Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Life Sciences Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 25 of 25

Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Determining Key Residues Of The Lyt-R Domain In The Streptococcal Cpsa Protein, Mohammad Hashmi Apr 2019

Determining Key Residues Of The Lyt-R Domain In The Streptococcal Cpsa Protein, Mohammad Hashmi

Honors College

Streptococcus agalactiae or Group B Streptococcus (GBS), is a Gram-positive commensal bacterium that is harmless in healthy adults, yet causes systemic diseases in neonates, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals. Neonates are at risk of GBS infection in utero or during delivery due to the colonization of the organism in the vaginal canal of between 15-30% of adult females. GBS can cause severe neonatal sepsis and meningitis, as well as chorioamnionitis, which can cause premature birth and stillbirth. GBS infection is greatly facilitated by the presence of a bacterial capsule; a protective, polysaccharide matrix surrounding the cell that plays a key ...


The Effect Of Elevation On Factors Influencing Adult Body Size Of Asynarchus Nigirculus, Mykayla Hagaman Apr 2019

The Effect Of Elevation On Factors Influencing Adult Body Size Of Asynarchus Nigirculus, Mykayla Hagaman

Honors College

Across the range of a species realized niche, individuals can face a range of environmental factors that change as you move from the central range towards the edge. These changes in environmental factors can have a significant impact on the fitness of an individual. In insects, one way to determine this impact is to study the difference in adult body size across the span of the species range. In western Colorado, caddisflies are the biomass dominant detritivores in alpine pond ecosystems. Caddisflies are fundamental in providing nutrients to the ecosystem because of the nutrients that they recycle as detritivores. Understanding ...


Functional Analysis Of Amino Acid Changes In The Metal Binding Pocket Of The Lyt-R Domain Of The Cpsa Protein, Sydney Green Apr 2019

Functional Analysis Of Amino Acid Changes In The Metal Binding Pocket Of The Lyt-R Domain Of The Cpsa Protein, Sydney Green

Honors College

The Center for Disease Control approximates that one out of every four women carries Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria. GBS can be passed to the neonate from the pregnant mother during vaginal delivery or in utero by the ascending route1. Some notable diseases that are caused by GBS are sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, certain skin infections, and types of bone and joint infections2. One of the most important virulence factors for GBS is capsule, which has sialic acid residues attached to the polysaccharide chains helping to prevent the host immune system from being triggered when the pathogen is present ...


Building A Better Understanding Of Equine Anatomy Through Integrated Learning, Emily Gorney Apr 2019

Building A Better Understanding Of Equine Anatomy Through Integrated Learning, Emily Gorney

Honors College

Most people tend to have horses as their first contact with livestock animals. They are usually more common to see or interact with than cows, sheep, or other farm animals. This makes them a good starting animal for students learning about livestock, as well as the fact that they can be used for show, for work, or as a pet, making the equine industry a big one. While models have been used to teach students in topics such as architecture, cycles, and human muscles, little published research was found on the topic of having students build models of equine anatomy ...


Uncoupling Protein 1 In Bornean Treeshrews, Emily Gagne Apr 2019

Uncoupling Protein 1 In Bornean Treeshrews, Emily Gagne

Honors College

Many thermoregulatory functions of mammals are related to the fact that they are endotherms. There are several morphological and physiological adaptations that mammals have developed over time to allow them to maintain internal heat, even in cold climates. Many mammals use UCP1, a protein that facilities non-shivering thermogenesis, to generate heat. Recent work has shown that despite UCP1’s importance for non-shivering thermogenesis, inactivating mutations have occurred in at least 8 of 18 placental orders (Gaudry et al. 2017). My study focused on three species of Bornean treeshrews: Tupaia tana, Tupaia montana, and Tupaia minor (Order: Scandentia), and aimed to ...


