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Zoology and entomology.

Chair: Julius Ikenga, Mississippi Valley State University

Vice-chair: Alex D. W. Acholonu, Alcorn State University





Gail Stratton (1), Pat Miller (2), Rick Vetter (3)

(1) University of Mississippi, (2) Northwest Mississippi Community College, (3) University of CA, Riverside

Early records from the USDA publication, the Cooperative Economic Insect Report suggested that the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa, is found in all 82 counties of Mississippi. However, similar reports and more extensive sampling in Georgia (Vetter et al, MS in prep) and Alabama (Vetter, unpublished data) indicate that the brown recluse is mostly limited to the Piedmont region in the northern third of each of those states. In order to clarify the distribution of brown recluse in Mississippi, we have initiated a project that includes checking museum collections, personal collections and other records as well as doing extensive sampling throughout Mississippi. In addition, we have initiated a standardized sampling protocol of out-buildings to determine the abundance as well as the presence of these spiders in different regions of the state. We have examined specimens from the Mississippi Entomological Museum and the American Museum of Natural History. We currently have specimens from 25 of the 82 counties in Mississippi. Brown recluse spiders are found as far south as Clarke County and they are abundant in the northern third of the state. Requests for brown recluse specimens from the southern portion of the state resulted in few spiders but many tales of the supposed presence due to alleged envenomations. We welcome contributions of specimens of brown recluse for this study.



Alex D. W. Acholonu (1), Peter U. Okorie (1)

(1) Alcorn State University, (2) Imo State University, Nigeria

Nworie River is a first order stream that runs about a 5km course across Owerri metropolis, Imo State, Nigeria before emptying into another river, the Otamiri River. Its watershed is subject to intensive human and industrial activities resulting in the discharge of a wide range of pollutants. The river is used for various domestic applications by inhabitants of Owerri. When the public water supply fails, the river further serves as a source of direct drinking water, especially for the poorer segment of the city. Studies of water quality parameters are therefore necessary to determine extent of pollution so as to monitor likely danger, not only to the human population but also to the aquatic life. A total of eleven (11) water quality parameters were investigated in January 2007, which fell within the dry season in Nigeria. The parameters investigated were dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, pH, chloride, nitrate-nitrogen, nitrate, ammonia-nitrogen, hardness, orthophosphate, sulfide and silica. With the exception of dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide, other chemical parameters met the water quality criteria of Mississippi/ EPA and the international drinking water standards. This suggests that the river is relatively low in chemical pollutants. However, the low dissolved oxygen concentrations (1.1-3.2 ppm) and high carbon dioxide concentrations (13.0-30.3ppm) strongly implicate pollution by organic wastes. Further, the study demonstrated significant longitudinal variations in the water quality parameters along the course of the river, reflecting differences in quality and quantity of pollutants at various locations.



George Phillips (1), Charles N. Ciampaglio (1)

(1) Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, (2) Wright State University

Irregular echinoids have played an important role in benthic marine communities since the Jurassic Period and are important to paleontologists given their sturdy skeletal structure, sediment-dwelling habits, widespread distribution, and considerable diversity. The cassiduloid family Faujasiidae Lambert 1905 is the most diverse and widely distributed group of non-burrowing, sand-dwelling, "sand dollar"-like irregulars in Gulfian (Turonian--Maastrichtian) deposits of North America (NA). The family is recorded from several regions on the continent but is best known from the southeastern United States. Recent collecting efforts in the Southeast have produced several new faujasiids, bringing the total to ~20 species regionally. The Upper Cretaceous faujasiid genera recorded from NA deposits are the stygmatopygines Hardouinia and Petalobrissus and the faujasiines Lefortia, Domechinus, and Faujasia--subfamilies separated on the position of the periproct (anus). Among these genera, Hardouinia exhibits the greatest diversity (14+ spp), whereas Petalobrissus, Domechinus, and Faujasia are currently monotypic in NA. Our recent efforts have uncovered new species and occurrences of Hardouinia Haime 1853 and the incompletely known (in NA) Lefortia Cossman 1901. Hardouinia (spp. nov.) is now known from the early Early Campanian of Mississippi and eastern Alabama and the Middle Campanian of Texas; Lefortia (sp. nov.) from the Late Campanian of Arkansas; and Lefortia trojana Cooke 1953 from the late Late Campanian of Arkansas and middle Maastrichtian of North Carolina. True sand dollars--the clypeasteroids--did not appear until after the end of the Cretaceous Period and eventually replaced cassiduloids as the dominant non-burrowing irregulars.



