Sponsored Research in the Zoology Department 2003-2004

The following are research projects sponsored by grants received in 2003-2004. To view the research interests of ALL the Zoology faculty, visit the Faculty by Research Area page. Graduate and undergraduates also do cool things. Learn more about them on the Zoology-related Student Organizations page.

Development of a Weltand Monitoring Program for the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma

The Wetland Protection Development Grant Program will be used to assess, monitor and measure the biological condition of several wetlands located on both Iowa Tribal land and elsewhere within the stat of Oklahoma. Objectives include comparing the response of macroinverebrate, plant and bird communities across a number of wetland that exhibit a range of disturbance, evaluate each of the assemblages based on sensitibity to perturbation and technical requirements for effective monitoring, and increase Tribal capacity to mange wetlands program through the provision of trainings, workshops, and educational activities.
Sponsor: Office of the Secretary of Environment
PIs: Joseph Bidwell, Craig Davis

A Survey of Aquatic Macroinvertebrates and Amphibians in a Closed Depression Wetland
The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma is developing a water quality monitoring program to determine the condition of wetland systems on their lands and ultimately to initiate restoration programs for those systems that have been impacted by human activities. The first component of this monitoring program is to conduct a biological survey of a closed depression wetland located on tribal lands. This study helps characterize aquatic macroinvertebrate and amphibian communities in the system. These data are combined with other water quality and wetland community data collected by personnel from the Iowa Tribe environment office to form a comprehensive assessment of the system.
Sponsor: Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma
PI: Joseph Bidwell

The Influence of Asian Clam Die-offs on Sediment Quality: Implications for Native Unionid Mussels
This project underscores the possible impact of Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, die-offs on unionid mussels, although it raises additional questions. Ammonia production associated with the die-off of Asian clams has been tested previously in the water only and since Corbicula and unionid mussels are infaunal, ammaonia and dissoved oxygen levels in porewater may have a greater influence on survival than overlaying water. It is possible that mortality of much lower densities of clams could impact porewater since diffusion and volatilization of ammonia will be much less. In addition the status of sediment quality associated with a clam die-off under actual field conditions remains uncharacterized. This pilot study addressed these issues. The work focusd on conditions relevant to the Little Black River of Missouri since this area in known to have a co-occurance of Asian lcams and unionid mussels.
Sponsor: Missouri Department of Conservation
PI: Joesph Bidwell

Toxicity Identification Evaluation of an Industrial Effluent

Toxicity Identification Evaluations (TIE) are an integral component of the Toxicity Reduction Evaluation process. TIEs couple acute bioassays with chemical manipulations and analyses to determine the source of toxicity in industrial or municipal effluent. The TIE consists of three separate phases, 1) Initial toxicity evaluation, 2) Component identification, 3) Confirmation. This project is centered on phase one, initial toxicity evaluation.
Sponsor: Terra Nitrogen. LP
PI: Joseph Bidwell

Effects of Mountain Biking Activity on Foraging and Nesting Behavior of Golden-cheeked Warblers

This study assesses whether mountain biking adversely affects the foraging and incubation behavior of Golden-cheeked Warbler in two separate sites. Two comparisons have been made 1) between study sites with and without mountain biking and 2) among territories that receive high versus low levels of mountain biking activity
Sponsor: United States Geological Survey
PI: Craig Davis, David Leslie

Heterogeneity on Rangelands: Effects of Biodiversity and Productivity

The overall goal was to evaluate the importance of heterogeneity on structure and function of mixed and tallgrass prairie across several spatial and temporal scales by applying localized fires and allowing free selection of livestock between burned and unburned patches.
Sponsor: United States Department of Agriculture
PIs: Craig Davis, David Leslie

Invertebrate Response to Wetland Management Practices, Land-use Practices, and Restorations in the Rainwater Basin Region (RWBR)

