Flagstaff, AZ, United States

Northern Arizona University

www.nau.edu
Flagstaff, AZ, United States

Northern Arizona University is a public university located in Flagstaff, Arizona, United States. It is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and has 36 satellite campuses in the state of Arizona. The university offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees.As of fall 2014, 27,715 students were enrolled, 20,134 at the Flagstaff campus. The average cost of tuition and fees for a full-time, Arizona resident undergraduate student for two semesters is $9,692. NAU offers Flagstaff undergraduate students the Pledge Program that guarantees the same tuition rate for four years. For the Fall 2013 school year, out-of-state undergraduates will pay an estimated $22,094 for tuition and fees. NAU also participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program, which offers lower tuition rates for students from the Western United States. WUE tuition rates for fall 2013 are $12,680.The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education classifies NAU as a research university with high research activity. NAU is governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. Wikipedia.

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Patent
Northern Arizona University | Date: 2016-11-10

The present disclosure relates to implementations of physically unclonable functions (PUFs) for cryptographic and authentication purposes. Specifically, the disclosure describes implementations of machine learning engines (MLEs) in conjunction with PUFs generating outputs having multiple states.


Patent
Northern Arizona University | Date: 2017-03-28

A composition of a capacitor and a method to form same are disclosed. The capacitor comprises a first electrode, a second electrode, and at least one cellular material disposed between said first electrode and said second electrode. Further, the capacitor is at least partially impregnated with one or more liquid prepolymers comprising an electrolyte material, which is cured to form a polymeric matrix.


Patent
Northern Arizona University | Date: 2015-12-03

A physically unclonable function generating system and related methods. Implementations may include comparing at least one physical parameter of a memory cell with a threshold value of the physical parameter and identifying a relationship of the at least one physical parameter of the memory cell to the threshold value. Implementations may also include associating one of a 0, 1, or X state to the memory cell based on the relationship of the at least one physical parameter to the threshold value and programming at least one state storage memory cell to store a programmed value corresponding with the associated 0, 1, or X state. Implementations may include including the programmed value of the at least one state storage memory cell in a PUF data stream.


Patent
Northern Arizona University | Date: 2016-11-04

Implementations of light filters for use in cryptographic operations may include: a substrate having at least a first side and a second side, the first side opposing the second side, the substrate including one of a translucent, a transparent, and a semi-transparent material, and any combination thereof; and one or more layers of microscopic structures coupled to one of the first side, the second side, and both the first side and the second side of the substrate, the microscopic structures each containing one or more structural elements configured to interact with light. The microscopic structures may be configured to collectively form a unique light pattern on a detector optically coupled with the light filter. The unique pattern may be configured to be used to form a challenge-response pair (CRP) and the CRP is configured to be used in cryptographic operations to authenticate an electronic device associated with the light filter.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CROSS-EF ACTIVITIES | Award Amount: 1.31M | Year: 2016

Administrative boundaries that establish land management jurisdictions affect both ecological and social processes. In the US, undeveloped lands occur in mosaics of public and private jurisdictions with varying management. These mosaics thus support varying regional cultures as well as natural-resources-based economies. These mosaic landscapes also support many species and are sources of ecosystem services such as pollination, carbon fixation, water supply and purification, and pest control. For differences in these mosaics, this research will determine (1) how social and ecological boundaries, fragmentation, and connectedness are related; and (2) how such partitioning affects management priorities and outcomes, including social relationships, management decision-making, landscape-scale management challenges, and ecological functioning. Results will enhance regional land management and decision making through a decision-support system shared with stakeholders so as to enhance the scientific basis of land management.

