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2018
Friday, April 27th
3:00 PM

An Inter-Model Comparison of Gridded Temperature and Precipitation Products in Montana

Colin Brust

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Gridded datasets are one of the primary ways that scientists gather temperature and precipitation data for their study areas. Gridded data can be thought of as a series of maps that overlay a study area. For every day of every year, scientists can use these gridded data to determine the temperature, precipitation, or a host of other variables at any given location within their study area. These datasets are created by using point data from the ground (e.g. weather station data) to interpolate the values of climatic variables across the dataset’s area of interest. As a result, gridded datasets are powerful tools that can be used to estimate climatic variables when physical measurements are unavailable. Unfortunately, due to differences in calculation methods, interpolation methods and point data, it is unlikely that these datasets will yield the exact same result for a given point within a study area.

To determine the spatial, temporal, and topographic variations between datasets, I am conducting an inter-model comparison of the gridded temperature and precipitation products available in Montana. To do this, I gathered daily gridded temperature and precipitation data from the past 30 years to create monthly, seasonal, and annual climate normals. I then compared each of the normals to one another to determine which areas of Montana saw the largest discrepancy between datasets. Although using this method will not reveal the accuracy of each dataset, it will show where datasets vary the most and yield uncertain results. This information can be used by scientists to determine which dataset best fits their study area and is most likely to produce accurate results.

Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Ameliorate the Negative Effects of Drought on Blanket Flower

Patrick K. Demaree, University of Montana - Missoula

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Root colonizing arbuscular mycorrhizae fungi (AMF) are primarily known to help plants acquire nutrients and grow. However, recent research suggests that, AMF colonization may also enhance plant drought tolerance. In a field experiment in western Montana, we tested whether AMF colonization improves growth and ameliorates the effects of drought on the native forb Gaillardia aristata (Blanket flower). In 2017, we transplanted greenhouse-grown AMF-colonized and non-colonized Blanket flower seedlings to a field experimentally devoid of AMF. Each colonization type was further subjected to two watering regimes: one receiving mostly ambient precipitation and one receiving supplemental water. In mid-July (when plants were still growing) and in August (when plants started to flower) I destructively sampled plants from each treatment to examine the effect of AMF colonization on growth and plant water status. Irrespective of moisture treatment, AMF-colonized plants grew more, allocated relatively less biomass to roots and produced more flowers relative to non-colonized plants. Water treatments had modest effects on soil moisture and, consequently, on growth. However, supplemental water drastically increased reproduction in AMF-colonized plants relative to non-colonized plants. AMF colonization did not affect plant growth and water status under supplemental water. However, under ambient soil moisture (drier) AMF-colonized plants had better water status than non-colonized plants. Our results show that Blanket Flower benefits from AM fungi colonization and that such benefit increases under drought. Globally, drought is intensifying in magnitude and duration with potentially severe ecological and societal repercussions. Recent advances in soil ecological research have emphasized the role of complex below-ground biotic interactions on plant community distribution and resilience to drought. Our results add to a growing body of evidence that AMF contribute to plant drought tolerance. Further research should identify the physiological mechanisms involved and the ecological implications.

Are Robots Animate or Inanimate? Children's pronoun use provides insight to categorization challenge

Stephen F. Cooke

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Are robots animate or inanimate?

Children’s pronoun use provides insight into categorization challenge

Stephen Cooke & Rachel L. Severson

University of Montana

Children attribute an array of animate characteristics to robots (e.g., emotions, mental states, sociality, and moral standing), yet at the same time understand them as inanimates (e.g., non-biological). However, much of the existing research has relied upon explicit measures (children’s self-report), rather than implicit or behavioral measures. Given that children attribute a unique constellation of animate and inanimate characteristics to robot (new ontological category hypothesis), it is critical to evaluate children’s conceptions of robots using converging measures (implicit and explicit). Thus, the purpose of the current research was to assess children’s categorical understanding of a robot using an implicit measure of pronoun use.

Based on previous research, we predicted (1) children will use more gendered pronouns (male-gendered, in particular) with the robot compared to the puppet, and (2) researcher’s pronoun use will influence participant’s pronoun use more for the robot than the puppet.

