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Theses/Dissertations

Doctoral Dissertations

2019

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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Cytochrome P450 Monooxygenase-Mediated Lipid Metabolism In Obesity And Colon Tumorigenesis, Weicang Wang Oct 2019

Cytochrome P450 Monooxygenase-Mediated Lipid Metabolism In Obesity And Colon Tumorigenesis, Weicang Wang

Doctoral Dissertations

Colon cancer is a major public health issue: it is expected to have 140,250 new cases and 50,630 deaths during 2018, making colon cancer the third most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Obesity is associated with enhanced colonic inflammation, which is a major risk factor of colorectal cancer. Currently, more than 35% of adults and nearly 17% of children are obese. Considering the obesity and colon cancer epidemic in the United States, there is an urgent need to identify novel therapeutic targets for obesity and colon cancer ...


Protein Detection And Structural Characterization By Mass Spectrometry Using Supramolecular Assemblies And Small Molecules, Bo Zhao Oct 2019

Protein Detection And Structural Characterization By Mass Spectrometry Using Supramolecular Assemblies And Small Molecules, Bo Zhao

Doctoral Dissertations

Mass spectrometry (MS) has played an increasingly prominent role in proteomics and structure biology because it shows superior capabilities in identification, quantification and structural characterization of proteins. To realize its full potential in protein analysis, significant progress has been made in developing innovative techniques and reagents that can couple to MS detection. This dissertation demonstrates the use of polymeric supramolecular assemblies for enhanced protein detection in complex biological mixtures by MS. An amphiphilic random co-polymer scaffold is developed to form functional supramolecular assemblies for protein/ peptide enrichment. The influences of charge density and functional group pKa on host-guest interactions ...


Factors Influencing Spartina Alterniflora Productivity In Relationship To Estuary Inlet Opening Ellisville Marsh, Plymouth, Ma, Ellen K. Russell Oct 2019

Factors Influencing Spartina Alterniflora Productivity In Relationship To Estuary Inlet Opening Ellisville Marsh, Plymouth, Ma, Ellen K. Russell

Doctoral Dissertations

A scientific basis for understanding the health of salt marsh vegetation, primarily Spartina alterniflora, in apposition to dredging of the tidal inlet to Ellisville Marsh in Plymouth, Massachusetts was determined. A three-hectare S. alterniflora loss, and coincident coastal bank erosion occurred; ostensibly due to inlet blockage from sand deposition, prolonged inundation, and meandering of inlet channel into coastal bank. This warranted dredging the tidal inlet, whereby tidal flushing would restore growth or discontinue die-off, and deter coastal bank erosion. A pre- and post dredge study was conducted assessing environmental factors related to plant productivity. Following dredging, an increase in tidal ...


Changes In Soil Microbial Communities After Long-Term Warming Exposure, William G. Rodríguez-Reillo Oct 2019

Changes In Soil Microbial Communities After Long-Term Warming Exposure, William G. Rodríguez-Reillo

Doctoral Dissertations

Microbial metabolism is a key controller of ecosystem processes (e.g., carbon cycling). However, we are only starting to identify the molecular mechanisms and feedback in response to long-term warming. My dissertation integrates multi-omics techniques to capture changes in soil microbial communities after long-term warming exposure. The research projects leverage three warming sites (i.e., SWaN, Barre Woods, and Prospect Hill) located in Western Massachusetts at Harvard Forest. These sites provided a unique experimental setup to better understand microbes in response to long-term temperature change. For the three research projects, we delved into the (i) microbial biodiversity across all three ...


Silver Mirror Substrate And Rolling Method For Improved Surface-Enhanced Raman Spesctroscopic Analysis In Food, Yanqi Qu Oct 2019

Silver Mirror Substrate And Rolling Method For Improved Surface-Enhanced Raman Spesctroscopic Analysis In Food, Yanqi Qu

Doctoral Dissertations

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, short for SERS, is an emerging technology with great potential in food analysis due to rapid detection, high sensitivity, portable instrumentation, and simple sample preparation. However, it is always a bottleneck to obtain reproducible SERS measurements in real analytical cases due to the complicity of food systems and inhomogeneous aggregation of colloidal nanoparticles. To improve its performance for practical applications in food analysis, efforts have been made in improving the reproducibility, enhancing the selectivity and reducing the matrix interference to the analyte. Herein, a self-assembly silver nanoparticles mirror substrate was fabricated to improve the and the quantitative ...


