Matching Items (12)

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A Comparison and Contrast of Animal Psychology in the Wild vs. the Human Dominated World

Description

Animal psychology is the study of how animals interact with one another, their environment, and with humans. This can be done in two different settings, the wild and captivity, and through two different approaches, academic research and practice. Academic research

Animal psychology is the study of how animals interact with one another, their environment, and with humans. This can be done in two different settings, the wild and captivity, and through two different approaches, academic research and practice. Academic research relies primarily on behavioral observation for data collection. Practice uses behavioral observation as well, but allows for a more hands on experience and lets the practitioner make improvements in the quality of life. I interviewed two people, one who practices in captivity, and one who does research in the wild. Dr. David Bunn has done research on wild animals in Kruger National Park in South Africa for over twenty years, studying human-animal interactions. Hilda Tresz has worked in zoos nearly forty years and specializes in chimps. Working within the same field, but utilizing a different setting and approach makes a big difference in the feel of the job. Though I found many differences between the two by doing my own research and from conducting interviews, there are many similarities to note as well. The general field of animal psychology is very rewarding, requires a lot of patience, and leads to a better understanding of animal behavior and how to care for specific species of animals. Working with captive animals allows for the opportunity to make a big difference in animal's lives through behavioral enrichment and general care. Working in the wild allows us to understand the innate animal behaviors displayed. Through practice, people get more hands on experience; while through research, you get to observe animals in their native habitats. Each setting and approach has it's own benefits depending on what each person's goals are for their job.

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2018-05

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Plant contributions to the nitrogen budget of a constructed treatment wetland in Phoenix, AZ

Description

Constructed treatment wetlands (CTW) are being increasingly utilized in urbanized areas as a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly method for treating wastewater. CTWs can be especially useful for urban areas in aridland environments because they facilitate the reuse of water during

Constructed treatment wetlands (CTW) are being increasingly utilized in urbanized areas as a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly method for treating wastewater. CTWs can be especially useful for urban areas in aridland environments because they facilitate the reuse of water during water shortages. In my study, I determined the rates at which the aboveground and belowground emergent macrophytes sequestered nitrogen in a 42 ha aridland CTW in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. To do so, I measured foliar nitrogen content in aboveground and belowground biomass of three plant species groups (Typha latifolia + Typha domingensis, Schoenoplectus acutus + Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani, and Schoenoplectus californicus). Using these data, I calculated aboveground and belowground nitrogen budgets for the three species groups annually from 2011 to 2018.

Aboveground nitrogen content showed a maximum in 2011, decreasing until 2015, increasing again until 2017, and dropping in 2018; belowground nitrogen content showed the opposite temporal trend. Because foliar nitrogen content was assumed to be relatively constant over time, my data suggested that belowground nitrogen content increased between 2011 and 2015 and decreased between 2015 and 2017. Aboveground nitrogen content underwent fluctuations due to fluctuations in aboveground biomass. This occurred due to ‘thatching’, or events of widespread toppling of large macrophyte stands. The ratio of aboveground to belowground biomass can vary widely in the same CTW. My findings suggested that managing senesced aboveground plant material in CTWs may optimize the CTW’s ability to sequester nitrogen. Further research is needed to determine the best management strategies, as well as its possible implications.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Quantifying Whole-Reach Denitrification in Arizona Streams

Description

Elevated nitrate (NO3-) concentration in streams and rivers has contributed to environmental problems such as downstream eutrophication and loss of biodiversity. Sycamore Creek in Arizona is nitrogen limited, but previous studies have demonstrated high potential for denitrification, a microbial process

Elevated nitrate (NO3-) concentration in streams and rivers has contributed to environmental problems such as downstream eutrophication and loss of biodiversity. Sycamore Creek in Arizona is nitrogen limited, but previous studies have demonstrated high potential for denitrification, a microbial process in which biologically active NO3- is reduced to relatively inert dinitrogen (N2) gas. Oak Creek is similarly nitrogen limited, but NO3- concentration in reaches surrounded by agriculture can be double that of other reaches. We employed a denitrification enzyme assay (DEA) to compare potential denitrification rate between differing land uses in Oak Creek and measured whole system N2 flux using a membrane inlet mass spectrometer to compare differences in actual denitrification rates at Sycamore and Oak Creek. We anticipated that NO3- would be an important limiting factor for denitrifiers; consequentially, agricultural land use reaches within Oak Creek would have the highest potential denitrification rate. We expected in situ denitrification rate to be higher in Oak Creek than Sycamore Creek due to elevated NO3- concentration, higher discharge, and larger streambed surface area. DEA results are forthcoming, but analysis of potassium chloride (KCl) extraction data showed that there were no significant differences between sites in sediment extractable NO3- on either a dry mass or organic mass basis. Whole-reach denitrification rate was inconclusive in Oak Creek, and though a significant positive flux in N2 from upstream to downstream was measured in Sycamore Creek, the denitrification rate was not significantly different from 0 after accounting for reaeration, suggesting that denitrification does not account for a significant portion of the NO3- uptake in Sycamore Creek. Future work is needed to address the specific factors limiting denitrification in this system.