Blood Oxidative Stress Following Exercise Recovery in Normobaric and Hypobaric Hypoxic Environments

Christopher Johnson

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Branching Out: Generating an Evolutionary Tree of Southeast Asian Plants with Computational Tools

Conner J. Copeland, University of Montana, Missoula
Travis Wheeler, University of Montana, Missoula
Jedediah Brodie, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Plants in Southeast Asia are historically understudied, and their evolutionary relationships are poorly understood. This lack of an evolutionary history has proven to be an obstacle to further investigation of these species, so this research seeks to create a phylogeny, or evolutionary tree, of these plants using molecular data and computational tools. To accomplish this, I downloaded amino acid and DNA sequences from respected databases. I determined which sequences are best recorded in the species of interest, and utilized a blend of pre-existing tools and scripts written in the Perl programming language to eliminate sequences that could lead to inaccurate results. I fed these “filtered” sequences into programs that create alignments of protein or DNA sequences (MAFFT and Opal). These sequence alignments are used to infer likely relationships among these sequences and, therefore, relationships among the species they were obtained from. The resulting alignments were used to compute the most probable phylogeny, using the inference tool, FastTree. The resulting evolutionary tree will assist in filling a significant gap in our knowledge of the evolutionary history of the plants of Southeast Asia. It will also be directly applicable to the research of our Biology Department’s Dr. Jedediah Brodie, who is investigating how interactions with marsupials and mammals has shaped the evolution of these plant species.

Children’s Understanding of Robots: A New Ontological Category or Just Pretend?

Rachele L. Barker
Rachel L. Severson
Bethany Lindner, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Children attribute a unique constellation of animate and inanimate characteristics to personified robots, e.g., judging them to have emotions, thoughts, and capable of being a friend, while also being a piece of technology. Do children truly believe robots have animate characteristics or are they just engaging in pretend play? The latter is certainly plausible as children readily endow objects with personas. The present study sought to address this question by investigating children’s judgments and behavioral interactions with a robot compared to a stuffed animal (a classic object of pretense). Ninety participants (5, 7, and 9 years) engaged with each entity (counterbalanced order) during a familiarization period, free play, and an interview probing their attributions to each entity. We coded children’s judgments during the interview and their behavioral interactions with the entity (e.g., endowing animation, attempts at reciprocity). We predicted that if children are engaging in pretense, their judgments should align with pretend behaviors (e.g., saying the robot can move on its own, and then endowing it with animation). Whereas, if children’s attributions reflect their veridical beliefs, their judgments should align with reciprocal interactions (e.g., saying the robot can move on its own, and beckoning the robot to come). By using convergent measures (judgments and behaviors), we gain confidence in how children understand each entity. Our next step is to analyze the results of this study. The results will help determine whether children’s attributions to robots are a product of pretense or reflect their actual beliefs. In turn, these results will (1) have bearing on the hypothesis that robots may represent a new ontological category (i.e., straddling the boundary between animates and inanimates), and (2) inform on the potential implications of increasingly pervasive personified technologies on children’s pretense and their developing conceptions of the world.

DLC-1 Over-Expression and Growth Inhibition in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Ella B. Baumgarten, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The activity and regulation of RNA-binding proteins (RBP) is an important topic in studies of gene expression. The regulation of RBPs includes interactions with cofactors. One cofactor that our lab has identified is DLC-1, a small protein that prompts the association of a RBP with subcellular RNA granules. Previous research on a protein, Pbp1, with similar effects in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) shows that Pbp-1 over-expression leads to growth inhibition in yeast cells due to the promotion of excessive RNA granule formation (Swisher and Parker, 2010). Due to similar effects between Pbp-1 and DLC-1, we hypothesize that DLC-1, when over-expressed, will cause growth inhibition in yeast cells. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the model organism that we will use to investigate this question because it is cost efficient, allows for fast results, and is relevant for humans because many of the proteins present in yeast have mammalian orthologs. This hypothesis will be tested on multiple strains of yeast. Using these different strains, we will express DLC-1, two positive controls (Pab1 and Dhh1), and a negative control under the control of a galactose-inducible promotor. We will then grow the yeast on agarose plates that contain different concentrations of sugars (galactose and sucrose). We vary the concentrations of sugars in order to control the activity of the promotor, resulting in protein over-expression in higher concentrations of galactose. The yeast will then be incubated on the plates for five days. At the end of the incubation period, potential lack of cell growth on the high-galactose plate will suggest if DLC-1 over-expression does lead to inhibition of cell growth. Understanding how expression of DLC-1 is related to cell growth and RNA granule formation is important because abnormal RNA granule formation is linked to neurodegenerative diseases.

