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«Strengthening the Nation through Diversity, Innovation & Leadership in STEM San Antonio,Texas · October 3-6, 2013 Get Connected! Connect with the ...»

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Apple, pear and cherry fruits are subject to quarantine regulations and inspection by trading partners to prevent establishment of exotic pests from the United States and other countries. Morphological traits are used to identify fruit-feeding moth larvae, but to identify smaller larvae, DNA analysis is required. Without clear identification of pests in infested fruit, exported products can be rejected or delayed at foreign ports. Using a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol, we are able to identify the 5 most common internal feeding pests: Cydia pomonella, C. latiferrana, Grapholita molesta, G. prunivora and G.packardi; Lepidoptera: Tortricidae, of apples, pears, and cherries in North America. PCR primers were designed to be specific for each pest species and provide diagnosis in 3 ways: positive amplification of target; specific melt temperature of amplified product; and distinct band sizes in gel electrophoresis. The first 2 categories provide extremely rapid results and the electrophoretic information can act as either confirmation or direct use in laboratories without real-time PCR capacity.




Therese Blanch, Gabriela Lopez, Marisol Castellanos, Martina Ramirez.

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA.

A recent genetic study found no evidence for inbreeding in B. californicum populations, despite the potential for adult males to mate with siblings and other relatives in their natal area. Since multiple mating by females is one way to avoid the costs of inbreeding, we are looking for evidence of multiple paternity in B. californicum broods. In 2012 and 2013, we gathered 5 B. californicum broods and their mothers from the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area (SRA), Los Angeles, California. This summer, we have been genotyping each set of mothers and broods for variation at the phosphoglucomutase (PGM) locus. Thus far, 3 of the 4 broods examined have shown a significant deviation from a Mendelian genotype ratio, given the adult female involved and her presumed male partner under a hypothesis of single mating. This is evidence that field-collected B. californicum females frequently mate with multiple male partners.

During the balance of 2013, we will continue to search for additional sets of mothers and broods from Kenneth Hahn SRA in order to expand our sample size for genetic analysis.


Biological Sciences SAT-625


Jasmin Takemoto, Martina Ramirez.

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA.

Autotomy is the loss of a grabbed or blocked appendage by reflex, which can be followed in some species by regeneration of the lost limb by subadult individuals. Autotomy allows an individual to escape from a predator, to flee from a conspecific during a fight, or to release itself from the exuviae during a faulty molt. The loss of a leg is also a handicap, since it can result in a decrease in mobility, as well as reduced functionality in specific behaviors where this appendage is used (e.g., web construction). While leg loss and its consequences have been studied in many spider species, these studies have often focused on males. Thus, the purpose of this study is to assess the impact of leg loss on reproductive output in female green lynx spiders Peucetia viridans. This study is being based on the analysis of leg loss data for 109 adult female P. viridans collected from 2004 to 2007 from multiple sites in southern California.

Thus far, we have found that females that had lost 2 legs significantly underperformed those who had lost 1 or 3 legs in terms of egg sac weight (ANOVA, p = 0.018) and egg number (ANOVA, p = 0.023). These findings suggest that leg loss in spiders also has negative consequences for females, in this case, in terms of reduced reproductive performance.



Sarah Fourby1, Laura Milbrandt2, Diana Lieberman3,4, Breanna Machuca3.

Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, 2California State University, Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA, 3California State 1 University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA, 4San Miguel Biological Station, Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve, Mal Pais, CR.

Certain species of tropical fishes change their colors in response to time of day and social interaction with other fishes. Patterns of color change in two species of damselfish, the Panamian sergeant major, Abudefduf troschelii, and the Panamanian night sergeant, Abudefduf concolor, were studied experimentally at the San Miguel Biological Station, Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Colors of fish of both species varied over time, from dull, typical nighttime colors, to bright, typical daytime colors. This study shows that color change occurs flexibly in response to changing light levels and is not a simple circadian rhythm. In addition, changes may be brought on by other stimuli. Sergeant majors took longer to change color than night sergeants at dawn, but both had similar changing rates at dusk. When daylight was extended with artificial lights, sergeant majors changed more quickly than under natural light conditions. Behavior, operculum movements, and color change in response to mirrors were assessed in the 2 species. Responses differed in and between species. Individual fish tended to show idiosyncratic responses to the manipulations.



Larisa Crippen Y Chavez, Kelly Miller.

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.

The study of evolution has led to a myriad of discoveries in many different fields. To continue this pattern of discovery, it is essential that society works toward accomplishing Darwin’s dream: to categorize, describe, and find the evolutionary history of every species. Two new species of Platynetctes have been discovered in Venezuela. The phylogenetics of the genus Platynetctes has thus far not been determined. It is the goal of this research to describe the 2 new species of Platynetctes and to map out the phylogenetic tree of genus Platynectes Regimbart. To describe the new species, a number of specimens will be carefully observed for distinguishing morphological characteristics, including an in-depth analysis of adeagus structure. For determination of the phylogenetic tree, DNA extractions will be taken from a representative of each species within the genus, as well as from 2 outgroup species. PCR analysis will be used to amplify the DNA, which will then be sequenced. Finally, using the Bayesian statistical model for data analysis, a maximally parsimonious tree will be constructed.




