13th Annual Salisbury University
Student Research Conference

Friday, April 25, 2014

SUSRC 2014
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11:30am-1:30 p.m.
Registration & Welcome Reception:
Welcome from Provost Diane Allen, Performance by Squawkapella, Perdue Hall Atrium

1:30-2:45 p.m.
Session 1:
Oral Research Presentations Henson Hall

3:00-4:15 p.m.
Session 2:
Oral Research Presentations Henson Hall

4:30-5:45 p.m.
Session 3:

Oral Research Presentations Henson Hall

6:00-7:30 p.m.
Poster Session:

Refreshments Wicomico Room, Guerrieri Center

The Registration & Information table will be open:

  • 11:30am - 1:30pm Perdue Hall Atrium
  • 1:30pm – 4:30pm Henson Hall Lobby
  • 5:00 pm - 6:00pm Guerrieri Center, Wicomico Room entrance

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  • Title: Specimen Abuse: Beating a Drug Test
    Student: Emma Albrittain
    Faculty mentor: Diane Davis
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Marijuana (active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) is the most widely used illicit drug of abuse in the United States. It follows then that marijuana is commonly tested in subjects for legal, employment, and personal purposes alike, most commonly via drug screening urine samples. Other drugs commonly abused include cocaine, 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA or Ecstasy), methamphetamines (mAMP), opiates and many others. Because of an increasing interest in those outside of the legal and medical fields procuring drug testing for various reasons, many companies have developed inexpensive over-the-counter methods for detecting such drugs in urine samples. Such tests can be found online costing less than $1 per drug tested with no license required for purchase, and many include tests for specimen adulteration. This project tested the effectiveness of one of these over-the-counter drug tests, OneScreen Drug Test Cards (American Screening Corporation, Inc. Shreveport, LA), and how effective the test is when used with specimens adulterated with common household items. Despite its low price, the OneScreen Drug Test Cards were found to be very effective at detecting adulteration attempts and identifying positive results for THC, cocaine, MDMA, opiates and mAMP, even when the specimen was adulterated. Bleach and ethanol were two adulterants that reliably changed true positive results to false negatives, but they were detected by the built-in adulteration detection methods on the test card and/or by physical observation of the sample. Therefore, when this inexpensive device was used correctly by an analyst alert for signs of specimen adulteration, the results were very reliable.
  • Title: A Computational Investigation of the Interactions Between Amino acids and SAM.
    Student: Azita Aryan
    Faculty mentor: Anita Brown
    Type: Poster Presentation

    S-Adenosyl methionine (SAM) is a substrate for a number of enzymes. In SAM, a methyl group is attached to positively charged sulfur. While inside a SAM enzyme, SAM transfers this methyl group to another substrate. This process occurs in several enzymes in micobacterium tuberculosis (TB) and results in the formation of cyclopropyl groups in the lipids of TBs cell wall. It was proposed that pi-cation interactions stabilize the positively charged intermediate formed during this transfer reaction within these TB enzymes. However, for other SAM enzymes, it has been proposed that pi-cation interactions involving the positively charged sulfur in SAM may position SAM in the enzyme. We suspected that the SAM enzymes in TB may exhibit the pi-cation interaction involving the positively charged sulfur as well as the pi-cation interaction that stabilizes the reaction intermediate.. In various enzymes, we have used computational chemistry to investigate the presence of the pi-cation interactions involving the positively charged sulfur. Although the positively charged sulfur of SAM is always nearby a pi-system, our computational investigations have not found energetic evidence of pi-cation interactions. We have found that inside these enzymes, SAM is distorted from its ideal geometry. Could this be because SAM is trying to obtain hydrogen bonds, or other interactions, but not pi-cation interaction? We are using computational chemistry to investigate possible hydrogen bonds between SAM and the amino acids of these enzymes.
  • Title: Salisbury University Bike-Friendly Campus: Spinning Spokes and College Folks
    Student: Emily Baqir
    Faculty mentor: Chrys Egan
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The Bike Friendly University (BFU) program recognizes and awards colleges and universities that promote and provide a welcoming campus to students, staff, and visitor bicyclists. For a campus to be considered bike friendly, it must provide bicyclists with a safe encouraging environment that includes bicycle education to give people of all ages and abilities the skills and confidence to ride. The focus of this study was to gather information on how Salisbury University can improve to earn the BFU label of being a bike friendly campus. To gather the information, on April 3, 2014 Salisbury University students and staff participated in an online survey. Results show that SU community members are open to SU becoming more bike friendly with bike shelters and a bike sharing system added, as required by BFU. The importance of SU becoming a bike friendly campus is that it will encourage students, faculty, and staff to ride their bikes which benefits their health, their financial state, and the environment.
  • Title: An Investigation of the Acroporid Flatworm Predator
    Student: Megan Bock
    Faculty mentor: Ann Barse
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Collecting and growing corals in aquaria has developed into a multi-million dollar global industry known as coral aquaculture. Wild caught corals are typically cut into smaller portions, called frags, which are then sold to hobbyists. The genus Acropora is the largest genus of Scleractinian (stony) corals that are in high demand by reef hobbyists. For decades, aquaculturists in the U.S. have been cultivating frags of Acropora to lessen the demand for wild stock colonies. Recently, coral predators called Acropora-eating flatworms (AEFWs) (Phylum Platyhelminthes, Class Turbellaria) have plagued these efforts, eating living coral tissue and killing many of the cultured corals. AEFWs from two U.S. aquariums were recently identified as a new species, Amakusaplana acroporae Rawlinson et al.,2011; however, little is known about this species life history. The goals of my research are to: 1) identify collected AEFWs through a detailed morphological analysis and comparison with the published literature; 2) rear populations of this species in aquaria; 3) observe feeding behaviors of different life stages. Currently, I am in the midst of the first goal. AEFW specimens were collected from Acropora frags at Pacific East Aquaculture, a coral aquaculture facility located in Mardela Springs, MD. Flatworms were fixed in 10% seawater buffered formalin, stained in Mayers hematoxylin, cleared in clove oil, and mounted on glass slides in Canada Balsam. I am using an Olympus BX53 compound microscope equipped with differential interference contrast (DIC) optics, a 35 mm DSLR camera and a drawing tube to study the morphology of the worms. Specimens will be measured, photographed, drawn and compared to published records for A. acroporae. After confirmation of the species identification, I aim to rear them in aquaria to gain a better understanding of their life cycle. This information may be useful in developing effective methods for controlling AEFW populations in aquaria.
  • Title: How much are you (critically) thinking in class? A content analysis of Teaching of Psychology interventions
    Student: Christian Bolgiano
    Faculty mentor: Thomas Tomcho
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The APA (2013) has identified critical thinking as one of its goals for successful baccalaureate learning outcomes. Halpern (2003) defined critical thinking as thinking that is purposeful, reasoned, and goal directed. For the present study we wanted to evaluate learning outcomes in line with APAs recommendations, based on the type and level of critical thinking we are inferring is taking place. To do this, we have examined 391 Teaching of Psychology research articles to code for the type of and amount of critical thinking we believe was present, and plan to extract quantitative effect size data in the future in order to analyze the role critical thinking plays in learning outcomes.
  • Title: Edible Landscape: Growing Food Throughout the Salisbury Community
    Student: Wafaa Bounoua
    Faculty mentor: Chrys Egan
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Abstract The edible landscape team researched college campuses that are involved with edible lawns to see how the students got started and became successful in the food growing process. The research team conducted a comparative study on edible lawns that included students at Salisbury University. Would the Salisbury University students grow an edible lawn if the gardens were supplied by the University? The study showed how many students would grow an edible garden and how the students would go about this process. The team also included the health and cost benefits of growing an edible garden and persuaded Salisbury students to start growing their own fruits and vegetables. Ultimately, the main goal was to motivate students at the university to choose edible gardening over buying fruits and vegetables that include harmful preservatives from the store. Keywords: environment, gardens, edible lawns
  • Title: Understanding Hurricanes during El Nino and La Nina Events
    Student: Vincent Brown
    Faculty mentor: Brent Skeeter
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Vincent Brown March 31, 2014 Possible Differences in North Atlantic Hurricane Intensity and Duration During El Nino and La Nina Events Abstract The purpose of this research proposal is to identify if Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures influence the intensity and duration of tropical cyclones that form in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. Science has proven that a relationship exists between Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures and the number of tropical cyclones that form in the Northern Atlantic; however, does a relationship exist between Pacific sea surface temperatures and the intensity and duration of storms that do form? It has been proven that when warmer that average temperatures persist in the Pacific Ocean (El Nino events), fewer tropical cyclones form in the Northern Atlantic. Also, it has been proven that cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean (La Nina events) cause more tropical cyclones to form in the Northern Atlantic. This proposal becomes relevant, because one would think if fewer storms form during an El Nino year (warmer than average in Pacific), the storms that do form may be more intense and of a longer duration, because there have been fewer storms, and more potential energy in the system that tropical cyclones could use to gain strength. Also, one may think if more storms are forming in the Northern Atlantic during a cooler period in the Pacific, that the storms that do form in the Northern Atlantic may be weaker and shorter lived, because with more storms, more energy is being used, and less energy is available for one specific storm to gather a lot of intensity. This proposal will attempt to discover which temperature departures from the normal in the Pacific Ocean will cause more intense or longer lasting storms in the Northern Atlantic Ocean.
  • Title: Physician Demographics and Healthcare Implications
    Student: Patrick Brunk
    Faculty mentor: Hong Yao
    Type: Poster Presentation

