• Influence of Rainfall on Mosquito Abundance

      Haibach, Nicole; Laymon, Kelsey; Wolff, Liam; Pruitt, Carson; Flite, III, Oscar P.; Department of Biological Sciences (2017-03)
      Some species of mosquitoes, known as container-inhabiting mosquitoes, breed in temporary pools of water typically filled after rainstorms. Some examples of this are tires, trash, and anything that can collect water from a rain event. This study seeks to further understand container-inhabiting mosquito abundance and the connection to rainfall. Mosquitoes were collected at 14 sites in Richmond County, GA on a biweekly basis between January to December 2016. These sites were surveyed using two types of traps, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Light trap and a CDC gravid trap. In addition to rainfall, the 7-14 day incubation period of the mosquito life cycle was considered to assess antecedent rainfall window for the correlation analysis. For the previous 7-14 day total precipitation, we found good correlation for one known container-inhabiting species and poor correlation for two other known species. Culex quinquefasciatus, had the best correlation (R2 = 0.71) while the other two species, Aedes albopictus (R2= -0.005) and Culex salinarius (R2= 0.024) had weak correlations. We conclude that differences between correlations were likely due to the reliance of breeding within containers for C. quinquefasciatus than for the other two species, which have more diverse breeding habitat preferences.
    • Assessing Blackworms as a Model for Studying AVM

      Frazier, Eric; Wiley, Faith; Department of Biological Sciences (2017-03)
      Avian Vacuolar Myelinopathy (AVM) is a neurological disease that affects certain species of birds within the Southeastern region of the United States. Research suggests that this disease is linked to the consumption of a cyanobacterial species inhabiting hydrilla, an invasive aquatic weed. The objective of this experiment is to assess whether blackworms are a good model for studying AVM. Blackworms are invertebrate organisms usually found in marshes, swamps and ponds. These organisms are commonly used in toxicity testing due to many factors such as having a low level of maintenance and being cost efficient. Blackworms were initially exposed to concentrated extracts of hydrilla/cyanobacteria for a period of five days. There was no difference in mortality between control and treatment worms. Two additional experiments are currently being conducted to examine potential sublethal effects. Regrowth of blackworm body segments and rate of asexual reproduction are being examined in worms exposed to the hydrilla extracts, as well as to water and sediment collected from Lake Thurmond, GA during an AVM event.
    • Extraction of Neodymium by Bis(Trifluromethylsufonyl)imide Room Temperature Ionic Liquids

      Yim, Yen; Dang, David; Department of Chemistry & Physics (2017-03)
      Nuclear fuel reprocessing methods currently involve the use of organic solvents, in liquid-liquid extractions such as the PUREX process, to extract uranium and plutonium from other undesired fission products. A proposed way of making these processes more environmentally friendly and safer is to use room temperature ionic liquids (RTIL) in place of the organic solvents. Organic solvents are volatile and flammable, whereas many ionic liquids are neither. This makes the ionic liquids safer to use and more environmentally friendly. The focus of our research is on understanding the behavior of the lanthanide neodymium (Nd) in ionic liquids and how Nd is extracted from aqueous phases. The Nd was dissolved in aqueous bistriflimic acid solution. After the ionic liquids containing the bis(trifluromethylsufonyl)imide anion and tributyl phosphate (TBP) extractant were pre-equilibrated, the RTIL solutions were mixed individually with aqueous Nd, and the aqueous and organic layers were then separated. The ionic liquid and aqueous layers were analyzed through spectroscopy to determine the partition coefficients. Slope analysis of the partition coefficient at different TBP concentrations was used to determine the stoichiometry of coordination of TBP to neodymium. Results will be compared to prior work by other researchers using holmium, and other literature data.