Effects Of Ivermectin And Perfluorobutanesulfonic Acid (Pfbs) On Lipid Metabolism, Weipeng Qi Oct 2019

Effects Of Ivermectin And Perfluorobutanesulfonic Acid (Pfbs) On Lipid Metabolism, Weipeng Qi

Doctoral Dissertations

Accumulating evidence has shown a link between environmental contaminants and altered lipid metabolism. There is currently, however, limited knowledge regarding the causal molecular mechanisms. Therefore, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of two environmental contaminants, ivermectin and perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), on lipid metabolism in adipocytes and hepatocytes using cell culture models. We first studied the effects of ivermectin, an anti-parasitic agent, on the adipogenesis of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. Our current results suggest that ivermectin inhibits adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and the expression of adipogenic genes where these effects were found to be partially via PPARγ-dependent, but not FXR-dependent, pathway. Additionally, ivermectin also ...


Drivers And Consequences Of Carbon Use Efficiency - And Its Measurement In Soil, Grace Pold Oct 2019

Drivers And Consequences Of Carbon Use Efficiency - And Its Measurement In Soil, Grace Pold

Doctoral Dissertations

Soils serve as massive carbon sinks, but their ability to continue this ecological service is contingent on how the resident soil microbial community will respond to the ongoing climate crisis. One key dimension of the microbial response to warming is its carbon use efficiency (CUE), or the fraction of carbon taken up by an organism which is allocated to growth rather than respiration. However, the scientific community is still in the early stages of understanding the drivers, consequences - and even accurate measurements of - CUE. In this dissertation, I first quantified the variability of CUE and its responsiveness to temperature and ...


Ecology And Conservation Of Immature Sea Turtles Across Multiple Scales, Lucas Griffin Oct 2019

Ecology And Conservation Of Immature Sea Turtles Across Multiple Scales, Lucas Griffin

Doctoral Dissertations

Considering many sea turtle populations are a fraction of their historic size and anthropogenic threats within the marine environment are increasing, additional data are imperative to help mitigate anthropogenic disturbances and to build resilience into sea turtle populations. In this dissertation, I present three data chapters focused on immature sea turtle ecology and conservation. These chapters evaluate sea turtle ecology and conservation at varying scales, ranging from mitigating human-wildlife interactions at the individual level, to coastal movements and space use at the ecosystem level, and to large scale climate change impacts at the population level. Ultimately, these chapters provide a ...


Effects Of Fertilization And Drying Conditions On The Quality Of Selected Chinese Medicinal Plants, Zoe Gardner Oct 2019

Effects Of Fertilization And Drying Conditions On The Quality Of Selected Chinese Medicinal Plants, Zoe Gardner

Doctoral Dissertations

Demand for Chinese medicinal herbs in the U.S. is increasing and American acupuncturists and farmers are interested in domestic production of these plants. Little is known about the feasibility of production of these species outside of China. Four species of herbs were selected for cultivation trials. The purposes of this research were to evaluate the feasibility of cultivation of these species in the northeastern United States, to develop basic agronomic data for each species, and to determine the effects of nitrogen fertilizer on plant growth, yield, and secondary metabolites. Agastache rugosa, Schizonepeta tenuifolia, Leonurus japonicus, and Leonurus sibiricus were ...


