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Jonaitis, Lauren AUsing Roadkill as a Lens to Understand Animal Movement and Mortality
Master of Science (MS), Bowling Green State University, 2017, Biological Sciences
This study took place within the Oak Openings Region, a biodiversity hotspot in northwestern Ohio. The Oak Openings was created during the Cenozoic period, a time where glaciers continuously moved across Ohio, creating valleys and riverbeds. When the Wisconsin glaciers melted back from Ohio around 14,000 years ago, waters were released into multiple lakes with sandy beaches. Overtime, these sandy beaches started to became dunes inundated by rainwater that could not drain past the clayey till and bedrock ground layer. Water that would stand between the clay layer and sandy dunes provided moisture to eventually support oak savanna habitat. Between the sand ridges, rainwater would saturate the land, which created open areas of wet prairie (Higgins, 2003; Grigore, 2004). The combination of oak savanna habitat and open wet prairie gave this region the name of “Oak Openings” (Grigore, 2004). Today, the Oak Openings looks quite different as a result of the economic development and agricultural pursuits along the Toledo-Detroit corridor. This area is highly fragmented by roads, agricultural fields and urban/residential development. Roughly 45% of the Oak Openings Region contains urban and suburban development and roughly a quarter of the region has been converted to areas of agricultural production (Schetter and Root, 2011). However, there are still remnants of wild lands that exist west and south of the city of Toledo. This area is Ohio’s largest single surficial sand covering which is 1-12 meters thick and consists of wet lowland and sand ridge terrain with elevations up to 210 meters above sea level. This region is approximately 8 kilometers wide and 32 kilometers long (Higgins, 2003; Figure 1) and contains oak savanna, oak woodland and wet prairie habitats on post glacial beach ridges and swales and covers 478 km2 (The Nature Conservancy, 2001; Grigore, 2004; Schetter and Root, 2011). The Oak Openings Region contains one third of all of Ohio’s endangered plant communities as well as many rare animals and early successional ecosystems. However, only about 10% of the Oak Openings Region is in protected areas (Abella et al., 2007). Early successional ecosystems in this area (e.g. oak savannas and prairies) were historically maintained by disturbances such as fire. Now, these disturbances are mimicked by management activities such as prescribed fires and thinning. In Ohio there are two preserves known as the Oak Openings Preserve and Maumee State Forest, which are the largest protected areas and support many different vertebrate populations and species. However, these two preserves are also highly fragmented by agricultural fields, roadways, railways, and trails that may limit animal movement and increase road mortality. Therefore, it is critical to better understand animal movement and road mortality in this area to promote viable populations, increase our knowledge of vertebrate movement and prevent the killing of vertebrate species by vehicle collisions. This thesis has two foci, each as the topic of stand-alone chapters. The overarching goal is to predict animal movement and identify the features that may be managed to reduce road mortality, which is likely to be applicable to other reserves in human-dominated landscapes. The objective of the first chapter is to understand what factors influence animal movements and road mortality. Specifically, the first chapter examines how structural features of roads, environmental variables, spatial factors and land cover types can influence vertebrate movement (e.g. mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians) and road mortality on roads surrounding and within the Oak Openings Preserve and Maumee State Forest. Road surveys as well as visual surveys on trails within both protected areas were utilized to account for animal movement, dispersal and mortality. The second chapter focuses on mammal movement patterns and road mortality on roads surrounding and within the Oak Openings Preserve and Maumee State Forest. Similar to chapter I, road and visual surveys along trails were utilized to understand mammal movement and mortality. Mammals were found as roadkill more than any other taxa, so it is important to specifically understand what factors influence these trends. Again, structural features of roads, environmental variables, spatial factors and land cover types were all analyzed to understand what influences mammal movement and mortality.

Committee:

Karen Root (Advisor); Raymond Larsen (Committee Member); Andrew Gregory (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Animal Sciences; Animals; Biology; Conservation; Ecology; Environmental Studies; Statistics; Wildlife Conservation; Wildlife Management; Zoology

Keywords:

Roadkill; roadkill; conservation; biology; ecology; population; ecology; hot; spot; ArcGIS; mammals; birds; reptiles; amphibians; Oak Openings Region; Oak Openings Preserve; Maumee State Forest; road; ecology; landscape; ecology; Oak Openings Metropark

Green, Brian E.Sharing water : a human ecological analysis of the causes of conflict and cooperation between nations over freshwater resources /
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2002, Graduate School

Committee:

Not Provided (Other)

Subjects:

Political Science

Keywords:

Human ecology;Social ecology;Social ecology;Water-supply;Water-supply;Human ecology

Holmes, Marion AndrewsEffects of Agricultural Land-use on Forest Development, Herb Community Composition and Spatial Dynamics
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Ohio University, 2017, Plant Biology (Arts and Sciences)
Most modern forest in Eastern North America and Northern Europe has regrown after abandonment from agriculture or logging. Although land-use history is known to influence modern forest composition and structure, the specific influences of different agricultural practices are less understood. The goal of this study was to describe the long-term legacies of two contrasting agricultural uses, cultivation of row crops and pasturing, on stand development, site heterogeneity, herb community composition, and distributions of forest herb populations in successional forests. We used land-use history as a laboratory to test hypotheses about the mechanisms of community assembly and contribute to understanding of forest dynamics. The study was designed as a replicated chronosequence consisting of formerly cultivated and pastured sites spanning 0-80 years past canopy closure, as well as a control group of long-established stands with no apparent agricultural history. A chronosequence approach allowed for analysis of incremental change during succession. Formerly cultivated fields had reduced microtopography, higher soil bulk density, and homogenized spatial distributions of environmental variables compared to pastured sites; however, physical site character converged between land-use histories and was equivalent to that of long-established forest after 41-60 years of succession. In contrast, herb community composition was still distinctly between post-agricultural and long-established stands after 80 years. Both richness and composition differed significantly between formerly cultivated and pastured sites. Species accumulation emerged as a key process in herb community assembly, and the lag time between convergence of the physical environment and the herb community indicates that species arrival, likely influenced by dispersal limitation, is a stronger influence on post-agricultural herb communities than environmental homogenization. Species distributions within sites showed multiple trajectories of pattern formation, and were most strongly influenced by plant life history traits such as seed dispersal and vegetative propagation rather than environmental limitation. This study contributes to the understanding of forest assembly and the long-term impacts of agricultural history.

