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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.


Subject
Date Range
2010 2019


Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) in vulnerable populations are a proposed cause of reduced global biodiversity due to local and regional extinctions. Chytridiomycosis, a fungal disease caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is affecting amphibian populations worldwide. Chapter 1 of this thesis reports using lab-raised larval tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum), collected as eggs, to test if Bd infects them. Bd infects metamorphosed tiger salamanders; however, it is currently unknown if larvae can be infected by Bd. Adult frogs tend to host Bd on ventral surfaces and hind legs while tadpoles host Bd in keratinized mouthparts. No research has considered differences in …

Contributors
Otsuru, Shinji Author, Collins, James P, Davidson, Elizabeth, et al.
Created Date
2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drylands (arid and semi-arid grassland ecosystems) cover about 40% of the Earth's surface and support over 40% of the human population, most of which is in emerging economies. Human development of drylands leads to topsoil loss, and over the last 160 years, woody plants have encroached on drylands, both of which have implications for maintaining soil viability. Understanding the spatial variability in erosion and soil organic carbon and total nitrogen under varying geomorphic and biotic forcing in drylands is therefore of paramount importance. This study focuses on how two plants, palo verde (Parkinsonia microphylla, nitrogen-fixing) and jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis, non-nitrogen …

Contributors
Alter, Samuel, Heimsath, Arjun M, Throop, Heather L, et al.
Created Date
2018

Animals have evolved a diversity of signaling traits, and in some species, they co-occur and are used simultaneously to communicate. Although much work has been done to understand why animals possess multiple signals, studies do not typically address the role of inter-signal interactions, which may vary intra- and inter-specifically and help drive the evolutionary diversity in signals. For my dissertation, I tested how angle-dependent structural coloration, courtship displays, and the display environment interact and co-evolved in hummingbird species from the “bee” tribe (Mellisugini). Most “bee” hummingbird species possess an angle-dependent structurally colored throat patch and stereotyped courtship (shuttle) display. For …

Contributors
Simpson, Richard Kendall, McGraw, Kevin J, Rutowski, Ronald L, et al.
Created Date
2018

The most advanced social insects, the eusocial insects, form often large societies in which there is reproductive division of labor, queens and workers, have overlapping generations, and cooperative brood care where daughter workers remain in the nest with their queen mother and care for their siblings. The eusocial insects are composed of representative species of bees and wasps, and all species of ants and termites. Much is known about their organizational structure, but remains to be discovered. The success of social insects is dependent upon cooperative behavior and adaptive strategies shaped by natural selection that respond to internal or external …

Contributors
Rodriguez Messan, Marisabel, Kang, Yun, Castillo-Chavez, Carlos, et al.
Created Date
2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This dissertation uses a comparative approach to investigate long-term human- environment interrelationships in times of climate change. It uses Geographical Information Systems and ecological models to reconstruct the Magdalenian (~20,000- 14,000 calibrated years ago) environments of the coastal mountainous zone of Cantabria (Northwest Spain) and the interior valleys of the Dordogne (Southwest France) to contextualize the social networks that could have formed during a time of high climate and resource variability. It simulates the formation of such networks in an agent-based model, which documents the processes underlying the formation of archaeological assemblages, and evaluates the potential impacts of climate-topography interactions …

Contributors
Gravel-Miguel, Claudine, Barton, C. Michael, Coudart, Anick, et al.
Created Date
2017

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

Megafauna species worldwide have undergone dramatic declines since the end of the Pleistocene, twelve thousand years ago. In response, there have been numerous calls to increase conservation attention to these ecologically important species. However, introduced megafauna continue to be treated as pests. This thesis evaluates the extent of this conservation paradox in relation to changing megafauna diversity from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene and finds that introductions have provided refuge for a substantial number threatened and endangered megafaunal species and has restored generic diversity levels per continent to levels closer to the Pleistocene than the Holocene. Furthermore, this thesis describes …

Contributors
Lundgren, Erick, Stromberg, Juliet, Wu, Jianguo, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why are human societies so psychologically diverse? The discipline of behavioral ecology is rich in both theory and data on how environments shape non-human animal behavior. However, behavioral ecological thinking has not received much attention in the study of human cultural psychological variation. I propose that ecological relatedness—how genetically related individuals are to others in their proximate environment—is one aspect of the environment that shapes human psychology. I present three studies here that examine the influence of ecological relatedness on multiple aspects of psychology. In the first study, I find that higher levels of ecological relatedness at the nation level …

Contributors
Sng, Oliver, Neuberg, Steven L., Kenrick, Douglas T., 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small-scale fisheries are globally ubiquitous, employing more than 99% of the world’s fishers and providing over half of the world’s seafood. However, small-scale fisheries face many management challenges including declining catches, inadequate resources and infrastructure, and overcapacity. Baja California Sur, Mexico (BCS) is a region with diverse small-scale fisheries; these fisheries are intense, poorly regulated, and overlap with foraging hot spots of endangered sea turtles. In partnership with researchers, fishers, managers, and practitioners from Mexico and the United States, I documented bycatch rates of loggerhead turtles at BCS that represent the highest known megafauna bycatch rates worldwide. Concurrently, I conducted …

Contributors
Senko, Jesse, Smith, Andrew, Boggess, May, et al.
Created Date
2015

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

Hydrological models in arid and semi-arid ecosystems can be subject to high uncertainties. Spatial variability in soil moisture and evapotranspiration, key components of the water cycle, can contribute to model uncertainty. In particular, an understudied source of spatial variation is the effect of plant-plant interactions on water fluxes. At patch scales (plant and associated soil), plant neighbors can either negatively or positively affect soil water availability via competition or hydraulic redistribution, respectively. The aboveground microclimate can also be altered via canopy shading effects by neighbors. Across longer timescales (years), plants may adjust their physiological (water-use) traits in response to the …

Contributors
Kropp, Heather, Ogle, Kiona, Hultine, Kevin, et al.
Created Date
2015

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

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

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

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

Biological soil crusts (BSCs) dominate the soil surface of drylands in the western United States and possess properties thought to influence local hydrology. Little agreement exists, however, on the effects of BSCs on runoff, infiltration, and evaporative rates. This study aims to improve the predictive capability of an ecohydrology model in order to understand how BSCs affect the storage, retention, and infiltration of water into soils characteristic of the Colorado Plateau. A set of soil moisture measurements obtained at a climate manipulation experiment near Moab, Utah, are used for model development and testing. Over five years, different rainfall treatments over …

Contributors
Whitney, Kristen, Vivoni, Enrique R, Farmer, Jack D, et al.
Created Date
2015