturbance to assess the integrity of an ecosystem. FQA calculations are based on Coefficients of Conservatism (C-scores), professionally-assigned scores ranging from 0-10 that denote a local species' tolerance to anthropogenic disturbance. Despite increasing interest in ...


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 ...


Biology, Molecular Systematics, Population Dynamics And Control Of A Stem Gall Wasp, Zapatella Davisae (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae), Monica Davis Jul 2017

Biology, Molecular Systematics, Population Dynamics And Control Of A Stem Gall Wasp, Zapatella Davisae (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae), Monica Davis

Doctoral Dissertations

Gall wasps are phytophagous insects that often go unnoticed, however, when they are released from their natural enemies, they have the capacity to outbreak and cause extensive foliar damage. One such outbreaking pest, Zapatella davisae, causes significant damage and mortality to black oak, Quercus velutina. In recent years, black oak decline has been documented in Long Island, New York and coastal New England. Little is known about the lifecycle, distribution or population dynamics of Zapatella davisae and the taxonomy of the species is still unclear.

My first study described the biology and distribution of Z. davisae. Zapatella davisae completed one ...


The Effects Of Anthropogenic Stress On Nitrogen-Cycling Microbial Communities In Temperate And Tropical Soils, George S. Hamaoui Jr. Jul 2017

The Effects Of Anthropogenic Stress On Nitrogen-Cycling Microbial Communities In Temperate And Tropical Soils, George S. Hamaoui Jr.

Doctoral Dissertations

In this dissertation several research studies are discussed that characterize the effects of anthropogenic, or human-induced, stress on both ammonia-oxidizing and total bacterial soil microbial communities. The disturbances of land-use change in tropical, South American rainforests and artificial warming and nitrogen (N) fertilization in temperate, North American forests were investigated as these disturbances represent past and current disturbances caused by human landscape alteration and climate change. Initially, the response of soil ammonia-oxidizing microbial communities to land-use change from primary rainforest to pasture and, finally, back to secondary forest was determined. Next, these analyses of land-use change effects were expanded to ...


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 ...


Expansion Of And Reclassification Within The Family Lachnospiraceae, Kelly N. Haas Nov 2016

Expansion Of And Reclassification Within The Family Lachnospiraceae, Kelly N. Haas

Doctoral Dissertations

Many of the taxa in the family Lachnospiraceae are currently misclassified as Clostridium spp. Here attempt to rectify many of these issues, beginning with an in-depth genomic and physiologic analysis of Clostridium methoxybenzovorans, culminating in the assertion that is a heterotype of Clostridium indolis, followed by reclassification of the broader group in which this organism resides. We propose two novel genera, Lacriformis and Enterocloster, to reclassify this clade, this includes reclassification of Clostridium sphenoides, Clostridium indolis, Clostridium saccharolyticum, Clostridium celerecrescens, Clostridium xylanolyticum, Clostridium algidixylanolyticum, Clostridium aerotolerans, Clostridium amygdalinum, and Desulfotomaculum guttoideum as Lacriformis sphenoides, comb. nov., Lacriformis indolis, comb. nov ...


Evaluating Digital Vhf Technology To Monitor Shorebird And Seabird Use Of Offshore Wind Energy Areas In The Western North Atlantic, Pamela H. Loring Nov 2016

Evaluating Digital Vhf Technology To Monitor Shorebird And Seabird Use Of Offshore Wind Energy Areas In The Western North Atlantic, Pamela H. Loring

Doctoral Dissertations

Information on offshore movements of high priority bird species is needed for monitoring and managing adverse effects of offshore wind energy development in the western North Atlantic Ocean. This information is particularly important at night and during periods of inclement weather when risks of collision with offshore wind turbines may be elevated. For small-bodied avian taxa, technologies for monitoring movements of individually-marked birds are limited since satellite-based devices are still too heavy (> 5 g) for use on birds weighing < 150 g. In this dissertation, I evaluate the use of light-weight (1 to 1.5 g) digital VHF transmitters and a network of automated radio telemetry stations for tracking shorebirds and seabirds in offshore areas. In Chapter One, I compare digital VHF telemetry with satellite telemetry for tracking a shorebird, the American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus), at nesting areas in coastal Massachusetts. In Chapter Two, I evaluate possible adverse effects and retention time of using ...


