Lima Campus Undergraduate Research Theses and Honors Research Theses

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Undergraduate Research Theses and Honors Research Theses from the Lima Campus

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    Reassessment of the Alticola roylei species group in Northern Pakistan through morphology, molecular systematics, and biogeography
    (The Ohio State University, 2020-08) Bhatt, Shivani; Norris, Ryan
    High elevation mountain ranges contribute to the speciation of mammal species. Mountain voles (genus Alticola) inhabit high elevations in Central Asia. Within the genus, taxonomic relationships among the Alticola roylei species group are primarily determined by morphological characteristics such as the distinctive M3 molar and tail length. We hypothesized that the mountain ranges of Northern Pakistan inhabited by these species, along with valley and river barriers, may present an opportunity for diversification in this group. I combined molecular data (n=83) and morphological data (n=118) to analyze individuals of the Alticola roylei species group. I sequenced individuals using the Cytb gene and utilized the sequences to construct a phylogenetic tree under a Bayesian framework. We compared these results to morphological characters including M3 molar (obtained by collaborator Eve Rowland), and external measurements. We observed the morphological measurements may not be diagnostic in determining the boundaries of the species. Distinct clades seem to occupy specific geographic distributions across Northern Pakistan. Molecular data places individuals together that may vary in diagnostic morphological criteria.
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    Comparison of the Survival Rates between Migratory and Resident Birds
    (The Ohio State University, 2019-08) Patel, Parthkumar Kamleshkumar; Augustine, Jacqueline K.
    Knowledge of survival rates is critical for understanding population change for any species. Migratory species may have lower survival rates than resident species due to the physiological stress of migration and movement through unfamiliar habitat. In this study, we compared the apparent annual survival rate of migrant Gray Catbirds (Dumetella carolinesis) and resident Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis). We analyzed eight years (2010-2017) of bird banding data in west-central Ohio using robust design mark-recapture analyses. We caught 51 individual Northern Cardinals and 146 individual Gray Catbirds. Survival varied from year to year, and Gray Catbirds had a marginally higher survival rate as compared to Northern Cardinals. Lastly, we saw differences in species regarding to emigration, immigration, and capture probability, with Northern Cardinals having higher values than Gray Catbirds. Contrary to other studies, our study found that migrants had a higher annual survival rate compared to residents, but the relationship was weak. Future studies should seek to determine what environmental variation may lead to yearly differences in survival.
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    Intraspecific variation detected in West African Soft-furred Mice, Praomys rostratus, through molecular phylogenetics (Cytb) and morphology
    (The Ohio State University, 2019-12) Crites, Rachel; Norris, Ryan
    The Upper Guinea Forest ranges across six countries in West Africa and has unique biodiversity including many endemic species. Among these endemic species is the West African Soft-furred Mouse, Praomys rostratus. Praomys rostratus is nearly indistinguishable morphologically from its sister species, P. tullbergi, and is often misidentified in the field. I used phylogenetic and morphological analyses to test for intraspecific variation within P. rostratus across three regions: central Sierra Leone, southeastern Guinea, and western Côte d’Ivoire. Cytochrome b sequences (n=117) were analyzed using a coalescent Bayesian Skyline model to construct a phylogenetic tree depicting relative divergence times. With the same samples, I evaluated Kimura 2-parameter distances to test for species-level distances. I also used five field measurements to test for sexual dimorphism and morphological variation in 120 samples. The six measurements include weight (g), total body length (mm), body length (mm), tail length (mm), hind tarsus length (mm), and ear length (mm). A MANOVA and ANOVA were used to analyze these data. My genetic results showed that P. rostratus splits into two separate clades based on location: Sierra Leone and Guinea/Côte d’Ivoire. My morphological results showed that Côte d’Ivoire samples are significantly larger than samples from Sierra Leone and Guinea. From these results I conclude that there is intraspecific variation present in the phylogeny and morphology of P. rostratus that correlates with its geographical distribution. However, the results from the two approaches used do not agree.
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    Do forest refugia and riverine barriers promote genetic diversity among species in the Hybomys division?
