Matching Items (10)

Filtering by

Clear all filters

134344-Thumbnail Image.png

Variance in bee species richness: seasonal, spatial, and temporal differences

Description

Bee communities form the keystone of many ecosystems through their pollination services. They are dynamic and often subject to significant changes due to several different factors such as climate, urban development, and other anthropogenic disturbances. As a result, the world

Bee communities form the keystone of many ecosystems through their pollination services. They are dynamic and often subject to significant changes due to several different factors such as climate, urban development, and other anthropogenic disturbances. As a result, the world has been experiencing a decline in bee diversity and abundance, which can have detrimental effects in the ecosystems they inhabit. One of the largest factors that impacts bees in today's world is the rapid urbanization of our planet, and it impacts the bee community in mixed ways. Not very much is understood about the bee communities that exist in urban habitats, but as urbanization is inevitably going to continue, knowledge on bee communities will need to strengthen. This study aims to determine the levels of variance in bee communities, considering multiple variables that bee communities can differ in. The following three questions are posed: do bee communities that are spatially separated differ significantly? Do bee communities that are separated by seasons differ significantly? Do bee communities that are separated temporally (by year, interannually) differ significantly? The procedure to conduct this experiment consists of netting and trapping bees at two sites at various times using the same methods. The data is then statistically analyzed for differences in abundance, richness, diversity, and species composition. After performing the various statistical analyses, it has been discovered that bee communities that are spatially separated, seasonally separated, or interannually separated do not differ significantly when it comes to abundance and richness. Spatially separated bee communities and interannually separated bee communities show a moderate level of dissimilarity in their species composition, while seasonally separated bee communities show a greater level of dissimilarity in species composition. Finally, seasonally separated bee communities demonstrate the greatest disparity of bee diversity, while interannually separated bee communities show the least disparity of bee diversity. This study was conducted over the time span of two years, and while the levels of variance of an urban area between these variables were determined, further variance studies of greater length or larger areas should be conducted to increase the currently limited knowledge of bee communities in urban areas. Additional studies on precipitation amounts and their effects on bee communities should be conducted, and studies from other regions should be taken into consideration while attempting to understand what is likely the most environmentally significant group of insects.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2017-05

136646-Thumbnail Image.png

Symbiotic state & reproduction in the giant green sea anemone Anthopleura xanthogrammica

Description

The giant green sea anemone, Anthopleura xanthogrammica, hosts two different endosymbiotic algae. One is a unicellular chlorophyte, Elliptochloris marina; the other is Symbiodinium muscatinei, a dinoflagellate. Hosting these different symbionts influences the life history strategy of A. xanthogrammica's congener A.

The giant green sea anemone, Anthopleura xanthogrammica, hosts two different endosymbiotic algae. One is a unicellular chlorophyte, Elliptochloris marina; the other is Symbiodinium muscatinei, a dinoflagellate. Hosting these different symbionts influences the life history strategy of A. xanthogrammica's congener A. elegantissima, directly impacting its reproductive strategy (asexual vs. sexual). My study sought to examine whether the type and density of symbiont also affects the reproductive condition of A. xanthogrammica, which reproduces only sexually. Gonad development was measured in anemones from Slip Point, Clallam Bay, WA and Tongue Point, WA along with symbiont type and density per mg of anemone protein. The results indicate a trend towards brown anemones having more developed gonads, especially in males. This may mean that A. xanthogrammica anemones that host zooxanthellae are more reproductively fit than zoochlorellate anemones. Thus, it may be favorable for anemones to host zooxanthellae. This is especially true in summer months when the high temperatures and mid-day low tides coincide with the period of most rapid gonad development.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2015-05

135568-Thumbnail Image.png

Regional Genetic Distance of Two Ephemeral Pool Crustaceans:Triops (Branchiopoda:Notostraca) and Streptocephalus (Branchiopoda: Anostraca)

