Environment and Natural Resources Undergraduate Research Theses and Honors Research Theses

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Undergraduate Research Theses and Honors Research Theses from the School of Environment and Natural Resources. More about the School of Environment and Natural Resources Honors Program can be found at: https://senr.osu.edu/undergraduate/honorsprogram

School of Environment and Natural Resources Undergraduate Research Distinction information can be found at: https://senr.osu.edu/undergraduate/undergraduate-research

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    Ultraviolet Reflectance as a Signal of Individual Quality in Prothonotary Warblers
    (The Ohio State University, 2024-05) Robinson, Emma; Tonra, Christopher
    The Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) is a Neotropical migratory songbird that breeds in forested wetlands of the eastern United States and winters in the mangroves of Central and South America. Prothonotary Warbler populations have declined by approximately 31 percent in the last 50 years, leading to their listing as a Species of Concern in the U.S.A. Their decline is largely attributed to loss of habitat throughout their entire range; however, the effects of global climate change have also caused disruptions in migration processes, including the timing of arrival to breeding grounds, and first egg date. For many species such as the Prothonotary Warbler, earlier arriving birds are considered “more fit” than other potential mates, as they have the advantage in securing high quality resources. As migration cues are disrupted, understanding different features contributing to mate selection helps us understand what signals of individual fitness may be compensatory for those lost due to anthropogenic factors. This study’s purpose is to provide a foundation for studying plumage as a driver of mate-choice and reproductive output in order to advance research towards understanding the behavioral impacts from climate change on this species. I tested the hypothesis that ultraviolet (UV) reflectance is a signal of individual quality and predict that the brightness of the white patches on tail feathers would positively correlate with arrival date in males, first egg date in females, and fledging success in both. Using tail feather samples and data collected from arrival surveys and nest monitoring of Prothonotary Warblers between 2021-2022 at Hoover Reservoir in Galena, Ohio, I conducted spectrophotometer analysis on 117 feathers for readings on UV reflectance, as well as mean brightness across spectra. Linear mixed-effect models were used to analyze the degree of reflectance against the arrival date, first egg date, and fledging data. The results show no evidence that higher levels of UV reflectance indicate an individual who is “more fit” for males or females. I discuss the implications of this on our understanding of this species and conservation concerns.
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    Reduced growth and reproduction in native spring ephemerals from key drivers of forest change: invasive ephemeral competition and leaf litter absence
    (The Ohio State University, 2024-05) Gutiérrez, Grace; Hovick, Stephen
    Net effects of co-occurring invaders on native performance must be assessed to understand invasion mechanisms and impacts. We used a common garden experiment to investigate how two widespread native spring ephemerals (Erythronium albidum and E. americanum (Liliaceae); trout lilies) are affected by direct competition with invaders and by indirect effects of invader-induced habitat alteration. We examined impacts of competition with invasive Ficaria verna (lesser celandine), itself a spring ephemeral forest herb, and simulated forest litter layer reduction associated with invasive shrubs and earthworms. Lastly, we investigate the dynamic wherein shading causes Erythronium to elongate petioles, which may reduce biomass allocation to leaf blades. The absence of a litter layer reduced corm and offspring weight, with even greater reductions when celandine was also present. Celandine impacts occurred even despite celandine having limited aboveground growth due to a planting delay. Therefore, belowground competition with celandine is an important driver of its impacts on Erythronium. We also conclude that invaders could reduce the frequency of sexual reproduction in Erythronium; because only large Erythronium flower, reduced biomass caused by these invaders could reduce flowering. In response to shading from litter, both Erythronium species produced larger, heavier petioles and invested less in leaf blade tissue as a proportion of total shoot tissue. Though reduced leaf blade investment was correlated with reduced corm growth, the net benefit of litter on growth outweighed any impact of this trade-off. In sum, this study demonstrates how the impacts of an invader on natives can increase when multiple invasive species co-occur in a site. Preventing the loss of forest litter layers and reducing invasive competition are key to supporting spring ephemeral populations.