    (The Ohio State University, 2019-05) Bauer, George; Norris, Ryan
    The West African tropical rainforest is an ecosystem rich in biodiversity in a number of forest-dwelling mammals. We examined the role of both forest fragmentation during the Pleistocene and rivers acting as physical barriers in influencing diversification. The aim of this study is to investigate how these geographical barriers in Western Guinea lowland forest (WGLF) and forest fragmentation events affect the relationship within species of murid rodents known as the Hybomys division. We included samples from all genera in the Hybomys division with all West African species represented. More specifically, the species being researched are two species distributed across forests in West Africa from the genus Typomys (the Liberian striped mouse, T. planifrons and Temminck’s striped mouse, T. trivirgatus) and the single species in the genus Dephomys (the defua rat, Dephomys defua). In this study a combination of mitochondrial (cytochrome b, Cytb) and nuclear (Interphotoreceptor Retinoid Binding Protein, Rbp3) data were used to generate a molecular phylogeny. Our results showed latitudinal patterns between Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire, supporting the two small forest refugia hypothesis. This latitudinal separation in D. defua diverged approximately 1.36 Mya following the aridity event from 1.8-1.6 Mya. Typomys trivirgatus diverged about 0.88 Mya aligned with the aridity event from 1.0-0.8 Mya. The pattern in T. planifrons is not as clear because the Guinea samples were not monophyletic. Typomys planifrons from Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire diverged about 0.67 Mya, shortly after the aridity event from 1.0-0.80 Mya It is worth noting that the insufficient sample size and limited sample distribution could affect our ability to detect patterns. In the WGLF, however, past forest refugia appear to have had a greater impact on populations compared to the Cavally River.
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    Examining Mindfulness Meditation Focused-Attention With the MBAS and Solving Anagrams
    (The Ohio State University, 2017-05) Black, Katharine; Green, Joseph
    As part of a programmatic line of research, we examined whether a brief mindfulness meditation training with the Meditation Breath Attention Scores (MBAS; Frewen, Evans, Maraj, Dozois, & Partridge, 2008: Frewen, Lundberg, MacKinley, & Wrath, 2011) enhanced anagram-solving performance. Current results replicated earlier findings of improved anagram performance following the MBAS. Participants solved two sets of 15 anagrams separated by the MBAS. We randomized students into either an MBAS-expectancy or MBAS-no expectancy condition. In order to examine the effects of our expectancy manipulation on anagram solving performance, those in our MBAS-expectancy group were told that they would be able to solve anagrams “more quickly and accurately” on trial 2. Unexpectedly, students in our expectancy condition did not provide higher estimates for the number of anagrams they would solve on trial 2. Participants solved more anagrams on trial 2 across both conditions relative to trial 1. Our results provide additional support for the MBAS as a brief mindfulness training method to improve performance on solving anagrams.
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    Effectiveness of Predator Guards on Nest Boxes for House Wrens
    (The Ohio State University, 2014-12) Ahrns, Megan; Augustine, Jacqueline
    Predation limits reproduction and survival in many animals. Some bird species protect their eggs by laying them in cavities, limiting the predators’ access to the nest. Nesting boxes are often used to increase the nesting opportunities of cavity-nesting birds, but they are susceptible to predators. We tested the effectiveness of three types of predator guards relative to a control (no predator guard): “extension” of the entrance to prevent predators from reaching into the nest box, “tube” which prevents predators from getting a grip on the pole, and a “funnel” which predators cannot proceed past. We predicted that the funnel guard would increase the nest success of the House Wrens the most because it would prevent a diverse array of predators from climbing the nest box pole. Additionally, we expected the wrens would nest equally in all of the boxes. Thirty nest boxes of each type (control, extension, tube, and funnel) were distributed equally among a wooded area, a golf course, and a park (120 nest boxes total). House wrens attempted nests in all predator guard types equally. The tube predator guard had the greatest proportion of nests that successfully fledged at least one offspring, whereas wrens nesting in control boxes were the least successful. An unexpected finding was that some predators accessed nest contents by removing the lids and that this occurred most often in the boxes with the entrance extension. Our first prediction was not supported, the tube was the most successful, not the funnel. Our second prediction was supported because the wrens nested equally in all of the boxes. In the future, the box lids should be more secure so they cannot be removed. Additionally, future research should determine whether greasing the tube decreases predation further. This study demonstrates that predator guards are effective in reducing predation of nests in artificial boxes.
