2000 Program Abstracts


Analysis of the Relationship Between Brainwave Entrainment and Hypnotic Susceptibility

Brandy Queen, Zachary Haga, and Larry Stevens

Subjects in two groups of various degrees of hypnotic susceptibility (eight lows, seven moderates) participated in six 40-minute sessions of binaural-beat sound stimulation. Half of each group were exposed to a control tape of pink noise while the other halves heard tapes of binaural-beat patterns designed to increase theta brainwave activity. Pre- and post-stimulus measures of susceptibility were taken with the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale: Form C. SHSS:C scores were analyzed utilizing the t statistic and it was concluded that there was no significant difference between control and experimental group SHSS:C measurements and no significant increase in either groupís post-stimulus scores.


The Distribution of Burrows in Gunnisonís Prarie Dogs

David Krpata, David Wagner and Lee C. Drickamer

Burrow placement by Gunnisonís prairie dogís (Cynomys gunnisoni) may be directly related to the objects around them, soil depth, and elevation.  The placement of a burrow may also be influenced by surrounding burrows.  Thirty 30m x 30m plots were randomly placed inside 30 colonies in Northern Arizona.  These plots were mapped by dividing the plot into 5m x 5m grids.  Within each plot, I recorded active and inactive burrows, whether or not burrows were located under objects, and presence of vegetation, rocks, and logs.  Recorded objects were all large enough to cover up a burrow hole, which is 15cm wide on average.  Soil depth was also recorded from the center of the plot as well as elevation.  I examined correlations between all variables.  Logs exhibited a strong correlation with total burrows, active burrows, and burrows under objects.  There was also a strong correlation between burrows under objects and rocks.  Vegetation and soil depth showed weak correlations.  Elevation was strongly correlated with total burrows, active burrows, and burrows not under objects, but not with total number of burrows under an object.  Soil depth had no relationship to burrows.  Burrows were found to be uniformly spaced within 1.5m of each other but were independent of each other outside of that.  Gunnisonís prairie dogs may be more likely to place a burrow under a log or rock because it provides more protection from predators and has more stability.  Burrows may have a uniform spatial pattern because of territoriality.


A Field Study of the Relative Abundance and Diversity of Birds on Gunnisonís Prairie Dog Colonies in Northern Arizona

John Stansbury, Lee Drickamer, David Wagner, and Jon Gallie

Prairie dogs may or may not act as a keystone species in grassland ecosystems (Stapp 1998).  Regardless of this designation, many researchers agree that prairie dogs influence the diversity and abundance of vertebrates on colonies (Miller et. al. 2000).  The object of this experiment was to determine if the diversity and abundance of birds on Gunnisonís prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni) colonies differs from the diversity and abundance on nearby random sites. I sampled for bird diversity and abundance in 10 prairie dog colonies and on paired random sites across the known range of Gunnisonís prairie dog.  I conducted the bird counts in an informal survey and recorded species number and abundance, time sampled, weather, and surrounding vegetation type.  I found the diversity and abundance of birds to be greater on prairie dog colonies than on the random sites. Although I found significant results, there are many possibilities for error present in the study so these results must be viewed with caution.



Virginia Blankenship and Kenneth Warren

Rasch (1980) postulated that the likelihood of a person agreeing with an item on a test is determined by the difference between difficulty of the item and ability of the person.  A small proportion of respondents endorse an item that is difficult.  In this study the item is the TAT picture and weakness of cues corresponds to difficulty.   Individuals with higher ability levels respond positively to more items than those with less ability (Fox & Jones, 1998). In this study, participants wrote stories to TAT pictures and those stories were coded for motives (achievement, power, and intimacy).  We refer to individuals' strength of motive (corresponding to ability). The Rasch model provides an ordering of the difficulty of test items (the effectiveness of a picture to elicit a particular motive).   Fit statistics indicate whether any item (TAT picture) or any respondent deviates from unidimensionality, thus not measuring what was intended (Green, 1996).


A New Method of Vocal Analysis

C.N. Slobodchikoff, E.M. Husband and E. Fung

In tackling the problem of meaning in animal signals, a new system of vocal analysis must be addressed.  Of increasing importance is the change in frequency of an alarm call over time and the correlation between two or more calls. By mathematical modeling alarm calls with polynomial equations, a greater amount of information can be gleaned from a sonogram.  This new precision will answer some of the problems of current methodology in animal signaling.


A Simple Protocol for Analyzing Gene Expression in Chick Embryos

Adrian Ortiz and  Mark A. Sturtevant

We developed an antibody staining protocol for visualizing the distribution of protein products from several different genes in whole chick embryos. Our aim was to have a single protocol that would allow us to stain for different functional classes of proteins, including secreted proteins, cell membrane, cytoplasmic, and nuclear proteins. After trying several different protocols, we found one that was satisfactory for all of these types of proteins in whole mount chick embryos. This poster describes this protocol, and shows examples of results. Our protocol should be useful for doing double and even triple antibody stains in chick embryos, and it is sufficiently simple that it can be used in the classroom laboratory for teaching immuno-histochemical techniques.



Kimberly E. Garcia and Stephen M. Shuster

Animals must locate suitable breeding sites as well as suitable mates to successfully reproduce. The conditions individuals experience during development, their physiological state when mating opportunities arise, and the types of individuals present when reproduction is imminent, may strongly influence individual reproductive success. We investigated three aspects of breeding site preference in P. sculpta using field-collected and laboratory-reared individuals. We found there was no effect of juvenile environment on the responses of a-males to artificial sponges. Lab-reared and field-collected a-males showed no difference in their tendency to colonize. Female reproductive condition significantly influenced female responses to a-males in sponges. Females with mature ovaries showed the strongest tendency to pair with a-males; females with little ovarian development did not enter sponges. Females showed no preference for breeding aggregations with or without satellite (g-) males. These results confirm the value of behavioral experiments using lab-reared individuals in this species and suggest that the physiological state of females strongly influences their responses to males.