Matching Items (29)

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Dragonfly naiads as potential reservoir hosts for the infectious amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

Description

One way pathogen prevalence is maintained is by persistence within reservoir host species. Reservoir hosts are species that do not show any signs of disease when a pathogen infects them. As a result, the pathogen survives and is able to

One way pathogen prevalence is maintained is by persistence within reservoir host species. Reservoir hosts are species that do not show any signs of disease when a pathogen infects them. As a result, the pathogen survives and is able to remain in the host population. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a chytrid fungus that has caused extensive amphibian declines. It has been suspected that reservoir hosts are a key to Bd remaining in certain amphibian populations. I studied dragonfly naiads (Anisoptera spp.), the aquatic life cycle stage immediately following hatching and preceding the emergence of wings, as potential reservoir hosts for Bd on the Mogollon Rim in Arizona. On the Mogollon Rim winter temperatures fall below the optimal thermal range for Bd. Boreal chorus frogs (Pseudacris maculata), the most common amphibian species on the Rim, maintain subzero body temperatures to survive the winter. Since the optimal thermal range for Bd is between 4°C and 25°C, it is unlikely that Bd can grow on the skin of these frogs during winter. As a result, it is unknown how Bd prevalence is maintained in the area. Recent studies showed that Bd can grow in non-amphibian hosts. I hypothesized that Bd could grow within the digestive tracts of dragonfly naiads, since they stay in the water and don’t maintain subzero body temperatures during the cold winters on the Rim. Non-native and native naiads were both included in this study; the non-native naiads were purchased from a company in California while the native naiads were captured from ponds on the Mogollon Rim. The digestive tracts of the naiads were then dissected, and the DNA was extracted using an animal tissue spin-column protocol. The extracted DNA was analyzed by qPCR. The qPCR analysis of the native and non-native dragonfly naiads revealed that the samples were either Bd-negative or very weakly Bd-positive, with most being the former. Based on these results, it does not appear that naiads are biologically significant reservoir hosts for Bd.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Toxin Level Analysis in Dogs Envenomated by Pit Vipers in Arizona

Description

To date, there have been few, if any, studies evaluating the venom toxin levels in dogs that have been naturally envenomated by pit vipers. Understanding venom toxin pharmacokinetics in a clinical setting is important for a variety of reasons, including

To date, there have been few, if any, studies evaluating the venom toxin levels in dogs that have been naturally envenomated by pit vipers. Understanding venom toxin pharmacokinetics in a clinical setting is important for a variety of reasons, including the potential to better elucidate treatment options, prognosis, and other factors associated with pit viper envenomation. In addition, dogs serve as a comparative species to humans for evaluating pit viper envenomations. This pilot study’s primary objective was to address the question of “What do we see?” in dogs presenting for rattlesnake envenomation. To answer this question, we obtained serum from envenomated dogs presenting at three veterinary clinics, then used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and western blot analysis to measure total venom and key toxins in sera. Phospholipase A2, a primary venom toxin, was identified in a few samples by the western blot, and contributed to the positive correlation between percent echinocytes in the blood and venom concentration. Medical data records were compared to venom concentrations measured using ELISA to determine whether there were any significant correlations. First, the hematological results were compared. Clotting times showed a strong positive correlation, clotting times and platelets showed a negative correlation, while echinocytes and platelets showed no correlation. When compared to venom concentration, clotting times showed a negative correlation, while age showed a positive correlation. Weight and platelets were also compared to venom concentration, but no significant correlations were found. The logistics of this study provided a real-world model where time elapsed between envenomation and hospital admission, thus giving a realistic look at what occurs in both animal and human medicine.

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Date Created
2019-05

Career Options for Students Seeking a Degree in the School of Life Sciences

Description

This project was designed to develop resources to highlight diverse career options for students achieving a degree within the School of Life Sciences. Many students have a very narrow view of what careers their degree prepares them for. In addition,

This project was designed to develop resources to highlight diverse career options for students achieving a degree within the School of Life Sciences. Many students have a very narrow view of what careers their degree prepares them for. In addition, if they have a career in mind, they have difficulty selecting an appropriate degree that will prepare them for their intended career. The goal of this project was to provide a broader view of career options, as well as illustrate the requirements each student would need to meet in order to pursue these careers. This was done by interviewing five career professionals and developing a major map that corresponds to the specific requirements of that career.