DNA Extraction and Analysis of Bone Samples from the Orton Quarry Ossuary

Paige N. Plattner, University of Montana

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The Orton Quarry site (36ER243) is a Late Prehistoric ossuary along the coast of Lake Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania. In March 1991, heavy-equipment operators accidentally exposed and destroyed approximately two-thirds of the original ossuary, leaving only the eastern third intact. Due to a personal interest in ossuaries an extensive literature search and personal communication with a one of the lead archeologists from the site was conducted. It was discovered that very little had been published on the site’s importance or its original inhabitants. One of the primary objectives of this project is to change that. By extracting and analyzing the mtDNA using the Dabney et al. (2013) protocol and the aDNA contamination avoidance protocols standard in the Snow lab we will obtain valuable data on the site’s genetic ancestry. Thus far the DNA from the first five samples have been isolated, and are being amplified for the first hypervariable region of the mtDNA mitogenome. The resulting sequences will be reviewed in Sequencher software. Any single nucleotide polymorphisms that are identified in comparison with the revised Cambridge Reference Sequence will then be compared with the Haplogrep software in order to confirm haplogroup assignment. The aspiration of this project is to analyse the data and compare the results to other ancient and modern DNA data from the Great Lakes region, using haplogroup and haplotype comparisons, as seen in Pfeiffer et al. (2014). Ultimately all of these results will then be written and presented on, adding to both the knowledge of the Orton Quarry Ossuary at well as the genetic data for the Great Lakes region.

DOES THE METABOLIC COST OF LOAD CARRIAGE DIFFER BETWEEN MALES AND FEMALES?

Hannah E. Habighorst

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

DOES THE METABOLIC COST OF LOAD CARRIAGE DIFFER BETWEEN MALES AND FEMALES?

Habighorst HE, Baker RL, Berglund KM, Gutierrez SA, Dierman AR, Christman EE

Department of Health and Human Performance

PURPOSE: The scientific understanding of energy use during load carriage suggests that the additional metabolic increment necessary to support an external load is determined by the load’s percentage of the subject’s body weight. Accordingly, for comparison purposes experimental undertakings often adjust the mass of an external load to represent a constant fraction of each subject’s mass. However, in occupational and applied settings, individuals are frequently asked to support similar absolute loads irrespective of their body weight. Here, we evaluated whether the energy requirements in male and female subjects differed during treadmill walking across a range of speeds, while supporting a common 20.5kg external load. METHODS: We measured VO2 during three, 5min trials, administered with a 20.5kg pack, on a level treadmill at 1.7, 1.8, 1.9 ms-1, from 20 subjects(age = 22.1±2.4yrs), who had been assigned as sex-matched pairs on the basis of mass (10 males, Mb = 72.6±6.3kg; 10 females, Mb = 72.8±6.2kg; difference between pairs = 0.6±0.5kg, max 1.4kg). RESULTS: Measured values of VO2 in females were 24.7±4.2, 28.9±3.7, and 30.8±3.3ml kg-1 min-1 at 1.7, 1.8, and 1.9 m s-1, respectively, these values in males, although lower, were indistinguishable (min p-value=0.08) and were 23.1±3.3, 25.8±3.7, and 30.1±4.6 ml kg-1 min-1 at the same speeds. Nonetheless, our data provide 27 points of comparison, with identical loads, at similar speeds (3 of 10 female subjects were unable to complete the 1.9 ms-1 trial); in 8 of these 27 points of comparison females were more economical than their matched pair. CONCLUSION: Our data lend support to the presence of a sex based difference in load carriage economy, warranting further study. We note also that the similar rates of energy expenditure between the sexes observed here, translate to higher relative intensities for females due to their likely lower mass-specific aerobic capacities (i.e. VO2max).

Effectiveness of Youth Engagement Through Intervention (YETI): An Intensive Treatment

Westley Hughes, The University Of Montana
Danika Bosch-Greer, The University Of Montana
Mary Humphreys, The University Of Montana

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) represents a range of developmental disorders involving difficulties with communication and nonverbal behaviors (American Psychological Association, 2013)., and impacts roughly 1 in 68 births (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).Those diagnosed may exhibit poor eye contact, repetitive or compulsive behavior, and inability to understand others’ emotions (Barry et al., 2003). Children with ASD struggle with social interaction, often removing themselves from social situations or engaging in inappropriate behavior that can cause further isolation from their typically developing peers (Kalyva & Avramidis, 2005).