An Intersectional Feminist Approach To Lyme Disease Epidemiology, Meghan Frisard Apr 2019

An Intersectional Feminist Approach To Lyme Disease Epidemiology, Meghan Frisard

Honors College

Nationally, Maine is the state with the second highest incidence of Lyme disease. While the spread of Lyme disease is generally attributable to ecological factors that affect the life cycle of Lyme-spreading ticks, socioeconomic factors may have substantial impacts on diagnosis and reporting of human cases. Socioeconomic factors could influence one’s ability to see a healthcare provider and ultimately be diagnosed with and treated for Lyme. Additionally, access to and treatment within the healthcare system is often gendered. I hypothesize that certain socioeconomic factors will have a negative correlation with Lyme disease incidence among the general population and among ...


Determining The Key Residues For Capsule Production In The Gbs Cpsa Protein, Anna Struba Apr 2019

Determining The Key Residues For Capsule Production In The Gbs Cpsa Protein, Anna Struba

Honors College

Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS) is a common bacterium found commensally in the vaginal mucosa of healthy adults. GBS also causes severe infection in neonates, often leading to meningitis, which can cause lifelong health consequences including impaired hearing and seizures. Infection of newborns mainly arises from a colonized mother, either before birth through ascending infection or during labor. Ascending infection, where the bacteria travel to the fetus from the vaginal mucosa, is especially concerning as it can lead to loss of pregnancy or premature birth. The most common method of neonatal GBS disease prevention is antibiotic prophylaxis during delivery, though this method ...


Evaluating A Doppler Radar Monitor For Assessing Honey Bee Colony Health, Ana Eliza Souza Cunha Apr 2019

Evaluating A Doppler Radar Monitor For Assessing Honey Bee Colony Health, Ana Eliza Souza Cunha

Honors College

Honey bees pollinate an estimated $15 billion worth of crops each year. It is therefore vital that beekeepers assess the productivity and health of colonies in order to reassure the reproductive future of this species. Modern techniques in which beekeepers can assess honey bee colony health are labor intensive, costly, and invasive to the bees as they must open and rearrange the hive to assess colony health. A radar-based sensor, placed outside of the hive, can be used to assess colony activity and health in a non-invasive manner. In order to validate the function of this hive monitor and quantify ...


Synthesis And Application Of Cellulose-Based Hydrogels For Anti-Biofouling In Marine Environments, David Rondeau Apr 2019

Synthesis And Application Of Cellulose-Based Hydrogels For Anti-Biofouling In Marine Environments, David Rondeau

Honors College

Biofouling is a ubiquitous natural phenomenon that incurs major costs and damages to marine-based industries and infrastructure worldwide. While antibiofouling agents do exist, these contain toxic biocides and metals which are harmful to non-target organisms and the local ecosystem. This research aimed to create a renewably sourced, non-toxic hydrogel with antibiofouling properties in a marine environment. Hydrogels were made using functionalized CMC, a cellulose derivative, crosslinked with dithiol molecules. It was shown that the mechanical properties and swelling abilities of hydrogels could be controlled by making the hydrogels at a particular thiol to norbornene ratio. Hydrogels made with one of ...


Overwinter Survival Rate Of Moose (Alces Alces) Calves In Relation To Habitat Composition, Bridget Re Apr 2019

Overwinter Survival Rate Of Moose (Alces Alces) Calves In Relation To Habitat Composition, Bridget Re

Honors College

Naturally occurring resource scarcity and limited foraging in winter habitats of northern New England moose (Alces alces) calves result in an energetic strain—particularly for individuals experiencing winter tick (Dermacentor albipictus) parasitism. Recent collaborative studies conducted between Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MIFW) and the University of New Hampshire have attributed the decline of winter survival in moose (Alces alces) calves to be closely linked to winter tick (Dermacentor albipictus) parasitism (Jones et al 2018, Ellingwood et al. 2018, Healy et al. 2018, Pekins 2018). In addition to winter tick abundance on individuals, we analyzed how winter ...


