Matching Items (10)

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Handling the Heat: Plasticity of an Arthropod Pest in Response to the Urban Heat Island

Description

In recent years, ecologists have begun to study the effects of urbanization on species diversity. While urban areas generally suffer decreased biodiversity, some species, termed “urban exploiters”, not only live

In recent years, ecologists have begun to study the effects of urbanization on species diversity. While urban areas generally suffer decreased biodiversity, some species, termed “urban exploiters”, not only live in the city but depend on urban resources to thrive. It is hypothesized that urban exploiters may succeed in part due to phenotypic plasticity, in which organisms rapidly adjust their physiology or behavior to adapt to novel environmental contexts. In the city, it may be adaptive to display thermal plasticity, as the urban heat island effect caused by concrete and asphalt infrastructure prevents cooling at night. In this study, we observed the decorated cricket Gryllodes sigillatus, an invasive urban exploiter found in metropolitan Phoenix, in two separate experiments. We hypothesized that heat tolerance and activity are both plastic traits in this species. In Experiment 1, we predicted that knock-down time, a measure of heat tolerance, would be negatively affected by acclimation to a laboratory environment. Our results suggest that heat tolerance is affected by recent thermal regimes and that laboratory acclimation decreases knock-down time. In Experiment 2, we predicted that activity would increase with temperature until a point of extreme heat, at which point activity would decline. Statistical analysis for the second experiment reveals that activity decreases at 33°C, a natural urban extreme. This suggests either that 33°C is a thermal limit to physiology or that G. sigillatus is able to alter its behavior to exploit local thermal heterogeneity.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Neural plasticity in lower- and higher-level visual cortex processing

Description

Perceptual learning by means of coherent motion training paradigms has been shown to produce plasticity in lower and higher-level visual systems within the human occipital lobe both supra- and subliminally.

Perceptual learning by means of coherent motion training paradigms has been shown to produce plasticity in lower and higher-level visual systems within the human occipital lobe both supra- and subliminally. However, efficiency of training methods that produce consolidation in the visual system via coherent motion has yet to be experimentally determined. Furthermore, the effects of coherent motion training on reading comprehension, in clinical and normal populations, are still nascent. In the present study, 20 participants were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions. Two conditions had a participation requirement of four days while two conditions required eight days of participation. These conditions were further divided into 500 or 1000 trials per day (4 x 500, 4 x 1000, 8 x 500, 8 x 1000). Additional pre-test and post-test days were used to attain timed pre- and post-tests on the Wide Range Achievement Test IV (WRAT IV) reading comprehension battery. Furthermore, a critical flicker fusion threshold (CFFT) score was taken on a macular pigment densitometer on the pre-test and post-test day. Participants showed significant improvement in CFFT levels, WRAT IV reading comprehension, and speed of completion between pre-test and post-test; however, degree of improvement did not vary as a function of training condition. An interaction between training condition and degree of improvement was evident in coherent dot motion contrast scores, with significant training plasticity occurring in the 4 x 1000 and 8 x 500 conditions.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Effects of Odorant-environment Complexity on Behavioral and Neural Plasticity at Different Time Scales

Description

The ability to detect and appropriately respond to chemical stimuli is important for many organisms, ranging from bacteria to multicellular animals. Responses to these stimuli can be plastic over multiple

The ability to detect and appropriately respond to chemical stimuli is important for many organisms, ranging from bacteria to multicellular animals. Responses to these stimuli can be plastic over multiple time scales. In the short-term, the synaptic strengths of neurons embedded in neural circuits can be modified and result in various forms of learning. In the long-term, the overall developmental trajectory of the olfactory network can be altered and synaptic strengths can be modified on a broad scale as a direct result of long-term (chronic) stimulus experience. Over evolutionary time the olfactory system can impose selection pressures that affect the odorants used in communication networks. On short time scales, I measured the effects of repeated alarm pheromone exposure on the colony-level defense behaviors in a social bee. I found that the responses to the alarm pheromone were plastic. This suggests that there may be mechanisms that affect individual plasticity to pheromones and regulate how these individuals act in groups to coordinate nest defense. On longer time scales, I measured the behavioral and neural affects of bees given a single chronic odor experience versus bees that had a natural, more diverse olfactory experience. The central brains of bees with a deprived odor experience responded more similarly to odorants in imaging studies, and did not develop a fully mature olfactory network. Additionally, these immature networks showed behavioral deficits when recalling odor mixture components. Over evolutionary time, signals need to engage the attention of and be easily recognized by bees. I measured responses of bees to a floral mixture and its constituent monomolecular components. I found that natural floral mixtures engage the orientation of bees’ antennae more strongly than single-component odorants and also provide more consistent central brain responses between stimulations. Together, these studies highlight the importance of olfactory experience on different scales and how the nervous system might impose pressures to select the stimuli used as signals in communication networks.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Regulation of reproductive plasticity in the ant Harpegnathos saltator

