The platforms sessions for the fifteenth annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research will be held in rooms located on the third floor of the Frank Porter Graham Student Union. Platform session have been organized according to discipline. Each presentation will last a maximum of 15 minutes. There is a 15-minute break in each session from 2:00-2:15.
Click on the title of the student's poster to read the abstract and see any other research contributors.
Disciplines are noted to the side of each presenter: Arts and Humanities (AH), Social Sciences (SS), and Natural Sciences (NS).
Platform Session I
Moderator: Dr. Hilary Lithgow, English & Comparative Literature
Student Union Room 3102
Abstract: When it comes to the issue of American support for Israel, scholars typically agree that a 'special relationship' exists between the two countries. For some, like John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, this 'special relationship' continues because of the clout possessed by the Israel lobby. On the other end of the spectrum, Mearsheimer and Walt's critics decry the Israel lobby thesis as shoddily constructed and exaggerated. My paper will first seek to tease out the complexities of the Israel lobby and assess the extent this thesis is valid. This investigation aims to ascertain whether alarm about Capitol Hill being the real, undivided Capital of Israel is justified or not. Second, assuming the Israel lobby thesis holds true, not only is America's role as an honest broker further undermined, the question then arises about how much of a challenge is the Israel lobby to a final peace settlement. Ultimately, my paper's two-pronged thrust seeks a more nuanced and contextualized appreciation of lobbying and American foreign policy.
Abstract: Naturalization is a process common in both political and ecological discourse, the first contextualized by civic or national identity and the second contextualized by environmental sustainability. Although these are two seemingly disparate contexts for the process of naturalization, each invokes questions of identity, space, and survival. The schism between these two definitions can be collapsed through an examination of how transnational and multicultural communities are able to forge identities, reclaim space, and survive in the twentieth-century United States despite social marginalization on the basis of sexism and xenophobia. This intersection is illustrated in both Julie Otsuka's The Buddha in the Attic and Alice Walker's Meridian?the first depicting the Japanese-American communities of the Western United States during the early 1900s, and the second depicting the African-American communities of the Southeastern United States during the 1960s and 1970s. Through a comparison of these works, I show that the process of political naturalization is coterminous and synchronous to the process of adjusting to the natural landscapes of North America. Specifically, I examine how these novels represent maternity to convey the changing demands of political and ecological naturalization within multi-generational families.
Abstract: For eighteen years, from 1993 through the end of 2010, Marc Basnight was the President Pro Tem of the North Carolina State Senate. During this period, Senator Basnight acted as a power-wielder, exerting influence on the entirety of government operations within the Tar Heel State. Just as important as his contributions to the state at large, however, came Senator Basnight?s focus on securing improvements to the quality of life in his rural northeastern senate district. Thus, in this presentation, I examine the extraordinary story of Marc Basnight. In doing so, I will show how a poorly educated small-town son of the Coast rose to became one of the most influential persons in the state. Further, I will address how Senator Basnight never neglected to use this newfound status to better Northeast North Carolina, and how, in the face of more expensive and centralized legislative elections, Basnight built a political force, perhaps the state?s last, within North Carolina.
Undergraduate Co-Authors: Meg VanDeusen
Abstract: We argue that Pieter Hugo?s photographic series Nollywood, 2008 - 2009, creates a complex portrait of 21st century Nigeria by highlighting the realities of daily life not illustrated in Nigerian films from which it is modeled. We focus our analysis on the image of Emeka Onu, which comments on the politicized nature of Nigeria?s film and crude oil industries. In Nigeria, there exists a wealthy social elite that developed, in part, through the growth of the oil industry. However, 92.4% of the population lives on less than $2 a day. Another Nigerian sector, ?Nollywood,? the nation?s film business and the third largest movie industry globally, produces films that do not address the nation?s poverty. It appears, nonetheless, in Hugo?s photographic series. Drawing on the vast literature on Nollywood, oil studies, and photography, we offer a careful, visual analysis of various photos from this series. We have identified several photographic conventions that emphasize the spectacle of wealth and consumption, including high gloss images and the poses of the actors which recall traditional portraiture representing social stature. These are juxtaposed with grotesque imagery and props that contradict this message of wealth. We therefore argue these photos highlight the tensions of modern Nigerian culture, caught between two distinct economies focused around mass consumption: the idealized economy of wealth in Nollywood films and the economies of those who consume the movies themselves.