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Created

Date Created
2018-05

Building Diverse Resources for Exploratory School of Life Sciences Students

Description

This creative thesis project aimed to create career development resources that School of Life Sciences majors could use to enhance their college experience, expand the breadth of relevant career options for School of Life Sciences majors, and confront and divert

This creative thesis project aimed to create career development resources that School of Life Sciences majors could use to enhance their college experience, expand the breadth of relevant career options for School of Life Sciences majors, and confront and divert career problems through the implementation of these career development resources. Students encounter career problems when their intention and action diverge. These career problems may cause a student to stop their pursuit of a given career, change majors, or even stop schooling completely. It is the objective of this project to help resolve these career problems by introducing a career development resource flyer that educates the student about a given career, provides coursework to guide a student towards this career path, familiarize students with extracurricular efforts necessary for this position, propose valuable resources that the student can utilize to learn more about the career, and offer a question and answer portion for further career and professional understanding. In order to create these career development resource flyers a variety of professionals, both with and without relationships with Arizona State University were contacted and interviewed. The answers gathered from these interviews were then utilized to create the career flyers. The project was successful in creating five distinct career development resource flyers, as well as a blank template with instructions to be used in the future by the School of Life Sciences. The career development resource flyers will be utilized by the School of Life Sciences advising staff for future exploratory majors, but is not limited to just these students. Aspirations are set to create an expansive reservoir of these resources for future generations of students to access in hopes that they will be better suited to find a career path that they are passionate about and be better prepared to attain.

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Date Created
2017-05

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Muscles Serve as a Water Source for Egg Development in Children's Pythons (Antaresia childreni)

Description

Water-balance is a critical but understudied consideration for animals reproducing in dry environments, as females invest a significant amount of water into their offspring. What makes water especially challenging, is that few animals are known to have true water storage,

Water-balance is a critical but understudied consideration for animals reproducing in dry environments, as females invest a significant amount of water into their offspring. What makes water especially challenging, is that few animals are known to have true water storage, whereas energy as fat storage is well-documented. Recent studies have suggested the possibility that, when drinking water is scarce, animals can catabolize their muscles, thereby extracting cellular water. In this study, the aim was to show this as a potential method used by animals reproducing in dry environments to cope with dehydration and still produce a clutch. Children's pythons (Antaresia childreni) were used to investigate this phenomenon due to the fact that they experience two, distinctive, reproductive phases- vitellogenesis (when protein and energy are mobilized and invested into the yolk) and gravidity (when the major water investment into the egg occurs, as well as egg shelling). Other factors that make them excellent candidates are that they are pure capital breeders (don't eat during the reproductive season) and can withstand periods of water deprivation that far outlast their reproductive gravid phase. Reproductive and non-reproductive females were deprived of water for the duration of gravidity, and their mass decrease, epaxial muscle shrinkage, blood osmolality, total protein, uric acid, triglycerides and ketones were measured at the onset of each reproductive stage; these values were compared to their water-provided counterparts. Water-deprived females experienced greater mass loss, epaxial muscle loss, blood plasma osmolality, and uric acid than water-provided females. These findings suggest that muscle catabolism is used as a method of dealing with water-deprivation during gravidity.

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Created

Date Created
2018-05

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The Effect of Carotenoid Supplementation on Immune System Development in Juvenile Male Veiled Chameleons (Chamaeleo Calyptratus)

Description

Introduction: Nutrient availability, assimilation, and allocation can have important and lasting effects on the immune system development of growing animals. Though carotenoid pigments have immunostimulatory properties in many animals, relatively little is known regarding how they influence the immune system during

Introduction: Nutrient availability, assimilation, and allocation can have important and lasting effects on the immune system development of growing animals. Though carotenoid pigments have immunostimulatory properties in many animals, relatively little is known regarding how they influence the immune system during development. Moreover, studies linking carotenoids to health at any life stage have largely been restricted to birds and mammals. We investigated the effects of carotenoid supplementation on multiple aspects of immunity in juvenile veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus). We supplemented half of the chameleons with lutein (a xanthophyll carotenoid) for 14 weeks during development and serially measured multiple aspects of immune function, including: agglutination and lysis performance of plasma, wound healing, and plasma nitric oxide concentrations before and after wounding.