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    The Distribution of Anthropogenic Litter Abundance and Type in Three Urban Tributaries of the Lower Olentangy Watershed
    (The Ohio State University, 2024-05) Kelch, Delaney; Gabor, Rachel
    Anthropogenic litter (litter, trash) in the environment has the potential to affect ecosystem and human health. Plastics are a major contributor to anthropogenic litter found in urban headwater streams, and single-use plastic production has increased steadily over the past 60 years. I collected litter at sites in three urban headwater tributaries of the Lower Olentangy River Watershed (Columbus, Ohio, USA) in May, June, and August of 2023. Litter was classified by item type, material composition, probable use, and item size. I found that (1) plastic was the dominant material composition, (2) there was a steady decrease in accumulation rate of items between sample months, (3) morphological factors of the stream played a key role in abundance of litter at each site and location, (4) a few key sites exhibited a positive relationship between land use and item material or probable use, and (5) there was no relationship between litter size and distance from the headwaters. These findings can help inform future management strategies that prevent pollution of urban environments.
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    The Impact of Organic Amendments on Carbon Dynamics and the Soil Microbial Community
    (The Ohio State University, 2024-05) McNamara, Gillian; Lal, Rattan
    The degradation of agricultural soils contributes significantly to CO2 emissions and threatens both global food security and ecosystem function. Soil microorganisms drive these biological functions and the formation of soil properties that contribute to both carbon sequestration and promotion of plant growth. Soil organic amendments can prevent or mitigate soil degradation by enhancing soil carbon, but the effect on soil microbial community structure is lacks a clear consensus. This field study investigated microbial CO2 respiration, total soil carbon content, and soil microbial community composition in plots with 30 years of application of three common organic amendments: cover crop, manure, and compost. Respiration was unaffected by treatments. Soil carbon was enhanced by compost and manure treatments in comparison to the control. Analysis of microbial ester-linked fatty acids revealed the microbial community composition of the cover crop treatment to be highly similar to that of the control. The manure and compost treatments were also similar to each other in overall community composition, including having higher microbial biomass compared to the cover crop treatment and control. Data suggested that the differences in community composition are likely a result of differences in carbon availability of different amendments. Manure and compost amendments are recommended to maximize carbon sequestration and soil microbial biomass.
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    The relationship between native fish diversity and reintroduction success of the Tippecanoe Darter (Nothonotus tippecanoe) in Ohio.
    (The Ohio State University, 2024-05) Wilson, Madeline; Pintor, Lauren
    Since 1980, the Tippecanoe Darter (Nothonotus tippecanoe) has seen a significant increase in its distribution. This follows decades of decline due to poor water quality, physical barriers, and habitat loss. Their recovery coincides with the passing of the Clean Water Act in 1977 but can also be attributed to better sampling methodology and true range expansion. Despite this increase, the species was listed as threatened in Ohio in 1990. In 2018, a five-year reintroduction project began for the Tippecanoe Darter in its historic range of the Muskingum River basin. Darters were collected, marked, and translocated to six sites in the basin: two in the Kokosing River, one in the Tuscarawas River, two sites in the Walhonding, and one in the Muskingum. Results of five years of capture/recapture data suggest that natural recruitment varied across the sites during post-reintroduction surveys. Specifically, there was greater recruitment and higher abundance at two sites on the Kokosing and one on the Tuscarawas River, whereas the two sites on the Walhonding and one on the Muskingum River had lower abundances. In this study, I aimed to understand whether the variation in darter abundance following translocation was associated with native fish diversity at a site. Analyses indicated that sites with high reintroduction success of the Tippecanoe Darter had variable relationships with diversity and community indices. Through calculating these metrics and analyzing a multi-year dataset, I hope to better understand the relationship between native fish diversity and relative reintroduction success. This research may help inform future restoration efforts of similar species.
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    Brood Success and Climate Change: How Temperature Affects Reproductive Output in a Freshwater Fish
    (The Ohio State University, 2024-05) O'Donnell, Sarah Grace; Gray, Suzanne
    This study investigates the impacts of elevated temperatures on the reproductive success and larval survival of Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor, a mouthbrooding cichlid native to East Africa. Anthropogenic climate change poses a grave threat to global ecosystems, disrupting climatic norms at an unprecedented pace. Freshwater ecosystems face significant risks due to biodiversity loss and habitat alterations. This experiment exposed P. multicolor to elevated temperatures approaching their upper thermal limit and compared the reproductive success and larval growth rates to control treatments of ideal temperatures. Results reveal a stark discrepancy in brood success between control and experimental groups, indicating a significant negative impact of elevated temperatures on reproductive success. It is predicted that sustained exposure leads to maternal starvation and subsequent brood cannibalism, impeding successful reproduction. These findings shed light on the intricate interplay between temperature stress, metabolic demands, and parental investment in reproductive success. Understanding how temperature changes affect key species like P. multicolor is critical for developing effective strategies to safeguard freshwater biodiversity in the face of rapid environmental change.
