2004 Program Abstracts


Use of chemical cues by marine isopods (Paracerceis sculpta) in the location and selection of mates

Emily M. Arnold and Stephen M. Shuster

Chemical cues are used by many animals to locate breeding habitats and mates. Semelparous species face time and energy constraints that require rapid location of suitable breeding habitats, and in aquatic habitats, individuals in such species may use chemical cues to locate their breeding habitat from a distance. We used 3 Y-maze experiments to test for sensitivity to chemical cues in a population of the marine isopod Paracerceis sculpta. This population contains three distinct male morphs, the dominant of which forms breeding aggregations in an intertidal sponge. Females in this population are semelparous and face extremely short receptivity times. In choice tests, females showed no sensitivity to chemical cues from breeding aggregations and no preference between cues from two different male morphs. However, males were attracted to chemical cues from sponges (F=14.81, P<0.0001). Our results indicate that males locate breeding sites using chemical cues from sponges, and that chemical cues from males and from breeding aggregations may be unimportant in female mate choice.


A Quantitative EEG Case Study of a Highly Hypnotizable Individual

Tonia Begay, Shawna Behm, Dr. Larry Stevens

 This case study was based on a subject who volunteered to get a QEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalograph) done on him. The raw EEG results were sent off to the Scottsdale Neurofeedback Institute where it was artifact by Leslie Sherlin. The final results were then compared with 5 normative databases stratified by age and gender. The subject is a 55-year-old male who is highly hypnotizable and therefore, shows a lot of theta in the Anterior Cingulate (as Helen Crawford predicted, having a lot of theta waves would show up in this particular area of the brain). Due to these results, it was found that the subjectís scores lie outside (p<=0.025) the normal limits expected for an individual of this age. The subject was categorized as pathological and was put into the category of ADHD patients, as well as, Depressed patients. Since the subject was compared to a normative database, he falls outside the standard deviation of the norm because he is highly hypnotizable and can easily dissociate into visual altered states. His results show high theta in the frontal lobes, therefore, falls within the limits of ADHD and Depressed patients due to that fact that these patients do fall under the same EEG pattern. But this classification is a multivariate statistical summary of a neurometric evaluation and serves only as an adjunct to other clinical evaluations (QEEG results). Other tests are taken (such as TOVA, MMPI-II, etc) in order to be diagnosed with ADHD or Depression. Although the subject does have a high level of theta because of being highly hypnotizable, he does score well within the normal limits of TOVA, MMPI-II, etc.


The DAPI as an Alternative Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility to the SGHSS:C?

Shawna Behm and Larry Stevens

 This study examined two susceptibility scales, the Psychological Absorption Scale (PA) and the Differential Attentional Processes Inventory Scale (DAPI), as possible alternative measures, individually and combined, to the Standford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale: Form C in determining hypnotic susceptibility. The four attentional skills measured by the DAPI--moderate focus (MODCON), extreme focus (DISSI), dual attention: physical and cognitive (PHSCOG) and dual attention: cognitive and cognitive (COGCOG) were also examined as individual and combined subscales. The SHSS:C was administered to 165 college students, 72 of which also complete the PA and 161 of which completed the DAPI. Based on the literature, it was hypothesized that the DAPI would correlate highly enough (operationally defined at the conventional r=.80) to be a suitable alternative to SHCC:C. It was further hypothesized that the DAPI subscale accounting for the most variance would be extreme focus (DISSI). The data was subjected to a Pearson's correlation, a stepwise hierarchal regression analysis and a linear regression analysis. Our first hypothesis was refuted, as the DAPI at r=.34 did not correlate highly with the SHSS:C to be an adequate substitute for the SHSS:C. Our second hypothesis, however, was confirmed, as the subscale contributing the most to the DAPI'S moderate correlation was extreme focus (DISSI). Interestingly, the DAPI, either by itself or combined with the PA, nor the subscale DISSI by itself accounted for as much variance as two DAPI subscales combined--moderate focus (MODCON) and extreme focus (DISSI).


Alpha bursts and Meditation

Michael Greene and Larry Stevens

 Alpha EEG patterns (8-13Hz inclusive) have been found in highest quantities during states of deep relaxation and serenity. Meditation is a mental discipline that aims to induce these states of relaxation and inner harmony. Alpha bursts, occur most abundantly in EEGs of participants with higher levels of meditation experience; as evidenced in this study. Therefore, correlations between Alpha burst quantities and meditation that might suggest states of heightened mental awareness, is important for hypnosis and increasing our knowledge base.


