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Occurrence of a Pathogenic Fungus in Captive Arizona Amphibians

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Amphibians have been experiencing a worldwide decline that is in part caused by an infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, specific to frogs and salamanders. Globally many species have declined or gone extinct because of the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, also known as

Amphibians have been experiencing a worldwide decline that is in part caused by an infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, specific to frogs and salamanders. Globally many species have declined or gone extinct because of the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, also known as the amphibian chytrid or Bd. By the time Bd was discovered it was too late to stop the spread and it has now been found on almost every continent. The trade of captive amphibians, used as pets, bait, and educational animals provides an opportunity to spread Bd. Because some amphibians can carry Bd without experiencing symptoms, it is possible for even healthy looking amphibians to spread the amphibian chytrid if they are moved from one location to another. Recently, a new species Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) was found on salamanders. Bsal was identified before it reached the United States, prompting concern regarding its spread and a call for regulation regarding the trade of captive amphibians. There are some regulations in place controlling the trade of amphibians, but they are insufficient to stop the spread of amphibian chytrid in captive populations. A 2016 law prohibits the importation of 201 salamander species. However, there is no central organization to sample or certify if amphibians are free from Bd or Bsal. Although some stores say they test for these pathogens the tests are unregulated and not reported to any central body. If the captive amphibian trade is to go disease free, there would need to be a significant push to coordinate testing efforts. To estimate Bd's prevalence in Arizona captive amphibian populations, I contacted pet stores, bait stores, and sanctuary or educational organizations to ask if I could sample their amphibian collections. My research built on the 2008 work of Angela Picco, who sampled for the amphibian chytrid in Arizona bait shops. I found that amphibian owners were often hesitant and unwilling to participate in this research opportunity. There are multiple reasons for this hesitancy including a fear of increased regulation, the potential for reporting to a government agency (USDA), or the eventual cessation of amphibian trade. The lack of willing participants suggests there may be difficulties in coordinating future sampling efforts for Bd and Bsal.

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2018-05

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America’s Wild Horses: How Do Our Perceptions Shape Management Decisions?

Description

The issue of wild horse management in the American West has become prevalent in the media recently and management strategies are often criticized and opposed by the public. Horses have been a core feature of American history and culture nearly

The issue of wild horse management in the American West has become prevalent in the media recently and management strategies are often criticized and opposed by the public. Horses have been a core feature of American history and culture nearly since the colonization of the western frontier, and popular media such as television and movies paint a romantic but often unrealistic picture of wild horses. Land management agencies must balance limited resources with an ever-growing wild horse population in order to properly manage public land so that it retains its ecological integrity and is still able to be used by multiple stakeholders, and they also must endure public criticism throughout the process. I used a photo elicitation survey to gather responses to photographic images of wild horses and determine how the public feels about wild horse management, given that horses are seen as a symbol of freedom and the American West. It was revealed that people who are unfamiliar with the issue still have opinions about how the horses should be managed, and these opinions often mirror what can be found in popular media.

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2019-05

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Loving them to Death?: Crowding and the National Park Experience After Desert Solitaire

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The national parks are often considered to be one of America’s greatest achievements. Through a rich and sometimes tumultuous history, the national parks have been shaped from unwanted swaths of land into some of the most famous landscapes in the

The national parks are often considered to be one of America’s greatest achievements. Through a rich and sometimes tumultuous history, the national parks have been shaped from unwanted swaths of land into some of the most famous landscapes in the country. There are ultimately two conflicting goals of the national parks: provide enjoyment for the American people and protect the land. In recent years, increased popularity of the parks has made achieving these dual goals particularly difficult. Crowding in the parks leads to both ecological and social problems that threaten both goals of the national parks. Crowding is a multifaceted issue that must be explored from multiple perspectives.

Using Zion as a case study, the problems of crowding are explored and evaluated. First the history of the national parks is described to determine how the parks were created and popularized. After exploring the history of the parks, crowding in the national parks will be
discussed, including an overview of some of the significant social science literature exploring
crowding and its impact on visitor experience. This analysis will conclude with an examination
of visitor management strategies and an examination of the park-specific literature about the specific problems and decisions confronting managers at Zion National Park. A personal account of a visit to Zion during the peak season will provide a personal narrative about the meaning and purpose of the park experience.

The final section of this thesis will consider a range of opposing views on the philosophy of national parks and the park experience, centering around the ideas of Abbey, to address the deeper questions surrounding the goals of park management as we likely more toward an even more crowded park future. Ultimately the paper concludes that the parks has shifted irrevocably away from the ideals of Abbey, although his voice still provides inspiration to generations of park lovers. Additionally, while hard limits must eventually be set, in an era of increasing human influence, the park experience will need to be redefined to be more expansive and inclusive of all who wish to visit and enjoy.