  • Title: Psychometrics Gone Wild! A Content Analysis of Test and Measurement Syllabi
    Student: Lauren Burk
    Faculty mentor: Charisse Chappell
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Bandalos and Kopp (2012) have investigated the types of measurement topics in psychometric courses (e.g., tests and measures, psychological assessment). We are interested in what types of applied topics and assignments are covered in undergraduate psychometric courses. We are examining a convenience sample of 35 psychology and psychology/education psychometric course syllabi found on the web from different universities. Our research is examining what the most frequently occurring assignments are, and what types of variability exist in terms of coverage of applied topics. We indicated whether or not each topic occurred in the schedules of the syllabi, and found that reliability, validity, test construction, item analysis, instrument evaluation and history of testing appeared most frequent, amongst other topics. Results indicated that courses focused on the following applied topics: personality, clinical, behavioral, intelligence and educational. Although almost every syllabus included the above topics, almost each had something different to offer. In addition, we also analyzed the different types of assignments that each university required for the course. Results show that test development and test evaluation were the two main types of assignments, with additional variability.
  • Title: A Combinatorical Analysis of Hanon's Five Finger Exercises
    Student: Katherine Burris
    Faculty mentor: Lori Carmack
    Type: Poster Presentation

    In the late 19th century, composer Charles-Louis Hanon published sixty different exercises that pianists could utilize to increase their performance skills and muscular strength of fingers. This research investigates the question, "How many exercises could Hanon have created instead of the sixty that were published?" In examining the 60 exercises published, the first 19 provide a solid pattern, which provides a good framework to address the question at hand. The remaining exercises, 20 - 60 are fundamentally different from the first nineteen, so they are disregarded for the purpose of this study. In restricting attention to Hanon's pattern of the first nineteen exercises, a new set of criteria are developed and applied to help simplify and highlight Hanon's intention of the exercises. Combinatoric methods are then applied to newly formed exercises to find an exact number of exercises that could have been written.
  • Title: Praying at the Altar of Science
    Student: Jacqueline Buswell
    Faculty mentor: Charisse Chappell
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Researchers have examined the coverage of religion and spirituality in graduate level psychology training programs. In particular, Schafer, Handal, Brawer, and Ubinger (2011) found that psychology of religion was infrequently offered as its own course, and more often was a topic covered in another course. Our research is examining the prevalence rates of colleges that offer undergraduate or graduate level psychology of religion courses. A stratified (by Carnegie designation & public/private institution) proportionate random sample of several hundred schools was identified. We are currently searching course catalogs from these schools for the psychology of religion courses. Thus far, we have found that the prevalence rates are low. However, the majority of schools that offer a psychology of religion course are religious institutions.
  • Title: Application of Shockwaves to Passing Lane Efficiency on Highways
    Student: Sarah Confrancisco
    Faculty mentor: Steven Hetzler
    Type: Poster Presentation