This project will explore how administrative partitioning affects feedbacks within and between social and ecological systems. Five mosaics comprising US National Parks and adjacent parcels in the western US will be analyzed. How complexity and differences in management across the administrative landscape affect processes and outcomes in terms of connectivity, well-being, decision-making, and cooperation in the social landscape; connectivity of habitat and processes in the ecological landscape; and feedback pathways between social and ecological landscapes will be modeled. Research activities will include (a) a focus on the influence of the management mosaic on decision-making by managers; (b) soil/vegetation/remote sensing assessment to delineate ecological boundaries; (c) novel development of landscape scale social decision-making and ecological connectivity models; (d) integration of social and ecological data into a generalizable spatial coupled systems model; and (e) an analysis of factors contributing to the success or failure of participatory processes. This research will improve understanding of how management challenges are affected by collaboration and connectivity across boundaries, the scale at which ecological divergence occurs, and factors facilitating attainment of diverse management objectives.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: GEOPHYSICS | Award Amount: 142.54K | Year: 2017

Subduction systems, where oceanic plates (slabs) collide with continental plates and then sink into the mantle, play an important role in the occurrence of earthquakes, volcanoes, deformation, and even the dispersal of mineral resources within the Earth. Globally, there is significant variation in the geometry of downgoing slabs, which strongly impacts the behavior of these systems. Typically, slabs subduct into the mantle at an angle of roughly 45 degrees, however, in some cases these slabs assume low-dip geometries where they slide along the base of the overriding continental plate for great distances before resuming subduction at a more typical angle. This form of subduction, known as flat-slab or low-angle subduction, is thought to have profoundly influenced the tectonic development of the western US in the past and is currently occurring in southern Alaska. One factor that is believed to strongly impact the behavior of these systems is the presence or absence of water. Oceanic plates absorb water as they travel beneath oceans. As the plates reach depths with high pressures and temperatures, the plates then release water into the overriding crust and mantle. Importantly, this water lowers the melting temperature of rock, which leads to volcanism; it also weakens rock, enabling deformation and mountain building to occur. Within these low-angle subduction systems, the process of water absorption and release, and the effect of water on upper plate deformation are still not well understood. In order to better assess the role of water in these subduction settings, this project will utilize seismic imaging techniques to image subducting slabs in four modern low-angle regions, Alaska, Costa Rica, Peru, and Chile. These seismic imaging results will be combined with thermodynamic modeling to further our understanding of how subduction systems behave. This ultimately will improve our understanding of how the western US and Alaska have evolved geologically and how water impacts the geology of these regions. Further, the results of this work will be incorporated into a teaching workshop that will educate middle and high-school students about geology and mechanisms for incorporating geophysics into their classrooms.

Slab hydration and subsequent dehydration have a profound impact on subduction zones as water released from the slab has been shown to affect the behavior of the slab, the mantle wedge, and the volcanic arc. Within flat-slab subduction regions, which exhibit dramatically different thermal regimes than typical subduction zones, the role of water is less well understood, as the arc is commonly shut-off and the mantle wedge may be thin to non-existent. This leads to several questions about the role water plays in both upper and lower plate dynamics within these regions. In order assess this role, a first step is to better determine where water is present within these systems. To accomplish this, the PI of this proposal will utilize joint surface wave and receiver function analyses to survey four flat-slab regions in southern Alaska, Costa Rica, Peru, and Chile/Argentina, chosen based on their differences in slab geometry, their locations within the North and South American Cordillera, and the availability of seismic data from these regions from the IRIS DMC Database. This work will result in detailed shear velocity models and quantification of crustal and upper mantle anisotropy within these regions that will be compared to models of seismic velocity and hydration state calculated using thermodynamic modeling software. These data and forward models will be used to better assess the degree of slab hydration within these regions, where within the slab water is stored, and where, relative to the trench, the slab dewaters. Additionally, this work will allow the PI to better determine where water released from the slab is stored within the overriding crust and mantle and if water released into the overriding plate impacts the geometry of the downgoing slab and deformation within the overriding lithosphere. By analyzing these four regions in a systematic manner, direct correlations can be made between the study areas, which will allow for the identification of commonalities between them. The data collected as part of this work will allow the PI to evaluate two primary hypotheses regarding the role of water in flat-slab regions: 1. That slab hydration and subsequent dehydration play an important role in controlling the buoyancy necessary to maintain and subsequently end flat-slab subduction and 2. That dehydration of the slab and related hydration of the overriding lithosphere impact upper-plate deformation and the angle of subduction. Addressing these questions is important for better understanding the driving mechanisms for flat-slab subduction and the behavior of these regions. Additionally, assessing hydration within modern flat-slab regions will have important implications for understanding the deformation and volcanism observed when a flat slab rolls back to assume a more typical subduction geometry. Ultimately, this work will provide useful constraints for better understanding how these systems behave.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ADVANCES IN BIO INFORMATICS | Award Amount: 525.79K | Year: 2016