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2019-05

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The Animal-Dependent Research Dilemma: An Analysis of Pro and Anti Animal Liberationist Arguments.

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The purpose of this research is to discuss and analyze the arguments found in animal-dependent research debates that are formed from the use of speciesism and liberationism. Speciesism is often used to draw distinctions between humans and nonhuman animals in

The purpose of this research is to discuss and analyze the arguments found in animal-dependent research debates that are formed from the use of speciesism and liberationism. Speciesism is often used to draw distinctions between humans and nonhuman animals in an attempt to lessen or eliminate nonhuman animals from their inclusion in the human moral scope. On the other hand, liberationism is commonly used to argue that nonhuman animals should be included in the human moral scope by claiming that certain characteristics of nonhuman animals are morally important. Although it is not possible to include every viewpoint and style of argument created through the use of these two ideologies, I believe that the two chosen texts accurately represent the arguments made by the majority of those that endorse either one. With that said, both ideologies seek to either justify or condemn certain types of human action that affect nonhuman animals. Through the analysis of the speciesist and liberationist arguments, it has become evident that both speciesism and liberationism are ultimately lacking in their ability to justify or condemn human action that affects nonhuman animals. This discovery led to the creation of a speciesist/liberationist hybrid ideology that seeks to combine the most convincing features of each while avoiding most of the issues associated with either one. The result is a new theory that is able to produce more convincing justifications in regards to how humans ought to treat nonhuman animals.

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2018-12

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Struggle for Existence: Mexican Gray Wolves in the American Southwest

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The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is a genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) that was driven to the brink of extinction as a result of human persecution. The wolf is listed as Endangered under the

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is a genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) that was driven to the brink of extinction as a result of human persecution. The wolf is listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and a recovery program is underway in Arizona and New Mexico to restore its population. However, the wolf is struggling to recover due to high mortality, which is a result of continued human hostility toward it. This thesis examines historical and current human attitudes toward the wolf and the implications that they have had on the extermination and recovery of the subspecies. An overview is given of wolf biology, the history of wolf extermination and recovery, and recent events relating to the recovery of the wolf. Negative impacts on ranching, hunting, and human safety are the main reasons for opposition toward wolves and wolf recovery; these concerns are analyzed, and solutions to them are proposed, with the goal of addressing them while fostering non-lethal coexistence with the wolf. In addition, opposition to wolves and wolf recovery is tied in with larger socio-political issues and is influenced by the representation of the wolf in culture; these issues in the context of wolves are also analyzed.

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2017-05

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Psychological, Ecological, and Ethical Dimensions of Bottlenose Dolphin Captivity

Description

Bottlenose dolphins, or Tursiops truncates, have captured the attention of humans for centuries leading people to keep them in captivity. However, people's love and an increase in knowledge for these creatures have sparked many ethical debates on whether dolphins should

Bottlenose dolphins, or Tursiops truncates, have captured the attention of humans for centuries leading people to keep them in captivity. However, people's love and an increase in knowledge for these creatures have sparked many ethical debates on whether dolphins should be kept in captivity. In this paper, I discuss the different dimensions of bottlenose dolphin captivity focusing on the physiological, psychological, ecological and ethical concerns raised when comparing captive to wild bottlenose dolphins. In an analysis of the scientific literature, I found that captive bottlenose dolphins experience negative physical and psychological effects, including a shorter life span and a decrease in brain size. They also engage in more risky and harmful behaviors. Preexisting brain structures in bottlenose dolphins indicate enhanced emotional processing possibly leading to a more difficult life in captivity. Furthermore, modeling of bottlenose dolphin social networks have found that removal of dolphins from existing populations have negative repercussions for ecological communities, particularly effecting present and future pods due to their complex social systems called fission fusion societies. Furthermore, removal can have a deleterious effect on the environment due to their role as top predators. Available data suggest that bottlenose dolphins should be classified as non-human persons due to their cognitive abilities such as self-awareness, intentionality, creativity, and symbolic communication. This moral classification demands significant human duties and responsibilities to protect these cetaceans. Due to their similarities to humans, these results suggest that keeping bottlenose dolphins in captivity is ethically questionable and perhaps unjustifiable as captivity violates their basic rights.

