Friday paper presentations.
**Denotes student "in progress" research
Section I: Biological Sciences
Science Hall W1002
Paul Arnold, Presiding
1:00 CREATING A DRUG-SENSITIVE PICH1A PASTORIS YEAST STRAIN THROUGH GENE DELETION OF PUTATIVE DRUG TRANSPORTER TRANSCRIPTION FACTORS**, Shawna McCafferty*, E. Holcomb*1, D. Sloan*1, S. Aller2 and B. Dunn1, 1Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA 30904 and 2University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35205. In the budding yeast Saccharomy-ces cereuisiae, expression of multi-drug resistance proteins is regulated by the transcription factors PDR1 and PDR3. A PDR1 and PDR3 double knockout strain has increased drug sensitivity. A similar drug-sensitive Pichia pastoris yeast strain would be a useful model for testing the effects of drugs on recombinant proteins expressed in P pastoris. We are engineering such a strain by knocking out three genes (identified as 0203, 0322, and 0233) from the GS115 P pastoris strain. These three P pastoris genes have high homology to the S. cereuisiae PDR1 and PDR3 genes. Gene deletion will be accomplished by homologous recombination, replacing the target genes with one of two selectable genes, G418 resistance and histidine synthesis. Transformed colonies that grow under selective conditions will be screened by PCR to confirm gene replacement of the target genes. Colonies that are positive by PCR will be used in functional assays for increased drug sensitivity and the genornic DNA will be sequenced. PCR screening indicates that we have successfully replaced the 0322 gene with His4 allowing histidine synthesis. Functional assays are now underway. Work is ongoing for the 0203 and 0233 genes. Funding provided through a GRU CURS grant and Dr. Aller at UAB.
1:15 INFLUENCE OF GENE NETWORK TOPOLOGY ON CELLULAR AGING**, Brittany Jackson* and H. Qin, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA 30314. Cellular aging can be viewed as an emergent properly of gene networks, because aging can occur in gene networks with only non-aging components. We have shown that cellular aging can be studied by failures of gene networks. In this study, we ask whether network topological features influence the dynamics of cellular aging. We address this question by studying the failure of the protein interaction network in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Gene networks contain essential and non-essential genes. If an essential gene loses all of its interactions, the cell will cease to function and die. To evaluate the network reliability of the yeast protein interaction network, we randomly permuted the yeast protein interaction network by reshuffling its interactions. By comparing the aging dynamics between the original network and the random networks, we seek to answer whether there are some inherently robust features built into the yeast gene networks.
1:30 SIMULATED PREDATION AND RELEASE OF ALARM CUES BY PLANARIANS, Jessica L. Winkler*, C.B. Winkler* and F.S. Corotto, University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, GA 30597. Planarians are reported to release alarm cues for conspecifics when they are pulverized in a small volume of water. We sought to determine if cues were released when flatworms are subjected to a treatment that more closely resembles predation or when they are suffer stress with no tissue damage. Single planarians were placed in 1 ml of water and stabbed 10 times with a shirt in or immersed in 0.5 ml of water and subjected to 200 pulses of 20 mA current with durations of 2 ms. After 10 min for release of alarm cues, treated water was placed on a cotton ball that was positioned at one end of a plastic straw that had been cut in half lengthwise and filled with water. A control solution was applied the same way at the other end. Single planarians were placed in the straws and, for 10 min, animals were scored at 1 min intervals as being on either the treatment or control halves of the straw. Single-sample t tests were used to determine if the mean number of times a worm was found on the treatment side differed significantly from the expected outcome of five out of ten. No preference for a solution was detected. Planarians did, however, avoid solutions prepared by pulverizing animals as reported previously. Our results lead us to question whether flatworms release alarm cues when suffering predation. Complete tissue destruction may be necessary to release such cues.
