Skip to main content

ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Mime Type
Subject
Date Range
2010 2019


A key factor in the success of social animals is their organization of work. Mathematical models have been instrumental in unraveling how simple, individual-based rules can generate collective patterns via self-organization. However, existing models offer limited insights into how these patterns are shaped by behavioral differences within groups, in part because they focus on analyzing specific rules rather than general mechanisms that can explain behavior at the individual-level. My work argues for a more principled approach that focuses on the question of how individuals make decisions in costly environments. In Chapters 2 and 3, I demonstrate how this approach provides …

Contributors
Udiani, Oyita Udiani, Kang, Yun, Fewell, Jennifer H, et al.
Created Date
2016

Throughout the Southwest, complex geology and physiography concomitant with climatic variability contribute to diverse stream hydrogeomorphologies. Many riparian plant species store their seeds in soil seed banks, and germinate in response to moisture pulses, but the climatic controls of this response are poorly understood. To better understand the ecological implications of a changing climate on riparian plant communities, I investigated seed bank responses to seasonal temperature patterns and to stream hydrogeomorphic type. I asked the following questions: Are there distinct suites of warm and cool temperature germinating species associated with Southwestern streams; how do they differ between riparian and terrestrial …

Contributors
Setaro, Danika, Stromberg, Juliet, Franklin, Janet, et al.
Created Date
2016

Climate and environmental forcing are widely accepted to be important drivers of evolutionary and ecological change in mammal communities over geologic time scales. This paradigm has been particularly influential in studies of the eastern African late Cenozoic fossil record, in which aridification, increasing seasonality, and C4 grassland expansion are seen as having shaped the major patterns of human and faunal evolution. Despite the ubiquity of studies linking climate and environmental forcing to evolutionary and ecological shifts in the mammalian fossil record, many central components of this paradigm remain untested or poorly developed. To fill this gap, this dissertation employs biogeographical …

Contributors
Rowan, John, Reed, Kaye E, Campisano, Christopher J, et al.
Created Date
2018

An issue with the utilization of swimming pools is that pumps are operated an excessive number of hours to keep the pool free of debris and algae. Case in point, according to the pool industry, a pump should operate one hour for every ten degrees of ambient temperature. A dynamic model and a control strategy have been developed using Matlab/Simulink that uses environmental conditions together with chemicals that hinder or aid algae growth in order to determine algae population. This model suggests ways to function the pump on shorter time intervals to reduce energy consumption, while simultaneously maintaining algae populations …

Contributors
Ballard, Roderick Chevelle, Macia, Narciso, Narveson, Brentt, et al.
Created Date
2012

Modern, advanced statistical tools from data mining and machine learning have become commonplace in molecular biology in large part because of the “big data” demands of various kinds of “-omics” (e.g., genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, etc.). However, in other fields of biology where empirical data sets are conventionally smaller, more traditional statistical methods of inference are still very effective and widely used. Nevertheless, with the decrease in cost of high-performance computing, these fields are starting to employ simulation models to generate insights into questions that have been elusive in the laboratory and field. Although these computational models allow for exquisite control …

Contributors
Seto, Christian, Pavlic, Theodore, Li, Jing, et al.
Created Date
2018

Quagga Mussels (Dreissena bugensis) are an invasive species of mollusk that have established themselves within the Colorado River system of Arizona since 2007. However, despite close proximity and frequent travel by recreational boaters between reservoirs, they have not yet infested the Salt River or Verde River systems. Laboratory experimentation was done to test the survival rate of adult D. bugensis specimens in waters collected from Bartlett Lake (Verde River), Saguaro Lake (Salt River), and Salt River Project (SRP) canals (Salt River/Verde River/Colorado River blend) as well as Central Arizona Project (CAP) canals with the addition of turbidity to simulate high …

Contributors
Sokolowski, Matthew, Fox, Peter, Abbaszadegan, Morteza, et al.
Created Date
2015

Land-atmosphere interactions of semiarid shrublands have garnered significant scientific interest. One of the main tools used for this research is the eddy covariance (EC) method, which measures fluxes of energy, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. EC fluxes can be difficult to interpret due to complexities within the EC footprint (i.e. the surface conditions that contribute to the flux measurements). Most EC studies use a small number of soil probes to estimate the land surface states underlying the measured fluxes, which likely undersamples the footprint-scale conditions, especially in semiarid shrublands which are characterized by high spatial and temporal variability. In this …

Contributors
Anderson, Cody Alan, Vivoni, Enrique R, Wang, Zhihua, et al.
Created Date
2013

The species distribution model DISTRIB was used to model and map potential suitable habitat of ponderosa pine throughout Arizona under current and six future climate scenarios. Importance Values for each climate scenario were estimated from 24 predictor variables consisting of climate, elevation, soil, and vegetation data within a 4 km grid cell. Two emission scenarios, (A2 (high concentration) and B1 (low concentration)) and three climate models (the Parallel Climate Model, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, and the HadleyCM3) were used to capture the potential variability among future climates and provide a range of responses from ponderosa pine. Summary tables for …

Contributors
Peters, Matthew, Brady, Ward W, Green, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2011

This work is an assemblage of three applied projects that address the institutional and spatial constraints to managing threatened and endangered (T & E) terrestrial species. The first project looks at the role of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in protecting wildlife and whether banning non–conservation activities on multi-use federal lands is socially optimal. A bioeconomic model is used to identify scenarios where ESA–imposed regulations emerge as optimal strategies and to facilitate discussion on feasible long–term strategies in light of the ongoing public land–use debate. Results suggest that banning harmful activities is a preferred strategy when valued species are in …

Contributors
Salau, Kehinde Rilwan, Janssen, Marco A, Fenichel, Eli P, et al.
Created Date
2013

Habitat fragmentation, the loss of habitat in the landscape and spatial isolation of remaining habitat patches, has long been considered a serious threat to biodiversity. However, the study of habitat fragmentation is fraught with definitional and conceptual challenges. Specifically, a multi-scale perspective is needed to address apparent disagreements between landscape- and patch-based studies that have caused significant uncertainty concerning fragmentation’s effects on biological communities. Here I tested the hypothesis that habitat fragmentation alters biological communities by creating hierarchically nested selective pressures across plot-, patch-, and landscape-scales using woody plant community datasets from Thousand Island Lake, China. In this archipelago edge-effects …

Contributors
Wilson, Maxwell, Wu, Jianguo, Smith, Andrew, et al.
Created Date
2018

The origin and function of color in animals has been a subject of great interest for taxonomists and ecologists in recent years. Coloration in animals is useful for many important functions like species identification, camouflage and understanding evolutionary relationships. Quantitative measurements of color signal and patch size in mammals, birds and reptiles, to name a few are strong indicators of sexual selection cues and individual health. These measurements provide valuable insights into the impact of environmental conditions on habitat and breeding of mammals, birds and reptiles. Recent advances in the area of digital cameras and sensors have led to a …

Contributors
Borkar, Tejas Shyam, Karam, Lina J, Li, Baoxin, et al.
Created Date
2013

Like individual organisms, complex social groups are able to maintain predictable trajectories of growth, from initial colony foundation to mature reproductively capable units. They do so while simultaneously responding flexibly to variation in nutrient availability and intake. Leafcutter ant colonies function as tri-trophic systems, in which the ants harvest vegetation to grow a fungus that, in turn, serves as food for the colony. Fungal growth rates and colony worker production are interdependent, regulated by nutritional and behavioral feedbacks. Fungal growth and quality are directly affected by worker foraging decisions, while worker production is, in turn, dependent on the amount and …

Contributors
Clark, Rebecca M., Fewell, Jennifer H, Mueller, Ulrich, et al.
Created Date
2011

Microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) offer an alternative to methane production in anaerobic water treatment and the recapture of energy in waste waters. MXCs use anode respiring bacteria (ARB) to oxidize organic compounds and generate electrical current. In both anaerobic digestion and MXCs, an anaerobic food web connects the metabolisms of different microorganisms, using hydrolysis, fermentation and either methanogenesis or anode respiration to break down organic compounds, convert them to acetate and hydrogen, and then convert those intermediates into either methane or current. In this dissertation, understanding and managing the interactions among fermenters, methanogens, and ARB were critical to making developments …

