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.


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