    To determine the efficiency of the passing lane on a highway, we synthesized fluid dynamics and a physical application of shock waves. Using a queuing model and the LWR model, we put together our own model that compared the rate of change of a vehicle A and a vehicle B in different traffic situations (i.e. light traffic and heavy traffic.) By applying each vehicles rate-of-change velocity to a shock wave graph, we could analyze the span of the shock wave created. This created different conditions in which we could judge said efficiency. We looked for a way to maximize traffic flow without compromising safety. The assumptions made in this analysis included an infinite roadway that is straight, with no specific entrances or exits although flux may occur to demonstrate changes in traffic patterns. We applied our analysis of light and heavy traffic to three different systems where the level of impact human judgment had varies; a utopian system, a pragmatic system, and an intelligent system were considered. From this we were able to conclude the passing lane is inefficient for a scenario closest to reality and in order to maximize traffic flow while maintaining a reasonable level of safety, the rule should be scrapped.
  • Title: Wicomico River Water Quality Indicators Relative to Streamflow
    Student: Lyle Cook
    Faculty mentor: Judith Stribling
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The Wicomico River runs through Salisbury and Marylands lower Eastern Shore and is important to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Water quality indicators Total Nitrogen, Total Phosphorus, Chlorophyll a, and water clarity are often influenced by interannual differences in precipitation and stream flow rates. During wet years stream flow rises and nutrient concentrations drop due to dilution, but nutrient loads increase, due the greater flow. We monitored these indicators in the Wicomico River and compare results from 2013, a relatively wetter year, and 2012, a season with lower rainfall and flow rates for most of the season. Monthly rainfall tracked stream flow rates for both years. The data were collected by the Wicomico Creekwatchers Water Quality Monitoring Program volunteers, and the USGS Surface-Water Monthly Statistics for Maryland provided flow measurements. The data from water quality indicators was related to the stream flow. Overall higher nutrient loads and greater concentrations of nutrients occurred in 2013 for the Wicomico River, which doesnt comply with the assumption that high flow years would dilute nutrient concentrations. It is suspected that with these two parameters conjoining in high flow years, the Chesapeake Bay water quality suffers likewise.
  • Title: Attitudes Towards Traditional and Naturalized Lawns
    Student: Amanda Crawford
    Faculty mentor: Tami Ransom
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Suburban greenspaces are an ecologically underutilized resource. Much of our natural landscapes have been altered and a great deal of the greenspace that remains in the U.S. is comprised of lawns. Research pertaining to this phenomenon is a useful tool for promoting increased biodiversity in suburban areas. When most U.S. residents think of a typical suburban lawn, they picture a short manicured lawn and, perhaps, a few shrubs or trees. Yet, if such lawns were replaced with naturalized lawns consisting of native plants, we would create an immense expanse of potential wildlife habitat; this is important given the current threats to global biodiversity. The objective of our project was twofold: 1) we wished to explore peoples attitudes towards the contrasting traditional residential lawn and the naturalized lawn and 2) to explore whether unbiased information about the benefits and drawbacks of naturalized and traditional lawns might alter peoples initial responses. We suspected prevalence of tidy, manicured traditional lawns might stem from culturally based attitudes or lack of information on the topic. We went door-to-door and surveyed homeowners or residents within a five-mile radius of Salisbury University to examine peoples current lawn status and the provocation behind their current lawn care structure and practices. Conducting the surveys in person ensured that we interviewed subjects who have lawns; additionally, we were able to evaluate homeowner lawns based on vegetation, structure, tidiness and apparent maintenance effort. Our results show that some residents prefer traditional lawns due to cultural norms while others lacked knowledge about alternative lawns. This research is crucial because we want to promote naturalized lawns as a viable alternative to ensure wildlife habitat in our remaining urban and suburban greenspaces. We need to better understand the attitudes behind the prevalence of the traditional lawn in order to facilitate ecological development.
  • Title: A Cry for Help: A Creative Intervention
    Student: Cristina De Avila
    Faculty mentor: Rachel Buchanan
    Type: Poster Presentation

    After reviewing the literature on trauma stemming from parental divorce and self-harming behaviors in adolescents, it became clear that there was a gap in both knowledge of and intervention with this population. This paper attempts to address this issue with special attention given to the use of art and music intervention therapies to alleviate self-harming behaviors. The main outcome of this research is an intervention that can be used to alleviate triggers for self-harm and increases positive coping skills for teens that have experienced parental divorce.
  • Title: Human Rights Abuses Against Women: Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones
    Student: Marney Erichsen
    Faculty mentor: Timothy Dunn
    Type: Poster Presentation