Kristen Enyart, Matthew Bolek.

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK.

In nature, freshwater snails are commonly infected with cysts of horsehair worms or gordiids (Nematomorpha).

However, it is unclear if all species of freshwater snails are equally susceptible to hairworm infections. In this study we tested the host specificity of North American freshwater snail species from different freshwater streams in Oklahoma for infections from North American horsehair-worm species. A sample of 20 to 30 snails were collected from each stream and tested to look for horsehair worm larvae or cysts. Our results are not complete as of this time and this project is still in process at the time of abstract submission.



OXYOPIDAE) Hayley Quartuccio, Hilda Delgadillo, Martina Ramirez.

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA.

The relationship between fitness and the genetic variability was investigated in the green lynx spider Peucetia viridans. In 2010 and 2011, we collected female P. viridans and their egg sacs from the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Los Angeles, California (2010, n = 60; 2011, n = 150). In the lab, 3 measures of female body condition and 11 measures of reproductive performance were determined for each spider. With samples from both years, we determined the phosphoglucose isomerase (PGI) genotypes for each female using allozyme electrophoresis. Among the 2010 spiders, PGIBC females made more egg sac silk relative to egg sac mass and offspring number than PGICC females, while PGICC females invested more in clutch and egg sac mass relative to their own mass than PGIBC females. Among the 2011 spiders, PGIBC and PGICC females did not significantly differ for any reproductive indices. The fact that significant differences among PGI genotypes were detected in 2010 but not in 2011 could be due to many factors. One factor which differed greatly between years was rainfall; in 2010/2011, Los Angeles had nearly 4 inches more rain than in 2009/2010. Thus, prey items for P. viridans may have been easier to find in 2011 than in 2010, resulting in generally heavier females and consequently more minimal differences in reproductive performance among genotypes in 2011.



Ashley LoneTree1, Jason Beck2.

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 2Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Pocatello, ID.

1 Ectoparasites are an important factor in bat health due to emergent diseases. These external parasites usually consist of mites, ticks, and bat flies. Past studies have shown how roosting preference among bats affects ectoparasite load. My hypothesis was that foraging strategy will affect parasite load. Bats were caught at Las Cruces Biological Station in Costa Rica. Ectoparasites were collected using forceps at the time of capture. Preliminary data shows that nectarivorous bats carried more bat flies; however, frugivorous bats appear to carry a larger diversity of ectoparasites.

Changes in food availability may change probability of encountering conspecifics and, therefore, transferring parasites to other bats.



Kayla Saunders1, Amy de Harde1, Brianna Holmes2, Martina Ramirez1.

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, 2Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, MS.

1 In 2009 to 2010, we determined the phosphoglucomutase (PGM) genotypes for a large sample (n = 333) of D.

crocata from Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Los Angeles, California. We found that there was a significant reduction or absence of heterozygotes at this locus at 9 of 12 sites in the park. This may be due to selection against heterozygotes. To determine if this was the case, we then documented the representation of heterozygotes and homozygotes among life stages in a new sample of D. crocata (n = 339) collected in summer 2010. This analysis has shown that while PGM genotype frequencies did not violate Hardy-Weinberg expectations for either adult females or the oldest juveniles, there were significant violations in the form of a reduction or absence of heterozygotes for adult males and younger juveniles. Thus, for juveniles, there is an excess of homozygotes that diminish as they age,

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Computer Science FRI-354


Guillermo Flores Jr., Natalia Villanueva-Rosales.

University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX.

The Semantic Web leverages cyber-infrastructure to integrate and exchange machine-processable information, thus providing a way for scientists and researchers to expose their collected data and allow machines to reason about it.

Ontologies provide the means to describe knowledge for a domain of interest with a formally defined language that machines can understand. The advent of different ontologies within the same or different domains has produced a problem of creating different terminology to represent the same real-life concept. Different ontology representations for collected scientific data give rise to heterogeneity, ushering in the problem of how to find correspondences between ontology concepts. Consequently, ontology mapping research focuses on the discovery and representation of the correspondences found between terminologies of different ontologies. Augmenting ontologies with provenance can provide a history of the creation and usage of the data sources and transformations encoded by such ontologies. This research project investigates the elements of the W3C newly developed provenance language PROV, in particular the PROV ontology PROV-O that can be used for ontology mapping. With the use of the domain independent PROV-O, we aim to improve ontology mapping alignments with respect to precision, recall and f-measure. In the initial stage of this project, we have created a hybrid ontology matcher that considers an input PROV-O terminology. Our future work includes the creation of case studies that involve domain-specific and domain-dependent ontologies that include PROV-O metadata, the implementation, and evaluation of our hybrid ontology matcher.



Jorge Candiotti1, Jorge Candiotti1, Hongwu Wang1, Oscar Chuy2.

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 2Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.

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