The current study examines the effectiveness of Youth Engagement Through Intervention (YETI), a group-based social skills intervention that uses multiple evidence-based practices (i.e. video modeling, social narratives and visual schedules) creating individualized treatment for each child with ASD. The purpose of this study was to improve social interactions of children with ASD. We defined social interaction as 1) verbal and nonverbal greetings and goodbyes, 2) orientation of face and body towards a clinician or peer when they are being spoken to, 3) and engagement in back and forth, turn taking, communication with peers. We expected YETI would be successful in improving these skills.

Three children with ASD participated in the current study: Two males (ages 7 and 11) and one female (age 7). Observational data using event recording was collected throughout the eight-week program (1.5-hour weekly sessions), on how often each child exhibits social interactions. YETI is provided in a limited timeframe, thus an AB single subjects design is appropriate to assess the treatment effects. However, AB designs cannot determine between-subjects effects, detect small effects, or be generalized.

With rising rates of ASD it is important to develop and implement effective treatments to assist individuals with social skill deficits to better navigate our social world.

Ethnomusicology Collection at the University of Montana’s Anthropological Collections Facility (UMACF)

Rachel A. Steffen, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Since 1959, the University of Montana Anthropological Collection Facility (UMACF) has housed an extensive ethnomusicology collection, donated by cultural anthropologist Alan P. Merriam (1923-1980). My Senior Honors Research Project was to inventory the collection of 2,300 78 RPM records, as well as conduct historical background research. My project was also for the purpose of writing grants which would be used to purchase materials that would aid in the preservation, digitization, and cataloging of the collection. The inventory was conducted through examining each item and recording the pertinent information from each disk into an Excel spreadsheet. This information allows the correlation of the collection by various types of information, e.g., language, recording company, instruments. The importance of this work is to preserve the collection, and to organize it in a usable form. It would be a significant loss to the discipline of anthropology were these recordings to be allowed to deteriorate beyond the point of preservation. It would also be disrespectful to the magnanimity of a foremost scholar in the field of ethnomusicology if his donation was not preserved and properly curated for the use of the students and faculty of the University.

Event Related Electrical Potentials Recorded From The Brain Prior To The Initiation Of Speech

Hannah N. Hansen, University of Montana
Ethan Germann, University of Montana
Samantha McNeely

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

This research will explore the neurologic pathways that occur before the initiation of speech. The basis for this project and the research component will include the electrical potentials along the speech production pathway. The subjects will be given a target consonant-vowel (CV), and their speech production will be recorded simultaneously with their neural activity. We will be attempting to record the electrical signals from the cortex. Subjects will be neurotypical. Benefits of this research will include an increased understanding of normal neuro-electrical properties of the speech production pathway. The clinical benefit will include understanding variations from the norm with application to neuro-motor disorders.

Exploring Death in the Russian Experience

Maree Herron

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Fostering Resilience in Middle School Students

Hannah M. Zuraff, University of Montana
Kaitlin M. Cyr, University of Montana

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Resilience is a pivotal attribute for young children to possess during their developmental journey. Research has examined the importance of resilience and how its presence can increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for youth. One key factor that has been shown to increase resilience is connection with a supportive and caring adult. The Kaleidoscope Connect Program is one of the few resilience programs that targets this specific factor and investigates how it affects functioning for at-risk youth. The goal of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Kaleidoscope Connect program with sixth, seventh, and eight grade students in Western Montana, to determine whether students display significant increases in resilience and significant decreases in problem behavior following the implementation of the program. For the current study, we will use and build upon data from self-report rating scales from the 2016-2017 school year, and add data from the preliminary data from the 2017-2018 school year. These rating scales include the Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents (RSCA) and the BASC-3 Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BASC-3 BESS). In addition, we will also provide effective school-based strategies to increase resilience in youth. The long-term goal of the research program is to collect extensive data throughout the course of the upcoming school years, as well as examine longitudinal data. Research targeting resilience is especially significant in Montana, due to its rural composition and its consistent rank as a state with high rates of youth suicide. The current project will help school-based professionals identify problems and intervene early, to ensure that at-risk youth obtain necessary adult support.