Committee:

Glenn Matlack, PhD (Advisor); Harvey Ballard, PhD (Committee Member); Philip Cantino, PhD (Committee Member); Jared Deforest, PhD (Committee Member); James Dyer, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Biology; Botany; Ecology; Plant Biology

Keywords:

land-use history; forest ecology; forest history; forest herbs; spatial ecology; agricultural history; community ecology

Herendeen, Robert V.Two-year Performance of Hybrid and Pure American Chestnut Castanea Dentata (Fagaceae) Seedlings and Benefit of Pisolithus Tinctorius (Sclerodermataceae) on Eastern Ohio Mine Spoil
Master of Science (MS), Ohio University, 2007, Environmental Studies (Arts and Sciences)
Forests are preferred as a post-mining land use in the eastern United States. In Ohio, early reforestation included Pinus spp. monocultures which may not conserve the flora and fauna of historic hardwood communities. American Chestnut, Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh., is an historic keystone species of eastern deciduous forests. We evaluated the growth and survival of 1-year-old Castanea dentata seedlings in field and garden conditions representing mine spoil from previously strip mined lands in eastern Ohio. Pure and hybrid bareroot seedlings were grown at three selected field sites ranging in mean pH from 3.6 to 7.7. Hybrid seedlings were inoculated with the mycelium Pisolithus tinctorius (Pers.) Coker and Couch, (‘Pt’). Soil was analyzed for Al, Mn, Fe, and S, as well as base nutrients and other edaphic qualities. A garden experiment supplemented field analysis with a controlled mycorrhizae x pH x nutrient interaction. Field growth variables were measured for 2005 and 2006. Garden seedlings were harvested and biomass allocation was measured for 2006. Field parameters were significantly (P < 0.05) accelerated by Pt inoculation, except for height. Pure non-inoculated seedlings displayed tall slender stems, while hybrid inoculated seedlings showed bushier growth with greater stem diameter, and lower branching. Field sites displayed significant (P < 0.05) differences, with overall seedling performance being best on bare, un-reclaimed spoil, compared to grass or forb cover. This may be consistent, based on prior studies, with historic disturbance regimes. Growth was lowest in association with herb cover, suggesting that aggressive grasses and legumes such as those used in modern reclamation practices, may inhibit establishment of seedlings early-on. Garden controls revealed that in contrast to prior studies of container grown Fagaceae, chestnut growth was not positively influenced, and showed ca. 70% mortality from addition of controlled release fertilizer (CRF) into the growing medium. Much of this may be due to root rot (i.e. Phytopthera spp.) suggesting that growing mediums may be made over-rich by addition of fertilizers, and by over-saturation. Since potting soil was used for container growth, this does not mean a CRF should not be included in nursery beds, or out-plantings on nutrient-poor substrates. We recommend that bareroot hybrid seedlings be inoculated with vegetative mycelial Pt at the nursery, treated with Terrasorb®, and out-planted directly onto non-reclaimed AML sites.

Committee:

Brian McCarthy (Advisor)

Keywords:

American chestnut; Castanea dentata; Pisolithus tinctorius; Restoration ecology; Mine restoration; Mine reforestation; Reforestation; Plant biology; Reclamation; Abandoned Mine Lands; Forest ecology; Ecology; Strip mines; Mycorrhizae; Tree planting

Duncan, Matthew W.Determinants of host use in tachinid parasitoids (Diptera: Tachinidae) of stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in Southwest Ohio
Master of Science (MS), Wright State University, 2017, Biological Sciences
Tachinid parasitoids in the subfamily Phasiinae are important natural enemies of heteropteran bugs. Host location by these flies occurs via antennal reception to the pheromones of their hosts; however little is known regarding the mechanisms which underlie host selection. Halyomorpha halys, the invasive brown marmorated stink bug, represents a potential novel host species in North America. This study was conducted to determine the suitability of H. halys as a host for phasiine species, and to assess cues used in host selection by the species Gymnoclytia occidua. Field attraction to pentatomid pheromones by both phasiines and pentatomids in Southwest Ohio were investigated and preliminary laboratory host-selection experiments were conducted. In 2015, from June 23 to September 16 pyramid-type traps were baited with three pentatomid-pheromone lures and were monitored in agricultural and semi-natural locations. Trap catches included specimens from seven different phasiine species and three different pentatomid species. Host movement is an important factor in parasitoid attraction to host models, this attraction was not affected by pheromone presence, choice and no-choice trials indicate that Gymnoclytia occidua females do not discriminate against H. halys. However, no parasitoids were successfully reared from H. Halys. Field parasitism by a Gymnoclytia occidua female on H. halys was directly observed, and both adults and nymphs of H. halys were found bearing parasitoid eggs in the field. These results suggest that H. halys may be a “sink” for Gymnoclytia occidua and possibly other native phasiine parasitoids in North America.

Committee:

John Stireman III, Ph.D. (Advisor); Donald Cipollini, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Jeffrey Peters, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Animals; Behavioral Sciences; Biology; Ecology; Entomology

Keywords:

behavior; behavioral ecology; chemical ecology; biology; ecology; parasitoids; diptera; tachinidae; phasiinae; gymnoclytia occidua; hemiptera; heteroptera; pentatomidae; invasive species; halyomorpha halys; brown marmorated stink bugs; bmsb;

Ritzenthaler, CariThe Effect of Soil Micronutrient Variation Along an Elevational Gradient in a Wet Montane Forest
Master of Science (MS), Bowling Green State University, 2017, Biological Sciences
Forest floor-dwelling invertebrates drive decomposition, and thus nutrient cycling, by breaking down leaf litter and making it readily available for the microbial community to further decompose. There is evidence from tropical systems, where invertebrates play a disproportionately large role in decomposition, that micronutrients (e.g. calcium, sodium, zinc etc.) drive invertebrate abundance and activity because of the vital role these elements play in invertebrate morphology and physiology. However, little is known about the extent to which these micronutrients interact with other environmental variables, such as climate or other nutrients, to impact invertebrate-mediated nutrient cycling. This study focuses on how availability of micronutrients influences the invertebrate abundance and their decomposition activity in a tropical forest. The study took place along an elevational gradient in Hawaii where mean annual temperature (MAT) varies by 5.2°C. Across the gradient, nutrient composition in soil and leaves were measured along with invertebrate (detritivores and their predators) abundance. Following that, enrichment treatments of calcium or zinc were applied to 15 plots surrounding the nine elevational sites. Additionally, litterbags were enriched in pairs (coarse and fine mesh) to measure invertebrate-mediated decomposition. After 7 weeks, invertebrates were collected directly from the leaf litter and from the litterbags, and percent leaf mass loss was measured from the litterbags as a proxy for decomposition. Results suggest that the relationship between detritivore and predator abundance and micronutrient treatment is dependent on the amount of natural nutrient available with litter depth as a co-variant. However, the abundance invertebrates of individual families were driven by MAT and litter depth and not micronutrient treatment. Decomposition driven by invertebrates depended on the interactive and main effects of invertebrate abundance within the litterbags and micronutrient treatment. Based on these findings, one conclusion is that the response of invertebrates to micronutrient additions is dependent on the existing nutrient concentrations. Overall, this study highlights that there are still many unknown determinants of decomposition and soil invertebrate community structure within these forests. More experiments, conducted over longer time scales and querying morphological or other physiological changes, looking more closely at the importance of micronutrients to invertebrates are needed.