Description

Triops (Branchiopoda: Notostraca) and Streptocephalus (Branchiopoda: Anostraca) are two crustaceans which cohabitate in ephemeral freshwater pools. They both lay desiccation resistant eggs that disperse passively to new hydrologically isolated environments. The extent of genetic distance among regions and populations is

Triops (Branchiopoda: Notostraca) and Streptocephalus (Branchiopoda: Anostraca) are two crustaceans which cohabitate in ephemeral freshwater pools. They both lay desiccation resistant eggs that disperse passively to new hydrologically isolated environments. The extent of genetic distance among regions and populations is of perennial interest in animals that live in such isolated habitats. Populations in six natural ephemeral pool habitats located in two different regions of the Sonoran Desert and a transition area between the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts were sampled. Sequences from Genbank were used for reference points in the determination of species as well as to further identify regional genetic distance within species. This study estimated the amount of within and between genetic distance of individuals from each region and population through the use of a neutral marker, cytochrome oxidase I (COI). We concluded that, although the method of passive dispersal may differ between the two genera, the differences do not results in different patterns of genetic distances between regions and populations. Furthermore, we only found the putative species, Triops longicaudatus "short", with enough distinct speciation. Although Triops longicaudatus "long" and Triops newberryi may be in the early stages of speciation, this study does not find enough support to conclude that they have separated.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2016-05

150474-Thumbnail Image.png

Developmental plasticity: the influence of neonatal diet and immune challenges on carotenoid-based ornamental coloration and adult immune function in mallard ducks

Description

Conditions during development can shape the expression of traits at adulthood, a phenomenon called developmental plasticity. In this context, factors such as nutrition or health state during development can affect current and subsequent physiology, body size, brain structure, ornamentation, and

Conditions during development can shape the expression of traits at adulthood, a phenomenon called developmental plasticity. In this context, factors such as nutrition or health state during development can affect current and subsequent physiology, body size, brain structure, ornamentation, and behavior. However, many of the links between developmental and adult phenotype are poorly understood. I performed a series of experiments using a common molecular currency - carotenoid pigments - to track somatic and reproductive investments through development and into adulthood. Carotenoids are red, orange, or yellow pigments that: (a) animals must acquire from their diets, (b) can be physiologically beneficial, acting as antioxidants or immunostimulants, and (c) color the sexually attractive features (e.g., feathers, scales) of many animals. I studied how carotenoid nutrition and immune challenges during ontogeny impacted ornamental coloration and immune function of adult male mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos). Male mallards use carotenoids to pigment their yellow beak, and males with more beaks that are more yellow are preferred as mates, have increased immune function, and have higher quality sperm. In my dissertation work, I established a natural context for the role that carotenoids and body condition play in the formation of the adult phenotype and examined how early-life experiences, including immune challenges and dietary access to carotenoids, affect adult immune function and ornamental coloration. Evidence from mallard ducklings in the field showed that variation in circulating carotenoid levels at hatch are likely driven by maternal allocation of carotenoids, but that carotenoid physiology shifts during the subsequent few weeks to reflect individual foraging habits. In the lab, adult beak color expression and immune function were more tightly correlated with body condition during growth than body condition during subsequent stages of development or adulthood. Immune challenges during development affected adult immune function and interacted with carotenoid physiology during adulthood, but did not affect adult beak coloration. Dietary access to carotenoids during development, but not adulthood, also affected adult immune function. Taken together, these results highlight the importance of the developmental stage in shaping certain survival-related traits (i.e., immune function), and lead to further questions regarding the development of ornamental traits.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

149679-Thumbnail Image.png

Intra-offspring tradeoffs of python egg-brooding behavior

Description

Though it is a widespread adaptation in humans and many other animals, parental care comes in a variety of forms and its subtle physiological costs, benefits, and tradeoffs related to offspring are often unknown. Thus, I studied the hydric, respiratory,

