Thesis and Capstone Collection

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    A systematic review of the use of robots for college students
    (2023-08) Stewart, Ashley; Lozano, Nicole M.; van Ittersum, Kyle; Trubenstein, Paige; Lee, JongHwa
    Robot pets have been used to decrease depression and loneliness with older adults; however, there is very limited research on the effects of the use of robot pets in the college population. To address this gap, a review of the literature has been conducted to look at the potential benefits robot pets may have on college students. After examining the research, three hypothetical studies were developed to test whether robot pets could be used to benefit the mental health of college age students. The first proposes a study that compares times spent with a robopet versus time coloring and changes in stress levels. The second study plans to compare the robot pets to therapy dogs to determine if the benefits between the two will be similar. The final study will look at the effects of prolonged exposure to robot pets.
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    Towards autonomous network security using knowledge graphs
    (2023-05) Watson, Jason; Choupani, Roya; Doğdu, Erdoğan; Hammad, Eman; Brojakowski, Benjamin
    The rapid growth of cyber threats in recent years has increased the demand for effective and efficient methods to map and analyze computer networks. In this thesis, we present a novel autonomous system for deploying agents through computer networks and collecting host information to create a comprehensive knowledge graph. The knowledge graph captures details about the installed software, operating systems, and various other aspects of the host, providing valuable insights for network analysis and security purposes. Our evaluation focuses on coverage, scalability, and efficiency, with experiments conducted on both real-world and simulated network environments of varying sizes and configurations. We assess the system's performance in open, semi-open, and hardened configurations. Ultimately, this comprehensive evaluation aims to validate the system's capabilities and demonstrate its potential impact on network analysis and security. The evaluation results demonstrate the system's effectiveness in mapping networks and collecting accurate host information while maintaining a low impact on the network. However, the evaluation also reveals areas for improvement, particularly regarding environments with strict security measures and the scalability issues of hosting an API on a single server. Based on our findings, we propose potential future improvements, such as incorporating machine learning and AI techniques to enhance the system's adaptability and resilience. Overall, our autonomous system offers a promising approach to network analysis and security, laying the foundation for further research and innovation in this field.
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    Effectiveness of simulated water as a lure for bats in the Big Bend region of Texas
    (2023-05) Buckel, Alexander; Ammerman, Loren K.; Dowler, Robert C.; Negovetich, Nicholas J.; Murphy, Amy
    The standard protocol for mist netting bats in the desert involves setting nets over bodies of water. In some arid study sites, bodies of water are hard to find and often surrounded by dense vegetation. This leads to wasted time searching for ideal netting sites, and nets can sometimes be damaged by vegetation. Previous studies have shown bats will try to drink from smooth, flat surfaces both in captivity and in the wild. It is likely that they rely on echolocation to find water sources, even when other methods (vision, olfaction, spatial memory) would indicate that those surfaces are not water. I attempted to use simulated water surfaces as a mist netting lure in an arid environment, at Big Bend Ranch State Park and Fort Leaton State Historic Site, Presidio County, Texas,in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. I used two different simulated water surfaces and a bare ground control, with three nets deployed each night of netting. The bare ground control net caught more bats than both simulated water surfaces combined. I also conducted a camera study in which a nighttime security camera was trained on a simulated water surface each night to observe the interest of bats in the simulated water surface without a mist net interfering. The camera data also showed that most bats were not interested in the simulated water. Passes caught on camera, especially drinking passes, were rare and sporadic. According to camera footage, bats did show more interest in the simulated water at a nearby multispecies roost, Fort Leaton State Historic Site. However, neither Fort Leaton nor Big Bend Ranch State Park showed enough bat activity for the simulated water to be considered an effective mist netting lure.
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    Virtual networking cybersecurity and vulnerabilities in cloud computing applications: a systematic review
    (2023-05) Merry, William, Sr.; Doğdu, Erdoğan; Choupani, Roya; Nag, Abhijit Kumar; St. Germaine, Nicole
    Numerous methodologies for modeling cybersecurity defense have been developed using tree structures, matrices, and techniques proposed by several firms and industries. These approaches model actions that can be taken to attack secure infrastructures and other resources using strategic and tactical means to stop them. This paper builds on MITRE ATT&CK matrices' prior efforts to combine the components needed to address our uniquely specific and growing concern about virtual network infrastructure security. The matrix of strategy and tactics addresses a generalized solution for modeling framework/paradigm-based attacks that go beyond deploying a single exploit against a single identified target. The construction and defense of a well-defined virtual network server, its workstations, and all other infrastructures are looked at and dissected in detail for clarification. Strategies address the File Allocation Table (FAT)1/physical server and the Virtual server interfaces and the unique construction of workstations built in sterile environments at different levels of detail. SDN architecture decision-making is also critical to a software system's success as it sets the system's structure, determines its qualities, and has far-reaching consequences throughout the system life cycle2. Our review incorporates the currently existing services of MITRE ATT&CK Matrix tactics and mitigations into the ever-expanding world of virtual networking and its interface with cloud-based applications. This effort attempts to stimulate more research attention to these issues in future VMware, OpenFlow, and SDN development and where it fits into the MITRE ATT&CK Matrix.
