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The Association Between Dietary Niche Variation In Rodents And Climate Change Across The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, Hannah K. Vermeer Aug 2019

The Association Between Dietary Niche Variation In Rodents And Climate Change Across The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, Hannah K. Vermeer

Masters Theses

Mammalian teeth play a crucial role in food acquisition and breakdown and are therefore closely tied to dietary niche. This study reconstructed the diet of early Paleogene paramyid rodents across the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) climatic event in an effort to understand the role of climate in mammalian dietary niche change. Dietary niches were quantified using three dental topographic measures: Dirichlet normal energy, relief index, and orientation patch count rotated. A Kruskal-Wallis test was conducted over eight time periods to determine if each of the dental topographic measures (i.e., diet) varied over time. Regression analysis of these measures with ...


Evaluating Remote Site Incubators To Support Restoration Of Arctic Grayling In Michigan, Alan J. Mock Aug 2019

Evaluating Remote Site Incubators To Support Restoration Of Arctic Grayling In Michigan, Alan J. Mock

Masters Theses

Remote site incubators (RSIs) have been used to rear salmonid fish eggs along streams in the Pacific Northwest since the 1980s. Recently, the successful use of RSIs for Arctic Grayling Thymallus arcticus restoration in Montana has sparked a renewed interest to reestablish the species in Michigan. To support future reintroduction efforts of Arctic Grayling in Michigan, I evaluated RSIs in three Michigan streams during 2018 and 2019 using Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss eggs (as surrogates for Arctic Grayling). My objectives were to: (1) compare hatching success between two different RSI designs (19-L vs. 265-L RSIs), and (2) test whether the ...


Forest Structure Of Long-Term Conserved Areas Utilizing Different Strategies On A Continental, Glacial Moraine Formed Island, Christopher Coggin Jul 2019

Forest Structure Of Long-Term Conserved Areas Utilizing Different Strategies On A Continental, Glacial Moraine Formed Island, Christopher Coggin

Masters Theses

Understanding patterns of forest succession can help advise management plans within New England nature preserves. This study took place on Block Island, 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. The island has greater than 200+ years of farming practices. After 1960, conservation groups began reforesting the island using different strategies, such as actively planting with native and exotic tree species, mowing, and preventing further development. In 2018, woody vegetation was inventoried along transects within four reforested sites. Sites were characterized as the following: actively planted with exotic and native tree species and mowed (AP-M), actively planted with exotic and ...


Assessing Populations Of Eastern Brook Trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis) Above And Below Waterfalls In Mountain Streams Of Virginia, Hannah Eisemann Macmillan May 2019

Assessing Populations Of Eastern Brook Trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis) Above And Below Waterfalls In Mountain Streams Of Virginia, Hannah Eisemann Macmillan

Masters Theses

Anthropogenically driven factors, such as increasing temperature and sediment in valley streams, acidification of mountain streams, and the introduction of non-native trout, are restricting habitat suitable for healthy populations of eastern brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) throughout their native Appalachian range. Brook trout are important as predators of insects in mountain streams and as a favorite of anglers. It is crucial that remaining populations in sustainable habitats be identified and preserved. Waterfalls are geologic knickpoints preventing base-level lowering that create unique, stable landscapes above them, which may alleviate the temperature-productivity/acidity “habitat squeeze” for populations of brook trout and could serve ...


Urban Stream Restoration: An Evaluation Of Material Processing And Conveyance Channels, Madeline Berg May 2019

Urban Stream Restoration: An Evaluation Of Material Processing And Conveyance Channels, Madeline Berg

Masters Theses

Stream restoration is gaining popularity in the Mid - Atlantic region to offset impacts from urbanization. Increased levels of impervious surfaces, decreased vegetation along banks, and changes in water flow patterns make urban stream ecosystems flashy and result in high erosion rates, increasing the amount of nutrients entering the Chesapeake Bay. Different restoration practices can play a large role in the amount of nutrients and organic matter leaving a stream and the amount of habitat that is present in-stream.

Due to the recent interest in stream restoration as a tool to help the health of the Chesapeake Bay, this study was ...