Abstract: Stark contrasts between the modest description of Mr. Darcy?s Pemberley estate in Jane Austen?s Pride & Prejudice and grandiose depictions in film adaptations prompted the question: Have film adaptations increasingly exaggerated levels of grandeur, thereby distorting viewers? vision of Pemberley and the British class system? Review of scholarly articles and analysis of textual descriptions and films, preceded research at Renishaw Hall, Sudbury Hall, Lyme Park and Chatsworth in England. Tour guides and managers provided insight into the history and prestige of each estate. Screenwriter Fay Weldon and director Simon Langton discussed production and how that influenced film location. Estate grandeur was measured through quantitative data (i.e. number of servants and acreage) and qualitative observation (i.e. owner title and d?cor). Data showed that subsequent film adaptations presented increasingly grand versions of Pemberley, with Chatsworth presenting the grandest version. Possible reasons for increasing grandeur include: 1) mass media?s portrayal of wealth to an increasingly materialistic audience; 2) shock effect to convey disparities between classes; and 3) filming restriction due to estate availability and proximity. Examining the misrepresentation of Pemberley deepens understanding of Austen?s message in textual description and thematic depiction of class structure.
Abstract: During the early 20th century, over half of African-American women who participated in wage labor were in domestic service. These women were at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder due to their race and gender, and the low pay and status of their work. However, in 1955 black female domestic workers were key participants in one of the early successes of the Civil Rights movement, the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Thus, I began this project with a simple question: How did these women?s conditions and activism evolve over these few decades, leading to a place of greater empowerment? First, I drew upon my research and writing from a previous class to establish the conditions in which these women labored. I argue that long hours, low wages and poor treatment from employers were the norm. Then, I argue that domestic workers developed a variety of strategies for resisting certain conditions and empowering themselves. In the 1920s, individual strategies like migration emerged. In the 1930s, domestic workers used the new political environment to grow increasingly public and collective strategies such as labor unions. During WWII, many black women left domestic work as defense industries opened up, but the war also helped to spread black women?s activism beyond just labor issues. The goal of this project is to expound on the significance of these women?s lives and activism, and to address how they laid the groundwork for prominent 20th century activism such as the Civil Right Movement.
Abstract: Through the method of the documentary film I investigated the importance of the public pool to the diversity of members of a community (Greensboro, North Carolina) seeking to define the roles of water as a public space. I focused my lens on the architecture of pools and the water itself as well as the community members, diverse in age, race, ethnicity, economic status and psychical ability, who frequented these spaces. Through direct observational cinema as well as documented interviews I collected over 30 hours of footage that I am still editing into my final film. My footage uncovered the flexibility and immense power of the water as a testing ground for relations between self and other and, to a greater degree the ability of the water to foster personal growth. For those most frequent swimmers whom I interviewed most, public access to an aquatic space was life changing and even life-saving. In water, we find a physical and psychological space to challenge ourselves to overcome what defines and limits on dry land. I have, at this point, compiled several segments that set the aesthetic, tone, and mode of representation I seek to create in the film. I navigate my own presence and privilege as an image maker through an intimate and performative mode of filmmaking that explores issues in a way that in which my subjective vantage point is rendered very present through the beauty I find in these spaces and people and my own attempts to interact with both.
Platform Session II
Moderator: Dr. Barbara Friedman, Journalism & Mass Communication
Student Union Room 3203
Abstract: In the past few decades, watersheds have become a standard unit of resource management and a familiar topic among artists. Many contemporary writers exhibit what has been called modern watershed consciousness, a form of awareness that recognizes interdependencies between humans and nonhumans within and among watersheds. William Wordsworth and Henry David Thoreau, two Romantic writers of the nineteenth century, anticipated, were actively engaged in, and continue to be instrumental to the making of modern watershed consciousness. Although both Wordsworth and Thoreau mostly confined themselves to regional geographies, they occupied a wide terrain of consciousness and encouraged watershed stewardship at a global scale. In England, Wordsworth strived to integrate the interests of the environment, economics, and equity while campaigning against the incursion of railways in his native watershed during the mid-1840s. Operating under a similar philosophy and aspiring to be a kind of American Wordsworth, Thoreau opposed water extraction schemes in his own region and invited a global audience to share in his visions of watershed recovery and universal interconnectedness. Within the field of environmental literary criticism, or ecocriticism, reexamining Wordsworth and Thoreau as writers who helped formulate modern watershed consciousness allows for a broader framework to interpret their legacies and learn from their examples.