Function And Dissipation In Finite State Automata - From Computing To Intelligence And Back, Natesh Ganesh Oct 2019

Function And Dissipation In Finite State Automata - From Computing To Intelligence And Back, Natesh Ganesh

Doctoral Dissertations

Society has benefited from the technological revolution and the tremendous growth in computing powered by Moore's law. However, we are fast approaching the ultimate physical limits in terms of both device sizes and the associated energy dissipation. It is important to characterize these limits in a physically grounded and implementation-agnostic manner, in order to capture the fundamental energy dissipation costs associated with performing computing operations with classical information in nano-scale quantum systems. It is also necessary to identify and understand the effect of quantum in-distinguishability, noise, and device variability on these dissipation limits. Identifying these parameters is crucial to ...


Temporal And Spatial Management Tools For Marine Ecosystems: Case Studies From Northern Brazil And Northeastern United States, Beatriz Dos Santos Dias Oct 2019

Temporal And Spatial Management Tools For Marine Ecosystems: Case Studies From Northern Brazil And Northeastern United States, Beatriz Dos Santos Dias

Doctoral Dissertations

Anthropogenic interventions and actions upon the marine habitat pose threats to a range of species of economic and conservation concern. The dynamic nature of marine ecosystems offers a difficult challenge to incorporate spatial and temporal distributions of different species, and the interactions among species and human activities into a formal management framework. Each country has its own priorities when it comes to management of the marine resources (e.g. conservation, food security, sustainable fisheries, and optimization of revenue). Therefore, a key hurdle is to create tools adequate for use within an Ecosystem Approach to Management (EAM) and Ecosystem-based Management (EBM ...


Improving Chinese Mothers’ Health Literacy: A Wechat Intervention, Qiong Chen Oct 2019

Improving Chinese Mothers’ Health Literacy: A Wechat Intervention, Qiong Chen

Doctoral Dissertations

The health literacy and eHealth literacy of women during the reproductive age is crucial, as it can affect their health and the health of their children. Promoting health literacy is essential to achieve mothers’ empowerment by improving access to and capacity of using health information effectively. However, functional, interactive, and critical health literacy and eHealth literacy have never been assessed among Chinese women.

The first study during this dissertation assessed functional, interactive, and critical health literacy and eHealth literacy among 421 of Chinese mothers with children under 3 years old. The results revealed overall less than optimal level of health ...


Multi-Level Barriers To Art Adherence Among Hiv-Infected Women In Rural Eswatini: A Mixed Methods Approach, Nozipho Becker Oct 2019

Multi-Level Barriers To Art Adherence Among Hiv-Infected Women In Rural Eswatini: A Mixed Methods Approach, Nozipho Becker

Doctoral Dissertations

Eswatini has the highest global prevalence of HIV despite universal access to free treatment. Lack of compliance continues to be a significant challenge for HIV care and management programs throughout the country. Studies investigating barriers to antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, particularly in women, who are the most vulnerable to HIV infections, are limited. The disproportionate impact of HIV on women can be attributed to multiple risk factors at the individual, household, and community/structural levels. Women living in rural settings are particularly at risk as a result of socio-cultural and environmental vulnerabilities such as oppressive traditional practices, intimate partner violence ...


Mechanisms That Limit Oxidative Phosphorylation During High-Intensity Muscle Contractions In Vivo, Miles F. Bartlett Oct 2019

Mechanisms That Limit Oxidative Phosphorylation During High-Intensity Muscle Contractions In Vivo, Miles F. Bartlett

Doctoral Dissertations

Skeletal muscle oxidative capacity plays a critical role in human health and disease. Although current models of oxidative phosphorylation sufficiently describe skeletal muscle energetics during moderate-intensity contractions, much is still unknown about the mechanisms that control and limit oxidative phosphorylation during high-intensity contractions. In particular, the oxygen cost of force generation is augmented during exercise at workloads above the lactate threshold. Presently, it is unclear whether this augmentation in muscle oxygen consumption is driven by increased rates of oxidative ATP synthesis (ATPOX) or by decreases in the efficiency of ATPOX due to mitochondrial uncoupling. To address this gap ...