Description

At the heart of every eusocial insect colony is a reproductive division of labor. This division can emerge through dominance interactions at the adult stage or through the production of

At the heart of every eusocial insect colony is a reproductive division of labor. This division can emerge through dominance interactions at the adult stage or through the production of distinct queen and worker castes at the larval stage. In both cases, this division depends on plasticity within an individual to develop reproductive characteristics or serve as a worker. In order to gain insight into the evolution of reproductive plasticity in the social insects, I investigated caste determination and dominance in the ant Harpegnathos saltator, a species that retains a number of ancestral characteristics. Treatment of worker larvae with a juvenile hormone (JH) analog induced late-instar larvae to develop as queens. At the colony level, workers must have a mechanism to regulate larval development to prevent queens from developing out of season. I identified a new behavior in H. saltator where workers bite larvae to inhibit queen determination. Workers could identify larval caste based on a chemical signal specific to queen-destined larvae, and the production of this signal was directly linked to increased JH levels. This association provides a connection between the physiological factors that induce queen development and the production of a caste-specific larval signal. In addition to caste determination at the larval stage, adult workers of H. saltator compete to establish a reproductive hierarchy. Unlike other social insects, dominance in H. saltator was not related to differences in JH or ecdysteroid levels. Instead, changes in brain levels of biogenic amines, particularly dopamine, were correlated with dominance and reproductive status. Receptor genes for dopamine were expressed in both the brain and ovaries of H. saltator, and this suggests that dopamine may coordinate changes in behavior at the neurological level with ovarian status. Together, these studies build on our understanding of reproductive plasticity in social insects and provide insight into the evolution of a reproductive division of labor.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Calcium-mediated excitation and plasticity in primary olfactory pathways of the honey bee antennal lobe

Description

Spatiotemporal processing in the mammalian olfactory bulb (OB), and its analog, the invertebrate antennal lobe (AL), is subject to plasticity driven by biogenic amines. I study plasticity using honey bees,

Spatiotemporal processing in the mammalian olfactory bulb (OB), and its analog, the invertebrate antennal lobe (AL), is subject to plasticity driven by biogenic amines. I study plasticity using honey bees, which have been extensively studied with respect to nonassociative and associative based olfactory learning and memory. Octopamine (OA) release in the AL is the functional analog to epinephrine in the OB. Blockade of OA receptors in the AL blocks plasticity induced changes in behavior. I have now begun to test specific hypotheses related to how this biogenic amine might be involved in plasticity in neural circuits within the AL. OA acts via different receptor subtypes, AmOA1, which gates calcium release from intracellular stores, and AmOA-beta, which results in an increase of cAMP. Calcium also enters AL interneurons via nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which are driven by acetylcholine release from sensory neuron terminals, as well as through voltage-gated calcium channels. I employ 2-photon excitation (2PE) microscopy using fluorescent calcium indicators to investigate potential sources of plasticity as revealed by calcium fluctuations in AL projection neuron (PN) dendrites in vivo. PNs are analogous to mitral cells in the OB and have dendritic processes that show calcium increases in response to odor stimulation. These calcium signals frequently change after association of odor with appetitive reinforcement. However, it is unclear whether the reported plasticity in calcium signals are due to changes intrinsic to the PNs or to changes in other neural components of the network. My studies were aimed toward understanding the role of OA for establishing associative plasticity in the AL network. Accordingly, I developed a treatment that isolates intact, functioning PNs in vivo. A second study revealed that cAMP is a likely component of plasticity in the AL, thus implicating the AmOA-beta; receptors. Finally, I developed a method for loading calcium indicators into neural components of the AL that have yet to be studied in detail. These manipulations are now revealing the molecular mechanisms contributing to associative plasticity in the AL. These studies will allow for a greater understanding of plasticity in several neural components of the honey bee AL and mammalian OB.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Failure Modeling in an Orthotropic Plastic Material Model under Static and Impact Loading

