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1998 Spotlight on Graduate and Undergraduate Research at ESF
Environmental and Forest Biology Abstracts

Contents

OVEREXPRESSION AND PURIFICATION OF THERMUS AQUATICUS DNA POLYMERASE IN ESCHERICHIA COLIKimberly D. Cameron, Haiying Liang, and Lawrence B. Smart.

A SIMULATION OF TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL STREAM BENTHIC ENERGETICS.  Michael J. Connerton, Jerry V. Mead, Charles A.S. Hall, and Neil H. Ringler.

TELECONNECTIONS BETWEEN LAND-USE CHANGE AND CLIMATE CHANGE ACROSS REGIONAL SCALES: A POSSIBLE LINK BETWEEN POST-COLUMBIAN LAND-USE CHANGE AND THE LITTLE ICE AGE. Joseph D. Cornell.

BREEDING ECOLOGY AND INTROGRESSIVE HYBRIDIZATION OF SYMPATRIC POPULATIONS OF AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS (ANAS RUBRIPES) AND MALLARDS (A. PLATYRHYNCHOS) IN THE ADIRONDACK PARK.   Suni Edson, William Shields and Guy Baldassarre.

AN IMPROVED METHOD FOR CAPTURING COTTONTAIL RABBITS.   James P. Fischer, Frank D. Verret and H. Brian Underwood.

USE OF THE COMET ASSAY TO DETERMINE THE GENOTOXIC EFFECTS OF XENOBIOTICS -SYNTHETIC AND NATURAL.  Robert Freudenberg, Jennon Lewis, Toni Pugliano and Tsutomu Nakatsugawa.

INFLUENCES OF N2-FIXING SPECKLED ALDER ON N DYNAMICS OF RIPARIAN ECOTONES IN THE ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS OF NEW YORK STATE.  Todd Hurd and Dudley Raynal.

A COMPARISON OF MODERN POLLEN ABUNDANCE AND TREE VOLUME AT VARIOUS ESOLUTIONS.  Mary Killilea, Charles Hall, Donald Leopold, and Jack Williams.

PROPOSED STUDY TO CONTROL THE SPREAD OF THE INVASIVE PLANT CYNANCHUM ROSSICUM.  Frances M. Lawlor and Dudley J. Raynal.

THE RELATION OF EFFICIENCY TO INTENSITY IN FOOD PRODUCTION.   Chia-Lun Lee, Charles A.S. Hall, Jae-Young Ko, Hong-Qing Wang, Gonzalo Merediz-Alonso.

HAZARD RATING WHITE PINE STANDS FOR VULNERABILITY TO PINE FALSE WEBWORM.  Albert E. Mayfield, Douglas C. Allen and Russell D. Briggs.

A HYDROLOGICAL MODEL FOR THE WETLANDS OF BALA’AN K’AAX PROPOSED RESERVE, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO.  Gonzalo Merediz-Alonso, Guy Baldassarre, Juan Bezaury-Creel, Jorge Carranza-Sanchez, Angel Loreto-Viruel, HÈctor Ariel RodrÌguez-Carrillo, and Carlos Mendoza-Polanco.

EXAMINING ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY: THE EFFECT OF USAID POLICIES FOR NON-TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURE IN COSTA RICA.  Dawn R. Montanye and Charles A.S. Hall.

ISOLATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF AQUAPORINS FROM GUARD CELLS OF NICOTIANA GLAUCA.  Nicole M. Nall and Lawrence B. Smart.

ISOLATION OF A cDNA CLONE FOR AN AQUAPORIN PROTEIN FROM GUARD CELLS OF NICOTIANA GLAUCA.  Jeffrey M. Roth and Lawrence B. Smart.

DEFINING ELEMENTS OF FEASIBILITY FOR WHITE-TAILED DEER FERTILITY CONTROL PROGRAMS.  Paulette A. Salmon and H. Brian Underwood.

LIMITATIONS ON COLONIZATION OF ZEBRA MUSSELS (Dreissena polymorpha) IN A HYPEREUTROPHIC LAKE.  Michael E. Spada, Michael Karagosian, Neil H. Ringler and James H. Johnson.

A PROPOSED STUDY OF THE IMPORTANCE OF HERBACEOUS VEGETATION IN MITIGATION OF SPRINGTIME NUTRIENT LOSS FROM NORTHERN HARDWOOD FORESTS.  Jack Tessier and Dudley Raynal.

DRIFT AS A TRANSPORT MECHANISM FOR LARVAL FISH FROM COASTAL WETLANDS TO ADJACENT WATERS.  Patricia F. Thompson, Darran L. Crabtree, and Neil H. Ringler.

ECOLOGICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE REGENERATION OF BLACK ASH (FRAXINUS NIGRA) IN CENTRAL AND NORTHERN NEW YORK STATE.  Thomas J. Touchet and Dr. Robin W. Kimmerer.

DOES IMMUNOCONTRACEPTION AFFECT RUTTING BEHAVIOR IN WHITE-TAILED DEER?  Frank D. Verret and H. Brian Underwood.

TECHNIQUES FOR THE EXAMINATION OF DAILY GROWTH RINGS IN LARVAL FISH OTOLITH MICROSTRUCTURE.  Mark Wuenschel and Robert Werner.

