• 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.
    • The Effects of Physiological Stress Levels on Cognitive Performance

      Quon, Jonathan; Gaines, Hillary; Jules, Naomie; Holland, Maleah; Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences (2017-03)
      Introduction: Challenging cognitive tests, such as academic exams, often fuel test anxiety which may compromise cognitive performance and result in lower test scores. The purpose of our study was to determine the effects of a short moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise session (walking/running) on cognitive performance. Methods: 6 healthy male and female subjects, aged 18-30 years old, were equally and randomly divided into 3 groups: high intensity exercise (75% MaxHR), moderate intensity exercise (50% MaxHR), and rest (sat with concentration grid). A Random Test (reaction time measure), Memory Test (short-term memory and attention span measure), and Stroop Test (reaction time and attention span measure) were performed on the Card Sorting Box before and after the exercise intervention. The intervention lasted 10 minutes including a warm-up and cool-down. Results: No differences occurred between the 3 groups in pre- to post-intervention Card Sorting Box measures for the Random Test, Memory Test, or Stroop Test. However, a trend towards significance (p = 0.057) occurred for the % correct in the Memory Test when comparing pre- to post-intervention scores; vigorous intensity exercise demonstrated higher scores compared to moderate intensity exercise (p = 0.031) and sitting quietly to study (p =046). Conclusion: This study demonstrates that participating in short-duration vigorous and/ or moderate exercise or utilizing more traditional study techniques, such as sitting quietly to study, results in similar cognitive performance outcomes and therefore does not provide a significant cognitive benefit. However, due to small sample size, more participants are needed for conclusive findings.
    • Anion Monitoring of Rae's Creek by Ion Chromatography

      Walton, Amberly; Hamilton, Sterling; Myers, Stephanie; Department of Chemistry & Physics (2017-03)
      Golf courses generally require large amounts of fertilizer to maintain their course appearance. Fertilizer is a source of phosphate- and nitrogen- based compounds. These compounds can have negative effects on aquatic life if there are large amounts introduced to the surface water. The effect of a golf course on anion concentrations in Rae’s Creek was studied using ion chromatography. Over the course of one year, the following anions were tracked: nitrate, nitrite, sulfate, phosphate, bromide, and chloride. The concentrations of the anions were high enough to allow quantitative measurements and changes were observed, but the concentrations remained below EPA guidelines for streams.