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    Isolation of Magnetotactic Bacteria and Development of a Comprehensive High School Educational Module
    (The Ohio State University, 2024-05) Taylor, Kaley; Lower, Brian
    This thesis sought to isolate magnetotactic bacteria from Grandview Lake in Indiana using the capillary racetrack method. Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB), known for their unique magnetic properties, offer valuable insights into microbiology and hold potential applications in biotechnology and bioremediation. Isolation of MTB involved the collection of 15 samples from two sites at Grandview Lake, utilizing wide-mouth mason jars. Subsequent enrichment and isolation of MTB utilized bar magnets and the capillary racetrack method. However, MTB failed to be isolated from Grandview Lake. This could be attributed to several factors including the selection of the sampling site where MTB might not be present, transportation conditions during sample transit from the field site to the laboratory, inadequate collection of sediment-water interface in sample jars, fluctuations in laboratory temperature preceding isolation attempts, and variations in abiotic factors such as light, temperature, and nutrient availability. However, this setback did not deter the primary objective of this thesis, which is to promote microbiology education in high schools across the United States. Instead, the focus shifted towards leveraging existing knowledge and resources to develop an educational module centered around magnetotactic bacteria. This module aims to nurture curiosity and understanding of microbiology, thereby making the science more accessible and engaging. The implementation of the educational module in Mrs. Cathy Glick's Microbiology class demonstrated positive outcomes. Students acquired valuable laboratory, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills, developed an interest in microbiology and STEM-related fields, and gained insight into the ethical considerations and societal implications of scientific research, despite the absence of MTB detection in the samples. Furthermore, suggestions are made for improvements in safety protocols, sampling procedures, and group dynamics to optimize student learning outcomes. Additionally, the potential development of an interactive virtual simulation is suggested to provide a safe and cost-effective lab alternative for students to explore MTB. The ultimate goal is to inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators, thereby contributing to the advancement of scientific literacy and innovation in the United States. Through interactive activities and hands-on experiments, the educational module strives to inspire a new generation of scientists and innovators. By integrating microbiology into high school curricula, the aim is to foster a deeper appreciation for the microbial world and its profound impact on the environment and human health.
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    Reponse of Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) Source Populations to Varying Soil Moisture Conditions
    (The Ohio State University, 2024-05) Brown, Kristen; Hovick, Steve
    Giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) is native to North America and an emerging invasive species in Europe and Asia. Giant ragweed is typically found in riparian areas, which are located near water sources and have relatively high soil moisture. Giant ragweed often escapes into agricultural fields where it is highly competitive with corn and soybean crops and the soil is much drier. Such incursions into crop fields have been occurring for much longer in the eastern part of the U.S. Corn Belt than in the western Corn Belt, which has led to evolved population differences in the east that are more pronounced than in the west. We hypothesized that giant ragweed populations would differ in drought tolerance due to variable abiotic conditions where they occur. Specifically, we predicted that populations of giant ragweed from crop fields would be more drought tolerant than non-crop populations and that populations from the drier western region would be more drought tolerant than populations from the east. We sourced seeds from agricultural and riparian populations in Ohio and Nebraska. In a greenhouse, we grew each population type and source under three conditions that spanned a soil moisture gradient, from saturated to dry soil moisture conditions. Performance was greatest in the driest conditions for all source populations, with higher germination percentages, higher total biomass, and earlier emergence than in either of the wetter treatments. However, Nebraska populations had a much higher germination percentage and emerged earlier than Ohio populations, which was exacerbated in drier conditions. Additionally, crop populations showed higher germination percentages than non-crop populations, especially in the driest conditions (habitat x treatment). These findings suggest that Nebraska and crop populations may be more drought tolerant than Ohio and non-crop populations, respectively. Overall, giant ragweed is more successful in areas with lower soil moisture content, such as agricultural fields, in comparison to areas with saturated soils. Furthermore, soil moisture similarly affects giant ragweed from varying population types and seed sources. The germination data suggests that there have been adaptive changes in crop populations of giant ragweed in response to soil moisture. This indicates that adaptive changes across the range of giant ragweed may be more extensive than previously thought.