Generating Digital Seismic Traces from Paper Sign Bit Sections

Shevin M. Halvorson, University of Montana

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Improving the Accuracy of Digital Seismic Traces Generated from Images of Paper Sign Bit Seismic Sections.

A reflection seismic survey of Flathead Lake was recorded in August 1970. These data exist today in two media: analog magnetic tape recordings of full-waveform seismic traces (digitized to .wav) and redisplayed paper sections of the data using sign bit rendering. Sign bit rendering only indicated when the amplitude of the trace signal was above zero, which resulted in a considerable loss of dynamic range. Unfortunately, of the 200 km of data recorded, less than 60 km are preserved on magnetic tape. This project processed the scanned images of the paper sign bit sections in an attempt to generate digital seismic traces for the whole set of lines. We contrast our method with an earlier proof-of-concept method implemented by Robert Lankston. The results of this method are available through the University of Montana ScholarWorks site (https://scholarworks.umt.edu/flathead/). Our new development employs additional steps of conditioning the scanned images. The original mechanical redisplay method caused the seismic traces in each image to exhibit a slight skew to the right as they descend the page. We correct the skew using an affine transformation. Once the traces are aligned vertically, we use an automatic algorithm of our design for identifying individual traces. After conditioning, the software offers the user options for converting the scanned image to digital traces. These generated traces are then compared numerically to the data recovered from magnetic tape to gauge the quality of the transformations. For comparison, this step is repeated with traces generated by the proof-of-concept method. Our software can be used for recovering traces from legacy hardcopy sections whose tape component has been lost or was never recorded.

Is the protein-protein interaction discovered in the nematode conserved for mammalian proteins?

Emily L. Osterli, University of Montana

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The regulation of RNA-binding protein (RBP) activity in cells is a central question in gene expression studies. One important RBP is GLD-1; this protein family acts as a tumor suppressor, in both mice and nematodes. Previous research from our laboratory revealed that a small protein, DLC-1, promoted the functions of GLD-1 in Caenorhabditis elegans (roundworm). Understanding this relationship between DLC-1 and GLD-1 is important for understanding stem cell balance; when the balance between mitotic proliferation and differentiation is altered, it can result in serious consequences such as tumor formation and cancer. After establishing that DLC-1 promoted GLD-1 function (Ellenbecker et al., in revision), we wondered if this interaction was conserved in mammalian cells. Mice have two DLC-1 homologues, DYNLL1 and DYNLL2, and several GLD-1 homologues including Sam68, QKI6, and QKI7. We hypothesized that there would be an interaction between some of these homologous proteins found in mice because there is an interaction between DLC-1 and GLD-1 in the worm. I tested this hypothesis by performing GST pulldown assay experiments and then doing a western blot of the samples to detect any potential interaction. After testing all pairwise combinations of DYNLL1/DYNLL2 and Sam68/QKI6/QKI7, we were able to conclude that the interaction found in the nematode was not conserved in these homologues in mice. However, there are still other mouse homologues that we have yet to test and could potentially interact. If we obtain these other homologues and identify an interaction, understanding it at a molecular level in mammalian cells would advance our understanding of certain human diseases like cancer, and potential to apply it to medical practice.

Life History Variation in Non-Native Brook Trout

Madeline Lewis

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Modeling Surface Mass Load Displacements Along The Cascadia Subduction Zone

Cody T. Norberg

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The Earth’s surface is under constant strain from different mass loads. Surface mass loads, such as the oceans, atmosphere, and continental water reservoirs, exert forces on the elastic solid Earth, inducing crustal deformation. These loads move over Earth's surface on time scales varying from less than a day to many thousand years. Since the Earth is elastic and not perfectly rigid, the pressure from these loads deforms the shape of Earth’s surface. Horizontal and vertical displacement responses due to a load can be recorded using Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. Modeling and removing surface-mass loading signals, which are present in all GPS time series, can reduce the variance in the time series. Surface deformation is of particular interest along subduction zones. A subduction zone is an area of tectonic plate collision where the more dense plate subducts, or moves underneath, the less dense plate. The Cascadia Subduction Zone extends from Vancouver Island down to Northern California. This research project focuses on using the python-based software program LOADDEF to accurately compute displacement responses of the Earth to oceanic, atmospheric, and hydrologic loads. These modeled responses are then compared to the observed displacement responses measured by the Plate Boundary Observatory along the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

