College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - Interdisciplinary Ecology
Population structure and shelter characteristics of Hellbender salamanders in an eastern Tennessee stream
Hellbenders are large salamanders that lives in cool, mountain streams in the eastern US. Many populations have declined. Fortunately, several good populations remain in forested areas. Little River, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is known for the amount of young Hellbenders, called larvae, that live there. Scientific knowledge about larval Hellbenders in the wild is scarce, hindering conservation. My research goal was to better understand the Little River Hellbender population over time, and to document the types and sizes of shelter of larvae. I worked with researchers from the Knoxville Zoo and Lee University in Tennessee to examine ten years of Hellbender data. We determined that Hellbenders were reproducing and surviving. The population seemed at low risk for immediate problems. Larval Hellbenders utilized rocks for shelter, much like their older counterparts, but the shelters were smaller on average. All Hellbenders lived under rocks underlain with large gravel, instead of small gravel. The small gravel may fill in living space under the rock, preventing both Hellbenders and their prey from residing there. Because of the importance of shelter characteristics, water and land managers near Hellbenders should consider the effects of their management options on stream substrate. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 11.9)
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Understanding landscape forest cover and bird occupancy in managed savannas and woodlands
"Biologists need to know how much forest is needed to keep all the animal species on a landscape. Many bird species depend on forests and some only use big blocks of forest. Small patches of forest often have lots of nest predators. This is one reason some birds are less likely to occur in landscapes with less forest cover.
We measured the relationship between bird presence and forest cover for six species using surveys. Three species nest in cavities which are mostly safe from predators and three nest in the open where they are exposed.
We found that forest cover did affect the presence of four of six species. Where those birds nested did not explain this pattern. This was surprising, but not unusual. It is normal for studies to get different results. We recommend that scientists use a method called meta-analysis to combine evidence from many studies like ours to test the hypothesis that forest cover and bird presence is affected by nesting location. We also found that thinning trees greatly improved the chance of presence for all six species. This means habitat restoration is working. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 9.7)"
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - French and Francophone Studies
Gendered and Erotic Violence in Slasher Movies: a Comparison of the Early 1980s to the Contemporary
This research compares gendered violence from the early horror movies of the 1980s to contemporary horror movies. The goal is to understand the evolution of gendered violence from the early films to now and to analyze the different types of gendered violence from then to now. My research consisted of comparing violent scenes involving both women and men as well as the plots and scenes in these films to see how the representation of violence has changed. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 12)
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Geography
Moisture Budgets in Major US Landfalling Hurricanes & Implications for Rainfall
There is a strong need to characterize the origins and pathways of moisture in tropical cyclones (TCs) to improve rainfall forecasts. Previous research has shown that moisture convergence dominates evaporation in the TC moisture budget. Large-scale moisture has also been identified as a controlling factor in TC size and outer spiral rainband activity. Thus, it is hypothesized that TC rainfall will be modulated by drier large-scale moisture regimes, particularly when these systems interact with continental air masses. The present study investigates the spatial distribution of TC moisture budget fields in the period around landfall. Using the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR), moisture budgets are calculated for U.S. landfalling TCs during 1998-2012. All calculations are performed every 3 hours over a 96-hour period centered on landfall. To investigate the spatial distribution of each moisture budget term, spatial metrics are formulated to quantify symmetry, spatial cohesivness, and dispersiveness. In major hurricanes, the TC moisture budget begins to redistribute 12-24 hours prior to landfall. The moisture becomes more dispersed with respect to the TC center but often maintains a cohesive, although asymmetric, structure as the TC moves inland. These results suggest that midlatitude air masses may influence TC structure prior to landfall, when the inner core of the TC is still over water. It is hypothesized that interaction with drier continental air and higher vertical wind shear are the main contributors to this reorganization of convection. In terms of precipitation forecasting, regions of heavy rainfall are likely to be maintained by persistence of moisture convergence over large areas, and the regions of heavy rainfall are likely to occur farther removed from the TC center as the TC moves inland. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 14)