Contributors
Miceli, Joseph Francis, Torres, César I, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2015

ABSTRACT The elephant tree, Bursera microphylla, is at the northern limit of its range in central Arizona. This species is sensitive to frost damage thus limiting its occurrence in more northern areas of the southwest. Marginal populations of B. microphylla are found in mountain ranges of Central Arizona and are known to occur in the rugged mountain range system of the South Mountain Municipal Park (SMMP). Little is known of the distribution of this species within the park and details relevant to the health of both individual plants and the population such as diameter and number of trunks, height, and …

Contributors
Cordova, Cesar, Steele, Kelly P., Tridane, Abdessaman, et al.
Created Date
2011

Sexual and social signals have long been thought to play an important role in speciation and diversity; hence, investigations of intraspecific communication may lead to important insights regarding key processes of evolution. Though we have learned much about the control, function, and evolution of animal communication by studying several very common signal types, investigating rare classes of signals may provide new information about how and why animals communicate. My dissertation research focused on rapid physiological color change, a rare signal-type used by relatively few taxa. To answer longstanding questions about this rare class of signals, I employed novel methods to …

Contributors
Ligon, Russell Andrew, McGraw, Kevin J, McGraw, Kevin J, et al.
Created Date
2015

There is considerable recent interest in the dynamic nature of immune function in the context of an animal’s internal and external environment. An important focus within this field of ecoimmunology is on how availability of resources such as energy can alter immune function. Water is an additional resource that drives animal development, physiology, and behavior, yet the influence hydration has on immunity has received limited attention. In particular, hydration state may have the greatest potential to drive fluctuations in immunity and other physiological functions in species that live in water-limited environments where they may experience periods of dehydration. To shed …

Contributors
Moeller, Karla, DeNardo, Dale, Angilletta, Michael, et al.
Created Date
2016

Infectious diseases have been a major threat to survival throughout human history. Humans have developed a behavioral immune system to prevent infection by causing individuals to avoid people, food, and objects that could be contaminated. This current project investigates how ambient temperature affects the activation of this system. Because temperature is positively correlated with the prevalence of many deadly diseases, I predict that temperature moderates the behavioral immune system, such that a disease prime will have a stronger effect in a hot environment compared to a neutral environment and one's avoidant behaviors will be more extreme. Participants were placed in …

Contributors
Osborne, Elizabeth Ann, Cohen, Adam B, Kwan, Sau, et al.
Created Date
2012

For interspecific mutualisms, the behavior of one partner can influence the fitness of the other, especially in the case of symbiotic mutualisms where partners live in close physical association for much of their lives. Behavioral effects on fitness may be particularly important if either species in these long-term relationships displays personality. Animal personality is defined as repeatable individual differences in behavior, and how correlations among these consistent traits are structured is termed behavioral syndromes. Animal personality has been broadly documented across the animal kingdom but is poorly understood in the context of mutualisms. My dissertation focuses on the structure, causes, …

Contributors
Marting, Peter Reilly, Pratt, Stephen C, Wcislo, William T, et al.
Created Date
2018

Differences between males and females can evolve through a variety of mechanisms, including sexual and ecological selection. Because coloration is evolutionarily labile, sexually dichromatic species are good models for understanding the evolution of sex differences. While many jumping spiders exhibit diverse and brilliant coloration, they have been notably absent from such studies. In the genus Habronattus, females are drab and cryptic while males are brilliantly colored, displaying some of these colors to females during elaborate courtship dances. Here I test multiple hypotheses for the control and function of male color. In the field, I found that Habronattus males indiscriminately court …

Contributors
Taylor, Lisa A., Mcgraw, Kevin J, Clark, David L, et al.
Created Date
2012

Niche variation among sexes and life stages within a population has been documented in many species, yet few studies have investigated niche variation within demographic groups or across ecological contexts. We examined the extent to which pregnant California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) at each of three breeding colonies target alternative prey resources and habitats. The three colonies are distributed across distinct regions of the Gulf of California, Mexico and have divergent population dynamics. We compared the nature of niche variation among colonies and investigated the fitness consequences of different foraging strategies within each colony. We analyzed the δ13C and δ15N …

Contributors
Crawford, Tara Gancos, Gerber, Leah R, Ogle, Kiona, et al.
Created Date
2013

Ephemeral streams in Arizona that are perpendicularly intersected by the Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal have been altered due to partial or complete damming of the stream channel. The dammed upstream channels have experienced decades long cycles of sediment deposition and waterlogging during storm events causing the development of "green-up" zones. This dissertation examines the biogeomorphological effects of damming ephemeral streams caused by the CAP canal by investigating: (1) changes in the preexisting spatial cover of riparian vegetation and how these changes are affected by stream geometry; (2) green-up initiation and evolution; and (3) changes in plant species and community …

Contributors
Hamdan, Abeer, Schmeeckle, Mark, Myint, Soe, et al.
Created Date
2014

Electronic waste (E-waste) is a concern, because of the increasing volume of materials being disposed of. There are economical, social and environmental implications derived from these materials. For example, the international trade of used computers creates jobs, but the recovery from valuable materials is technically challenging and currently there are environmental and health problems derived from inappropriate recycling practices. Forecasting the flows of used computers and e-waste materials supports the prevention of environmental impacts. However, the nature of these material flows is complex. There are technological geographical and cultural factors that affect how users purchase, store or dispose of their …

Contributors
Estrada Ayub, Jesus Angel, Allenby, Braden R, Ramzy, Kahhat A, et al.
Created Date
2012

Population growth within drylands is occurring faster than growth in any other ecologic zone, putting pressure on already stressed water resources. Because the availability of surface water supplies in drylands tends to be highly variable, many of these populations rely on groundwater. A critical process contributing to groundwater recharge is the interaction between ephemeral channels and groundwater aquifers. Generally, it has been found that ephemeral channels contribute to groundwater recharge when streamflow infiltrates into the sandy bottoms of channels. This process has traditionally been studied in channels that drain large areas (10s to 100s km2). In this dissertation, I study …

Contributors
Schreiner-McGraw, Adam, Vivoni, Enrique R., Whipple, Kelin X., et al.
Created Date
2017

Cities can be sources of nitrate to downstream ecosystems resulting in eutrophication, harmful algal blooms, and hypoxia that can have negative impacts on economies and human health. One potential solution to this problem is to increase nitrate removal in cities by providing locations where denitrification¬— a microbial process in which nitrate is reduced to N2 gas permanently removing nitrate from systems— can occur. Accidental urban wetlands– wetlands that results from human activities, but are not designed or managed for any specific outcome¬– are one such feature in the urban landscape that could help mitigate nitrate pollution through denitrification. The overarching …

Contributors
Suchy, Amanda Klara, Childers, Daniel L, Stromberg, Juliet C, et al.
Created Date
2016

The Basin and Range province of southwestern USA are composed of different grassland and shrubland ecosystems. Particularly understudied ecosystems in this region are playas, which are ephemerally-flooded wetlands located in topographic low areas of hydrologically-closed dryland catchments. There is not much known about the ecological functioning of playas and the role of playas within desert basins. Even less is known about how global change drivers may affect playas in the future. The main objective of this thesis was to better understand the ecological functioning and the impact of climate change on desert playa wetlands. I collected new data, used existing …

Contributors
McKenna, Owen Philip, Sala, Osvaldo E., Monger, H. Curtis, et al.
Created Date
2016

Cities are increasingly using nature-based approaches to address urban sustainability challenges. These solutions leverage the ecological processes associated with existing or newly constructed Urban Ecological Infrastructure (UEI) to address issues through ecosystem services (e.g. stormwater retention or treatment). The growing use of UEI to address urban sustainability challenges can bring together teams of urban researchers and practitioners to co-produce UEI design, monitoring and maintenance. However, this co-production process received little attention in the literature, and has not been studied in the Phoenix Metro Area. I examined several components of a co-produced design process and related project outcomes associated with a …