Assessing The Effectiveness Of Attractants To Increase Detection Probabilities In Northeastern Mammals, Michael Buyaskas Apr 2019

Assessing The Effectiveness Of Attractants To Increase Detection Probabilities In Northeastern Mammals, Michael Buyaskas

Honors College

A primary problem with camera trapping in wildlife occupancy studies is the failure to detect an animal when it is present at the site. My objective was to determine the optimal attractant setup for maximizing detection probabilities of northeast mammalian communities. I carried out an camera trapping project in northern Maine, USA from August to November 2018, and tested 3 distinct attractant setup. Sampling stations consisted of four camera units, and each sampling unit constituted either a treatment or a control: 1) bait + lure (treatment), 2) bait only (treatment), 3) lure only (treatment), and 4) camera only (control). Data analysis ...


The Potential Roles Of Melanopsin Signaling In Mediating The Effects Of Environmental Light On Voluntary Ethanol Intake In Mice, Rachel Brooks Apr 2019

The Potential Roles Of Melanopsin Signaling In Mediating The Effects Of Environmental Light On Voluntary Ethanol Intake In Mice, Rachel Brooks

Honors College

Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) comprise a small subset of photoreceptors found in the eye containing the newly discovered photopigment, melanopsin. ipRGCs project directly to the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the central “pacemaker” underlying the generation and entrainment of circadian rhythms. Photic stimuli detected by ipRGCs are transmitted to the SCN via the retinohypothalamic tract (RHT), mediating the entrainment of the SCN pacemaker. In addition to circadian entrainment, these pathways may also contribute to seasonal changes seen in both animals and humans, such as seasonal breeding cycles in animals and seasonal affective disorder in humans. Our lab has recently ...


Personality In Small Mammals: From Home Range To Microhabitat Selection, Kara Aiken Apr 2019

Personality In Small Mammals: From Home Range To Microhabitat Selection, Kara Aiken

Honors College

Consistent variation in behavior among individuals of the same species is referred to as animal personality. Personality has been found in a wide variety of species across all taxa, including numerous small mammal species. Animal personality has the potential to affect the life history characteristics of individuals within a population. Particularly, personality may affect the way in which an individual interacts with its environment, be this through home range or microhabitat selection. To further understand how personality affects home range and microhabitat selection in small mammals, we conducted a field study in the Penobscot Experimental Forest, Maine (USA). Three small ...


The Effect Of Embryonic Arsenic Exposure On The Sensorimotor Behavior Of Zebrafish (Danio Rerio), Laura Paye Apr 2019

The Effect Of Embryonic Arsenic Exposure On The Sensorimotor Behavior Of Zebrafish (Danio Rerio), Laura Paye

Honors College

The goal of this study is to determine the effect of arsenic exposure on vision in zebrafish (Danio rerio). The optic system of D. rerio is ideal for examining visual defects. Their eyes are similar to eyes of humans and can therefore be useful models in studies of human eye disease. Their optic system functions similarly to humans, so it is beneficial to observe how zebrafish are affected by contaminants in the environment. Arsenic is ubiquitous in groundwater, due to its natural presence in bed rock, but is elevated by human activities. In order to see any immediate effects on ...


The Most Critical Resource: How Climate Change Fuels The Crisis In Syria And The Implications For The World At Large, Edward Medeiros Apr 2019

The Most Critical Resource: How Climate Change Fuels The Crisis In Syria And The Implications For The World At Large, Edward Medeiros

Honors College

The Syrian crisis, both domestic and international in scope, may well be the defining geopolitical challenge of the generation. Climate change may be the single greatest challenge to face humanity in the entirety of our species’ life history. The dramatic effects of climate change can be seen in the origins of the Syrian crisis when one looks to humanity’s single most critical resource: water. We take the word critical to have two meanings in this context: first, that water is essential to human survival and second that water is a resource in critical condition. Syria’s water crisis pre-dates ...