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    The effect of condensed tannins on immune response in beef cattle
    (2023-05) Schreiber, Sebastian; Scott, Cody; Langdon, John; Owens, Corey; Crabill, Emerson
    Selection for nutrients alone is likely insufficient to account for highly variable ruminant diets. Selection for plant secondary compounds may occur to rectify deficiencies and even self-medicate. This study investigates the relationship between condensed tannins and immune response. Twenty angus heifers were randomly assigned treatment groups. All heifers were offered 4% body weight in feed, daily. Treatment feed contained 6% grape/blueberry pomace as a source of tannins. Intake was measured for the duration of the trial (21 days). On day 15, heifers were vaccinated with modified-live IBR/BVD vaccine. Body temperatures and blood (erythrocytes, leukocytes, and immunoglobulins) were collected pre/post-inoculation. Treatment group intake was higher post-inoculation (P ≤ 0.05). Blood data and average daily gain were similar among treatments. A significant, though apparently artifactual, group-day interaction was observed for body temperature. While a relationship between condensed tannins and immune cells/antibody production was not established, intake results suggest tannins may still be relevant.
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    The impact of transformational leadership on collegiate athlete performance
    (2023-05) MacKinnon, Connor; Stenmark, Cheryl K.; van Ittersumm, Kyle W.; Daniel, Jordan A.; Chen, Yo-Rong
    This study investigates the relationship between transformational leadership and collegiate athlete performance. In an organizational setting, performance is impacted by leadership, but different types of leadership, exhibited by supervisors, affects the level of performance differently (Lee & Ding, 2020; Mehta, Dubinsky, & Anderson, 2003). Instead of this research focusing on an organizational context, it is applied in a sports context. We hypothesized transformational leadership will be correlated to performance, and cohesion and motivation will be significant mediators in the relationship. To understand this phenomenon, a Qualtrics survey was developed to collect information from past athletes. The survey was distributed on Amazon's MTurk online service. Each participant was asked to complete an informed consent form, demographic questions, and six other questionnaires. The results of this study found evidence that transformational leadership is positively related to individual (r = 0.61) and team performance (r = 0.58). Additionally, intrinsic motivation partially mediated the relationship between transformational leadership and individual performance. Cohesion, as a mediator, did not have a significant indirect effect on individual performance (b = 2.40e-4, p > .05). The same results were found when team performance was used as the dependent variable. This means cohesion is not a significant mediator in this study. The null effects regarding cohesion could be due to the participants' not being active current participants in sports. Future studies should use a current collegiate athletes sample and investigate collegiate athletes' preferences and attitudes toward a coach's leadership style.
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    Potential remediation of rangelands after brine water contamination using five different grasses
    (2023-05) Garcia, Jonathan; Scott, Cody; Owens, Corey; Branham, Loree; Heimann, Connie
    Recent advances in technology now allow for the use of water from the Santa Rosa formation to be used for fracking in the oil and natural gas industry. Unfortunately, water from this formation varies in salinity from 3,000 to 10,000 ppm, which may inhibit vegetation growth when spills occur. Saltwater spills with higher salinity water (80,000 ppm) cause total vegetation loss. Unfortunately, little is known regarding the impacts of brine water spills from the Santa Rosa formation. For this study, Alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides (Torr.) Torr.), WW B-dahl Bluestem (Bothriochloa bladhii Retz.), Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula Michx, Torr. var. curtipendula), Blue grama (Bouteloua gracillis Kunth), and Wilman lovegrass (Eragostis superba Peyr.) were planted and watered with 0, 3,000, 5,000, or 10,000 ppm saline concentration for 21 days. Wilman lovegrass and Alkali sacaton exhibited the highest germination and establishment rate. Once water exceeded 5,000 ppm, germination and establishment was near zero.