SPATIAL VARIABILITY OF SOIL WATER CHEMISTRY IN EASTERN HEMLOCK STANDS OF THE CATSKILL MOUNTAINS, NEW YORK.  Thad E. Yorks, Donald J. Leopold, and Dudley J. Raynal.


Abstracts

OVEREXPRESSION AND PURIFICATION OF THERMUS AQUATICUS DNA POLYMERASE IN ESCHERICHIA COLI.  Kimberly D. Cameron, Haiying Liang, and Lawrence B. Smart, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, 302 Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) became a common technique in the molecular biology laboratory after the discovery of Taq DNA polymerase from Thermus aquaticus, a thermophilic bacterium. This technique results in exponential synthesis of new DNA from minute amounts of template DNA. The enzyme's stability at high temperature allows the PCR reaction to proceed through many cycles without appreciable loss of enzymatic activity. Using a plasmid containing the Taq DNA polymerase gene fused to an IPTG-inducible tac promoter, we have overexpressed Taq DNA polymerase protein in E. coli. The protein was purified from extracts of induced E. coli cultures by a three-step process. First, the cell extract was heated to 75oC, resulting in denaturation and precipitation of most of the E. coli proteins, which were removed by centrifugation. The Taq DNA polymerase was precipitated from the resulting supernatant by the addition of polyethyleneimine (PEI) to a final concentration of 0.15%. Finally, the Taq DNA polymerase was solubilized and any remaining PEI was removed by Bio-Rex 70 column chromatography. The purity of the protein was verified by SDS-PAGE and PCR reactions were performed to verify enzyme activity. This procedure can be used to obtain relatively high yields of Taq DNA polymerase suitable for use in PCR reactions.

 

A SIMULATION OF TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL STREAM BENTHIC ENERGETICS.  Michael J. Connerton, Jerry V. Mead, Charles A.S. Hall, and Neil H. Ringler, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, 24 Bray Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     Spatially-explicit data coupled with models of predator and prey interactions have become powerful tools for predicting the production potential of lentic systems such aas the Great Lakes. Similar research has yet to be conducted in streams of the Great Lakes. We are attempting to predict the presence/absence, abundance and productivity of biota using bioenergetic models driven by gradients of geographically determined physical and chemical factors. In particular, we are interested in how gradient space controls trophic-level metabolism. As the first step to our project, we constructed a simplified, spatially-explicit model that simulates the benthic community metabolism of a temperate stream in the Lake Ontario watershed. We compared simulated benthic metabolism (net respiration in grams oxygen m-2 hr-1) to measured values from different habitats within our study site. Although our current model predictions overestimate hourly metabolism, spatial and temporal trends are consistent with empirical results. We found that model estimates are most sensitive to physical forcing functions and accurate hourly predictions of oxygen require precise modeling of temperature and light.

 

TELECONNECTIONS BETWEEN LAND-USE CHANGE AND CLIMATE CHANGE ACROSS REGIONAL SCALES: A POSSIBLE LINK BETWEEN POST-COLUMBIAN LAND-USE CHANGE AND THE LITTLE ICE AGE. Joseph D. Cornell, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, 301 Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     In general, changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns drive changes in terrestrial ecosystems at regional and global scales. This paper seeks to demonstrate a possible reversal of this hierarchy by showing how widespread land-use change in one region can effect climate in another. I developed the theoretical teleconnection between post-Columbian land-use change in Central America and the Caribbean, and the Little Ice Age Climate Anomaly (LIACA) in England and Europe.
     The two regions are connected by the Gulf Stream which transports heat from the tropics poleward. Within 100 years of contact by Europeans, the indigenous populations of Central America and the Caribbean were reduced by as much as 95 percent; resulting in the loss of between 20 and 30 million lives. Catastrophic depopulation in the region disrupted a variety of centuries-old intensive and extensive land-use practices, beginning widespread regrowth of secondary forests throughout much of Central America and the Caribbean. Based upon spatial models of population and land use, I estimate that this would have affected roughly 30 million hectares of land. Massive forest regrowth would have altered the exchange of energy, water, and carbon between the land surface and the atmosphere throughout the region. In particular, forest regrowth would have changed the rate of evapotranspiration in the region and the latent heat flux to the atmosphere and out of the region.
     This resulted in a cooler Gulf Stream and reduced heat transport. This cooling effect coincided with and could have been a significant cause of the Little Ice Age effects recorded in England and Europe. The onset of LIACA occurred slightly before the arrival of Columbus in the New World, but the peak of its severity occurs 80 to 100 years later: approximately the same point in time when forest regrowth in Central America and the Caribbean would have reached the dense secondary stage. This theory is consistent with other observations such as a concurrent trend inferred from mid-Atlantic, Sargasso Sea sediment cores which suggest that the Gulf Stream during this period was cooler and the overlying atmosphere was dryer. It is also consistent with land-surface process (LSP) submodels used to modify atmospheric general circulation models (AGCM's).
     In my presentation, I will show how I arrived at these conclusions, how they agree with historical data, and how they fit into the current understanding of the interaction of LSP's and AGCM's.

 

BREEDING ECOLOGY AND INTROGRESSIVE HYBRIDIZATION OF SYMPATRIC POPULATIONS OF AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS (ANAS RUBRIPES) AND MALLARDS (A. PLATYRHYNCHOS) IN THE ADIRONDACK PARK.   Suni Edson, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, 127 Illick Hall, SUNY-CESF, Syracuse, NY 13210. Drs. William Shields and Guy Baldassarre, Advisors.