Committee:

Shannon Pelini, PhD (Advisor); Creighton M. Litton, PhD (Committee Member); Paul A. Moore, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Biogeochemistry; Biology; Ecology; Entomology; Environmental Science; Environmental Studies; Nutrition; Organismal Biology; Soil Sciences; Zoology

Keywords:

ecology; invertebrate ecology; invertebrate community ecology; soil invertebrates; detritivores; decomposition; calcium; zinc; micronutrient; elevational gradient; mean annual temperature gradient; hawaii; wet montane forest; hawaiian rain forest;

Kennedy, Sara IWhite-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Fawn Survival and Seasonal Movement Patterns of White-tailed Deer and Coyotes (Canis latrans) in the Cleveland Metropolitan Area
Master of Science, The Ohio State University, 2015, Environment and Natural Resources
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and coyotes (Canis latrans) are challenging wildlife species to manage in urban areas. Deer often reach densities which exceed cultural and ecological carrying capacities. Varied public opinions of both species present additional challenges. Cleveland Metroparks implements a population model to guide management efforts to reduce deer densities. However, two elements of the model lacking reliable estimates are fawn survival and migration across park boundaries. Also, the influence of coyotes on deer dynamics is unknown for urban systems. To develop better estimates of survival and habitat use and to understand the coyote-deer relationship, we conducted a multi-year study to quantify coyote and doe movement and fawn survival. Six coyotes were collared with GPS transmitters. Twenty-nine adult deer were captured; seven pregnant does received a radio collar and vaginal implant transmitter. Fifty-seven neonatal fawns were captured and fitted with expandable radio collars. We recorded 22 fawn mortalities. Vehicle strikes and culling were the most common causes of mortality. Average six month survival was 78%. Factors with the potential to influence fawn survival were modeled using known-fate models in Program Mark in a two-step process, first incorporating intrinsic covariates and then adding spatial and habitat covariates to the best-supported model from the first step. The best supported models varied with the time period of the analysis, but all included age class. Additional covariates included in one or more top models included habitat composition, home range size, and road density. Habitat use and selection were examined on a seasonal basis. For does, location data was divided into pre-parturition and post-parturition. Fawn locations were examined at three age classes: birth to two weeks, two to eight weeks, and older than eight weeks. Coyote locations were classified into three periods of differing levels of fawn vulnerability: pre-fawn (March – April), hiding (May – June), and fleeing (July – August). For coyotes, we calculated overlap indices between seasonal home ranges and core use areas. Both does and fawns used natural habitat out of proportion with availability. Both showed little seasonal change in habitat use or selection, although some does increased their use of open habitat post-parturition. Habitat use by fawns showed more variation between individuals than between seasons. Coyotes showed substantial individual variation in all spatial metrics, but a majority increased their use of forested habitat during the hiding period. Seasonal overlap indices varied from 6.2% to 82.5% for home ranges and from 0.0% to 42.9% for core use areas. Improved estimates of population parameters for urban white-tailed deer can aid in management of this potentially overabundant species. Our work demonstrates that fawn survival can be high in urban areas and reinforces the link between urban parkland and surrounding residential areas for managing urban wildlife.

Committee:

Stanley Gehrt (Advisor); Jeremy Bruskotter (Committee Member); Stephen Matthews (Committee Member); Terry Robison (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Animals; Biology; Ecology; Natural Resource Management; Wildlife Conservation; Wildlife Management

Keywords:

white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, coyote, Canis latrans, urban ecology, fawn survival, spatial ecology, predator-prey, ecology of fear

Scarrow, Ryan MatthewHothouse Flowers: Water, the West, and a New Approach to Urban Ecology
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2016, Sociology
The Western United States contains not just one of the most arid regions in North America, but also the most urban region of the country. How to supply water to urban areas is one of the great questions of any society, and in the Southwest this was answered through a massive infrastructure centered around the Colorado River. It is my contention that the cities that received this water – such as Phoenix, Las Vegas, and San Diego – have been artificially subsidized in their population and land area growth, and have had to develop specialized economic functions in order to justify further subsidies of water from the river and, by extension, the rest of the country - that they are, in plain terms, hothouse flowers transplanted into an environment that they could never live in without massive inputs. Multiple strands of urban and environmental theory are then presented and examined to gauge their ability to explain, let alone predict, the existence and development of such cities; while human ecology and urban political ecology have the tools and theoretical power to do so, I contend that the presence of technology and money – whether private or from government – is so new and combines so effectively in the form of these hyperspecialized cities that previous theories must be updated. After establishing that there is a sufficient distinction between metropolitan areas in the Colorado River System (MSAs that receive water via the Bureau of Reclamation’s massive infrastructure) and those in the Rest of the Arid West, in addition to the rest of the United States, I then conduct time-series regressions with panel-corrected standard errors and conclude the following. Metro areas in the Colorado River System are larger and grew faster than their Arid counterparts in population and land area. The availability of Colorado River water induced land area growth in metropolitan areas such as Phoenix, Tucson, and Las Vegas. Metropolitan economies in the Colorado River System are somewhat hyperspecialized in that they rely upon certain tertiary & quartenary sector activities more than the rest of the country, but these economies are also not generating much benefit considering the environmental and national subsidy being provided. And lastly, the metro areas are heavily reliant upon a river that, according to the most likely scenarios of future projections and climate change forecasts, will only decrease in water output, putting further strain upon the entire region at the same time that it is expected to almost double in population. In conclusion, I posit that these cities have overshot their natural resource base and represent a new form of modern risk due to their size and reliance on resources that may not exist in the future. I then contend that a new approach to urban ecology is needed to account for the complexity of the interlocking human and natural systems upon which these arid cities – holding tens of millions of people with billions of dollars in built infrastructure – have come to depend, as well as others like them in the future and around the world.

Committee:

Edward Crenshaw (Committee Chair); Hollie Nyseth-Brehm (Committee Member); Christopher Otter (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Environmental Studies; Sociology

Keywords:

environmental sociology; urban sociology; socio-ecological resilience; socio-ecological fragility; urban ecology; water; American West; human ecology; coupled human natural systems; urban political ecology

Cramer, Michael JohnThe Effects of Bot Fly (Cuterebra Fontinella) Parasitism on the Ecology and Behavior of the White-Footed Mouse (Peromyscus Leucopus)
PhD, University of Cincinnati, 2006, Arts and Sciences : Biological Sciences
Parasitism is a common interaction between species in which one species, the parasite, gains a benefit at the expense of the other, the host. Parasitism can have far-reaching effects on the population biology and behavior of both species involved. A common parasite-host system is that between bot flies (Cuterebra fontinella) and white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus). Although this interaction has been studied extensively, the cost of parasitism to the host is unclear. The goals of this research were to investigate the effects of bot fly parasitism on (1) population dynamics, (2) reproductive behavior, and (3) individual movement of P. leucopus. This approach attempted to understand how bot fly parasitism affects host populations by looking at host population dynamics directly, and by investigating the effects of parasitism on individual behavior. None of the data collected conclusively supported the idea that P. leucopus suffers a cost due to association with bot flies. Results showed that although some individuals harbored several infections during the season, they tended to have a single bot at a time. This, in conjunction with the observed asynchronous pattern of infection and reproduction, lends support to the conclusion that bot flies did not adversely affect the host population, perhaps due to increased tolerance of the host to this common parasite. Expectations about negative effects of bot flies on reproductive behavior were also not supported. Contrary to predictions, uninfected males were not more aggressive than infected males, and reproductive females showed a preference for males infected with bot flies. Finally, although there was no effect of infection on male movement, there was a tendency for females to decrease movement during infection. Taken together, the results of this research suggest that bot flies may have been in such close association with P. leucopus that the host has developed a tolerance for this common parasite.