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    A molecular reevaluation of Bewick's wren (Thryomanes bewickii) subspecies of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas
    (2023-05) Roth, Jeffrey; Skipper, Ben R.; Ammerman, Loren K.; Negovetich, Nicholas J.; Garrison, Kevin G.
    Modern advancements in sequencing technology now allow for fine scale analyses of genetically distinct populations to test subspecific boundaries at a genetic level. Despite these advances, many avian subspecies have not undergone reevaluation since their morphologically-based designation decades ago. The Bewick's wren (Thryomanes bewickii) is a small wren species in North America currently subdivided into 15 recognized subspecies. These designations have been questioned because some specimens used in the original designations suffered from foxing or were soiled skins, necessitating reassessment. Of the described subspecies, four occur across Texas, Oklahoma, and eastern New Mexico (T. b. pulichi, T. b. cryptus, T. b. eremophilus, and T. b. sadai). Population structure among these subspecies was tested using a combination of molecular methods; screening genomic DNA for single nucleotide polymorphisms, and sequencing of the ND2 mitochondrial gene. Across New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas 68 individuals were captured and sampled. Analysis of population structure using the program STRUCTURE found the populations of Bewick's wrens within the study area to be a panmictic population with little genetic structuring. Construction of a haplotype network generated based on the ND2 gene suggested two distinct clusters across the study area with all birds in Oklahoma, Texas, and eastern New Mexico clustering together and birds in New Mexico west of the Rio Grande representing a second cluster.
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    Universality of therapeutic processes across different counseling modalities
    (2023-05) Gonzalez, Jonathan; Kelley, Leslie; Curtis, Drew; Lozano, Nicole; Krukonis, Greg
    A consensus has not been made to what counseling therapeutic modality is the most effective. There are many theories and forms of integration to provide psychotherapy services and deciding which therapeutic orientation to use specially for beginning therapists can be daunting. Luckily, there are training models that have been developed for beginning therapists to conceptualize the therapy process in a variety of ways. One of which is The Key Strategies Process for Individual Training Model (KST-IP) which conceptualizes three modalities at once and assumes that all therapeutic modalities share common processes. This study explored the processes and strategies suggested by the KST-IP model in the terms of perceived importance of practicing clinicians in the field of psychology of eight different therapeutic modalities. Results showed significant results that clinicians regardless of their therapeutic orientation find the processes and strategies proposed by the KST-IP model to be important.
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    Blameworthiness toward sex trafficked persons: the effects of empathy, bias, and sexual self-acceptance
    (2023-05) Gibson, Chloe; Lozano, Nicole; Kelley, Leslie; Livingston, Tyler N.; Bechtol, Bruce, Jr.
    Sex trafficked individuals face blame because the public tends to conflate sex trafficking with prostitution, which is subjected to a lack of social empathy given the belief that prostitution is a choice. Although some choose to enter prostitution, others are forced into the sex trade by trafficking but are shamed, and ashamed, for not preventing victimization. There has also been a history of criminalizing Black individuals more so than White peers. Previous research has focused on empathy toward sex crime victims in various scenarios, but there lacks evaluation of participant empathy and personal sexual acceptance, that may affect blameworthiness toward sex trafficked affected individuals specifically. This study explores this topic by randomizing vignette scenarios that depict different races of women to assess perceived blameworthiness of sex trafficked persons based on participants empathic traits, racial attitudes, attitudes toward sex trafficking, and sexual self-acceptance.
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    The effects of cultured dextrose on shelf-life and sensory characteristics of restructured beef jerky
    (2023-05) Thomas, Kiana; Branham, Loree; Kellermeier, John; Cope, Robert; Serrano, Gabriela
    The conducted study was to determine the effects of Cultured Dextrose (CD) in restructured beef jerky on shelf-life, color, pH, water activity (Aw), sensory, yeast, mold, and aerobic plate count (APC) traits from a 22-day retail standpoint. Three trials were processed to conduct this research; two were used for microbial, pH, Aw, and subjective color, while the third was used for sensory evaluation. Starting at d 1 after cooking and packaging restructured jerky samples were evaluated for instrumental color scores (L*, a*, and b*), pH, Aw, yeast, mold, APC, trained sensory panels, and trained visual acceptability. There were two-way interactions impacting L* and b* and a three-way interaction impacting a* values (P < 0.05). The interaction between panels and treatment for Sucrose (S) treatment from trial 2 and the Cultured Dextrose treatment from Trial 2 was significantly different (P < 0.05). Cultured Dextrose treatment was deemed more acceptable for visual acceptability compared to S treatment (P < 0.05). Panel 2 had a higher subjective overall visual acceptability rate than the other three panels (P < 0.05). For the triangle test, of the 111samples/treatment, 47 CD and 39 S samples were successfully identified. This did not meet the critical number required to be considered statistically detectable at a significant level. Furthermore, microbial evaluation showed two-way interactions between trial and treatment impacting APC levels (P < 0.05). In comparison, neither yeast nor mold levels were impacted by any interaction or main effects (P > 0.05). Overall, fungi presence was lower than expected with any minimum detectible mold being found on 8.33% of S samples and 8.33% of CD samples. Yeast was found to be 3.33% of CD samples and 1.67% of S samples, for the collective experiment. Overall while the study added to the information on Cultured Dextrose as an ingredient in processed meat products more is still to be learned.