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    Response to Chemical Cues From A Predator In A Cavity-Nesting Bird Species, The House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)
    (The Ohio State University, 2014-05) Kinn, Ryan; Augustine, Jacqueline K.
    Birds have long been considered to have poor senses of smell, but recent studies have shown differential behavioral reactions to various scents in songbirds. Predator detection via olfaction may be particularly important in cavity nesters because predators could trap them or ambush them from within the cavity. We examined the response of House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon), a common, cavity-nesting songbird, to a predator scent. A previous study found that wrens did not respond during the nestling feeding stage, and we hypothesized that the wrens may show anti-predatory behaviors in relation to their investment in the offspring. Specifically, we predicted that wrens may be more hesitant during the incubation stage than the nestling feeding stage. To test this, we placed filter papers treated with urine from the American mink (Neovison vison); a pureed solution of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), an odiferous control; or water in the nest box during both the incubation and feeding stages. We video-recorded the response of the wrens and quantified changes in time to enter the box or time spent in the nest box. Our data showed no significant differences in the reaction of wrens during the incubation stage; during the feeding stage however, there was a decrease in the longest visit to the box in order from the garlic scent, the mink scent, to the water control. Our results indicate that although wrens may not use olfaction to avoid predators, they do modify their behavior in the presence of certain smells.
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    Do Male House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) Vary Their Singing Among Various Reproductive Stages?
    (The Ohio State University, 2013-05) Sackinger, Nathaniel; Augustine, Jacqueline
    The vocalizations of male songbirds can function in attracting mates and in defending territory. If song were used for attracting a mate, song output should decline following pairing. If song were used primarily for territory defense, song output should be constant throughout reproduction, because territories are maintained throughout multiple reproductive attempts within one breeding season. If song were used for communicating an ’all clear‘ signal, song output would be highest during incubation, when females are spending the most time on the nest. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the song of male House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) changes throughout the reproductive cycle. Male House Wren song was recorded by attaching a microphone to the nesting box during four different stages of reproduction (nest-building, laying, incubation, and nestling feeding). The vocalizations were analyzed for song rate (# songs/minute), duration (length of each song), and frequency. Song rate was greatest during the pre-laying stage. Song length was lowest during nestling stage. Results indicate that song may be used primarily for finding mates, and not territory defense or as an ‘all clear’ signal. However, I may not be detecting song used during territorial defense, as our microphone was stationary and located on the nesting box. Future studies should follow individual males to determine whether males also sing away from the nest box, or shift the location of singing during the breeding season.
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    Habitat Characteristics Associated with Nest Site Selection and Reproductive Success of House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon)
    (The Ohio State University, 2013-08) Khan, Mohammad; Augustine, Jacqueline
    Habitat characteristics influence the survival and reproduction of animal species. House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) are an abundant species of songbird, are tolerant of humans, and nest readily in artificial nest boxes. We hypothesized that House Wrens would attempt more nests, raise more young, and feed their young more frequently in areas that contained more natural vegetation. Nesting boxes were placed in three habitats (100-123 boxes per year): a woodland area, a golf course, and a residential area. We quantified habitat characteristics within 15m of a nest box: % canopy cover, % shrub cover, % natural grass cover, % mowed grass cover, number of trees >10cm in diameter, and the presence or absence of blacktop, pine trees and other human structures. Between April and August 2010-2012, nesting success was monitored via checking the nest boxes at least twice a week for signs of reproductive behavior such as the formation of nests or the appearance of eggs. On the tenth day after hatching, the nestlings were banded with aluminum and colored leg bands to aid in estimates of survival. We observed that more nests were attempted in boxes without blacktop or pine trees, but with more tree trunks and human structures, such as fences. Given that a nest was successful, the number of nestlings banded increased with more vegetation, but decreased with the number of trees and with the presence of human structures. Feeding rates did not vary by habitat for four day observations. However, when the nestlings were 10 days old, the number of visits increased when more blacktop was present. Our first hypothesis was supported; house wrens attempted more nests and produced more nestlings in natural areas without blacktop and pine trees. Our second hypothesis was not supported; feeding rates for House Wrens did not vary with habitat characteristics. This research supports the idea that human alteration of habitats may be detrimental to reproduction of songbirds. Particular care should be taken to maintain natural habitats if threatened or endangered birds are present.