Committee:

Dr. Guy Cameron (Advisor)

Keywords:

parasitism; sexual selection; behavioral ecology; population ecology; movement; Peromyscus leucopus; Cuterebra fontinella

Brandt, Erika Relating Plant Spatial Pattern, Plant Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Function to Management Practices in Experimental Restored Wetlands
BA, Oberlin College, 2013, Environmental Studies
Understanding the effects of management practices on shifting relationships between structure and function over the course of ecosystem development should be a central goal of ecosystem restoration. Yet many of these relationships, such as those between plant biodiversity, spatial pattern of vegetation and community metabolism, remain poorly understood. In a decade-long experiment, we investigated the impact of different initial planting treatments and of nutrient enrichment on relationships among plant biodiversity, plant spatial pattern, and ecosystem function in restored wetland ecosystems. In 2003, six identical and hydrologically-isolated 0.18 ha experimental wetland "cells" were constructed in marginal farmland in northeast Ohio. Cells were subjected to one of three initial planting and management treatments, which were later simplified into two treatment groups. In 2010 and 2011, nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers were applied to one cell from each of the three treatments to simulate agricultural run-off. Changes and differences in ecosystem function were assessed by measuring aquatic community metabolism, above ground biomass, soil organic matter, and nutrient concentrations. Structure was characterized through annual plant biodiversity inventories and aerial photographs of plant cover that were analyzed to quantify vegetation spatial patterns. We found significant relationships among plant biodiversity, plant spatial pattern, and planting treatments. We observed significant and sustained differences in plant biodiversity, resulting from both planting treatment and habitat attributes of cells. Relationships between ecosystem function and both biodiversity and spatial pattern were more ambiguous. We found no direct relationships between biodiversity or spatial metrics and any measures of ecosystem function. These findings support the importance of initial wetland structure in achieving plant biodiversity in restored wetlands, but provide little additional evidence that species diversity has a major effect on nutrient retention, primary productivity, or soil organic matter in restored wetland systems. Over multiple years, biodiversity metrics correlated positively with spatial metrics, including mean patch shape complexity and contagion. This suggests that restored wetland landscapes comprised of patches with complex shapes (high edge-to-area ratios) that are highly clumped are home to a more diverse array of plant species. Links between biodiversity and spatial pattern suggest that aerial imagery may provide wetland managers with a robust tool for assessing plant biodiversity.

Committee:

John Petersen (Advisor); Jeff Witmer (Committee Member); David Benzing (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Ecology; Environmental Science; Environmental Studies

Keywords:

wetlands; Northeast Ohio; restoration ecology; ecosystem ecology

Hulse, Jonathan DanielFUNGI AND `FUNGAL-LIKE’ ORGANISMS ASSOCIATED WITH ROOT SYSTEMS OF CUCURBITA MAXIMA AND THE SURROUNDING RHIZOSPHERE
Master of Science, Miami University, 2016, Biology
Cucurbita maxima is an incredibly diverse species, and it is suggested to have more cultivated forms than any other crop. It has many medicinal uses including anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a major food source for wide variety of world cultures, due to its fiber content, carbohydrates, ß-carotene, vitamins, alkaloids, minerals, fatty acids, flavonoids, and polysaccharides. Detection of root-associated microbes in C. maxima has not been well documented in the scientific literature. A multi-phase approach was implemented to first verify fungal associations in C. maxima, and then second, to document the colonization of fungi in C. maxima grown in a conventional agricultural system. Cucurbita maxima grown in southwest Ohio showed relationships with members of the Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Chytridomycota, Glomeromycota, Dark Septate Endophytes, and Plasmodiophorid Slime Molds. This study provides a first report of a relationship between Dark Septate Endophytes, Glomeromycota, Olpidium spp., and Plasmodiophorid Slime Molds in C. maxima in the United States. The images provided in this manuscript are the first photographic documentation of these organisms in C. maxima to date.

Committee:

Michael Vincent, Ph.D. (Advisor); Nicholas Money, Ph.D. (Committee Member); James Hichkey, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agriculture; Botany; Ecology; Microbiology; Organismal Biology; Plant Biology; Plant Pathology; Sustainability

Keywords:

Fungi; Microscopy; Slime Molds; Sustainable Agriculture; Microbial Ecology; Cucurbita maxima; Cucurbitaceae; Microbiology; Plant Pathology; Botany; Biology; Plant Science; Fungal Ecology; Mycorrhizae; Roots; Rhizosphere; Photography

Davis, Samantha LynnEvaluating threats to the rare butterfly, Pieris virginiensis.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Wright State University, 2015, Environmental Sciences PhD
Humans have caused drastic changes in ecosystems and communities through their modification of the natural landscape. Rare species, often highly specialized, are more impacted by these changes. Pieris virginiensis is a rare butterfly native to eastern North America that is a species of concern due to negative influences from habitat loss and plant invasion. This thesis discusses several threats to P. virginiensis, including habitat loss, climate change, competition, and the cascading effects of a novel European invasive plant, Alliaria petiolata, that attracts oviposition but does not allow for larval survival. First, I examined a local extinction event and attributed it primarily to several seasons of poor weather and extreme climatic events, but with contributions by an increasing deer population and the introduction of A. petiolata. Second, I found that A. petiolata attracts approximately two-thirds of total eggs, but no larvae survive on the novel host. I tested several chemical causes of larval death and identified two potential contributors: sinigrin, which delays growth, and alliarinoside, which reduces survival. I also examined competition between P. virginiensis, its host plants, and novel competitors in the habitats. First, I looked at shared habitat use between P. virginiensis and another, exotic Pierid butterfly P. rapae. Although habitats are occasionally shared, P. rapae is most likely not a large influence on the success or failure of P. virginiensis. Second, I examined the influence of A. petiolata when it competes with two native host plants of P. virginiensis, and found differential effects of each life stage of A. petiolata on the native host plants. Finally, I used a combination of species distribution modeling and genetic sequencing to determine the current and future states of P. virginiensis given the changing climate and other stressors on P. virginiensis populations. Although secure currently, future stressors will most likely cause a range contraction and local extinctions.

Committee:

Don Cipollini, Ph.D. (Advisor); John Stireman, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Jeffrey Peters, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Thaddeus Tarpey, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Francie Chew, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Biology; Botany; Climate Change; Conservation; Ecology; Environmental Science; Environmental Studies

Keywords:

pieris virginiensis; novel plant-insect interactions; plant-insect; ecology; alliaria petiolata; cardamine diphylla; boechera laevigata; arabis laevigata; brassicaceae; pieridae; conservation genetics; species distribution modeling; chemical ecology

McCarthy, Dawn R.Belowground Carbon Processes in Managed Oak-Hickory Forests of Southeastern Ohio
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Ohio University, 2008, Environmental and Plant Biology (Arts and Sciences)

Soil CO2 efflux (soil respiration) is the largest flux of carbon from terrestrial forest ecosystems. Understanding this flux in relation to forest thinning and prescribed burning is necessary for determining the effects of forest management on forest carbon dynamics. Since rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are of global concern, my dissertation focused on providing insight into various aspects of soil respiration as it relates to forest management. Specifically, my research focused on (1) the effects of topographic position, canopy cover, and small-scale treatment on soil respiration (Rs) and soil microclimate; (2) modeling Rs with soil microclimate data and climate data; (3) the effects of large-scale forest thinning and prescribed fire on Rs and soil microclimate; and (4) the relationship between forest management and forest carbon budgets.