    No region of the world has been immune from sexual and gender based violence in the context of militarism (Amnesty International). Statistics provided by the UN Action reveal an alarming number of women who experience this type of abuse; which in turn reveals the severity of this particular issue. The UN Action reports that up to 500,000 women were raped during the Rwanda genocide and at least 64,000 were raped during the Sierra Leone Civil War. These large numbers are telling to how many women experience sexual violence during times of conflict. Consequently, because womens sexual and reproductive rights are linked to their political and economic rights, it is evident that sexual abuse is a human rights issue. Womens sexual abuse, during times of conflict, has only recently been acknowledged. It was not until 1990 that sexual violence during times of conflict became a war crime, which is decades behind the adoption of The Declaration of Human Rights, by the UN General Assembly in 1948. This issue of sexual violence against women is important to expose because of its human rights implications and the lasting effects this violence has on women. For example, the spread of disease and lifelong reproductive problems women may experience as a result of sexual violence. What this research attempts to examine is why violence against women increases so dramatically during times of conflict, not only in conflict areas, but also in places where women seek asylum.
  • Title: Comparing soil microbial activity in undisturbed cemetery soils to agriculture and suburban lawn soils in Wicomico CountyBy: Amanda Evans and Gloria Seho-Ahiable
    Student: Amanda Evans
    Faculty mentor: Elizabeth Emmert
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Our project examines the effect of farming on the microbial activity in Wicomico county soils. We are comparing soil microbial activity of family cemeteries (undisturbed soils) with surrounding agricultural fields and suburban lawns. Cell enzymatic assays serve as reliable estimators of soil microbial activity. The hydrolysis of fluorescein diacetate and dehydrogenase enzyme activity were examined through spectrophotometric assessment. The non polar attributes of fluorescein diacetate lends itself to being an ideal estimator of microbial activity; it can easily diffuse through a cell membrane, where it can then be hydrolyzed by non-specific esterases into its fluorescent product, fluorescein. Iodonitrotetrazolium chloride (INT) is used as a substrate for the dehydrogenase enzyme and the formation of the INT-formazan product is quantified. Undisturbed cemetery soils were found to have higher levels of microbial activity than cultivated fields. Additional sampling will be conducted monthly throughout the remainder of 2014 to examine the effect of temperature and seasonality on microbial activity. More broadly, this project will allow us to determine the impacts of humans on the soils of Marylands Eastern Shore.
  • Title: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Converting a Lawn Mower to Operate on Solar Energy
    Student: Rachel Flanagan
    Faculty mentor: Mark Muller
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of modifying common electric lawn mowers to run on solar energy. As climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions increases, so does the urgency of using renewable energy sources. It has been estimated that 2.2 billion gallons of gas could be conserved per year in the U.S. alone if every lawn mower was run using solar energy; this would reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 38.9 billion pounds. To evaluate this hypothesis, two lawn mowers will be used to mow lawns of the same size once per week over a period of ten weeks. One will be a gas powered push mower (a common selection by Americans), the other, a solar powered push mower. A journal describing the experiences with each mower will be kept, including data such as how much time it takes to charge the battery on the solar powered mower, how much gas is consumed by the gas powered mower, and how long it takes to mow the lawn with the solar powered mower in comparison to the gas powered mower. Using this information, the effectiveness of the solar powered mower can be evaluated by comparing its performance to that of the gas powered lawn mower. Provided that a solar-powered mower is as effective as a gas mower, the former could serve as one way for consumers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Title: Survival and Identification of Enterococci Bacteria found in Water Samples Collected from the Wicomico River
    Student: Kristin Gay
    Faculty mentor: Mark Frana
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Enterococci bacteria are fecal indicator organisms and are used to determine the presence or absence of recent fecal contamination in recreational and shellfish harvesting waters. Using the standard membrane filtration culture method the survival ability of four enterococcus bacteria (Enterococcus casseliflavis, E. faecalis, E. faecium, and E. gallinarum) was determined and compared after inoculation into water retrieved from the Wicomico River. After repeating the experiment using three different water samples the results show that E. faecium had the longest survival time of the four bacteria tested, while E. casseliflavis exhibited the shortest survival time. Water was also retrieved from the Wicomico River and held at 4˚ C for nine days before inoculation to determine if storage before inoculation affects their length of survival. Filtrations of the initial water sample, before inoculation with the various enterococci, were conducted to identify the types of bacteria already present in the water samples. Identification was completed by using BioLog. A series of biochemical tests were also conducted to confirm the BioLog results.
  • Title: Claying around: Predation pressure on red-backed salamanders
    Student: Alexa Grant
    Faculty mentor: Eric Liebgold
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Color polymorphisms are common in many species, including Plethodon cinereus, the red-backed salamander. Plethodon cinereus can be found throughout the northeastern United States. In this species, there are two color morphs, striped and unstriped, which vary in frequency throughout its range. Tail autotomy, which organisms use to survive predation attempts, is higher in unstriped salamanders, which researches have concluded is likely due to increased predation on this morph. Using clay models, we tested this hypothesis; clay models control for factors such as behavioral and physiological variation in tailloss. Clay models of both morphs were placed on the forest floor, half cryptic, and half the models were on white paper, readily visible, in the Nanticoke River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in two seasons, fall and spring. Weekly, models were collected for analysis, if potentially predated upon, as well as camera traps placed randomly to catch predation attempts. Differences in predation rates between morphs in the no-paper treatment will reveal whether there is increased predation on unstriped salamanders. Comparison of this result with the paper treatment will reveal whether such a difference occurs based on predators search image or preference for a known reward.
  • Title: Exploring Homeowner Interest in Establishing a Community Model for Residential Neighborhoods in Salisbury, Maryland
    Student: Rebecca Greene
    Faculty mentor: Reema Persad-Clem
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Community-based approaches are widely used throughout the field of natural resource management, but there is a need for usable tools for homeowners to manage resources in their own residential neighborhoods. We collaborated with community members of a selected residential neighborhood in Salisbury, Maryland to develop a survey: i). to evaluate community interest and involvement, ii). to identify environmental concern and action centered on a community pond and iii). to explore the relationship between a homeowners level of environmental concern and community engagement. We mailed 92 surveys to the residents of this community, 54 of which were anonymously completed and returned. We predicted that residents who showed a high level of community engagement would show a high level of environmental concern. Results will be discussed. Based on the results of the survey, we selected wildlife habitat and native planting projects to initiate around the pond and made specific recommendations to the homeowners association regarding future projects e.g. a permeable walking and biking trail. The majority of the survey respondents also expressed interest in this community partnering with Salisbury University to become a community model for similar neighborhoods in the area.
  • Title: 3GBH: Investigating the Functions of a Protein with a Known Structure
    Student: Sarah Gregory
    Faculty mentor: Alison Dewald
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The purpose of this research is to characterize the function(s) of proteins having known structure but previously untested activity. For over a decade the NIH has funded the Protein Structure Initiative (PSI), whose goal is the 3D structure determination of a broad range of proteins. Of the approximately 4,000 PSI determined protein structures, over 1,500 are of unknown function. Linking protein function to structure and eventually gene sequence would have major impact on biology and medicine, though currently protein function must be characterized using classic biochemical techniques. The protein of interest for our research, protein data bank id 3GBH, is a protein found in the Staphylococcus Epidermis bacteria. Based on structure homomology, 3GBH is predicted to be an oxidoreductase. Oxidoreductases are enzymes that move electrons from one molecule to another. An assay was designed to test the oxidoreductase activity of 3GBH based on published studies of a similar protein with NADH and flavin mononucleotide (FMN) as substrates. Because NADH strongly absorbs ultraviolet light, the reaction can be monitored using a UV-VIS spectrophotometer. We expressed and purified protein 3GBH and are now investigating the reaction between substrates NADH and FMN catalyzed by 3GBH. Preliminary results suggest that 3GBH is an oxidoreductase that interacts with NADH to cause its oxidation into NAD+. With further funding, we are now studying this protein in more depth to characterize its enzymatic function under different conditions (temperature, pH) and with different substrates (NADPH, FAD).
  • Title: Level of Sexual Victimization and Partnership with the Perpetrator Predicting Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction with a Current Partner
    Student: Alison Hallock
    Faculty mentor: Suzanne Osman
    Type: Poster Presentation

    This study was conducted to examine womens sexual and relationship satisfaction with a current partner based on sexual victimization experience and, if victimized, partnership with the perpetrator and level of sexual victimization. Undergraduate women currently in a relationship (N = 278) responded to the Global Measure of Sexual Satisfaction (GMSEX), the Global Measure of Relationship Satisfaction (GMREL) (Lawrance, Byers, & Cohen, 2011), and the Sexual Experiences Survey-Short Form Victimization (SES-SFV) (Koss et al., 2007). Each participant who reported sexual victimization was asked their relationship to the perpetrator(s). It was hypothesized that, among the victims, women victimized by their current partner would report lower satisfaction than those victimized by someone else, women who experienced rape would report lower satisfaction than those who experienced nonrape victimization, and satisfaction would be the lowest among women who were raped by their current partner. Furthermore, nonvictims would report greater satisfaction than victims, regardless of partnership with the perpetrator or level of victimization. Results showed that current partner victims reported lower relationship satisfaction than non-partner victims, and victims (both current partner and nonpartner) reported lower relationship satisfaction than nonvictims. Additionally, rape victims reported significantly lower relationship satisfaction than nonvictims. Although in the expected direction, hypotheses were not supported for sexual satisfaction. A larger sample of current partner victims may be important to elucidate these potential associations. Implications of the current study are that sexual victimization may have a greater impact on a womans relationship satisfaction with a current partner than on her sexual satisfaction, especially when the perpetrator is her current partner. Also, being raped, regardless of by whom, may decrease current relationship satisfaction.
  • Title: Are psychologists shortchanging science? The prevalence of controllable limitations in quasi-experimental designs.
    Student: Amy Harrell
    Faculty mentor: Thomas Tomcho
    Type: Poster Presentation

