2016 Fall Undergraduate Research Student Poster Forum (10th)

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 28
  • Item
    Positive and Negative Regulatory Elements in the HIV-1 5'UTR Control Specific Recognition by Gag
    (2016-09-15) Reyes, Joshua-Paolo C.; Olson, Erik D.; Musier-Forsyth, Karin; Musier-Forsyth, Karin
    The highly conserved 5ʹ untranslated region (5ʹUTR) of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genomic RNA (gRNA) regulates numerous aspects of the viral lifecycle. The 5'UTR contains a structured RNA element (termed the Psi packaging signal) that is specifically recognized by the HIV-1 Gag polyprotein, ensuring that two strands of gRNA are packaged into newly assembled virions. However, the mechanism by which Gag specifically recognizes the gRNA over the myriad of other cellular RNAs and spliced viral RNAs is not well understood. A recent study suggested that a negative regulatory element exists upstream of Psi that blocks high-affinity Gag binding, and a positive regulatory element downstream of Psi counteracts the upstream element and restores high-affinity binding. This mechanism would help ensure the preferential recognition of gRNA over spliced viral RNAs by Gag. However, this study did not directly address how the upstream and downstream elements effect the specificity or conformation of Gag binding. To further elucidate the details of this mechanism, we employ a fluorescence anisotropy-based salt-titration binding assay to determine the electrostatic and nonelectrostatic (i.e., specific) components of binding. We have previously shown that Gag interacts with a 100-nucleotide Psi RNA construct that lacks the putative regulatory elements with high specificity and few electrostatic interactions. We now find that Gag binding to nucleotides 1-356 of the gRNA, which contains Psi and the negative regulatory element, is characterized by lower specificity and a greater number of electrostatic interactions, indicating an altered mode of binding. Interestingly, a 400-nucleotide RNA, which contains Psi and both the negative and positive regulatory elements, restores the highly specific Psi-like binding mode. Taken together, these data are consistent with the conclusion that positive and negative regulatory elements flank Psi and serve to modulate gRNA recognition by Gag.
  • Item
    The role of the microRNA mir-125a-5p in mouse skeletal development
    (2016-09-15) Friesen, Sophia; Cole, Susan
    In all vertebrates, the ribs and vertebrae develop from repeating tissue blocks called somites that form early in development. The regularity of somite formation depends on several genes with oscillatory expression; each oscillation corresponds to the formation of one somite. These "clock genes" include Lunatic fringe ( Lfng ), which must oscillate for normal somitogenesis. In chick, the microRNA mir-125a-5p destabilizes Lfng mRNA, allowing for its rapid clearing during the "off" phase of each oscillation. Loss of mir-125a-5p in chick results in disorganized somitogenesis; whether it plays a similar role in mammals is unknown. The purpose of this study is to determine if mir-125a-5p regulates Lfng expression during somitogenesis and axial skeleton formation in mice. To determine the role of mir-125a-5p in mouse somitogenesis, CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis was used to create mice lacking this miRNA. Lfng expression in mir-125a-5p mutant and wild-type mouse embryos was compared via in situ hybridization. Effects on somitogenesis were determined by in situ hybridization for Uncx4.1, a somite boundary marker, in mutant and wild-type embryos. To directly investigate the results of mir-125a-5p loss on skeletal development, older embryos were stained with tissue-specific dyes to mark bone and cartilage. Neither somitogenesis nor skeletal development was significantly altered in mir-125a-5p mutants, indicating that mir-125a-5p does not have the same vital role in mammalian somitogenesis as it does in chick. It may be that mir-125a-5p is uninvolved in mouse somitogenesis; alternatively, similar miRNAs could compensate for its loss. Interestingly, some adult male mice lacking functional mir-125a-5p appear to be less fertile; this could be due to the location of mir-125a-5p within an intron of one isoform of Spaca6, a gene involved in sperm-egg fusion.