In studies of topographic position, canopy cover, and small-scale treatments, I discovered that landscape position affected Rs, with greater Rs on upper slopes than lower slopes. Low-intensity prescribed fire affected Rs, whereas high-intensity prescribed fire did not. Modeling of Rs supported the use of soil temperature for predicting Rs, with linear regression of ln (Rs) providing the best fit, as opposed to widely used Arrhenius-type nonlinear models. Additionally, I predicted Rs using air temperature and relative humidity data from the local weather station (R2 = 0.94). Studies of large-scale thinning and burning resulted in reduced Rs up to 3 growing seasons after forest harvesting, followed by elevated Rs in the fourth growing season, and Rs comparable to control the fifth growing season following harvest. Prescribed fire led to greater Rs three growing seasons post-fire, and Rs comparable to control by the fourth growing season. Rs was reduced in burn treatments the growing season following a second prescribed burn in 2005. Air temperature was used to estimate annual soil respiration (Fsoil) for each treatment. Combining Fsoil with annual litter biomass and woody biomass increment, I was able to develop a forest ecosystem carbon budget for each treatment. These component fluxes are only estimates, but they provide the first step towards understanding the partitioning of carbon between ecosystem components within oak-hickory forests in southeastern Ohio.

Committee:

Harvey E. Ballard, Jr./PhD (Advisor); Glenn R. Matlack, PhD (Committee Member); Gar W. Rothwell, PhD (Committee Member); Gregory S. Springer, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Ecology; Forestry; Soil Sciences

Keywords:

carbon; forest; fire; Ohio; oak; soil respiration; soil CO2 efflux; forest ecology; forest management; thinning; soil ecology; topography

Ausprey, Ian J.Post-fledging Ecology of Two Songbird Species Across a Rural-to-Urban Landscape Gradient
Master of Science, The Ohio State University, 2010, Natural Resources
Urbanization alters the composition and structure of bird communities, yet little is known about the demographic processes underlying these patterns. Among the well-described urban ecological phenomena that could affect avian demography are increased abundances of generalist predators and invasive exotic shrubs. Such urban-associated changes should have particularly strong demographic consequences during the post-fledging stage of the avian life cycle, when juvenile birds are particularly vulnerable to predation. To understand how urbanization influences the ecology of post-fledging birds, I asked four broad questions: 1) How does fledgling survivorship vary across an urban-to-rural landscape gradient? 2) To what extent is variation in survivorship explained by fledgling age, energetic condition at time of fledging, and habitat selection? 3) How does the presence of Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), an abundant exotic shrub, influence fledgling survivorship and habitat selection? and 4) Which ecological factors explain variation in natal home range extent and post-fledging dispersal timing for fledgling songbirds within an urbanizing landscape? During 2008 and 2009 I used radio telemetry technology to track the fate and movements of fledgling Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) (n = 45) and Acadian Flycatchers (Empidonax virescens) (n = 31) living in a network of riparian forests distributed along a rural-to-urban landscape gradient in central Ohio, USA. Predation was the primary cause of mortality, and survivorship was lowest during the first few days after fledging. Curiously, cumulative survivorship (+/- SE) of the urban avoider flycatcher was higher (0.720 +/- 0.097; 22 days) than that of the urban adaptor cardinal (0.440 +/- 0.077; 71 days). Across the entire post-fledging period, survivorship was not influenced by urbanization for either species. However, during the initial three days post-fledging when mortality was highest, survivorship of cardinals was promoted by an urbanizing landscape matrix. Cardinals and, to a lesser extent, flycatchers selected microhabitats that were more structurally complex than those at random plots or nest sites. In particular, cardinal fledglings selected areas rich with honeysuckle and saplings. While survival was not associated with cover by honeysuckle specifically, survivorship of both species improved with increasing structural complexity of the understory and midstory forest strata. Habitat structure also seemed to influence natal home range size (+/- SE) in Acadian Flycatchers (1.91 + 0.24 ha), which had larger ranges in areas with more honeysuckle cover, saplings and mature trees. In contrast, variation in cardinal natal home range size (0.93 +/- 0.13) was not well explained by a suite of physiological, social and habitat variables. Timing of dispersal of cardinals (46 +/- 2 days) was best explained by and positively related to territory density of conspecifics. Collectively, my results indicate that a variety of ecological factors influence the survivorship and movements of fledglings in urban landscapes. The fact that urbanization did not negatively influence fledgling survivorship suggests that in spite of abundant predator communities, urban forests may be capable of providing suitable habitat to juvenile birds. In a rapidly urbanizing world, land use planners should strongly consider the role urban forests play in sustaining bird populations when identifying conservation priorities.

Committee:

Amanda Rodewald, PhD (Advisor); Stan Gehrt, PhD (Committee Member); Mazeika Sullivan, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Biology; Ecology; Environmental Science; Urban Planning; Zoology

Keywords:

fledgling birds; juvenile birds; urban ecology; landscape ecology; survivorship; habitat selection; fragmentation; demography; bird; avian; conservation

Countryman, James R.Agricultural terracing and landscape history at Monte Pallano, Abruzzo, Italy
BA, Oberlin College, 2012, Archeological Studies
This study examines the role of agricultural terracing in the archaeological landscape of Monte Pallano, in the Sangro river valley of Abruzzo, Italy. This area is the research focus of the Sangro Valley Project, an ongoing archaeological project whose mission is to investigate and characterize long-term dynamics of human settlement and land use in this region. The project's 2010 and 2011 field seasons incorporated a program of mapping and reconnaissance survey and experimental excavation of abandoned agricultural terraces on the upper slopes of Monte Pallano. The survey was designed to assess the spatial distribution of agricultural terraces in the study area and to describe major patterns of form, construction style, and degradation. Test excavations of selected terraces sought to characterize the sedimentary profile of the terrace fill and gather botanical and sediment samples that might date the period of the terrace's construction and use. The survey found important stylistic and typological variations in terrace form across the study area, and identified distinct systems of terracing on the eastern, western, and southern flanks of Monte Pallano. Excavations within a small area on the west flank clarified aspects of terrace construction, though an effective program of sampling requires further development. Comparative studies from elsewhere in the Mediterranean, and the limited evidence from the terraces themselves, suggest that the majority of the extant terraces on Pallano are the product of early modern (18th-19th century) agricultural intensification. Terrace systems particularly on the southern flank may be ancient constructions based on stylistic distinctions and their close association with archaeological sites. Excavations in the Sangro Valley and elsewhere have indicated that terracing was a technology used to a certain extent in antiquity. The findings of previous survey, excavation, and palaeoethnobotanical investigations in the region point to phases of population and settlement growth in antiquity and the exploitation of a mountain economy similar to that of later time periods. A continued investigation of early modern land use is therefore essential for modeling long-term settlement dynamics, land use, and human-environment interactions in the Sangro Valley.