    In scientific studies, a common process performed by authors involves noting and describing the potential limitations to their work. Because the interpretation or application of any research findings hinge on the credibility of the study, it is important to understand the types of cautions given by authors. Due to our inability to find relevant research examining this significant topic, we want to capture a broad snapshot of research limitations encountered within the discipline of psychology. We are interested in the author noted methodological limitations in psychological research utilizing quasi-experimental designs. In order to accomplish this, we are examining several hundred articles from the last 14 years in the following journals: the Journal of Educational Psychology, Group Dynamics, School Psychology Quarterly, Health Psychology, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Applied Cognitive Psychology, the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, the Journal of Counseling Psychology, the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Specifically, we are examining author noted limitations within these articles to determine which types of limitations are most frequent, and those over which authors have the most control.
  • Title: Exploring the Delmarva Gap through Phylogeographic Analysis of the Red-backed Salamander, Plethodon cinereus
    Student: Cheyenne Harris
    Faculty mentor: Ronald Gutberlet
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Geographic lineage patterns have been detected in North American species through phylogeographic studies. However, lineages of Red-backed Salamanders, Plethodon cinereus, have not been traced across the Delmarva Gap, a distributional hiatus shown by some species in the middle of the Delmarva Peninsula. By comparing DNA sequences of Red-backed Salamanders throughout Delmarva and adjacent regions, we hope to gain insight into the historic dispersal of species onto the Peninsula. To date, we have collected Red-backed Salamander tissue samples from Northampton County, Virginia, four counties on Marylands Eastern Shore and two counties on Marylands Western Shore. We are amplifying cytochrome b and ND2 gene segments with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR products will then be sequenced and aligned with each other, along with additional sequences from GenBank, to determine the historic pattern of dispersal of Red-backed Salamanders onto the Delmarva Peninsula by phylogenetic analysis.
  • Title: Reptile and Amphibian Atlasing on Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore: Progress Report from Somerset and Wicomico Counties
    Student: Stacy Helgason
    Faculty mentor: Ronald Gutberlet
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) is a five-year project to document the geographic distribution of amphibian and reptile species throughout the state. The survey units established for the project are blocks, each of which contains one sixth the area of a USGS quadrangle. We are responsible for surveying 47 blocks in Wicomico County and are helping with Somerset County surveys as well. Over 40 Salisbury University students and faculty have contributed records to the project so far. Our findings will establish a baseline that will be used to identify any changes in the distribution of reptiles and amphibians in our area. As of March 2014, we have documented 48 species in Wicomico County. Only one species, Fowlers Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri), has been found in every one of our survey blocks. Common species that we have found in almost every block include Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer; 2 blocks remaining), New Jersey Chorus Frog (Pseudacris kalmi; 12 blocks remaining), and Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus; 10 blocks remaining). We have found 2 species known to be rare in Maryland: Coastal Plain Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum) and Eastern Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis). In this final year of the project, we will focus additional effort on finding species known from Wicomico County historically yet that have not been found during the MARA project: Common Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus), Red Cornsnake (Pantherophis guttata), and Northern Scarletsnake (Cemophora coccinea). The results of this project, including a book to be published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, will be of interest not only to herpetologists and naturalists, but will also be useful in designing conservation strategies for maintaining biodiversity within the state.
  • Title: Theory is not just for psychology discipline researchers! Teaching researchers implicitly use theory too.
    Student: Amanda Henning
    Faculty mentor: Thomas Tomcho
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Despite the fact that
  • Title: Comparison of Avian Blood and Buccal Swab DNA for Genetic Analyses
    Student: Meagan Jezek
    Faculty mentor: Eric Liebgold
    Type: Poster Presentation

    In order to examine and analyze the DNA of an organism, samples containing DNA must be extracted from that organism. When studying birds, traditional sampling methods have included blood extraction and feather plucking. Although these methods provide ample amounts of DNA to analyze, they can be slightly invasive and may not be ideal in terms of the effects on the health and behavior of the subjects. Recently, less invasive methods for DNA collection, such as buccal swabbing, have been described and have been shown to be just as reliable as traditional methods. Little is known about genetic diversity of Worm-eating warblers and Ovenbirds. In this study we have compared the DNA concentrations obtained from blood and buccal swab samples at seven microsatellite loci and DNA amplified from primers used for determining the sex of monomorphic species. This data can be used to provide information on the utility of less-invasive sampling techniques in these species and also as pilot data for the genetic diversity and structure of these species, which is important for understanding the utility of these loci in population genetic analyses.
  • Title: Televised Child Pageants: Negative Psychological Effects, Millions of Viewers
    Student: Jessica Kelly
    Faculty mentor: Lance Garmon
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Child Beauty Pageants (CBP) have been of particular interest in the media over the last decade as more and more of these CBP have become televised. The controversy concerning these pageants focuses on possible negative psychological effects it could have on the girls, such as body dissatisfaction (Wonderlich et al., 2005). The two most common complaints about child pageants specifically are that they are encouraging the girls to be sexualized for the public and they are essentially a form of child abuse (Wolfe, 2012; Cartwright, 2012). Despite the many problems that the anti-pageant position brings up, televised pageants still bring in millions of viewers each year. This study is designed to look at why individuals choose to watch televised beauty pageants and how this may influence their attitudes about the pageants, with a particular focus on televised CBP. Participants from the Salisbury Universitys Psychology Courses were asked to indicate if they had seen any of the televised programs related to CBP, including with or without enhancements such as make-up and costumes (Glitz versus Natural Pageants). If they had seen the shows, participants were then asked questions that looked at motivating factors for watching these programs. Of the 143 participants, 103 (72%) had seen the show Toddlers & Tiaras. This group of individuals reported less positive attitudes towards contestants in Adult Pageants and Natural CBP compared to Glitz CBP. However they were more likely to agree the mothers were living their dreams through their children in the Glitz CBP.
  • Title: Using GeoGebra to Teach Concepts in High School Mathematics
    Student: Kristen Kent
    Faculty mentor: Donald Spickler
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The goal of this project is to create sketches and explanations that will be used in mathematical classroom environment. This research incorporates both the Mathematics and Secondary Education fields to further improve student engagement and student learning in high school mathematics classrooms. We are creating representations of problems that students have most frequently struggled with in order to provide them with real world connections and a greater understanding of mathematical concepts. These models are developed using a dynamic geometry software package called GeoGebra, in order to enhance interactive learning. We are covering various challenging concepts in Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, and Calculus under the latest Common Core Standards. We have designed tools and tutorials to help teachers demonstrate fundamental principles of mathematics that also allow for students to manipulate given problems using these models. Some of the main topics covered include Optimization, Area, Arc Length, and Related Rates. Students will be able to use these dynamic models to experiment with and conjecture solutions and/or methods for solving these problems in general.
  • Title: Seasonal changes in the activity of lactate dehydrogenase in a estuarine fish, Fundulus heteroclitus
    Student: Andrea Korell
    Faculty mentor: Eugene Williams
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The killifish Fundulus heteroclitus is a year-round inhabitant of estuaries from Main to Florida. In the summer months the waters become hypoxic, yet the killifish thrives. My hypothesis is that part of the killifishs ability to survive low oxygen in the summer is by increasing anaerobic pathways of energy metabolism. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is the major enzyme responsible for elevating the capacity for (anaerobic) glycolysis and is known to change in a tissue-specific manner in Fundulus under laboratory conditions of low-oxygen stress. However, surprisingly little is known about the seasonal variability of this enzyme in wild-caught fish. My hypothesis is that LDH is more active in summer- versus winter-caught fish. I assessed the activity of LDH in the liver and muscle of fish captured in August and December at the temperature of the environment (22 and 4C) and at a common temperature of 13C. My preliminary data support my hypothesis. The ability of a species or population of fish to respond seasonally to temperature change and low oxygen by altering metabolic pathways may underlie their ability to exploit environmental niches unavailable to other species or populations.
  • Title: Marijuana, Salvia Divinorum, and Synthetic Cannabis; Students' Knowledge and Perception on Psychoactive Drugs
    Student: Reka Kovacs
    Faculty mentor: Cecilia Acocella
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Marijuana is the most commonly used Schedule I drug in America, especially in college communities. However in recent years students have been turning to other drugs, such as Salvia divinorum and synthetic cannabis, to replicate the high of marijuana. We hypothesized that university students would confuse these drugs with one another, attributing marijuana-like qualities to Salvia divinorum and synthetic cannabis. Salisbury Universitys psychology students (n=163) were asked about those three drugs in a survey: the chemical make-up of the drugs, the federal and state legal status of the drugs and the effects of each drug. The majority of participants had heard of Salvia divinorum (68.1%) and synthetic cannabis (70.6%). Results showed students scored highest on questions pertaining to marijuana (M=64.83, SD= 14.27). Students scored lower on Salvia divinorum and synthetic cannabis questions (M=37.50, SD= 22.11) and (M=37.27, SD= 19.63) respectively. Males scored higher than females on marijuana, t(159) = 2.006, p = 0.047 and salvia questions, t(107) = 2.506, p = 0.014, but did not show a statically significant difference on synthetic cannabis scores. Participants did not confuse the main active ingredient in marijuana, salvia, and synthetic cannabis. Only 7.2% of students believed THC to be the main active ingredient in salvia, and 14.8% believed THC to be the main active ingredient in synthetic cannabis. Only 13.5% of participants attributed marijuanas effects to salvias effects. It does not appear that participants believe that marijuana is interchangeable with salvia or synthetic cannabis. Future studies should address use patterns of these substances in university students, particularly salvia and synthetic cannabis, as their effects can be more harmful than the effects of marijuana.
  • Title: Friends with Grass: A Survey of Lawns with Attitude
    Student: Knute Kraus
    Faculty mentor: Chrys Egan
    Type: Poster Presentation