Though it is a widespread adaptation in humans and many other animals, parental care comes in a variety of forms and its subtle physiological costs, benefits, and tradeoffs related to offspring are often unknown. Thus, I studied the hydric, respiratory, thermal, and fitness dynamics of maternal egg-brooding behavior in Children's pythons (Antaresia childreni). I demonstrated that tight coiling detrimentally creates a hypoxic developmental environment that is alleviated by periodic postural adjustments. Alternatively, maternal postural adjustments detrimentally elevate rates of egg water loss relative to tight coiling. Despite ventilating postural adjustments, the developmental environment becomes increasingly hypoxic near the end of incubation, which reduces embryonic metabolism. I further demonstrated that brooding-induced hypoxia detrimentally affects offspring size, performance, locomotion, and behavior. Thus, parental care in A. childreni comes at a cost to offspring due to intra-offspring tradeoffs (i.e., those that reflect competing offspring needs, such as water balance and respiration). Next, I showed that, despite being unable to intrinsically produce body heat, A. childreni adjust egg-brooding behavior in response to shifts in nest temperature, which enhances egg temperature (e.g., reduced tight coiling during nest warming facilitated beneficial heat transfer to eggs). Last, I demonstrated that A. childreni adaptively adjust their egg-brooding behaviors due to an interaction between nest temperature and humidity. Specifically, females' behavioral response to nest warming was eliminated during low nest humidity. In combination with other studies, these results show that female pythons sense environmental temperature and humidity and utilize this information at multiple time points (i.e., during gravidity [egg bearing], at oviposition [egg laying], and during egg brooding) to enhance the developmental environment of their offspring. This research demonstrates that maternal behaviors that are simple and subtle, yet easily quantifiable, can balance several critical developmental variables (i.e., thermoregulation, water balance, and respiration).

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

158019-Thumbnail Image.png

Mechanistic Diversity in Long-Range Regulation of Worker Reproduction in Polydomous Ant Species

Description

Ant colonies provide numerous opportunities to study communication systems that maintain the cohesion of eusocial groups. In many ant species, workers have retained their ovaries and the ability to produce male offspring; however, they generally refrain from producing their own

Ant colonies provide numerous opportunities to study communication systems that maintain the cohesion of eusocial groups. In many ant species, workers have retained their ovaries and the ability to produce male offspring; however, they generally refrain from producing their own sons when a fertile queen is present in the colony. Although mechanisms that facilitate the communication of the presence of a fertile queen to all members of the colony have been highly studied, those studies have often overlooked the added challenge faced by polydomous species, which divide their nests across as many as one hundred satellite nests resulting in workers potentially having infrequent contact with the queen. In these polydomous contexts, regulatory phenotypes must extend beyond the immediate spatial influence of the queen.

This work investigates mechanisms that can extend the spatial reach of fertility signaling and reproductive regulation in three polydomous ant species. In Novomessor cockerelli, the presence of larvae but not eggs is shown to inhibit worker reproduction. Then, in Camponotus floridanus, 3-methylheptacosane found on the queen cuticle and queen-laid eggs is verified as a releaser pheromone sufficient to disrupt normally occurring aggressive behavior toward foreign workers. Finally, the volatile and cuticular hydrocarbon pheromones present on the cuticle of Oecophylla smaragdina queens are shown to release strong attraction response by workers; when coupled with previous work, this result suggests that these chemicals may underly both the formation of a worker retinue around the queen as well as egg-located mechanisms of reproductive regulation in distant satellite nests. Whereas most previous studies have focused on the short-range role of hydrocarbons on the cuticle of the queen, these studies demonstrate that eusocial insects may employ longer range regulatory mechanisms. Both queen volatiles and distributed brood can extend the range of queen fertility signaling, and the use of larvae for fertility signaling suggest that feeding itself may be a non-chemical mechanism for reproductive regulation. Although trail laying in mass-recruiting ants is often used as an example of complex communication, reproductive regulation in ants may be a similarly complex example of insect communication, especially in the case of large, polydomous ant colonies.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2020

154914-Thumbnail Image.png

Clarifying the dehydration cascade: the relationship between water, stress, and immune function in squamates