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    Conductivity Level Fluctuations in Spring Creek, Ohio in Response to Road Salt Application
    (The Ohio State University, 2024-05) Dougherty, Molly; Lyon, Steve
    Road salt (NaCl) application has been increasing every year in the 21st century in Ohio. Spring Creek, a small stream located in northeast Ohio and on the intersection of two major highways, is particularly vulnerable to road salt application. Road salts can lead to negative impacts on humans and aquatic ecosystems by raising conductivity levels. Over the course of the study period, conductivity levels as well as other notable variables such as water and air temperature, and water level were measured and then plotted against each other to characterize a small streams response to raised conductivity levels. Conductivity levels in Spring Creek appeared to be highest in the winter months, having a correlation with air temperature. Conductivity and water temperature decreased as discharge increased, demonstrating that Spring Creek exhibits responsiveness to melting conditions. Results from this study can be used for management plans, regulations, and further communication regarding road salts.
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    Lead in Tap Water from University District Region, Columbus, OH: Evaluation of Lead and Copper Rule and Revisions Sampling Guidance Across Service Line Compositions
    (The Ohio State University, 2022-05) Zic, Kathryn; Lyons, W. Berry
    Lead is a potent toxin that can cause a myriad of health effects, most notably adverse effects in pregnancy and neurological changes in children. Due to the health effects of lead exposure, regulations are in place to minimize lead exposure to the public. This study focuses on lead concentrations of tap water in Columbus, OH, and how the presence or absence of a lead service line impacts household tap water lead levels. The change in sampling directives from the EPA's Lead and Copper Rule (1991) to the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (2021) were also examined, taking both the first and fifth liters of water for analysis. Buildings were selected for sampling in north-central Columbus to include a mix of service line compositions according to published data from the Columbus Department of Public Utilities. Samples were collected using the clean hands/dirty hands technique of trace element sampling, and then analyzed for lead using an ICP-MS. Major cations and anions were also analyzed in the tap water samples. Differences in lead concentration between buildings serviced by lead lines and by non-lead lines were not significant, which may suggest that Columbus's corrosion control treatments are working. Changes in lead levels from the first to the fifth liter were significant in non-lead pipes, with liter one having higher concentrations of lead. These changes were not significant in lead pipes, though notable outliers of 1.09 μg/L and 0.38 μg/L were present in liter five. Our previous work on tap water from numerous Ohio State University campus buildings indicates low, but measurable amounts of lead in all samples with a mean concentration of 1.2 μg/L (n=20). Off-campus buildings had lower levels than the on-campus samples, with a mean concentration of 0.13 μg/L (n=31).
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    Effects of Urbanization and Habitat Fragmentation on Red-backed Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus)
    (The Ohio State University, 2018-12) Wilk, Andrew; Peterman, William
    Globally, urban environments are growing at an equal or greater rate than the human population. This growth is causing environmental stress through land use change and habitat fragmentation. These stresses, along with a host of others, are driving precipitous declines in vertebrate taxa around the world, especially in amphibians. However, the effects of habitat fragment size are understudied for these species. We tested the effects of habitat fragment size on Red-backed Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) as they are known to persist in highly fragmented, urban landscapes. We examined abundance, genetic health, differentiation, and potential bottleneck effects between 9 urban forest patches ranging from less than 1 hectare to approximately 250 hectares. There was no apparent effect of contiguous habitat patch size on abundance or genetic health, but we did observe differentiation in 94% of cases and evidence of bottleneck effects at every site. However, the differentiation observed was not a result of overland distance or effective distance due to landscape resistance. Therefore, it is evident that abundance is a result of microclimatic conditions and that past land use history has altered the natural trajectory of these populations.