    In this study the researchers intended to find out how home owners and renters in the Salisbury, Maryland area feel about their lawns. Are they obsessed with keeping their lawns manicured? It is understandable that many residents desire a beautiful, scenic lawn but researchers were interested to find out how many people would be willing to create sustainable, environmentally-friendly yards. The team wanted to see how educated residents were, educate them if they were not aware, and see if we could motivate them to alter their lawns with natives plants which are more sustainable for the environment. To collect the data, researchers conducted a survey of multiple-choice questions about the environment and lawns and to choose the answer that best fit them. At the end of the survey researchers added facts that are useful about native plants and lawns. The team presented the survey to twenty students that are renting houses and twenty professor/ faculty that are home owners in the area. The students and faculty were all from different majors and professions. The objective was to find out if the study could alter their opinion on how they see their lawn and if they would make even the slightest transformation to their lawn. Keywords: eco-friendly, sustainability, alternatives
  • Title: Update update, read all about it: Other disciplines use Teaching of Psychology interventions to support their research
    Student: Emily Kulp
    Faculty mentor: Thomas Tomcho
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Background: Hargens (2000) described that research from different contexts create reference networks and the differences in how references are used can help us understand differences within scholarly communities. Citing previous research in ones own research helps integrate research from other disciplines as well as helping to condense a broader literature, in effect streamlining ones own research paper. This demonstrates that a researchers ideas are referenced by others to develop new research, contextualize findings, and draw new conclusions. With this in mind, Taylor (2009) has argued that what we say matters to others. Purpose: We are interested in how and why researchers use citations from different research articles and from different disciplines in their own studies. Population: We are examining more than 1,000 traditional articles (i.e., introduction, method, results, and discussion sections) and non-traditional articles (e.g., narrative reviews) for how citations are used. Research Design: Archival Research Data Collection and Analysis: We are currently coding research articles to look at patterns across all articles and find common trends.
  • Title: Wildlife-Friendly Yard
    Student: Marisa Langello
    Faculty mentor: Chrys Egan
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Our team researched wildlife-friendly yards and the openness of students in local student housing to providing food, shelter, water and place to raise young. Our specific interest was on the birds in Salisbury. If we are able to provide the four necissities to for the birds, we could become a World Wildlife Foundation wildlife-friendly certified yard. By placing birdhouses, food and water to in the communities, we hope to provide nice areas for the birds to live and be safe. We also hope that the residents of these communities will be pleased and not bothered with the wildlife living around their homes.
  • Title: Economic Freedom in Hong Kong
    Student: Erich Liebig
    Faculty mentor: Marc Street
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between a countrys level of economic freedom and the value it provides for businesses in that country. In particular, this research is aimed at examining the level of economic freedom in the Special Administrations Region of China- Hong Kong. Rated the most economically free country in the world, Hong Kong is an admirable example of the benefits of an economically free state. As defined by the Heritage Foundation, economic freedom is the condition in which individuals can act with autonomy while in the pursuit of their economic livelihood and greater prosperity. The major components of economic freedom include: size of government, legal system and security of property rights, sound money, freedom to trade internationally, regulation, and the extent and prevalence of corporate cronyism. In examining these six elements, this report provides examples of how each component has affected a specific firm, either positively or negatively, in Hong Kong. These findings may be useful for companies looking to enter the Hong Kong market, or by helping to promote the principals of economic freedom around the world.
  • Title: A Synoptic-Dynamic Analysis of Cases of Major Underestimation of the Forecast Uncertainty
    Student: Carlee Loeser
    Faculty mentor: Darren Parnell
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Ensemble forecasts are prepared to account for the effects of uncertainties in the initial conditions and the formulation of the model on the forecasts. The THORPEX Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE) database allows researchers to obtain ensemble forecast data from the leading operational global forecast centers of the world. Recent results of our research group suggest that, on average, the ensembles included in the TIGGE data set underestimate the forecast uncertainty. Our investigation shows that the overall problem is due to a few episodes of large underestimation of the forecast uncertainty. We selected two such episodes for the 96-hour lead time UKMO ensemble forecasts by using both NCEP and ECMWF analyses for the verification of the forecasts. The two verification times are 0000 UTC January 6, 2012 and 1200 UTC February 10, 2012. In the first case, the ensemble underestimates the errors associated with the prediction of an upper tropospheric wave packet over the North Pacific, while in the second case it underestimates the uncertainty in the prediction of a cyclogenesis over the north Atlantic region.
  • Title: Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Deal Island Wildlife Management Area and Monie Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
    Student: Eric Lynch
    Faculty mentor: Ronald Gutberlet
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The Deal Island Wildlife Management Area and Monie Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, both located within the Audubon Somerset-Wicomico Marshes Important Bird Area, encompass 5261 hectares of marsh, forest, myrtle thickets, and tidal creeks and rivers in Somerset County, Maryland. This area is an important location for migratory bird species as well as summer, winter and year-round residents. A variety of ecological research is conducted here and reserve scientists are interested in a comprehensive list of bird species to support that work. Our annotated checklist for the species of this area will be an important resource that can be used by nature enthusiasts and researchers alike. Data have been gathered during the spring and fall semesters through weekly surveys and are supplemented by using the citizen science database eBird and also the two Maryland Breeding Bird Atlases. Within the area, 245 species have been identified. Several of these species, including Least Bittern, Clapper Rail, Seaside Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sparrow, and Boat-tailed Grackle, are range-restricted habitat specialists that are represented by large populations, highlighting the importance of this area. New species documented here during our project include the White Ibis (2012), Red-necked Grebe (2014) and Snowy Owl (2014).
  • Title: Optimizing a Magnetic Pulse Accelerator
    Student: Samim Manizade
    Faculty mentor: Mark Muller
    Type: Poster Presentation

