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Black Widows on an Urban Heat Island: Understanding Physiological Responses to Global Change

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The steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) controls molting in arthropods. The timing of 20E production, and subsequent developmental transitions, is regulated by a variety of factors including nutrition and photoperiod. Environmental factors, such as temperature, play a critical role in regulation

The steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) controls molting in arthropods. The timing of 20E production, and subsequent developmental transitions, is regulated by a variety of factors including nutrition and photoperiod. Environmental factors, such as temperature, play a critical role in regulation as well. The increasing prevalence of urban heat islands (UHI), or areas with elevated temperature due to retained heat by built structures, in response to rapid urbanization has made it critical to understand how organisms respond to elevating global temperatures. Some arthropods, such as the Western black widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus, appear to thrive under UHI conditions, but the physiological mechanism underlying their success has not been explored. Recently, we have shown that L. hesperus, a troublesome urban pest, in fact responds to urban heat island conditions in Phoenix, AZ with delayed development, reduced body mass, and increased mortality. Here we look at the relationship between 20E levels and development in spiderlings reared under desert (27ᵒC), intermediate (30ᵒC), and urban (33ᵒC) temperatures, filling a noticeable gap in not only understanding ecdysteroids’ role in arachnid development but how incremental changes in environmental conditions affect the regulation of this process. Developmental progression and hemolymph 20E titers were recorded for several families of spiders collected from across the urban Phoenix area with data spanning from day 55 to 75 of development, focusing on the second developmental instar. We found that 33°C, but not 30°C, led to 1) a significantly higher production of 20E throughout development, 2) a reduced and delayed molt-inducing 20E peak, and 3) noticeable reductions in growth rate and mass. At 30°C, a variable response is seen in molt timing, without the negative impacts on size and mortality as seen at 33°C, suggesting that at UHI temperatures, the optimal developmental temperature threshold has been surpassed.

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2019-05

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MENDING A DETRIMENTAL CRISIS: PROPOSAL TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM THROUGH THE INCORPORATION OF COMPUTER SKILLS AND CODING IN PRISONS

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With a prison population that has grown to 1.4 million, an imprisonment rate of 419 per 100,000 U.S. residents, and a recidivism rate of 52.2% for males and 36.4% for females, the United States is facing a crisis. Currently, no

With a prison population that has grown to 1.4 million, an imprisonment rate of 419 per 100,000 U.S. residents, and a recidivism rate of 52.2% for males and 36.4% for females, the United States is facing a crisis. Currently, no sufficient measures have been taken by the United States to reduce recidivism. Attempts have been made, but they ultimately failed. Recently, however, there has been an increase in experimentation with the concept of teaching inmates basic computer skills to reduce recidivism. As labor becomes increasingly digitized, it becomes more difficult for inmates who spent a certain period away from technology to adapt and find employment. At the bare minimum, anybody entering the workforce must know how to use a computer and other technological appliances, even in the lowest-paid positions. By incorporating basic computer skills and coding educational programs within prisons, this issue can be addressed, since inmates would be better equipped to take on a more technologically advanced labor market.<br/>Additionally, thoroughly preparing inmates for employment is a necessity because it has been proven to reduce recidivism. Prisons typically have some work programs; however, these programs are typically outdated and prepare inmates for fields that may represent a difficult employment market moving forward. On the other hand, preparing inmates for tech-related fields of work is proving to be successful in the early stages of experimentation. A reason for this success is the growing demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11 percent between 2019 and 2029. This is noteworthy considering the national average for growth of all other jobs is only 4 percent. It also warrants the exploration of educating coders because software developers, in particular, have an expected growth rate of 22 percent between 2019 and 2029. <br/>Despite the security risks of giving inmates access to computers, the implementation of basic computer skills and coding in prisons should be explored further. Programs that give inmates access to a computing education already exist. The only issue with these programs is their scarcity. However, this is to no fault of their own, considering the complex nature and costs of running such a program. Accordingly, this leaves the opportunity for public universities to get involved. Public universities serve as perfect hosts because they are fully capable of leveraging the resources already available to them. Arizona State University, in particular, is a more than ideal candidate to spearhead such a program and serve as a model for other public universities to follow. Arizona State University (ASU) is already educating inmates in local Arizona prisons on subjects such as math and English through their PEP (Prison Education Programming) program.<br/>This thesis will focus on Arizona specifically and why this would benefit the state. It will also explain why Arizona State University is the perfect candidate to spearhead this kind of program. Additionally, it will also discuss why recidivism is detrimental and the reasons why formerly incarcerated individuals re-offend. Furthermore, it will also explore the current measures being taken in Arizona and their limitations. Finally, it will provide evidence for why programs like these tend to succeed and serve as a proposal to Arizona State University to create its own program using the provided framework in this thesis.