Description

An orthotropic elasto-plastic damage material model (OEPDMM) suitable for impact analysis of composite materials has been developed through a joint research project funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and

An orthotropic elasto-plastic damage material model (OEPDMM) suitable for impact analysis of composite materials has been developed through a joint research project funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The developed material model has been implemented into LS-DYNA®, a commercial finite element program. The material model is modular comprising of deformation, damage and failure sub-models. The deformation sub-model captures the rate and/or temperature dependent elastic and inelastic behavior via a visco-elastic-plastic formulation. The damage sub-model predicts the reduction in the elastic stiffness of the material. The failure sub-model predicts when there is no more load carrying capacity in the finite element and erosion of the element from the finite element model. Most of the input parameters required to drive OEPDMM are in the form of tabulated data. The deformation sub-model is driven by a set of tabulated stress-strain data for a given strain-rate and temperature combination. The damage sub-model is driven by tabulated damage parameter-strain data. Two failure sub-models have been implemented – Puck Failure Model and Generalized Tabulated Failure Model. Puck Failure Model requires scalar parameters as input whereas, the Generalized Tabulated Failure Model is driven by a set of equivalent failure strain tabulated data. The work presented here focuses on the enhancements made to OEPDMM with emphasis on the background, development, and implementation of the failure sub-models. OEPDMM is verified and validated using a carbon/epoxy fiber reinforced composite. Two validation tests are used to evaluate the failure sub-model implementation - a stacked-ply test carried out at room temperature under quasi-static tensile and compressive loadings, and several high-speed impact tests where there is significant damage and material failure of the impacted panel. Results indicate that developed procedures provide the analyst with a reasonable and systematic approach to building predictive impact simulation models.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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The ecology of relatedness: aspects and effects

Description

Why are human societies so psychologically diverse? The discipline of behavioral ecology is rich in both theory and data on how environments shape non-human animal behavior. However, behavioral ecological thinking

Why are human societies so psychologically diverse? The discipline of behavioral ecology is rich in both theory and data on how environments shape non-human animal behavior. However, behavioral ecological thinking has not received much attention in the study of human cultural psychological variation. I propose that ecological relatedness—how genetically related individuals are to others in their proximate environment—is one aspect of the environment that shapes human psychology. I present three studies here that examine the influence of ecological relatedness on multiple aspects of psychology. In the first study, I find that higher levels of ecological relatedness at the nation level is associated with a greater willingness to put oneself at risk for others, greater localized trust, and a stronger sense of belonging to one’s community. In the second and third studies, using experimental manipulations of perceived ecological relatedness, I examine the effects of ecological relatedness on helping behavior across situations, monetary sharing on a dictator game, interpersonal judgments, and alloparenting behaviors. I find that individuals led to perceive higher ecological relatedness became more sensitive to need in potential helping situations. The implications of ecological relatedness for thinking about psychological variation across groups are discussed.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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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

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.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Understanding plasticity and fracture in aluminum alloys and their composites by 3D X-ray synchrotron tomography and microdiffraction

Description

Aluminum alloys and their composites are attractive materials for applications requiring high strength-to-weight ratios and reasonable cost. Many of these applications, such as those in the aerospace industry, undergo fatigue