    This project focused on the development of a magnetic pulse accelerator, otherwise known as a coil gun. The accelerator consists of an AC power source, an AC-DC converter, a capacitor bank, an air core solenoid, a bank of capacitors, and a silicon power cube combined with a trigger circuit. When the trigger circuit is closed, a current is briefly allowed to flow from the capacitor bank through the solenoid. Current through the solenoid creates a magnetic field which accelerates a ferromagnetic projectile along a track. Mathematical and physical models are implemented using the computer algebra system Mathematica as well as trial and error to optimize accelerator design. Some aspects of the magnetic accelerator that are considered for optimization include solenoid construction and dimensions, circuit layout, trigger circuit speed, and projectile composition.
  • Title: Genetic Diversity of a peripheral population of Red-Backed Salamanders
    Student: Sarina Mossa
    Faculty mentor: Eric Liebgold
    Type: Poster Presentation

    In recent years there is evidence of a decline in the abundance of the Eastern Redbacked salamander (Plethodon cinereus) due to environmental changes brought about by human habitation. Biogeographical history and these recent changes in population and environment have both potentially affected genetic diversity in the different areas of the salamanders range. The genetic diversity of the E. Redbacked salamander populations on the Eastern Shore is unknown in comparison to others. Our study tested the hypothesis that the Eastern Shore has less genetic diversity in comparison to other more central areas of the salamanders range due to the partial geographic isolation and peripheral nature of the Eastern Shore. DNA extracted from autotomized Eastern Redback salamander tails was genotyped using microsatellites that were used on the Virginia and Long Island populations in order to compare the genetic diversity between these three areas. Our results show that, unlike salamanders from Long Island, which is more isolated, most VA microsatellite primers amplify in our populations. Unsurprisingly, some alleles present in VA are not present here and vice versa. However, overall diversity may be lower on the Eastern Shore.
  • Title: Utilizing Sonar Technology for Blind Navigation
    Student: Katherine Murphy
    Faculty mentor: Jeffrey Emmert
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Navigation required to accomplish daily tasks can be difficult for the visually impaired because of unseen obstacles. We propose an inexpensive, glove-like device that uses sonar technology to assist a user in identifying a path free of obstacles. In this device, a programmed microcontroller responds to the echo delay of ultrasonic pulses, actuating motors that rotate cushioned extensions on the left and right sides of the glove. By feeling the extra pressure on the left or right side of the hand, a user can then determine on which side an obstacle is approaching. This pressure is proportional to the distance to the object, with more pressure applied to the users hand for closer objects.
  • Title: Does Socioeconomic Status Predict Heart Rate Variability?
    Student: Alyssa O'Brien
    Faculty mentor: Karl Maier
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Previous research has reported that SES and heart rate variability (HRV) are factors in determining increased risk for cardiovascular disease. SES is frequently considered as a blend of education, income and occupation (Wee et al. 2012). HRV is the deviation in the time period between heartbeats. HRV, usually recorded with an ECG monitoring device, is measured by the variation in the beat-to-beat (RR) intervals and by spectral frequency analysis. HRV is an indicator of autonomic balance, meaning all parasympathetic and sympathetic activities are at normal levels. Parasympathetic activity and HRV have been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, specifically when the HF is low and LF/HF is high (Clays et al. 2011, Haensel et al. 2008, and Thayer et al. 2010). Here SES and HRV were examined to determine if SES predicts HRV. Because lower SES is associated with lower HF in HRV and with more life stress, I expected that lower SES would account for lower level of HF variability at rest. We also expect a larger LF/HF ratio at rest as it reflects poorer autonomic tone. Subjects were drawn from an initial sample of 104 students at Salisbury University who participated in a related study (69% female, 68% Caucasian, 10.5% African-American, 21.5% other groups). Web-based surveys were completed that included the BSMSS (Barratt, 2006), as an index of socioeconomic standing. The Respondents were hooked up to a three-lead ECG monitoring device to measure heart rate, specifically through a BIOPAC Systems, Inc. MP150. Participants completed an 8 minute baseline period, 20 second practice mental stressor task, 4 minute mental stressor task, and a 4 minute recovery period. Heart rate was measured throughout the protocol, and HRV was calculated for the baseline/rest period. Data will be analyzed using correlations between BSMSS scores and values of HF, LF and LF/HF.
  • Title: Civil Conflict, Education, and Child Labor: A Look at Afghanistan
    Student: Elena Ramirez
    Faculty mentor: Hong Yao
    Type: Poster Presentation

  • Title: Is the Dystroglycan Complex in Vascular Cells A Therapeutic Target for Gene Delivery?
    Student: Zachary Rathbun
    Faculty mentor: Victor Miriel
    Type: Poster Presentation