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2018-05

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Aquatic Primary Productivity and Ecosystem Metabolism: Tres Rios Constructed Treatment Wetlands

Description

Freshwater ecosystems are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic eutrophication (Kolzau et al., 2014) and require mitigation efforts to prevent oxygen depletion and subsequent biodiversity loss. Tres Rios Constructed Treatment Wetland (CTW) relies on wetland ecosystem functioning to reduce nutrient concentrations in

Freshwater ecosystems are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic eutrophication (Kolzau et al., 2014) and require mitigation efforts to prevent oxygen depletion and subsequent biodiversity loss. Tres Rios Constructed Treatment Wetland (CTW) relies on wetland ecosystem functioning to reduce nutrient concentrations in order to meet regulatory guidelines. I investigated the impact of solar irradiance, temperature, and nutrient availability on aquatic net primary productivity, ecosystem respiration, and nutrient cycling using statistical analysis and quantitative modeling informed by field data generated by ASU’s Wetland Ecosystem Ecology Lab (WEEL) in partnership with the City of Phoenix Water Services Department. I found that the extent of daily solar insolation controls Aquatic Net Primary Productivity (ANPP) rates and the seasonal aquatic nutrient processing capacity of Tres Rios, resulting in the following approximate relationship: ANPP = 0.001344(W/m²) - 0.32634 (r² = 0.259; p = 0.005).

This formula was used to estimate the nutrient uptake performance of aquatic primary producers from sampling observations; ANPP accounted for 16.26 metric tons of system wide N uptake, while aquatic ER contributed 6.07 metric tons N of nighttime remineralization and 5.7 metric tons of N throughout the water column during the day. The estimated yearly net aquatic N flux is 4.49 metric tons uptake, compared to about 12 metric tons yearly N uptake by the vegetated marsh (Treese, 2019). However, not accounting for animal respiration results in an underestimation of system-wide N remineralization, and not accounting for soil processes results in an underestimation of N uptake.

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Date Created
2020-05

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Toward sustainable governance of water resources: the case of Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Description

Research shows that many water governance regimes are failing to guide social-ecological systems away from points, beyond which, damage to social and environmental well-being will be difficult to correct. This problem is apparent in regions that face water conflicts and

Research shows that many water governance regimes are failing to guide social-ecological systems away from points, beyond which, damage to social and environmental well-being will be difficult to correct. This problem is apparent in regions that face water conflicts and climate threats. There remains a need to clarify what is it about governance that people need to change in water conflict prone regions, how to collectively go about doing that, and how research can actively support this. To address these needs, here I present a collaborative research project from the dry tropics of Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. The project addressed the overarching questions: How can water be governed sustainably in water-contested and climate-threatened regions? And, how can people transition current water governance regimes toward more sustainable ones? In pursuit of these questions, a series of individual studies were performed with many partners and collaborators. These studies included: a participatory analysis and sustainability assessment of current water governance regimes; a case analysis and comparison of water conflicts; constructing alternative governance scenarios; and, developing governance transition strategies. Results highlight the need for water governance that addresses asymmetrical knowledge gaps especially concerning groundwater resources, reconciles disenfranchised groups, and supports local leaders. Yet, actions taken based on these initial results, despite some success influencing policy, found substantial challenges confronting them. In-depth conflict investigations, for example, found that deeply rooted issues such friction between opposing local-based and national institutions were key conflict drivers in the region. To begin addressing these issues, researchers and stakeholders then constructed a set of governing alternatives and devised governance transition strategies that could actively support people to achieve more sustainable alternatives and avoid less sustainable ones. These efforts yielded insight into the collective actions needed to implement more sustainable water governance regimes, including ways to overcoming barriers that drive harmful water conflicts. Actions based on these initial strategies yielded further opportunities, challenges, and lessons. Overall, the project addresses the research and policy gap between identifying what is sustainable water governance and understanding the strategies needed to implement it successfully in regions that experience water conflict and climate impacts.