Results: Though lutein supplementation effectively elevated circulating carotenoid concentrations throughout the developmental period, we found no evidence that carotenoid repletion enhanced immune function at any point. However, agglutination and lysis scores increased, while baseline nitric oxide levels decreased, as chameleons aged.

Conclusions: Taken together, our results indicate that body mass and age, but not carotenoid access, may play an important role in immune performance of growing chameleons. Hence, studying well-understood physiological processes in novel taxa can provide new perspectives on alternative physiological processes and nutrient function.

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Date Created
2014-03-22

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The Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise Genome Provides a Resource for the Conservation of a Threatened Species

Description

Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is a long-lived species native to the Mojave Desert and is listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. To aid conservation efforts for preserving the genetic diversity of this species, we generated a

Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is a long-lived species native to the Mojave Desert and is listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. To aid conservation efforts for preserving the genetic diversity of this species, we generated a whole genome reference sequence with an annotation based on deep transcriptome sequences of adult skeletal muscle, lung, brain, and blood. The draft genome assembly for G. agassizii has a scaffold N50 length of 252 kbp and a total length of 2.4 Gbp. Genome annotation reveals 20,172 protein-coding genes in the G. agassizii assembly, and that gene structure is more similar to chicken than other turtles. We provide a series of comparative analyses demonstrating (1) that turtles are among the slowest-evolving genome-enabled reptiles, (2) amino acid changes in genes controlling desert tortoise traits such as shell development, longevity and osmoregulation, and (3) fixed variants across the Gopherus species complex in genes related to desert adaptations, including circadian rhythm and innate immune response. This G. agassizii genome reference and annotation is the first such resource for any tortoise, and will serve as a foundation for future analysis of the genetic basis of adaptations to the desert environment, allow for investigation into genomic factors affecting tortoise health, disease and longevity, and serve as a valuable resource for additional studies in this species complex.

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Date Created
2017-05-31

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Inflammatory Effects of Edwardsiella Ictaluri Lipopolysaccharide Modifications in Catfish Gut

Description

Bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are structural components of the outer membranes of Gram-negative bacteria and also are potent inducers of inflammation in mammals. Higher vertebrates are extremely sensitive to LPS, but lower vertebrates, like fish, are resistant to their systemic toxic

Bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are structural components of the outer membranes of Gram-negative bacteria and also are potent inducers of inflammation in mammals. Higher vertebrates are extremely sensitive to LPS, but lower vertebrates, like fish, are resistant to their systemic toxic effects. However, the effects of LPS on the fish intestinal mucosa remain unknown. Edwardsiella ictaluri is a primitive member of the Enterobacteriaceae family that causes enteric septicemia in channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). E. ictaluri infects and colonizes deep lymphoid tissues upon oral or immersion infection. Both gut and olfactory organs are the primary sites of invasion. At the systemic level, E. ictaluri pathogenesis is relatively well characterized, but our knowledge about E. ictaluri intestinal interaction is limited. Recently, we observed that E. ictaluri oligo-polysaccharide (O-PS) LPS mutants have differential effects on the intestinal epithelia of orally inoculated catfish. Here we evaluate the effects of E. ictaluri O-PS LPS mutants by using a novel catfish intestinal loop model and compare it to the rabbit ileal loop model inoculated with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium LPS. We found evident differences in rabbit ileal loop and catfish ileal loop responses to E. ictaluri and S. Typhimurium LPS. We determined that catfish respond to E. ictaluri LPS but not to S. Typhimurium LPS. We also determined that E. ictaluri inhibits cytokine production and induces disruption of the intestinal fish epithelia in an O-PS-dependent fashion. The E. ictaluri wild type and ΔwibT LPS mutant caused intestinal tissue damage and inhibited proinflammatory cytokine synthesis, in contrast to E. ictaluri Δgne and Δugd LPS mutants. We concluded that the E. ictaluri O-PS subunits play a major role during pathogenesis, since they influence the recognition of the LPS by the intestinal mucosal immune system of the catfish. The LPS structure of E. ictaluri mutants is needed to understand the mechanism of interaction.