     The hybridization of sympatric populations of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and American Black Ducks (A. rubripes) has been a topic of much discussion over the last few years. Using DNA fingerprinting and traditional field methods, I examined such a population in the Cranberry Lake region of the Adirondack Park in New York during the breeding season (April - July) of 1993. The objectives were to determine the degree of hybridization and to study the variation in breeding ecology between the two species. I used two restriction enzymes (HaeIII and HinfI) and two probes (M13 and M2.5) for the DNA fingerprints. For both species, 100% of the clutches contained evidence of multiple paternity. Two clutches (one mallard and one black duck) contained evidence of interspecific breeding, resulting in a minimum hybridization rate in this population of 12%.
     Analysis of the field data revealed: 1) there was no difference in body mass between males initiating and not initiating multiple paternity events; 2) there was no difference between the nest initiation dates and the clutch sizes of female black ducks and mallards; and 3) males involved in multiple mating events were captured more than those that were not observed to mate.
     The majority of my results are inconsistent with the current literature. I have no way to know whether my results are isolated to this population or if they can be extrapolated to elsewhere.
     Further studies of other populations are needed to corroborate my results.

 

AN IMPROVED METHOD FOR CAPTURING COTTONTAIL RABBITS.   James P. Fischer, Frank D. Verret and H. Brian Underwood, U.S.G.S. Biological Resources Division, Cooperative Park Studies Unit, Faculty of Environmental Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     We developed a new method for live-capturing eastern cottontail rabbits (Silvilagus floridanus). The method employs the use of a high-intensity spotlight and a hoop net affixed to a telescopic pole. In the past, box traps, drive nets, and wire ferrets have been used for live-capture of cottontail rabbits. Typical reported capture success rates are below 5%. This work was conducted as part of larger study to assess tick burdens on small and medium sized mammals on Fire Island National Seashore, off the coast of Long Island, New York. We approached rabbits at night from a moving vehicle or on foot. Using the light to conceal our outlines and to mesmerize the rabbit, the net was extended over and dropped onto it. We recorded the number of approaches, attempted captures (i.e., not all rabbits approached permitted an attempt at capture) and successful captures, and report the ratio of the number of captures to attempts and attempts to approaches. A total of 7 rabbits was captured during a two week period in August of 1997. The mean daily ratio of captures:attempts for the trapping period was 0.30 (SD=0.37). The mean daily ratio of attempts:approaches for the trapping period was 0.33 (SD=0.166; range=0.3-0.7). On a per unit-effort basis, this method holds great promise for improving our ability to capture and handle rabbits during a time of year when such operations are rarely successful. We did notice an important influence of certain weather conditions and moon phase on relative success, and plan to quantify that more fully as our sample size increases.

 

USE OF THE COMET ASSAY TO DETERMINE THE GENOTOXIC EFFECTS OF XENOBIOTICS -SYNTHETIC AND NATURAL.  Robert Freudenberg, Jennon Lewis, Toni Pugliano and Tsutomu Nakatsugawa, Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse NY 13210.

     While the adverse effects of synthetic chemicals on human health have long been the subject of intense scrutiny, less emphasis has been placed on the threats that dietary xenobiotics present with every meal. The comet assay provides a quick and effective means of determining whether or not a chemical is genotoxic. In this study, male ICR mice were subjected to known carcinogens. Organ samples were homogenized and their nuclei separated. The samples were sandwiched between layers of agarose, lysed and underwent electrophoresis under alkaline conditions. Using fluorescence microscopy, genotoxicity was detected if a "comet" tail, consisting of damaged DNA, trailed behind a nucleus. Control nuclei showed no tail. The comet assay will be useful as a quick method in ascertaining the genotoxicity of various xenobiotics found in food.

 

INFLUENCES OF N2-FIXING SPECKLED ALDER ON N DYNAMICS OF RIPARIAN ECOTONES IN THE ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS OF NEW YORK STATE.  Todd Hurd and Dudley Raynal, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     The Adirondack Mountains of New York State receive some of the highest atmospheric N deposition in N. America, and riparian wetlands in the region are often populated with N2-fixing speckled alder. Speckled alder is the dominant plant species of the second largest wetland type (Scrub-Shrub 1, (SS1)) [1], and commonly occurs in close proximity to surface waters. Alder-fixed N may result in the SS1 wetland type being sources of N to surface waters. The objectives of this research are to: 1) Demonstrate the areal extent of alder wetlands in Adirondack watersheds; and 2) Determine if N transport to soil and surface waters is greater in alder wetlands than in wetlands without alder.
     The SS1 cover-type dominated by alder comprises 22-28% of total wetland area for 1223 ponded waters in the Oswegatchie/Black River watershed, and averages 48% of wetland area in 11 of 23 ALTM watersheds where SS1 is the dominant cover-type. August, 1996 data show greater increases in groundwater (75 cm) dissolved nitrate + ammonium between hillslope and stream of an alder wetland (68-181 ueq/l) relative to a non-alder wetland (48-66 ueq/l), and greater increases in soilwater (15 cm) nitrate in an alder (5-45 ueq/l) vs. non-alder (4-12 ueq/l) wetland. Litter-fall directly into surface waters and continued N mineralization during the dormant season are expected to further contribute to N enrichment in alder-dominated riparian ecotones.

