2008 Program Abstracts

 

Genetic and morphological analysis of hanging garden endemic, Anticlea vaginata and widespread montane species, A. elegans

 Matthew Koski, Randy Scott, and Tina Ayers

 We sequenced the ITS and trnL-F spacer regions of four southwestern Anticlea taxa with emphasis on A. vaginata and A. elegans var. elegans.  We performed a cladistic analysis to place A. vaginata in a phylogenetic context with its congeners and to compare it to its putative sister taxon, A. elegans. The phenogram based on ITS shows no variation between taxa sequenced.  The trnL-F cladistic analysis showed only minor differentiation between populations.  The phylogenetic analysis suggest that the ITS and trnL-F regions are not sufficient for discerning evolutionary relationships at the species level for southwestern Anticlea taxa and that these species form a monophyletic clade.  It may also suggest that, if A. vaginata is distinct from A. elegans, the speciation event was recent in evolutionary history. Genetic data was compared to the results of a morphometric analysis.  Six characters were measured for A. vaginata and A. elegans. The morphometric analysis showed that only leaf width varied significantly. Furthermore, the range of variation for most morphological traits of A. vaginata and A. elegans overlapped.  Both genetic and  morphological data does not support distinction of A. vaginata from A. elegans.  If A. vaginata is to be recognized as a taxon, the subspecies level may be most appropriate.
 

Poster also presented at: 

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting January 3-7, 2009 Boston, MA.

 

Investigating the Species Boundaries Between Platanthera zothecina and Platanthera sparsiflora

 Stephanie McCormick, Laura Williams, and Tina Ayers

The rare alcove bog orchid, Platanthera zothecina, has been recognized as a separate species from the widespread montane P. sparsiflora because P. zothecina has a larger column size, spur length, and larger, thicker leavesWe sequenced two different regions of DNA to test whether P. zothecina is, in fact, a distinct species from P. sparsiflora.  Both regions showed little variation and grouped some populations of P. zothecina with populations of P. sparsiflora.  The DNA data suggests that P. sparsiflora has adapted to low elevation springs in the desert multiple times and thus P. zothecina should more appropriately be treated as a low elevation subspecies instead of a distinct species.Poster also presented at: 

Poster also presented at: 

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting January 3-7, 2009 Boston, MA.

 

Temporal Changes in Population Dynamics of the Pinyon Jay

Sisi Gao, Russell Benford, and Russell Balda

Drought-induced pinyon pine die-off in 2002-03 had cascading effects in the pinyon jay.  Effects include changes in flock 
demographics and organization.  Two hypotheses were generated to explain the changes.  The first hypothesis suggests 
that changes in reproductive behavior affected relative fitness among flocks.  The second hypothesis suggests that  
changes in dispersal patterns caused a source/sink dynamic to form among flocks.  Observational analysis of relative 
fitness and observational and genotypic analysis of dispersal behavior found support for both hypotheses.  Varied relative 
fitness and rates of dispersal among flocks before and after the drought changed age and population structure, and caused 
flocks to become sources and sinks.  Changing patterns of fitness and dispersal suggest adaptive changes in behavior.

  Poster also presented at: 

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting January 3-7, 2009 Boston, MA.

 

Developing a riparian zone measurement protocol for perennial streams in North Central Arizona

Susanna Bird, Patricia Zaput, Emily Musta, Emma Benenati, and Joe Shannon

Riparian areas support more productive and diverse vegetation communities and serve more ecological functions than their terrestrial upland counterparts.  These areas provide important links between terrestrial upland and aquatic ecosystems.  Our study evaluated riparian parameters at two streams, Oak Creek and Pine Creek.  Oak Creek is a third-order multi-use stream that originates on the Colorado Plateau and flows into the Verde River near Clarkdale.  Pine Creek is a first-order stream that flows from the edge of the Mogollon Rim to the town of Pine, Arizona.  The following parameters were measured at both sites: stream depth, flow velocity, stream width, floodplain width, channel gradient, first and last riparian tree, first pine tree, tree identification, tree distance from stream edge, tree height, and upland characteristics.  Data was analyzed using a MANOVA test that included predictor variables of site and last riparian tree.  Oak Creek and Pine Creek riparian habitats were significantly different for the parameters measured (MANOVA-Wilks Lambda, df=5,202; f=82, p<0.001).  Maximum extent of riparian habitat was significantly related to stream depth, stream width, floodplain and first riparian tree based on a multi-step pair-wise analysis (R2=0.31; ANOVA df=4,317; f=35, p<0.01).  Our data determined that although Oak Creek and Pine Creek had significantly different riparian characteristics, these measurements could be used as a predictor for determining the maximum extent of riparian habitat.  With further development, this protocol could be used as a predictor for determining the riparian area with minimal effort.

Poster also presented at: 

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting January 3-7, 2009 Boston, MA.