The objectives of this study of the Rainwater Basin Region in Nebraska were to determine aquatic invertebrate responses to different management practices implemented on RWBR wetlands, to examine the effects of environmental factors on aquatic invertebrate communities inhabiting RWBR wetlands, evaluation of landscape-scale effects on aquatic invertebrate communities inhabiting RWBR wetlands, and evaluation of responses of aquatic invertebrates to restored RWBR wetlands.
Sponsor: Nebraska Game and Wildlife Commission
PI: Craig Davis

Response of Non-game Birds and Terrestrial Invertebrates to Restoration and Management of Upland Grasslands in the Rainwater Basin Region

The objective of this study is to determine the effect of restoration and management techniques on grassland birds and invertebrates in the Rainwater Basin Region of South-central Nebraska by determining grassland bird habitat-use and nest productivity, evaluate the response of the grassland bird community and terrestrial invertebrate community to the restoration of uplands, evaluate the response of grassland bird and invertebrate communities to different management practices, and provide management recommendations for grassland bird species that use the Rainwater Basin Region uplands.
Sponsor: The Nature Conservancy
PI: Craig Davis

The Effect of Ammonium Perchlorate on Reproduction and Development of Amphibians

The side effects of perchlorates (ammonium, sodium, potassium and magnesium) on early amphibian development and growth have been studies extensively using relatively high perchlorate levels, however little is known about the long-term effects. This study examines the long-term consequences of exposures at normal environmental levels.
Sponsor: United States Army
PI: James Dumont

Validation of a Rapid Progrestin-Based Endocrine Disruption Screening Assay

Phase I of this research resulted in the development and standardization of an essay which tests substances that might disturb reproductive and developmental processes in animals by interfering with the endocrine system. The primary goal of the research was to validate and commercialize the Xenopus laevis oocyte naturation germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) model as a system for rapid evaluation of endocrine disrupting chemicals found in the workplace or the environment.
Sponsor: Fort Laboratories
PI: James Dumont

Genetic Status of Clear Creek Gambusia

The research was conducted to facilitate obtaining genetic information for the Clear Creek Gamusia, to assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in management of this federally endangered species. The information gained allowed the Service to determine the genetic purity of the only wild population in Clear Creek in Menard Country, Texas. The results were used to develop a captive propagation and genetics management plan.
Sponsor: United State Fish and Wildlife Service
PIs: Anthony Echelle, Ronald Van Den Bussche, William Fisher

Genetic Status of Two Pupfishes
This study established the abundance and geographic extent of the hybrid, C. pecocensis x C. variegates, pupfish in Salt Creek County, Texas and used the information as a basis for management of the local population of genetically pure pupfish, C. pecosensis. The objectives were two-fold, 1) to provide a protein-electrophoretic analysis of the genetic structure of Cypridodon pecosensis in Salt Creek, Culberson and Reeves counties , Texas and 2) to provide a protein-electrophoretic analysis of the status of a captive stock of Cyprinodon elegans at Uvalde National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center.
Sponsor: State of New Mexico, Department of Game and Fish
PIs: Anthony Echelle, David Leslie

Instream Flow Studies in a Key Southeastern Oklahoma Stream

This project mapped and modeled the instream flow habitat for mussels, including endangered species in the Kiamichi River, Oklahoma that is being considered for water diversion in the hopes of supplying the state of Texas with future water sources.
Sponsor: United States Geological Survey
PIs: Anthony Echelle, Ronald Van Den Bussche, David Leslie

Monitoring Effects of a Renovation Project on Endangered Fish and Invertebrates in Diamond Y Draw
A project to provide baseline information for planning and follow-up monitoring for the proposed renovation of a spring-fed stream in Diamond Y Draw, Pecos County, Texas. The system harbors an unusually high number of unique life forms, including two federally listed endangered or threatened fish species and several endemic invertebrates.
Sponsor: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
PIs: Anthony Echelle, Alice Echelle, William Fisher

Status and Genetic Structure of Headwater Catfish

The primary purposes of this research were to assess the status of I. Lupus, headwater catfish, in New Mexico and Texas and to assess geographic pattern in genetic structure.
Sponsor: United States Geological Survey
PIs: Anthony Echelle, William Fisher