Abstract: Irish traditional (trad) music is important to daily life, with tunes that have been passed down through generations. This constantly-evolving tradition is woven into the country?s history, and frequent sessions (informal performances) in close-knit communities keep the vibrant music alive. As a flute performance major, most of my training has been in classical settings, but I eagerly absorb musical influences from varied sources. My goals were 1.) To take trad flute lessons, hoping to learn what teachers consider essential to impart 2.) To visit exhibits in museums and community culture centers, looking for connections between music and history 3.) To listen to sessions in uniquely Irish settings such as culture centers and local pubs in assorted counties, aiming to discover whether embellishments and interpretation of tunes vary by region 4.) To explore ways in which Irish and classical flute methods intersect and diverge, hoping to add new depth to my classical playing. My time in Ireland made me fully aware of how powerful its music is, despite its apparent simplicity. The intuition and originality of individual players produce vital music characterized by a joy and abandon in the quick tunes that contrast with the aching depth of the slow airs. My continuing goals include imbuing my classical playing with similar emotional accessibility, connecting more closely to the pieces I study, and conveying that connection to an audience.
Abstract: On May 8th, 2012, North Carolina Amendment One (NC-1) was passed. NC 1 defines marriage as solely between a man and woman and denies legal recognition for any type of domestic union. This qualitative content analysis attempts to examine how localized mass media, specifically North Carolina county newspapers, framed the issue of same-sex marriage in news coverage. This research asks: how did three politically diverse North Carolina newspapers frame the issue of same-sex marriage in the period leading up to passage of Amendment One. This study of news coverage of same-sex marriage finds that there are two dominant and competing frames: morality and equality. Additionally, this study also finds that the news frames of same-sex marriage have been more nuanced, existing alongside the morality and equality frames. This research argues that the framing of the same-sex marriage debate invoked more nuanced themes such as the support of children, competing claims of harm, and separation of government power. Furthermore, same-sex marriage was also presented as ?threat? and ?in jeopardy? frames in news coverage of the same-sex marriage debate; that is, same-sex marriage is framed as a ?threat? to the heterosexual marriage institution, while at the same time the institution of marriage is also ?in jeopardy? or on the verge of collapse. This study seeks to deepen our understandings of the complex relationship between public opinion, political policy, and news media.
Abstract: Autonomy is colloquially understood as a right of self-governance and paternalism is understood to be a violation of autonomy for the benefit of the coerced. These common definitions no longer reflect the origin of the concepts; Kant described autonomy as an essential part of the will of a rational agent. This property, along with its negatively and positively free characteristics, is what binds individuals to moral duties. However, this explanation does not clearly capture concerns regarding violation of autonomy and is far too theoretical to be practical. Instead, I purpose that we see autonomy as a property of a moral agent that allows the agent to rationally set their own ends. Autonomy so defined is not a right but provides the basis for certain rights such as freedom. Paternalism should also be understood independently of autonomy for it can either be a coercive action that interferes with autonomy or a coercive action that interferes with liberty. Applying these concepts to modern medicine and cases of ethical dilemma, I find that physicians are sometimes justified in paternalistic action when it involves a violation of liberty or freedom but are not justified in violating autonomy.
Abstract: My Senior Honors Thesis seeks to introduce women cartoonists into the history of comics through biographical research. Women from the very beginning have played an integral role in the development of the art and narrative form of American comics and cartoons. Female cartoonists through their active participation shaped the culture of both comics and America starting with their role in the success of the women's suffrage movement in the late 19th and early 20th century. Female cartoonists also made significant contributions to the development and understanding of the comic as a valid albeit undervalued art genre. In illustrating the culture the women cartoonists observed around them, as well as what they wished to see happen, the women cartoonists were able to document and influence the times in which they lived. It includes the culture of "the New Woman" feminism of the 19th century; the World War II years; and the second wave feminism of the 1970s. The restructuring of gender roles of the 1950s led to the erasing and rewriting of women's place in the history of comics. This unfortunately has led to the mistaken notion that women in comics are a recent trend. On the contrary, my thesis shows that comics has never been a "boys' club." Funding for the thesis is supported by both the SURF and the Boyatt Awards in 2013.