Visual Attention In Jumping Spiders, Margaret Bruce Jan 2019

Visual Attention In Jumping Spiders, Margaret Bruce

Masters Theses

The different ways that animals extract and analyze visual information from their environment is of interest to sensory ecologists. Jumping spiders, well-known for visually guided mating and hunting behavior, are an interesting model for the study of visual attention because they quickly and efficiently integrate information from eight eyes with a small brain. Stimuli in front of the spider are examined by two functionally and morphologically distinct pairs of forward-facing eyes. The principal eyes discern fine details and have small retinas and thus a small visual field. However, their position at the back of moveable tubes within the cephalothorax expands ...


An Examination Of Tern Diet In A Changing Gulf Of Maine, Keenan Yakola Jan 2019

An Examination Of Tern Diet In A Changing Gulf Of Maine, Keenan Yakola

Masters Theses

The Gulf of Maine is a dynamic ecosystem with rapidly warming sea surface temperatures (SSTs), therefore it is vital to understand how species interactions vary over time and space. In chapter two, I quantify and compare dietary differences among four tern species, across seven islands in the region, over a 32-year period. Multivariate statistical analyses were employed to discern spatial and temporal differences in foraging ecology. Findings suggest there are significant differences between species and islands; however, only three prey species comprise the majority of chick diet for all terns and islands. The reliance on only a few prey items ...


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


Haplotype Diversity And Population Genetic Structure Of Antistrophus Gall Wasps Associated With Two Silphium Species And Implication For Host Mediated Speciation, Jiaxin Deng Jan 2019

Haplotype Diversity And Population Genetic Structure Of Antistrophus Gall Wasps Associated With Two Silphium Species And Implication For Host Mediated Speciation, Jiaxin Deng

Masters Theses

Gall making insects form a special feeding guild of phytophagous animals, and by manipulating host plant tissue differentiation, are able to avoid plant chemical defenses and thus have no need for counter defense mechanisms. Host plant selection is crucial to the evolution of these insects because successful gall formation is largely dependent on host plant ability to respond to stimuli. In Illinois and neighboring states, Antistrophus gall wasps associated with the rosin weed (S. integrifolium) and the cup plant (S. perfoliatum) are morphologically indistinguishable and thus have been treated as belonging to single species. However, the wasps from the host ...


Assessment And Recovery Of Stream Restoration Efforts On Fish Communities, Jessica Marie Rohr Jan 2019

Assessment And Recovery Of Stream Restoration Efforts On Fish Communities, Jessica Marie Rohr

Masters Theses

Aquatic systems are subjected to disturbances of various types, including natural and anthropogenic, or can deteriorate due to accumulating unfavorable conditions, including receding banks, decreasing riparian vegetation, and disrupted flow patterns. An analysis was done on a variety of streams in central Illinois that experienced one or multiple anthropogenic disturbances without remediation to determine the natural recovery dynamics of each system. A separate analysis was performed on a multi-site restored stream with a complex restoration project with a variety of restoration methods. This data were collected over at periods of time spanning from 5-15 years, including time prior to disturbance ...


Microplastics In Full View: Birds As Bioindicators Of Malta's Coastal Ecosystem Health, Dalton Brauer Dec 2018

Microplastics In Full View: Birds As Bioindicators Of Malta's Coastal Ecosystem Health, Dalton Brauer

Masters Theses

Plastic pollution has recently become a widely studied topic, yet research on microplastics has remained lacking for specific geographic regions. Microplastics are small plastics resulting from degradation or the dumping of raw material and can lead to deleterious impacts on the coastal marine environment and its organisms. To assess Malta’s coastal environmental health, water birds (inshore, offshore and pelagic species) were used as bioindicators by assessing the presence and abundance of plastic within their stomach contents. The project hoped to fill some of the current gaps in knowledge on microplastics within Malta by creating a working baseline, as well ...


Potential Benefits Of Restored Riparian Zones In An Agricultural Matrix For Bat Communities, Matthew T. Harris May 2018

Potential Benefits Of Restored Riparian Zones In An Agricultural Matrix For Bat Communities, Matthew T. Harris

Masters Theses

Riparian buffers planted within agricultural matrices for wildlife conservation are expected to support numerous taxa, but a lack of empirical testing has limited evaluation of these practices. It is imperative that biologists and land managers understand how current conservation practices impact bats so that the ecosystem services provided by bats are maintained as farming practices continue to intensify in regions dominated by agriculture. This study evaluates the effects of planted riparian buffers along streams in an agricultural matrix by comparing acoustic bat activity along streams in active cattle pasture with activity at streams where riparian buffers have been planted. Forest ...