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    A survey of the parasites of freshwater turtles in the Concho Valley
    (2022-12) Easley, Makayla Shae; Dixon, Micheal T.; Negovetich, Nicholas J.; Skipper, Ben R.; Brewer, Steven T.
    Freshwater turtles are important members in any aquatic system as they help control aquatic vegetation and readily act as scavengers, which helps water quality and overall productivity of the ecosystem. Freshwater turtle populations have been on the decline in recent years. This decline is a direct result of turtles being harvested for various commercial activities, as well as habitat destruction, climate change, and disease. Studying the parasitic fauna within freshwater turtles could reveal insight into the diseases the turtles may face. The goal of this study is to report the parasite community within freshwater turtles in the Concho Valley. Six species of turtle were examined including Red-Eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans, n=34), Texas Cooters (Pseudemys texana, n=17), Eastern Musk Turtles (Sternotherus odoratus, n=10), Texas Map Turtles (Graptemys versa, n=7), Spiny Softshells (Apalone spinifera, n=3), and Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina, n=2). From the turtles, one species of ectoparasite was recovered, Placobdella parasitica, and nine species of endoparasite were recovered: Neoechinorhynchus emydis, Neoechinorhynchus pseudemydis, Neoechinorhynchus emyditoides, Serpinema sp., Camallanus sp., Spiroxys sp., Falcaustra sp., Contracaecum sp., and Dracunculus sp. The prevalence and intensity of each parasite species is reported and compared among the aquatic systems, turtle species, turtle sexes, and between gravid and non-gravid female turtles. Neoechinorhynchus emyditoides prevalence was higher in P. texana (71%) than G. versa (14%). Camallanus sp. prevalence was higher in non-gravid females (71%) than gravid females (33%). Falcaustra sp. prevalence was higher in females (24%) than males (5%). This study supports the previous literature of freshwater turtle parasites in Texas and documents the first findings of these parasites of freshwater turtles in this region.
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    A study of China-North Korea relations in the post-Cold War realm
    (2022-12) Taylor, Guy; Bechtol, Bruce E.; Celso, Anthony N.; Taylor, William A.; Conklin, Michael
    While complex and turbulent, the China-North Korea relationship has grown stronger during the post-Cold War era, with China emerging as a global power that has replaced the former Soviet Union as North Korea's primary defense treaty ally, economic and political supporter, and provider of geopolitical cover on the international stage. This study examines the evolution of ties between Beijing and Pyongyang over the more than three-decade span since 1990, a period marked by North Korea's emergence as a nuclear armed nation, and shaped by fast evolving developments on the East Asian geopolitical landscape, where China and the United States find themselves locked in increasingly militarized competition amid uncertainty over the true extent to which Beijing and Pyongyang are working together as strategic partners against America and its allies. While Beijing relies on North Korea as a buffer between mainland China and U.S. forces in the region, and benefits from nearly unfettered access to North Korean natural resources, Chinese leaders are seen to be frustrated by the rogue behavior of the ruling Kim regime in Pyongyang. For its own part, the regime has a history of harboring deep paranoia toward the prospect of being controlled by China, even as its survival depends on Beijing's support. All the while, the question of whether successive U.S. administrations have erred since the early-1990s in assuming that Beijing could be relied upon as a partner in efforts to contain the Kim regime and rid North Korea of nuclear weapons, looms in the backdrop of contemporary dynamics that find Pyongyang playing a crucially consequential role in a rising new Cold War between China and the United States.