  • Item
    Role of Construal Level in Attentional Bias Toward Temptation
    (2016-09-15) Engle, John; Fujita, Kentaro; Sklar, Asael
    Previous work (Fujita & Han, 2009; Fujita & Roberts, 2010; Fujita, Trope, Liberman, & Levin-Sagi, 2006) has demonstrated that inducing a mindset of abstraction, i.e. high-level construal, increases people’s performance in various measures of self-control. This has been found with differing levels of automaticity, from explicit attitudes towards tempting stimuli to implicit associations with tempting stimuli. The current research sought to further investigate the level of automaticity that construal level may affect. Work in the realm of addiction has linked temptation strength with attentional bias towards temptation stimuli in a visual scene. For example, in a change blindness paradigm, drug users are quicker to identify drug related changes than neutral changes in an image, where the same is not true for control groups. We suggest that people’s attitudes towards temptations, which have been shown to be modifiable using construal manipulation, are responsible for which objects attention is directed to. To induce high or low level construal, we used a previously validated manipulation (the “Category – Exemplar” task; Fujita et al., 2006). To measure the effect of abstraction on attentional bias, we used Change Blindness, a paradigm in which participants spot a change made to a flickering picture. Our target population to test this theory is dieters. For half of the participants, the changed object was tempting (cupcake) for the others it was neutral (mug). The aim of our research was to see if construal manipulation, changed object, and self-reported dieting status would interact to predict the attentional bias in the Change Blindness task. We found that dieters in a high-level construal saw tempting stimuli slower than dieters in a low-level construal.
  • Item
    Effect of Spin Coating Conditions on the Inter-molecular Ordering and Performance of Organic Photovoltaic Materials
    (2016-09-15) Zhu, Menglin; Hwang, Jinwoo
    We proposed to use fluctuation electron microscope to determine the molecular ordering of organic materials, and establish connections between the ordering and important properties of organic materials, which can significantly improve the performance of organic electronics. In the past, understanding the exact nature of molecular ordering has been challenging due to the lack of experimental technique that are sensitive to the molecular ordering. While FEM is a great technique that can measure the nanoscale atomic ordering, including type, size, volume fraction etc. P3HT is material of interest and it is spin-coated onto Si substrate and then observed under FEM. Consequently, the intermolecular ordering is established as a function of spin coat temperature, RPM, concentration, annealing temperature and so on. This summer served as the first stage of this project, aimed to find a sample, which can meet operating criteria of FEM, as standard for further research. During research, contamination was initially captured; particles around the point of irritation gathered together and made that region thicker, because carbon atoms were excited by light beam. Another technique called plasma clean was introduced to get rid of the noise, which can eliminate carbon atoms by chemical reaction. But it raises up another problem. P3HT consists of carbon, which may also react while cleaning. Even though this inference wasn’t examined, an alternative approach was suggested by advisor to increase the accuracy, which is heat-treatment under vacuum. But appropriate operation method is still under investigation. For the future goals, it’s imperative to either prove that plasma clean doesn’t damage the P3HT sample or find an alternative treating method. With this problem solved, the team will move on to make samples under different conditions, and the structures and properties will be compared with the ones of standard sample. Temporarily, three main factors interested the team most is the RPM, concentration and heat-treatment temperature. Basically, one factor will be changed with all other factors the same as standard, so that the effect of each factor can be studied solely. And the final conclusion about the correlation between structure and electronic properties can be drawn.
  • Item
    Anterior Tongue Shows Greater Fine Roughness Acuity than Finger
    (2016-09-15) Van Simaeys, Karli; Miles, Brittany; Simons, Christopher
    While the system for texture perception on the dermis has been well researched, there is not much information about texture perception on oral surfaces. This study seeks to understand how these two systems may compare. We chose to focus on lingual roughness sensitivity. In order to compare fine scale roughness perception on the anterior tongue versus on the fingertip, we used a simple discrimination task. We hypothesized that the tongue would be better at detecting roughness since this ability plays a vital role in chewing, swallowing and speech. We had different metal coupons mechanically roughened to different levels from 0.10 to 0.44 micrometers. The experiment was divided into two parts in which they would assess two of the metal stimuli and tell us which one they perceived as rougher. They were presented with two stimuli and asked to lick them in a circular motion with the anterior one third of their tongue. The process was repeated with their fingertip. The detection threshold was the mean of eight reversals along the ladder. The detection threshold was found to be 0.216 ± 0.004 µm for the tongue and 0.289 ± 0.018 µm for the finger. This difference was significant (p<0.001). Additionally, binomial statistics conclude that a significant majority of people are more accurate with their tongue than with their fingers (p = .021). This supports our hypothesis and confirms that the tongue has a greater ability to perceive fine scale roughness. In the future we will be investigating tactile sensitivities of the mouth by using different stimuli and different surfaces of the mouth. This will help us build a better picture of the mechanisms of texture perception of oral tissues.