Competition And Predation: Interactions Between American Eels (Anguilla Rostrata) And Brook Trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis) In Virginia Mountain Streams, Jonathan Studio May 2018

Competition And Predation: Interactions Between American Eels (Anguilla Rostrata) And Brook Trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis) In Virginia Mountain Streams, Jonathan Studio

Masters Theses

Competition has played a large role in structuring natural communities, especially with regards to vulnerable organisms. Brook trout and American eel populations have declined in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States as a result of anthropogenic development around freshwater ecosystems, and thus, subsequent conservation efforts of both species have included habitat restoration. Conservation efforts have increased the co-occurrence of these predatory fish species that are known to require similar resources. The main objective of this research was to elucidate the potential for competition between brook trout and American eels through analysis of their preferred prey, diet overlap, and supplementary ...


The Combined Effects Of Soil Fertility And Soil Amendments On The Growth And Mycorrhizal Associations Of American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolius), Emily Ann Murray May 2018

The Combined Effects Of Soil Fertility And Soil Amendments On The Growth And Mycorrhizal Associations Of American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolius), Emily Ann Murray

Masters Theses

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are fungi that form symbiotic associations with 70-90% of plant families. They are known to allow for the extension of the root system as well as an increase in plant size by assisting with the uptake of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The role that AMF play in plant health and success has led to the development of commercial inoculum, which is used in agricultural settings. However, soil fertility, and soil amendments are known to affect AMF and plant associations. This study intends to look at how cultivated American Ginseng seedlings are affected by commercial ...


Efficacy Of Magnesium Enriched Artificial Substrate For Oyster Restoration, Matthew Elder May 2018

Efficacy Of Magnesium Enriched Artificial Substrate For Oyster Restoration, Matthew Elder

Masters Theses

The eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, is a keystone species that has undergone a large (> 95%) population decline due to overharvest, pollution, and disease. Restoration efforts focus on alternative larval attachment substrates such as concrete, to supplement the loss of natural oyster shell. Magnesium is a component of bivalve shells and its presence in the environment has shown to be important to the growth of mussels, but the same relationship has not been studied in oysters. Assuming that magnesium can be assimilated from the substrate on which the organism is growing, or that ions of magnesium are leached into the water ...


The Effects Of Temperature On Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis Resistance And Heart Rate In The Polymorphic Eastern Red-Backed Salamanders, Plethodon Cinereus, Joseph Alan Demarchi Jan 2018

The Effects Of Temperature On Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis Resistance And Heart Rate In The Polymorphic Eastern Red-Backed Salamanders, Plethodon Cinereus, Joseph Alan Demarchi

Masters Theses

No abstract provided.


Mapping Sandbars In The Connecticut River Watershed Through Aerial Images For Floodplain Conservation, Bogumila Backiel Jan 2018

Mapping Sandbars In The Connecticut River Watershed Through Aerial Images For Floodplain Conservation, Bogumila Backiel

Masters Theses

Active geomorphic features of rivers like sandbars provide habitat for endangered and threatened riparian plant and animal species. However, human development has altered flow and sediment regimes, thus impairing formation of sandbars and islands. Large scale mapping of the fluvial geomorphology in river ecosystems like the Connecticut River is are necessary to understand the dynamics of these features and preserve habitat. Orthophotographs from 2012 from United States Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA), National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) were used to develop a model in ArcGIS Pro to identify fluvial geomorphic features in the Connecticut River and 12 ...


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


Effects Of Main-Stem Impoundments On Hydrology And Larval Fish Communities In Major Tributaries Of Two Large Midwestern Rivers, Jordan Pesik Jan 2018

Effects Of Main-Stem Impoundments On Hydrology And Larval Fish Communities In Major Tributaries Of Two Large Midwestern Rivers, Jordan Pesik

Masters Theses

Anthropogenic modifications, like impoundments, have altered natural environmental conditions in most lotic systems and impacted fish ecology in many ways. We examined the effect of large river impoundments on fish reproductive behavior by studying the larval fish communities in tributaries of the impounded Illinois and unimpounded Wabash Rivers. We hypothesized that larval fish communities would be similar between the geographically proximal systems, but temporal structuring would depend largely on flow regimes. Biweekly larval densities were greatest among all taxa in the Wabash system, though overall communities were similar between systems. Of the six tributaries, the four smallest rivers were most ...


