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ENSC2018CLARK52950 ENSC

The Impact of Residential Swimming Pools on Bat Populations

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Delaney Clark Environmental Science
Advisor(s): Tamie Morgan Environmental Science Victoria Bennett Biology
Location: Session: 1; 1st Floor; Table Number: 5

poster location

Habitat loss due to urbanization is a primary cause of declining bat populations globally. As a result of this, research has been conducted to review swimming pools as an alternative source of water for bats in urban areas. After collecting data, GIS analysis utilizing color infrared imagery was performed to assess the impact that residential swimming pools have on bat populations.

(Poster is private)

ENSC2018DEVOTTA3059 ENSC

Spatial analysis of bat distribution within Fort Worth transects.

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Hannah Devotta Biology
Advisor(s): Tory Bennett Environmental Science Tamie Morgan Geology
Location: Session: 1; Basement; Table Number: 6

poster location

Bats provide important ecosystem services, such as pollination, seed dispersal and pest control. Bats are however susceptible to a number of threats, including habitat loss, disease, land use change (wind turbines). Thus, we monitor bats to determine if these threats impact their population. The TCU Outreach Bat Monitoring Program has been monitoring bats at local parks for the last five years, and have noticed some parks are more bat friendly than others. To understand what is driving a greater abundance and species diversity at these parks, we are looking into available resources, park structure and surrounding neighborhoods to determine what constitutes a bat friendly park. This project aims to use existing data from bat friendly sites, map these locations and identify patterns within them by using spatial analysis. Based on these recommendations, parks can be made more bat friendly which will aid bat conservation.

ENSC2018GILLIAM49891 ENSC

External Influences Impacting the Fluctuations in Texas Groundwater

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Dorothy Gilliam Environmental Science
Advisor(s): Tamie Morgan Environmental Science Becky Johnson Environmental Science
Location: Session: 2; Basement; Table Number: 7

poster location

In the state of Texas, groundwater resources are utilized for irrigation, mining, municipal use, manufacturing, livestock and steam electric. Over the past 20 years however, there have been shifts and significant trends in groundwater pumpage that can be attributed to changes in annual precipitation, drought, declining industries, and the status of livestock. A multi-year GIS analysis was conducted to analyze trends in Texas Groundwater and the overall factors that impacted pumpage.

(Poster is private)

ENSC2018GREENE24491 ENSC

Impacts of Megaherbivores on the Vegetation in a Size Restricted Game Reserve

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Jimmy Greene Environmental Science
Advisor(s): Tory Bennett Environmental Science
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 2

poster location

South Africa is unique in that the majority of its wildlife is managed in privately owned game reserves. One major challenge for reserves is maintaining healthy stable populations, particularly large species, such as the big five (white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), African elephant (Loxodonta africana), Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), African leopard (Panthera pardus), and lion (Panthera leo)). Nevertheless, there has been very little research on management of these charismatic species in such size restricted reserves. To address this need, we are studying the impacts of megaherbivores on the structure and spatial distribution of vegetation in Amakhala Game Reserve. The reserve was created in 1999 from 7,500 ha of agricultural land. Since the formation of the reserve, succession of vegetation has been encouraged to create a more natural environment. However, the introduction of large herbivores, such as elephants and rhinos, may have altered or slowed down this succession. To explore this hypothesis, we conducted a GIS analysis using Landsat imagery and megaherbivore GPS tacking data. Vegetation type was classified to quantify historic changes, and we performed kernel densities and an emerging hotspot analysis with the tracking data (2011-2018) to determine megaherbivore distribution. We determined that the megaherbivores hindered the natural succession of vegetation by maintaining grasslands and preventing woodland encroachment. These findings will facilitate game reserve management by identifying Amakhala’s limitations for increasing browsing herbivores as well as the potential for the addition of grazing herbivores.

(Poster is private)

ENSC2018HUZZEN18184 ENSC

Does a textured coating alter bat activity at wind turbine towers?

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Brynn Huzzen Environmental Science
Advisor(s): Tory Bennett Environmental Science Amanda Hale Biology
Location: Session: 1; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 3

poster location

Large numbers of migratory tree bats are killed at wind turbines globally. Recent studies have predicted potential population-level impacts as a result, highlighting the need for strategies alleviating bat-wind turbine collisions. Research has shown bats active in close proximity to turbines, approaching and interacting with tower surfaces as if they provided resources, such as water sources and foraging opportunities. Evidence indicates that the smooth surface of the towers can be misperceived by bats as water, and it can also create an acoustic mirror that can enhance foraging success. We hypothesized that a textured coating would disrupt the smooth tower surfaces. Thus, the focus of our study was to determine if texture application would result in decreased bat activity in proximity to tower surfaces, which in turn would reduce collision risk. From May to September 2017, we used thermal cameras, night vision technology, and ultrasonic acoustic bat detectors to assess bat activity at two pairs of wind turbines in north central Texas. Each pair comprised a texture-treated turbine and a control, and bat proximity and behavior at towers were compared. In this first year of testing, we conducted 76 survey nights, observed 1030 confirmed bats on video, and recorded 1215 acoustic calls from 7 bat species. To fully assess the effectiveness of the texture coating, we will be repeating surveys from June to September 2018.