Contributors
Sanchez, Christopher Allen, Childers, Daniel L, Cheng, Chingwen, et al.
Created Date
2019

For the past 30 years wildlife biologists have debated the need of pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) to drink freestanding water (free water). Some have suggested that pronghorn may feed at night to increase preformed water (plant moisture) intake, thus decreasing their dependence on free water. Pronghorn diet composition and nutrient intake is integral to understanding water available to pronghorn through preformed and metabolic sources. The dual purpose of this study was to determine plant composition of pronghorn diets, and to examine whether night feeding provides a water allocation advantage by testing for differences between day and night and modeling free …

Contributors
Tluczek, Melanie Genean-Friegang, Miller, William H., Brown, David E., et al.
Created Date
2012

Though cities occupy only a small percentage of Earth's terrestrial surface, humans concentrated in urban areas impact ecosystems at local, regional and global scales. I examined the direct and indirect ecological outcomes of human activities on both managed landscapes and protected native ecosystems in and around cities. First, I used highly managed residential yards, which compose nearly half of the heterogeneous urban land area, as a model system to examine the ecological effects of people's management choices and the social drivers of those decisions. I found that a complex set of individual and institutional social characteristics drives people's decisions, which …

Contributors
Cook, Elizabeth, Hall, Sharon J, Boone, Christopher G, et al.
Created Date
2014

This study addresses the landscape connectivity pattern at two different scales. The county-level analysis aims to understand how urban ecosystem structure is likely to evolve in response to the proposed development plans in Maricopa County, Arizona. To identify the spatio-temporal land pattern change, six key landscape metrics were quantified in relative to the urban development scenarios based on the certainty of the proposed urban plans with different level of urban footprints. The effects of future development plans from municipalities on landscape connectivity were then analyzed in the scaled temporal and spatial frame to identify in which urban condition the connectivity …

Contributors
Park, Sohyun, Cook, Edward, Crewe, Katherine, et al.
Created Date
2011

An important component of insect social structure is the number of queens that cohabitate in a colony. Queen number is highly variable between and within species. It can begin at colony initiation when often unrelated queens form cooperative social groups, a strategy known as primary polygyny. The non-kin cooperative groups formed by primary polygyny have profound effects on the social dynamics and inclusive fitness benefits within a colony. Despite this, the evolution of non-kin queen cooperation has been relatively overlooked in considerations of the evolution of cooperative sociality. To date, studies examining the costs and benefits of primary polygyny have …

Contributors
Haney, Brian Russell, Fewell, Jennifer H, Cole, Blaine J, et al.
Created Date
2017

Stream flow permanence plays a critical role in determining floristic composition, abundance, and diversity in the Sonoran Desert, but questions remain about the effects of stream flow permanence on butterfly composition, abundance, and diversity. Understanding the effects of flow permanence on butterflies and relevant subsets of butterflies (such as butterflies whose host plants are present) and comparing them to these same effects on plants and relevant subsets of plants (such as butterfly nectar plants and larval host plants) provided insight into pollinator and riparian conservation and restoration. I surveyed four Sonoran desert stream sites, and found significant relationships between flow …

Contributors
Butler, Lane Elizabeth, Stromberg, Juliet C, Makings, Elizabeth, et al.
Created Date
2015

Identifying the ecological role, or niche, that a species occupies within their larger community elucidates environmental adaptability and evolutionary success. This dissertation investigates the occupied niche of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) living in an open, dry savanna-woodland environment by examining patterns of resource use and interspecific interactions. Data were collected October 2010--November 2011 at Issa, in the Ugalla region of western Tanzania, which is one of the driest, most open, and seasonal habitats inhabited by chimpanzees. Unlike most primatological studies which employ methods that include focal follows, this study focused instead on observing 'resource patches' for chimpanzees. Patch focals allow …

Contributors
Russak, Samantha M, Reed, Kaye E, Nash, Leanne T, et al.
Created Date
2013

Often, when thinking of cities we envision designed landscapes, where people regulate everything from water to weeds, ultimately resulting in an ecosystem decoupled from biophysical processes. It is unclear, however, what happens when the people regulating these extensively managed landscapes come under stress, whether from unexpected economic fluctuations or from changing climate norms. The overarching question of my dissertation research was: How does urban vegetation change in response to human behavior? To answer this question, I conducted multiscale research in an arid urban ecosystem as well as in a virtual desert city. I used a combination of long-term data and …

Contributors
Ripplinger, Julie, Franklin, Janet, Collins, Scott L, et al.
Created Date
2015

School failure among children and adolescents has long been a serious issue in Myanmar. The recent statistics indicate that a large number of adolescents do not complete high school. As a consequence, they lose prosperous work opportunities and ability to earn an adequate income. These outcomes highlight a need to study the factors that hamper academic success of adolescents in Myanmar. Academic success is a complex concept and needs a multidimensional perspective to gain an accurate understanding of factors associated with it. Therefore, this study used an ecological risk/protective model and identified risk and protective factors that contribute to academic …

Contributors
Lynn, Zayar, Krysik, Judy Lynn, Klimek, Barbara G, et al.
Created Date
2018

Infectious diseases have emerged as a significant threat to wildlife. Environmental change is often implicated as an underlying factor driving this emergence. With this recent rise in disease emergence and the acceleration of environmental change, it is important to identify the environmental factors that alter host-pathogen dynamics and their underlying mechanisms. The emerging pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a clear example of the negative effects infectious diseases can have on wildlife. Bd is linked to global declines in amphibian diversity and abundance. However, there is considerable variation in population-level responses to Bd, with some hosts experiencing marked declines while others …

Contributors
Hyman, Oliver, Collins, James P, Davidson, Elizabeth W., et al.
Created Date
2012

Desert environments provide considerable challenges to organisms because of high temperatures and limited food and water resources. Accordingly, desert species have behavioral and physiological traits that enable them to cope with these constraints. However, continuing human activity as well as anticipated further changes to the climate and the vegetative community pose a great challenge to such balance between an organism and its environment. This is especially true in the Arabian Desert, where climate conditions are extreme and environmental disturbances substantial. This study combined laboratory and field components to enhance our understanding of dhub (Uromastyx aegyptius) ecophysiology and determine whether habitat …

Contributors
Al-Sayegh, Mohammed Taher, DeNardo, Dale, Angilletta, Michael, et al.
Created Date
2017

Primary production in aquatic ecosystems is often limited by the availability of nitrogen (N) and/or phosphorus (P). Animals can substantially alter the relative availability of these nutrients by storing and recycling them in differential ratios. Variation in these stoichiometric traits, i.e., the elemental phenotype, within a species can link organismal evolution to ecosystem function. I examined the drivers of intraspecific variation in the elemental phenotype of aquatic consumers to test for the generality of these effects. Over a thermal gradient in Panamá, I found that average specific growth grate and body P content of the mayfly Thraulodes increased with environmental …

Contributors
Moody, Eric Kellan, Elser, James J, Sabo, John L, et al.
Created Date
2017

An understanding of the formation of spatial heterogeneity is important because spatial heterogeneity leads to functional consequences at the ecosystem scale; however, such an understanding is still limited. Particularly, research simultaneously considering both external variables and internal feedbacks (self-organization) is rare, partly because these two drivers are addressed under different methodological frameworks. In this dissertation, I show the prevalence of internal feedbacks and their interaction with heterogeneity in the preexisting template to form spatial pattern. I use a variety of techniques to account for both the top-down template effect and bottom-up self-organization. Spatial patterns of nutrients in stream surface water …

Contributors
Dong, Xiaoli, Grimm, Nancy B, Muneepeerakul, Rachata, et al.
Created Date
2015