Committee:

Susan Kane, PhD (Advisor); Kirk Ormand, PhD (Committee Member); Allison Davis, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Archaeology; Geography

Keywords:

landscape archaeology;terraces;agriculture;cultural ecology;historical ecology

Walsh, Ryan PatrickPollination Ecology and Demography of a Deceptive Orchid
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Bowling Green State University, 2013, Biological Sciences
This dissertation is focused on three main questions addressing the reproductive and demographic effects of pollen limitation, seed predation and deceit pollination in the food deceptive orchid Cypripedium candidum. We conducted two hand pollination field experiments to quantify pollen limitation and inbreeding. Both studies showed strong pollen limitation, with supplemental hand pollinations increasing fruit set in 2009 by 41% and 2011 by 30-35%. Taller plants in the study were more likely to be pollinated, while all other size variables did not influence pollination or fruit set. The 2011 study demonstrated a reduction in seed mass in selfed capsules by 63%. We found high levels of fruit predation in 2009 with 73% of the fruit experiencing pre-dispersal seed predation resulting in an 89% reduction in seed mass. Of the size variables analyzed, shorter plants were more likely to be attacked by weevils. In a nectar addition study we manipulated plants to provide a nectar reward, dyed their pollinia for tracking and compared their reproduction against control plants with no reward. Nectar reward, which had no effect on fruit production, however did result in a nearly threefold increase in selfing. Approximately 26% of non-rewarding C. candidum pollination events result in selfing, while the addition of nectar increased selfing to 78%. Selfed seed capsules had a decreased seed mass as demonstrated in the previous experiment. Finally, we conducted a four year demographic study and produced matrix models that estimated the population growth rate at λ = 1.01 under an average of 22% pre-dispersal seed predation. Elasticity values of the models indicated the stasis and growth of one-flowered individuals to be the most important factors to the population growth rate. A model simulating the effects of nectar addition with the average rate of seed predation resulted in λ = 0.99. These studies demonstrate the complex reproductive dynamics of deceptive plants and provide evidence suggesting the evolution of deceit pollination is driven by multiple factors, including predation and decreased fecundity from selfing.

Committee:

Helen Michaels, Ph.D. (Advisor); Timothy Murnen, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Moira van Staaden, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Karen Root, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Randy Mitchell, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Biology; Botany; Ecology

Keywords:

Orchid; pollination ecology; ecology; deceptive pollination; evolution; demography; seed predation; pollen limitation; nectar

Vreedzaam, Arioene UncasTHE FEEDING AND BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY OF BLACK SPIDER MONKEY SUBGROUPS (Ateles paniscus paniscus) IN THE CONTEXT OF ILLEGAL ARTISINAL GOLDMINING ACTIVITIES IN THE BROWNSBERG NATURE PARK, SURINAME
MA, Kent State University, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Anthropology
The Brownsberg Nature Park(BNP) in Suriname is home to eight monkey species: Saguinus midas, Saimiri sciureus, Cebus apella, Alouatta seniculus. Pithecia pithecia, Cebus olivaceus, Chiropotes satanas (sagulatus), and Ateles paniscus. Several studies have undertaken the task to better study the feeding and behavioral ecology of these species within the park. However, studies on the black spider monkey (Ateles paniscus) have been absent. As part of my thesis, I decided to conduct a baseline feeding and behavioral ecology study of this species during the period May 2008 – July 2008. In addition, I developed a field method for determining mercury levels (in parts per million = ppm) in fecal and urine samples of wild monkeys. Since the park is under enormous pressure from illegal gold mining activities, I decided to collect baseline data on potential exposure of wild monkeys to mercury in the environment. I also collected samples from monkeys at the zoo in Paramaribo and monkeys born in captivity at Hiram College in Ohio. I collected data on the frequency of feeding, resting, and traveling by black spider monkey subgroups every 10 minutes during all day follows. Feeding ecology data consisted of identifying fruits eaten by these subgroups. For the mercury analysis I used the OSUMEX LTD. home testing kit. Results from the behavioral data show the following frequencies of activities for the entire study period: 32% feeding, 43% resting, and 25% traveling. The feeding data further justifies spider monkeys as ripe fruit frugivores: 76% of food items consisted of ripe fruit, while 22% consisted of leaves, and 2% was comprised of flowers. The mercury testing results from the Brownsberg and zoo populations ranged between 0.025 ppm to 0.1 ppm (toxic level = 0.8 ppm). The Hiram College monkeys all displayed levels at 0.000 ppm. The results from the mercury analyses indicate that 1) wild monkeys in the vicinity of gold mining activities may not be under the same threat as humans, with regards to mercury exposure through food, and 2) that wild monkeys are still relative exposed to mercury in the environment whether it be natural or anthropogenic.

Committee:

Marilyn Norconk, Phd (Advisor); Richard Meindl, Phd (Committee Member); Christopher Vinyard, Phd (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Animal Sciences; Animals; Behavioral Sciences; Biology; Botany; Conservation; Environmental Science; Environmental Studies; Physical Anthropology; Toxicology; Wildlife Conservation; Wildlife Management; Zoology

Keywords:

feeding ecology, behavioral ecology, black spider monkey, Ateles paniscus, Suriname, Brownsberg, methylmercury, small scale gold mining,

Kapolka, Corey K.Assessment of Prairie Restoration and Vegetation Change at the Buffalo Beats Research Natural Area, Athens County, OH
Master of Science (MS), Ohio University, 2014, Plant Biology (Arts and Sciences)
The regionally rare remnant prairie `Buffalo Beats' has been managed with a controlled burn regime since evidence of forest encroachment in the 1980's prompted restoration efforts. Comparisons of vegetation samples from the prairie from 1984 and 2012 show an increase in diversity of non-prairie species, a stabilization of frequency and vegetative cover of prairie species, and a decrease in the community importance of woody species. Within the surrounding forest, abundance of small trees decreased, total tree DBH increased, and the importance of Quercus alba increased among most size and age categories. Comparison by NMDS of the prairie community in 1986, 1996, and 2012 showed no apparent directional shift in community composition. The Buffalo Beats prairie has been effectively preserved by implementation of controlled fires and woody removal, and continued restoration efforts are likely necessary to preserve the community into the future.

Committee:

Brian McCarthy, PhD (Advisor); Jared DeForest, PhD (Committee Member); Harvey Ballard, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Ecology; Plant Biology

Keywords:

Buffalo Beats; prairie; plant community ecology; restoration ecology; prairie peninsula

Doherty, Shannon JoeleSpatio-temporal Patterns in Beaver Pond Complexes as Habitat for Eastern Spotted Newts (Notophthalmus viridescens) in a Hemlock-northern-hardwood Zone in Western New York State.
Master of Science in Environmental Science, Youngstown State University, 2015, Department of Geological & Environmental Sciences
Amphibians are among the most threatened of animal groups, so understanding the nature and dynamics of their habitats is essential to their conservation. The Eastern Spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) prefers shallow quiescent soft-bottomed habitat, generally in small streams and pools. An increasingly important source of such habitat in the Northeast has been beaver ponds, which are abundant within the 27K ha Allegany State Park, NY, studied during this thesis. The main objective was to determine the influence of landscape-scale (size, age, and stability of ponds) and local habitat conditions (flow regime, sedimentary environment, submerged/emergent vegetation) on the use of beaver ponds as spotted newt habitat. Georeferenced satellite imagery between 1995 and present-day of five multi-pond complexes and one artificial impoundment were used to assess spatio-temporal stability of ponds and pond complexes, while proximate habitat characteristics were catalogued at individual survey points. Newts were visually surveyed in shallow water within 1 m of shoreline on multiple dates during April -- June 2015. Both a factorial ANOVA (pond complex X habitat type) and multivariate Principle Components Analysis (PCA) ordination of landscape and habitat variables were used to assess patterns in habitat use by spotted newts. Newts were consistently abundant at pond complexes that were the most stable and predictable over time, which was a reflection of smaller watershed areas and lower potential for flood damage and breaching of dams. In contrast, less stable ponds yielded lower newt abundances. Some evidence suggested mud-bottomed pond margins, back-flooded connecting channels, and former pond remnants might be preferred habitat within ponds, but the overarching pattern was driven by landscape-scale variables.