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    Predator-prey interactions under artificial lighting at night and elevated turbidity
    (The Ohio State University, 2023-12) Lincicome, Matthew; Sullivan, Mazeika; Bohenek, Jason
    Artificial lighting at night (ALAN) is a widespread anthropogenic stressor with projected negative impacts on worldwide biodiversity. As a disruption of natural lighting, ALAN has been implicated as a key mechanism increasing predation rates on prey by eliminating dark refugia for prey. ALAN correlates with urban development that has a negative impact on stream water quality by increasing erosion and sediment input, which can impede the foraging success of visual predators. These two stressors co-occur with opposite expected effects, but it is unknown how they interact. For this study, predatory largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were used as a model predator-prey system given their widespread distributions and natural predator-prey relationship. A field mesocosm experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of experimentally manipulated ALAN (0, 0.5, 3, and 10 lux) and turbidity (clear, turbid) on predator-prey interactions using these species. We measured daily and overall minnow survival and the physiological response of largemouth bass by testing blood glucose as an indicator of stress. Our analysis elucidated that turbidity had a strong effect on predator-prey interactions while there was no observable effect of ALAN, evident in the prolonged survival of minnows in turbid conditions, despite variable light intensities. Further, largemouth bass showed a significant increase in glucose response to turbidity treatments whereas lighting had no effect. This study suggests that stream management should continue to focus on mitigating erosion and sediment inputs.
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    Understanding the Distribution of Microcystin in Western Lake Erie's Food Web
    (The Ohio State University, 2023-05) Fite, Kristina; Ludsin, Stuart
    Human-driven environmental change has caused harmful algal blooms dominated by cyanobacteria (cyanoblooms) to increase in coastal ecosystems worldwide. These blooms have been threatening the biota of aquatic ecosystems by increasing hypoxic zones, reducing water clarity, and increasing exposure to cyanotoxins. One toxin, microcystin (MC), is especially pervasive in freshwater ecosystems and can accumulate in the soft tissues of organisms. However, our understanding of how MC moves through the food web remains incomplete in most ecosystems. To this end, I quantified MC levels in several common fish species and their prey inside and outside cyanoblooms in western Lake Erie, which has been experiencing a resurgence of cyanoblooms during recent decades owing to non-point source nutrient pollution and climate change. As hypothesized, I found that MC levels were higher in water, zooplankton, and several prey fishes captured inside of cyanoblooms than outside. Similarly, MC was only detected in top predators living inside cyanoblooms. Given that MC is a toxin to both fish and zooplankton, this begs the question of why organisms live in toxic cyanoblooms. In addition to discussing this question, I discuss the value of this research to agencies charged with managing Lake Erie's fisheries and the consumption of fish during the cyanobloom season.
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    Variation in Soil and Hydrochemical Characteristics in a Historically Mined Ohio Peat Bog
    (The Ohio State University, 2023-05) Engle, Kayla; Davies, G. Matt
    Carbon sequestration in peat bogs has an important potential to assist in mitigating climate change. Peat bogs act as a strong carbon sink, meaning they are able to keep large amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere and stored underground. Since peat bogs can store so much carbon, the release of these stocks can have a large impact. Degradation of peat bogs has been shown to release these carbon stocks, both harming the ecosystem and creating a negative global impact. In order to fully understand the impacts that degradation has on peat bogs, there is a need to evaluate changes in hydrochemistry as well as carbon content within the degraded bog. By using hydrochemistry, it leads to an ability to determine how a peat bog is physically and chemically altered by degradation, and this can be used to determine how these hydrochemical properties relate to an ability to properly sequester carbon. This study focused on Utzinger Bog, located in Columbus, Ohio. This site has experienced heavy mining, and the impacts of this mining on the hydrochemistry of the site has not yet been studied. Hydrochemistry was studied through the observation of pH, electrical conductivity, and water table at different locations across the site over three months. Soil samples were also taken across the site to evaluate carbon content, pH, electrical conductivity, and both total and organic bulk density. This data can be used to see how hydrochemistry and soil characteristics of a disturbed peat bog compare to undisturbed peat bogs observed in other areas of the midwestern United States. The outcome of this study is expected to show that areas of the bog that have been degraded or destroyed by human activity will have significantly different hydrochemical properties compared to bogs that are relatively undisturbed, meaning that degraded has affected the ability of the peat bog to properly function and store carbon. It was found that the basin expected to have experienced the highest level of mining had significant hydrochemical and soil property differences as compared to the basins that did not experience as much mining. When compared to other peat bogs, it was found that Utzinger Bog differs in hydrochemistry and soil characteristics, supporting the hypothesis that degradation causes an effect on peat bog hydrochemistry and soil characteristics.
