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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

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 ...


Gynodioecy And Biotic Interactions: Plant Traits, Insect Preferences, And Population-Level Consequences, Laura A. D. Doubleday Jul 2018

Gynodioecy And Biotic Interactions: Plant Traits, Insect Preferences, And Population-Level Consequences, Laura A. D. Doubleday

Doctoral Dissertations

In species with distinct sexes, differences between the sexes often affect interspecific interactions. In gynodioecious flowering plants, where individuals are female or hermaphrodite, both pollinators and herbivores tend to prefer hermaphrodites. Because pollinators and herbivores affect plant fitness, their preferences have consequences for plant mating patterns, natural selection on mating-related traits, and plant breeding system evolution. Being sessile, the spatial arrangement of females and hermaphrodites in gynodioecious plant populations alters conspecific density and sex ratio locally, which can also have important fitness effects.

My dissertation combines observational studies in natural Silene vulgaris populations and simulation modeling to address questions about ...


Using Stable Isotopes To Examine Carry-Over Effects During The Full Annual Cycle Of A Migratory Bird, The Prairie Warbler, Michael E. Akresh Jul 2018

Using Stable Isotopes To Examine Carry-Over Effects During The Full Annual Cycle Of A Migratory Bird, The Prairie Warbler, Michael E. Akresh

Doctoral Dissertations

To better conserve threatened species, conservationists need to understand the processes that affect species during their entire life cycle, including ‘carry-over effects’ which can occur if individuals’ previous experience influences their current or future performance. We studied prairie warblers (Setophaga discolor) to examine carry-over effects in a Nearctic-Neotropical migratory bird. Using carbon isotopes in birds’ blood as a measure of habitat moisture, we first assessed the effects of rainfall and habitat on the condition of prairie warblers wintering in The Bahamas. Annual variation in rainfall and spatial moisture interacted to influence birds’ condition: during a winter with less rainfall, most ...


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 ...


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 ...


Evaluating Resistance Surfaces For Modeling Wildlife Movement And Connectivity, Katherine Zeller Nov 2016

Evaluating Resistance Surfaces For Modeling Wildlife Movement And Connectivity, Katherine Zeller

Doctoral Dissertations

The continued growth of human populations and associated development in many areas of the world is causing persistent fragmentation of natural habitats. In response, wildlife corridors are often promoted as essential for the conservation of wildlife species. Wildlife corridors allow for the movement of individuals between habitat patches and confer many benefits including the maintenance of metapopulations and metapopulation dynamics, the maintenance of seasonal migratory routes, genetic exchange, and the potential for individuals and populations to shift their ranges in response to climate change.

Wildlife corridors are modeled across a resistance-to-movement surface where resistance represents the willingness of an organism ...


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 ...


Variations In The Invertebrate Communities Of Wild Cape Cod Cranberry Bogs, Barbara Wagner Mar 2016

Variations In The Invertebrate Communities Of Wild Cape Cod Cranberry Bogs, Barbara Wagner

Masters Theses

As a species domesticated only in the last century, agricultural cranberry plants (Vaccinium macrocarpon) remain little removed from their wild relatives. Thus, it is a potential model species for studies of the earliest stages of domestication; however, there is little available quantitative information on its wild population biology and ecology. As such information is vital to studies of the ecological changes occurring during domestication, the purpose of this study was to consolidate the relevant knowledge available and conduct a preliminary search for patterns in the invertebrate communities of wild bogs. The alpha diversity was found to be greater than the ...


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 ...


Density-Dependent Survival In The Larval Stage Of An Invasive Insect: Dispersal Vs. Predation, Adam A. Pepi Nov 2015

Density-Dependent Survival In The Larval Stage Of An Invasive Insect: Dispersal Vs. Predation, Adam A. Pepi

Masters Theses

1. The success of invasive species is often thought to be due to release from natural enemies. This hypothesis relies on the assumption that species are regulated by top-down forces in their native range and implies that species are likely to be regulated by bottom-up forces in the invasive range. Neither of these assumptions has been consistently supported with insects, a group which include many highly destructive invasive pest species.

2. Winter moth (Operophtera brumata) is an invasive defoliator in North America that appears to be regulated by mortality in the larval stage in its invasive range. To assess whether ...


The Effectiveness And Applicability Of Amphibians As Indicator Species For Long-Term Monitoring Of Ecological Changes In New England Forests, Ahmed Siddig Aug 2015

The Effectiveness And Applicability Of Amphibians As Indicator Species For Long-Term Monitoring Of Ecological Changes In New England Forests, Ahmed Siddig

Doctoral Dissertations

The objective of this study is to assess the potential of two amphibians species, Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus (Green)) and Eastern Red-spotted Newt (Notopthalmus viridescens viridescens Rafinesque), as indicator species of forest disturbances at Harvard Forest, located in Petersham, Massachusetts, United States. Specifically, I 1) assess the impacts of these focal species to decline of hemlock forests in Harvard Forest; 2) calibrate abundance indices of P. cinereus based on artificial and natural objects surveys with a population size estimator based on depletion sampling; and 3) assess the potential of these salamanders as indicator species by developing an objective and ...


Experimental Test Of Genetic Rescue In Isolated Populations Of Brook Trout, Zachary L. Robinson Jul 2015

Experimental Test Of Genetic Rescue In Isolated Populations Of Brook Trout, Zachary L. Robinson

Masters Theses

Translocations are an important aspect of the management of natural populations in an increasingly fragmented landscape. Maintaining connectivity and gene flow is beneficial for both contemporary fitness and adaptive potential in the face of environmental change. Genetic rescue (GR) can alleviate inbreeding depression, genetic load, and increase adaptive potential of populations. Here, I have translocated 10 (5 of each sex) brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) to four geographically proximate and environmentally similar fragmented stream-dwelling populations of brook trout in Virginia to test for genetic rescue. The translocated brook trout contributed to more families than would be expected under neutral introgression, and ...


Integrated Modeling Of Land Use And Climate Change Impacts On Multiscale Ecosystems Of Central African Watersheds, Simon Nampindo Nov 2014

Integrated Modeling Of Land Use And Climate Change Impacts On Multiscale Ecosystems Of Central African Watersheds, Simon Nampindo

Doctoral Dissertations

Assessment and management of ecosystem services demands diverse knowledge of the system components. Land use change occurring mainly through deforestation, expansion of agriculture and unregulated extraction of natural resources are the greatest challenges of the Congo basin and yet is central to supporting over 100 million people. This study undertook to implement an integrated modeling of multiscale ecosystems of central African watersheds and model the impact of anthropogenic factors on elephant population in Greater Virunga landscape. The study was conducted at varied scales, regional, landscape, and community. Regional study included watershed analysis and hydrological assessment using remotely sensed data implemented ...