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    Home range analysis of sympatric striped skunks and plains spotted skunks in southeastern Texas
    (2022-08) Hamilton, Matthew; Dowler, Robert C.; Negovetich, Nicholas J.; Skipper, Ben R.; Kamalapur, Raj
    In eastern Texas, striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) occur sympatrically with plains spotted skunks (Spilogale interrupta), a smaller-bodied mesocarnivore facing population decline due to habitat loss and urbanization. I examined home range size of co-occurring striped and plains spotted skunks on Katy Prairie, a portion of the West Gulf Coast ecoregion in southeastern Texas. My study site, Warren Ranch, Katy Prairie Conservancy, is managed for cattle production and prairie conservation, and it is a mosaic of native prairie, minimally managed pastures, and heavily grazed pastures. From February 2019 to June 2021, I fitted striped and spotted skunks with GPS-transmitters programmed to record spatial locations 4 times per 24-hour period. I recorded spatial fixes sufficient for seasonal home range analysis (n ≥ 30 locations per season), and current analysis on 20 striped skunks (10M: 10F) and 20 spotted skunks (11M: 9F) is completed. Cumulatively, data collected represent 36 striped skunk seasonal home ranges (21M: 15F) and 48 spotted skunk seasonal home ranges (29M: 19F). Using kernel utilization distribution and minimum convex polygons, I determined mean seasonal 95% isopleth home ranges of striped skunks (297 ± 66 ha) and spotted skunks (196 ± 65 ha). Results indicate that male and female spotted skunks have similar sized home ranges and that there is no seasonal variation in spotted skunk home range size. Furthermore, no difference in home range size was observed between striped and spotted skunk on the Katie Prairie. For striped skunks, males exhibited larger home ranges and had an increase in home range size during the winter and spring seasons.
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    A study of the parasitic fauna of North American spotted skunks (genus Spilogale) across the eastern and central United States
    (2022-08) Arszulowicz, Madeline Nicole; Dowler, Robert C.; Negovetich, Nicholas J.; Ammerman, Loren K.; Madero, Flor L.
    To date, few studies exist on the extent of the parasitic fauna found on and within spotted skunks (genus Spilogale). Most research has focused either on skunks from a portion of their range, or on a specific parasite group, creating a bias towards heterogeneous sampling efforts and incomplete sampling. As such, the goal of this project is to report on the parasite community of spotted skunks, Spilogale interrupta, S. leucoparia, and S. putorius, collected across their ranges. Skunks collected represent nine states and were obtained from vehicle-killed animals, mortalities from previous research projects, donations from natural history collections, and legally harvested animals by fur trappers. We found 62 out of 73 hosts from seven states parasitized by ectoparasites, identifying five species of fleas (Orchopeas howardi, Ctenopthalmus sp., Echidnophaga gallinacea, Pulex irritans, and Xenopsylla cheopis), one genus of lice (Neotrichodectes sp.), one mite species (Haemolaelaps glasgowi), and two genera of ticks (Ixodes texanus and Rhipicephalus sanguineus). We found 46 out of 49 hosts from nine states parasitized with endoparasites and identified two species of acanthocephalans (Macracanthorhynchus ingens and Pachysentis canicola), two genera of cestodes (Mesocestoides variabilis and Taenia sp.), and five species of nematodes (Baylisascaris columnaris, Capillaria putorii, Crenosoma mephitidis, Physaloptera maxillaris, and Skrjabingylus chitwoodorum).
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    Establishment and growth of halophytic shrubs with increasing concentration of total dissolved salts
    (2022-08) Culak, Lance Adam; Scott, Cody B.; Owens, Cory; Runyan, Chase A.; Solomon, Marva J.
    Saltwater spill sites on west Texas rangelands caused by the oil and gas industry can reduce vegetation and weaken the soil structure to the point no vegetation can survive. This study assessed three halophyte shrubs, Four-winged saltbush (Atriplex canescens (Pursh) Nutt.), Salt cedar (Tamarix chinensis Lour.) and Willow baccharis (Baccharis salicina Torr. & A. Gray) response to increasing water salinity. Plants were divided into four groups and watered with either 0, 3,000, 5,000 or 10,000 ppm sodium chloride (NaCl) solution for 34 days. Plant height, drainage volume, drainage electrical conductivity and soil electrical conductivity were measured throughout the study. Nutritional analysis of each plant species was also recorded at the end of the study. All species survived and removed sodium (Na) from the soil. Salt cedar top growth had the highest Na content in its leaves and lowest salinity in the soil making it a preferred shrub specie to plant on saltwater spill sites.