  

A Molecular Phylogeny for the Thermosphaeroma Species Complex (Sphaeromatidae: Isopoda)

Ernesto I. Rodriguez*,Katherine Saunders, Gregg Davis, Steve M. Shuster, and Tina J. Ayers

The genus Thermosphaeroma (Crustacea: Isopoda: Sphaeromatidae) consists of 7 described freshwater species endemic to thermal springs in Texas and New Mexico in the United States, as well as in Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila and Aguascalientes in the Republic of Mexico. The easternmost described species of the genus, T.  subequalum, is found in at least 9 thermal springs located on both sides of the Rio Grande River over a distance of approximately150 kilometers. We used an approximately 470 base pair sequence from the mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA gene to investigate evolutionary relationships among these populations. Our analysis included sequences from all known Thermosphaeroma species and populations, as well as from 4 other species belonging to two currently recognized sphaeromatid subfamilies, the Dynameninae and the Sphaeromatinae. Our results provide (1) a molecular phylogeny for the genus Thermosphaeroma, (2) biogeographic data useful for studies of North American post-Cretaceous fauna and flora, (3) support the hypothesis that the Sphaeromatinae and the Dynameninae represent distinct sphaeromatid lineages and (4) evidence that Thermosphaeroma belongs within the latter subfamily.

Poster also presented at: 

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting January 3-7, 2009 Boston, MA.

  

Peek-a-boo! An investigation into novel stimulus and alarm calls of Cynomys gunnisoni

Patrick Ziehmn, Bill Briggs, Patricia Briggs, and Con Slobodchikoff

Imagine waking up, getting dressed, walking into your kitchen and there sits a huge alien teddy bear. What would you do? Scream? Yell at it? Tell it to go away? Say nothing? We wanted to find out what a Gunnison prairie dog would do when encountering a novel object in the prairie dog colony. Three novel objects were placed in a colony of Gunnisons prairie dogs and the alarm calls to each were recorded and spectrograms analyzed in order to see if the prairie dogs made a general call for all new objects or a specific call for each novel object.  Between the three different novel stimuli, there was no significance in the acoustic structure of the first alarm call that a prairie dog made upon seeing each novel object. This lack of significance implies that there was no specificity in the calls between the three novel objects.

 

Four-eyed Fish Anableps anableps use the same Jaw-Opening Movements to Produce a Distinct Prey-Capture Behavior across Environments

 

Samantha Kushner and Alice Gibb   

 

Four-eyed fish, Anableps anableps, are native to northern South America and inhabit mangrove swamps.  They swim at the water's surface so that their eye is bisected by the air-water interface, which allows a simultaneous view of both aerial and aquatic environments. A. anableps feed both in the water on aquatic organisms, and out of water on intertidal, terrestrial and even low-flying aerial organisms. In the laboratory, A. anableps were offered prey items (crickets) held on forceps both above (aerial) and below the surface of the water (aquatic). Using high-speed digital-imaging, we recorded and quantified five displacement variables and five timing variables associated with the head and jaw movements during the mouth-opening phase of prey capture in both environments (e.g. maximum gape, time to maximum jaw depression, etc.). Surprisingly, the relative timing and magnitude of these movements were statistically indistinguishable across environments. However, the time between mouth opening and prey contact was longer and strike speed was more rapid when A. anableps were feeding on prey held above the surface. These results suggest that a single set of cranial movements is used to produce mouth opening in both environments, but the predator is physically closer to the prey-item when these movements occur underwater. The ram-suction-index (RSI) indicates that the movements of the neurocranium and jaws produce effective suction during aquatic feedings, but the same movements result in a ram-based prey capture during aerial feedings.
 

Poster also presented at: 

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting January 3-7, 2009 Boston, MA.

 

Phonotaxis and Arginine Vasotocin in the Western Clawed Frog (Xenopus tropicalis)

Megan Partyka, Robert Miranda, Catherine Propper

 

In many species of anurans, females approach the mating calls of conspecific males, a behavior known as phonotaxis. The neuropeptide arginine vasotocin (AVT) has been previously demonstrated to facilitate both male advertisement calling and female phonotaxis in some species. This study examined phonotactic behavior in the Western Clawed Frog (Xenopus tropicalis) in response to continuous hour-long playback recordings of conspecific male calls, as well as control conditions including no sound, white noise, and the male call of X. laevis, a closely related species. Frog location was recorded as zone 1, half of tank closest to the recorder, or zone 2, half of tank furthest from recorder, using two minute scans. Females showed significant positive phonotaxis to conspecific males (p=0.0062). However, after injection with AVT (1g/1g body weight) or Ringer's saline solution, females no longer displayed positive phonotaxis to any of the sound conditions. Further study will aim to clarify the biological and experimental variables modulating this behavior.

 

Poster also presented at: 

 

Animal Behavior Society Annual Meeting August 16-20, 2008 Snowbird, UT