The eastern ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata) is listed as a threatened species in Iowa. Understanding basic information, such as growth rate, range, habitat, and survival rate, is important to help protect this species. Students and faculty from Cornell College and Mt. Mercy University have conducted a 23-year study of ornate box turtles in … [Read more…]
The tritrophic community of the Neotropical fly Blepharoneura, its lethal parasitic wasp, and its cucurbit host plant shows surprisingly high levels of niche overlap and diversity. This diversity is made visible through work in the field and the lab, providing this study with species information on all three members of the community. Over thirty species … [Read more…]
Rising seawater temperatures have increased rates of coral mortality due to bleaching. Bleaching is a result of the loss of Symbiodinium, a photosynthetic protist, from coral tissues. Both temperature and light play important roles in the diversity of coral symbionts, and different Symbiodinium clades (A-I) provide different physiological benefits to their coral hosts. This symbiosis … [Read more…]
The effect of global climate change on the performance of living organisms has not yet been thoroughly researched. The purpose of this study was to understand how these temperature variations would affect organismal behavior. After discovering how important it is for fish to live in specific water temperatures due to oxygen levels, these organisms became … [Read more…]
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is second only to Alzheimer’s disease as the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans, and individuals with PD are at a higher risk of developing melanoma. African Americans have a lower incidence of PD and present with symptoms at an older age than Caucasians, suggesting a relationship between skin pigmentation and PD. … [Read more…]
Pulmonary hypertension is a potentially fatal disease that has been shown to be caused by an imbalance of reactive oxygen species and antioxidant defenses, causing vasoconstriction and abnormalities in the vascular wall. In many studies, the use of antioxidants as a therapeutic treatment has been capable of attenuating the oxidative stress that causes the progression … [Read more…]
Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) is estimated to cause approximately 2,000 deaths in the USA every year (Massey et al., 2014) and is the major cause of death in individuals with refractory epilepsy. Since most SUDEP cases have been found in bed, there has been a great deal of effort trying to investigate the … [Read more…]
Many people are familiar with and appreciate plants and animals, which are ecologically important as primary producers and consumers, respectively. Fungi are perhaps less appreciated, but no less important ecologically, serving a major role, along with bacteria, as decomposers essential to the cycling of nutrients on which both plants and animals depend. To quantify plants, … [Read more…]
The ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata) was once widespread and common in eastern Iowa, but the conversion of native sand prairies to agriculture has dramatically reduced the range of the nowthreatened species. In the summer of 2015, this research contributed to a 23-year study on ornate box turtles by investigating the growth, movements, and … [Read more…]
Blepharoneura is a genus of cryptic, Neotropical, South American fruit flies in the Tephritidae family involved in amazingly specific interactions with their parasitic wasps (Condon et al. 2008). Most of the species of parasitic wasps can kill only one species of fly. If the wasps attack the “wrong” fly, the wasp dies (Condon et al. … [Read more…]
The United States is home to one of the leading markets for pharmaceutical drugs. Because this is the case, its citizens tend to use a lot of pharmaceutical products in their everyday lives. Some of the compounds present in many of these drugs never completely metabolize out of the body; as much as 90% of … [Read more…]
Monarch butterfly research is relevant to all of those interested in conservation. Even if conservation does not directly interest someone, the popularity of the iconic monarch butterfly tends to engage most. In the past and present, audiences have been excited about the research and wanted to know what they can do to help the monarch … [Read more…]
Social monogamy is a common reproductive strategy in birds and is present in Western Burrowing Owls. However, differences between behaviorally observed and genetically determined parent-offspring relationships are noted in many socially monogamous species. Genetic mismatches between nestlings and caregivers arise in at least two ways: extra-pair fertilization (EPF) and conspecific brood parasitism (CBP). CBP is … [Read more…]
Recent genetic data suggests that Strauzia longipennis, is not a single species but a complex representation of at least three divergent lineages that may deserve species status. High levels of genetic differentiation between these divergent sympatric populations suggest these populations represent the potential for incipient species. Strauzia subspecies across Iowa were compared in order to … [Read more…]