(Poster is private)

ENSC2018INGLIS50949 ENSC

Texas Rare Plants

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Emily Inglis Environmental Science
Advisor(s): Tammie Morgan Geology
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 1

poster location

This project will map 2,000-4,000 rare plant species found in Texas. Most of these species have geocoordinates, with some only down to the county-level. These georeferenced plants will be overlaid on to soil type, precipitation, and land development, topography, and ecosystem type maps. This analysis will explain why these habitats are ideal for the rare plants in Texas. Understanding the habitats of these rare plants is important in preserving endangered botanical species. This could lead to a better understanding of this rare biota.

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ENSC2018LAM39506 ENSC

Surface Property of Organic Sorbent Derived from Coffee Grounds

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Amy Lam Environmental Science
Advisor(s): Omar Harvey Environmental Science
Location: Session: 2; 1st Floor; Table Number: 5

poster location

On average, Americans generate about 11.4 million kilograms of spent coffee grounds per day. That is an equivalent weight of a thousand full-size school buses, every day. Most of this coffee is discard, where it eventually ends up in a landfill. However, if recycled or reused this commonly discarded material has many potential uses including as a pest repellent or garden fertilizer. Another use is as a sorbent to remove water contaminants. This means that coffee grounds have the potential to be used as a key component in carbon-based water filters. Evidence from recent research conducted in our laboratory at Texas Christian University shows that charred coffee grounds can effectively remove lead contamination from water. My research will further this work by identifying 1) the specific properties of charred coffee grounds that allows for the removal of lead from water and 2) the optimal temperature for producing charred coffee grounds for water filtration. With the use of infrared spectroscopy and other materials characterization techniques, I will study the properties of charred coffee grounds produced from regular Folgers coffee and an Ethiopian-blend at 250 ℃, 350 ℃, and 450 ℃.

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ENSC2018LAURENTI30255 ENSC

A Space-Time Analysis of Multi-Year Air Quality Data in Fort Worth and Houston in order to Quantify Cancer Risk

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Alec Laurenti Environmental Science
Advisor(s): Omar Harvey Environmental Science Tamie Morgan Geology
Location: Session: 1; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 2

poster location

BTEX compounds (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene), and specifically benzene, have been linked to cancer in humans. This project will allow me to develop a map to quantify risk of cancer based the amount of BTEX compounds that have been determined to be in the air. Air pollutant data was gathered by TCEQ using automated gas chromatographs. I collected this data for different monitoring stations in the DFW area in order to compare the differences with Houston. This data was then used to create a map in ArcGIS in order to visualize higher pollution areas. The contaminant levels will then be used with the recommended health exposure levels in order to create a map of risk corridors. This is useful information as it allows individuals to be aware of their personal exposure to these compounds based on the time spent in an area.

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ENSC2018PAYBLAS44391 ENSC

Evolution of Groundwater Quality and Source Tracking of Nitrate Contamination in the Seymour Aquifer, Texas

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Caitlin Payblas Environmental Science
Advisor(s): Omar Harvey Environmental Science
Location: Session: 1; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 8

poster location

Nitrate contamination of groundwater in the Seymour Aquifer is a well-known issue that has been documented since the 1960's. Concentrations as high as 35 ppm NO3-N have been reported, which is a startling 3.5 times the EPA allowable standard for drinking water. While most water from the Seymour Aquifer is used for agricultural irrigation, a portion is still used for domestic purposes and therefore poses a risk to human health. While this problem may have been recognized, the specific source of this contamination remains unknown. Three potential sources of nitrate within the aquifer are being considered in this study—the geological makeup of the aquifer, the agricultural contribution of nitrate from fertilizers, and the historical land use change of the area above the aquifer. My research will combine various analytical and geospatial technologies in order to 1) assess the evolution of groundwater in the Seymour Aquifer since the 1960's, and 2) to determine the source of the high concentrations of nitrate in domestic wells situated on the aquifer. Readily available groundwater quality data from the Texas Water Development Board will be used in conjunction with geospatial analysis and chemical analysis to identify changes in the aquifer's water quality over time. Nitrogen and Oxygen stable isotopic analysis will be used to determine the source of the contaminant. After a thorough analysis of the site area via the aforementioned methods and technologies, a thorough portrait that depicts the source of nitrate contamination in Texas's Seymour Aquifer ought to be painted.