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2021-05

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Early Childhood Environment Influence on Personality and Life Outcomes

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This research study evaluated the effects of early childhood environment and the influence parenting style has on the life outcomes among university students who varied in psychopathic traits; demonstrating evidence to show students who scored highly in measures of psychopathy

This research study evaluated the effects of early childhood environment and the influence parenting style has on the life outcomes among university students who varied in psychopathic traits; demonstrating evidence to show students who scored highly in measures of psychopathy used antisocial success seeking strategies to attain common life goals. This study examined the prospect of parenting styles and childhood environment as possible influences on important differences between psychopaths who become involved in the American legal system and those who do not. These differences were identified by asking participants to describe how often they engage in success seeking behaviors by using either prosocial or antisocial methods. Results were based on a hierarchical regression analysis and illustrated psychopathy as a significant predictor for utilizing antisocial success seeking strategic behavior. Such strategies include lying on job applications, accepting credit for the work of others, or winning a competition by cheating. In contrast, our Model determined that parental influence based on measures of paternal and maternal warmth, financial support, and physical and emotional abuse, did not significantly predict either prosocial success seeking strategies or antisocial success seeking strategies. Possible trends relating to childhood environment were identified but were undoubtedly restricted due to the evidently small sample size in this study. Conclusions into this investigation affirm the necessity for additional research into this view of psychopathy and how some psychopaths may be able to utilize their unique traits to their advantage.

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2020-05

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Nuclear Forensics: An In-Depth Analysis of Capabilities, Improvements, and Limitations

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Beginning in the early 1990s, nuclear forensic science is a relatively young field that focuses on “re-establishing the history of nuclear material of unknown origin” (Mayer, et al. 2010, p. 1). Specifically, investigators compare these unknown materials, pre-detonation in this

Beginning in the early 1990s, nuclear forensic science is a relatively young field that focuses on “re-establishing the history of nuclear material of unknown origin” (Mayer, et al. 2010, p. 1). Specifically, investigators compare these unknown materials, pre-detonation in this case, based on their characteristics and process history (Mayer, et al. 2010, p. 1). In 2010, the Committee of Nuclear Forensics made ten recommendations on the procedures that could lead to improvement in investigation methods. In particular, this paper discusses Recommendation 6: “The nuclear forensics community should develop and adhere to standards and procedures that are rooted in the applicable underlying principles that have been recommended for modern forensic science, including calibration using reference standards; cross-comparison with other methods; inter-laboratory comparisons; and identification, propagation, and characterization of uncertainties'' (Committee of Nuclear Forensics, 2010, p. 11). The main objective of this paper is to compile a literature review to determine how this recommendation was followed, if at all, and produce a list of suggestions that could complement any effort towards the improvement of the field. Out of the methods recommended, that which has fostered the most growth has been cross-comparison. For example, the need for human supervision has decreased, which has decreased the need for human error (Reading, et al., 2017, p. 6013). However, areas that would benefit from development are increasing the number of disciplines in the field (Croudace, et al., 2016, p. 128). These conclusions provided the basis for improvements to other existing studies like DNA and fingerprinting.

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2021-12