Spring 2005

The Threat of Tsunami within the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Ocean Basins

Clinton I. Barineau
Valdosta State University


Abstract:  The northern Sumatra earthquake and subsequent Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26th, 2004, has drawn recent worldwide attention to the topic of tsunami risk. While the countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand struggle to deal with the hundreds of thousands of fatalities and millions of displaced persons following this disaster, unaffected countries have been forced to reassess their own risk to an event of this nature. Historically, the U.S. has experienced deadly tsunami mostly affecting states within the Pacific basin, especially Hawaii and Alaska. Several notable tsunamis in the past century have claimed the lives of hundreds of U.S. citizens there and those living within these areas are typically aware, though perhaps unconcerned prior to December 26th, 2004, of the threat of tsunami. While tsunami have received considerable attention along the West Coast of North America, much of the U.S. public was surprised to learn in media reports of potential tsunami risks along the East and Gulf Coast of North America, where most assumed the risk of this type of disaster to be zero. Like the Pacific, the Atlantic and Caribbean basins are susceptible to tsunami generated by earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, and extraterrestrial impacts.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Untangling Biological Reality from The Social Construction of Race

Dr. Leslie S. Jones
Valdosta State University

Thursday, February 3, 2005

On finite reflection groups

Dr. Neil White
University of Florida


Abstract:  Finite reflection groups describe the symmetry of objects like regular polyhedra in Euclidean space. These groups are heavily studied by mathematicians,
and have useful applications in physics. This talk will start with the basics of reflections and rotations and build up to a complete description of these groups.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Primitive induction involving compound predictor cues

Dr. Steven C. Stout
Valdosta State University


Abstract:  One of the most basic problems that any animal must solve is responding appropriately to future events on the basis of past experience. Behavioral psychologists from the learning tradition have long studied one simple type of induction, often called Pavlovian conditioning. In this task, an animal is observed to anticipate a second event in response to a first event if the two have repeatedly been paired in the past, the first event has regularly preceded the second event, and the two have not often occurred apart from each other. These and similar rules apply to our own species as well, and are reminiscent of the conditions under which David Hume suggested that we will come to perceive a cause-effect relationship. The present talk will present contemporary data from the fields of learning and cognitive psychology about the conditions under which human and nonhuman animals form expectations about the future on the basis of past experience when two or more potential predictor events are involved. A mathematical model of the acquisition of expectation under these conditions will be presented.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The importance of undergraduate research

Ken Rumstay
Valdosta State University


Abstract:  Academic universities have traditionally been at the forefront of scientific research in this country. However, just a generation ago the participation of undergraduate students in these endeavors was something of an exception, rather than the rule. Times have changed, and the student hoping to enter a graduate degree program in a scientific discipline need to have some research experience to show on his or her resume! Undergraduates have a number of opportunities to participate in meaningful research, and a variety of venues in which to present their findings. Most faculty members welcome students into their own research programs; and students can usually receive academic credit or financial remuneration for their work. During the summer months a number of undergraduate research programs are available at universities and government laboratories around the nation. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies, these programs provide an opportunity for students to expand their scholastic horizons beyond their home campuses. One of the most important aspects of the scientific process is the dissemination of research findings. The Council on Undergraduate Research is a national organization dedicated to the fostering of student research at American colleges and universities. Here at Valdosta State University the “local branch” of CUR offers weekly colloquia by both faculty and students; in April of each year it sponsors an Undergraduate Research Symposium. The National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (unrelated to CUR) provides an annual venue devoted solely to student research. Of course, students regularly make presentations at the regional and national meetings of professional societies in each discipline.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Effects of continental rifting architecture on subsequent continental collisional architecture: an example from northwest Georgia

Dr. James F. Tull
Florida State University

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Biology and Ecology of Rivulus marmoratus, the mangrove rivulus

Scott Taylor
Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program


Abstract:  Rivulus marmoratus (Pisces: Aplocheilidae) is a small cyprinodontid indigenous to mangroves of the western tropical Atlantic. This species is well known as the only self-fertilizing, hermaphroditic vertebrate, and populations normally consist of genetically diverse groups of homozygous clones. However, male fish are known from a few populations, and outcrossing and heterozygosity have been documented from two areas in Central America. Rivulus marmoratus also exhibits a number of behaviors and environmental tolerances unusual in fishes, and since the species is secretive, rare in some habitats and difficult to collect, knowledge of its natural history has been limited until recently. Within the last decade field and laboratory work and ongoing investigations into R. marmoratus genetics have added greatly to our knowledge of this unusual fish. This presentation provides a general review of the biology and ecology of R. marmoratus.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Religion, Crime and Criminal Justice


Dr. Spencer Li
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Florida State University