1:45 SEASONAL VARIATION IN POPULATION DISTRIBUTION OF SUS SCROFA ON COWDEN PLANTATION, JACKSON, SOUTH CAROLINA**, Grace C. Jansen* and B. Saul, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA 30904. The distribution of feral hogs (Sus scrofa) has been estimated on Cowden Plantation, Jackson, SC, since November 2012. Cuddeback trail cameras were stratified on wildlife trails along roadways and planted fields across a 10,000 acre private plantation. Feral hog activity patterns were documented for a year to observe the potential seasonal changes in habitat preference. Variations in activity patterns were used to estimate seasonal population distributions across the plantation related to ecosystem type and soil classification. Activity patterns were analyzed with a Chi-Square Test to determine the presence of changes in distribution between densely wooded and swamp areas during fall and winter months. Habitat preference for thinner forests or agricultural land was also tested for spring and summer months. The distribution effects of interspecific competition and depreciation of wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) by feral hogs were observed during peak turkey breeding months, The niche overlap in spatial use of hogs and turkeys was also related to habitat and soil classification at each camera site. NatureServe ecosystem units and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) were utilized through GIS and [SRI technology. Funding: Georgia Regents University Student Technology, Pamplin College of Arts and Sciences, Center for Undergraduate Research & Scholarship, and the Georgia Regents University Department of Biological Sciences.
2:00 THE USE OF TRAIL CAMERAS TO ESTIMATE EFFECTS OF PREDATOR ACTIVITY ON PREY DISTRIBUTION IN A FLOODPLAIN RIPARIAN WOODLAND, Jessica Miller* and B. Saul, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA 30904. Cowden Plantation is 10,000 acres of private hunting, logging, and agricultural land in Jackson, South Carolina. Varied land use and habitat types present a unique opportunity to assess distribution of both native and invasive predator and prey species in the Southeastern United States. An understanding of such community dynamics can assist landowners in efforts to decrease feral pig (Sus scrofa) and coyote (Canis latrans) populations and increase the health and fitness of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). It was hypothesized that predator and prey activity would correlate to indicate foraging behavior or inversely correlate to indicate avoidance behavior. Since May 2012 trail cameras have captured animal activity at wooded locations with semi-permanent deer feeders and at relatively open locations on roads or planted fields. Locations were stratified by habitat type and compared by activity of prey and predator species. Activity and distribution of each species were determined by the number of pictures taken within each habitat and compared using x2 test. Selected locations were occasionally supplemented with corn to attract deer and scent tabs to attract predators. Results indicate predators are more active along roads than at feeder locations and predator activity correlates with small prey species activity (p<0.0001). Funding Sources: Center for Undergraduate Research & Scholarship, Pamplin College of Arts and Sciences, Augusta State University Department of Biology.
2:15 FIELD EVALUATION OF WILDLIFE POPULATION RESPONSES TO FATTY ACID SCENTED CHEMICAL ATTRACTANTS, Kathleen E. Kelley*, R. Lancaster*, L. Justice* and B. Saul, Georgia Regents University Augusta, GA 30904. Responses of the resident wildlife population to fatty acid scent tablets were measured remotely by trail cameras at Cowden Plantation in Jackson, South Carolina. The research focused specifically on the effects that fatty acid scent tablets have on whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus), feral hogs (Sus scrofa), wild turkeys (Meleagris galloparo). coyotes (Canis latrans), bobcats (Lynx rufus), opossums (Didelphis virginiana), and raccoons (Procyon lotor). It is hypothesized that the fatty acid scent tablets will produce the highest visitation rates with wildlife that rely on olfactory stimuli, as opposed to visual and auditory stimuli. The study was conducted over a ten month period between June 2012 and March 2013. Thirty-six Cuddleback digital cameras were evenly spaced along high traffic wildlife trails on this 10,000 acre farm. Corn supplements were distributed at each site as a wildlife attractant. Scent tablets were placed at each site after wildlife patterns were established, during supplement applications and after supplement applications were terminated. Visitation and individual activity rates varied throughout the study period from site to site and appeared to be associated with weather, high human traffic, population density, and food abundance. Funding Sources: Augusta State University Student Technology. Pamplin College. CURS Undergraduate and the Department of Biology.
2:30 ECTOPARASITES OF THE WHITE-TAILED DEER (ODOCOILE-US VIRGINIANUS) IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA**, Willie Lee Adams, Jr.* and J. Wedincamp, Jr., East Georgia State College, Swainsboro, GA 30401. Surveys of the ectoparasites of the white-tailed deer were conducted in the 2000-2002 and the 20132014 hunting seasons in a fifteen-county region located in Southeast Georgia. Deer carcasses were surveyed at local deer processing plants. The ectoparasites were removed by combing the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the deer for approximately 30 strokes with a standard flea comb and attached ticks were removed with forceps. Ectoparasites were placed into labeled vials containing 70% ethyl alcohol. Additionally, the interior surface of the ears were swabbed using cotton swabs and placed into vials containing 70% ethyl alcohol for transport to the lab. Patterns of tick and deer ked infestations were statistically analyzed with respect to county, host sex, and host reproductive status. Preliminary results from our study indicate a high percentage of the deer harvest was infested with Hippoboscidae and to a lesser extent Ixodes scapularis.