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ENSC2018PUETT4458 ENSC

If it weren’t for the neighbors! – urban habitats can benefit bats.

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Richard Puett Environmental Science Ellen Hall Environmental Science
Advisor(s): Tory Bennett Environmental Science
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 9

poster location

Bats are critical to their surrounding environment, providing numerous beneficial ecosystem services. For instance, they are natural pest controllers, and in urban environments they can control the mosquitoes that cause West Nile Virus. Nevertheless, loss and degradation of habitat, along with disease, have led to declining bat numbers. Restoring and creating suitable habitat will certainly help encourage bats, but first we need to know what resources bats need to survive, such as water. Many available water resources in urban areas, such as streams, ponds, and drainage ditches are ephemeral and dry up during the hot Texas summers. We believe that bats are able to utilize swimming pools in Texas urban areas, thus we explored this by radio-tracking bats in a local park, Foster Park in Fort Worth. We caught bats in this park using a technique called mist netting. Upon capture, we attached a radio-transmitter which emits a signal that can be picked up by a hand-held receiver. We then followed the bats using the transmitter’s signal and triangulated their position every minute to map their nightly routine. From March to September 2017, we tracked a total of 10 evening bats (Nycticeius humeralis). Using ArcGIS, we mapped the bats flight paths and determined home range sizes. From March to May, and September, we found that bats tracked tended to restrict their movement and remained within or near to the park, however from June to August the bats expanded their home ranges and moving longer distances into local neighborhood. This expansion coincided with drying up of water sources within the park, and included areas with swimming pools. Our finding supports the hypothesis that urban habitats have the potential to maintain healthy bat populations, which in turn can aid bat conservation.

(Poster is private)

ENSC2018STUPP1717 ENSC

A Historical Look at the Tar Creek Mine, Ottawa County, Oklahoma Using Remote Sensing

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): ROBERT STUPP Environmental Science
Advisor(s): Tamie Morgan Environmental Science
Location: Session: 2; Basement; Table Number: 1

poster location

The Tar Creek Mine was declared a superfund site in 1983. Located in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, the mine operated from 1900 to the 1960’s for zinc and lead supplies. Large, open highly contaminated chat piles are still visible today. Toxic contamination from the mine is found in groundwater, most water bodies and precipitated dust all over the surrounding community. Children in the area were found to have elevated lead, zinc and manganese levels leading to an assortment of learning disabilities. Using historical and present day satellite imagery a map of change at the Tar Creek Super Fund will be completed. The main sources of data will be Landsat satellite imagery, old aerial flight photos, and precipitation level averages over time. A remote sensing analysis will be used to map changes in the mine chad piles and contamination zones from 1978 to present.

ENSC2018WILSON22698 ENSC

Potential Distributed Power Generation for U.S. Border Stations in Texas and New Mexico

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Clare Wilson Geology
Advisor(s): Becky Johnson Environmental Science
Location: Session: 1; 1st Floor; Table Number: 2

poster location

Intermittent power outages at Texas and New Mexico border stations has caused significant delays in customs services and information losses through computer shutdowns. The U.S. General Services Administration approached us to address these power quality problems at the border stations through a review of potential distributed generation sources through microgrids to “combat or support” these frequent power outages. The overall aim aside from solving power outages and brown outs at stations is potentially addressing the implementation of renewable energy sources as a power generation for microgrids and coming closer in compliance with Executive Order 13693, “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade”. Our approach includes analyzing background information through analysis of GSA documentation and current studies on implementing microgrids in a variety of locations. Current data suggests proposing wind power, solar power, and battery storage based on size and locations of border stations. However, results are pending data collection and GSA input.

(Poster is private)

ENSC2018WILSON62264 ENSC

The Plight of the Orangutans

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Cameron Wilson Environmental Science
Advisor(s): Tamie Morgan Geology Kristi Argenbright Environmental Science
Location: Session: 1; 1st Floor; Table Number: 6

poster location

Abstract for GIS Project
Applied GIS
Professors: T. Morgan and K. Argenbright
Cameron Wilson

The Tanjung Putting National Park located in Borneo is one of the last refuges of the endangered Orangutan primate. GIS data and satellite imagery covering Borneo and the Tanjung Putting National Park was researched and collected. The data was used to map areas that are subject to illegal logging and mining practices. This information was created to help locate areas of the park where guard towers may be placed to maximize efficiency. Imagery of the areas surrounding the park was researched with goal of creating possible natural corridors to other parts of the island.