Climate and land use change are projected to threaten biodiversity over the coming century. However, the combined effects of these threats on biodiversity and the capacity of current conservation networks to protect species' habitat are not well understood. The goals of this study were to evaluate the effect of climate change and urban development on vegetation distribution in a Mediterranean-type ecosystem; to identify the primary source of uncertainty in suitable habitat predictions; and to evaluate how well conservation areas protect future habitat in the Southwest ecoregion of the California Floristic Province. I used a consensus-based modeling approach combining three different …

Contributors
Beltran Villarreal, Bray De Jesus, Franklin, Janet, Fenichel, Eli P, et al.
Created Date
2012

Rangelands are an extensive land cover type that cover about 40% of earth’s ice-free surface, expanding into many biomes. Moreover, managing rangelands is crucial for long-term sustainability of the vital ecosystem services they provide including carbon (C) storage via soil organic carbon (SOC) and animal agriculture. Arid rangelands are particularly susceptible to dramatic shifts in vegetation cover, physical and chemical soil properties, and erosion due to grazing pressure. Many studies have documented these effects, but studies focusing on grazing impacts on soil properties, namely SOC, are less common. Furthermore, studies testing effects of different levels of grazing intensities on SOC …

Contributors
Boydston, Aaron, Sala, Osvaldo, Throop, Heather, et al.
Created Date
2018

Human recreation on rangelands may negatively impact wildlife populations. Among those activities, off-road vehicle (ORV) recreation carries the potential for broad ecological consequences. A study was undertaken to assess the impacts of ORV on rodents in Arizona Uplands Sonoran Desert. Between the months of February and September 2010, rodents were trapped at 6 ORV and 6 non-ORV sites in Tonto National Forest, AZ. I hypothesized that rodent abundance and species richness are negatively affected by ORV use. Rodent abundances were estimated using capture-mark-recapture methodology. Species richness was not correlated with ORV use. Although abundance of Peromyscus eremicus and Neotoma albigula …

Contributors
Reid, John Simon, Brady, Ward, Miller, William, et al.
Created Date
2012

Non-native saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) has invaded many riparian communities and is the third most abundant tree in Southwestern riparian areas. I evaluated lizard populations and microhabitat selection during 2009 and 2010 along the Virgin River in Nevada and Arizona to determine the impact of saltcedar. Along the riparian corridor, I observed common side-blotched lizards (Uta stansburiana) within two vegetation types: monotypic non-native saltcedar stands or mixed stands of cottonwood (Populus fremontii), willow (Salix spp.), mesquite (Prosopis spp.) and saltcedar. I predicted that population parameters such as body condition, adult to hatchling ratio, abundance, and persistence would vary among vegetation types. …

Contributors
Nielsen, Danny Patrick, Bateman, Heather L., Miller, William H., et al.
Created Date
2011

Urban ecosystems cover less than 3% of the Earth's land surface, yet more than half of the human population lives in urban areas. The process of urbanization stresses biodiversity and other ecosystem functions within and far beyond the city. To understand the mechanisms underlying observed changes in biodiversity patterns, several observational and experimental studies were performed in the metropolitan area of Phoenix, Arizona, and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. The first study was comprised of seven years of arthropod monitoring using pitfall traps in common urban land-use types. This study revealed differences in community structure, diversity and abundance over time and …

Contributors
Bang, Christofer, Faeth, Stanley H., Sabo, John L., et al.
Created Date
2010

Context – Urbanization can have negative effects on bat habitat use through the loss and isolation of habitat even for volant bats. Yet, how bats respond to the changing landscape composition and configuration of urban environments remains poorly understood. Objective – This study examines the relationship between bat habitat use and landscape pattern across multiple scales in the Phoenix metropolitan region. My research explores how landscape composition and configuration affects bat activity, foraging activity, and species richness (response variables), and the distinct habitats that they use. Methods – I used a multi-scale landscape approach and acoustic monitoring data to create …

Contributors
Bazelman, Tracy Carol, Wu, Jianguo, Chambers, Carol L., et al.
Created Date
2016

Aboveground net primary production (ANPP) is an important ecosystem process that, in drylands, is most frequently limited by water availability. Water availability for plants is in part controlled by the water holding capacity of soils. Available water holding capacity (AWHC) of soils is strongly influenced by soil texture and depth. This study drew upon localized rain gauge data and four data-sets of cover-line and biomass data to estimate ANPP and to determine annual precipitation (PPT). I measured soil depth to caliche and texture by layer of 112 plots across the four landscape units for which estimation of ANPP were available. …

Contributors
Wagner, Svenja K, Sala, Osvaldo E, Cease, Arianne, et al.
Created Date
2019

Over the past century in the southwestern United States human actions have altered hydrological processes that shape riparian ecosystems. One change, release of treated wastewater into waterways, has created perennial base flows and increased nutrient availability in ephemeral or intermittent channels. While there are benefits to utilizing treated wastewater for environmental flows, there are numerous unresolved ecohydrological issues regarding the efficacy of effluent to sustain groundwater-dependent riparian ecosystems. This research examined how nutrient-rich effluent, released into waterways with varying depths to groundwater, influences riparian plant community development. Statewide analysis of spatial and temporal patterns of effluent generation and release revealed …

Contributors
White, Meg, Stromberg, Juliet C, Fisher, Stuart G, et al.
Created Date
2011

The Santa Cruz River, in southern Arizona, receives steady inputs of nutrient-enriched treated wastewater (effluent). Previous studies have documented reduced infiltration of surface water in the river. This disruption of hydrologic connectivity, or clogging, can have consequences for groundwater recharge, flows of wastewater in unwanted locations, and potentially even survivorship of floodplain riparian vegetation. Clogging can result from biotic processes (microbial or algal growth), abiotic processes (siltation of interstitial spaces), or both. Little is known about clogging in rivers and the environmental factors that regulate their dynamics, so natural field experiments along the Santa Cruz and San Pedro Rivers were …

Contributors
Case, Natalie Marie, Stromberg, Juliet, Rock, Channah, et al.
Created Date
2012

Prehistoric farmers in the semi-arid American Southwest were challenged by marked spatial and temporal variation in, and overall low levels of, precipitation with which to grow their crops. One strategy they employed was to modify their landscape with rock alignments in order to concentrate surface water flow on their fields. A second challenge that has been less focused on by archaeologists is the need to maintain soil fertility by replenishing nutrients removed from the soil by agricultural crops. Numerous studies have shown that rock alignments can result in long-lasting impacts on soil properties and fertility. However, the direction and magnitude …

Contributors
Nakase, Dana Kozue, Hall, Sharon, Spielmann, Katherine, et al.
Created Date
2012

How fast is evolution? In this dissertation I document a profound change that occurred around the middle of the 20th century in the way that ecologists conceptualized the temporal and spatial scales of adaptive evolution, through the lens of British plant ecologist Anthony David Bradshaw (1926–2008). In the early 1960s, one prominent ecologist distinguished what he called “ecological time”—around ten generations—from “evolutionary time”— around half of a million years. For most ecologists working in the first half of the 20th century, evolution by natural selection was indeed a slow and plodding process, tangible in its products but not in its …

Contributors
Peirson, Bruce Richard Erick, Laubichler, Manfred D, Maienschein, Jane, et al.
Created Date
2015

Baseline community composition data provides a snapshot in time that allows changes in composition to be monitored more effectively and can inform best practices. This study examines Arizona Upland plant community composition of the Sonoran Desert through three different lenses: floristic inventory, and fire and reseeding effects. A floristic inventory was conducted at Cave Creek Regional Park (CCRP), Maricopa County, AZ. One hundred fifty-four taxa were documented within Park boundaries, including 148 species and six infraspecific taxa in 43 families. Asteraceae, Boraginaceae, and Fabaceae accounted for 40% of documented species and annuals accounted for 56% of documented diversity. Fire effects …

Contributors
Barron, Kara Lynn, Pigg, Kathleen B, Stromberg, Juliet, et al.
Created Date
2018