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    Habitat selection in overwintering White-throated Sparrow flocks in an Ohio experimental wetland ecosystem
    (The Ohio State University, 2023-05) Rose, Anna; Tonra, Christopher
    The White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) is a native songbird that breeds in the boreal and mixed forest ecosystems of Canada and northern United States and overwinters primarily in the central and southern United States. During nonbreeding, White-throated Sparrows are highly gregarious, forming large foraging flocks. Populations of the species are in decline with its population decreasing over 30 percent the last 50 years with a particularly steep decline in the eastern U.S.A. (Hill, 2022). A lack of understanding on what habitat attributes are preferred by overwintering sparrows limits our ability to determine the cause of this species' decline. This study seeks to determine what fine-scale habitat variables in forested wetland ecosystems could improve winter flock survival. I test the hypothesis that White-throated Sparrows show preferences for habitat attributes that maximize protective cover and provide food resources. I predict that flocks will demonstrate avoidance of emergent marsh patches and select for early successional forest patches with fine-scale elements such as brushpiles, young eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), and Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). In the winters of 2021-23 at the Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, White-throated Sparrow flock observations and vegetation surveys were conducted for a total of 86 paired flock and random points. Logistic regression models were used to predict the probability of sparrow use for 16 single habitat attributes and 15 a priori multivariate models. Results show positive selection for three habitat attributes in the top models: percentage eastern redcedar, percentage Amur honeysuckle cover, and proximity to brushpile suggest that White- throated Sparrows have a strong preference for cover habitat as well as nutritional foraging opportunities of eastern redcedar berries. I discuss management implications, including the implications of apparent selection for sites with invasive Amur honeysuckle.
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    Using Elemental Ratios of Immobile Metal Oxides to Identify Changes in Parent Material in Central Ohio
    (The Ohio State University, 2023-05) Lashley, Mariah; Slater, Brian
    Twenty-five soil profiles located in West-Central Ohio on the Wisconsin-age till plain were studied to determine whether stable metal oxide concentrations in Ohio consistently reflect known lithologic discontinuities. The second objective was to investigate if these values indicate parent materials and can aid in their identification. Zirconium, Titanium, and Yttrium were measured in the unfractionated samples using an X-ray fluorescent spectrometer. The metal oxide ratios from these elements graphed as a function of depth showed variable results correlating with known parent materials. It was concluded that the unfractionated soils could have better represented the elemental concentrations, there were overlooked lithologic discontinuities in the field determinations, or the variable nature of some parent materials made it difficult to find correlations within the data. Furthermore, the Y: Zr ratio value suggested that it may indicate loess and till if soil samples are fractionated before XRF analysis.
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    Green Stormwater Infrastructure Planning in Midwestern Higher Education Institutions
    (The Ohio State University, 2023-05) Thiel, Abigail; Conroy, Maria Manta
    Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) is an innovative approach to stormwater management that has the potential to provide a variety of operational, environmental, and human benefits beyond those offered by more traditional gray stormwater infrastructure systems. This study was an exploratory investigation of the degree to which public four-year universities in the Midwest incorporate GSI in their campus planning and stormwater management programs. I conducted a document content analysis of planning documents, policies, and NPDES MS4 permit program documents from sixteen universities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. I then conducted semi-structured interviews with faculty and staff from The Ohio State University-Columbus campus and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus to provide case study insight on these two universities. The findings from this study suggest that many universities plan for GSI, but these efforts have significant room for growth. Few universities had a GSI-specific plan or documents with sections dedicated to GSI; however, select universities and documents did offer GSI implementation strategies that can inspire other higher education institutions. Overall, greater adoption of GSI will require higher education institutions to take the initiative by creating GSI-supportive plans and management strategies that can successfully communicate across a variety of stakeholders.
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    Landscape heterogeneity drives population structure in four western bumble bee species
    (The Ohio State University, 2023-05) Sakulich, Elizabeth; Strange, James P.