Development of Rapid Bioassessment Protocols for Non-Wadable Streams and Rivers

Oklahoma is currently lacking formal Rapid Bioassessment Protocols (RBP’s) to assess the overall health of aquatic communities in non-wadable streams and rivers. Although such protocols exist for wadable streams in Oklahoma, non-wadable rivers present unique challenges for sampling aquatic biota, particularly fish. Among the issues address by this study are reviewing established RBP’s for large, non-wadable rivers, develop a quality assurance project plan, develop field protocols and field test protocols.
Sponsor: Oklahoma Water Resources Board
PIs: William Fisher, Joseph Bidwell

Assessing and Responding to the Technology Needs of the Twenty-first Century
A more active, student-centered, investigative approach that is technology based can help students develop superior problem solving abilities. This project developed a set of interactive tutorials containing randomly generated problems covering concepts introduced in general chemistry. Including characteristics such as accessible to the web, interactive, randomly generated questions, three part tutorials that are tracked and saved in a personal webpage environment.
Sponsor: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
PI: Donald French

Assessing the Scientific Basis for Standards/Practices at Multiple Spatial Scales – East

The planned evaluation of relationships between measures of forest structure and biological diversity using data from three previous large-scale studies conducted in highly forested landscapes in Arkansas, South Carolina and West Virginia. The three sites encompassed a range of vegetation types, structures, and physiographic settings across the Southeast. The current project will build upon those previous studies through two primary activities: 1) a series of two workshops and 2) a synthesis/analysis of data.
Sponsor: National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc.
PIs: Stanley Fox, Paul Shipman

Modeling Wildlife-Habitat Relationships for Birds, Amphibians, and Reptiles in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas

The objective of this research was to validate the predictive accuracy of bird, amphibian, and reptile habitat relationship models derived from data collected on the original four watersheds during 1995-99 and modification of models in preparation for application in the post-treatment phase.
Sponsor: Weyerhaeuser Company, United Stated Department of Agriculture
PIs: Stanley Fox, Paul Shipman

Validation of Amphibian and Reptile Habitat Relationship Models for the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas

The objective of this research is to validate the predictive accuracy of amphibian and reptile habitat relationship models derived from data collected on the original four watersheds during 1995-1999. Using the same sampling protocols to those used in the first four years, sampling of Amphibians and reptiles on one or more new watersheds will be conducted for two years. Data derived from these surveys will be compared to predicted community structure to determine the accuracy of our initial models.
Sponsor: Weyerhaeuser Company, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc., United States Department of Agriculture
PIs: Stanley Fox, David Leslie, Paul Shipman

Abundance and Habitat Associations of the Swift Fox (Vulpes velox) in Oklahoma

The purpose of this study was to intensively mark-recapture and/or mark-resighting surveys of swift foxes in several areas throughout the range of the swift fox in Oklahoma to determine density in representative habitats, to relate the estimates to indices of relative abundance developed from track surveys, and to use data on absolute and relative abundance in conjunction with habitat and landscape data to model habitat suitability for swift fox across the fox distribution in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Sponsor: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
PIs: Eric Hellgren, David Leslie

Conservation Ecology of an Isolated Population of Black Bears in the Big Bend Ecosystem

A study to examine the relationship of bear range use to habitat types, geographic features and human activity areas in the Big Ben National Park and to examine the genetic relationships among individuals by molecular genetic techniques. Knowledge of bear distribution and range use can facilitate people management by allowing prediction and alleviation of potential bear-visitor incidents. The study will involve marking and sampling all individuals in the recolonizing black bear population in the Chisos Mountains over a three-year period. Genetic analysis of captured individuals will be used to test predictions based on paradigms of bear social behavior.
Sponsor: U.S. Geological Survey, ERF, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
PIs: Eric Hellgren, David Leslie, Ronald Van Den Bussche

Conservation Ecology of the Texas Horned Lizard: Comparative Effects of Summer and Winter Burning

