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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.


Date Range
2012 2018


A notable feature of advanced eusocial insect groups is a division of labor within the sterile worker caste. However, the physiological aspects underlying the differentiation of behavioral phenotypes are poorly understood in one of the most successful social taxa, the ants. By starting to understand the foundations on which social behaviors are built, it also becomes possible to better evaluate hypothetical explanations regarding the mechanisms behind the evolution of insect eusociality, such as the argument that the reproductive regulatory infrastructure of solitary ancestors was co-opted and modified to produce distinct castes. This dissertation provides new information regarding the internal factors …

Contributors
Dolezal, Adam G, Amdam, Gro V, Brent, Colin S., et al.
Created Date
2012

Fundamental hypotheses about the life history, complex cognition and social dynamics of humans are rooted in feeding ecology - particularly in the experiences of young animals as they grow. However, the few existing primate developmental data are limited to only a handful of species of monkeys and apes. Without comparative data from more basal primates, such as lemurs, we are limited in the scope of our understanding of how feeding has shaped the evolution of these extraordinary aspects of primate biology. I present a developmental view of feeding ecology in the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) using a mixed longitudinal sample …

Contributors
O'Mara, Michael Teague, Nash, Leanne T, Reed, Kaye E, et al.
Created Date
2012

Gene-centric theories of evolution by natural selection have been popularized and remain generally accepted in both scientific and public paradigms. While gene-centrism is certainly parsimonious, its explanations fall short of describing two patterns of evolutionary and social phenomena: the evolution of sex and the evolution of social altruism. I review and analyze current theories on the evolution of sex. I then introduce the conflict presented to gene-centric evolution by social phenomena such as altruism and caste sterility in eusocial insects. I review gene-centric models of inclusive fitness and kin selection proposed by Hamilton and Maynard Smith. Based their assumptions, that …

Contributors
Jacobson, Neal Bradley, Gadau, Juergen, Laubichler, Manfred, et al.
Created Date
2012

Speciation is the fundamental process that has generated the vast diversity of life on earth. The hallmark of speciation is the evolution of barriers to gene flow. These barriers may reduce gene flow either by keeping incipient species from hybridizing at all (pre-zygotic), or by reducing the fitness of hybrids (post-zygotic). To understand the genetic architecture of these barriers and how they evolve, I studied a genus of wasps that exhibits barriers to gene flow that act both pre- and post-zygotically. Nasonia is a genus of four species of parasitoid wasps that can be hybridized in the laboratory. When two …

Contributors
Gibson, Joshua D, Gadau, Jürgen, Harrison, Jon, et al.
Created Date
2013

ABSTRACT 1. Aposematic signals advertise prey distastefulness or metabolic unprofitability to potential predators and have evolved independently in many prey groups over the course of evolutionary history as a means of protection from predation. Most aposematic signals investigated to date exhibit highly chromatic patterning; however, relatives in these toxic groups with patterns of very low chroma have been largely overlooked. 2. We propose that bright displays with low chroma arose in toxic prey species because they were more effective at deterring predation than were their chromatic counterparts, especially when viewed in relatively low light environments such as forest understories. 3. …

Contributors
Douglas, Jonathan Marion, Rutowski, Ronald L, Gadau, Juergen, et al.
Created Date
2013

Teaching evolution has been shown to be a challenge for faculty, in both K-12 and postsecondary education. Many of these challenges stem from perceived conflicts not only between religion and evolution, but also faculty beliefs about religion, it's compatibility with evolutionary theory, and it's proper role in classroom curriculum. Studies suggest that if educators engage with students' religious beliefs and identity, this may help students have positive attitudes towards evolution. The aim of this study was to reveal attitudes and beliefs professors have about addressing religion and providing religious scientist role models to students when teaching evolution. 15 semi-structured interviews …

Contributors
Barnes, Maryann Elizabeth, Brownell, Sara E, Brem, Sarah K, et al.
Created Date
2014

The most abundantly studied societies, with the exception of humans, are those of the eusocial insects, which include all ants. Eusocial insect societies are typically composed of many dozens to millions of individuals, referred to as nestmates, which require some form of communication to maintain colony cohesion and coordinate the activities within them. Nestmate recognition is the process of distinguishing between nestmates and non-nestmates, and embodies the first line of defense for social insect colonies. In ants, nestmate recognition is widely thought to occur through olfactory cues found on the exterior surfaces of individuals. These cues, called cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs), …

Contributors
Cash, Elizabeth Irene, Gadau, Jürgen, Liebig, Jürgen, et al.
Created Date
2016

Evolution is the foundation of biology, yet it remains controversial even among college biology students. Acceptance of evolution is important for students if we want them to incorporate evolution into their scientific thinking. However, students’ religious beliefs are a consistent barrier to their acceptance of evolution due to a perceived conflict between religion and evolution. Using pre-post instructional surveys of students in introductory college biology, Study 1 establishes instructional strategies that can be effective for reducing students' perceived conflict between religion and evolution. Through interviews and qualitative analyses, Study 2 documents how instructors teaching evolution at public universities may be …

Contributors
Barnes, Maryann, Brownell, Sara, Nesse, Randolph, et al.
Created Date
2018

Persistent cooperation between unrelated conspecifics rarely occurs in mature eusocial insect societies. In this dissertation, I present evidence of non-kin cooperation in the Nearctic honey ant Myrmecocystus mendax. Using microsatellite markers, I show that mature colonies in the Sierra Ancha Mountain of central Arizona contain multiple unrelated matrilines, an observation that is consistent with primary polygyny. In contrast, similar analyses suggest that colonies in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona are primarily monogynous. These interpretations are consistent with field and laboratory observations. Whereas cooperative colony founding was observed frequently among groups of Sierra Ancha foundresses, founding in the Chiricahua population …

Contributors
Eriksson, Ti, Gadau, Jürgen, Taylor, Jay, et al.
Created Date
2018