1 Roy, K.M, Curran, R.P., Barge, J.W., Spada, D.M., Bogucki, D.J., Allen, E.B. and W.A. Kretser. 1996. Final Report prepared for: State Wetlands Protection Program, U.S. EPA contract No. X-002777-01-0.

 

A COMPARISON OF MODERN POLLEN ABUNDANCE AND TREE VOLUME AT VARIOUS ESOLUTIONS.  Mary Killilea, Charles Hall, Donald Leopold, and Jack Williams,* Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, 301 Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210; *Dept. of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912-1846.

     Measuring the relation between modern pollen abundance and percent tree volume gives insights into the degree to which plant species are over- and under-represented in the pollen record, a necessary precondition to interpreting the fossil pollen record. A key concern in this analysis is determining the appropriate spatial resolution. We have created GIS maps of pollen and tree distributions in New York state, at 4km X 4km, 8km X 8km, 24km X 24km, and 48km X 48km resolutions. The tree data used to create the tree volume maps are part of the Eastwide Forest Inventory Data Base, which are collected and maintained by the US Forest Service. The pollen data used were obtained by the North American Pollen Data Base, and a surface sample collection maintained by Brown University. The pollen and tree maps of Picea, Pinus, and Fagus were compared at each resolution, and scatter plots between the pollen abundance and tree volume were created. At finer resolutions it is difficult to intercompare the two data sets, because the pollen and tree data were not collected at the same locations. Also, given that lakes and bogs collect pollen in an approximately 50 km radius, a larger resolution may be appropriate. This project has been a stepping stone to future research where we intend to use these maps to examine the possible biases inherent in using pollen data to predict past environments.
     We also plan on using gradient analysis to examine whether pollen and tree data relate similarly to climatic gradients.

 

PROPOSED STUDY TO CONTROL THE SPREAD OF THE INVASIVE PLANT CYNANCHUM ROSSICUM.  Frances M. Lawlor and Dudley J. Raynal, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York 13210.

     In recent decades, swallow-wort (Cynanchum rossicum),a twining cryptophytic vine of the family Asclepiadaceae, has become increasingly invasive in central New York State and the Great Lakes basin. Native to central Europe, it has been present in eastern North America since before 1889. Population increases are problematic in limestone derived soils of the Lower Great Lakes basin. Capable of forming dense monospecific stands in shrubby areas and in the understory of successional woodlands, swallow-wort outcompetes other successional plants to the detriment of native flora. Once established, it can move into less disturbed natural areas. Knowledge of control is essential to provide a basis for conservation of biodiversity in areas where swallow-wort is spreading. We also need effective restoration techniques to discourage the establishment of other invasives and encourage the establishment of native species. Herbicide type, concentration and application method will be investigated. Herbicide trials will include spraying and cut stem applications of glyphosate and triclopyr. Cover crops, an important weed management tool in agricultural systems, can also be effective in natural areas. Sowing native grass cover crops could provide effective exclusion of broadleaf weed species. Post herbicide treatment seedings of Elymus virginicus, E. villosus and E. hystrix , native wild ryes, will be evaluated.

 

THE RELATION OF EFFICIENCY TO INTENSITY IN FOOD PRODUCTION.   Chia-Lun Lee, Charles A.S. Hall, Jae-Young Ko, Hong-Qing Wang, Gonzalo Merediz-Alonso, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, Illick Hall, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York, 13210.

     Global food production, both total quantity and yield per hectare, have increased greatly in this century. Many attribute these increases to technological innovation. Others say that increased use of inputs, especially fertilizer, is the principle determinant and that technology is only a means of using more inputs. Especially important in the arguments of those expousing technology are examples (for example in the Netherlands and Italy over the past decade) where yields per hectare have increased as fertilizer use per hectare decreased. This would seen to be a clear example of technology improving resource use efficiency instead of only increasing resource use intensity. We examined this question by measuring the intensity (fertilizer use per hectare and total hectares cropped) and efficiency (tons output, both per Kg fertilizer and per hectare level) for cereal crops as indices of agricultural efficiency. We then examined the relations among fertilizer intensity, the production of cereal and the harvested area for all countries for which requisite data are available.
     We found that for most of the sixty four countries examined efficiency is inverse to intensity. Specifically, yields per Kg fertilizer applied always decreased when Kg/ha fertilizer applied increased, and the converse. Likewise yield per hectare decreased (correcting for fertilizer intensity) with increased hectares planted, and the converse. What appeared to be an increase in technological efficiency in the Netherlands and Italy was explicable by reductions in area cropped. These relations have obvious implications for the development (or not) of sustainability as human population growth continues.