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2014

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Codebook Development and a Text Analysis of the Effectiveness of Applied Collaborative Governance Strategies in Northern Arizona Forests

Description

There are two main sections of this thesis: Codebook development and case coding. Over the course of my two years of involvement with the collaborative governance lab with Drs. Schoon and Carr Kelman, I worked on helping to complete the

There are two main sections of this thesis: Codebook development and case coding. Over the course of my two years of involvement with the collaborative governance lab with Drs. Schoon and Carr Kelman, I worked on helping to complete the coding manual built by the lab to test variables from the literature using case studies. My main deliverable was building a Qualtrics survey to collect case studies. Using this Qualtrics survey, the lab will be able to collect coded cases by distributing the survey link through research networks. My thesis project included building the interface for the survey, participating in testing the intercoder reliability of the codebook, and coding one case, the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI), to provide insight on the collaborative governance strategies of this collaboration. Coding 4FRI also acted as a preliminary test of the survey, helping to provide further information on how users of the codebook might interact with the survey, and allowing the lab to generate a test report of survey results.

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2020-05

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The effects of interannual precipitation variability on the functioning of grasslands

Description

Climate change will result not only in changes in the mean state of climate but also on changes in variability. However, most studies of the impact of climate change on ecosystems have focused on the effect of changes in the

Climate change will result not only in changes in the mean state of climate but also on changes in variability. However, most studies of the impact of climate change on ecosystems have focused on the effect of changes in the central tendency. The broadest objective of this thesis was to assess the effects of increased interannual precipitation variation on ecosystem functioning in grasslands. In order to address this objective, I used a combination of field experimentation and data synthesis. Precipitation manipulations on the field experiments were carried out using an automated rainfall manipulation system developed as part of this dissertation. Aboveground net primary production responses were monitored during five years. Increased precipitation coefficient of variation decreased primary production regardless of the effect of precipitation amount. Perennial-grass productivity significantly decreased while shrub productivity increased as a result of enhanced precipitation variance. Most interesting is that the effect of precipitation variability increased through time highlighting the existence of temporal lags in ecosystem response.

Further, I investigated the effect of precipitation variation on functional diversity on the same experiment and found a positive response of diversity to increased interannual precipitation variance. Functional evenness showed a similar response resulting from large changes in plant-functional type relative abundance including decreased grass and increased shrub cover while functional richness showed non-significant response. Increased functional diversity ameliorated the direct negative effects of precipitation variation on ecosystem ANPP but did not control ecosystem stability where indirect effects through the dominant plant-functional type determined ecosystem stability.

Analyses of 80 long-term data sets, where I aggregated annual productivity and precipitation data into five-year temporal windows, showed that precipitation variance had a significant effect on aboveground net primary production that is modulated by mean precipitation. Productivity increased with precipitation variation at sites where mean annual precipitation is less than 339 mm but decreased at sites where precipitation is higher than 339 mm. Mechanisms proposed to explain patterns include: differential ANPP response to precipitation among sites, contrasting legacy effects and soil water distribution.

Finally, increased precipitation variance may impact global grasslands affecting plant-functional types in different ways that may lead to state changes, increased erosion and decreased stability that can in turn limit the services provided by these valuable ecosystems.

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Date Created
2014

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Phosphorus cycling in Metropolitan Phoenix

Description

Phosphorus (P), an essential element for life, is becoming increasingly scarce, and its global management presents a serious challenge. As urban environments dominate the landscape, we need to elucidate how P cycles in urban ecosystems to better understand how cities