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    The urge to (e)merge: Dialectical synthesis and the human need to create
    (2022-08) Brooks, Jeffrey Robert; Stenmark, Cheryl; Kelley, Leslie; Trubenstein, Paige; Dittmann, W. Layne
    Understanding the dialectical nature of creativity – as an emergent synthesis of antithetical components – may shed light on its binary functions and paradoxes, help us understand why efforts to study it have been antithetical themselves, and illuminate our own motives toward self-integration. Prompted by a long history of myths and misunderstanding surrounding creativity, this paper draws upon both psychological science and humanistic scholarship to explore the myriad dichotomies involved with the creative process – e.g., between divergence and convergence, incubation and insight, the default and executive attention neural networks, etc. – required for creative synthesis. The creative person is also addressed in terms of the dialectical traits and disparate impulses more typical of eminent creators, including the tensions between the individual and the sociocultural context, as one feels compelled toward self-integration and creative activity. The creative product is considered dialectically as an emergent synthesis of remote elements, bearing qualities that exceed the sum of its independent components. Finally, this paper proposes an emergent synthesis of its own as it tracks how a conflict as old as Plato and Aristotle has informed our current views on creativity and human psychology. It concludes with suggested applications of the dialectical theory of creativity for mental health, educational and organizational practices, and research methods.
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    Distribution and molecular analysis of the freshwater red algae Sheathia involuta (Rhodophyta: Batrachospermales) from the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico
    (2022-08) Guajardo, Bethany Skye; Strenth, Ned E.; Ammerman, Loren K.; Negovetich, Nicholas J.; Snow, Veronica
    This study examined the distribution of the freshwater red algal species, Sheathia involuta, from the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Due to multiple difficulties associated with using morphological characteristics, identifications were based solely upon molecular analysis using genetic markers to identify specimens. Tissue samples were collected from eight rivers systems from 2020 to 2022 and subjected to PCR amplification to obtain DNA sequence data from the COI barcode region and the rbcL gene fragment. Results confirm positive identifications of Shaethia involuta. This study extends the currently known range of S. involuta into western Texas, southern New Mexico as well as the states of Coahuila and Chihuahua in northern Mexico.
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    A resurvey of the terrestrial mammals of the Davis Mountains Preserve, Texas
    (2022-08) Scott, Rebecca; Dowler, Robert C.; Ammerman, Loren K.; Skipper, Ben R.; Calk, Russell
    The Davis Mountains Preserve is located in Jeff Davis County, Texas. This preserve has been a hotspot of mammalian surveys for the past century due to its vastly different habitat than that of the arid lowlands that surrounds this area. Mt. Livermore is the highest point on the preserve at 2,555 m in elevation. This study was compared to past museum specimen records and surveys by W. F Blair, R. Debaca, and C. Jones over the past 80 years to document any changes in populations across different elevational sites. This resurvey targeted five sites with similar habitat types that had been previously sampled and provided historical records of species for comparison. In total, forty-three terrestrial species have been documented within the Davis Mountains Preserve. My study in 2021-2022 documented 22 of these mammalian species. While many of these species were not detected during this resurvey, this was it likely because lower elevation and more arid sites on Davis Mountains Preserve were not surveyed. For those species documented, I did not detect any elevational shifts in mammalian distribution in the Davis Mountains Preserve over the past 80 years.
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    The efficacy of acoustic lures on bats in the Chihuahuan Desert
    (2022-08) Harris, Rebecca Danielle; Ammerman, Loren K.; Skipper, Ben R.; Dowler, Robert C.; Kornasky, Linda
    Variations of broadcast calls have been used to increase the capture rate of diverse taxa including birds, reptiles, and mammals. Previous mist-netting surveys in the United States have documented increased bat capture rates with the implementation of an acoustic lure, but the mechanism by which this occurs is not yet understood. These studies have been conducted in areas with low species diversity. My study utilized an ultrasonic acoustic lure in the Chihuahuan Desert of Texas where 22 species of bats are documented to occur. On each of 12 sampling nights in August and September 2021, I simultaneously documented bat captures and acoustic activity at a control net and at a net with the lure deployed. Overall, more Antrozous pallidus were captured in nets using lures than in control nets and a combined total of 2,259 bat calls were detected at the lure nets and 1,570 at the control nets. The results suggest that the acoustic lure had a significant effect on total acoustic activity based on acoustic monitoring. In total I captured 9 A. pallidus, 7 at the lure and 2 at the control. These results were insufficient to determine the efficacy of an acoustic lure in this bat community. Further testing on the best acoustic lure to use for this bat community is needed in order to establish its utility as a survey tool.