Masters' Theses, Field Studies, and Research Reports

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 1444
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    (Austin Peay State University, 2022-08) Paladino, Vanessa
    The purpose of this qualitative case study aimed to explore current perceptions of middle school content teachers and their abilities to effectively meet the educational needs of the students in their classrooms whose first language is not English. In addition, this study provided qualitative data to help identify the strategies used by middle school content teachers and the support they receive from schools in preparing to provide equitable instructional opportunities to English language learners (ELLs) compared to their native English-speaking peers. Participants included 10 middle school content teachers in Tennessee. All participants completed a survey consisting of both closed- and open-ended response questions. Analysis of responses submitted by participants indicated that many teachers are tasked with the responsibility to instruct ELLs in their classroom without having received much if any, related formal training, teachers need additional and ongoing access to support, training, and resources, and teachers of ELLs would benefit from increased opportunities for collaboration amongst content and ESL teachers. Based on the findings of the study, there are several practical implications for practice, research, and policy including that schools provide ongoing opportunities for professional development, the need to replicate the study with a larger sample group or in a different state to determine if similar results are produced, and urging the U.S. Department of Education and Office for Civil Rights to develop more specific guidelines for schools to follow in regard to implementation of effect ESL programs. Keywords: English as a second language (ESL), English language learner (ELL), teaching, instruction, second language acquisition (SLA), middle school
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    (Austin Peay State University, 2022-05) Zirkle, Sarah
    The tri-colored bat (PERIMYOTIS SUBFLAVUS) is a hibernating North American bat species that uses forested landscapes during summer months; however, information on the summer habitat requirements is limited. Summer habitats are critical to population persistence as they support multiple life history stages, including maternity colonies, nursery sites, and foraging locations. As tri-colored bats are highly susceptible to white-nose syndrome, a devastating disease that increases energy expenditure over hibernation, determining the resources that are important for building pre-hibernation fat stores is crucial to their population persistence. My objective was to quantify the characteristics of roost sites selected by tri-colored bats during the summer. I captured, tagged, and tracked 15 bats using radio-telemetry to 55 roost locations. At each roost, I recorded roost habitat characteristics and other forest descriptions within a 0.1 ha circular plot surrounding the roost tree. I repeated these measurements for three random trees per roost tree to serve as available habitat for selection. I used a suite of mixed conditional logistic regression models to test five competing hypotheses describing factors known to influence roost-site selection for various bat species. The top model demonstrated that roost selection was influenced by roost tree height, which may be linked to microclimatic factors. There is a critical information gap for the ongoing recovery of tri-colored bats; better understanding of summer habitat and proper forest management implications, as well as information on scale-specific habitat selection, is needed to better understand tri-colored bat management needs.
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    (Austin Peay State University, 2022-05) Krueger, Sarah
    Energetic trade-offs between hibernation and reproduction occur in hibernating bat species to ensure pups are born when forage availability is optimal, yet little is known about how disease impacts reproductive success and how these impacts may vary with local climate. White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an infectious disease that disrupts hibernation in bats, leading to premature exhaustion of fat stores. There is evidence of reproductive shifts in areas where WNS has devastated bat populations; however, current research has yet to assess these changes in response to winter duration or local climate. I compiled data from four states and used generalized linear mixed effects models to compare effects of WNS, winter duration, and local climate variables on the number of reproducing females for WNS-susceptible species (Perimyotis subflavus and Myotis spp.) and two species not affected by WNS (Eptesicus fuscus and Lasiurus borealis). I incorporated the effects of WNS in two ways: presence and absence of WNS, with presence dictated by year first observed, and year since WNS was reported. I predicted WNS susceptible species would see a decline in the number of reproductive females, with the effect exaggerated by longer winter durations and inadequate pre-hibernation climate variables. I found that the number of reproductive females in both WNS-susceptible species and species not affected by WNS was positively correlated with pre-hibernation local climate conditions conducive to foraging (number of summer days above 18°C); however, WNS-susceptible species experienced an overall decline with years since WNS. This overall negative trend of WNS-susceptible species may cause a shift in bat populations, which is critical to understanding the effects of disease on population growth through impacts on reproductive behavior.
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    Non-Custodial Parents and their Children: Using Duoethnography to Explore Relationship Development
    (Austin Peay State University, 2020-08) Tims, D Tyler
    The development of a strong parent/child relationship has well-documented benefits that span the lifespan and into the next familial generation. These relationships can be assessed through the lens of attachment theory in which a secure attachment between the child and their parent is recognized as the desired goal. The parent/child relationship may be compromised during a parental separation or divorce and the family members then find themselves in need of new methods for maintaining or reestablishing the connections. There is currently an abundance of research relating to the parent/child relationship, attachment theory, and post-separation relationships between custodial mothers and their children. Present literature does not adequately address the unique phenomenon of the relationship development between non-custodial parents of all genders and their children. In this study, the researcher utilized a duoethnographic approach and qualitative analysis of relationships between non-custodial parents and their children as self-reported through one on one discussion with the researcher and an additional non-custodial parent participant. This study revealed some key themes throughout the discussion. It was discovered that one of the primary strengths of the relationship between the non-custodial parents and their children was their attempts at frequent and open communication with their children. Throughout the discussion the non-custodial parents also addressed their perceived barriers to the relationship with their children. These perceived barriers included the physical distance between their children, the tumultuous relationship with the custodial parent, and the social stereotypes of being non-custodial parents.
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    Population genetics of the widespread BOECHERA LAEVIGATA (Brassicaceae) and comparisons with its rare congener B. PERSTELLATA
    (Austin Peay State University, 2021-08) Lindsey, Annie
    A population genetics study of BOECHERA LAEVIGATA, the most widespread Boechera species in the eastern United States, was conducted using 15 populations from 11 states throughout its range. Sixteen polymorphic microsatellite loci were resolved for the species. Three populations exhibited nearly fixed heterozygosity at multiple loci, which was attributed to apomictic reproduction based on this study’s data and other Boechera research. Because of this likelihood of clonal reproduction, only unique multilocus genotypes (MLG) were used for most analyses of the apomictic populations. From 300 total samples, 153 unique MLGs were identified, with no MLGs shared across populations. Percent polymorphic loci at the population level ranged from 6.3-93.8%, with sexual populations averaging 40% and apomictic populations averaging 71%. Observed heterozygosity was lower than expected heterozygosity for sexual populations (H¬o = 0.052, He = 0.169), while the opposite was true for apomictic populations (Ho = 0.679, He = 0.441), resulting in a high FIS of 0.709 for sexual populations (probably due to inbreeding) and an extremely negative F¬IS of -0.927 for apomictic populations, as is commonly found with clonal reproduction. While 69% of the genetic variability in the sexual populations was due to differences among the populations, the majority of genetic variation in the apomictic populations was found within individuals. Widespread species often harbor greater genetic diversity than rare species, so this trend was tested by comparing B. laevigata with the federally endangered B. PERSTELLATA, which was previously found to have extremely low levels of genetic diversity. Such congeneric comparisons of genetic diversity provide phylogenetic context and a more nuanced understanding of evolutionary forces that have shaped a species. Considering the 11 loci assayed in both species, sexual B. LAEVIGATA populations averaged higher allelic richness, observed heterozygosity, and expected heterozygosity than its rare congener, although differences did not reach statistical significance. The rare species had significantly greater population differentiation than B. LAEVIGATA, possibly reflective of the very disjunct distribution of B. PERSTELLATA. This study provides context to the low diversity reported for the endangered B. PERSTELLATA as well as adding to the growing literature on the model genus Boechera.