Ecology Of The Elusive: Genome-Informed Investigation Of Soil Microbial Diversity, Lauren Alteio Oct 2019

Ecology Of The Elusive: Genome-Informed Investigation Of Soil Microbial Diversity, Lauren Alteio

Doctoral Dissertations

Soil is considered one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, harboring diversity of organisms across the three domains of life. It is spatially and chemically heterogeneous: properties that intertwine in a complex matrix to support organismal diversity and function across different scales. Soil microorganisms both respond to and drive changes in ecosystems through metabolic activities. A single gram of soil is teeming with millions of cells comprised of thousands of species. Much of this diversity remains uncharacterized due to technical and methodological challenges faced by soil ecologists. Due to the complex physicochemical properties of soil and cross-feeding interactions between ...


Determining Kinetic Parameters Of Thiamine Degradation In Three Nasa Spaceflight Foods In Thermal Processing And Long-Term Storage And Methods For Analyzing Microstructure And Precipitant Development In Real And Model Wines, Timothy R. Goulette Jul 2019

Determining Kinetic Parameters Of Thiamine Degradation In Three Nasa Spaceflight Foods In Thermal Processing And Long-Term Storage And Methods For Analyzing Microstructure And Precipitant Development In Real And Model Wines, Timothy R. Goulette

Doctoral Dissertations

The current NASA spaceflight food program encompasses a wide variety of commercial and custom-made edible products. These foods are designed to ensure each crewmember receives the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamins and minerals to maintain adequate health during the entire spaceflight mission. With the desire for long-duration and exploration-class missions, such as the impending mission to Mars, the retention of important nutrients such as labile vitamins in spaceflight foods is critically important. For this reason, multiple studies were conducted to determine the vitamin degradation behavior of thiamine (vitamin B1) within three spaceflight foods which demonstrated both significant presence ...


Physical And Biological Drivers Of Juvenile Fish Distributions In Unstructured Shallow Tropical Nearshore Habitats, Christopher Haak Jul 2019

Physical And Biological Drivers Of Juvenile Fish Distributions In Unstructured Shallow Tropical Nearshore Habitats, Christopher Haak

Doctoral Dissertations

The structural complexity of aquatic habitats can influence the ecological processes that occur within them, as fine-scale topographic features act as refugia for small fishes, buffering the effects of environmental stressors. Accordingly, the habitat requirements of juvenile demersal fishes in shallow littoral zones are often defined by their associations with distinct benthic microhabitats, such as densely vegetated substrates. However, an array of ecologically-important juvenile fishes also associate with topographically-homogeneous, sparsely-vegetated substrata. Absent the benefits offered by structural refugia, such fishes may be more affected by environmental variability and may have evolved distinct strategies for coping with stressors. I examined this ...


Electrophysiological Correlates Of Natural Language Processing In Children And Adults, Margaret Ugolini Jul 2019

Electrophysiological Correlates Of Natural Language Processing In Children And Adults, Margaret Ugolini

Doctoral Dissertations

To understand the causes of differences in language ability we must measure the specific and separable processes that contribute to natural language comprehension. Specifically, we need measures of the three language subsystems – semantics, syntax, and phonology – as they are used during the comprehension of real speech. Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) are a promising approach to reaching this level of specificity. Previous research has identified distinct ERP effects for each of the subsystems – the N400 to semantic anomalies, the Anterior Negativity and P600 to syntactic anomalies, and the Phonological Mapping Negativity to unexpected speech sounds. However, these studies typically use stimuli and ...


The Prevention Of Obesity-Associated Colorectal Cancer Via Dietary Suppression Of Inflammation-Driven Wnt-Signaling, Jinchao Li Jul 2019

The Prevention Of Obesity-Associated Colorectal Cancer Via Dietary Suppression Of Inflammation-Driven Wnt-Signaling, Jinchao Li

Doctoral Dissertations

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. A number of population studies have established that modifiable lifestyle factors such as obesity plays an important role in colorectal carcinogenesis. In the United States, more than one-third of adults are obese and obesity prevalence rates have no sign of decrease. Therefore, the development of effective strategies to prevent obesity-induced CRC is a public health priority. This study aimed to investigate whether genetic or dietary strategies can prevent obesity-induced CRC and determine the potential molecular mechanisms underlying the prevention effects of these strategies. We used ...


