Matching Items (29)

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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

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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  • 2017-05-31

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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.

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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The Relationship Between Vertebral Osteology and Microhabitat and Prey-capture Methods in Snakes

Description

Vertebral osteology varies greatly among snake species. This variation may be related to specialization in microhabitat and prey-capture. Radiographs of eight preserved male specimens were taken in order to analyze

Vertebral osteology varies greatly among snake species. This variation may be related to specialization in microhabitat and prey-capture. Radiographs of eight preserved male specimens were taken in order to analyze the vertebral length and morphology of snakes which exhibit extreme characteristics in microhabitat utilization and prey-capture methods (highly arboreal, effective constrictor). This group includes two representatives each from four major families within Serpentes: Boidae, Pythonidae, Viperidae, and Colubridae. The four boids and pythons are effective constrictors, while the four vipers and colubrids are non-constricting. One specimen of each pair is highly arboreal, while the other is terrestrial. Findings support previous research in that constrictors had larger total numbers of vertebrae than non-constrictors. When average maximum adult length and morphology of axial musculature was taken into consideration, however, flexibility gained by vertebral number alone does not theoretically confer a mechanical advantage during constriction, at least among the specimens examined. All arboreal specimens had tails with a greater number of vertebrae than their con-familial terrestrial counterpart, implicating greater flexibility in the caudal region as an important characteristic for arboreality across taxa. Examination of segments of 10 vertebrae revealed that the greatest vertebral elongation occurred at the midpoint of the thoracic region. Reduction in size and length of tail vertebrae appears to occur independently of thoracic vertebrae. Colubrids, specifically, demonstrated a unique caudal vertebral elongation pattern which could potentially be advantageous for quick locomotion. These results indicate that caudal morphology may be more important in behavioral specialization than previously thought.

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  • 2016-12

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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

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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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Physician and Veterinarian Suicide: A Comparative Literature Review

Description

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and statistical analysis of suicide by profession reveals that physicians and veterinarians experience abnormally high suicide rates. This paper seeks

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and statistical analysis of suicide by profession reveals that physicians and veterinarians experience abnormally high suicide rates. This paper seeks to provide a comprehensive literature review over what some general theories of suicide are, why these professions exhibit high suicide rates, what assistance is currently being provided, and where do these assistance efforts succeed or fail. Moreover, this paper addresses what advancements may be made within these fields to further combat suicide in physicians and veterinarians. To achieve this, general theories behind suicide, risk factors unique to or heavily prevalent in these professions, and current assistance efforts are read, organized, and summarized.<br/><br/>A summary of these risk factors includes stress and mental health disorders accumulated through school and work, personal and professional isolation, access to lethal substances, suicide contagion, exposure to euthanasia, and the role of perfectionism. There are several assistance efforts in place with the most successful ones being highly personalized, but many are still underutilized. Moreover, the stigma of suicide pervades these professions and is addressed by several researchers as something to combat or prevent. Going forward, it is hopeful that not only will more assistance efforts will be created and provided for physicians and veterinarians suffering from suicidal tendencies, but efforts to reduce the stigma of suicide be implemented and utilized as soon as possible.

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  • 2021-05

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Examination of the Ethical Responsibility of Veterinarians Regarding Cases of Animal Abuse and Neglect

Description

Attitudes toward animal welfare have been evolving in our society as we have developed from early agricultural roots to an increasingly urban and technologically advanced community. However, despite the growing

Attitudes toward animal welfare have been evolving in our society as we have developed from early agricultural roots to an increasingly urban and technologically advanced community. However, despite the growing societal appreciation and care for animals in our homes and backyards, veterinarians are still faced with cases of abuse and neglect. Although it may seem obvious for veterinarians, as animal welfare advocates, to confront this dilemma each time they are faced with it, that is not always the case. In order to assess the responsibilities of veterinarians in regard to neglect and abuse, an extensive literature review and analysis was performed and practicing veterinarians were interviewed to determine their attitudes regarding the responsibility to report suspected cases of animal neglect and abuse. Specifically, these interviews focused on such topics as the educational background of the practitioners, how empathy impacts their perception of animal welfare, their relationship with law enforcement agencies, and related questions. The study demonstrated that the most prominent factor in a veterinarian's understanding of violations of animal welfare stems from their educational background. Therefore, it is recommended that veterinary medicine programs alter their curricula to emphasize animal welfare training and the obligation of veterinarians to report suspected cases of neglect and abuse.

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  • 2013-12

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The Effect of Hydration State on Voluntary Maximum Temperature of a desert reptile, Heloderma suspectum.

Description

An organism's ability to maintain optimal body temperature is extremely important for sustaining physiological and behavioral processes necessary for survival. However, like other physiological systems, thermobiology can be influenced by

An organism's ability to maintain optimal body temperature is extremely important for sustaining physiological and behavioral processes necessary for survival. However, like other physiological systems, thermobiology can be influenced by the availability of resources. Water is a vital resource that has profound implications on many aspects of biological function, including thermoregulatory pathways. However, water availability has a tendency fluctuate within any given ecosystem. While several studies have investigated the influence of water availability on a range of thermoregulatory pathways, very little attention has been given to its influence on Voluntary Maximum Temperature (VMT). We investigated the effects of dehydration on Voluntary Maximum Temperature in a captive population of Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum). Gila monsters are large-bodied, desert dwelling lizards that experience periods of seasonal dehydration. Additionally, the effects of dehydration on their physiology and behavior have been extensively studied. We hypothesized that dehydration would reduce VMT. As expected, there was a significant decrease in exit temperature as blood osmolality increased. This is presumed to be in an effort to decrease water loss. Adaptations that allow desert dwelling organisms to conserve water are highly advantageous due to seasonal water constraints. Our findings offer insight on how the behavior of these organisms may change in response to changes in climate.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

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

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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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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

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

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

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