Moss Rehydration in the Genus Syntrichia

Maggie Ross

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Music Through Math: Analyzing and Composing Scores Mathematically

Katerina N. Hall, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Math and music have always been closely tied in the minds of great thinkers. From Pythagoras’ perfect ratios to the sinusoidal waves of various pitches, we can analyze and create music by utilizing the tools of mathematics. One such tool lies in modular arithmetic. By using a modulo twelve system, we can encompass all of the notes in a modern twelve-tone octave. Thus, we can translate notes to numbers and further, groups these number-notes into sets. Such sets describe musical patterns like chords, harmonies, and motifs, which when combined create entire compositions. While we can analyze all music in this fashion, the Second Viennese School – and most notably, Arnold Schoenberg – were the first to truly dive into the potential for composing with this method. Following their example, I have created a variety of sets based on sources ranging from the English alphabet to a simple color wheel. With one of these sets as a main motif, I composed a short piece reflecting the process of using a specific mathematical field to approach music. This method will hopefully show that both the field of mathematics and that of music are far more accessible than they may seem.

Of Betta splendens and speed dating: an analytical view

Sarah Hecht
Susan Green, MA
Allen Szalda-Petree

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Beta splendens have been the animal subject to test several, non-invasive drug therapies. The results can then be examined as to what effect they will have on humans. In the main experiment, B. splendens’ innate aggressive behavior was examined when the subject were exposed to Fluoxetine, an antidepressant. Data collection comparing the male species of B. splendens involved exposure to a female of B. splendens and dosage of Fluoxetine to observe the effects on their innate aggressive behavior. My part of the experiment is centered around examining whether there was any female bias among the male subjects that would go onto skew the results of the larger study. This project was designed as a manipulation check to see that the exposure to Fluoxetine would suppress aggressive behavior and the exposure to a female would increase aggressive behavior. When the two variables were combined, it is hypothesized that they will return the subject to a baseline aggressive measure. During this experiment, three different female B. splendenswere used at a time. The female B. splendens subjects were kept in separate tanks out of sight of the male B. splendens subjects. The male B. splendens alternated females each day of data collection. In order to ensure limited bias, this experiment examined the courting average of each male exposed to each female. Data was recorded with the larger experiment and averages were taken each day for each male and correlated to which female the male B. splendens had been exposed to. Data analysis is still ongoing to determine whether female bias among the male B. splendens is present.

Quantifying the Presence of Alternative Reading Frames in the Human Genome

Sarah Walling, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Enabled by a growing understanding of its genetic origins, modern medicine is increasingly moving towards prevention rather than treatment of disease. Notable innovations, such as genome editing, can impact medicine only in the context of extensive knowledge of human genetics. Yet it was recently discovered that a phenomenon called “alternative reading frame” (ARF) genes appears in the human genome far more commonly than was thought possible. Exons, the coding portion of DNA, are transcribed into RNA sequences consisting of groupings of three nucleotides called codons. Codons correspond to particular amino acids, and the chain of translated amino acids form a protein based on which exons are included. Unlike non-ARF genes, in ARFs one exon region can encode more than one protein sequence, depending on where the cell establishes the exon’s boundary. Because amino acids are encoded in the base-three codons, shifting the reading frame over by one or two nucleotides can cause dramatic changes in the encoded protein. This research seeks to confirm the existence of ARFs and identify the conditions under which they occur. To accomplish this, RNA sequences were downloaded from trusted databases and a combination of preexisting tools and custom scripts programmed in Perl were used to test for the occurrence of putative ARF sequences. Those RNA sequences found to contain ARFs were then analyzed to determine whether there was a pattern of occurrence. The results of this analysis will assist in filling a significant gap in our knowledge of how the human genome functions. If particular ARFs can be identified as having a relationship with the development of specific diseases, the impact on the medical field would be significant.