The purpose of this project has direct conservation significance to the Texas horned lizard and other herpetogauna in the South Texas Plains. Burning is an increasingly popular land-use practice in the range of the Texas horned lizard and this project sheds light on how summer and winter prescribed burns affect ecology and population status.
Sponsor: Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation
PI: Eric Hellgren

Ecology of the Texas Horned Lizard in Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma

The objectives of this research were to conduct a survey of the distribution of the Texas horned lizard in known historical areas in the southwestern portion of Tinker Air Force Base, to determine micro- and macro-habitat use by the Texas horned lizard using radiotelemetry, to determine locations and characteristics of hibernation sites, to develop methodology to monitor population trends and status of the lizards and to communicate results of the study through publications and presentations.
Sponsor: Tinker Air Force Base
PI: Eric Hellgren

Landscape Use and Population Dynamics of Black Bears in the Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma

Black bears are expanding in the Ouachita Biotic Region of eastern Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) considers the Ouachita National Forest critical to supporting Oklahoma’s black bear population. However, little is known about the ecology or population dynamics of this species in Oklahoma. This study will include the capture and radio-monitoring of adult female black bears to test and validate a published, multivariate, GIS model on back bear habitat use. It also seeks to determine population characteristics of the black bear population.
Sponsor: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
PIs: Eric Hellgren
Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, David Leslie

Analysis of Bobwhite Demographics, Ranges, and Mobility on the Packsaddle Wildlife Management Area
The objective of this study were to evaluate survival and cause-specific mortality rates, reproductive ecology and behavior, home ranges and mobility, mortality of chicks, and effects of certain management practices such as supplemental feeding on bobwhite populations.
Sponsor: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
PI: David Leslie

Development of Plant Community Trajectory and Prediction of Species Diversity Across the Range of Disturbances at Fort Sill, Oklahoma

This project at Fort Sill, Oklahoma is designed to assess the plant and animal component of training area that change with increasing disturbance from training activities. Many small plots on different sites were sampled across a gradient of disturbances from none to severe. The data was analyzed to determine the threshold at which disturbance converts sites from typical mixed prairie-tallgrass prairie to communities more typically associated with sever disturbance or cultivation. The results of this study will have an immediate application to land management problems.
Sponsor: Unites States Geological Survey
PIs: David Leslie
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences: David Engle
U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center: Jeffery Fehmi

Landscape-level Assessment of the Status of Northern Bobwhites in Eastern Oklahoma
In year two of this assessment research continued to acquire and interpret imagery necessary to assess landscape fragmentation, analysis of the Breeding Bird Survey and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for bobwhites and other target species in eastern Oklahoma. Protocols and metadata standards for landscape classifications were finalized and the Population trends of bobwhites and other target species relative to regional patterns and changes in vegetative care and land use were evaluated.
Sponsor: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
PIs: David Leslie, Craig Davis

Management and Cave Protection for the Ozark Big-eared Bat and Gray Bat in Oklahoma

In Northeastern Oklahoma, endangered Gray Bat and Ozark Big-eared Bat population have been protected by gate/grill systems in seven caves. These caves located in Adair, Delaware and Cherokee counties are still utilized by maternity colonies of Gray Bats and smaller colonies of Big-eared Bats. The incorporation of this project in intended to assist in stabilizing and increasing the Ozark Big-eared Bat and Gray Bat populations of northeastern Oklahoma. This may ultimately allow for recolonization of previously known caves that were inhabited by these species.
Sponsor: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
PI: David Leslie

Population Characteristics and Movements of Elk Outside the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
This study will be used to determine seasonal movements and habitat use of elk outside the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma, to assess movement into and out of the refuge, and to determine population status, including estimates of size, calf production and survival/recruitment, population dispersion, and age structure, of elk outside the refuge.
Sponsor: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
PI: David Leslie