  • Item
    Maternal Strategies During Parent-Child Free Play: Effect of Child's Hearing Status
    (2016-09-15) Adazzio, Hannah; Houston, Derek; Reed, Jessa
    Early face-to-face interactions between infants and their caregivers sets the stage for later language development. As social, cognitive, and motor skills emerge with age, parent-child dyads begin to engage in object play. When children are born with sensorineural hearing loss, they do not have access to sound during these exchanges. Some families decide to pursue cochlear implantation (CI), giving children access to sound for the first time. Previous research has found that parent-child interactions become more synchronous following CI, but no work has yet looked at the nature of how mothers manage free-play sessions with their children. Do they engage in more dyadic play relative to age-matched peers, to compensate for the lack of early auditory input? We hypothesized mothers with children with CIs would spend a greater proportion of time in dyadic play. Our sample included a group of children implanted before 2 years old (N = 10, Mage = 20.4 months old, six female) and a group of age-matched peers (N = 8). We coded maternal behavior during a five-minute parent-child interaction in the lab, in which several objects (e.g., key, stuffed dog) were present. We adapted a coding scheme from Bakeman and Adamson (1984) and Labrell (1996). Analyses revealed that contrary to our hypothesis, mothers with children with CIs engaged in more object play (Mproportion of time = 0.73) than mothers with infants with normal hearing (Mproportion of time =0.378), and this difference was significant, t(16) = -3.46, p = 0.003. The groups also differed on dyadic play, as mothers with children with CIs engaged in less dyadic play (Mproportion of time =0.47) than mothers with infants with normal hearing (Mproportion of time =0.211), and this difference was also significant, t(16)=2.57 , p=.029. Future research will investigate how maternal play strategies predict later language, offering one possible avenue for intervention.
  • Item
    Expanding lattice theory driven mathematical models to define fullerene-like viral capsid structures
    (2016-09-15) Das, Praachi; Sadre-Marandi, Farrah
    Many viral protein shells, called capsids, have an icosahedral structure which can be geometrically modeled by the Caspar and Klug theory. The arrangement of the capsid protein subunits are also described through this theory by the concepts of triangulation (T) number and quasi-equivalence. Lattice theory models build on these ideas to represent fullerene-like capsids using generating vectors, which are characterized by the T-number and constructed on a hexagonal lattice. This research project expands upon the model by establishing determinants and requirements to account for complexities which have been oversimplified, such as left/right handedness occurring in many viral capsids. It also analyzes the relationship between the hexagonal lattice and its triangular dual. Previous models have used the dual to represent viral capsid structures; an assumed equivalence that is not proven. The findings are then being used to characterize models representing these features. The results refine the lattice theory model and advance our current understanding of viral capsids by defining their specificity. They also increase the ability to predict and determine the structures and the arrangement of their proteins. This may then fuel further research in similar areas of study.
  • Item
    Using C++ programming to implement a deterministic algorithm for integer factorization
    (2016-09-15) Zeng, Xinyi; Hiary, Ghaith A.
    This research is an implementation of a deterministic algorithm for integer factorization (derived by Ghaith A. Hiary) using C++ programming. The most basic way for integer factorization is trial division. Though this algorithm provides a new deterministic approach for integer factorization, and can be used for the problem of factoring with high bits known. This implementation used the GNU MP Bignum Library to do arithmetic on very large numbers. Numbers from 15 digits to 27 digits were tested, and the new algorithm gradually beats trial division in speed competition. It successfully reduced the running time by about 67%.