    Muscular dystrophy is a family of diseases caused by mutations in genes encoding proteins that comprise the dystroglycan complex and lead to skeletal and cardiac muscle dysfunction. While mutations in the dystrophin gene lead to the most common forms of muscular dystrophy (Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies), mutations in genes encoding other proteins of the dystroglycan complex can lead to other forms of muscular dystrophy. The skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle pathology associated with these mutations are well documented, but more recently it has become appreciated that components of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex are expressed in vascular smooth muscle and the vascular endothelium. The physiological role of the dystroglycan complex in these cells is not well understood, and several groups have postulated that alterations in the dystroglycan complex may explain the abnormal vascular responses and blood flow patterns reported in human patients, as well as animal models of muscular dystrophy. Some studies have also suggested that vascular dysfunction contributes to the cardiac and skeletal muscle dysfunction seen in muscular dystrophy, however few of these studies actually tested vascular function. In view of the paucity of data regarding the role of the dystroglycan complex in vascular physiology and pathophysiology, we sought to determine the extent and location of vascular dysfunction in muscular dystrophy by studying isolated vascular segments in vitro. These vascular segments were harvested from the MDX mouse, a murine model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and studied in vitro as isometric ring preparations or as isolated, pressurized resistance artery segments. We will report the preliminary results of our vascular function studies, and we will describe our efforts to deliver plasmid DNA to vascular cells in order to improve our understanding of the dystroglycan complex in vascular function.
  • Title: Maryland's Amphibian and Reptile Atlas: A Successful Example of Citizen Science
    Student: Melissa Ruck
    Faculty mentor: Ronald Gutberlet
    Type: Poster Presentation

  • Title: Rain Gardens: Slow It Down, Spread It Out and Soak It In
    Student: Sharona Russell
    Faculty mentor: Chrys Egan
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The students from CMAT 297 Communications Research and ENVR 350 Topics in Natural Sciences worked together to help set up and create an aquatic floating island for a small community pond. The floating island helped reduce the water pollution within the pond due to biomass and metal, at the same time provide a new home for different species. The ENVR 350 students helped put together the island, building and placing the island into the pond, while the CMAT 297 students assisted with finding funds for the project as well as created survey questions (Appendix A) for community members who were interested in participating in the project to take part in. Survey were disturbed to members the community where the island would be constructed, roughly around 20 individuals participated in the survey. The questions generally involved their thoughts on having an aquatic floating island, if they would be willing to help maintain it, and how much money and/or manpower they are willing to donate. Keywords: rain gardens, community, eco-friendly
  • Title: 1 in 7 Billion: A Study on Perception of Individual and Community Environmental Efforts
    Student: Deborah Silver
    Faculty mentor: Chrys Egan
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The study was conducted with the intent of finding out peoples perception on individual and community environmental efforts. This is an important study because it can provide insight into peoples knowledge and awareness of environmental problems and their willingness to change to become more eco-friendly. The study collected information for the project 1 in 7 Billion, which educates people of the individual and collective environmental changes they can make to improve the world. This project investigates how an individuals behavior can affect their ecological footprint ,and how, with more than seven billion of us crowding the planet, the cumulative effect of individual behavior changes can alter humanitys impact. It is important to inform the public that by making minor daily changes to be more eco-friendly, this can add up to large savings on our global resources. To collect data, researchers conducted a survey made up of open-ended and rating scale questions about the persons awareness, concern, and willingness to make minor daily changes to be more eco-friendly (Appendix A). The privacy of participants was protected by only asking for their age and gender. Results indicate that Keywords: environment, eco-friendly, sustainability, ecological footprint, human impact
  • Title: Parasites of Invasive Lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) Caught in the Atlantic Ocean off North Carolina and Florida
    Student: Margaret Thomas
    Faculty mentor: Ann Barse
    Type: Poster Presentation

    The Indo-Pacific lionfishes (Pterois volitans and P. miles) have caused much destruction in their introduced geographic range off the coast of North Carolina to the warmer waters of the Caribbean. There has been little information published on lionfish biology, including information on parasitism. Parasites are important to monitor in an invasive host species because new parasites may be introduced into an ecosystem and they can accumulate new parasites from their new locality. There have been only two reports on parasites of invasive lionfish. (1) A single leech, Myzobdella lugubris, was observed infecting one lionfish caught off the coast of Florida in 2002. (2) A flatworm was discovered, Lecithochirium floridense, (Trematoda) infecting P. volitans caught off the coast of North Carolina in 2007. These authors also found that the leech (M. lugubris) was misidentified and was actually the more common marine leech, Trachelobdella lubrica. To compare parasite communities later in the invasion, lionfish were collected for parasite study in 2011 off of Key West, Florida and in 2012 off of Beaufort, North Carolina. My objectives were to transfer formalin-fixed parasites to 70% EtOH, hydrate and stain helminths in hematoxylin, and mount them on slides for identification. The specimens are being examined and morphometric analyses performed using an Olympus BX2 compound microscope equipped with differential interference contrast (DIC) optics. The morphology of the lionfish parasites is being compared to published species descriptions. So far we have found what appears to be more specimens of L. floridense in both NC and FL samples and Tetrabothriidean tapeworms in NC lionfish. Photomicrographs are being taken with a Canon DSLR camera and a drawing will be made of one trematode specimen with a camera lucida. Results will contribute to understand the biology of this finfish and the effects this fish will have on its introduced range.
  • Title: Isomorphic Circulant Graphs and Applications to Homogeneous Linear Systems
    Student: Shealyn Tucker
    Faculty mentor: Michael Bardzell
    Type: Poster Presentation

    In this research project we will investigate patterns in numerical data regarding the number of isomorphic circulant graphs for a given order n. There is no known formula for this, but computer computations have provided useful data which has not been fully analyzed. These graphs will also be used to model certain circulant linear systems of equations to describe their decomposition into subsystems and, ultimately, provide information about the nature of their solution sets. In order to obtain results, detailed illustrations of the isomorphic circulant graphs will be carefully analyzed as well as their corresponding circulant linear systems of equations. The software system Mathematica will be used to generate larger circulant graphs and certain functions of the program will determine the behaviors of more complicated circulant linear systems of equations. The Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences will be accessed for information relevant to pattern recognition in numerical isomorphism class data. Four theorems will be presented pertaining to the behavior of the isomorphic circulant graphs, where each vertex within the graph is connected to one other vertex within the graph. The behaviors of the circulant graphs vary based on the number of vertices or the order of the graph, the distance in between each vertex, whether or not the graph breaks into cycles, and how many lines are connecting the vertices within the cycles, or edges. We anticipate these theorems will help us generate number theoretic formulas for isomorphic circulant graphs, where each vertex within the graph is connected to two or more vertices within the same graph. We will incorporate more advance computer programs to obtain more numerical isomorphism class data which should give us more reliable information regarding the sequences already found.