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - Forest Resources and Conservation
Exploring economic optimization for managed tropical forests using individual-based modeling: an exercise with data from Quintana Roo, Mexico
When dealing with forest management for wood production, one problem is how to estimate rotation periods or minimum cutting sizes to let enough forest regeneration to allow for continuous production of the forest over time (sustainability). Simulating how forest grows and can be cut down helps when designing forest management plans. However, due to lack of reliable data, tropical forest models have not been developed as much as for forests of temperate regions. This paper deals with simulating the forests of Central Quintana Roo in Mexico, a tropical region that manages multiple species of tropical trees for timber production. This model simulates five economical important species, including Mahogany. The simulated model estimates expected timber volumes and revenue potential resulting from different cutting cycle or minimum cutting sizes. The model predicts that if managed forests keep using the currently used cutting cycles (25 years) and minimum cutting sizes (55 cm in diameter for mahogany and 35 for the other species) we can expect that the cutting cycle of 25 years won’t be enough to recover the extracted trees. This means that the trees in the forest will slowly decline in quantity and quality (smaller sizes) if the management plans do not increase the cutting cycle or increase the minimum cutting sizes. This paper suggests that current forest management plans rules in Mexico should be revised if the tropical forests of Quintana Roo aim to be sustainable. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 15.4)
College of Pharmacy –
"I am a very proud gator and have attended the University of Florida since starting college as a freshman. Even now, my intentions have always been to shine UF on a national level. Attending the AMCP Nexus 2014 conference will aid in my professional development as a member of the UF community by continuing to support and expand the Gator Nation in the pharmacy realm and beyond. I am a very extroverted and forward thinking individual, and love to connect to many different individuals across the country. Attending the AMCP Nexus 2014 conference will not only show the Gator Nation presence to employers and companies, but also to the leaders in the managed care field. Outlined below are just a few benefits to the UF community that I will share with my college:
•Awareness – gain valuable professional knowledge on the latest innovations and hot button clinical, governmental and business issues facing our profession
•Education – review the latest cutting-edge research in managed care pharmacy and ask questions directly to leading researchers; identify the programs of most value to your organization
•Business – renew or make professional connections that could result in new business leads and competitive intelligence
•Networking – network with managed care pharmacy colleagues; take the pulse of what is happening and the trends and techniques
This conference is only once a year and features key leaders in the managed care field such as Dr. Patrick Gleason that I would like to set up one-on-one dialogues as well as pharmaceutical companies like Abbott Labs and Gilead. Key panels that I would like to attend include Hepatitis C updates, a leading disease and marketplace blockbuster in the field of pharmaceutical drug development and reimbursement. "
"The benefit of my travel to the student body and the greater UF community is sharing my knowledge and what I have learned to fellow classmates in the College of Pharmacy and beyond. As I’m currently on rotations, I interact with other UF students such as veterinary students at the UF Veterinary College. From here, I share my knowledge on market trends, insurance perspectives, and new medications for animals. This trip advances the Gator Nation in showing a gator presence in a field that has been untapped by gators and I will be able to connect with key leaders with one-on-one dialogue to help exemplify UF as one of the top pharmacy schools in the nation.