2:45 TORTOISE POPULATION PERSISTENCE: 10 YEARS POST CONSTRUCTION**, Cody Osting*1, R. Phillips*1. B.Simmons1, J. Walincamp, Jr.1 and J. McGuire2, 1Department of Biology. East Georgia College, Swainsboro, GA 30401 and 2USDA/NRCS, Swainsboro, GA 30401. The burrow of the Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) is. utilized by a variety of native wildlife, making the tortoise a keystone species in sandhill habitats. This tortoise is state-listed in Georgia, where it is negatively impacted by widespread habitat loss due to human encroachment. In 2003, 42 tortoise burrows were measured and recorded with a GPS at the site of a proposed technology park (120 acres), adjacent to the East Georgia College Campus in Emanuel County, Georgia. Entrance measurements of active burrows indicated a population consisting of both sub-adults and adults, suggesting that reproduction was occurring in this colony. Voluntary mitigation procedures by site managers included the installation of tortoise-friendly concrete curbs and relocation of several tortoises to an adjacent property. In 2013, a survey was undertaken to determine current habitat suitability and the efficacy of these mitigation procedures in preserving the tortoise colony. At present, only 5 burrows with 2 tortoises have been recorded in the remaining sand hill habitat (approximately 250 acres). The remaining habitat is currently considered to be fair to poor quality due to the lack of fire and overgrowth of undesirable tree species. Initial mitigation efforts by site managers may have been successful; however, the subsequent lack of management on the site itself may have been detrimental to the tortoise population.
3:15 THE ENERGETIC BENEFITS OF HUDDLING IN OCHRONTO- MYS NUTTALLI**, Alexa N. Gusmerotti*, W.H.Miller*, G.W. Barrett and T.L. Barrett, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. This study focused on the energetic benefits of huddling in golden mice (Ochrotomys nuttalli). Water oak (Querus nigra) acorns and flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) fruits comprised the diet in this study. It is thought that by huddling, golden mice conserve energy and thus require less energy from their diet. To test this hypothesis, mice were placed in five cylindrical tanks (80 x 88 cm) functioning as mesocosrns, each containing a nest box holding nonabsorbent cotton with an outside water bottle. Four food bowls were spaced 90[degrees] apart along, the circumference of the tank with like food types 180[degrees] apart. The temperature of the laboratory was set at 60[degrees]F (16[degrees]C) to induce huddling. The first week, four males were placed in a mesocosm, while four females were placed individually in the remaining four mesocosms. The design was repeated with the four females in a single mesocosm, and the four males in their own mesocosms. To determine if benefits were present in huddling groups, we measured the amount of food consumed (Kcal * g live wt-1 * day-1) and used the known caloric value of Q. nigra (5.2 [+ or -] 0.17) and C. florida (5.2 [+ or -] 0.12). When comparing consumption for lone mice with huddling mice, we obtained a value for Q. nigra (P = 0.000365, P [less than or equal to] 0.05) resulting in a significantly lower amount of caloric intake through diet in huddling mice for Q. nigra (mean 2.65 g consumed compared to 2.10 g). This study was funded in part by t he Eugene P. Odum Endowed Chair.
3:30 METAL TOLERANCE AND ACCUMULATION IN A RARE PLANT SPECIES, PEDIOMELUM PIEDMOIVIANUM (FABACEAE)**, Jessica Padgett*, Elgin N. Hobbs*, J. Ramos and S.T. Bennetts, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA 30904. Pediomeium piedmontanum, " Dixie Mt. Breadroot, " is an endangered species with only three known populations, one on serpentine in Georgia and two on phyllite in South Carolina. Derived from ultramafic rocks, serpentine Mg3Si205 refers to a mineral and a soil, typically containing high concentrations of heavy metal. Previously, our lab has discovered that the serpentine population is tolerant up to 100pM Zn. Since this species tolerates high Zn levels, we decided to determine the level of Zn accumulation in the leaves of field collected and lab-raised individuals of the serpentine population. The level of Zn accumulation from field and experimental leaf samples was determined using the zincon colorimetric test. The level of Zn accumulation in leaves from the field was significantly lower than other legume species (p<0.05). Zn accumulation was greater in the roots than in the shoots in plants propagated with Zn enrichment (p<0.05). These results are consistent with the fact that this species has a large taproot. In addition to these findings, lab-raised plants demonstrated symptoms of Mg deficiency. Thus, Mg tolerance is presently being investigated by comparing growth rates in hydroponic control solutions and Mg enriched solutions [50-10NM Zn). This population may require an unusual concentration of Mg..