Recreational Drone Use on Public Lands

Jennifer D. Allen, University of Montana

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Exploring Perspectives on Recreational Drone Use on Public Lands

Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management

Recreational drone use has increased in popularity and accessibility over the past several years. As of early 2018, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recorded one million drone registrations with 87% of those being hobbyist registrations (Vanian, 2018). Drones have become more affordable, and, thus, more people are purchasing them for recreation. Often, drone users fly on public lands, but there are many concerns and challenges that go along with recreational drone use including privacy, safety, and impacts to wildlife and resources. For example, in August of 2014, a visitor to Yellowstone National Park flew his drone to gain a better view at the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, but then crashed the drone into the spring and it was never recovered. Despite these challenges, there has been outstanding footage from drones flown where humans rarely go and drones can offer unique opportunities for visitor engagement on public lands. But, how do we keep our resources protected and address the privacy concerns while still allowing some managed drone use? These different management options need to be explored depending on the area and particular usage. Despite these challenges and opportunities, there has been very limited research on recreational drone use. To address this gap, 16 senior PTRM students conducted a study on recreational drone use around Missoula, MT. Surveys were conducted with the public on their perceptions about recreational drone use, the public lands where drone use can take place, and the types of management actions. The study offers initial findings on public perceptions and can inform local management of drones and inform future research and policies on public lands.

Reducing False Sequence Annotation Due to Alignment Overextension

Jack Roddy, University of Montana

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Sequence comparison is fundamental to modern molecular biology. The primary focus in the field is on methods that increase the speed of comparison and the sensitivity required to recognize relationships between highly divergent sequences. Our work addresses another important aspect of sequence comparison – avoidance of incorrect sequence annotation. The primary source of such incorrect annotation occurs when software correctly identifies that a substring of one sequence is related (aligns to) to a substring of another sequence, but that the tool incorrectly claims that flanking regions of the two sequences are also related – this is often called alignment overextension. The impact of overextension is substantial - for example, in the annotation of transposable elements in the human genome, we have estimated that 2% of the annotated genome is the result of overextension. Current methods used to combat overextension are only somewhat effective, and can have the unintended consequence of reducing search sensitivity and under-extending the alignment. In our research, we develop a prototype of a method for mitigating overextension which uses hidden Markov models (HMM) to recognize the point at which overextension begins in an alignment. We benchmark these techniques using a an artificial sequence dataset that mimics transposable elements inserted into simulated genomic sequence. We expect that results of this pilot study will lead to dramatic improvement in the annotation of genomic sequences.

Social Learning of Safety in Degus

Dorothy Young, University of Montana

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Learning to fear a dangerous situation is an essential survival skill. However, the inability to extinguish a learned fear response can lead to anxiety disorders. In this study we attempted to determine whether fear memories could be extinguished through social learning. We analyzed data collected in an experiment using degus (Octodon degus) in which one experienced individual observed a naive cagemate entering and exploring a dangerous environment. The experienced degu was conditioned in a chamber which contained a “danger” side (a partition in which they could receive a foot shock) and a “safe” side (where they would receive no shock), separated by a neutral, “viewing” area. After conditioning, the naive cagemate, who had no previous experience with the box or the shock, was placed in the chamber with the experienced degu. The study was originally designed to test whether the experienced degu would show fear (empathy) for the naive cagemate; however, preliminary analyses showed no evidence for this. To test whether the social exposure reduced fear for the danger side (social fear extinction), we examined whether the experienced degu still avoided the danger side in subsequent sessions.

The total amount of time the experienced degu spent in the danger room did was not significantly higher following testing with their naïve cagemate compared with following testing with an object (paired t-test, p = 0.11; alpha = 0.1 based on a one-tailed test). However, when time on the danger side was considered relative to time spent in the safe partition (thus controlling for movement around the environment), avoidance of the danger side was found to be significantly higher following testing with an object (paired t-test, p = 0.058). The data are therefore consistent with the possibility that rodents can learn that a region of space is “safe” by observing others behaving normally in that space.

Sometimes Hesitancy is Key: Effects of Moral Deliberations on Children's Interpretation of Credibility Cues

Kali Taylor
Dennis Schuster
Shelby Rosston
Caitlin Gillespie
Shailee Woodard
Rachel L. Severson

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Children often treat confident individuals as credible sources of information. Yet, confidence may differentially signify credibility depending upon the domain of knowledge. For example, when dealing with factual information, confident responses indicate greater credibility. However, when deliberating about moral issues, hesitancy may reflect a deeper level of thoughtfulness, and therefore credibility. This study investigated children’s credibility judgments of individuals who differed in the level of confidence (confident vs. hesitant) in two domains of knowledge (factual, moral).