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Date Created
2014-08-01

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The Effect of Hydration State and Energy Balance on Innate Immunity of a Desert Reptile

Description

Introduction: Immune function is a vital physiological process that is often suppressed during times of resource scarcity due to investments in other physiological systems. While energy is the typical currency that has been examined in such trade-offs, limitations of other

Introduction: Immune function is a vital physiological process that is often suppressed during times of resource scarcity due to investments in other physiological systems. While energy is the typical currency that has been examined in such trade-offs, limitations of other resources may similarly lead to trade-offs that affect immune function. Specifically, water is a critical resource with profound implications for organismal ecology, yet its availability can fluctuate at local, regional, and even global levels. Despite this, the effect of osmotic state on immune function has received little attention.

Results: Using agglutination and lysis assays as measures of an organism's plasma concentration of natural antibodies and capacity for foreign cell destruction, respectively, we tested the independent effects of osmotic state, digestive state, and energy balance on innate immune function in free-ranging and laboratory populations of the Gila monster, Heloderma suspectum. This desert-dwelling lizard experiences dehydration and energy resource fluctuations on a seasonal basis. Dehydration was expected to decrease innate immune function, yet we found that dehydration increased lysis and agglutination abilities in both lab and field studies, a relationship that was not simply an effect of an increased concentration of immune molecules. Laboratory-based differences in digestive state were not associated with lysis or agglutination metrics, although in our field population, a loss of fat stores was correlated with an increase in lysis.

Conclusions: Depending on the life history of an organism, osmotic state may have a greater influence on immune function than energy availability. Thus, consideration of osmotic state as a factor influencing immune function will likely improve our understanding of ecoimmunology and the disease dynamics of a wide range of species.

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Date Created
2013-05-04

Wandering Paws

Description

Objective: To explore the dimensions of the human animal bond and provide a community needs assessment to inform the community stake holders such as the Arizona Humane Society and Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust Foundation how many animals are in

Objective: To explore the dimensions of the human animal bond and provide a community needs assessment to inform the community stake holders such as the Arizona Humane Society and Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust Foundation how many animals are in need of veterinary services within the homeless population of Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to this, pets of the homeless individuals will be able to gain access to veterinary services for eight consecutive weeks. Background: Pets have an important impact on human mental, physical, social, and emotional health. It has been reported that about one third of the homeless population in Arizona has pets that are not able to gain access to veterinary care (Wang, 2015). Most homeless shelters will not allow people to access services with pets. As a consequence people will sleep out in the streets. Animals as Lifechangers and Lifesavers: Pets in the Redemption Narratives of Homeless People (Irvine, 2013) contains interviews of homeless people based on their life stories. A common theme among interviewees was that they felt they had a responsibility to their pets that served as a motivating purpose for giving up horrible personal habits because they had a sense of responsibility. Methods/Materials: Wandering Paws was launched in February 2015, but did not officially start as an eight-week study until March 2016. This pilot program serves the homeless populations' dogs and cats with veterinary care. The Arizona Humane Society was approached to acquire their services for this project including a veterinarian, a technician, and usage of their seventy-one foot mobile unit. Homeless individuals who wanted veterinary services were recruited and asked to fill out a twenty-three-question survey. Secondary data was procured from the Arizona Humane Society about the animal and services rendered for that pet. Results: Over the course of the first four weeks 22 surveys have been completed. 86% of the surveys completed indicate a strong bond between the owner and animal. The remaining 14% of the surveys completed indicate a weaker bond between the animal and owner. Conclusion/Implications: The research indicates a strong connection between most people and their animals. The veterinary services provided for the homeless population should be continued on a monthly basis as a wellness clinic in the future, as these services are in great demand.

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Date Created
2016-05