Platform Session III
Moderator: Dr. Mark Schoenfisch, Chemistry
Student Union Room 3205
Abstract: Atherosclerosis is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and is responsible for nearly 75% of cardiovascular related deaths. A primary contributing factor to atherosclerosis formation is a diet rich in fat and cholesterol. Work in the Mackman lab has provided support for the hypothesis that a form of LDL (oxLDL) induces a hypercoagulable state by up-regulating a protein Tissue Factor (TF). The goal of my SURF study was to determine the regulatory pathways by which oxLDL leads to induction of TF gene expression in monocytic cells. A series of 24-hour time courses were performed on human THP-1 cells (human leukemia monocytic cells) to determine the increase in TF expression. Bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was used as a positive control since the pathways that lead to the induction of TF gene expression in monocytes are well established. The transcription factors involved include NF-KB, AP1 and Egr-1. As expected from previous studies, LPS induced a transient increase in TF mRNA expression with a peak at 6 hours. OxLDL stimulated a time dependent increase in TF mRNA expression that peaked at 24 hours. Although both LPS and oxLDL activated the TLR4 receptor, the differences in the kinetics of TF mRNA expression with the two agonists suggest that oxLDL induces TF gene expression via different pathways.
Abstract: Histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) are critical to many essential biological processes, including gene transcription and DNA repair, by altering the physical structure of chromatin and serving as docking sites for reader proteins. JMJD2a is a unique protein with the ability to both erase and read histone PTMs. It has been shown that as a histone demethylase, JMJD2a removes di- and tri-methylation from lysines 9 and 36 on the histone H3 tail (H3K9me2/3 and H3K36me2/3). As a reader, JMJD2a binds tri-methylated lysine 4 on the histone H3 tail (H3K4me3) and di- and tri-methylated lysine 20 on the histone H4 tail (H4K20me2/3) through its double Tudor domain (dTd). In this presentation, I will show the tumor suppressor p53 as the first non-histone target of JMJD2a. When cellular processes malfunction, p53 levels within the cell increase exponentially and initiate a multitude of regulatory pathways, including apoptosis. In 50 percent of all cancers, p53 is either mutated or deleted. Peptide micro-array, in-solution peptide pulldown, and protein-peptide immunoprecipitation all suggest that the JMJD2a, via its dTd, binds p53 at di-methylated lysine 382 (p53K382me2), a mark that increases upon DNA damage. This novel interaction implicates the demethylase JMJD2a in p53 biology.
Abstract: Sry-box containing (Sox) factors are versatile regulators of cell fate and proliferation in a wide range of tissues, and recent research has demonstrated that Sox4 is expressed in the stem cell zone of the small intestinal epithelium. To examine the mechanistic role of Sox4 in the epithelium, we utilize a conditional knockout mouse model to demonstrate that intestinal epithelial-specific loss of Sox4 leads to an increase in markers of proliferation and downstream targets of the Wnt pathway. Sox4 knockout animals exhibit intestinal crypt hyperplasia in vivo, which is consistent with constitutively active Wnt signaling. We also observed secretory lineage allocation defects in the intestines of Sox4 knockout animals, which exhibit an increase in Paneth cell numbers and a decrease in enteroendocrine cells relative to wild type controls. Together, these results suggest that Sox4 contributes to maintaining the balance of proliferation and differentiation in the intestinal epithelium, and plays a role in the regulation of intestinal stem cells. In the tumor context, Sox4 may be playing an alternate role by promoting Epithelial-Mesenchymal-Transition in a mouse model of colorectal cancer. Preliminary data suggests Sox4 is aberrantly activated in tumors and is promoting an EMT program that may facilitate tumor progression and metastasis.
Abstract: The effects of chronic pain are debilitating and long-lasting, which make traditional tools like pharmaceuticals impractical and ineffective. One alternative treatment is vibratory stimulation to promote pain gating ? decreased pain in the presence of innocuous tactile stimuli. However, evidence concerning the parameters to maximize pain modulation is contradictory. Earlier work has shown that vibration can even increase pain in those who sensitize rapidly to repetitive heat stimuli, suggesting that the application of vibration to increasing pain can exacerbate the change (Hollins, Harper & Maixner, 2011). The present study changed the force of a pressure stimulus to elicit large changes in pain and selectively applied vibration while subjects reported their pain as increasing or decreasing. Although the vibration condition did not cause a change in overall pain, the presence of vibration attenuated the pain fluctuations. A similar phenomenon was found when runs were grouped by order: earlier runs created smaller increases and decreases of pain. These findings suggest that offset analgesia is related to vibratory pain gating and sensitization. The lack of difference in pain between vibration paradigms suggests that vibratory hyperalgesia is a result of a central process unrelated to changes in pain intensity. Nevertheless, the change in fluctuations found with vibration and sensitization may provide a new parameter for effective vibratory pain modulation.
