Alexander Ochoa (2010-2014)
Functional Genomics of the Endangered Florida Panther
I am studying the evolutionary consequences of the 1995 Texas puma genetic introgression into the Florida panther gene pool. Currently, the Culver Lab at the University of Arizona is developing a whole-genome capture solution to target and sequence Florida panther functional (i.e., coding) genetic diversity. My research objectives are to associate functional genetic diversity with diverse fitness traits in the Florida panther, evaluate the success of the Texas introgression as a function of purged detrimental variation vs. genetic swamping of Florida panther ancestry, and optimize efforts for the management and conservation of the endangered Florida panther.
Adriana Zuniga (2013-2014)
From neighborhoods to wellbeing and conservation: optimizing the usage of natural open spaces through design
Adriana studies different neighborhood designs and their impacts on the usage of natural open spaces (NOS) (e.g., parks, greenways) in cities and how this affects the wellbeing of their residents and their level of conservation support for wilderness. Questionnaires and focus groups are used to measure the usage of NOS, conservation values, and perceived level of wellbeing in residents of different neighborhoods in Tucson, AZ. Designing neighborhoods that preserve NOS within cities and encourage potential synergies that increase human utilization of NOS has the potential to enhance wellbeing and support the preservation of nature within cities and beyond.
Adriana is doing a Ph.D. in Arid Land Resource Science with a minor in Global Change. The links to these programs are:
Arid Lands Resource Science:
Eugenio Larios-Calderes (2010-2012)
The Calder Scholarship helped me monitor the fitness consequences of seed size in the field for three years, to conduct an experiment where I looked at the influence of water availability and competition on seed size selection, and to conduct another experiment on maternal effects of competition on offspring size and its consequences for seed dispersal. In 2012, it also helped me present my findings in an international conference (Seed Ecology 4 in Shenyang, China).
Zulia was honored with the William A. Calder Memorial Scholarship in Fall 2012. As part of her doctoral research Zulia performed field work at the creosotebush ameriflux site in the Santa Rita Experimental Range. Her research contributes to our ecohydrology understanding of the role of soil moisture in two different soil layers -a shallow layer which is in fast reach of atmospheric demand and a deep layer which is in slow reach of atmospheric demand-, and how this influences albedo and the height development of the planetary boundary layer in semiarid ecosystems.
To learn more about Zulia visit her website: http://zuliamsm.weebly.com/
My PhD work is focused on evaluating the importance of intertidal and anthropogenic wetlands as habitat for shorebirds in the Colorado River Delta, the use of a water budget model to predict effects of water management on shorebird and marsh bird habitat and the use of vegetation indices to establish species habitat models for marsh birds. The W. C. grant funded on the ground shorebird surveys and aerial surveys that I used to determine the shorebirds abundance and distribution patterns at a large scale, including inaccessible areas of the Colorado River Delta and Upper Gulf of California.