 

HAZARD RATING WHITE PINE STANDS FOR VULNERABILITY TO PINE FALSE WEBWORM.  Albert E. Mayfield1, Douglas C. Allen and Russell D. Briggs, 1 Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, 133 Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, One Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     The pine false webworm, Acantholyda erythrocephala (L.) (Hymenoptera: Pamphiliidae) is a sawfly native to northern Europe and was first noted in the United States in 1925. The current outbreak of this defoliator in northern New York is unprecedented in extent and duration, and damage to white pine (Pinus strobus), a valuable timber species, is expected to continue as the outbreak expands. A hazard rating system is needed to identify stand and site characteristics that can be used to predict the likelihood of damage to white pine. Damage, in the form of percent tree mortality, percent defoliation, and radial growth loss, will be estimated in 25 infested white pine stands of varying composition, density, age, and defoliation history. Percent mortality and defoliation will be estimated annually on permanent plots in each stand. Radial growth will be measured from increment cores extracted in October 1999 from 20 trees in each stand, and losses estimated by comparing basal area increment (BAI) during defoliation with BAI from a pre-defoliation period. Soil horizons will be described for two soil pits in each stand and horizon samples will be analyzed for physical properties and nutrient content. Autumn foliage samples will be analyzed for nutrient content and related to soil chemistry to assess nutrient availability. Sawfly population density will be estimated twice annually in each stand by using adult emergence traps in May and by digging for pre-pupae in August. Multiple linear regression will be used to model relationships between the damage variables, stand and site variables, and insect population variables, and to predict damage given certain defoliation histories, insect densities, or stand and site characteristics.

 

A HYDROLOGICAL MODEL FOR THE WETLANDS OF BALA’AN K’AAX PROPOSED RESERVE, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO.  Gonzalo Merediz-Alonso1, Guy Baldassarre1, Juan Bezaury-Creel2, Jorge Carranza-S·nchez2, Angel Loreto-Viruel2, HÈctor Ariel RodrÌguez-Carrillo2, Carlos Mendoza-Polanco2, 1 Faculty of Environmental Forest Biology, 129 Illick Hall, SUNY, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse New York. 2 Amigos de Sian Ka’an A.C., Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

     A large Eastern Topographic Front with several flat reentrants characterizes the landscape in Bala’an K’aax Proposed Reserve in central Yucatan Peninsula. The main reentrant conforms a wetland covered by low semiperennial flooded forest (LSFF). Such a wetland is an important water contributor to the human population and wetlands within and around Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve (120 Km east). The relationship between topography, water flow, and vegetation covered was assessed using a Digital Elevation Model and a Flux Vector Decomposition Algorithm (UPDRAIN: Desmet & Govers 1996). The reentrant, covered by LSFF, concentrates most of the water flow as ephemeral channels. In higher and steeper lands water drainage is less canalized. However, field observations suggest that UPDRAIN model is better to describe early stages of Bala’an K’aax’s hydrologic process than late stages when floods are more uniform (less canalized).

EXAMINING ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY: THE EFFECT OF USAID POLICIES FOR NON-TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURE IN COSTA RICA.  Dawn R. Montanye and Charles A.S. Hall, Faculty of Environmental Science, 304 Illick, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     The debate over the relation of free trade to environmental health has focused on the possible environmental degradation associated with increased production in order to compete for and gain foreign exchange on the global market. It is generally considered that the major environmental damage resulting from this increased production is an indirect result of the production process, such as farm runoff or deforestation for crop and grazing lands. The direct environmental degradation inherent to the production process, such as the loss of soil nutrients or the decline in soil quality are rarely considered due to the presence of industrial inputs such as fertilizers that are used to compensate or substitute for the lost environmental services. Although such industrial inputs for crop production often become more available through freer trade, the question is whether efficiency of production is increasing or decreasing, and at what point the costs of production begin to offset the benefits. Poorer countries may experience economic decline and even a reversal of growth if industrial inputs must be increased substantially to compensate for this degradation. I examine these issues for Costa Rica. In 1980 the United States Agency for International Development instituted "export-led growth" strategies in Costa Rica, with a primary component being the introduction and enhancement of non-traditional agricultural production. The idea was that diversification into "non-traditional" crops, which included macadamia nuts, pineapples, melons and cut flowers, would be the main engine for long term sustainable growth. I evaluated the success of these policies by examining time series data of traditional measurements for GDP, non-traditional agricultural exports, trade balance and other measures of crop production from 1980 to the mid-1990’s. I also calculated efficiency, including production per unit input, yield per harvest area, and yield per total input for agricultural production. One of my primary conclusions is that production is related inversely to efficiency, hence increased trade facilitated by increased production decreases the efficiency of production. Thus, enhancing trade appears to decrease an important component of sustainability

 

ISOLATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF AQUAPORINS FROM GUARD CELLS OF NICOTIANA GLAUCA.  Nicole M. Nall and Lawrence B. Smart, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, 416 Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York, 13210.

     Guard cells (GC) are specialized plant cells that regulate gas exchange between the atmosphere and the leaf. Changes in turgor pressure within the GC result in the opening and closure of the stomata, the pore for gas exchange. It has been suggested that aquaporins may play a role in facilitating the transport of water across biological membranes. Aquaporins are membrane-intrinsic water channel proteins that are found in water-transport associated tissues of animals and plants. Our hypothesis is that water flux across guard cell membranes may be facilitated by aquaporins potentially in the plasma membrane, the tonoplast, or in both membranes. The objectives of this research were to develop a procedure for the isolation of plasma membranes from GC of Nicotiana glauca and to characterize the aquaporins present in those membranes. Purified guard cells were obtained from epidermal peels, and protein was extracted with the aid of a French Press. Two-phase partitioning, a technique to separate membrane components based on their chemical structure, was employed to purify plasma membranes from other intracellular membranes. Separation of proteins by size was accomplished by SDS-PAGE, and aquaporin protein was detected on immunoblots using a polyclonal antibody raised to the VM23 aquaporin from radish roots. A chemiluminescent immunodetection method revealed cross-reaction of the VM23 antibodies to proteins of 34, 35, 48, and 64 kDa molecular weight in GC plasma membranes. Only the 64-kDa band was also detected in plasma membranes purified from N. glauca mesophyll cells, while no bands were readily visible in protein purified from root tissue.

