Murray State University, located in the city of Murray, Kentucky, is a four-year public university with more than 11,200 students. For 24 straight years Murray State University has been recognized by "U.S.News & World Report's Best Colleges" as one of the top regional universities in the United States. Murray State has consistently been the top-ranked public regional university in Kentucky. In addition to the main campus, Murray State University operates extended campuses offering upper level and graduate courses in Paducah, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, and Henderson. Wikipedia.
Martin R.A.,Murray State University
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2014
Recent attempts to estimate the age of deposition of European fossil localities using mathematical equations derived from size change of the first lower molar in arvicolid rodent lineages as a function of time prompted an assessment of the value of this approach. The accuracy of "vole clocks" depends on accurate dating of a fossil system and establishment of a directional size change pattern through time in a given species from the dated system. Results of this review suggest that vole clocks have limited value for biochronology. In addition to several methodological and statistical problems with published studies, vole clocks in general are untenable because paleontological systems cannot resolve dating to the level of accuracy necessary to construct an accurate equation, size and shape change is never monotonic (constant velocity) in lineages, and size commonly reverses direction in lineages on all time scales. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Arkov A.L.,Murray State University |
Ramos A.,UK National Institute for Medical Research
Trends in Cell Biology | Year: 2010
The germline originates from primordial embryonic germ cells which give rise to sperm and egg cells and consequently, to the next generation. Germ cells of many organisms contain electron-dense granules that comprise RNA and proteins indispensable for germline development. Here we review recent reports that provide important insights into the structure and function of crucial RNA and protein components of the granules, including DEAD-box helicases, Tudor domain proteins, Piwi/Argonaute proteins and piRNA. Collectively, these components function in translational control, remodeling of ribonucleoprotein complexes and transposon silencing. Furthermore, they interact with each other by means of conserved structural modules and post-translationally modified amino acids. These data suggest a widespread use of several protein motifs in germline development and further our understanding of other ribonucleoprotein structures, for example, processing bodies and neuronal granules. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: GEOMORPHOLOGY & LAND USE DYNAM | Award Amount: 302.44K | Year: 2013
This research will contribute to understanding how landscapes in low topography settings respond to changes in base level (i.e. sea level). These processes are central to interpreting spatial and temporal variation in sediment storage and erosion and have implications for understanding soil loss, pollutant sequestration in soils and floodplains, and flood attenuation over long timescales. The results will also facilitate reconstructions of the changes in the Earths surface in the mid-continent of North America which can provide baseline information from pre-European human landscapes with which to contextualize modern human impacts and thus guide restoration and management.
Through the use of geochronology, field observation, topographic analysis, and GIS we will investigate unresolved problems in geomorphology regarding the impact of variations in lithology on fluvial processes, specifically how lithology impacts bedrock valley and unpaired terrace formation. This project seeks to bring together understanding of processes at variable scales to determine the drivers of river incision in a mid-continent setting south of the glacial limit and to determine whether incision of the Buffalo National River valley has been driven by climate change, base level fall, local processes operating at the scale of the meander, or a combination thereof. The outcomes of this work will improve reconstructions of past landscapes including changes in the hydrologic cycle south of the glacial limit in North America, how bedrock rivers change over time, and how the sedimentary record is created and preserved in caves and alluvial terraces.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ARCHAEOLOGY | Award Amount: 20.00K | Year: 2015
The African early Middle Pleistocene saw the emergence of archaic Homo, the expansion of hominin brain capacities to near-modern dimensions, and the first appearance of a battery of sophisticated new technologies. And yet, as relatively few African localities sample this important timeframe (i.e. the period from c.781-500ka), the specific details regarding the timing, setting, and dynamics that underlie the emergence and early evolution of these advances remain poorly understood. With an estimated minimum age of c.600-500ka, recent paleoanthropological discoveries at the open-air site of Farre, located in the Chalbi Basin of northern Kenya, may add important new data relevant to these issues. In this project, an interdisciplinary team of investigators will conduct a two-year archaeological and geochronological study to better understand the age and contents of the Farre site. Broader impacts of the project include the opportunity to build research collaborations across universities, museums, and research centers, research and training opportunities for students and junior faculty, and public education and conservation outreach at the field site and in the U.S.
During two seasons of paleoanthropological fieldwork at Farre, the investigators will expand preliminary excavations to further document the presence of in situ archaeological materials, increase the sample size of diagnostic artifact forms and fossil taxa, refine the geoarchaeology and paleoenvironmental setting of the site; and refine the geochronology of site. Finds from preliminary excavations include artifacts consistent with both Early and Middle Stone Age technologies, coupled with fossil taxa suggesting an age in excess of 500ka. Farre may thus help bridge a long-standing gap in the record of this paleoanthropologically-important region, refine our understanding of the emergence and early evolution of important technological capacities, and place inferred hominin adaptations within local, regional, and global paleoenvironmental contexts.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 149.94K | Year: 2014
MRI: Acquisition of a Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer
Non-technical: This award from the Major Research Instrumentation Program provides Murray State University with a Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer (DMA), thus enhancing a rapidly expanding research and educational initiative in polymer and materials science. The DMA is primarily used to determine the strength and elasticity of polymer films and fibers as well as other plastics and materials. Acquisition of this state-of-the-art instrumentation supports a number of multi-disciplinary and collaborative research and education efforts across the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology and expands industrial outreach activities in the region. The instrumentation directly impacts research teams within the college, where an understanding of the fundamental mechanical properties of novel plastics and materials advances applications in energy storage, electronic devices and liquid crystalline technologies. The integration of a practical instrument component and hands-on training into lecture and laboratory courses for undergraduate and graduate (Masters) students within the college further improves an already growing curriculum in polymer and materials science. Since Murray State is a comprehensive university in rural, far-western Kentucky, many undergraduates are first-generation college students, thus access to this instrumentation is extremely rare and provides a tremendous advantage in gaining meaningful employment or in acceptance into pre-professional school.