Description

There is considerable recent interest in the dynamic nature of immune function in the context of an animal’s internal and external environment. An important focus within this field of ecoimmunology is on how availability of resources such as energy can

There is considerable recent interest in the dynamic nature of immune function in the context of an animal’s internal and external environment. An important focus within this field of ecoimmunology is on how availability of resources such as energy can alter immune function. Water is an additional resource that drives animal development, physiology, and behavior, yet the influence hydration has on immunity has received limited attention. In particular, hydration state may have the greatest potential to drive fluctuations in immunity and other physiological functions in species that live in water-limited environments where they may experience periods of dehydration. To shed light on the sensitivity of immune function to hydration state, I first tested the effect of hydration states (hydrated, dehydrated, and rehydrated) and digestive states on innate immunity in the Gila monster, a desert-dwelling lizard. Though dehydration is often thought to be stressful and, if experienced chronically, likely to decrease immune function, dehydration elicited an increase in immune response in this species, while digestive state had no effect. Next, I tested whether dehydration was indeed stressful, and tested a broader range of immune measures. My findings validated the enhanced innate immunity across additional measures and revealed that Gila monsters lacked a significant stress hormone response during dehydration (though results were suggestive). I next sought to test if life history (in terms of environmental stability) drives these differences in dehydration responses using a comparative approach. I compared four confamilial pairs of squamate species that varied in habitat type within each pair—four species that are adapted to xeric environments and four that are adapted to more mesic environments. No effect of life history was detected between groups, but hydration was a driver of some measures of innate immunity and of stress hormone concentrations in multiple species. Additionally, species that exhibited a stress response to dehydration did not have decreased innate immunity, suggesting these physiological responses may often be decoupled. My dissertation work provides new insight into the relationship between hydration, stress, and immunity, and it may inform future work exploring disease transmission or organismal responses to climate change.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2016

161743-Thumbnail Image.png

Conspecific Aggression in Apis Melifera: Reconsidering What Are “Desirable” and “Undesirable” Conspecifics

Description

The living world is replete with easily observed structural adaptations (e.g. teeth, claws, and stingers), but behavioral adaptations are no less impressive. Conspecific aggression can be defined as any harmful action directed by one animal at another of the same

The living world is replete with easily observed structural adaptations (e.g. teeth, claws, and stingers), but behavioral adaptations are no less impressive. Conspecific aggression can be defined as any harmful action directed by one animal at another of the same species. Because it is a potentially risky and costly behavior, aggression should be elicited only under optimal conditions. In honeybees, nestmate recognition is considered the driving factor determining whether colony guards will aggress against other honeybees attempting to gain entry to the colony. Models and empirical research support the conclusion that nestmate recognition should be favored over direct kin recognition. Thus, bees tend to use environmentally mediated cues associated with their colonies (e.g. colony odors) to recognize nestmates. The framework of nestmate recognition suggests that non-nestmates should always be aggressed against while nestmates should always be accepted. However, aggression towards nestmates and acceptance of non-nestmates are seen in a wide variety of eusocial insects, including honeybees. These are typically classified as rejection errors and acceptance errors, respectively. As such, they can be explained using signal detection theory and optimal acceptance threshold models, which postulate that recognition errors are inevitable if there is overlap in the cues used to distinguish “desirables” (fitness-enhancing) from “undesirables” (fitness-decrementing) conspecifics. In the context of social insects desirables are presumed to be nestmates and undesirables are presumed to be non-nestmates. I propose that honeybees may make more refined decisions concerning what conspecifics are desirable and undesirable, accounting for at least some of the phenomena previously reported as recognition errors. Some “errors” may be the result of guard bees responding to cues associated with threats and benefits beyond nestmate identity. I show that less threatening neighbors receive less aggression than highly threatening strangers. I show that well-fed colonies exhibit less aggression and that bees from well-fed colonies receive less aggression. I provide evidence that honeybees may decrease aggression towards nestmates and non-nestmate not involved in robbing while increasing aggression towards non-nestmate from a robber colony. Lastly, I show that pollen bearing foragers, regardless of nestmate identity, receive little to no aggression compared to non-pollen bearing foragers.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2021