 

ISOLATION OF A cDNA CLONE FOR AN AQUAPORIN PROTEIN FROM GUARD CELLS OF NICOTIANA GLAUCA.  Jeffrey M. Roth and Lawrence B. Smart, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, 416 Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     Transport of water across membranes has classically been thought to occur by diffusion through the lipid portion of the membrane. Recently though, membrane proteins have been identified that have water channel capabilities and therefore have been named aquaporins. An aquaporin facilitates water flux across a membrane by forming a water-specific pore as an alternative to water diffusing through the lipid bilayer. Stomatal function is dependent upon water flux across the guard cell membranes to effect stomatal opening and closure. This research addresses the potential role that aquaporins may play in facilitating water transport in the guard cells of Nicotiana glauca. A cDNA clone encoding a putative aquaporin was isolated from a N. glauca guard cell cDNA library. This clone was sequenced and determined to represent only a partial length of the gene, thus 5’-RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends) PCR was utilized to obtain the remaining 5’-end of the gene. Further research, including analysis of gene expression and water channel activity, will contribute to determining the role of the gene product and whether it has water transport capabilities. Manipulation of aquaporin activity in guard cells may affect stomatal function and alter drought tolerance.

 

DEFINING ELEMENTS OF FEASIBILITY FOR WHITE-TAILED DEER FERTILITY CONTROL PROGRAMS.  Paulette A. Salmon and H. Brian Underwood, U.S.G.S. Biological Resources Division, Cooperative Park Studies Unit, Faculty of Environmental Science, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     Renewed interest in non-lethal methods for managing overabundant white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations has arisen in the wake of contraceptives that act through the immune system. No formal guidelines are available to managers for assessing the feasibility of fertility control programs, however. We examined several aspects of deer biology and site-specific factors that affect feasibility of fertility control programs. This study was conducted at Morristown National Historical Park, in north-central New Jersey. We characterized deer density and herd composition on a seasonal basis from 1996-98 using distance sampling methods. In addition, we compared deer encounter rates between land cover-types (i.e., forest and field) and between moving vehicles and those derived from bait stations. Finally, we marked a small sample of deer to assess heterogeneity in individual encounter rates. We found that feasibility, using available technology, is most affected by the scope of the program (i.e., 50 or 500 deer) and access to animals (i.e., cover-type utilization and behavior). The integration of these two factors determines the encounter rate with deer and the effort (i.e., people, time and money) required to achieve population objectives. Because not all elements of feasibility can be assessed beforehand, we developed simulation models to explore the following hypotheses: (1) scope decreases and feasibility improves to a diminishing point after implementation; (2) access to animals and feasibility declines as very accessible individuals are rendered infertile; and (3), feasibility erodes over time as encounter rates decline with lowered population sizes. Implications for using fertility control as a population reduction tool or a population maintenance tool are discussed.

 

LIMITATIONS ON COLONIZATION OF ZEBRA MUSSELS (Dreissena polymorpha) IN A HYPEREUTROPHIC LAKE.  Michael E. Spada, Michael Karagosian, Neil H. Ringler and James H. Johnson1.  Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, Room 242 Illick Hall SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13202, 1 US Geological Survey, Tunnison Laboratory of Aquatic Science, 3075 Gracie Road, Cortland, NY 13045 Ph.: (607) 753-4391.

     Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), exotic bivalves native to Europe, were first detected in Onondaga Lake in 1992. This hypereutrophic system lies in the Lake Ontario drainage basin. In 1997 zebra mussels ranged in density from 1200/m2 near the lake outlet to less than 1/m2 in the lake proper. Our study examined why densities of zebra mussels in the lake were so low. Veligers are relatively rare in the water column, perhaps reflecting a community dominated by planktivorous fishes. Substrate composition appears not to be limiting. Low dissolved oxygen levels (1.9 mg/l) during fall turnover should not directly impact settlement. We hypothesized that fish predation on adult mussels is important in limiting their distribution in Onondaga lake. To test this hypothesis we used wire mesh cages to exclude fish predators from zebra mussel colonies introduced from the Seneca River. Artificial substrates were used to measure the density of settling mussels throughout the season. Fish appeared to remove 95-99 % of adult zebra mussels by fish within 14 days after placement at four sampling sites in Onondaga Lake in 1997. None of the enclosed mussels were lost during this period; adults survived at least until sampling ceased in October 1997. Post-veliger settlement on artificial substrates exhibited a density gradient from Onondaga Lake to the confluence with the Seneca River. The density and abundance of macroinvertebrates in areas colonized by adult mussels was greater than in areas devoid of the mussels.