Evaluation And Demographic Response Of The Shovelnose Sturgeon Commercial Caviar Fishery In The Wabash River, Jessica L. Thornton Jan 2018

Evaluation And Demographic Response Of The Shovelnose Sturgeon Commercial Caviar Fishery In The Wabash River, Jessica L. Thornton

Masters Theses

Shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus Rafinesque) are considered one of the last commercially viable options for sturgeon roe harvest. Due to the collapse of several marine sturgeon fisheries and the Similarity of Appearances provision which protect shovelnose sturgeon in only a part of their range, the caviar fishery in the Wabash River remains an important point of supply for this lucrative natural resource. In this thesis, I presented an evaluation of the shovelnose sturgeon commercial caviar fishery in the Wabash River. More specifically, I described the demographic response of this population to continued exploitation over a 10-year period. Additionally, I presented ...


The Effect Of Self-Recognition In The Competition Between Genets Of Solidago Altissima, Charles Jaques Jan 2018

The Effect Of Self-Recognition In The Competition Between Genets Of Solidago Altissima, Charles Jaques

Masters Theses

Competition is a major driving force in the abundance, distribution, and diversity within any biological system. Plants are more likely to suffer reductions in fitness as a consequence of competition, as they typically occur in dense communities. Individuals within these populations must respond to both inter- and intraspecific competition. Recent studies suggest that the ability to distinguish kin from non-kin may play an integral role in the success of individuals within different plant populations and communities. However, a less known interaction is that between individual clones within a genet as they grow, spread, and begin to interact with nearby rival ...


Impact Of Giant Miscanthus (Miscanthus X Giganteus) Cultivation On Midwestern Farmland Birds, Matthew Craffey Jan 2018

Impact Of Giant Miscanthus (Miscanthus X Giganteus) Cultivation On Midwestern Farmland Birds, Matthew Craffey

Masters Theses

Giant Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus) is a promising bioenergy feedstock, newly introduced to North America. However, the qualities that make Giant Miscanthus an attractive bioenergy feedstock may pose challenges to local wildlife. To assess the impacts of Giant Miscanthus on Midwestern farmland birds, I conducted point count and vegetation surveys at three sites in east-central Illinois where Giant Miscanthus was being cultivated. I used occupancy modeling to assess the relative influence of Giant Miscanthus on five species relative to other habitat and landscape characteristics. Dickcissel (Spiza Americana), Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna), and Red-Winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) occupancy was positively associated ...


Aspects Of The Physiological And Behavioral Defense Adaptations Of The Mountain Madtom (Noturus Eleutherus), Meredith Leigh Hayes Dec 2017

Aspects Of The Physiological And Behavioral Defense Adaptations Of The Mountain Madtom (Noturus Eleutherus), Meredith Leigh Hayes

Masters Theses

Madtoms (Noturus spp.) are a highly endemic clade of miniature catfishes that faces widespread imperilment. Little is known about the ecology of these secretive fishes, and understanding the behavioral and physiological adaptations madtoms have evolved to resist pathogens and competitors is necessary for conservation.

Madtoms nest under cover and provide extensive paternal care. Attempts to rear eggs in captivity result in high mortality rates from infection, leading to questions about how wild nests resist disease. In many fishes, males produce antimicrobial substances that confer protection to eggs. To determine if guardian males deter disease in nests, Mountain Madtoms (Noturus eleutherus ...


Stable Isotopes, Phylogenetics, And Experimental Data Indicate A Unique Nutritional Mode For Rickenella Fibula, A Bryophyte-Associate In The Hymenochaetales, Hailee Brynn Korotkin Aug 2017

Stable Isotopes, Phylogenetics, And Experimental Data Indicate A Unique Nutritional Mode For Rickenella Fibula, A Bryophyte-Associate In The Hymenochaetales, Hailee Brynn Korotkin

Masters Theses

Fungal-bryophyte interactions have been documented in all lineages of bryophytes, however, many of these relationships are poorly understood. The fungus Rickenella fibula is a known associate of various mosses, but results from previous studies have not yielded conclusive evidence of its relationship to mosses or its trophic mode. The Rickenella clade exhibits a wide variety of nutritional modes, including other bryophyte-associated fungi. Here, I combine a broad range of methods, using phylogenetics, stable isotope analyses, PCR assays, in vitro experiments, and genomics to determine the nutritional mode of R. fibula. First, phylogenetic analysis of a supermatrix of 28S rRNA, 18S ...