Abstract: Herpes Simplex Virus-1 (HSV-1) is a valuable model for eukaryotic DNA replication as the replication machinery consists of only seven viral proteins and they can be all purified from insect cells. This includes the origin-binding protein UL9, which acts as a DNA helicase as well as a DNA-dependent NTPase. The UL9 binding ability to DNA, both alone and in protein complexes, was visualized through electron microscopy. In this study, we showed that UL9 binds to 74% of the DNA molecules containing the minimal HSV-1 origin of replication, in presence of single-strand binding protein, ICP8. Furthermore, addition of ATP leads to the changes in the structure of the supertwisted DNA. The optimization of the binding conditions at the replication origin, prior to the addition of the complete set of replication proteins will provide the first step in the reconstruction of HSV-1 replication.
Abstract: Most acrylic bone cement formulations used in total joint replacements utilize inorganic contrast agents to achieve radiopacity and monitor healing. The incompatibility between polymeric and inorganic phases detrimentally affects mechanical, physical, and thermal properties of the bone cements. To rectify these drawbacks, an inherently radiopaque poly(methyl methacrylate)-based polymer was developed. To achieve this, an iodine-containing monomer, 3-iodi-2,2-bis(iodomethyl) propyl methacrylate (IIPMA) was synthesized and copolymerized with methyl methacrylate (MMA). Suspension polymerization was employed to synthesize beads of the iodine-containing copolymer, specifically block copolymers, that are of easily tunable molecular weights (from 100,000 to 500,000 g/mol) and easily scalable iodine content (7% to 20 wt. % iodine). The copolymerized microspheres had radii of 40-60 μm and a particle PDI less than 0.1, allowing them to be directly utilized as the powder portion of the bone cement. Tensile strength of IIPMA-based bone cement was determined to be appreciably improved. Continued characterization of bone cement will include further determination of mechanical properties, cytotoxicity, and radiopacity.
Abstract: Hyperbranched polyesters were synthesized and then functionalized to form S-nitrosothiol-modified organo-soluble polyester and porous polyester foams with large nitric oxide (NO) loadings. Functionalization of exterior hydroxyl groups with acryloyl chloride followed by a thiol-ene click reaction resulted in the synthesis of thiol-modified hyperbranched polyesters. S-nitrosothiol NO donors were formed on the resulting thiol-modified hyperbranched polyester. Organo-soluble hyperbranched polyesters exhibited NO storage of ~2.0 ?mol/mg. Tunable NO release (maximum NO flux 450?20,235 ppb/mg and half-life 0.12-1.80 h) was demonstrated by utilizing different triggers (thermal, light, and reducing agent) for the decomposition of S-nitrosothiols. Porous S-nitrosothiol-modified polyester foams were formed in-situ by utilizing the oxidative nature of nitrous acid for disulfide bonds crosslinking between thiol-modified hyperbranched polyesters with dinitrogen trioxide as the blowing agent. The NO-releasing foams showed longer NO release (half-life ~5.1 h). These results extend the range and scope of NO-releasing macromolecular scaffolds by designing biodegradable scaffolds with large NO loadings and porous structures for various biomedical applications; for example, tissues engineering and wound dressing.
Abstract: Acoustic Angiography is a new ultrasound imaging modality that makes use of dual frequency transmit and receive transducers to generate high-resolution images of vasculature. Previous studies have demonstrated the use of ultrasound in early detection of tumor response to radiation therapy and other preliminary studies have shown that acoustic angiography could be a viable technique to measure early tumor response. This study provides more evidence to support the use of acoustic angiography as a metric for early tumor response. 10 rats were implanted with FSA tumors tissue and 5 rats with tumors less than 1cm were selected to be treated with broad beam radiation. After the initial radiation treatment, all 10 rats were imaged every two days with acoustic angiography for three weeks. Analysis of the tumor perfusion along with tumor volume showed that after the first few days of treatment, there was no statistically significant difference between the tumor volume and tumor perfusion metrics. However, toward the end of the 3 weeks of imaging, the tumor perfusion metric seems to show a greater change between control and treated rats than the tumor volume metric. This suggests that tumor perfusion might be a more reliable metric to detect early changes in tumor response to radiation treatments.