Technical: The Department of Chemistry at Murray State University (MSU) will acquire a TA Q800 Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer (DMA), complete with humidifier and low temperature capabilities, for the mechanical testing of polymer films, fibers and liquid crystalline materials. The DMA instrumentation immediately enhances the research programs of the three PIs, all of whom have been very active in the promotion and publication of their research. Since 2010, the PIs have collectively mentored 27 students (20 undergraduate, 7 Masters) and published 14 peer-reviewed papers (12 with student co-authors). Specific projects that benefit from this instrumentation include (a) ionic-liquid containing polyester networks for use in electroactive devices (PI Miller), (b) ionic-liquid containing polyurethanes for microfluidic devices and ion selective electrodes (co-PI Johnson) and (c) liquid crystalline materials (co-PI Allenbaugh). In order to enhance these projects, the standard film/fiber tension kits as well as the humidity and submersion features are used to test the mechanical strength of novel materials developed in the laboratory under a controlled environment, while liquid crystalline materials are tested using the parallel plate and/or shear sandwich accessories. Dissemination of the results from these experiments is made in the form of peer-reviewed publications as well as undergraduate student presentations at local, regional and national conferences. Various lecture and laboratory classes, ranging from Polymer Chemistry and Materials Science to Instrumental Analysis, are also enhanced through the integration of this instrumentation and hands-on training. Beyond teaching and research, the DMA instrumentation allows MSU to establish collaborative efforts with regional companies such as Ashland and Estron Chemical, Inc. that aid in the development of commercial products in applications ranging from paints and coatings to construction materials.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ANIMAL BEHAVIOR | Award Amount: 20.00K | Year: 2016
The 30th annual meeting of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology will be hosted by the University of Exeter, in the United Kingdom. The meeting is known for its host of renowned plenary speakers. This year will be no exception. The meeting will be opened by Richard Dawkins, with plenaries by Malte Andersson, Dorothy Cheney, Tim Clutton-Brock, Rosemary Grant, Hopi Hoekstra, Naomi Pierce & Trevor Price. In addition, attendees will present their work through talks, posters and symposia. ISBE 2016 provides a foremost opportunity for awardees to learn about and contribute to discussion of topics within behavioral ecology including: selection and conflict, social behavior, communication, behavioral plasticity, predation, foraging, parental care, and the ecology, genetics, neurobiology, and physiology of behavior. The financial assistance provided to young scientists (pre-tenure faculty, postdoctoral associates, and graduate students) will make it possible for individuals to attend who might not otherwise have been able to afford travel expenses. A committee of three United States ISBE representatives will evaluate applications for funds from young scientist participants. The committee members are committed to assuring that diversity will be enhanced at the IEC and will select a diverse group of scientists with respect to gender, career stage, and membership in groups underrepresented in science. Attendance and participation in the meeting offers a tremendous opportunity for American animal behaviorists to share their research with an international audience, interact with preeminent international researchers, meet new colleagues and to initiate new international collaborations. In addition, each travel awardee will create a data nugget from their own presented data or that of a conference presentation. Data nuggets are worksheets that engage K-12 students in problem-solving, graphing exercises, and data analysis using real data. With prior NSF GK12 support for the database, Data Nuggets are used in schools across the country, and are publicly available.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ADVANCE | Award Amount: 249.20K | Year: 2016
Murray State University (MSU) will implement an ADVANCE Institutional Transformation-Catalyst (IT-Catalyst) project to undertake institutional self-assessment activities. MSU will conduct surveys of faculty and interviews, review existing institutional data and policies, conduct site-visits to ADVANCE institutions, invite speakers to campus to inform and educate the administration and faculty, and conduct mentoring circles to support junior STEM faculty.
MSU provides a unique opportunity to examine the recruitment, retention and promotion of women faculty in STEM disciplines at a regional comprehensive and primarily undergraduate public university in rural western Kentucky. MSU serves a region that has been historically underserved in STEM education and has been challenged to recruit and retain female faculty and students in STEM. The Murray State University project will add to our understanding of the factors that impact women in a rural academic environment. This project may serve as a model for other rural regional universities where women faculty are commonly underrepresented in STEM.