  • Item
    Determining binding specificities of cell adhesion molecules from Drosophila
    (2016-09-15) Anderson, Leah; Seeger, Mark
    Neurons of both vertebrates and invertebrates exhibit a complex set of cell-to-cell interactions during successful development of the nervous system. Cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) play an important role in mediating many of these specific and stereotyped cell-cell interactions. I am investigating the binding specificities of two CAMs from Dipteran insects: Lachesin (Lac) and Amalgam (Ama). Ama arose as a duplication of Lac in early Dipteran evolution, and both proteins still share extensive amino acid similarity. Lac, which is membrane-linked, homophilically binds itself. Ama, secreted into the extracellular matrix, has both a homophilic binding property as well as the ability to heterophilically bind the transmembrane protein Neurotactin (Nrt). Despite the high level of amino acid sequence similarity between Ama and Lac, the two proteins are unable to bind each other, and Lac does not display an interaction with Nrt. Therefore, I am identifying the precise domain(s) of Lac and Ama that produce these differences in binding specificity. To accomplish this, chimeric constructs of the three immunoglobulin-like domains of ama and lac from D. melanogaster have been created and cloned into a vector for regulated expression in Schneider 2 (S2) cells. The S2 cells are then to be used for aggregation assays, which allow us to observe the binding properties of these proteins. In addition, I am cloning the ama and lac orthologues from other Dipteran species to better understand how the unique binding properties of these two proteins have evolved. This project will help to further characterize the complex series of intercellular interactions during nervous system development.
  • Item
    Promoter Mutation in Ccna2 Reveals Novel Functions of the Protein in Spermatogenesis
    (2016-09-15) Torres, Manuel; Leone, Gustavo
    Cyclin A2 (Ccna2/CCNA2), is a regulatory protein that plays a key role in proliferating cells, particularly in the stage of the cell cycle in which DNA is replicated (S-phase). Its expression is under the influence of E2Fs, a set of transcription factors that control the oscillating expression of cell cycle-related genes by binding to DNA sequences in their promoter region. The importance of the precise timing and level of E2F-driven Ccna2 expression has not been studied in vivo. To evaluate this interaction, we have generated a knock-in mouse line with a Ccna2 gene that has its putative E2F site disabled. Although mice homozygous for the promoter mutation are viable and healthy, we observed infertility in males. Examination of the testes revealed a three-fold decrease in testes weight in adult mice, while histological analysis of the testes revealed a progressive loss of differentiating spermatocytes in neonatal mice and a partial recuperation in adults. This project aims to elucidate the mechanistic functions of E2F-mediated regulation of Ccna2 in spermatogenesis to further understand the regulatory processes of the cell cycle.
  • Item
    Finding Aid for the ECC
    (2016-09-15) Hess, Sierra; Blocksidge, Katie
    The Education Curriculum Center (ECC) at OSU-Newark is a specialized library for education majors that includes books and services normally found in children’s libraries, but also kits, manipulatives, and pedagogy books. It faces difficulties that many others do not because of the separation from the main library, making it hard to know about the collection because of the lack of advertising through social media pages and the separate catalog. The purpose of this study is to research current trends in other ECCs and to tailor those findings to fit this ECC’s needs by creating a website to make finding materials quicker, easier, and ultimately more student-led. To gather this data, I travelled to two ECCs in Ohio—University of Dayton and Wright State—emailed three others, searched databases for lib guides and libraries on Pinterest, and interviewed Desiree Fuerst, the ECC’s Coordinator. Through this research, I found that thousands of libraries across the world are active on Pinterest, with boards on diversity, award winners, comics, and new books. Pinterest proved to be the best resource of all social media not only because event photos can be shared, but because it also has the ability to visually group materials in a board, link to outside sources such as catalogs, and inspire community participation. I applied this to the ECC at Newark and created a u.osu.edu website—including pages on audiobooks, banned books, big books, pedagogy, seasons, and skills—that will best serve this center’s needs. The website makes it simple to advertise the collection and for students and community members to discover like materials which was not available through the catalog alone. In the future, the website can be expanded once data is analyzed about its effectiveness and new trends in ECCs.