The Upper Verde River of central Arizona flows through a landscape of complex geology at the meeting of seven biotic communities and three physiographic provinces. This has resulted in notably diverse flora and fauna and a hub of rare and endemic plant species. The river has sustained cultures since pre-history, however current regional water use is predicted to diminish streamflow over the next century. Prior to this project, no floristic inventory had been conducted along any section of the Verde. The purpose of this study was to develop a Flora of the Upper Verde River, with the goals of documenting …

Contributors
Coburn, Francis Sterling, Stromberg, Juliet C, Landrum, Leslie R, et al.
Created Date
2015

This study was designed to produce a comprehensive flora of Usery Mountain Regional Park and Pass Mountain of the Tonto National Forest. A total of 168 vascular plant species representing 46 families and 127 genera were collected or documented at this study area. Sixteen species were not native to the flora of Arizona and represent 9.5% of the flora. Nevertheless, the study area does not appear to be significantly damaged or degraded in spite of its historical and current land use. The location and types of invasive species recorded in this study will assist with implementing preventative measures to prevent …

Contributors
Marshall, Laura Lee, Steele, Kelly P, Miller, William H, et al.
Created Date
2011

Riparian systems in the arid southwest are heavily altered and, based on relative land-area, provision a disproportionately high number of native wildlife. Amphibians and reptiles are collectively the most threatened vertebrate taxa and, in the Sonoran Desert, are often reliant on riparian habitat. The link between amphibians and environmental water characteristics, as well as the association between lizards and habitat structure, make herpetofauna good organisms for which to examine the effects of environmental change. My objective was to relate capture rates of a fossorial anuran and lizard abundance to aspects of native, invaded, and shrub-encroached riparian habitats in order to …

Contributors
Riddle, Sidney Bishop, Bateman, Heather L., Albuquerque, Fabio, et al.
Created Date
2018

In desert riparian ecosystems, rivers provide free water but access to that water diminishes with distance producing a steep gradient in the relative importance of water for growth and reproduction of riparian animals and hence, their biodiversity. Previous work suggests that water limited riparian predators eat more prey to meet their water demand where free water is not available. Here I explore the effect of water limitation on prey selection and per capita interaction strengths between a predatory spider ( Hogna antelucana) and two prey species occupying different trophic levels using a controlled field experiment conducted in the riparian forest …

Contributors
Leinbach, Israel, Sabo, John, Harrison, Jon, et al.
Created Date
2015

Functional traits research has improved our understanding of how plants respond to their environments, identifying key trade-offs among traits. These studies primarily rely on correlative methods to infer trade-offs and often overlook traits that are difficult to measure (e.g., root traits, tissue senescence rates), limiting their predictive ability under novel conditions. I aimed to address these limitations and develop a better understanding of the trait space occupied by trees by integrating data and process models, spanning leaves to whole-trees, via modern statistical and computational methods. My first research chapter (Chapter 2) simultaneously fits a photosynthesis model to measurements of fluorescence …

Contributors
Fell, Michael, Ogle, Kiona, Barber, Jarrett, et al.
Created Date
2017

Gender disparity in sentencing outcomes has a long tradition in sentencing literature, with a substantial body of evidence indicating that women offenders are treated with greater leniency over male counterparts. The prior literature on gender and sentencing, however, has ignored broader social contexts within which judicial decision-making occurs. This dissertation attempts to address this limitation by dissecting the nature of gender disparity through ecological lenses. Using federal sentencing data for FY 2001 through 2010 and other complementary data sets, this dissertation, divided into two major sub-studies, has examined the roles of two social contextual variables, such as religioius and political …

Contributors
Kim, Byung Bae, Spohn, Cassia, Wang, Xia, et al.
Created Date
2015

Humans have dramatically increased phosphorus (P) availability in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. As P is often a limiting nutrient of primary production, changes in its availability can have dramatic effects on ecosystem processes. I examined the effects of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) deposition, which can lower P concentrations via coprecipitation of phosphate, on P availability in two systems: streams in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona, and a stream, Río Mesquites, in Cuatro Ciénegas, México. Calcium carbonate forms as travertine in the former and within the microbialites of the latter. Despite these differences, CaCO3 deposition led to lowered P availability in both systems. …

Contributors
Corman, Jessica Regina, Elser, James J, Anbar, Ariel D, et al.
Created Date
2015

Although mimetic animal coloration has been studied since Darwin's time, many questions on the efficacy, evolution, and function of mimicry remain unanswered. Müller (1879) hypothesized that unpalatable individuals converge on the same conspicuous coloration to reduce predation. However, there are many cases where closely related, unpalatable species have diverged from a shared conspicuous pattern. What selection pressures have led to divergence in warning colors? Environmental factors such as ambient light have been hypothesized to affect signal transmission and efficacy in animals. Using two mimetic pairs of Heliconius butterflies, Postman and Blue-white, I tested the hypothesis that animals with divergent mimetic …

Contributors
Seymoure, Brett Michael, Rutowski, Ronald L, McGraw, Kevin J, et al.
Created Date
2016

Worldwide, riverine floodplains are among the most endangered landscapes. In response to anthropogenic impacts, riverine restoration projects are considerably increasing. However, there is a paucity of information on how riparian rehabilitation activities impact non-avian wildlife communities. I evaluated herpetofauna abundance, species richness, diversity (i.e., Shannon and Simpson indices), species-specific responses, and riparian microhabitat characteristics along three reaches (i.e., wildland, urban rehabilitated, and urban disturbed) of the Salt River, Arizona. The surrounding uplands of the two urbanized reaches were dominated by the built environment (i.e., Phoenix metropolitan area). I predicted that greater diversity of microhabitat and lower urbanization would promote herpetofauna …

Contributors
Banville, Melanie, Bateman, Heather L, Brady, Ward, et al.
Created Date
2011

In riparian ecosystems, reptiles and amphibians are good indicators of environmental conditions. Herpetofauna have been linked to specific microhabitat characteristics, microclimates, and water resources in riparian forests. My objective was to relate herpetofauna abundance to changes in riparian habitat along the Virgin River caused by the Tamarix biological control agent, Diorhabda carinulata, and riparian restoration. During 2013 and 2014, vegetation and herpetofauna were monitored at 21 riparian locations along the Virgin River via trapping and visual encounter surveys. Study sites were divided into four stand types based on density and percent cover of dominant trees (Tamarix, Prosopis, Populus, and Salix) …

Contributors
Mosher, Kent Russell, Bateman, Heather L, Stromberg, Juliet C, et al.
Created Date
2014

Ponderosa pine forests are a dominant land cover type in semiarid montane areas. Water supplies in major rivers of the southwestern United States depend on ponderosa pine forests since these ecosystems: (1) receive a significant amount of rainfall and snowfall, (2) intercept precipitation and transpire water, and (3) indirectly influence runoff by impacting the infiltration rate. However, the hydrologic patterns in these ecosystems with strong seasonality are poorly understood. In this study, we used a distributed hydrologic model evaluated against field observations to improve our understandings on spatial controls of hydrologic patterns, appropriate model resolution to simulate ponderosa pine ecosystems …

Contributors
Mahmood, Taufique H., Vivoni, Enrique R., Whipple, Kelin X., et al.
Created Date
2012

Climate change has the potential to affect vegetation via changes in temperature and precipitation. In the semi-arid southwestern United States, heightened temperatures will likely lead to accelerated groundwater pumping to meet human needs, and altered storm patterns may lead to changes in flood regimes. All of these hydrologic changes have the potential to alter riparian vegetation. This research, consisting of two papers, examines relationships between hydrology and riparian vegetation along the Verde River in central Arizona, from applied and theoretical perspectives. One paper investigates how dominance of tree and shrub species and cover of certain functional groups change along hydrologic …

Contributors
Hazelton, Andrea Florence, Stromberg, Juliet C, Schmeeckle, Mark W, et al.
Created Date
2011

Mycorrhizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with plant roots, increasing nutrient and water availability to plants and improving soil stability. Mechanical disturbance of soil has been found to reduce mycorrhizal inoculum in soils, but findings have been inconsistent. To examine the impact of restoration practices on riparian mycorrhizal inoculum potential, soil samples were collected at the Tres Rios Ecosystem Restoration and Flood Control Project located at the confluence of the Salt, Gila, and Agua Fria rivers in central Arizona. The project involved the mechanical removal of invasive Tamarix spp.( tamarisk, salt cedar) and grading prior to revegetation. Soil samples were collected …

Contributors
Arnold, Susanne Crabtree, Stutz, Jean, Alford, Eddie, et al.
Created Date
2012

The call for an Inter-Civilizational Dialogue informed by cosmopolitical forms of Comparative Political Theory as a way to address our unprecedented global challenges is among the most laudable projects that students of politics and related fields across the world have put forth in centuries. Unfortunately, however, up until this point the actual and potential contributions of the Indigenous or 'Fourth' World and its civilizational manifestations have been largely ignored. This has clearly been the case in what refers to Indigenous American or Abya-Yalan cultures and civilizations. The purpose of this dissertation is to acknowledge, add to, and further foster the …

Contributors
Figueroa Helland, Leonardo Esteban, Doty, Roxanne L, Ashley, Richard K, et al.
Created Date
2012

Novel resource inputs represent an increasingly common phenomenon in ecological systems as global change alters environmental factors and species distributions. In semiarid riparian areas, hydric pioneer tree species are being replaced by drought-tolerant species as water availability decreases. Additionally, introduced omnivorous crayfish, which feed upon primary producers, allochthonous detritus, and benthic invertebrates, can impact communities at multiple levels through both direct and indirect effects. In arid and semiarid systems of the American Southwest, crayfish may be especially important as detrital processors due to the lack of specialized detritivores. I tested the impact of virile crayfish (Orconectes virilis) on benthic invertebrates …

Contributors
Moody, Eric Kellan, Sabo, John L, Collins, James P, et al.
Created Date
2012

Many animals thermoregulate to maximize performance. However, interactions with other animals, such as competitors or predators, limit access to preferred microclimates. For instance, an animal may thermoregulate poorly when fighting rivals or avoiding predators. However, the distribution of thermal resources should influence how animals perceive and respond to risk. When thermal resources are concentrated in space, individuals compete for access, which presumably reduces the thermoregulatory performance while making their location more predictable to predators. Conversely, when thermal resources are dispersed, several individuals can thermoregulate effectively without occupying the same area. Nevertheless, interactions with competitors or predators impose a potent stress, …

Contributors
Rusch, Travis, Angilletta, Michael, Sears, Mike, et al.
Created Date
2017

For animals that experience annual cycles of gonad development, the seasonal timing (phenology) of gonad growth is a major adaptation to local environmental conditions. To optimally time seasonal gonad growth, animals use environmental cues that forecast future conditions. The availability of food is one such environmental cue. Although the importance of food availability has been appreciated for decades, the physiological mechanisms underlying the modulation of seasonal gonad growth by this environmental factor remain poorly understood. Urbanization is characterized by profound environmental changes, and urban animals must adjust to an environment vastly different from that of their non-urban conspecifics. Evidence suggests …

Contributors
Davies, Scott, Deviche, Pierre, Sweazea, Karen, et al.
Created Date
2014

ABSTRACT The February 2008 study of a Snowflake, Arizona site measured changes in soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, extractable phosphorus, and soil moisture, to determine what affect One-seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma) trees have on surrounding soil, thus affecting native grass growth. Increasing juniper densities in grasslands also decrease populations of some grassland bird species. Measurements were taken each meter along a twelve meter line transect, moving from juniper trees, through a bare soil area and into a grassland. Non-linear relationships were examined, in regard to distance from the tree and juniper root mass. Relationships were examined to determine any affect …

Contributors
Weller, Christopher, Green, Douglas, Miller, William H, et al.
Created Date
2010

Land management practices such as domestic animal grazing can alter plant communities via changes in soil structure and chemistry, species composition, and plant nutrient content. These changes can affect the abundance and quality of plants consumed by insect herbivores with consequent changes in population dynamics. These population changes can translate to massive crop damage and pest control costs. My dissertation focused on Oedaleus asiaticus, a dominant Asian locust, and had three main objectives. First, I identified morphological, physiological, and behavioral characteristics of the migratory ("brown") and non-migratory ("green") phenotypes. I found that brown morphs had longer wings, larger thoraxes and …

Contributors
Cease, Arianne, Harrison, Jon, Elser, James, et al.
Created Date
2012

Livestock-grazing, in particular cattle grazing, is a common use of public and private lands in western North America. As a result, the effects of grazing on both plants and animals are widely studied. Few studies, however, look directly at the long-term effects that cattle grazing may have on a particular species. The goal of this experiment was to continue research begun in 1988, to determine if the effects of cattle grazing are still seen in the age structure of two populations of saguaros (Carnegiea gigantea [Engelm.] Britton & Rose) at Saguaro National Park - Rincon Mountain District (SNP-RMD). The null …

Contributors
Krone, Elizabeth, Alford, Eddie, Brady, Ward, et al.
Created Date
2013

Sustainability requires developing the capacity to manage difficult tradeoffs to advance human livelihoods now and in the future. Decision-makers are recognizing the ecosystem services approach as a useful framework for evaluating tradeoffs associated with environmental change to advance decision-making towards holistic solutions. In this dissertation I conduct an ecosystem services assessment on the Yongding River Ecological Corridor in Beijing, China. I developed a `10-step approach' to evaluate multiple ecosystem services for public policy. I use the 10-step approach to evaluate five ecosystem services for management from the Yongding Corridor. The Beijing government created lakes and wetlands for five services (human …

Contributors
Wong, Christina P., Kinzig, Ann P, Lee, Kai N, et al.
Created Date
2014

A functioning food web is the basis of a functioning community and ecosystem. Thus, it is important to understand the dynamics that control species behaviors and interactions. Alterations to the fundamental dynamics can prove detrimental to the future success of our environment. Research and analysis focus on the global dynamics involved in intraguild predation (IGP), a three species subsystem involving both competition and predation. A mathematical model is derived using differential equations based on pre-existing models to accurately predict species behavior. Analyses provide sufficient conditions for species persistence and extinction that can be used to explain global dynamics. Dynamics are …

Contributors
Wedekin, Lauren Nicole, Kang, Yun, Green, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2012

Constructed treatment wetlands (CTW) have been a cost-efficient technological solution to treat different types of wastewater but may also be sources of emitters of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Thus, my objective for this dissertation was to investigate CH4 and N2O fluxes via multiple pathways from the Tres Rios CTW located in Phoenix, AZ, USA. I measured gas fluxes from the CTW along a whole-system gradient (from inflow to outflow) and a within-marsh gradient (shoreline, middle, and open water sites). I found higher diffusive CH4 release in the summer compared to spring and winter seasons. Along the whole-system gradient, …

Contributors
Ramos, Jorge, Childers, Daniel L, Grimm, Nancy B, et al.
Created Date
2017

Obesity is a worldwide epidemic accompanied by multiple comorbidities. Bariatric surgery is currently the most efficient treatment for morbid obesity and its comorbidities. The etiology of obesity is unknown, although genetic, environmental, and most recently, microbiome elements have been recognized as contributors to this rising epidemic. The role of the gut microbiome in weight-loss or weight-gain warrants investigation, and bariatric surgery provides a good model to study influences of the microbiome on host metabolism. The underlying goals of my research were to analyze (i) the factors that change the microbiome after bariatric surgery, (ii) the effects of different types of …

Contributors
Ilhan, Zehra Esra, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, DiBaise, John K, et al.
Created Date
2016

Once considered an abundant species in the eastern United States, local populations of red-shouldered hawks, Buteo lineatus, have declined due to habitat destruction. This destruction has created suitable habitat for red-tailed hawks, Buteo jamaicensis, and therefore increased competition between these two raptor species. Since suitable habitat is the main limiting factor for raptors, a computer model was created to simulate the effect of habitat loss in central Maryland and the impact of increased competition between the more aggressive red-tailed hawk. These simulations showed urban growth contributed to over a 30% increase in red-tailed hawk habitat as red-shouldered hawk habitat decreased …