Short-term dietary leucine (Leu) supplementation improves lean mass accretion in newborn pigs by acting as a building block for protein synthesis and as an anabolic agent via the mTOR pathway. However, it remains unknown whether long-term Leu inclusion in the diet upregulates protein synthesis in neonates, and thus could be used as a therapeutic protocol … [Read more…]
The visitor effect, or the idea that the presence of guests can affect the behavior of zoo-housed animals, is an important area of study in zoos and aquariums. The three main scientific hypotheses are that visitor presence may 1) increase animal stress, 2) have no impact due to habituation, or 3) act as additional enrichment … [Read more…]
Ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata) are a threatened species in Iowa due primarily to prairie habitat loss. We analyzed data from a 21 year mark-recapture study to assess the survival of ornate box turtles in two subpopulations at Hawkeye Wildlife Area in Johnson County, Iowa. We used Program MARK to generate estimates of survival and … [Read more…]
The genus Symbiodinium is a dinoflagellate (Protista) that forms symbiotic relationships with many marine organisms, including several coral species (Muscatine, 1990). Symbiodinium reside within membrane bound cavities called symbiosomes located within gastrodermal cells, receiving shelter and access to sunlight. In return, Symbiodinium provide coral with photosynthetic products which promote growth, reproduction and skeletal calcification (Muscatine … [Read more…]
On the shores of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in northern Florida, designated sites serve as common access points for boating, fishing and similar recreational activities. I investigated the hypothesis that these sites are foci for disturbance gradients, changing the physical properties of the sediment and the species composition of subsurface predators, deposit feeders and suspension … [Read more…]
Since antiquity malaria has been detrimental to the health of communities and therefore has had a major impact on society. It continues to have this impact today; the World Health Organization chose to focus on the disease as one of its eight Millennium Development Goals. Although in antiquity the disease was not understood as it … [Read more…]
My research focused on the methods and impacts of maternal and newborn screening at the State Hygienic Laboratory in Coralville, IA. The method for newborn screening is a relatively simple process – a newborn’s blood is collected through a heel stick, and placed onto filter paper to be sent to the State Hygienic Laboratory. Once … [Read more…]
In the past five years, Iowa has experienced weather extremes with records or near-records set for spring flooding in 2008, summer rainfall in 2010 and drought in 2012. To determine whether these weather events affected growth or body condition in ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornate ornata), we analyzed the changes in shell morphology and mass/volume … [Read more…]
The ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata ornata, is threatened in Iowa, as the species’ prairie habitat has mostly been converted into agricultural land, reducing and fragmenting natural habitat and increasing contact with motor vehicles, farm implements, and mesopredators. Our project strives to understand the ecology and natural history of T. ornata in Iowa for conservation … [Read more…]
This past summer I participated in an internship in partnership with Dr. Peter Korpi, an optometrist from Muscatine, Iowa. Dr. Korpi has traveled to underdeveloped countries to examine people’s eyes and provide the residents with corrective eyeglasses free of charge. Dr. Korpi and I arrived in Uzbekistan, my home country, to inspect eyesight of citizens … [Read more…]
Yeast (S. cerevisiae) are a relatively simple, ubiquitous, single-cell organism, like bacteria. However, unlike bacteria, yeast are eukaryotes, like humans. They also have some proteins that are similar to those found in humans. Some of the proteins are TOR proteins, which are responsible for many things, including resource partitioning. For this reason, TOR proteins influence … [Read more…]
We quantified home range size and movements of hatchling and juvenile ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) at Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Iowa, during the summer of 2011. Ten hatchlings and juveniles were followed using radio telemetry from May through July.
The evolutionary relationship of the Millepores in the Caribbean has been problematic for years. Taxonomic classification of these Millepores is based upon habitat and morphology. Two distinct morphologies, classified as separate species, have been recorded, but extensive phenotypic plasticity yields a large variety of intermediate morphologies that do not fit into the current taxonomic groupings.
The ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata ornata, displays significant sexual dimorphism. Males generally have thicker and longer tails, modified hind toes, a concave plastron, more muscular hind legs, and vividly red or orange irises and antebrachial scales, as opposed to the pale yellows and browns of juveniles and females (Legler, 1960).