  • Item
    To Sting or Not to Sting: When Social Parasites use their Venomous Weaponry
    (2016-09-15) Davis, Mazie; DeMilto, Alexandria; Adams, Rachelle M. M.; Adams, Rachelle M. M.; DeMilto, Alexandria
    Socially parasitic Megalomyrmex symmetochus ants exploit their fungus-gardening host ants, Sericomyrmex amabilis, for critical resources using their alkaloid venom. This venomous weapon is often utilized during aggressive interactions between the two species. S. amabilis workers respond to parasite stings with either aggressive biting behaviors or submissive fleeing behaviors. Although it is harmful to the fitness of the colony to have parasitic guest ants, it is not as detrimental as colony death. A third raiding ant, Gnamptogenys hartmani, attempts to usurp nests of S. amabilis ants which can result in the annihilation of the colony. Non-host colonies are more vulnerable to these attacks, while parasitized S. amabilis colonies can benefit from their guest ant defenders, suggesting a conditional mutualism between the two species. In this study, we observed the stinging behavior of M. symmetochus towards host and non-host S. amabilis workers. We anticipate finding a smaller percentage of stinging behaviors toward host S. amabilis ants because parasites should avoid conflict with their host colony. Future work will analyze the toxicity of the venom alkaloids and the behavioral reactions of experimentally stung S. amabilis ants.
  • Item
    A Study of the Hippocampal Network via Persistent Homology
    (2016-09-15) Dai, Bowen; Chowdhury, Samir; Mémoli, Facundo
    In the neuroscience community, it is believed that place cells (PC) in an animal’s hippocampus play a central role in forming mental maps, which are used by the animal for spatial navigation. Place cells are sensitive to location, in the sense that each place cell becomes active when the animal enter a specific area, called the cell’s place field (PF), in an environment. We study the following question: Given time series data showing the activation record of a sufficiently large number of place cells as an animal explores an arena, can we infer some topological properties of the arena? By employing techniques from Persistent Homology (PH) to study the network of cells we are able to accurately recover the number of obstacles in an arena that the animal has explored.
  • Item
    The Role of Endoglin in Insulin-Mediated Angiogenesis
    (2016-09-15) Elmasry, Fatema; Wheeler, Sarah; Pan, Chris; Kumar, Sanjay; Zaman, Naveed; Shah, Nirav; Tran, Alex; Lee, Nam
    Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels from preexisting vasculature, an essential process during development and tumor growth. Endoglin is a TGF-β co-receptor expressed predominantly in proliferating endothelial cells required for angiogenesis. Recently, our lab discovered an unexpected novel cross-talk between insulin and TGF-β signaling pathways. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of endoglin in insulin-mediated Smad signaling. Immunofluorescence and biochemical methods were used to assess cellular changes in Smad1/5/8 activation (pro-angiogenic). Preliminary data indicates that endoglin expression is required for insulin induced Smad1/5/8 activation. Given that type 2 diabetic patients are susceptible to a number of vascular-related conditions and malignancies, our results reveal new pathophysiologic implications for Smad1/5/8 signaling through hyperinsulinemia during pre-diabetic and diabetic disease progression.
  • Item
    How Sir Thomas Malory Created Le Morte Darthur
    (2016-09-15) MacDonald, Megan; Winstead, Karen
    ​My project explores how Sir Thomas Malory (d. 1471) used real life events to shape his retelling of the popular tale of King Arthur. Malory wrote in England during a civil war known as 'The Wars of the Roses' (1455-1485). This conflict, sometimes called the 'Cousins' War', involved members of the royal family fighting to put different people on the throne of England. Malory's involvement in this dynastic dispute landed him jail, which was where he penned his famous Morte Darthur. I am not claiming that Le Morte Darthur is a roman a clef, but that Malory intentionally added details from his own life even though he claims everything comes from a previously written source. I began my research by simultaneously reading Le Morte Darthur in its original spelling, and secondary scholarship on the Wars of the Roses and Malory himself. During my research, I began to notice a pattern of footnotes mentioning how certain parts of Le Morte Darthur are not from a source that Malory claimed to be using. I also noticed how the new parts Malory was inventing matched something that had just happened during the Wars of the Roses. I compiled a list of plot details Malory invented that did not match a source and the list is very substantial. Naturally, everyone's life influences their writing in some way but the amount of times real life shows up in Le Morte Darthur leads me to believe that this is so much more than coincidence.​
  • Item
    Synthesis and Application of Imogolite Nanotubes
    (2016-09-15) Olson, Nathaniel; Brunelli, Nicholas A.