Abstract:  Although religion has a profound impact on crime and criminal justice, its influences in these areas have not been adequately discussed. This seminar provides an overview of the relationships among religion, crime, and criminal justice in American society. The seminar focuses on three issues: (1) how religiosity affects deviance and crime on individual level and institutional level; (2) how religion operates as both a protector against crime and a motivation for crime; and (3) how religious values and norms shape American criminal justice policy. The influences of religion on crime and criminal justice are examined from historical, sociological, and criminological perspectives. The seminar also reviews key empirical findings and methodological issues related to the study of religion, crime and criminal justice policy.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Geospatial Technologies for Waterfowl and Wetland Conservation in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean

Dawn M. Browne
GIS Manager

Ducks Unlimited National Headquarters


Abstract:  Ducks Unlimited’s conservation mission to protect, enhance, restore, and manage important wetlands and associated uplands for North American waterfowl is supported by advanced Geographic Informations Systems and Remote Sensing technology. DU started its GIS program in 1984 and it has become a major component of waterfowl habitat conservation, providing staff with the primary data and tools needed to evaluate, implement, and monitor conservation at multiple scales. DU first utilized GIS to produce a wetland inventory of the prairie pothole region in north-central US and Canada using Landsat Thematic Mapper. This program was funded by NASA and initiated because there was a need for a comprehensive inventory of the waterfowl breeding grounds. Resulting maps were shared with DU Canada, DU's Great Plains regional office, and government partners to assist with Conservation programs. Soon after, DU’s offices began to deliver GIS and Remote Sensing applications to support conservation programs within their priority areas. Additionally, DU’s Latin America and Caribbean program use GIS for a variety of applications including waterfowl surveys, habitat inventories, change detection and landcover mapping. GIS and remote sensing provide the tools for effective and efficient delivery of waterfowl habitat and the means to monitor and model the impact of conservation and restoration on the landscape.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Poison Dart Frog Ecology and Sexual Selection Theory: Field Experiments and Office Cogitations


Dr. Brent Graves, Professor
Department of Biology, Northern Michigan University


Abstract:  Sexual selection is selection for traits that enhance the probability of obtaining mates, even if such traits decrease the probability of survival. Sexual selection leads to the evolution of sexual dimorphism, and has had important influences on many biological systems. This talk will begin with a discussion of research by Dr. Graves and his graduate students on the ecology and territorial behavior of poison dart frogs in Costa Rica. These frogs are well known for their bright coloration and complex social behaviors. Much of this behavior has evolved in response to sexual selection. Next, Dr. Graves will discuss evolutionary theory concerning the role of sexually transmitted diseases in sexual selection, as well as the evolution sexual dimorphism in human senescence.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Origins of Humankind

Dr. Donald Johanson
Connell Lecture at Whitehead Auditorium 8:30 pm

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Characterization of humoral immune responses to recombinant HIV-1 gp120 genetically linked to human CD4 and a CD4 mimetic


Dr. David Onyabe
Aeras Global Tuberculosis Vaccine Foundation


Abstract:  Immunogens that elicit high-titer broadly neutralizing antibodies (Abs) against Human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) remain elusive. During entry of this virus into host cells, the 120 kDa envelope glycoprotein (gp120) attaches to cell-surface receptor CD4, resulting in conformational rearrangements that expose conserved neutralizing epitopes. It has been proposed that HIV-1 Env immunogens that display CD4-induced (CD4i) epitopes bear the antigenic capacity to induce broadly neutralizing Abs. In this study we characterized the humoral responses induced by HIV-1BaL gp120 genetically fused to: (1) the D1D2 domain of human CD4 (designated FLSCR/T); and (2) a scorpion toxin-derived CD4 mimetic (designated gp120-M9) in BALB/c mice. Only antisera from mice vaccinated with FLSCR/T effected broad neutralization of primary R5- and X4-tropic HIV-1 isolates, whereas anti-gp120-M9 sera did not reduce the infectivity of any HIV-1 strains tested. Moreover, FLSCR/T but not gp120-M9 induced antibodies that competed with the binding of CD4i epitope-specific neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb) X5 to soluble FLSCR/T. The possibility that some of the neutralizing activity is due to Ab against the CD4 component of FLSCR/T was not ruled out. It is not clear why gp120-M9 failed to induce neutralizing antibodies nor antibodies to CD4i epitopes recognized by the panel of mAbs tested. Nonetheless, data are shown indicating that gp120-M9 more than FLSCR/T induced serum IgG responses focused to epitopes present on non-denatured gp120.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Gossypol: From cooking oil to anti-psoriatic agent


Dr. Paul Groundwater, Professor
Dept of Organic Chemistry, University of Sunderland, UK


Abstract:  Gossypol, a major constituent of cotton seed oil, was tested as a male anti-fertility agent by the WHO in more than 10,000 healthy male volunteers. We have prepared and tested a number of Schiff's bases of gossypol with amino acid esters and shown that these compounds exhibit anti-cancer activity. We have also recently shown that these compounds are powerful anti-oxidants and anti-proliferatives and this, in conjunction with their lack of toxicity and their anti-inflammatory activity, makes them candidates for the treatment of psoriasis.

Thursday, April 28, 2005