Walking For Object Transport: An Examination Of The Coordinative Adaptations To Locomotor, Perceptual, And Manual Task Constraints, Avelino Amado Jul 2019

Walking For Object Transport: An Examination Of The Coordinative Adaptations To Locomotor, Perceptual, And Manual Task Constraints, Avelino Amado

Doctoral Dissertations

The goal of this dissertation was to understand how the intrinsic dynamics of gait adapt to support the performance of an ecologically relevant object transport task. A common object transport task is walking with a cup of water. Because the water can move relatively independent of the cup, the cup and water system is classified as a complex object. To model this task participants carried a cup with a wooden lid placed on top. On the lid there was a circular region with the same circumference as the cup and a ball. The object of the task was to keep ...


Metabolic Cost And Stability Of Locomotion In People With Lower Limb Amputation, Ryan Wedge Jul 2019

Metabolic Cost And Stability Of Locomotion In People With Lower Limb Amputation, Ryan Wedge

Doctoral Dissertations

It is generally accepted that metabolic energy expenditure and gait stability are key factors that influence the selection of able-bodied locomotor patterns. It is unclear how energy expenditure and gait stability are prioritized during walking in people with lower limb amputation. People with lower limb amputation generally have greater metabolic energy expenditure during walking and increased incidence of falls. People with unilateral lower limb amputation spend more time on the intact limb compared with the prosthetic limb, while able-bodied individuals generally walk with symmetrical timing between limbs. Restoring symmetry is often a goal of rehabilitation and assistive devices, yet the ...


Modeling Fire Observations, Ignition Sources, And Novel Fuels To Understand Human Impacts On Fire Regimes Across The U.S., Emily Fusco Jul 2019

Modeling Fire Observations, Ignition Sources, And Novel Fuels To Understand Human Impacts On Fire Regimes Across The U.S., Emily Fusco

Doctoral Dissertations

Fire is a natural, and necessary, component of many ecosystems. However, people are changing the spatial and temporal distribution of wildfires in the U.S. at great economic and ecological costs. My dissertation addresses the impacts of humans on U.S. fires both through the introduction of ignition sources and flammable grasses. Further, I evaluate fire datasets that are widely used to investigate these phenomena over large spatial and temporal scales. Finally, I create an aboveground carbon map that can be used to estimate the potential carbon loss consequences in western U.S. ecosystems most at risk to fire.

My ...


Multiscale Simulations Of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins, Xiaorong Liu Jul 2019

Multiscale Simulations Of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins, Xiaorong Liu

Doctoral Dissertations

Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) lack stable secondary and/or tertiary structures under physiological conditions. The have now been recognized to play important roles in numerous biological processes, particularly cellular signaling and regulation. Mutation of IDPs are frequently associated with human diseases, such as cancers and neuron degenerative diseases. Therefore, it is important to understand the structure, dynamics, and interactions of IDPs, so as to establish the mechanistic basis of how intrinsic disorder mediates versatile functions and how such mechanisms may fail in human diseases. However, the heterogeneous structural ensembles of IDPs are not amenable to high resolution characterization solely through ...


Acute Estrogen Synthesis And Action In The Auditory Cortex Of Developing Male Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia Guttata), Daniel Vahaba Jul 2019

Acute Estrogen Synthesis And Action In The Auditory Cortex Of Developing Male Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia Guttata), Daniel Vahaba

Doctoral Dissertations

Birdsong, as with human speech, is learned during an age- and experience-dependent sensitive period early in life. Songbirds must first memorize their parents’ song during a sensory phase, then refine their own burgeoning vocalizations to match the auditory memory of their parents’ song during a sensorimotor phase. While the error-correction aspect of the sensorimotor phase of song learning is comparatively well understood, it is largely unknown how auditory memories are formed and how auditory processing may change across development to facilitate song memorization. The songbird caudomedial nidopallium (NCM) is a brain region that encodes complex communication signals like song and ...