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), silver amalgams are used for posterior tooth restorations in more than 100 million Americans annually. However, the safety of using silver amalgams has been contested in the United States since 1840.
Ecological health depends on a wide diversity of all life forms. The greater the biodiversity the more opportunities there are for adaptive responses to environmental challenges such as climate change and economic development. Loss in biodiversity may limit medical and pharmacological discoveries. Biodiversity-rich ecosystems are more resilient and boost ecosystem productivity.
The evolutionary relationship of the Millepores in the Western Atlantic has been problematic for years. Current taxonomic distinction is based mainly upon morphological characters and habitat. Millepora complanta is found in shallower, more turbulent waters and is composed of sturdy blade-like colonies whereas M. alcicornis has delicate branching spires and inhabits deeper or more sheltered … [Read more…]
Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is a technique that combines gas-liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to characterize substances within a sample. We first used this technique to analyze turtle nest volatiles to determine if turtle nest predators use olfactory cues to find nest sites.
Since 1995, the Peruvian government has been working to restructure their healthcare system. In rural areas and small towns, healthcare services are limited, while in major cities healthcare is more available and is considered adequate. Thus, a large proportion of Peruvians have inadequate access to health services. Approximately seventy percent of the population lives at … [Read more…]
Gurania bignoniacea and Gurania acuminata are two species of flowering vines in the cucurbit family native to tropical South America. Although each is currently considered to be a single species with widespread geographic distribution, these two names encompass more than 20 historical species epithets applied to type specimens collected across the continent.
Flies of the genus Blepharoneura, found throughout South America, are highly diverse and highly specific to the plant species they infest. The flies are parasitized by wasps, called “parasitoids” because the wasps kill their hosts (the flies). If the wasps themselves exhibit high degrees of host specificity, they may have influenced the high degree of … [Read more…]
Prosthesis malignment can lead to acute and chronic health problems. Prosthetic alignment is traditionally set through physical exam and gait observation. Based on experience, these methods are often not optimal, thus, we began to use long leg anterior and posterior (AP) radiographs during the fitting process in order to obtain neutral alignment more accurately and … [Read more…]
The ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata) is on the threatened species list in Iowa. Predation on nests is the primary source of mortality in this species; Cornell faculty and students have investigated interventions intended to reduce nest predation in a nearby population of ornate box turtles.
Two morphologies of Millepora, currently classified as separate species, exist in the Bahamas. Millepora complanata, is found primarily in shallow waters, possessing wide, smooth branches whereas Millepora alcicornis, is found primarily in deeper waters, possessing thinner, knobby branches.
Post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) is common following joint injuries. Injury itself and its after effects are known to kill chondrocytes. A large factor in the death of chondrocytes following blunt impact during in vitro studies has been superoxide release.
Autism spectrum disorders, a group of developmental disorders that affect one in every 150 children, are highly heritable. Autism is thought to be caused by a number of epigenetic and genetic factors that are de novo or inherited and influenced by the environment.
We examined the distribution and fates of natural nests of ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata) in the Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Johnson County, Iowa.
Osteoporosis is marked by a decrease in bone mineral density and an increased susceptibility to fracture.
Several studies have indicated that Parkinson’s disease (PD) is more common in males as opposed to females.
Two morphologies of Millepora, currently classified as separate species, exist off the coast of the Bahamas.
Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of organisms to change their phenotype in order to adapt to their environment.
Nest predation is an important source of mortality in turtles. We have been studying nest predation on ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata) for several years at Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Johnson County. Iowa.
Female turtles are capable of storing sperm from multiple males, potentially enabling offspring from a single clutch to be fathered by several males.
Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are critically endangered, largely due to a variety of human activities. While many aspects of their life history are documented, there is virtuallynothing known about survival of hatchlings during their first hours at sea.
The knowledge that life is precious and that our hold on life is tenuous has haunted humans for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians had a strong belief surrounding life, death and the afterlife.
Environmental enrichment is a natural means by which the brain can make itself more resilient against disease; however, its mechanisms remain incompletely defined. Environmental enrichment consists of increased social, physical and intellectual activity (i.e., learning), which can reduce brain injury by more than 50%.