Phosphorus (P), an essential element for life, is becoming increasingly scarce, and its global management presents a serious challenge. As urban environments dominate the landscape, we need to elucidate how P cycles in urban ecosystems to better understand how cities contribute to — and provide opportunities to solve — problems of P management. The goal of my research was to increase our understanding of urban P cycling in the context of urban resource management through analysis of existing ecological and socio-economic data supplemented with expert interviews in order to facilitate a transition to sustainable P management. Study objectives were to: I) Quantify and map P stocks and flows in the Phoenix metropolitan area and analyze the drivers of spatial distribution and dynamics of P flows; II) examine changes in P-flow dynamics at the urban agricultural interface (UAI), and the drivers of those changes, between 1978 and 2008; III) compare the UAI's average annual P budget to the global agricultural P budget; and IV) explore opportunities for more sustainable P management in Phoenix. Results showed that Phoenix is a sink for P, and that agriculture played a primary role in the dynamics of P cycling. Internal P dynamics at the UAI shifted over the 30-year study period, with alfalfa replacing cotton as the main locus of agricultural P cycling. Results also suggest that the extent of P recycling in Phoenix is proportionally larger than comparable estimates available at the global scale due to the biophysical characteristics of the region and the proximity of various land uses. Uncertainty remains about the effectiveness of current recycling strategies and about best management strategies for the future because we do not have sufficient data to use as basis for evaluation and decision-making. By working in collaboration with practitioners, researchers can overcome some of these data limitations to develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of P dynamics and the range of options available to sustainably manage P. There is also a need to better connect P management with that of other resources, notably water and other nutrients, in order to sustainably manage cities.

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Date Created
2011

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Political economic barriers to global change adaptations: a study of agrarian rural development in northwest Costa Rica

Description

This is a study of the plight of smallholder agriculture in Northwest Costa Rica. More specifically, this is the story of 689 rice farms, of an average size of 7.2 hectares and totaling just less than 5,300 hectares within the

This is a study of the plight of smallholder agriculture in Northwest Costa Rica. More specifically, this is the story of 689 rice farms, of an average size of 7.2 hectares and totaling just less than 5,300 hectares within the largest agricultural irrigation system in Central America. I was able to define the physical bounds of this study quite clearly, but one would be mistaken to think that this simplicity transfers to a search for rural development solutions in this case. Those solutions lie in the national and international politics that appear to have allowed a select few to pick winners and losers in Costa Rican agriculture in the face of global changes. In this research, I found that water scarcity among smallholder farms between 2006 and 2013 was the product of the adaptations of other, more powerful actors in 2002 to threats of Costa Rica's ratification of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. I demonstrate how the adaptations of these more powerful actors produced new risks for others, and how this ultimately prevented the rural development program from meeting its development goals. I reflect on my case study to draw conclusions about the different ways risks may emerge in rural development programs of this type. Then, I focus on the household level and show that determinants of successful adaptation to one type of global change risk may make farmers more vulnerable to other types, creating a "catch-22" among vulnerable farmers adapting to multiple global change risks. Finally, I define adaptation limits in smallholder rice farming in Northwest Costa Rica. I show that the abandonment of livelihood security and well-being, and of the unique "parcelaro" identities of rice farmers in this region define adaptation limits in this context.

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Date Created
2014

Facilitating phosphorus recovery through improved waste management

Description

Phosphorus (P) is an essential resource for global food security, but global supplies are limited and demand is growing. Demand reductions are critical for achieving P sustainability, but recovery and re-use is also required. Wastewater treatment plants and

Phosphorus (P) is an essential resource for global food security, but global supplies are limited and demand is growing. Demand reductions are critical for achieving P sustainability, but recovery and re-use is also required. Wastewater treatment plants and livestock manures receive considerable attention for their P content, but municipal organic waste is another important source of P to address. Previous research identified the importance of diverting this waste stream from landfills for recovering P, but little has been done to identify the collection and processing mechanisms required, or address the existing economic barriers. In my research, I conducted a current state assessment of organic waste management by creating case studies in Phoenix, Arizona and New Delhi, India, and surveyed biomass energy facilities throughout the United States. With participation from waste management professionals I also envisioned an organic waste management system that contributes to sustainable P while improving environmental, social, and economic outcomes.

The results of my research indicated a number of important leverage points, including landfill fees, diversion mandates for organic waste, and renewable energy credits. Source separation of organic waste improves the range of uses, decreases processing costs, and facilitates P recovery, while creating jobs and contributing to a circular economy. Food is a significant component of the waste stream, and edible food is best diverted to food banks, while scraps are best given to livestock. Biomass energy systems produce multiple revenue streams, have high processing capacities, and concentrate P and other minerals to a greater extent than composting. Using recovered P in urban agriculture and native landscaping results in additional benefits to social-ecological systems by improving food security, reducing the urban heat island effect, sequestering carbon, and enhancing urban ecosystems.

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Date Created
2016