- Accepted into the Biological Sciences PhD program at Auburn University
in Craig Guyers lab.
Herpetofaunal Richness, Density, & Community Composition in
Plantation Monocultures & Primary Forest of La Selva Biological Station,
Advisor: Dr. Steve Reilly, Biological
Program: Biological Sciences Senior
the rising global human population continues to clear Neotropical forests,
tree plantations have emerged not only as a sustainable source of lumber and
pulp but also as a means to conserve biodiversity. To better understand how
agroforests might be utilized as conservation tools, I compared amphibian
and reptile species richness, density, and community composition in forest
plantations of three native tree species (Pentaclethra macroloba,
Virola koschnyi, Vochysia guatemalensis) to primary forest at La
Selva Biological Station in the Caribbean lowlands of northern Costa Rica.
Richness varied from 9 to 13 species among the plantations, whereas primary
forest supported 14 species. Primary forest and Vochysia supported
significantly more species-rich communities than Pentaclethra and
Virola (F3,42 = 12.604, P = 0.0001). Species
richness correlated with increases in leaf litter mass (r2
= 0.2663, F1,32 = 11.598, p = 0.002) and moisture
(statistics forthcoming). Herpetofaunal density was significantly higher in
primary forest (5.83 ± .59 individuals/100 m2) than in
Pentaclethra (2.66 ± 1.68 individuals/100 m2) (U =
11.881, df = 3, p = 0.0078). Non-metric multidimensional
scaling and Analysis of Similarity showed that community composition
differed significantly (P = 0.01) with two amphibians, Oophaga
pumilio and Craugastor bransfordii, dominating the sample (35.9%
and 37.1%, respectively). Because Vochysia guatemalensis supported a
herpetofaunal assemblage most similar to primary forest, my results show
that Vochysia plantations were the best planatation type to provide
refuges for the native herpetofauna of the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica.
- Accepted in to the Biological and Biomedical Sciences PhD
program at Vanderbilt University
Enzymatic activities and protein levels indicate antioxidant
capacities are not modulated by acclimation temperature in
skeletal and cardiac muscles of striped bass, Morone saxatilis.
Advisor: Dr. Lisa Crockett, Biological
Program: Biological Sciences Senior
In response to exposure to cold
temperatures, fish experience two major physiological adjustments. The
first is an increase in mitochondrial content and as a result, an increase
in negative byproducts of oxidative phosphorylation called reactive oxygen
species (ROS). The second is a change in the composition of the
cellular membranes, specifically an increase in fatty acids that have more
than two double bonds (polyunsaturated fatty acids). Even though both
of these physiological adjustments can have negative effects on the
organism, there are antioxidant enzymes that provide a natural defense to
protect the cells. In my study, I looked at three specific antioxidant
enzymes and how their activities and quantities increased in skeletal and
cardiac muscle of striped bass that were exposed to cold temperatures.
-accepted into the Masters program in Evolution,
Ecology, and Organismal Biology at the Ohio State University
Honors Thesis title:
pneumaticity, bone structure, and foraging style in two clades of neognath
Advisor: Dr. Patrick O'Connor, Biomedical Sciences
Program: Honors Tutorial College, Biological Sciences
Postcranial pneumaticity is the invasion of the
postcranial skeleton by outgrowths from the air sacs, resulting in the bones
being air-filled. Within birds, there is a large degree of variability
in the extent of pneumaticity. Past research has hypothesized that
pneumaticity may have evolved in relation to body mass and foraging styles
as a way of reducing energetic cost of locomotion. I explored these
concepts in two orders of birds, Charadriiforms and Pelecaniforms. I
also examined the relationship between pneumaticity/ foraging style and bone
to the Dr. Joe Cook's lab at the University of New Mexico to work on a M.S.
degree on small mammal phylogeography and evolutionary genetics.
Stock structure, management, and
phylogeography of muskellunge.
Advisor: Matt White
Program: Honors Tutorial College-Biological Sciences major
Abstract: The muskellunge is a commercially important fish species
native to Ohio and the surrounding region of the United States. For
the most effective management of the species, we need information about the
genetic variation and differentiation among populations. Distinct
genetic groups, or stocks, should be managed as separate management units.
I examined the genetic stock structure and variation of muskellunge at the
species level as well as at a the local population level in Ohio. This
was done by analyzing mitochondrial DNA sequence variation and
microsatellite variation, respectively. At the species level, there
was no evidence of stock structure, suggesting the current subspecies for
muskellunge are invalid. At the population level, there was
considerable genetic diversity and population differentiation, which means
the populations should be managed as distinct units.