Feasibility And Efficacy Of A Recess-Based Combined Fitness Intervention On Cognition And Academic Performance In Elementary School Children, Christine St Laurent Jul 2019

Feasibility And Efficacy Of A Recess-Based Combined Fitness Intervention On Cognition And Academic Performance In Elementary School Children, Christine St Laurent

Doctoral Dissertations

Youth physical activity and fitness have been reported to influence cognition and academic related outcomes. Despite the potential benefits of muscular fitness, few intervention studies have examined the impact of an intervention that has incorporated both cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness training on cognition and academic performance in children. Previous studies have mainly been implemented either during the school day or immediately after-school. Although recess may be an ideal time to promote physical activity because it does not compete with other academic demands, it has been an understudied setting. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation project was to examine the feasibility ...


Ni Site Structure And Function In Biological Sensing And Enzyme Activity, Hsin-Ting Huang Jul 2019

Ni Site Structure And Function In Biological Sensing And Enzyme Activity, Hsin-Ting Huang

Doctoral Dissertations

Ni(II) is one of the important cofactors involved in various enzyme functions. For organisms utilizing Ni(II), a regulation system is required to maintain Ni(II) homeostasis and prevent toxicity. The focus of this dissertation is on investigating the relationship between the Ni(II) site structure and the function of proteins, a Ni(II) sensor and a Ni(II) enzyme.

RcnR, a Ni(II)/Co(II) sensor in E. coli, controls the expression of the Ni(II)/Co(II) exporter proteins, RcnAB. Due to the lack of structural information, the mechanism of metal induced allosteric regulation and metal selection ...


The Spatial Organization Of Mycobacterial Membrane, Julia Puffal Jul 2019

The Spatial Organization Of Mycobacterial Membrane, Julia Puffal

Doctoral Dissertations

Mycobacteria comprises a large group of organisms including the pathogenic species Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis. A fast- growing saprophytic member of this genus, however, Mycobacterium smegmatis, is oftentimes used as a model organism for the pathogenic species. With a unique cell envelope architecture and unconventional polar growth, spatial coordination of cell envelope biosynthesis is vital for proper assembly of this complex structure. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of known lateral heterogeneities in mycobacterial plasma membrane, with a particular focus on the intracellular membrane domain (IMD), a spatially distinct region of the plasma membrane with diverse functions ...


Investigating The Genetic Basis Of And Plasticity In Ecologically Relevant Phenotypes In African Cichlids, Dina Navon Jul 2019

Investigating The Genetic Basis Of And Plasticity In Ecologically Relevant Phenotypes In African Cichlids, Dina Navon

Doctoral Dissertations

Understanding the generation of phenotypic variation by linking it to genetic variation has long been a focus of evolutionary biology; this framework has successfully been implemented in a variety of studies across the tree of life1,2. However, our understanding of the phenotype remains incomplete until we account for a myriad of interactions that influence the genotype-phenotype map, including interactions between traits (TxT), interactions between genes and the environment (GxE), as well as the ways in which various types of interactions are nested within and build upon one another (e.g., (TxT)xG). My dissertation aims to contribute to ...


Hybridized Polymeric Nano-Assemblies: Key Insights Into Addressing Mdr Infections, Ryan Landis Mar 2019

Hybridized Polymeric Nano-Assemblies: Key Insights Into Addressing Mdr Infections, Ryan Landis

Doctoral Dissertations

Multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria contribute to more than 700,000 annual deaths world-wide. Millions more suffer from limb amputations or face high healthcare treatment costs where prolonged and costly therapeutic regimens are used to counter MDR infections. While there is an international push to develop novel and more powerful antimicrobials to address the impending threat, one particularly interesting approach that has re-emerged are essential oils, phytochemical extracts derived from plant sources. While their antimicrobial activity demonstrates a promising avenue, their stability in aqueous media, limits their practical use in or on mammals. Inspired by the versatility of polymer nanotechnology and the ...


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 ...