The Impact Of New Nih Requirements On The Preclinical Research Sex Disparity --- A Meta-Analysis, Nicole Mcgrath Apr 2019

The Impact Of New Nih Requirements On The Preclinical Research Sex Disparity --- A Meta-Analysis, Nicole Mcgrath

Honors College

Historically, women as subjects have been underrepresented in clinical research. Due to this problem, legislation was enacted by Congress in 1993 to require inclusion of women in NIH funded clinical trials. Female animals are also underrepresented in preclinical research and need to be included to ensure safe and effective drugs. Studies exclude female mammals under the assumption that the estrus cycle contributes to variability (Beery, 2011). This notion has been contradicted by several studies (Prendergast, 2014; Becker, 2016). New requirements of NIH funded researchers to consider sex as a basic biological variable were announced in 2014 (Clayton, 2014). As of ...


Construction Of A Cpsa Double Mutant To Determine The Function Of The Lyt-R Domain, Klarissa Klier Apr 2019

Construction Of A Cpsa Double Mutant To Determine The Function Of The Lyt-R Domain, Klarissa Klier

Honors College

Streptococcus agalactiae, otherwise known as Group B Streptococcus (GBS), is a zoonotic, Gram-positive, commensal and invasive bacteria which is the leading cause of neonatal bacterial infections. These bacterial infections include sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, and bacteremia. In neonates, GBS is most commonly transferred to the child in utero or during birth when the child aspirates amniotic or vaginal fluids. GBS can also infect the child through the bloodstream while in utero, causing premature births or still births. Children who survive the initial infection develop severe morbidities which include mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and seizures. GBS can also affect immunocompromised adults, leading ...


Fire And Blood: Behavior And Thermoregulation In Small Nocturnal Mammals, Tal Kleinhause-Goldman Gedalyahou Apr 2019

Fire And Blood: Behavior And Thermoregulation In Small Nocturnal Mammals, Tal Kleinhause-Goldman Gedalyahou

Honors College

As global temperatures continue to increase, so does the need to better assess the sensitivity of different species to climate change. Such assessments require accurate behavioral and physiological data, including on thermoregulation and the effects of high temperatures on the behavior of endotherms. Seeking to improve current knowledge and methodology, my research evaluated the connections between activity and thermoregulation, using deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) as a species model. By using a custom made maze, I was able to simulate an active foraging environment and examine both activity patterns and subcutaneous temperatures in mice during the active-phase of their activity cycle ...


Trials And Tribulations Of Modern Day Childbirth: A Literature Analysis Of Factors Contributing To The Recent Decline In Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Delivery, Camilla Horton Apr 2019

Trials And Tribulations Of Modern Day Childbirth: A Literature Analysis Of Factors Contributing To The Recent Decline In Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Delivery, Camilla Horton

Honors College

C-sections are an extremely common procedure in modern day America, and while there are serious indications for cesarean delivery including complications for mother and baby, there are likely far more cesareans performed each year than medically necessary. This A comprehensive literature analysis was compared to individual data collection from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System. Both the analysis of the literature and the individual data collection confirmed that cesarean deliveries in the US have increased to from less than 10% in the 1970s, to over 30% in the years following 2005. Vaginal birth after ...


Landscape Factors Affecting Foraging Flight Altitudes Of Great Blue Heron In Maine; Relevance To Wind Energy Development, Lauren Dolinski Apr 2019

Landscape Factors Affecting Foraging Flight Altitudes Of Great Blue Heron In Maine; Relevance To Wind Energy Development, Lauren Dolinski

Honors College

In an attempt to increase alternative energy sources, there has been greater development of wind farms across the United States. This expanded development may pose a potential threat to birds that are flying overhead (EIA 2017, Leung and Yang 2011). More information is needed on the factors that affect a bird’s behavior while flying and if the current policies and dimensions of wind turbines interfere with flight altitudes. We used data from GPS-marked great blue herons (Ardea herodias) in Maine to classify their flight altitudes relative to wind turbine height and assess different landscape factors that affect flight altitude ...