Platform Session IV
Moderator: Dr. John Bruno, Biology
Student Union Room 3206A
Undergraduate Co-Authors: Cameron Smith, Jessica Smith, Amberli Young, Tiffany Young, John Burrows, Eric Scheier
Abstract: Hybrid microgrid systems are an emerging tool for rural electrification. This study uses Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to compare the environmental impacts of a diesel, PV, wind, hybrid microgrid on the island of Koh Jig, Thailand with the electrification alternatives of grid extension and home diesel generators. The impact categories evaluated are: acidification potential (kg SO2 eq), global warming potential (kg CO2 eq), human toxicity potential (kg 1,4 DCB eq), and abiotic resource depletion potential (kg Sb eq). The results show that the microgrid system has the lowest global warming, human toxicity, and abiotic resource depletion potentials of all three scenarios. The use phase of the diesel generator and the extraction of copper are shown to significantly contribute to the microgrid?s environmental impact. The relative environmental impact of the grid extension scenario is found to be proportional to the distance required for grid extension. Across all impact categories, the impacts from the home diesel generators are the largest. Sensitivity analyses show that maximizing the renewable energy fraction does not necessarily produce a more environmentally sustainable electrification scenario and that the diesel generator provides versatility to the system. While the environmental benefit of the microgrid increases as the installation community becomes more isolated, the choice of electrification scenario requires assigning relative importance each impact category.
Abstract: The peacock mantis shrimp uses dactyl clubs (i.e. fingers) to punch its victims with 1500N of force, often dismembering them. Upon impact, water is forced away so quickly that cavitation bubbles are formed and immediately collapse, creating a second shockwave that generates heat and light. The mystery of the mantis shrimp lies not only in the ability of the animal to store enough energy to deliver the punch and optimize the transfer from elastic to kinetic energy, but also in its ability to resist the impact of and survive its own strike. Thus, the primary site of elastic energy storage is located in highly mineralized internal structures of the raptorial appendage called ventral bars. These bars behave as Hookean springs and amplify power output. To resist damage, the telson, abdominal plate struck in ritualized fighting, behaves as an energy absorbing mechanism with a densely mineralized center surrounded by an area of lower mineralization. This pattern reflects an inelastic structure that allows for the telson to dissipate 69% of impact energy. The mantis shrimp is one of the most powerful and damage-resistant animals. By studying the attack mechanism and the mineralization patterns and structures that allow the shrimp to survive the impact and shockwave, researchers can apply these structures to modern architecture and the development of body armor using the properties of the mantis shrimp?s limbs.
Abstract: Sedimentation has been identified as a factor that can limit oyster reef restoration success. Previous field studies have demonstrated that high relief reefs are more productive and resilient to disturbance than low relief reefs, in part because increasing the reef height can reduce sedimentation. In this study we investigated the relationship between initial reef height and reef survival using a simple model. The model, based on Jordan-Cooley et al. (2011), contains three coupled differential equations that describe changes in oyster volume, sediment volume, and shell volume per unit area of reef with time. In our study, the terms for oyster growth, sediment deposition, and erosion were modified from the Jordan-Cooley model to better represent these processes. A sensitivity analysis was then performed to investigate the ways in which parameters such as flow speed, sediment grain size, and ambient food concentration affect model results. Our results suggest that the shape of the sediment concentration profile in the water column relative to the initial reef height is important for determining whether a reef will survive. Parameters that describe oyster growth will control the productivity of the reef and the final reef height, if the reef does survive. Therefore, our study creates a tool that can be used to predict the relative success of restored oyster reefs under different environmental conditions and the impact of different physical parameters on reef restoration success.
Undergraduate Co-Authors: Shannon Steel, Billy Gerhard
Abstract: Tourism and residential population growth may compromise human and ecosystem health in the Gal?pagos Islands, but human impacts are not well understood. This research provided a baseline characterization of water quality on one of the inhabited islands of the Gal?pagos, named San Crist?bal. Tap water was analyzed for Escherichia coli and total coliforms using the IDEXX Colilert-18 kit and Enterococcus levels in recreational water were measured using the IDEXX Enterolert kit. Bacterial concentrations were geo-located and mapped to compare locations of contamination, known water infrastructure, and different types of human activity. For drinking water, lower levels of contamination were observed at individual houses than was observed at the source water and the water treatment plant. This reflects the fact that treatment of drinking water was displaced to the households as a result of construction at the treatment plant. Levels of Enterococcus in recreational water were compared between beaches with different types of human usage to better understand the impact of human activities on water quality. These results revealed higher Enterococcus concentrations near sites subjected to wastewater discharge or urbanization. This research provides insight into how humans impact their environment in an area where economic and developmental demands compete with environmental and public health concerns.