Contributors
Murillo, Crystal, Whysong, Gary, Alford, Eddie, et al.
Created Date
2011

Aboveground net primary production (ANPP) and belowground net primary production (BNPP) may not be influenced equally by the same factors in arid grasslands. Precipitation is known to affect ANPP and BNPP, while soil fauna such as nematodes affect the BNPP through herbivory and predation. This study on black grama grass (Bouteloua eriopoda) in the Chihuahuan Desert investigates the effects of precipitation and nematode presence or absence on net primary production (NPP) as well as the partitioning between the aboveground and belowground components, in this case, the fraction of total net primary production occurring belowground (fBNPP). I used a factorial experiment …

Contributors
Wiedenfeld, Amy, Sala, Osvaldo, Gerber, Leah, et al.
Created Date
2018

In complex consumer-resource type systems, where diverse individuals are interconnected and interdependent, one can often anticipate what has become known as the tragedy of the commons, i.e., a situation, when overly efficient consumers exhaust the common resource, causing collapse of the entire population. In this dissertation I use mathematical modeling to explore different variations on the consumer-resource type systems, identifying some possible transitional regimes that can precede the tragedy of the commons. I then reformulate it as a game of a multi-player prisoner's dilemma and study two possible approaches for preventing it, namely direct modification of players' payoffs through punishment/reward …

Contributors
Kareva, Irina, Castillo-Chavez, Carlos, Collins, James, et al.
Created Date
2012

Human activity has increased loading of reactive nitrogen (N) in the environment, with important and often deleterious impacts on biodiversity, climate, and human health. Since the fate of N in the ecosystem is mainly controlled by microorganisms, understanding the factors that shape microbial communities becomes relevant and urgent. In arid land soils, these microbial communities and factors are not well understood. I aimed to study the role of N cycling microbes, such as the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), the recently discovered ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), and various fungal groups, in soils of arid lands. I also tested if niche differentiation among microbial …

Contributors
Marusenko, Yevgeniy, Hall, Sharon J, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, et al.
Created Date
2013

A mule deer herd exists on the northern rim of the Grand Canyon, located on the North Kaibab Plateau. Historical references to this indigenous mule deer herd presented reports of periodic population irruption and collapse. Partially funded by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Arizona Deer Association, examination of herd nutritional and metabolic status from the Fall 2005 - Spring 2008 was completed at the request of AzGFD and ADA. Habitat analysis included forage micro-histological, protein, and caloric content plus whole blood and plasma assays gauging herd metabolic response. Modelling was completed using best management practices wildlife energy …

Contributors
Acton, Matthew Whitley, Miller, William H, Brady, Ward W., et al.
Created Date
2014

In recent decades, marine ecologists have conducted extensive field work and experiments to understand the interactions between bacteria and bacteriophage (phage) in marine environments. This dissertation provides a detailed rigorous framework for gaining deeper insight into these interactions. Specific features of the dissertation include the design of a new deterministic Lotka-Volterra model with n + 1 bacteria, n/n + 1 phage, with explicit nutrient, where the jth phage strain infects the first j bacterial strains, a perfectly nested infection network (NIN). This system is subject to trade-off conditions on the life-history traits of both bacteria and phage given in an …

Contributors
Korytowski, Daniel A., Smith, Hal, Gumel, Abba, et al.
Created Date
2016

Here I present a phylogeographic study of at least six reproductively isolated lineages of harvester ants within the Pogonomyrmex barbatus and P. rugosus species group. The genetic and geographic relationships within this clade are complex: four of the identified lineages are divided into two pairs, and each pair has evolved under a mutualistic system that necessitates sympatry. These paired lineages are dependent upon one another because interlineage matings within each pair are the sole source of hybrid F1 workers; these workers build and sustain the colonies, facilitating the production of the reproductive caste, which results solely from intralineage fertilizations. This …

Contributors
Mott, Brendon Michael, Gadau, Juergen, Fewell, Jennifer, et al.
Created Date
2012

The plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae), a small burrowing lagomorph that occupies the high alpine grassland ecosystems of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in western China, remains a controversial subject among policymakers and researchers. One line of evidence points to pikas being a pest, which has led to massive attempts to eradicate pika populations. Another point of view is that pikas are a keystone species and an ecosystem engineer in the grassland ecosystem of the QTP. The pika eradication program raises a difficult ethical and religious dilemma for local pastoralists, and is criticized for not being supported by scientific evidence. Complex interactions between …

Contributors
Choying, Palden, Smith, Andrew T, Wu, Jianguo, et al.
Created Date
2016

As an industrial society, humans have increasingly separated agricultural processes from natural ecosystems. Many areas of the Southwestern US, however, maintain traditional practices that link agricultural systems to the natural environment. One such practice, diverting river water into fields via earthen irrigation canals, allows ditch water to recharge groundwater and riparian vegetation to prosper along canal banks. As there is growing interest in managing landscapes for multiple ecosystem services, this study was undertaken to determine if irrigation canals function as an extension of the riparian corridor. I was specifically interested in determining if the processes within semi-arid streams that drive …

Contributors
Betsch, Jacqueline Michelle, Stromberg, Juliet C, Hall, Sharon J, et al.
Created Date
2010

It’s no secret that wetlands have dramatically declined in the arid and semiarid American West, yet the small number of wetlands that persist provide vital ecosystem services. Ciénega is a term that refers to a freshwater arid-land wetland. Today, even in areas where ciénegas are prominent they occupy less than 0.1% of the landscape. This investigation assesses the distribution of vascular plant species within and among ciénegas and address linkages between environmental factors and wetland plant communities. Specifically, I ask: 1) What is the range of variability among ciénegas, with respect to wetland area, soil organic matter, plant species richness, …

Contributors
Wolkis, Dustin Matthew, Stromberg, Juliet C, Hall, Sharon, et al.
Created Date
2016

General ecological thought pertaining to plant biology, conservation, and urban areas has rested on two potentially contradictory underlying assumptions. The first is that non-native plants can spread easily from human developments to “pristine” areas. The second is that native plants cannot disperse through developed areas. Both assume anthropogenic changes to ecosystems create conditions that favor non-native plants and hinder native species. However, it is just as likely that anthropogenic alterations of habitats will favor certain groups of plant species with similar functional traits, whether native or not. Migration of plants can be divided into the following stages: dispersal, germination, establishment, …

Contributors
Gade, Kristin Joan, Kinzig, Ann P, Grimm, Nancy B, et al.
Created Date
2010

Urbanization provides an excellent opportunity to examine the effects of human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC) on natural ecosystems. Certain species can dominate in urban habitats at the expense of biodiversity. Phenotypic plasticity may be the mechanism by which these 'urban exploiters' flourish in urban areas. Color displays and condition-dependent phenotypes are known to be highly plastic. However, conspicuous color displays are perplexing in that they can be costly to produce and may increase detection by enemies. The Western black widow spider () is a superabundant pest species that forms dense aggregations throughout metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Adult female display a …

Contributors
Gburek, Theresa Marie, Johnson, James C, Mcgraw, Kevin J, et al.
Created Date
2014

Human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC) influences nearly all of Earth's ecosystems through processes such as urbanization. Previous studies have found that urbanization influences biodiversity patterns, often yielding an increase in the abundance of a few urban-adapted taxa at the expense of native species diversity. The western black widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus, is a medically-important pest species that often forms dense urban subpopulations (i.e., infestations) relative to the low-density subpopulations found throughout undisturbed, desert habitat. Here, I employ field and laboratory studies to examine the population ecology and stoichiometry of this urban pest to increase our understanding of the mechanisms underlying …

Contributors
Trubl, Patricia Jean, Johnson, James C, Rutowski, Ronald, et al.
Created Date
2012