157012-Thumbnail Image.png

Personality in the City: Relationship Between Animal Behavioral Traits And Urbanization in a Fragile, Human-impacted Desert Ecosystem

Description

Human-inhabited or -disturbed areas pose many unique challenges for wildlife, including increased human exposure, novel challenges, such as finding food or nesting sites in novel structures, anthropogenic noises, and novel predators. Animals inhabiting these environments must adapt to such changes

Human-inhabited or -disturbed areas pose many unique challenges for wildlife, including increased human exposure, novel challenges, such as finding food or nesting sites in novel structures, anthropogenic noises, and novel predators. Animals inhabiting these environments must adapt to such changes by learning to exploit new resources and avoid danger. To my knowledge no study has comprehensively assessed behavioral reactions of urban and rural populations to numerous novel environmental stimuli. I tested behavioral responses of urban, suburban, and rural house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) to novel stimuli (e.g. objects, noises, food), to presentation of a native predator model (Accipiter striatus) and a human, and to two problem-solving challenges (escaping confinement and food-finding). Although I found few population-level differences in behavioral responses to novel objects, environment, and food, I found compelling differences in how finches from different sites responded to novel noise. When played a novel sound (whale call or ship horn), urban and suburban house finches approached their food source more quickly and spent more time on it than rural birds, and urban and suburban birds were more active during the whale-noise presentation. In addition, while there were no differences in response to the native predator, rural birds showed higher levels of stress behaviors when presented with a human. When I replicated this study in juveniles, I found that exposure to humans during development more accurately predicted behavioral differences than capture site. Finally, I found that urban birds were better at solving an escape problem, whereas rural birds were better at solving a food-finding challenge. These results indicate that not all anthropogenic changes affect animal populations equally and that determining the aversive natural-history conditions and challenges of taxa may help urban ecologists better understand the direction and degree to which animals respond to human-induced rapid environmental alterations.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2018

157018-Thumbnail Image.png

Matters of Size: Behavioral, Morphological, and Physiological Performance Scaling Among Stingless Bees (Meliponini)

Description

Body size plays a pervasive role in determining physiological and behavioral performance across animals. It is generally thought that smaller animals are limited in performance measures compared to larger animals; yet, the vast majority of animals on earth are small

Body size plays a pervasive role in determining physiological and behavioral performance across animals. It is generally thought that smaller animals are limited in performance measures compared to larger animals; yet, the vast majority of animals on earth are small and evolutionary trends like miniaturization occur in every animal clade. Therefore, there must be some evolutionary advantages to being small and/or compensatory mechanisms that allow small animals to compete with larger species. In this dissertation I specifically explore the scaling of flight performance (flight metabolic rate, wing beat frequency, load-carrying capacity) and learning behaviors (visual differentiation visual Y-maze learning) across stingless bee species that vary by three orders of magnitude in body size. I also test whether eye morphology and calculated visual acuity match visual differentiation and learning abilities using honeybees and stingless bees. In order to determine what morphological and physiological factors contribute to scaling of these performance parameters I measure the scaling of head, thorax, and abdomen mass, wing size, brain size, and eye size. I find that small stingless bee species are not limited in visual learning compared to larger species, and even have some energetic advantages in flight. These insights are essential to understanding how small size evolved repeatedly in all animal clades and why it persists. Finally, I test flight performance across stingless bee species while varying temperature in accordance with thermal changes that are predicted with climate change. I find that thermal performance curves varied greatly among species, that smaller species conform closely to air temperature, and that larger bees may be better equipped to cope with rising temperatures due to more frequent exposure to high temperatures. This information may help us predict whether small or large species might fare better in future thermal climate conditions, and which body-size related traits might be expected to evolve.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2018