Sexual Dimorphism in the Feeding Kinematics of Betta Splendens

Naomie Kraus and Alice Gibb

 Prey capture of the aquatic fish, Betta splendens, involves both ram (swimming over the prey) and suction (sucking in the prey), and is similar to the behavior of many other teleost fishes (for example, Wainwright et. al., 2001).  The mechanism by which these fish capture prey involves upper jaw protrusion, lower jaw depression, hyoid depression, and cranial rotation. Interestingly, male Betta use their jaws in aggressive displays with other males and to build bubble nests for the eggs, as well as for feeding. Therefore, sexual selection may have produced gender-specific modifications of the head and jaws to facilitate these reproductive behaviors. Any modification of the head and jaws has potential consequences for feeding behaviors. Here we ask the question: Do male and females have similar feeding behaviors? Eight fish, four males and four females, were recorded while feeding using high-speed digital imaging and ten points on the cranium and jaws were digitized.  Males and females showed differences in hyoid depression, lower jaw depression, and cranial rotation. They also demonstrated differences in the time needed to reach these maximum values.  These differences suggest that that males and females do differ with respect to their feeding behaviors.  These differences may be a consequence of the different reproductive behaviors required for males and females.  Alternately, males and females may use these different behaviors to feed on different prey items in the wild.  This is particularly interesting because sexual dimorphism in feeding behaviors of teleost fishes has never been reported. 


Discrimination of color by Gunnisonís prairie dogs in alarm calls

Andrea Paseka and Constantine Slobodchikoff

 Gunnisonís prairie dogs, Cynomys gunnisoni, can identify and incorporate information about physical features of individual humans into their alarm calls.  Previous work has shown that humans, each wearing a separate color, elicit different alarm calls.  In the present study,  three females walked through a prairie dog colony, each taking turns wearing yellow, green, and blue shirts.  Ten calls were recorded for each person/color combination, resulting in 90 calls that were recorded from individual prairie dogs.  Discriminant analysis between the three colors provided 56% correct classification, although classification between each color pair was higher.


Female-Biased Sex Ratio in Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Tadpoles Raised in Wastewater Effluent

Brittny Somley and Catherine Propper

 Although the use of reclaimed wastewater provides many cost-effective benefits to cities where water is a commodity, there is considerable concern that wastewater has endocrine-disrupting potential. Both natural and synthetic compounds in the water can mimic the effects of endogenous hormones and adversely affect the endocrine systems of both humans and wildlife. Downstream of wastewater treatment facilities, disruption of the endocrine system has been observed in aquatic vertebrates, such as amphibians and fish. It has been hypothesized that estrogenic and/or anti-androgenic compounds often detected in the wastewater lead to feminization of otherwise genetic males, as has been observed in several sites in Europe. This study investigated the sex ratio of free-living bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) tadpoles (n = 26) raised in wastewater effluent. Gonads were dissected from the tadpoles, and sex identification was determined by histological analysis. There was a significant, female-biased sex ratio (p = 0.0175), suggesting that the wastewater has estrogenic and/or anti-androgenic potential. Four hermaphroditic tadpoles, with testicular oocytes, were also present in the sample, which further suggests an estrogenic or anti-androgenic endocrine-disrupting effect resulting from wastewater exposure. These findings raise concern for the possible health risks involved in utilizing reclaimed wastewater.


Do female pinyon jays exhibit dominance hierarchies?

Erin Strasser, Luke Stafford & Russell Balda

 Social interactions between female pinyon jays (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) were observed within a laboratory setting to determine if a dominance relationships exists in female jays. Individuals were observed interacting in group and dyadic settings and assigned a rank based on their Relative Social Status Score (RSS), where the number of submissive behaviors were subtracted from dominant behaviors. Male pinyon jays have exhibited linear dominance hierarchies1, but none have been observed in females. Dominant initiated and subordinate initiated ethograms were formed based on the occurrence of behaviors and the transitions between these behaviors. It was determined that a linear dominance hierarchy exists within female birds in a flock, with some occurrence of instability.