The spread of dengue worldwide currently places half of the world’s population at risk. In the absence of a dengue vaccine, control of the disease requires control of the mosquito species that transmit the virus. The most important of these is. Advances in research detailing the responsiveness of Aedes aegypti to small changes in climate enable the production of more sophisticated remote sensing and surveillance techniques for monitoring these populations. Close monitoring of global dengue activity and outbreaks likewise enables a greater specificity when determining to which human populations the virus is most likely to spread. There have been no …

Contributors
Hughes, Tyler C., Perrings, Charles, Kinzig, Ann, et al.
Created Date
2016

Urban riparian corridors have the capacity to maintain high levels of abundance and biodiversity. Additionally, urban rivers also offer environmental amenities and can be catalysts for social and economic revitalization in human communities. Despite its importance for both humans and wildlife, blue space in cities used by waterbirds has received relatively little focus in urban bird studies. My principal objective was to determine how urbanization and water availability affect waterbird biodiversity in an arid city. I surveyed 36 transects stratified across a gradient of urbanization and water availability along the Salt River, a LTER long-term study system located in Phoenix, …

Contributors
Burnette, Riley, Bateman, Heather, Franklin, Janet, et al.
Created Date
2016

Phosphorus (P), an essential nutrient for growth of all organisms, is often in limited biological supply for herbivore consumers compared to other elements, such as carbon (C). Ecological stoichiometry studies have assessed responses of filter-feeding zooplankton from the genus Daphnia to single and multi-species food resources that are P-limited, finding decreased growth as a result to changes in metabolic processes and feeding behavior. Conversely, recent laboratory studies have shown that P-rich algal food resources also result in decreased growth rates for Daphnia, though the possible mechanisms behind this maladaptive response is understudied. Moreover, no published study tests the existence of …

Contributors
Currier, Courtney McCann, Currier, James, Harrison, Jon, et al.
Created Date
2015

A global warming of two degrees Celsius is predicted to drive almost half the world's lizard populations to extinction. Currently, the Phoenix metropolitan region in Arizona, USA, is an average of 3 oC warmer than the surrounding desert. Using a bare lot as a control, I placed copper lizard models with data loggers in several vegetation and irrigation treatments that represent the dominant backyard landscaping styles in Phoenix (grassy mesic with mist irrigation, drip irrigated xeric, unirrigated native, and a hybrid style known as oasis). Lizard activity time in summer is currently restricted to a few hours in un-irrigated native …

Contributors
Ackley, Jeffrey, Wu, Jianguo, Sullivan, Brian, et al.
Created Date
2015

Throughout history composers and artists have been inspired by the natural world. Nature's influence on music is extraordinary, though water in particular, has had a unique magnetic pull. The large number of compositions dealing with water, from Handel's Water Music (1717) to Ros Bandt's and Leah Barclay's Rivers Talk (2012), reflects this continuous fascination. Since the late 1940s, composers have ventured further and brought actual sounds from the environment, including water recorded on tape, into the musical arena. Moreover, since the 1960s, some composers have nudged their listeners to become more ecologically aware. Much skepticism exists, as with any unconventional …

Contributors
Richardson, Jamilyn, Feisst, Sabine, Solís, Ted, et al.
Created Date
2012

Die-off of screwbean mesquite (Prosopis pubescens), a species native to the American Southwest, has been documented regionally within the last decade. Historical causes for episodic mortality of the more widely distributed velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina) and honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) include water table declines and flood scour. Causes of the recent die-offs of P. pubescens have received little study. Numerous riparian restoration projects have been implemented regionally that include screwbean mesquite. Restoration propagules from foreign sources can introduce diseases, and low genetic diversity plantings may allow for disease irruptions. I asked: 1) Are die-offs associated with a particular age class, …

Contributors
Madera, Robert, Stromberg, Juliet, Stutz, Jean, et al.
Created Date
2016

This thesis explores the independent effects of the manipulation of rocks into alignments, prehistoric farming, and season on soil properties in two areas with a history of prehistoric agriculture in central Arizona, Pueblo la Plata within the Agua Fria National Monument (AFNM), and an archaeological site north of the Phoenix basin along Cave Creek (CC). Soil properties, annual herbaceous biomass and the physical properties of alignments and surface soils were measured and compared across the landscape, specifically on: 1) agricultural rock alignments that were near the archaeological site 2) geologically formed rock alignments that were located 0.5-1 km away from …

Contributors
Trujillo, Jolene E., Hall, Sharon J, Collins, Scott L, et al.
Created Date
2011

As a result of growing populations and uncertain resource availability, urban areas are facing pressure from federal and state agencies, as well as residents, to promote conservation programs that provide services for people and mitigate environmental harm. Current strategies in US cities aim to reduce the impact of municipal and household resource use, including programs to promote water conservation. One common conservation program incentivizes the replacement of water-intensive turfgrass lawns with landscapes that use less water consisting of interspersed drought-tolerant shrubs and trees with rock or mulch groundcover (e.g. xeriscapes, rain gardens, water-wise landscapes). A handful of previous studies in …

Contributors
Heavenrich, Hannah, Hall, Sharon J, Larson, Kelli L, et al.
Created Date
2015

The explicit role of soil organisms in shaping soil health, rates of pedogenesis, and resistance to erosion has only just recently begun to be explored in the last century. However, much of the research regarding soil biota and soil processes is centered on maintaining soil fertility (e.g., plant nutrient availability) and soil structure in mesic- and agro- ecosystems. Despite the empirical and theoretical strides made in soil ecology over the last few decades, questions regarding ecosystem function and soil processes remain, especially for arid areas. Arid areas have unique ecosystem biogeochemistry, decomposition processes, and soil microbial responses to moisture inputs …

Contributors
Wyant, Karl Arthur, Sabo, John L, Elser, James J, et al.
Created Date
2014

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an important part of aquatic foodwebs because it contains carbon, nitrogen, and other elements required by heterotrophic organisms. It has many sources that determine its molecular composition, nutrient content, and biological lability and in turn, influence whether it is retained and processed in the stream reach or exported downstream. I examined the composition of DOM from vascular wetland plants, filamentous algae, and riparian tree leaf litter in Sonoran Desert streams and its decomposition by stream microbes. I used a combination of field observations, in-situ experiments, and a manipulative laboratory incubation to test (1) how dominant …

Contributors
Kemmitt, Kathrine, Grimm, Nancy, Hartnett, Hilairy, et al.
Created Date
2018

River and riparian areas are important foraging habitat for insectivorous bats. Numerous studies have shown that aquatic insects provide an important trophic resource to terrestrial consumers, including bats, and are key in regulating population size and species interactions in terrestrial food webs. Yet these studies have generally ignored how structural characteristics of the riverine landscape influence trophic resource availability or how terrestrial consumers respond to ensuing spatial and temporal patterns of trophic resources. Moreover, few studies have examined linkages between a stream's hydrologic regime and the timing and magnitude of aquatic insect availability. The main objective of my dissertation is …

Contributors
Hagen, Elizabeth M, Sabo, John L, Fisher, Stuart G, et al.
Created Date
2010

The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) is a central issue in ecology, and a number of recent field experimental studies have greatly improved our understanding of this relationship. Spatial heterogeneity is a ubiquitous characterization of ecosystem processes, and has played a significant role in shaping BEF relationships. The first step towards understanding the effects of spatial heterogeneity on the BEF relationships is to quantify spatial heterogeneity characteristics of key variables of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and identify the spatial relationships among these variables. The goal of our research was to address the following research questions based on data …

Contributors
Yuan, Fei, Wu, Jianguo, Smith, Andrew T, et al.
Created Date
2011

Air pollution is a serious problem in most urban areas around the world, which has a number of negative ecological and human health impacts. As a result, it's vitally important to detect and characterize air pollutants to protect the health of the urban environment and our citizens. An important early step in this process is ensuring that the air pollution monitoring network is properly designed to capture the patterns of pollution and that all social demographics in the urban population are represented. An important aspect in characterizing air pollution patterns is scale in space and time which, along with pattern …

Contributors
Pope, Ronald Lee, Wu, Jianguo, Boone, Christopher G., et al.
Created Date
2014