Iesha Jackson (1), Egeenee Daniels (2), Monica Jenschke (2), Julius Ikenga (1), Rachel Beecham (1)

(1) Mississippi Valley State University, (2) University of North Texas Health Science Center

We investigated the efficacy of a combined long acting local anesthetic and general anesthesia before surgical procedures. These approaches could decrease inflammation and pain and consequently result in decreased hospital stay and cost. Tens of thousands of Americans undergo surgical procedures each year. Postoperative pain is a common complication of surgery. A primary contributor to postoperative pain is inflammation due to tissue injury, which results in swelling, loss of function, redness, and temperature abnormalities. Two groups of Sprague Dawley rats, Novegicus rattus, were randomly selected. Bupivacaine was subcutaneously administered to group one rats and saline solution to the other. A dorsal incision right lateral to the spinal cord was made on each rat. Prior to and post-surgery, a graded response using the Von Frey Hairs was conducted to establish a baseline data. The later is based on the reflex of the dorsal cutaneous trunci muscle (CTM) and was used to determine which group displayed lesser responses to pain. Reflexes of CTM were scored as 1, 0.5, and 0. These scores, respectively, represented a single vigorous reflex, a shorter/weaker reflex, and a no response. Rats receiving the combined treatment experienced less pain, less allodynia, and less hyperalgesia. Further studies are suggested using other pet animals and eventually human subjects.



Sonya Hentz (1), Q. Barnes (2), J.S. Raven (2), W. Eubanks (2), M. Hawkins (2), S. Ogoh (2), P.B. Raven (2), Rachel Beecham (1)

(1) Mississippi Valley State University,

There has been an increased correlation between endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. Endothelial dysfunction can serve as an early detection sign for atherosclerosis which typically leads to pathological cardiovascular events. The purpose of the study is to examine whether there are any differences in flow mediated dilation between healthy men and women. We hypothesized that men will have a larger increase in flow mediated dilation. Eight healthy subjects, between the ages of 18-25 years old, participated in the study. The subjects were informed to fast at least eight hours before their schedule visit. The subjects underwent a plasma glucose test. Each individual was instructed to lay supine for a resting period of five minutes. A blood pressure cuff was placed on the forearm and an ultrasound machine was used to image the brachial artery. Baseline measurements of the brachial arterial diameter were taken using the ultrasound machine for five minutes. The blood pressure cuff was then inflated to 200mmHg for five minutes and measurements of the brachial arterial diameter were obtained. After five minutes the blood pressure cuff was released and measurements of the recovery brachial arterial diameter were measured. Women vasodilated 13.4% + 5.9% and men 8.1% + 2.4% (mean + SD). In conclusion women tend to have a larger increase in vasodilated then men. This finding refutes my hypothesis.



George Phillips

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

The Goniasteridae (Asteroidea: Valvatida) is a diverse group of sea stars first appearing in the Jurassic Period and consisting today of about forty living genera inhabiting largely deep marine waters. Goniasterids are characterized by proportionally large central disks, arms ranging from stumpy to elongate, and body diameters from 25 to 170 mm. Nineteen goniasterid species have been reported from the modern Gulf of Mexico, and about a dozen of these have been identified in the deep Florida Straits. Goniasterid fossils have been reported from fossiliferous deposits throughout the world, some of the most complete and detailed specimens having been collected in the English Chalk (Upper Cretaceous). Recently, goniasterid remains were recovered from Upper Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, and Oligocene deposits in Mississippi, Alabama, and North Carolina. As goniasterids are most often prone to immediate postmortem disarticulation, their remains typically consist of isolated ossicles, although a few articulated and partial fossil specimens are known from the Southeast. A prominent family trait is the possession of thick, relatively massive marginal ossicles, which are potentially species diagnostic. Marginals constitute the most frequently encountered goniasterid fossil in the sedimentary record and are large enough to be collected with the naked eye. Fossil goniasterid marginals have been found in calcareous sediments ranging from fine to coarse and are typically accompanied by the stereomate remains of other echinoderms, namely echinoids and crinoids. Although primarily deep-water dwellers today, the fossil record suggests the family was not uncommon in continental seas and embayments through the early Oligocene.



Sherry Herron, Katheryn Hampton

Universtiy of Southern Mississippi

We describe a summer field biology course designed for secondary and postsecondary teachers and its impact on classroom teaching during the following school year. The course consisted of classroom meetings before and after a week-long field trip to sites across Florida. Teachers experienced four distinct ecosystems and biological phenomena not yet understood. Performance-based evaluations demonstrated increased content knowledge. An anonymous survey sent the following summer provided evidence that the field course impacted classroom practice. Thus, this study provides evidence that the field course increased pedagogical knowledge specific to field study methods.