Committee:

Thomas Diggins, PhD (Advisor); Colleen McLean, PhD (Committee Member); Dawna Cerney, PhD (Committee Member); David Butler, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Animal Sciences; Aquatic Sciences; Biology; Conservation; Ecology; Environmental Science; Wildlife Conservation

Keywords:

amphibians; beavers; beaver ponds; eastern spotted red newts; salamanders; aquatic ecology; conservation; Allegany State Park; New York State; landscape ecology; beaver dams; beaver habitats; newt habitats; GIS; zoogeomorphology; hardwood zones

Zmijewski, Kirk AConnecting the dots: Remote sensing of Glossy and Common Buckthorn (Frangula alnus and Rhamnus cathartica) in the Oak Openings Region of Northwest Ohio
Master of Science, University of Toledo, 2013, Geology
Glossy and common buckthorn (Frangula alnus and Rhamnus cathartica) are invasive woody shrubs that formed dense monoculture thickets in the Oak Openings Region of NW Ohio. Conventional techniques of vegetation mapping are expensive and time-consuming. Thickets were identified using remotely sensed land surface phenology of buckthorn, that leafs out earlier and senesces later than native plant species. A tasseled-cap greenness index, which correlates with vegetation health and biomass, was calculated for 49 Landsat images across two time steps (2001-2006 and 2007-2011) to determine annual phenology. Areas of known thicket and aerial photography were used to classify buckthorn thicket. The satellite image classification showed a 37% increase in thicket extent (690 hectares to 945 hectares) between 2001-2011. P-plots were used to determine buckthorn thicket species composition and density. Sixty field sites were surveyed for presence/absence of thicket to determine accuracy and a kappa hat value of 0.73 was obtained. The classification image was used to model the spatial distribution of buckthorn in order to determine drivers causing monoculture thickets. A logistic regression was used against presence/absence of thicket as a function of the variables: height above river centerline, density of groundwater wells, and distance to agricultural sources. The model showed a pseudo-R2 value of 0.13 and predicted a 10-20% increase in likelihood of buckthorn thicket for each decrease of 30 cm elevation toward river center with a p-value of <0.01. Buckthorn thicket is not strongly driven by the variables modeled and other factors should be tested. Remote sensing identification of invasive species using phenology can be a very important tool for researchers and land managers that wish to remediate buckthorn invasions by understanding their landscape scale distribution.

Committee:

Richard Becker (Committee Chair); Johan Gottgens (Committee Member); Jonathan Bossenbroek (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Ecology; Environmental Science; Natural Resource Management; Plant Sciences; Remote Sensing

Keywords:

Frangula alnus; Rhamnus cathartica; Landsat; Remote Sensing; Landscape Ecology; Invasive species; Buckthorn; Oak Openings; Ecology

Buckler, Daniel C.Post-Fire Forest Recovery on Sofa Mountain in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada
Master of Science in Environmental Science, Youngstown State University, 2012, Department of Geological & Environmental Sciences
Landscape response to disturbance and variable topography is an important topic of research for land managers in fire-prone regions of North America, particularly the mountain west. Waterton Lakes National Park, in southwest Alberta, was the site of a 1998 fire on Sofa Mountain in which 1521 ha of mostly coniferous forests were burned. An investigation of successional growth over the last fourteen years has enabled research to current, emergent vegetation types, and spatial distribution of the mosaic, particularly as associated with topographic factors. This was accomplished with remote sensing, ArcGIS, and ground truthing, allowing a vegetation classification of the burn area which delineates emergent patterns of land cover. Statistical regressions indicated that some vegetative groupings were influenced by specific topographic features, most notably the aspect r-value which was negatively correlated with tree emergence. Slope was the only topographic factor determined to influence the survival of tree patches through a weak negative correlation between slope and surviving trees. Understanding the spatial nature of vegetation regrowth, particularly as associated with topography, can allow land managers to better plan conservation strategies.

Committee:

Dawna Cerney, PhD (Advisor); David Butler, PhD (Committee Member); Colleen McLean, PhD (Committee Member); Ian Renne, PhD (Committee Member); Brad Shellito, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Biology; Ecology; Forestry; Geographic Information Science; Geography; Remote Sensing

Keywords:

Forestry; fire ecology; landscape ecology; GIS; geography; remote sensing; wildfire; Alberta

Campbell, Kaitlin UppstromBiodiversity of ants and associated mites in constructed grasslands at multiple spatial scales
Doctor of Philosophy, Miami University, 2015, Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology
The goals of this dissertation were to examine how patch and landscape level processes structure ant communities in agricultural landscapes and determine the relative roles of patch and host-level factors in determining ant-associated mite diversity and community composition. In Chapter 1, I examined ant richness, species frequencies, and community composition in 23 warm season constructed grasslands that varied in both patch and landscape level characteristics. Ant species richness was greater in older sites with sandier soils, while community composition was structured by soil texture, management, and urban land use. Frequency analyses for 14 ant species showed a wide range of responses to both patch and landscape components of the environment including age, management, soil texture, and surrounding land use. My findings support the use of ants as environmental indicators of disturbance in agricultural landscapes and show that diversity in constructed grasslands is structured by both patch and landscape level processes. In Chapter 2, I determined the relative importance of host and habitat for an ant-dependent commensalism (phoretic mites). I found that large, cosmopolitan, and abundant ant species support a greater proportion of the mite diversity. Additionally, I found that patch level characteristics, or environmental context (area, age, soil texture, and litter depth), of the host can alter the associated mite diversity. In Chapter 3, predictions of theory, herbivore resource hypotheses, and spatial parasitology were used to identify the extent of the ecological neighborhood for mites associated with ants. My results indicate that commensal mite communities are consistent with the Resource Size Hypothesis and are sensitive to ecological neighborhoods at multiple hierarchical levels including individual host ants, the host ant colony, surrounding nest community, and habitat type, but do not vary significantly among sites. In the final chapter, I examined the importance of spatial arrangement of ant nests for mite dispersal among nests in a homogenous environment and the role of seasonal synchrony with hosts. I found significant spatial autocorrelation for mite communities at the closest distance class and evidence of increased mite abundance and richness during periods of ant colony reproduction. Together, these studies demonstrate that processes at multiple temporal and spatial scales contribute to biodiversity and community assembly within conservation habitats and that the context of ant hosts can modify their roles as biodiversity regulators.