Aluminum alloys and their composites are attractive materials for applications requiring high strength-to-weight ratios and reasonable cost. Many of these applications, such as those in the aerospace industry, undergo fatigue loading. An understanding of the microstructural damage that occurs in these materials is critical in assessing their fatigue resistance. Two distinct experimental studies were performed to further the understanding of fatigue damage mechanisms in aluminum alloys and their composites, specifically fracture and plasticity. Fatigue resistance of metal matrix composites (MMCs) depends on many aspects of composite microstructure. Fatigue crack growth behavior is particularly dependent on the reinforcement characteristics and matrix microstructure. The goal of this work was to obtain a fundamental understanding of fatigue crack growth behavior in SiC particle-reinforced 2080 Al alloy composites. In situ X-ray synchrotron tomography was performed on two samples at low (R=0.1) and at high (R=0.6) R-ratios. The resulting reconstructed images were used to obtain three-dimensional (3D) rendering of the particles and fatigue crack. Behaviors of the particles and crack, as well as their interaction, were analyzed and quantified. Four-dimensional (4D) visual representations were constructed to aid in the overall understanding of damage evolution. During fatigue crack growth in ductile materials, a plastic zone is created in the region surrounding the crack tip. Knowledge of the plastic zone is important for the understanding of fatigue crack formation as well as subsequent growth behavior. The goal of this work was to quantify the 3D size and shape of the plastic zone in 7075 Al alloys. X-ray synchrotron tomography and Laue microdiffraction were used to non-destructively characterize the volume surrounding a fatigue crack tip. The precise 3D crack profile was segmented from the reconstructed tomography data. Depth-resolved Laue patterns were obtained using differential-aperture X-ray structural microscopy (DAXM), from which peak-broadening characteristics were quantified. Plasticity, as determined by the broadening of diffracted peaks, was mapped in 3D. Two-dimensional (2D) maps of plasticity were directly compared to the corresponding tomography slices. A 3D representation of the plastic zone surrounding the fatigue crack was generated by superimposing the mapped plasticity on the 3D crack profile.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Chronic stress and plasticity in the limbic system: implications for post traumatic stress disorder

Description

The brain is a fundamental target of the stress response that promotes adaptation and survival but the repeated activation of the stress response has the potential alter cognition, emotion, and

The brain is a fundamental target of the stress response that promotes adaptation and survival but the repeated activation of the stress response has the potential alter cognition, emotion, and motivation, key functions of the limbic system. Three structures of the limbic system in particular, the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and amygdala, are of special interest due to documented structural changes and their implication in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One of many notable chronic stress-induced changes include dendritic arbor restructuring, which reflect plasticity patterns in parallel with the direction of alterations observed in functional imaging studies in PTSD patients. For instance, chronic stress produces dendritic retraction in the hippocampus and mPFC, but dendritic hypertrophy in the amygdala, consistent with functional imaging in patients with PTSD. Some have hypothesized that these limbic region's modifications contribute to one's susceptibility to develop PTSD following a traumatic event. Consequently, we used a familiar chronic stress procedure in a rat model to create a vulnerable brain that might develop traits consistent with PTSD when presented with a challenge. In adult male rats, chronic stress by wire mesh restraint (6h/d/21d) was followed by a variety of behavioral tasks including radial arm water maze (RAWM), fear conditioning and extinction, and fear memory reconsolidation to determine chronic stress effects on behaviors mediated by these limbic structures. In chapter 2, we corroborated past findings that chronic stress caused hippocampal CA3 dendritic retraction. Importantly, we present new findings that CA3 dendritic retraction corresponded with poor spatial memory in the RAWM and that these outcomes reversed after a recovery period. In chapter 3, we also showed that chronic stress impaired mPFC-mediated extinction memory, findings that others have reported. Using carefully assessed behavior, we present new findings that chronic stress impacted nonassociative fear by enhancing contextual fear during extinction that generalized to a new context. Moreover, the generalization behavior corresponded with enhanced functional activation in the hippocampus and amygdala during fear extinction memory retrieval. In chapter 5, we showed for the first time that chronic stress enhanced amygdala functional activation during fear memory retrieval, i.e., reactivation. Moreover, these enhanced fear memories were resistant to protein synthesis interference to disrupt a previously formed memory, called reconsolidation in a novel attempt to weaken chronic stress enhanced traumatic memory. Collectively, these studies demonstrated the plastic and dynamic effects of chronic stress on limbic neurocircuitry implicated in PTSD. We showed that chronic stress created a structural and functional imbalance across the hippocampus, mPFC, and amygdala, which lead to a PTSD-like phenotype with persistent and exaggerated fear following fear conditioning. These behavioral disruptions in conjunction with morphological and functional imaging data reflect a chronic stress-induced imbalance between hippocampal and mPFC regulation in favor of amygdala function overdrive, and supports a novel approach for traumatic memory processing in PTSD.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013