3:45 INOCULATION WITH RHIZOBIUM AND HERB1VORY BY MEGA-COPTA CRIBRARIA AFFECT SOYEAN PHYTOCHEMISTRY AND SUCCESSIVE HERBIVORES**, Anne 0. Zimmerman* and C.B. Zehnder, Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, GA 31061. Plant-mediated interactions are when one herbivore induces changes in plant chemistry that then affect subsequent herbivores. We are interested in examining plant-mediated interactions in the soybean-kudzu bug system. Megacopta cribraria, commonly known as the kudzu bug, is an invasive pest to many economically important legumes in the southeastern United States including Glycine max (soybeans). In our experiment, soybeans were grown in a greenhouse with half of the seedlings receiving the rhizobium inoculation treatment and half receiving no inoculation. Four weeks later, half of the plants from each rhizobium treatment group were exposed to Megacopta cribraria herbivory for 72 hours. Then, leaves from each treatment group were fed to Spodoptera exigua larvae for 72 hours and the proportional change in biomass was measured for each caterpillar. Additionally, leaves were collected for phytochemical analysis including trypsin inhibitor, chitinase, and nitrogen concentrations. Root nodules were counted before the roots were dried and weighed for below ground biomass data. Root nodule results showed that the inoculation treatment was successful and preliminary results have found an interaction between inoculation with rhizobium and induced responses to herbivory. Official results are forthcoming.
4:00 DOCUMENTING CHANGES IN MOTH LIFECYCLE AND ABUNDANCE CAUSED BY URBAN WARMING**, Trung Quach*1, Yen Duong*1, I.Y. Rickets1, J. Pickering2 and J.M. Lochamyl, 1Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston, GA 30021 and 2University of Georgia (Discover Life Group), Athens, GA 30602. The potential upward shift in global temperatures of as much as 5[degrees]C has been predicted to have major effects on species abundance and distributions. The average 5[degrees]C increase of night-time temperatures in Atlanta relative to Athens presents a natural experiment to test such predictions. Deforestation and air pollution are also factors specifically affecting the lichen moth population. Moths were photographed arriving at porch lights at nine forested, residential locations in Metro Atlanta. Abundance and species richness data were compared to two sites in Athens. Atlanta showed fewer overall moth species and individuals. There was also a significant mismatch between the most common 20 species in both locations, with only 3 shared species making both lists and 11 of the most common Athens species absent from the Atlanta area. As expected, several of the most common species in Atlanta are absent in Athens, yet commonly seen in Florida. These observations show that large urban heat islands like Atlanta can be used to predict changes in community ecology that might occur as a result of global warming.
4:15 THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW BIOLOGICAL CONTROL, THE GIANT WATERBUG (BELOSTOMA LUTARIUM), TO CONTROL SNAIL POPULATIONS**, Peter M. Schlueter*, R.A. Fiorillo and MA Schlueter, Georgia Gwin-nett College, Lawrenceville, GA 30043. Snails are an intermediate host for numerous parasites, many of which are dangerous to humans. Reductions in snail populations may lead to decreases in parasite populations. The purpose of this study is to develop a new biological control to reduce snail populations in lakes and ponds. Waterbugs (Belostoma species) are known to be aggressive and highly effective predators that pierce their prey with sharp beaks and remove their body fluids. It is hypothesized that B. lutarium can reduce snail populations and reduce parasite abundance. The first step of our project was to test predation effectiveness of Belostoma lutarium on both types of freshwater snails, lunged snails (Sub-class PULMONATA) without an operculum, and gilled snails (Sub-class PROSOBRANCHIA) with a hard protective operculum cover. Each of our 24 waterbugs exhibited 100% predation on both lunged and gilled snails. Next, prey preference was tested. B. lutarium consumed dragonfly larvae, damselfly larvae, tadpoles, snails; however, it did not consume cranefly larvae or small fish. In testing chambers, B. lutarium consumed 66% of dragonfly larvae versus 53% of the snails. However, snail predation may be higher in nature, since many of the lunged snails left the water and crawled up the side of the testing chamber. Waterbugs introduced to an aquarium that contains trematode infected snails 24 hours prior to the fish, may reduce trematode infections in fish to 0%? The next step will be to compare the parasite load of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) in aquaria that contain snails with trematode infections and various combinations of waterbugs. B. lutarium may be used to reduce snails and parasites in ponds and lakes, which will benefit human public health.