    Catalysis provides a means to control the yield and increase the rates of reactions, thereby allowing for the creation of environmentally sustainable processes for manufacturing of fuels, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. Nanotubes present a new and exciting shape-selective catalytic platform with the potential to be utilized in green chemical processes. Carbon nanotubes have thus far attracted the most attention, but are expensive, difficult to synthesize, and a potential health hazard. Imogolite nanotubes provide a potential solution to these issues presented by carbon nanotubes. The synthetic material is based upon naturally occurring aluminosilicate nanotubes found in volcanic soils and is obtained through a solution-phase, low temperature synthesis. The purpose of this study is to further investigate how the properties and structure of imogolite nanotubes can be tuned through changes to the synthesis. By tuning its properties, imogolite holds potential to be used in a myriad of useful applications such as catalysis, separations, and sensing. Through rational choice of starting materials, attempts were made to create hybrid versions of imogolite doped with heteroatoms. Once the syntheses were complete, the materials must be characterized to determine if the changes had any effect on the product. Nitrogen physisorption and X-ray diffraction were the primary characterization methods used to elucidate the porous nature and structure of the nanotubes. Preliminary results appear to show that nanotubes formed when tin and germanium were included, though it must still be determined if any significant property changes occurred. The work completed thus far includes the successful synthesis and characterization of pure imogolite, in addition to syntheses using germanium and tin. Future tasks include further syntheses of hybrid versions of imogolite and tests to determine their activity in several important catalytic reactions.
  • Item
    Attention and Sociability in Preschoolers With and Without Developmental Disabilities
    (2016-09-15) DiBlasio, Christina A.; Walton, Katherine M.
    Children with developmental disabilities (DD) often have sociability and/or attention deficits that may negatively impact their ability to learn and develop at the same pace as their typically developing (TD) peers. The early childhood years are a key time for learning important pre-academic and social skills. Socialization and attention are essential for learning in a preschool classroom. The structure of classroom activities should promote opportunities for social interactions and on-task behavior for children with and without attention and sociability deficits in order to foster growth and learning. However, no previous research explores the influence of classroom structure on the attention and sociability of DD versus TD children. The purpose of this pilot study is to determine if classroom settings are scaffolding opportunities for sociability and attention for children with these deficits, and specifically to explore whether preschoolers with and without DD have more attention and sociability in structured or unstructured activities. Behavioral coding schemes for attention and sociability were developed and pilot tested. A second rater coded 13% of observations to achieve inter-rater reliability. 5 DD and 5 TD preschoolers were each observed 4 hours and data was collected on their attention and sociability during structured and unstructured activities. ANOVA analyses showed a statistically significant interaction between social interaction type (adult v. peer) and setting type (structured v. unstructured). More adult social interactions occurred during structured settings, while significantly more peer social interactions occurred during unstructured settings. Further regression analyses indicated that, on average, as structure increases, peer social interactions decrease. These findings suggest structured activities may hinder opportunities for peer social interaction rather than promote them. Decreased exposure to peer socialization may put children at a developmental disadvantage. Future research should explore this finding in a new context with a larger sample size to test generalizability.