Single-cellular organisms (microbes) represent a vast component of the diversity of life on Earth and perform an amazing array of biological functions. They rarely live or act alone and instead exist in complex communities composed of many interacting species that make up the microbiome. This award supports the development of the next generation of Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME, pronounced chime), a free and open source software platform for analyzing microbiomes based on DNA sequencing data. Microbiome science is in a transformation from being descriptive and technically challenging, to becoming hypothesis-driven, actionable, and technically straight-forward, in part enabled by QIIME. We now know that the traditional approach for studying microbial communities, which relied on culturing microbes in the lab, is insufficient because we dont know the conditions required for the growth of most microbes. Recent advances link microbiomes to functional processes via culture independent techniques, such as sequencing fragments of microbial genomes, and then using those fragments as molecular fingerprints to profile the microbiome. The bottleneck in microbiome analysis is not DNA sequencing, but in interpreting the large quantities of sequence data generated. QIIME 2 will advance knowledge of microbiomes by helping users derive insight through interactive exploratory analysis capabilities, understand the underlying methods, and report their results in ways accessible to end users from outside of the field, including physicians, engineers and policymakers who urgently need access to conclusions drawn from studies of complex microbial ecosystems. Societal benefits range from global to personal (from understanding cycling of biologically essential nutrients, such as carbon and nitrogen in the environment to curing disease, including obesity and cancer). QIIME has been cited over 4,000 times and has active user and developer communities. Educational workshops on QIIME are taught approximately monthly in the USA and around the world.

At its core, QIIME 2 will provide a stable application programming interface (API) relying on existing community standards for documentation, coding style, and testing. It will have a novel documentation-driven graphical user interface that will make QIIME accessible to users without requiring advanced computational skills. At the same time, it will help users improve their computational skills through exposure to the underlying bioinformatics methods. QIIME 2 will have fully integrated provenance tracking, which will simplify reporting and reproducibility of bioinformatics workflows. A first-class plugin system will decentralize development by allowing outside developers to add new methods to the QIIME 2 platform. The API will also support improved integration of QIIME as a component of other widely used systems, such as Illumina BaseSpace® and Qiita, and an automatically generated command line interface will be provided for power users. QIIME 2 will have a completely redeveloped parallel framework, which will support deployment on diverse high-performance computing resources, from locally owned and operated computer clusters to commercially available cloud computing platforms. All stages of QIIME 2 development will be driven by user community input through the QIIME Forum (currently over 2500 active users) and our public GitHub repository. Further details on this project are on the QIIME website (www.qiime.org).


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Digitization | Award Amount: 563.57K | Year: 2016

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) are one of the most diverse groups of organisms on the planet: worldwide there are approximately 160,000 species, including around 14,300 species in North America. Moths and butterflies are a conspicuous component of terrestrial habitats and one of the most diverse groups of plant-feeding animals worldwide. This group insect includes species of great economic importance. Their juveniles feed on plants useful to humans, including grains, cotton, tobacco, and timber and shade trees. However, many of the adults are beneficial as pollinators and are icons of conservation as evidenced by Monarch butterflies. Given their economic importance and sheer beauty, butterflies and moths are one of the most abundant insect group in museum collections, but only a fraction of the approximately 15 million specimens in non-federal collections have had their specimen label information digitally recorded and accessible to researchers and educators. Of those specimens that have been digitized, fewer than 10% of the North American Lepidoptera species have sufficient, accessible occurrence data to make reliable predictions about habitat use, susceptibility to global change impacts, or other ecologically important interactions. This project will digitize and integrate existing, unconnected collections of lepidopterans to leverage the outstanding potential of this group of organisms for transformative research, training and outreach.