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    Differences in feeding rates and reproductive success of House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) between a disturbed and natural site
    (The Ohio State University, 2012-06) Krohn, Luke; Augustine, Jacqueline
    Urbanization is a major issue confronting species around the world and causing them to adapt, move, or die because of loss of habitat or food source. House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) are small, cavity nesting, migrating, insectivorous birds common across the Americas. We hypothesized that the presence of humans and a disturbed habitat would cause fewer and smaller young to be raised than at an undisturbed area. We placed 50 Wren boxes in a woods bordered by a tall grass prairie and 50 boxes in a golf course, representing two levels of human disturbance. We checked these boxes three times a week from mid-April through mid-August and recorded their contents. On the fourth and twelfth days after hatching, we would observe how many times the adults visited the box. The laying date was earlier at the woods than the golf course, but birds at the golf course had larger clutches than those at the woods after controlling for laying date. Feeding rates did not vary between the natural area and the golf course. Our data shows that House Wrens are able to exploit various habitats and are tolerant of human disturbance.
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    Effect of Urbanization on Parental Care in House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon)
    (The Ohio State University, 2012-06) Sawmiller, Jacob; Augustine, Jacqueline
    Anthropogenic degradation of habitat may limit reproduction and survival of wild organisms. However, some species thrive in urbanized areas. House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) are migratory passerines that live in a variety of habitats. We hypothesized that the wrens would be more successful in undisturbed habitats when compared to habitats that have been significantly altered by human actions. We used parental visitation rates to the nest box as a measure of reproductive effort because the quality of parental care may determine offspring survival to adulthood. We monitored 123 nest boxes distributed among a forested habitat, a golf course, and a residential area. We checked all of the boxes twice weekly for signs of nesting and daily when egg laying and hatching was expected. On days 4 and 10 after hatching, we observed how frequently the adults visited the box for 30 minutes. We found no difference in visitation rate or reproductive success among habitats. However, despite having similar numbers of nest boxes in each habitat, wrens occupied more boxes at the golf course than the other two areas. Our data suggest that House Wrens may benefit from moderate levels of habitat disturbance.
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    Seasonal Variation in the Song of Male House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon)
    (The Ohio State University, 2012-06) Schafer, Kristin; Augustine, Jacqueline
    In songbirds, male song is a major component of courtship display and mate attraction. Previous studies suggest that male song may serve to attract females for extra-pair copulations, during which a mated male seeks additional females for mating purposes outside of the pair bond. If song is used to attract additional mates, the song output of the male bird should fluctuate very little throughout the breeding cycle. The purpose of this study was to determine how the song of male house wrens (Troglodytes aedon) fluctuates throughout the breeding season. House wrens are socially monogamous, but have high levels of extra-pair paternity. Fifteen minute recordings of male song were obtained throughout the breeding season and were analyzed for changes in rate, duration, and frequency. While song characteristics do not vary with date, both song length and song rate declined during the nestling feeding stage compared to egg-laying and incubation stages. These results may indicate that gaining a monogamous partner is of greater importance in male house wren reproductive success than is gaining extra-pair partners.
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    After the Bureau: The Rise of African-American Debt Peonage and Convict Labor in the South following Reconstruction
    (The Ohio State University, 2006-06) Nutt, Rebecca; Ingersoll, Thomas
    During Reconstruction, the Freedmen’s Bureau had the opportunity to effect significant change for the betterment of the southern African-American population. As a political and social voice for the freedmen, the Bureau provided temporary education management, labor support, legal representation and other services. As this study argues, the system began effectively and had the potential to establish a long-term agency that could have addressed the labor issues of African Americans well into the twentieth century. With its early demise in 1872 however, Congress closed up the Bureau, thereby, tacitly condoning the rising exploitive labor practices of debt peonage and convict leasing that existed from 1872 to 1944.