  • Item
    Model-Based Design Approach to Predict Performance of BAS/Electric Motor for OSU EcoCAR 3 Vehicle
    (2016-09-15) Engelman, Michael; Rizzoni, Giorgio
    In today’s society, there is growing concern over the state of the global climate and the impact that we have on it. Scientists and engineers are seeking ways to meet energy demands and emissions regulations around the world by creating more sustainable and energy efficient technologies. In the automotive industry, this can be evidenced by the advent of hybrid electric vehicles. The Ohio State University EcoCAR 3 team based at the Center for Automotive Research is converting a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with the end goal of improving fuel consumption and emissions whilst maintaining the performance aspects of the vehicle. The main focus of this research was to model, predict, and improve the performance of the belted alternator/starter (BAS) and electric motors in the vehicle. Research began with gaining exposure to the full vehicle model as well as the component models in the team-developed simulator using MATLAB and Simulink. A higher fidelity model of the BAS was developed based on dynamic equations of the electric machine. Due to inverter calibration constraints, the BAS could not be physically tested during the time of this internship. Nonetheless, testing was done on the traction motor, which can be used to validate already existent models of the component. The vehicle was placed on a chassis dynamometer and run through multiple drive cycles. Data from this testing was logged, analyzed, and compared to results from the simulation. This type of analysis of data such as requested/actual torque, motor speed, temperature, etcetera, can be used to calibrate/validate different aspects of the vehicle and component models. As a result of this research, the vehicle model will be able to run more accurate simulations and increase component and vehicle performance, which will help the team perform well in the EcoCAR 3 competition.
  • Item
    After the Spill: A Study of Vernacular Landscape in West Virginia’s Chemical Valley
    (2016-09-15) Turley, Bethani; Borland, Katherine
    Initially this project sought to research the long term impacts of the 2014 Elk River chemical spill near Charleston, West Virginia – an event in which 7500 gallons of the coal washing fluid 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) leaked into the Elk River, upstream of the city water intake, contaminating the drinking water for nine counties and 300,000 residents. However, after starting fieldwork, I realized that the 2014 chemical spill is only one of many chemical, infrastructural, and natural disasters to occur in the region in the last few years. In 2015 the Yeager Airport in Charleston suffered a landslide that covered the homes below it, and most recently, in June 2016 flash flooding caused widespread damage of homes and communities in parts of Kanawha County along the Elk River. For this research I am interviewing residents of WV and using participant observation to collect information about experiences, concerns, conflicts, understandings, and long term implications of these environmental disasters-turned-controversies. This research is on-going throughout 2016, and I will continue to research how these disasters play out within the affected communities in WV and beyond. I anticipate that this work will continue to focus on issues of connection to home and place, the problem of bureaucratic management of people, the politics of disaster relief, and the need for local knowledge in facing challenges incurred, in part, by the particularities of WV’s topography and sociology of rural life.
  • Item
    Variability in Hawaiian Coral across a Natural Range of Temperature, pH, and Flow Gradients
    (2016-09-15) Moore, Alec; McLachlan, Rowan; Grottoli, Andréa; Jury, Christopher; Dobson, Kerri; Toonen, Rob; Grottoli, Andréa
    Coral reefs are among the most ecologically diverse and economically important habitats on earth, yet the combined effects of ocean acidification and warming threaten the integrity of these ecosystems globally. The reefs surrounding Oahu, Hawaii provide an exceptional opportunity to survey physiological variation among coral species that are found across a naturally occurring range of pCO2 and temperature conditions representative of the current average values for tropical reefs globally, through those expected by midcentury under climate-change. We hypothesize that populations of coral can adapt to high temperature and pCO2 conditions by adjusting aspects of their physiology that confer resilience. By comparing biomass and chlorophyll a from several species of coral distributed across these gradients, we seek to better understand the effects of higher temperature and pCO2 on coral physiology. In addition, some of the sites have high flow compared to others, presenting the opportunity to investigate how flow might mediate physiological responses to the temperature and pCO2. Findings from this work could shed light on the capacity of coral to acclimate or adapt to a future ocean that is both warmer and more acidic. Coral fragments were collected from sites around the island of Oahu, HI and flash frozen for transit to the Grottoli lab, where destructive analyses were performed to determine the concentration of Chl a and total biomass per sample. In the two branching coral species Montipora capitata and Porites compressa, biomass was lower and Chl a higher at sites with higher temp and pCO2 compared to sites with temperature and pCO2 more similar to today’s conditions. No such pattern was observed in the mounding species Porites lobata, suggesting that morphology influences resilience. Additionally, high flow appeared to minimize the negative effects of elevated pCO2/temp on biomass in the branching species M. capitata. These preliminary results suggest that adaptive responses to elevated pCO2 and temperature in Hawaiian coral are species-specific and that high flow sites might offer some refuge to corals in the future. Further scheduled analyses will provide a more comprehensive assessment of physiological variation across these gradients.