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 ...


Spatial Ecology Of Great Barracuda (Sphyraena Barracuda) Around Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, U.S.V.I., Sarah L. Becker Jul 2016

Spatial Ecology Of Great Barracuda (Sphyraena Barracuda) Around Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, U.S.V.I., Sarah L. Becker

Masters Theses

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasing in popularity as a tool to manage fish stocks through conservation of entire habitats and fish assemblages. Quantifying the habitat use, site fidelity, and movement patterns of marine species is vital to this method of marine spatial planning. The success of these protected areas requires that sufficient habitat is guarded against fishing pressure. For large animals, which often have correspondingly large home range areas, protecting an entire home range can be logistically challenging. For MPAs to successfully protect large top predator species, it is important to understand what areas of a home range are ...


Generating Best Management Practices For Avian Conservation In A Land-Sparing Agriculture System, And The Habitat-Specific Survival Of A Priority Migrant, Jeffrey D. Ritterson Nov 2015

Generating Best Management Practices For Avian Conservation In A Land-Sparing Agriculture System, And The Habitat-Specific Survival Of A Priority Migrant, Jeffrey D. Ritterson

Masters Theses

A large amount of the world’s biodiversity is located in a disproportionately small amount of area, namely the tropics. Many of these areas are experiencing rapid landscape changes, mainly in the form of deforestation for agricultural practices. Current conservation efforts are focused on agricultural areas and their ability to provide habitat. The conservation value of a novel land-sparing agroforestry system, known as Integrated Open Canopy (IOC), was recently demonstrated on the study site when applied to coffee. IOC coffee supports forest species that are uncommon or absent in shade grown coffee. I generated best management practices for IOC farms ...


Assessing Wild Canid Distribution Using Camera Traps In The Pioneer Valley Of Western Massachusetts, Eric G. Leflore Nov 2014

Assessing Wild Canid Distribution Using Camera Traps In The Pioneer Valley Of Western Massachusetts, Eric G. Leflore

Masters Theses

With the ever-increasing human population, more people reside in urban areas than ever before; this is having marked effects on the landscape and in turn, wildlife. This study uses automatically triggered wildlife cameras to assess the distribution of three carnivore species (coyotes, Canis latrans; red foxes, Vulpes vulpes; and gray foxes, Urocyon cinereoargenteus) around the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts in relation to a gradient of human development. Cameras were placed at 141 locations within the 320-km2 study area over the course of three field seasons (3,052 trap nights). Relative abundances for fourteen other species and site characteristics (e ...


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 ...


Were Neandertal Humeri Adapted For Spear Thrusting Or Throwing? A Finite Element Study, Michael Anthony Berthaume Nov 2014

Were Neandertal Humeri Adapted For Spear Thrusting Or Throwing? A Finite Element Study, Michael Anthony Berthaume

Masters Theses

An ongoing debate concerning Neandertal ecology is whether or not they utilized long range weaponry. The anteroposteriorly expanded cross-section of Neandertal humeri have led some to argue they thrusted their weapons, while the rounder cross-section of Late Upper Paleolithic modern human humeri suggests they threw their weapons. We test the hypothesis that Neandertal humeri were built to resist strains engendered by thrusting rather than throwing using finite element models of one Neandertal, one Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) human and three recent human humeri, representing a range of cross-sectional shapes and sizes. Electromyography and kinematic data and articulated skeletons were used ...


Functional And Comparative Morphology Of The Nasal Cavity In Phyllostomid Bats, Thomas P. Eiting Aug 2014

Functional And Comparative Morphology Of The Nasal Cavity In Phyllostomid Bats, Thomas P. Eiting

Doctoral Dissertations

The functional morphology and evolution of the nasal cavity is poorly understood. The New World Leaf-nosed bats of the family Phyllostomidae are an excellent group of mammals in which to study the evolution of the nose and nasal cavity. Phyllostomids span a wide dietary diversity, which is correlated both with the shape of the rostrum as well as with reliance on olfaction, one of the key functions mediated by the nose and the focus of my dissertation. How does dietary diversity relate to differences in the olfactory anatomy of phyllostomids?

I examined three neurological features thought to relate to olfactory ...