 

A PROPOSED STUDY OF THE IMPORTANCE OF HERBACEOUS VEGETATION IN MITIGATION OF SPRINGTIME NUTRIENT LOSS FROM NORTHERN HARDWOOD FORESTS.  Jack Tessier and Dudley Raynal, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, 350 Illick, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, 13210.

     Concern exists about the maintenance of high quality drinking water for the City of New York. One northern hardwood forest watershed that supplies such drinking water is the Neversink Watershed located in the Catskill Mountians. During the spring, effluent waters exhibit increased flux of nutrients due to snowmelt and enhanced mineralization. Some herbaceous plants are active at this time and may serve to retain some of the nutrients that would otherwise be lost from the system. The importance of herbs in nutrient retention compared to that of soil microbes is unresolved. Samples of herbaceous plants and soil microbes will be harvested weekly from the Neversink Watershed between the times of initial snowmelt and full canopy closure. The samples will be analyzed to determine changes in nitrogen and phosphorus pool sizes and thus uptake by herbs and microbes on a per hectare basis. Subsequently, dominant herb species will be grown in a microcosm/growth chamber experiment in which different treatments will receive growth solutions of increasing nitrogen and phosphorus concentration. This will be done to assess the extent of potential luxury uptake. Lastly, herbaceous nutrient uptake in the watershed and luxury uptake will be compared among species and functional effect groups (spring ephemerals, spring herbs, and evergreen herbs) to assess the importance of herb biodiversity in springtime ecosystem functioning. Results will contribute to our understanding of vegetative influences on water quality and may be important for management decisions.

 

DRIFT AS A TRANSPORT MECHANISM FOR LARVAL FISH FROM COASTAL WETLANDS TO ADJACENT WATERS.  Patricia F. Thompson, Darran L. Crabtree, and Neil H. Ringler, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, 242 Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     Numerous investigations of fish productivity in Lake Ontario have focused on the offshore environment and have excluded the productions of embayments and wetlands. The goal of our project is to assess the relative fish contributions of coastal wetlands to the adjacent waters of Lake Ontario. We hypothesize that these areas contribute energy via passive transport of ichthyofauna, active movements of juveniles from the wetland, and predators from adjacent systems feeding on wetland prey. At present, our research focuses on accurately estimating drifting larvae from the Irondequoit Wetland to Irondequoit Bay. Drift samples were collected at the mouth of Irondequoit Creek (the connection between the wetland and bay.) We constructed a multi-tiered drift sampler with three nets, which could be set at different depths in the water column (10-40.5cm, 100-130.5cm, and 200-230cm). Over the 1997 season we found a significant number of fish drifted at the surface, compared to the middle and bottom nets. Thus, we altered our drift sampler to sample at the surface with five nets. Fish tended to drift mainly during hours of total darkness and so the majority of our sampling was conducted at night. Three taxa were represented in our samples: common carp (Cyprinus carpio), centrachids, and other cyprinids. Analysis of the data has shown a correlation between the density of larvae drifting out of the wetland and the mean discharge. Two dates in particular, 6/17/97 and 7/9/97, had high mean discharges coupled with significant larval drift of larvae were collected. Over a period of six night hours on 6/17/97, an estimated 875 larvae were discharged from the wetland under a flow of 2 m3/sec; while six night hours on 7/9/97 yielded 3007 larvae drifting out of the wetland with a flow of 3.75 m3/sec. The density of fish leaving the wetland increased with the increased discharge (m3/sec.) However, the R2 value was only 0.3066. We hypothesize that the species composition and abundance of larval fishes in the drift are primarily a function of diversity and amount of adult spawners. Once larvae are present in the wetland, time of day and discharge control the transport to the bay. In 1998, two additional coastal wetlands on Lake Ontario will be sampled for comparison but our intensive effort on Irondequoit’s bay and wetland will continue. Our results suggest the Irondequoit wetland may be an important source of larval fish to the bay, but the significance of this export of fish energy can only be assessed with further research.

 

ECOLOGICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE REGENERATION OF BLACK ASH (FRAXINUS NIGRA) IN CENTRAL AND NORTHERN NEW YORK STATE.  Thomas J. Touchet and Dr. Robin W. Kimmerer, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, 350 Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     Black ash (Fraxinus nigra Marsh.) plays an essential role in the traditional economy and culture of Native Americans in New York State. Black ash is the sole source of ash "splints" for native basketry, which provides significant revenue for tribal peoples. As a result of over-harvesting and unknown ecological reasons, the supply and quality of black ash has declined on Native lands. Restoration of black ash stands in the Northeast has been hampered by a lack of knowledge of ecological and silvicultural requirements. Iroquois environmental leaders have requested the assistance of ESF in regenerating black ash. The goal of this research is to determine the ecological requirements for the regeneration of black ash, so this information can then be used to create a restoration and management plan. The field research consists of examining several key aspects of the life cycle of black ash to determine possible constraints in regeneration. The research entails two main components. The first component focuses on favorable and unfavorable seedling microsite habitats and their effect on germination, establishment and growth. The second component focuses on gap dynamics, survival of suppressed and intermediate trees, seed production, growth and survival of codominants and dominants. Four sites in central New York and two sites in northern New York served as the locations for the field study. Additional field experiments at McMahon Corners, Syracuse and the Onondaga Nation test varying treatments of light and hydrology on seedlings. Data analysis is currently in progress.