4:30 AN EVALUATION OF GEORGIA'S MASON BEES (OSM1A SPECIES) AND THEIR NESTING PREFERENCES**, Nicholas G. Stewart* and M.A. Schlueter, Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA 30043. Bees are responsible for pollinating almost every fruit, nut, and vegetable crop. Recent concerns over the declines in honeybee populations have generated a strong interest in identifying alternative pollinators, which can replace or supplement the honeybee. Mason bees (Osmia species) are an ideal candidate for pollination of commercial fruit orchard. In Japan, the blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria) has been used to pollinate fruit orchards since the 1960s. They estimated that 250-500 Osmia corn ifrons are required per acre for pollination compared to 60,000-120,000 honeybees. In the current study, we have surveyed mason bee species diversity and abundance in North Georgia apple orchards for the -past four years. We have identified 13 species, including several species not previously recorded in Georgia. Since mason bees are stem/cavity nesters, we hypothesized that providing additional nesting habitats inside the orchard would increase Osmia nesting inside the orchard and increase their abundance in the orchard in the following year. In order to maximize Os-mia abundances, wooden bee houses were constructed that contained 24 tubes of various sizes (6mm, 7mm, and 8mm) or wooden blocks with predrilled holes were used to attract the mason bees. Preliminary results indicated that Osmia nested in 40% of the omm tubes, 3.5% of the 7mm tubes, 7% in the 8 mm tubes, and 4% in the wooden pre-drilled blocks. Early estimates indicate roughly 200 Osmia pupae have been laid in the tubes. It is believed that the bees laid in the large tubes are Osmia lignaria, 0. cornifrons, and 0. taurus. These larger species are the most ideal mason bees for apple crop pollination. In conclusion, habitat enrichments, the nest boxes, did successfully encourage Osmia nesting in the apple orchards.
4:45 OBSERVING AND MEASURING THE POLLINATION EFFECTIVENESS OF ANDRENA CRATAEGI AND OTHER BEES IN COMMERCIAL APPLE ORCHARDS, Catherine G. Schlueter*1 , N.G. Stewart2 and M.A. Schlueter2, 1University of North Georgia, Gainesville, GA 30566 and 2Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA 30043. European honeybees (Apis mellifera) are the major pollinators of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. However, worldwide agriculture may be in jeopardy due to unprecedented declines in honeybees due to colony collapse disorder and other factors. The purpose of this study was to find a native bee replacement for the honeybee. First, a survey of the native bees was conducted in Georgia apple orchards. Second, the pollination characteristics of target bees (mining bees (Andrena species), bumblebees (Bombus species) and carpenter bees (Xylocopa virginica)) identified from the survey data were measured. Honeybees (0.68 grams) and bumblebees (0.1-0.8 grams) carried significantly larger pollen loads than mining bees (0.01 grams). However, all pollen on the mining bees was available for pollination compared to less than 4% of the honeybee's pollen, since that pollen was packed away in the bee's corbicula (pollen basket). Mining bees spent the longest time at the apple flower (16.1 seconds) compared to honey bees (6.8 seconds), bumblebees (<2 seconds), or carpenter bees (<2 seconds). It was hypothesized that mining bees could successfully replace the honeybee in apple pollination. Apple trees in four different orchards were selected for this experiment. Netting enclosures (cages), which kept out honeybee-size and larger bees, were placed over selected branches (experimental group), while other branches (control group) were left uncovered. In August, mature apples were collected. Each apple was measured for size (weight, circumference, and diameter), and each apple's seeds were counted. Statistical analyses indicated that there were no differences between the control and experimental groups. Andrena crataegi accounted for 72.5% of the native bees collected in the experiment. A. crataegi and the mining bees can provide a natural and sustainable agricultural alternative to the declining honeybee.
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|Publication:||Georgia Journal of Science|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2014|
|Previous Article:||Friday Paper Presentations *Denotes Student Presenter "Denotes Student Research in Progress.|
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