Committee:

Thomas Crist (Advisor); Hans Klompen (Committee Member); Melany Fisk (Committee Member); Ann Rypstra (Committee Member); John Maingi (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Biology; Ecology; Entomology

Keywords:

Ants; Formicidae; Mites; Acari; Myrmecophile; Community Ecology; Grassland; Prairie; Landscape Ecology; Spatial parasitology; Succession

Hollen, Jennifer WindomBat diversity, activity, and habitat use in a mixed disturbance landscape
Master of Science (MS), Bowling Green State University, 2017, Biological Sciences
Bat species face multiple threats. One such threat, white-nose syndrome (WNS) has drastically reduced many bat populations. Also, habitat loss and fragmentation often forces bats to concentrate in remnant natural areas, or utilize habitats that are not as suitable. Both of these threats, while threaten bats in a general sense, also affect species differentially. The Oak Openings Region of Northwest Ohio is a biodiversity hotspot with a landscape composed of remnant natural areas within a matrix of agriculture and urban areas. This area, which provides crucial summer foraging habitat, has experienced declines in bat activity, shifts in bat assemblages, and some in diversity, in recent years, especially since WNS introduction. To study bats in this diverse landscape, we sampled bats acoustically from May – August 2016. We sampled mobile transects along roads along with stationary sites within the Oak Openings Preserve within the region. We identified calls to species and ran analyses investigating total bat activity, species-specific activity and presence, and bat diversity compared to. We compared bats to environmental, vegetation, road, and landcover parameters. Our results show that certain parameters influence bats as a whole, while others only affect one or a few species. We found that savanna stationary sites had more species-specific activity and bat diversity than forested sites (Rank Sums, p<0.05). Parameters that affected most bat species most prevalently were temperature and forest cover, both reflecting positive relationships with total bat activity and diversity (Chi-square; Rank Sums, p<0.05). When looking at species specific relationships, we focused on the least active species, as they may be more in need of management than more active species. Parameters that most influenced our least active species were humidity and open/savanna vs. forested sampling areas. Humidity had positive relationships with the likelihood of presence of our rarer species, while habitat type relationships depended on species specific life history traits (Chi-Square; Rank Sums, p<0.05). Our research suggests managing for forest cover across the landscape for all native bats; however, encourages managers to consider heterogeneity by maintaining both dense and open forest stands, along with open areas to benefit certain species.

Committee:

Karen Root, PhD (Advisor); Kevin McCluney, PhD (Committee Member); Verner Bingman, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Animal Sciences; Animals; Biology; Conservation; Ecology; Environmental Management; Natural Resource Management; Organismal Biology; Wildlife Conservation; Wildlife Management; Zoology

Keywords:

bats; wildlife; conservation; management; diversity; Oak Openings Region; habitat; habitat use; disturbance; mixed disturbance; urban; residential; agriculture; edges; edge habitat; landscape; landscape ecology; ecology; wildlife biology

Dunham, Noah TFeeding ecology of black and white colobus monkeys from south coastal Kenya: the influence of spatial availability, nutritional composition, and mechanical properties of food items
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2017, Anthropology
Identifying the degree to which primates alter their behavior and diets to different ecological conditions has significant implications for examining functional morphology, modeling socioecology and feeding competition, and developing primate conservation strategies. This study seeks to determine if Angola black and white colobus monkeys (Colobus angolensis palliatus) employ consistent dietary section criteria by investigating the behavior and diet of three groups inhabiting ecologically distinct areas of Kenya’s Diani Forest. The primary goals of this research are to examine feeding ecology, dietary flexibility, and food selection in relation to 1) seasonal and spatial availability, 2) mechanical toughness, and 3) nutritional composition of food items. Behavioral data were collected on three habituated groups (Ujamaa, Ufalme, and Nyumbani) over 267 days from July 2014 – December 2015. Behavioral data were recorded using a combination of instantaneous scan sampling and focal follows. Food availability was estimated by combining tree species composition profiles of home ranges with phenology data. Mechanical toughness was recorded with a portable test instrument. Nutritional composition of food items was calculated using a combination of traditional wet chemistry assays and near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) predictive models. Home ranges of the three groups differed significantly with regard to tree species composition and food availability. Diets differed considerably with regard to plant species and species-specific plant parts: only three species ranked in the top 20 food species for all three groups and mean monthly dietary overlap was just 10.4% among all groups. Dietary idiosyncrasies were not readily explained by differences in spatial and temporal availability of the most abundant tree species within the groups’ home ranges (i.e., all groups selected rare tree species and plant parts from their ranges). Leaf toughness was not a strong predictor of food selection; however, toughness significantly impacted foraging efficiency. Leaf toughness negatively correlated with ingestion rate (i.e., g/min) and positively correlated with masticatory investment (i.e., chews/g). NIRS models of nutritional components had strong predictive power despite the highly heterogeneous sample set. Conventional fiber limitation and protein to fiber ratio maximization models explained leaf selection in two of the three groups and one of the three groups, respectively. Despite significant differences in consumption of species-specific plant parts and quantity of kilocalories consumed per day, individuals of different groups balanced their intake of non-protein energy (NPE) and available protein energy (AP) to a consistent ratio of approximately 2:1. This study emphasizes that aspects of behavior and diet can vary considerably among groups living in different areas within the same forest. While availability, mechanical toughness, and nutritional composition of plant parts influenced food selection to varying degrees, maintaining a consistent NPE to AP intake (i.e., intake target) was the only consistent pattern among all three groups. Intake targets can be achieved by consistently consuming foods whose nutritional composition is close to or equal to that of the target or by consuming foods with disparate, yet complementary nutritional compositions. Unlike traditional models of food selection (e.g. protein maximization), the Geometric Framework provides a theoretical approach that can be universally applied to all investigations of primate feeding ecology.

Committee:

W. Scott McGraw, Ph.D. (Advisor); Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Dawn Kitchen, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Barbara Piperata, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Behavioral Sciences; Ecology

Keywords:

primate feeding ecology; nutritional ecology; colobus monkey; leaf toughness

Howell, Jessica EPasserine and Near Passerine Diversity, Richness, and Community Responses to a Rural to Urban Gradient in Southeastern Ohio
Bachelor of Sciences, Ohio University, 2014, Biological Sciences
Over 50% of the world&#x2019;s human population lives in cities and the number is steadily rising. Urbanization involves a unique set of environmental characteristics including greater imperviousness of surfaces, higher temperatures, and higher noise and light levels than natural systems. Urban development favors resident species of birds, granivores and omnivores, and rock and cavity nesters over migrants, insectivores, and ground nesters. This leads to differences in colonization success among species. In this study I assessed species richness, diversity, abundance, and guild composition of passerine and near passerine birds in an urban area situated in a rural landscape. I hypothesized that diversity should be lowest in the most urbanized areas and highest in the rural areas, abundances of species should differ among habitats on the rural to urban gradient, and avian communities of urban and rural areas should be unique. The most rural site had the highest species richness and the urban area had the lowest. Species diversity was greater in more rural areas. The abundance of invasive species increased and migrant species richness decreased towards the urban core, and feeding and nesting guild structures differed. These results have wildlife management, biodiversity, and social implications at the local as well as global level.

Committee:

Donald Miles (Advisor); Kelly Williams-Sieg (Other); Janet Duerr (Other)

Subjects:

Biology; Wildlife Conservation

Keywords:

avian ecology; urban ecology; urban avifauna; diversity; avian community; passerines and near passerines; urban to rural gradient; urbanization

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