 

DOES IMMUNOCONTRACEPTION AFFECT RUTTING BEHAVIOR IN WHITE-TAILED DEER?  Frank D. Verret and H. Brian Underwood, U. S. G. S. Biological Resources Division, Cooperative Park Studies Unit, Faculty of Environmental Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     Interest in the application of fertility control for ungulate population management has been revived through the development of immunological contraceptive agents like porcine zona pellucida (PZP). However, studies documenting the use of PZP on captive white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have suggested that PZP may extend the breeding season as treated females continue to ovulate through 3 estrous cycles. We examined scraping behavior of free-ranging male white-tailed deer on Fire Island, a barrier island off the coast of Long Island, New York. We monitored scrapes in two populations of deer: one which has undergone several years of fertility control using PZP, and another which has not. A minimum of 30 scrapes was identified and monitored for activity each month from November, 1995 to March, 1996 (excluding January, 1996). Z-tests demonstrated no difference in the proportion of active scrapes between treatment and control populations for November (p=0.36) or December (p=0.82). However, highly significant differences (p<0.001) in the proportion of active scrapes emerged during February and March suggesting an extension of the breeding season for the treated population. This suggestion was further supported by detailed herd composition estimates which revealed a significant (p<0.05) increase in the number of neonatal fawns in the treated population during August and September. We attributed the lack of efficacy of PZP treatment to both technological difficulties of vaccine delivery, and to dose-related problems associated with polyestrous breeders like white-tailed deer. By using simulation models, we explore physiologic and demographic implications for herd management through immunological contraception.

 

TECHNIQUES FOR THE EXAMINATION OF DAILY GROWTH RINGS IN LARVAL FISH OTOLITH MICROSTRUCTURE.  Mark Wuenschel, advisor Robert Werner, Faculty of Environmental Forest Biology, 222 Illick Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     Age and growth of fish can be determined in several ways, such as direct observation of individual fish either held in confinement or marked and recaptured. Because most investigations involve wild fish captured at large, an anatomical approach based on aging individual fish from scales, bones, and other calcified structures that encode age information is usually necessary. Early investigators noticed contrasting bands in the body parts of temperate water fish similar to the annual rings found in a cross section of a tree trunk. These annular rings however, are only useful for aging fish one year of age or older. To age larval fish it is necessary to look at the daily changes in the microstructure of the otolith, which enable accurate age estimates in terms of days for species or life histories where such data would otherwise be unavailable. There are three pairs of otoliths in fish, the lapillus, sagitta, and asteriscus, and the shape and size of each varies greatly from species to species. In most teleosts the sagitta is the largest and most widely used in aging studies. Otoliths are composed of calcium carbonate in the form of aragonite that contains bands of organic material that run parallel to the outer edge of the otolith. An increment consists of a relatively broad light region of calcium carbonate and a narrow dark region of organic matrix when viewed using transmitted light. The formation of these bands is thought to be a function of an internal diurnal clock entrained by a 24 hour light-dark cycle. The daily periodicity of increment formation can be validated by chemically marking the otoliths. Fish are immersed in solutions containing chemicals that bind to calcium. The fish are then reared for a specified time, and the number of increments deposited between the chemical mark and the otolith edge is compared to the elapsed time in days. Tetracycline compounds, which localize in calcified structures and fluoresce yellow under ultraviolet light, have successfully been used in validation studies. Alizarin red stain has also been used to chemically mark otoliths, as well as to stain entire otoliths to enhance the increments. The interpretation of daily increments in larval fish otoliths can be subjective at times, and therefore many attempts have been made to enhance their appearance. Due to the birefringent nature of otoliths, polarized light microscopy often improves the appearance of daily increments. Image analysis instrumentation has also become an important tool in enhancing increments for ease of interpretation, accurate counts, and measurements.

 

SPATIAL VARIABILITY OF SOIL WATER CHEMISTRY IN EASTERN HEMLOCK STANDS OF THE CATSKILL MOUNTAINS, NEW YORK.  Thad E. Yorks, Donald J. Leopold, and Dudley J. Raynal, Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210.

     We are using tension lysimeters to sample soil water as part of a study on the effects of hemlock mortality on soil water chemistry. In each of four eastern hemlock stands in the Catskill Mountains, eight tension lysimeters were installed at each of two soil depths (15 and 50 cm) in August 1996. Soil water samples have been collected monthly since October 1996 and will be collected through August 1998. Soil water was collected from most lysimeters (> 57 of 64) in October, November, April (1997), and May. Samples were analyzed for concentrations of most major ions. Data were used in analyses of variance to determine if differences in soil water chemistry exist between soil depths or among hemlock stands. There were not consistent differences in soil water collected from shallow and deep lysimeters. However, there were several differences among hemlock stands in aluminum, chloride, nitrate, and potassium concentrations, while few or no differences for ammonium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and sulfate concentrations. Data were also used to determine sample sizes (number of lysimeters) necessary for estimating mean soil water chemical concentrations of specific confidence interval lengths in hemlock stands. Eight lysimeters per depth per site generally yielded confidence intervals of less than 10 ueq per liter for ammonium, chloride, and potassium, less than 20 ueq per liter for aluminum, magnesium, and sodium, and less than 50 ueq per liter for calcium, nitrate, and sulfate.


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Last modified July 19, 1999


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