The Spatial Patterns of Plants and Soil in Relation to Military Disturbances at Fort Sill, Oklahoma
This research was undertaken to determine primary linkages among plant community dynamics and function with soil properties, site use and history, to determine the strongest correlations of plant community predictors. It also evaluated causative factors in relation to military disturbances and evaluated hypotheses related to the relations among site history, soil properties and plant communities.
Sponsor: United States Geological Survey
PI: David Leslie

Status of the Wildlife Habitats of Pushmataha Forest Habitat Research Area and Pushmahata Wildlife Management Area (PWMA)

Understanding vegetation and its proper management are essential for effective wildlife management. Part of the PWMA was established as a research area to examine the influence of various forestry and rare plant species on the Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory that are known to occur in Pushmataha County. The objective of this research is to describe wildlife habitat and habitat response to past management prescriptions and to identify habitats with sensitive and/or invasive species.
Sponsor: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
PIs: David Leslie
Department of Botany: Ronald Tyrl

Characterization of Oklahoma Seasonally Ponded Isolated Wetlands for Ecological Risk Assessment

The objective of this research was to determine the levels of contaminants in seasonally ponded isolated wetlands in Oklahoma.
Sponsor: UCWR
PI: Steve Schwartz

Preliminary Study on Evaluating Vitamin Requirements of Leopard Geckos
A project to determine the vitamin A requirements of the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius). The research will allow scientists to elucidate the nutritional requirements of leopard geckos and to speed the process of developing protocols for maintaining other species of lizards under laboratory conditions.
Sponsor: Alligator Alley
PI: Larry Talent

Evaluation of Eastern Fence Lizards, Sceloporus undulatus, and Western Fence Lizards, Sceloporus occidentalis, as Reptile Models for Assessment of Endocrine-Mediated Toxicity

The goal of this proposed research is to establish fence lizards as a reptilian laboratory model for ecological risk assessment of endocrine-mediated toxicity. This will be achieved by examining four distinct populations of fence lizards for their overall ability to breed in laboratory conditions and evaluating a comprehensive suite of endocrine-dependent responses useful for assessing toxicant-induced effects on reproduction, growth and development. The final outcome of this proposed research will be the development of several draft protocols employing the most useful endpoints evaluated in each life stage of fence lizards for use in the ecological risk assessment of endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Sponsor: CMA
PI: Larry Talent, John Bantle, David Janz

Development of a Lizard early Life-Stage model for assessing the Bioavailability of Chemicals in Soil

The purpose of this research is to examine the effects of toxicant exposure on lizard eggs, evaluating gross responses, such as mortality and growth, and effects on thyroid function.
Sponsor: Environmental Institute; Energy Research Center
PIs: Larry Talent, Roman Lanno

Collaborative Research: Higher-level Relationships Among Microchiropteran Bats Based on Mitochondrial Gene Sequences, Morphology and Echolocation Call Structure

In this study, the problem of bat relationships will be addressed through detailed analysis of DNA structure of mitochondrial genes, anatomy and structure of the echolocation calls (sonar signals) of a wide variety of bat species. The objective of these studies will be to identify similarities and differences that can by used to evaluate evolutionary relationships. Data collected in this study will be employed in a variety of computer-assisted analyses designed to produce testable hypotheses of relationships among and within families of microchiropteran bats. The relationships of microchiropteran bats to other mammal lineages will also be investigated. This study will provide a new framework for understanding the structural design, behavior and ecology of bats.
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
PI: Ron Van Den Bussche

Factors Influencing Fish Populations in Oklahoma Waters

The evaluation of how well environmental and habitat data from Brush Creek will predict fish distribution in other streams in the region. Additionally data from Brush Creek was used to develop an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model that predicts smallmouth bass distribution based on environmental and habitat variables.
Sponsor: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
PI: Dana Winkelman

Survival, Growth, and Recruitment of Larval Striped Bass in Lake Texoma

This study examined striped bass reproduction, recruitment, and early life history in Lake Texoma in relation to environmental factors in each river system using field studies, mesocosm experiments, and laboratory experiments.
Sponsor: United States Geological Survey
PI: Dana Winkelman