In a between-subjects design, children 3-8 years (N=96 planned with 52 participants thus far) listened to a confident and hesitant model make either novel factual (e.g., which animal has an omentum inside?) or moral claims (e.g., which animal should get the last piece of fish?). Across eight trials (4 confident, 4 hesitant), children rated the models on a 4-point scale (0=not at all, 3=a lot) in terms of confidence level, likeability, smartness, and agreement with her answer.

Preliminary analyses using a 2 (confidence level) x 2 (domain) x 6 (age) ANOVA indicated significant main effects (ps
This research will advance knowledge in how (and when) children use cues about individuals’ credibility when determining who is a trustworthy source of new information. This research will also provide a more nuanced understanding of how children interpret levels of confidence across different domains of knowledge.

Statistical Clustering of Glioblastoma Multiforme for Graph Theory Analysis

Jed Syrenne

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

In statistical clustering, proteins that cluster together are likely to possess a functional relationship with each other. By statistically clustering and filtering proteomic data, networks can be created so that the vast perplexity of protein-protein interaction data can be understood and meaningfully analyzed. Here, glioblastoma and glioblastoma multiforme phosphorylation data was obtained from PhosphoSitePlus and subsequently analyzed using R. The binary data were input into a dataframe and collapsed by their gene names. The Spearman-Euclidean and Euclidean distances were then calculated, with t-stochastic neighbor embedding being performed separately on the outputs. The results were then divided into discrete clusters. Offensively large clusters were broken down to a manageable size via a penalized matrix decomposition. The rank of the penalized matrix decomposition was determined by interpolating values of the data cluster using DINEOF, running PCA on the populated dataframe, plotting the number of principle components against the proportion of variance explained, and finally choosing the point of diminishing returns that still explained over 90% of the variance. Clusters were transformed into network and then visualized in Cytoscape. The final networks represent a useful tool for researchers concerned with protein-protein interactions in glioblastomas. Work is being done to integrate these networks with those obtained from mass spectrometry peak intensities, allowing meaningful analysis of legacy datasets.

Studying the Effects of Atrazine-induced Estrogen on the Development of Regulatory T-cells

Dawit Mengistu

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The Combinatorics of the Clarinet

Cory M. Emlen

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The relationship between the individual key presses on the clarinet and the resulting frequency was studied in order to determine if it was possible to make a model to describe the resulting note by counting the keys that were pressed. Data was collected by making a recording to determine the multiplicative effect on the frequency, with a different recording being made for each key. The collection process went as follows: First, metadata was recorded in the form of verbal statement of the key number and any subsequent comments. A simple fingering was then played, followed by the pressing of the indicated key and then a return to the original fingering. This process was then repeated with a few different starting fingerings to allow for a more general analysis of the key. Current results show that some keys have a constant effect on the pitch regardless of the starting frequency, but most of the keys have a degrading effect on the pitch, tending towards a multiplier of one with higher starting frequencies. The next step in the process is to model their effect as a function with respect to the starting frequency. Once the effect of these keys can be expressed as functions, they can be combined with the keys of constant effect to create one model that encompasses the entire clarinet.

The Identification of 'Mystery' Seeds from Bridge River, BC

Lauren T. Clark, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Housepit 54 is a long-lived pithouse that forms part of the ancient Bridge River village in the Mid-Fraser region of southern British Columbia, Canada. It was one of over eighty pithouses in a village occupied intermittently for over a millennia by the ancestors of the Upper St’át’imc people. Prior to the gold rush, the St’át’imc, a group of complex hunter-fisher-gathers, also cultivated plants that were indigenous to this region. Present at the site are “mystery” seeds of an unknown species, which is both ubiquitous and abundant in the archaeobotanical assemblages from the floors of Housepit 54 (Lyons et al 2017), and are also present in many other village sites in the Mid-Fraser region. The purpose of my research was to determine the identity of the species of these mystery seeds in order to infer pre-contact patterns of trade, subsistence, and resource management among the St’át’imc and neighboring indigenous communities, a topic that is highly understudied. Following extraction, the chloroplast DNA was amplified using PCR. Amplification was checked on a 2% agarose gel, followed by PCR cleanup using ExoSAP-IT, and sent to the Murdoch Sequencing Core on the University of Montana campus to complete Sanger sequencing of the sample. Once the sample was returned to the lab, the resulting sequence was analyzed using Sequencher software and compared to similar sequences with the BLAST tool in the GenBank database to determine if a match could be made to an identified sequence that allows for species identification.