The ADVANCE program is focused on developing systemic approaches to increase the participation, retention, and advancement of women in academic STEM careers. The IT-Catalyst track funds projects to conduct institutional self-assessments as well as implement strategies that have been shown to be effective to address gendered issues for STEM faculty.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Cooperative Agreement | Program: | Phase: RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROV | Award Amount: 3.84M | Year: 2016
This project will expand and enhance the surface-water sensing capabilities across Kentucky and West Virginia, providing a foundation for understanding the impacts of agricultural and hydropower production on water quality, particularly as it relates to harmful algal blooms. It will bring together experts in engineering and aquatic ecology, involving five research groups from three universities in the two states, jointly motivated to develop more sustainable water, food, and energy systems. Using a surface water-quality sensing network and supporting data visualization and modeling capabilities, the project will address three research questions: 1) What are the interconnections among water quality issues relative to increasing agricultural production, changing land-use patterns, climate change, energy production, and ecosystem dynamics across Kentucky and West Virginia?s aquatic environments? 2) What are the environmental, physical, and biogeochemical features leading to water-quality changes and how might advanced technologies be applied to better understand and monitor those changes? and 3) How might modeling and management scenarios of land use, nutrient loading, and water-control systems operate in concert to reduce degradation of systems at local and basin scales? Along with its research focus, the project will work to enhance and diversify the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce in Kentucky and West Virginia and support the professional development of early-career faculty.
The research team will focus on the environmental drivers associated with the formation and propagation of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms. Extensive in situ sensing infrastructure will be installed at two hydropower-producing water bodies and along two watersheds in regions with heavy agricultural land use. Thirty-three new instruments will be acquired and deployed to monitor nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), inorganic carbon, dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, turbidity, conductivity, algal pigment and cell numbers, water flow parameters, and meteorology. Cyberinfrastructure upgrades will be included to allow near real-time data collection and visualization. Analyses will focus on identifying the presence, extent, and timing of the harmful algal blooms as they relate to the measured parameters.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: POP & COMMUNITY ECOL PROG | Award Amount: 484.78K | Year: 2014
In this project, the investigators will address how size-structure (i.e., variance in the body size distribution) of predators alters effects of the predators on prey assemblages and prey resources. They will further explore how interactions among size classes (e.g., cannibalism and competition) influence the development of size structure. Salamanders are the predators in the study. This project will provide exceptional opportunities for undergraduate students to learn the scientific method through the development and execution of independent research projects. It will significantly build research capacity among three undergraduate institutions in Kentucky, one of which is a minority-serving institution. Students will gain first-hand experience in designing and implementing experiments, in analyzing and managing data, and in communicating science to diverse public audiences. Each of these institutions lacks independent resources and programs to engage students in research. This project serves the Nations interests by providing resources needed to train students in complex problem solving through rigorous experimental design.
Previous research suggests that size structure of top predators can significantly influence trophic interactions, and may explain observed variation in the strength of trophic cascades, yet few empirical studies have focused on these questions. This project will combine experiments and field studies to test hypotheses regarding the interaction of predator size structure, density, and cannibalism, the resulting community dynamics, and the demographic feedback mechanisms thought to generate variation in size structure. Predators that vary in size can exhibit both consumptive effects, through cannibalism, and non-consumptive effects on the survival of their offspring. They also influence the abundance of other predators and competitors. When taken together, these diverse effects could modify entire food webs, ultimately altering the size structure of future predator populations and thus future trophic cascades. Undergraduate students will work in teams to test the diverse mechanisms proposed to generate variation in size structure using a series of mesocosm experiments and field studies. Experiments and field observations will quantify the impact of predator size structure on trophic cascades and determine how demographic feedbacks affect annual variation in predator size structure. Results will provide new insight into how the loss or recovery of top predators can affect ecosystems, with implications for conservation and management. Students will participate in science education activities to engage undergraduate non-science majors and K-12 students and contribute to an interactive learning module to extend the impacts of this project to students and citizens throughout the nation and globe.
This project is supported by NSFs Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: POP & COMMUNITY ECOL PROG | Award Amount: 200.00K | Year: 2012
This project will test two likely mechanisms for the maintenance of biological diversity in natural habitats, the creation of fine-scale variation in the environment by dominant plant species and by natural disturbance by fire. Some of the most diverse plant communities in North America are found in the fire-prone longleaf pine forest of the southeastern United States. Although the forest canopy generally has only a few species of plants, and the plants beneath are often dominated by one or two species of large, long-lived bunchgrasses, a high number of smaller plant species can be found scattered between the grasses. Researchers will experimentally alter interactions between bunchgrasses, interactions between bunchgrasses and smaller plants, and environmental conditions such as fire intensity to show how dominant plant species influence the diversity and dynamics of high-diversity plant communities in environments prone to disturbance.
Longleaf pine ecosystems historically covered most of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains, but human activities such as fire suppression have reduced the area of the forests by more than 98%. This project will inform efforts to manage and restore these ecosystems. In particular, a workshop will bring together land managers, conservation professionals, and ecologists to synthesize relevant information about these ecosystems, identify important gaps in our understanding of these floristic treasures, and translate the results into recommendations for conservation, management, and restoration. In addition, the project will train undergraduate and graduate students in science and provide educational outreach activities for K-12 students and educators.