Mmp13 Inhibition Does Not Rescue Gmppb-Deficient Skeletal Muscle In Zebrafish, Sean Driscoll Apr 2019

Mmp13 Inhibition Does Not Rescue Gmppb-Deficient Skeletal Muscle In Zebrafish, Sean Driscoll

Honors College

The dystroglycan protein is one of many that attach skeletal muscle fibers to the basement membrane at the myotendinous junction. In the alpha-subunit of the dystroglycan molecule, there are sugar chains that help with the adhesion of the molecule to the basement membrane. A mutation in any gene that codes for an enzyme that adds these sugar chains can result in a form of congenital muscle disease called secondary dystroglycanopathy. One of the genes that codes for an enzyme that adds sugar chains is GMPPB and a mutation in this gene results in GMPPB-associated dystroglycanopathy. Using zebrafish as a model ...


A Qualitative Study Of The Perceived Risks Of The Impacts Of Moose-Winter Tick Interactions On Human Health, Maine Economy, And Maine Culture, Asha Dimatteo-Lepape Apr 2019

A Qualitative Study Of The Perceived Risks Of The Impacts Of Moose-Winter Tick Interactions On Human Health, Maine Economy, And Maine Culture, Asha Dimatteo-Lepape

Honors College

In order to answer the question of how people perceive the interactions between winter ticks and moose, and the impacts that these interactions may have on culture, economy, and recreational practices in Maine, interviews were conducted with participants from four stakeholder groups: hunters, outfitters, Wabanaki citizens, and wildlife managers. By using a case study methodology, I was able to explore moose health risk perceptions as described by participants from the four stakeholder groups, and the likely impacts on recreation behavior, livelihoods and economic viability, cultural maintenance, and wildlife management. In this study, multiple data generation techniques (i.e., semi-structured interviews ...


Do Different Methods Of Communication Impact Undergraduate Student's Knowledge, Attitudes, & Beliefs Towards White-Nose Syndrome In Little Brown Bats, Kiley Davan Apr 2019

Do Different Methods Of Communication Impact Undergraduate Student's Knowledge, Attitudes, & Beliefs Towards White-Nose Syndrome In Little Brown Bats, Kiley Davan

Honors College

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a deadly fungal disease that has killed millions of hibernating bats since its introduction to North America in 2006. The little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), once widespread across the US, has been the most severely impacted with some colonies experiencing a 99% decline. Scientists believe changing people’s behavior is the key to bat conservation as the fungus is spread primarily by humans transferring the fungus between bat colonies. Outreach is a common method used to affect behavioral change in people, but not all outreach methods are equally effective. The purpose of this study was to ...


Influence Of Environmental Conditions And Call Playback On Detection Of Eastern Forest Owls During Standardized Surveys, Kyle Lima Apr 2019

Influence Of Environmental Conditions And Call Playback On Detection Of Eastern Forest Owls During Standardized Surveys, Kyle Lima

Honors College

Owls provide ecosystem services and play crucial roles in the environment making them important to monitor and study. However, standardized methods for most species do not exist, and we lack understanding of the effects of many environmental variables and playbacks on detection probability of owls. We performed a multispecies occupancy analysis on owl monitoring data collected from 2004 – 2013 across the state of Maine, to examine the effects of environmental variables, conspecific and heterospecific playback on detection, and general survey protocols for three forest owls: Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus), Barred Owl (Strix varia), and Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus ...


The Effects Of European Fire Ants On Blacklegged Ticks In Acadia National Park, Lucy Guarnieri Apr 2019

The Effects Of European Fire Ants On Blacklegged Ticks In Acadia National Park, Lucy Guarnieri

Honors College

The blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the European fire ant (Myrmica rubra) are notable invasive pests in Maine, especially across coastal and southern regions. I. scapularis is the primary vector of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the causative agent of Lyme disease, and Maine currently has one of the highest Lyme disease incidence rates in the U.S. Ticks have many natural predators, including ants. This study investigates the effects of M. rubra on I. scapularis abundance and pathogen infection prevalence in Acadia National Park (ANP). I collected ticks by drag-sampling at eight ant-infested sites and eight control sites ...