A Symposium on the Prevalence of Trichomoniasis in Africa



Alex D.W. Acholonu

Alcorn State University

Trichomoniasis is a common protozoal infection in Nigeria. Studies on it have been reported by several authors from different parts of the country. It has been reported in both adults and children but with more prevalence in adults. A review of literature shows that more studies have been conducted on this infection than several countries in Africa. It is however, not one of the reportable sexually transmitted infections in the country, even though it is generally more prevalent than the bacterial and viral sexually transmitted diseases. Although a lot of studies have been conducted as compared to several other African countries, not enough work has been done on it with respect to its prevalence in the 36 states of the country and federal capital territory, Abuja. It is recommended that more work be done on it and that it be included as one of the reportable sexual transmit-table diseases in the country.



Calvin Jones and Alex D.W. Acholonu

Alcorn State University

Review of the Prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis in Zimbabwe (South Africa) and the United States. Trichomonas vaginalis (T. vaginalis) was originally considered a commensal organism until the 1950s when the awareness of its role as a sexually transmitted infection (STI) began to evolve. Trichomoniasis has been associated with vaginitis, cervicitis, urethritis, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and adverse birth effects. Infection with T. vaginalis could have an important role in transmission and the rising rate of HIV. T. vaginalis is site specific for the genitourinary tract. The infection is common in both women and men, but asymptomatic in men, Trichomonas vaginalis may be emerging as one of the most important cofactors in amplifying HIV transmission, particularly in African communities of Zimbabwe, Africa. Studies from Zimbabwe have suggested that T. vaginalis infection may increase the rate of HIV transmission by approximately twofold. Available data indicate that T. vaginalis is highly prevalent among Africans in major urban centers especially in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe and is often the most common sexually transmitted infection in women Zimbabwe. The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence of Trichomoniasis in Zimbabwe. Available literature indicates that minimal studies have been conducted on this sexually transmitted infection and that it deserves more attention.



Cynthia Addae and Alex D.W. Acholonu

Alcorn State University

Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted protozoa infection caused by Trichomonas vaginalis and is associated with several adverse health outcomes, such as preterm birth, delivery of a low-birth weight infants, and facilitation of sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A review on the prevalence of trichomoniasis in Ghana was conducted. Available literature shows that not much work has been done on this sexually transmitted disease (STD) in Ghana. The few reports found were in conjunction with other bacterial and viral STDs. One of the studies covering 1997-1999 conducted in urban areas reported the rate of infection to be 31.4%. Another one on the etiology of urethral discharge in West Africa reported the prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis infection in men in Ghana to be 19.0%. Because of the public health importance of trichomoniasis, it is recommended that more studies be conducted on it in Ghana and that effective control measures be sought.



Margaret Wanyoike and Alex D.W. Acholonu

Alcorn State University

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, a microscopic motile protozoan parasite that thrives in an alkaline environment. This single-celled parasite is an anaerobe that has the ability to generate hydrogen, which combines with oxygen to create an anaerobic environment. Most infections are acquired through sexual intimacy. This study was conducted to find out the prevalence of trichomoniasis in Kenya. Several studies have shown a relationship between Trichomonas vaginalis infection and HIV infection. Of special interest, is a study conducted between 1993 and 2004 involving 1335 female sex workers in Mombasa, Kenya. This study showed that 806 (23.6%) were infected with Trichomonas vaginalis and 265 (7.7%) women infected with HIV out of 3422. A review of literature shows that not much studies have been conducted on Trichomonas vaginalis infection in Kenya and highlights the need for more research on this infection that causes infertility in both men and women and is of common occurrence in Africa.

2:50 Divisional Meeting

6:00 Dodgen Reception and Poster Session (Please set up between 4:00 and 4:30p)



Timothy O. Menzel, Jake R. Marquess, Tom Fink, John Seiner and Douglas Streett

University of Mississippi, USDA-ARS-BCMMUR

Our objectives were to 1) record acoustic signals from colonies of imported fire ants 2) identify significant patterns within those signals, 3) associate ant behaviors with identified patterns, 4) quantify the occurrence of patterns across all recordings, and 5) study the relationship between those patterns and other variables. A metal spike was driven into the center of seven colonies. An accelerometer attached by magnet received and measured vibrations signals from within the colonies, which were then recorded. Single peaks were detected in all recordings, collections of peaks which sounded like grinding were detected in 95% of recordings, and stridulation was detected in 14%. A soil filled chamber with metal screws embedded was used to determine the behaviors associated with these patterns. As ants tunneled through the chamber their signals were detected by an accelerometer attached to the closest screw. The grinding pattern was detected from ants that were excavating. Recordings were divided into groups by time of day, presence/absence of visible activity and stridulation, and colony, to determine which division(s) accounted for the variation in grinding (excavation) behavior. The only division with noticeable variation between groups was between colonies. On going research will determine the limitations of single spikes in capturing colony wide behavior and the relationship between detected behaviors and colony life stage.
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Publication:Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1U6MS
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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