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2017-05

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A Historical Examination of US Fire Policy to Explain Aircraft's Political and Policy-based Relationships Regarding Wildland Firefighting

Description

This thesis was written in order to understand the history of US fire policy and how aircraft's involvement in the fire scene has evolved since its first usage as a surveillance tool. I formed an interest in aerial firefighting as

This thesis was written in order to understand the history of US fire policy and how aircraft's involvement in the fire scene has evolved since its first usage as a surveillance tool. I formed an interest in aerial firefighting as soon as I started to learn how to fly when I was 16 because my instructors owned and operated Billings Flying Service, which provides helicopter-based aerial firefighting services. Last year I was able to be a part of an aerial crew and acted as a third crew member aboard a CH-47D, or Chinook. During this experience, I came to realize that firefighting was not as black and white as it seems it should be and observed a lot of inefficiency with aircraft usage. It was from the experience and resulting observations that I found the idea behind my thesis. However, I learned that in order to understand the contemporary fire policies and aircraft's role in them, the history of the fire policy had to be examined and understood. Therefore, I began this thesis with the first paid firefighters in US History and then worked toward the modern era. This historical examination of fire policies and aerial firefighting illustrates the transformations that these subjects had undergone and helped to reveal how the fire scene of today has come to be, especially regarding the fire industrial complex that has formed. In the end, I realized that fires were no longer being fought because they should be fought, but because people and politicians expected them to be fought and expected to see aircraft in the fight, no matter the cost or effectiveness. I conclude this thesis with my own thoughts on how fire policy should be changed in order to protect the environment and return the exorbitant cost of firefighting, especially regarding aerial firefighting resources, back to a reasonable size.

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2017-05

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The Effect of Park Educational Programs on Public Values, Knowledge of, and Attitudes toward Noncharismatic Species

Description

Current conservation practices are substantially biased towards large, charismatic animals and are influenced by public perceptions of different animals. Therefore, it is important to understand how these perceptions are formed and what factors influence them in order to promote equitable

Current conservation practices are substantially biased towards large, charismatic animals and are influenced by public perceptions of different animals. Therefore, it is important to understand how these perceptions are formed and what factors influence them in order to promote equitable conservation for all species. This study examines the effect of attending a park education program on public values, knowledge of, and attitudes towards a noncharismatic species. Data was collected from May through October 2016 at the Usery Mountain Regional Park "All About Scorpions" program. A four page, onsite, self-administered pre- and post-program survey was given to program attendees. An identical survey was given to hiking park visitors who had never attended the program as the control sample. Survey statements addressed participant's demographics, value of bugs, knowledge about scorpions, and attitudes toward scorpions. Data analysis was completed using paired t-tests to analyze any statistically significant changes in values, knowledge, and attitudes between pre- and post-participants. Independent sample t-tests were used to analyze the same between the control and pre-participants. The results showed no difference in the value of bugs for any of the survey participants. However, the program attendees had more positive attitudes and greater knowledge of scorpions than general park visitors, and attending the program further increased positive attitudes and knowledge. Contributions of the study are twofold: First, the results provide Usery with information regarding the influence of their public programs, along with how these programs can be improved to make a greater impact. Second, findings serve to extend the literature on what alters public perceptions and how educational programs can be used to change the current conservation mindset.

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2016-12

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An evaluation of the ecological and human health factors in protein source decisions

Description

Protein is an essential macronutrient in the human diet, but the source of this protein has both human health and environmental impacts. Health complications can result from protein deficiency, but the practices by which protein sources are raised, grown, or

Protein is an essential macronutrient in the human diet, but the source of this protein has both human health and environmental impacts. Health complications can result from protein deficiency, but the practices by which protein sources are raised, grown, or harvested have environmental consequences, potentially reducing biodiversity, essential habitat, and crucial stocks of natural resources. Terrestrial cultivation encroaches on natural habitats and consumes resources inefficiently, while overfishing has greatly depleted wild fishery stocks. These environmental factors, along with concerns about nutrients, contaminants and the ethics of animal protein has led to confusion about weighing the risks and benefits associated with alternative sources of protein. Providing consumers \u2014 and policy makers \u2014 with a comprehensive account of major protein sources and their impacts in an understandable form is crucial to reducing environmental degradation and improving human health. Here I provide a general framework to compare the health and environmental impacts of livestock, seafood, and plant protein, and illustrate the application of this framework with case studies for each of these categories.

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2014-05

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Semantics, and the Cross Cultural Applicability of the New Ecological Paradigm Scale

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This research explores the two of the criticisms of the New Ecological Paradigm Scale, specifically analyzing the issues of semantics caused by translation from Spanish to English.

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2014-05