The Effect Of Calcium In Artificial Substrates For Oyster Restoration: Implications For The Mitigation Of Oyster Population Decline, Jessie Mandirola May 2017

The Effect Of Calcium In Artificial Substrates For Oyster Restoration: Implications For The Mitigation Of Oyster Population Decline, Jessie Mandirola

Masters Theses

Oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay have declined by 99% over the past 150 years due to overharvesting, disease, ocean acidification, and poor water quality. Restoration efforts are needed to reestablish native oyster populations. Current restoration efforts utilize natural oyster shells but these methods are expensive and unsustainable. Therefore, restoration is starting to use artificial substrates instead. Concrete has been successfully used in previous research; spat will attach and oysters will grow. However, there is a lack of knowledge about how the composition of concrete effects oyster larval recruitment. We tested concrete made with limestone sand (“special concrete”) to increase ...


Female Color Variation And Male Harassment In The Polymorphic Damselfly Megalagrion Calliphya, Phoebe Cook May 2017

Female Color Variation And Male Harassment In The Polymorphic Damselfly Megalagrion Calliphya, Phoebe Cook

Masters Theses

Female dimorphism is commonly hypothesized to be a result of adaptations to male harassment. I tested whether polymorphic female coloration in the Hawaiian damselfly Megalagrion calliphya is under selection from male sexual harassment via two possible forms of negative frequency-dependent selection: the male mimicry and the learned mate recognition hypotheses. I measured male behavior toward tethered females at mating sites under naturally occurring conditions and found no evidence for either hypothesis. Harassment rates did not significantly differ between female morphs. One measure of morph frequency did predict harassment of all individuals, but this relationship was driven by a single population ...


Spatially Explicit Population Estimates Of The Florida Black Bear, Jacob Michael Humm May 2017

Spatially Explicit Population Estimates Of The Florida Black Bear, Jacob Michael Humm

Masters Theses

The Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus) is currently comprised of 7 isolated subpopulations: Apalachicola, Eglin, Osceola, Ocala/St. Johns, Chassahowitzka, Highlands/Glades, and Big Cypress. The last statewide assessment of Florida black bear population dynamics was conducted by Simek et al. (2005) using traditional capture-markrecapture methods. The subspecies was removed from Florida’s List of State Threatened Species in 2012 contingent upon the formulation of a management plan that would maintain viable subpopulations of black bears in suitable habitat. Accurate population estimates for each of the remaining black bear subpopulations in Florida were needed to achieve the management goals ...


Plasticity And Biotic Interactions Mediate Plant Persistence In A Changing World, Alix Ann Pfennigwerth May 2017

Plasticity And Biotic Interactions Mediate Plant Persistence In A Changing World, Alix Ann Pfennigwerth

Masters Theses

Anthropogenic global change is occurring today at a faster rate and larger scale than ever before. Understanding how plants will respond to such large-scale disturbance is critical for biodiversity conservation, yet the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms underlying these responses remain poorly understood. In this thesis, I investigated the mechanisms underlying plant response to two major drivers of global change, climate change and the widespread mortality of foundation species. First, I examined genetic and plastic plant trait responses to climatic variation using elevation gradients, which serve as space-for-time substitutions for climate change. Through field observations in three populations of the North ...


Gauging The Importance Of Microhabitat In Qualitative Macroinvertebrate Sampling In An Effluent Dominated Stream, Samuel James Gradle Jan 2017

Gauging The Importance Of Microhabitat In Qualitative Macroinvertebrate Sampling In An Effluent Dominated Stream, Samuel James Gradle

Masters Theses

In the past different sampling strategies have been used to relate macroinvertebrate assemblages with habitat quality in the Sangamon River, above and below the sanitary district effluent discharge in Decatur, IL. The standard 20 jab method of proportional sampling in multiple microhabitats, based on QHEI physical habitat score, sampled allowed for comparison between sites based on overall community composition. However, it oversampled fine sediments, which dominate the Sangamon, therefore potentially missing sensitive taxa in isolated quality habitats. In the fall of 2016 I tested an enhanced qualitative approach to better gauge the importance of microhabitat types to macroinvertebrate assemblages in ...


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