    Bumble bees are critical pollinators in wild, agricultural, and urban ecosystems—providing the necessary ecological services for food and crop production. In western North America, mountain ranges serve as areas of high bumble bee species richness. However, as climate change increases temperatures and restricts montane populations to higher elevational spaces, their ability to disperse and maintain genetic diversity decreases. This genetic isolation could lead to the extirpation of local pollinator communities and an overall loss of pollinators. My project goal was to analyze the genetic diversity of four broadly sympatric species of bumble bees across mountain regions of western North America to assess habitat isolation's impact on population genetic structure. I expected species restricted to higher elevation habitats to display higher population structure and less genetic diversity across the landscape. I sampled approximately 150 bees per species from seven to eight sites across each species' range. I genotyped bees with an average of 10 loci and used FST and Bayesian Structure analysis to quantify population differentiation. Using isolation by distance and isolation by resistance analyses, I found evidence of habitat suitability restricting gene flow in species occupying both narrow and broad elevation gradients at varying degrees. Although each species showed varying degrees of genetic structure, knowing how habitat heterogeneity drives genetic structure and isolation can help guide conservation efforts and determine regions on which to focus in the face of climate change.
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    Are Seasonal Interactions Mediated by Stress Responses in a Short-Distance Migratory Bird?
    (The Ohio State University, 2021-05) Gaulke, Valerie; Tonra, Christopher
    Various stages within animals' annual cycle can affect one another and, thus, are not discrete events in time. What occurs during one period of the annual cycle (e.g. non-breeding) can alter the success or survival of animals in another period (e.g. breeding) of their annual cycle through non-lethal factors. These effects are termed “seasonal interactions” and are fueling a rapidly growing body of knowledge advancing our understanding of how populations are limited across the full annual cycle. In order to examine these seasonal interactions, this study aims to determine if they occur across nonbreeding stages in a short-distance migratory bird, the white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis). These sparrows are quite abundant throughout the eastern U.S. and have well defined annual cycles. Nearly all studies examining seasonal interactions have focused on neotropical migrants and effects on the breeding season. I measured physiological stress during nonbreeding stages to determine if seasonal interactions exist between the stages of molt, wintering, and spring migration. I found that stress levels (measured by corticosterone in feathers) varied by stage and sex and higher stress in molt correlated with decreasing fat reserves during winter. However, higher stress in winter correlated with increasing fat reserves during winter, and later departure for spring migration. Thus, it appears stress hormones and fat interact in complex ways across the annual cycle. A complete grasp of the full annual cycle, and not just the breeding season, is critical for conservation as the world is experiencing a drastic decline in “common” migratory birds, like the white-throated sparrow.
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    Maternal Socialization Goals in Hong Kong and U.S. Families Shaped by Adoption of Socialization Goals and Sources
    (The Ohio State University, 2022-12) Arnipalli, Shanvanth; Feng, Xin
    This study utilized an inter-disciplinary theoretical framework to focus on maternal report of socialization goal adoption shaped by different cultural environments. These environments are Hong Kong in China, and Columbus, Ohio in the United States. We developed a cultural inclusive quantitative coding manual to analyze the qualitative interviews we completed. The current study included 30 European American and 32 Hong Kong mothers of mean age of 35.67 years. They are primarily well- educated, with the majority of them holding a college degree and having a high annual household income. Socialization Goal Interview was utilized to assess mothers' socialization goals such as desirable/undesirable child characteristics. The goals coded from the interviews were self-maximization, self-regulation, lovingness, decency, and proper demeanor. We also coded for sources, also known as influences, of these goals as well. The interviews were coded based on an existing coding manual by Harwood et al. (1996) and we expanded the manual based on our cross-cultural interviews. This study aimed to contextualize how mothers from both sites view their socialization goals and their accompanying sources, along with what their adoption of these factors looked like in mothers' parental practices for their children's socioemotional development. Both U.S. and Hong Kong mothers emphasized self- maximization and their socialization goals were predominantly influenced by their immediate environment (microsystem), wherein, adoption coding of goals and sources for both sites revealed that they are more inclined to reject and change their goals and practices for their children. In summation, with respect to cultural models and contemporary social contexts, the maternal report of socialization goal adoption is influenced by different cultural environments, moreover, how and what the mothers plan to change was elucidated through developed adoption coding methodology for both sites.