Abstract: Proteorhodopsins (PR) are retinal-binding membrane proteins that may act as light-driven proton pumps to generate energy that can be used in metabolism and growth. Originally characterized in prokaryotes, bacteria-like PR gene homologs have recently been identified in many marine protists, and were likely acquired through lateral gene transfer. One eukaryotic species that contains rhodopsins is the photosynthetic pennate diatom Pseudo-nitzschia granii, isolated from Fe-limited waters in the NE Pacific Ocean. Evidence suggests these proteins are expressed in P. granii during iron-limiting conditions to function in the formation of ATP when the photosynthetic machinery, which is dependent upon iron availability, is compromised. The objective of this study was to elucidate the environmental conditions that result in an up-regulation of the P. granii rhodopsin gene (RHO). Cultures of P. granii were acclimated to a matrix of light and iron growth conditions. From these cultures, RNA was extracted and transcript copies of RHO were quantified using quantitative PCR. We anticipate that P. granii RHO will be up-regulated in cells grown under low iron treatments, and that light availability may also influence expression patterns. Our findings will provide further insight into how photosynthetic diatoms cope with iron-limited environments as well as into the precise function of rhodopsins in photosynthetic eukaryotes.
Abstract: Temporary pond ecosystems are bodies of water that are dry for part of the year. This creates a unique aquatic habitat without fish. Instead, amphibians, such as frogs and newts, dominate the food web, which allows for interesting predator-prey interactions. There are two categories of the effects of these interactions: lethal and non-lethal. Lethal or consumptive effects (CEs) involve predator killing prey, reducing prey population. Non-lethal or nonconsumptive effects (NCEs) are behavioral shifts in the prey population, including a change in microhabitat and activity level. While there exist some studies on the NCEs of predation in temporary ponds, they ignore environmental shifts such as increases in turbidity, i.e. the amount of particles suspended in water. To understand the mechanisms that affect predation, I analyze scholarly journal articles and popular sources to determine the effect that turbidity has on the predation of Pine Barrens tree frogs by red-spotted newts. I suggest that turbidity affects the NCEs by changing activity level and location of Pine Barrens tree frog larvae within the ecosystem. Also, it reduces the CEs associated with this relationship by decreasing visibility, leading to fewer encounters and kills. This is vital to understanding how the environment affects organisms living in this habitat, and how, in turn, organisms affect each other. It also adds to the current data about biodiversity preservation of a relatively unexplored ecosystem.
Platform Session V
Moderator: Dr. Isaac Unah, Political Science
Student Union Room 3206B
Abstract: Halh Mongolian possesses an unnatural system of consonant-vowel interaction. Harmony among vowels is based on Advanced Tongue Root (ATR) vowel classes; vocalic ATR harmony is also proposed to govern regular variation between velar and uvular consonants, which can be grouped in terms of a [+/-high] feature. Under a prevailing view of phonological specification wherein consonants do not possess the +/-ATR feature, Halh consonant-vowel (C-V) harmony is difficult to describe in terms of phonetic motivation, and can be considered unnatural. Halh?s ancestor Old Mongolian (OM) possessed a front-back, rather than ATR, vowel harmony as well as velar-uvular consonant variation; in contrast to Halh, this form of C-V interaction is common, well-studied and easy to motivate theoretically. The unnaturalness of Halh becomes especially interesting in light of its origins in a more natural system; this study examined Old Mongolian data from 1200-1600 c.e. and successfully characterized irregularities in OM C-V interaction that may have thus far been overlooked. Irregularities identified in OM were then experimentally compared to acoustically analyzed modern Halh speech. In ongoing analysis, the ability of irregularity in Old Mongolian to predict irregularity in Halh is considered as an empirical approach to the broader question of whether irregularity in the natural phonological system of Old Mongolian helps account for transition to the unnatural system of Halh.
Abstract: At the end of the 1960s, as the "classical" civil rights movement was fading out, college campuses across the nation saw an explosion of activism from a new generation of black students. From San Francisco State to Howard in Washington, D.C., students called for higher education that was open, inclusive, relevant, and culturally aware. Historians refer to this period as the black campus movement. This project looks at the black campus movement at three North Carolina campuses: Duke University, an elite private institution; UNC Chapel Hill, the state's flagship public university; and North Carolina A&T, the leading black college in the state. Using public demands and demonstrations that included building takeovers, labor strikes, marches, and more, small minority groups reshaped how each of these universities operated. At its heart, this project is the narrative of how that process occurred. Beyond that, it raises questions about how and why institutions change and what obligations those institutions has to its students.