The AMCP Nexus 2014 conference also has an Exchange where many pharmaceutical and insurance-based companies will feature their products. The Exchange provides a perfect opportunity for me to introduce the Gator Nation to help future students and classmates find jobs and internships. "
College of Public Health and Health Professions - Epidemiology (PHHP)
ASSOCIATIONS OF URINARY PHTHALATES WITH BODY MASS INDEX, WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE, AND SERUM LIPIDS AMONG UNITED STATES FEMALES: NATIONAL HEALTH AND NUTRITION EXAMINATION SURVEY 1999-2004
This study explores the possible association between common environmental chemicals and negative health outcomes such as obesity and high cholesterol. The chemicals under investigation are known as phthalates, which are commonly used in a wide range of products, from plastics to nutritional supplements. Previous studies have suggested that phthalates may have the ability to interfere with lipid metabolism and could therefore be a contributing factor to obesity and other related outcomes in humans. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), this study evaluated associations of urinary phthalate metabolites and subjects' BMIs, waist circumferences, and serum lipid levels (HDL/LDL cholesterol, triglycerides). The study subjects were limited to women who were 18 years of age or older, were not pregnant, and had no history of diabetes. Additional factors such as race, poverty level, educational level, menopausal status, physical activity level, caloric intake, and alcohol use were taken into account when evaluating potential associations. Results showed that higher levels of certain phthalates, as well as higher phthalate ratios, were associated with increasing BMI and waist circumference. These results indicate that regular exposure to phthalates may contribute to obesity via the disruption of lipid metabolism. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 18)
College of Health and Human Performance - Health Education and Behavior
"The Symposium on Yoga Research (SYR) is the West’s foremost academic yoga research conference. This unique learning opportunity showcases some of the best new research and offers ample opportunities for participants to interact with other scientists, experts, and professionals in the field. SYR is a single-track academic research conference that includes three keynote talks, additional presentations, and multiple poster sessions. I would attend a comprehensive preconference workshop that offers a unique opportunity for research trainees, yoga instructors, and therapists to learn the basics of yoga research, establish connections for future research projects, and meet professional researchers and colleagues. In particular, I would connect with Sat Bir Khalsa, PhD, chair, Scientific Program Committee, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School at Brigham and Women's Hospital as well as Edi Pasalis, Director of Kripalu's Institute for Extraordinary Living to discuss potential research collaborations. I have already been corresponding with Edi Pasalis via email and phone. She is looking forward to connecting with me in person about potentially using Kripalu's standardized yoga curriculum here at the University of Florida.
" First, I would represent the University of Florida in a rapidly growing field of research in complementary and integrative medicine. The university is working to establish a name for itself in this field and is working to offer these types of medical services to the community. I have personally connected with Dr. Irene Estores, the current director of the new Integrative Medicine program at UF Health. She is eager to bring more research on yoga to the University of Florida. My attendance at the conference would help to facilitate the necessary connections to do so. As mentioned above, I have already established connections via email and phone with two leaders in this field. At this conference, I would have the opportunity to connect in person with these researchers and others about potential collaborations for research based at the University of Florida. This research would also benefit the frontline providers of health care at UF Health, as the programs currently being discussed would be tailored to improving the health of healthcare employees, a segment of the working population with high burnout rates and poor well-being.
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - Food Science and Human Nutrition
Tocopherols, phenolic content, antioxidant activity of raw and sprouted quinoa and amaranth
My research focus is on ancient gluten free grains, such as quinoa and amaranth and their health benefits. I am looking at the antioxidant capacity of fresh grains and sprouts through chemical assays as well as changes in their availability after digestion and absorption within the body under physiological conditions using in vitro method. My research also aims at understanding how processing and storage affects important antioxidant compounds of these grains. Results from my work will be helpful to food processors to know about the stability of important nutrients in these grains and to incorporate them in new product formulation. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 15.2)
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Zoology
Time of extinction and body size patterns of the giant shark, Megalodon
My current research studies the extinction of the largest apex predator that ever existed, Megalodon. The study of the extinction of apex predators is particularly important, as they play a key role in structuring the world's ecosystems. Consequently, studying the extinction of ancient apex predators may advance the understanding of the responses of marine species to top-down control release. However, the potential mechanisms underlying the extinction of Megalodon, remain largely unknown. In order to better understand the extinction of this important species, my research concentrates in trying to set apart the causes and consequences of this extinction event. Accordingly, and because large body size is related with extinction risk, we study Megalodon's size patterns in order to assess if its gigantism played a major role in causing its extinction. We do this by estimating its body size from a large sample of teeth from global collections, and by applying a variety of quantitative methods to determine size changes throughout time. In addition, in order to understand the effects of the extinction of Megalodon in ancient marine communities, we study the timing of this extinction event. We do this by inferring the time at which probabilistically Megalodon went extinct, and contrast it with macro-evolutionary trends of their potential prey. Results show that Megalodon maintained a stable body size over time, and hence, an evolutionary size-change was not a determining factor in causing its extinction. Concurrently, we calculate the date of extinction of this shark at ~2.5 Ma and found a potential link between this extinction event and the evolution of gigantism in cetaceans. Because apex predators, especially large sharks, are significantly declining in modern marine systems, the work presented here provides geo-historical data that offers a deep-time perspective for the conservation of modern ecosystems. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 16.3)