Abstract: This paper investigates post-study inclinations of Malaysian students currently studying in the United States after they complete their education in the US the concept of a push-and-pull model. Students studying abroad in host countries are thought to be a source of brain drain among developing countries. In a survey administered throughout the course of this research, respondents were asked if they are inclined to return to Malaysia immediately, remain in the United States temporarily or remain in the United States permanently after completing their studies. It is found that more than half of the respondents are more inclined to remain in the United States either temporarily or permanently. Also, students who are scholars sponsored by various institutions in Malaysia are more inclined to return to Malaysia immediately suggesting that scholarship programs are viable policy tools to counter the brain drain phenomenon in Malaysia. Interestingly, students who did not attend public national schools in Malaysia are more inclined to remain in the United States begging the question if the structure of Malaysia?s political economy has an even greater influence on Malaysia?s brain drain predicament than previously thought in the literature. Lastly, using a simulation method, it is found that awarding students with US permanent residence will significantly increase the proportion of students who will be more inclined to remain in the US permanently.
Abstract: Theory suggests that the emotion of gratitude distinctively fosters a high-quality relationship by promoting positive connections between dyad members (Algoe et al., 2008). The current research examines one aspect of this theory by assessing whether positive emotions experienced from expressing gratitude are dependent on both the quality of the expression and the quality of the response to that expression. During a laboratory-based behavior task, members of romantic relationships expressed gratitude toward one another. Subsequently, the expresser?s praising behavior and the target?s behavioral response (specifically empathy, validation, and humility) were coded. Multilevel modeling analyses revealed a significant interaction such that high-quality praising behavior paired with high-quality humble responses were predictive of the highest levels of positive emotions experienced by the expresser. These findings suggest that, in close relationships, the beneficial effects of gratitude are dependent on a dyadic process in which the actions and responses of both the grateful person and the original benefactor must be considered.
Abstract: Previous research has shown that public opinion has an effect on the voting of Supreme Court justices, but this research aimed to add to this knowledge by looking more specifically at cases in which justices seem to vote against their typical ideological leanings. For the quantitative portion of this paper, regression analysis established a relationship between public opinion and Supreme Court justice votes, both in the aggregate and for seven liberal and six conservative justices individually. In addition, justices appear to respond less strongly to public opinion when the Court is more polarized. For the qualitative portion, Harry Blackmun?s papers were analyzed for cases in which he appeared to ?switch.? In Planned Parenthood v. Danforth (and the related Roe v. Wade), he discussed how his vote was guided by his hopes for the future of the country, indicating that he was affected by public opinion. Thurgood Marshall, on the other hand, has discussed the importance of neutrality on the Court, while Antonin Scalia believes that justices should respond even more to the public than they do now. This research has implications in American politics because it indicates that the public can affect the highest court in the United States.
Abstract: I traveled to Franklin, NC during the summer of 2013 in order to visit with individuals who were willing to talk to me about their time in their hometown of Franklin and share with me their old family photographs. This included employees at the Macon County Historical Society, librarians at the Macon County Public Library, and various members of the community. Through these meetings, I was able to learn about several aspects of the town?s African American history and I was able to scan at least 500 photographs, which ranged from the 1820s to the 1980s. For my project, I created an online digital collection that would focus on preserving the older and more damaged photos from the 1860s to the 1940s and that would also highlight the content from the interviews that I held. Today, the digital collection can be found on FranklinMemories.com.
Abstract: Perceptions of water and water quality are emerging as one of the leading health and environmental issues in developing countries. Although most nations have a high dependency on water for life, issues arise when we compare the role of the government and the role of the community in providing clean water for everyday use. Polemical still is the feeling of autonomy that individuals feel they have in providing clean water for themselves and their families. In San Miguel, a rural community in Panama, there are varying degrees of concern and understanding of the quality of water. Ultimately, I will answer the following question: Does gender and the way an individual perceives water influence sentiments towards control of water and maintenance of water systems? In answering this question, I will address the role of the local government in providing clean water. Because water infrastructure is individualized in San Miguel, the family structure and gender roles play a large part in water provisions. The intersectionality of any of these roles influences a person?s relationship with water management and affects their ability and the perception of their ability to provide clean water for their family. Throughout this discussion, I will incorporate man of the projects and experiences that I had while doing water testing in Panama.