The Lepidoptera of North America Network (LepNet) comprises 26 research collections that will digitize approximately 2 million specimen records and integrate these with over 1 million existing records. LepNet will digitize 43,280 larval vial records with host plant data, making this the first significant digitization of larvae in North American collections. LepNet will produce ca. 82,000 high-quality images of exemplar species covering 60% of North American lepidopteran species. These images will enhance remote identifications and facilitate systematic, ecological, and global change research. In collaboration with Visipedia, LepNet will create LepSnap, a computer vision tool that can provide automated identifications to the species level. Museum volunteers and student researchers equipped with smartphones will image >132,000 additional research-quality images through LepSnap. Up to 5,000 lepidopteran species will be elevated to a research ready status suitable for complex, data-driven analyses. LepNet will build on the existing data portal (SCAN) in consolidating data on Lepidoptera to the evolution of lepidopteran herbivores in North America. Access to these data will be increased through integration with iDigBio. Data for a broad range of research, including the evolutionary ecology of Lepidoptera and their host plants in the context of global change processes affecting biogeographic distributions will be generated. The LepXPLOR! program will spearhead education and outreach efforts for 67 existing programs, engaging a diverse, nationwide workforce of 400+ students and 3,500+ volunteers. Overall, LepNet will generate a sustainable social-research network dedicated to the creation and maintenance of a digital collection of North American Lepidoptera specimens (http://www.lep-net.org/).


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Track 1 INFEWS | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2016

The Food, Energy, and Water (FEW) system is complex, vulnerable to societal and environmental changes, yet critical for national well-being. This projects major contribution is to create and exploit the first detailed mapping of the Food, Energy, and Water System of the United States. Using this capability will improve understanding of how local Food, Energy, and Water policy decisions and technologies cause ripple effects throughout the system (for example, how electricity usage in an American city affects rivers hundreds of miles away). Policies and technologies often pose trade-offs between Food, Energy, and Water systems, and this project is measuring those trade-offs so costs and benefits may be understood and balanced in future decisions. By studying how past events like droughts, storms, wars, or economic crises have affected the nations Food, Energy, and Water System, this project is developing the capacity to anticipate the impacts of future events.

The project provides an empirical basis for advances in theory and scientific modeling of the complete food-energy-water (FEW) system of the United States. The system is primarily composed of mesoscale phenomena in which regional trade, river basins and aquifers, irrigation districts, crop belts, states, tribes, counties and cities, power grids, climate gradients, and seasonal timescales interact in a dynamic, inter-connected coupled natural-human system. To advance understanding of these interactions, a reliable and complete empirical description of the FEW system is needed. This requires a dataset containing consumption, production, and bilateral trade data for the United States, with sub-county resolution. A retrospective version of this dataset (containing data from the mid-20th century to the present), will serve as a model network for the FEW systems emergent performance metrics, sustainability metrics, and supply-chain teleconnections, along with observed historical dynamics of system response, vulnerability, and resilience to stresses and shocks. A wide range of diverse and disparate (but mostly pre-existing) economic, climate, and environmental data will be assembled to create the first comprehensive empirical map of the U.S. Food, Energy, and Water system (the FEWSion v1.0-US database). This capability will then be used to achieve four high-value science and modeling objectives: (1) quantify the multiple-objective trade-offs between performance and sustainability metrics, (2) analyze historical sensitivity, vulnerability, resilience, and evolution of the FEW network with attribution to observed stresses and shocks, (3) establish the role of cities within the FEW system, and (4) provide a standards-based benchmarking assessment capability that can be used by other projects awarded under Track 1 (FEW System Modeling) and Track 3 (Research to Enable Innovative System Solutions) of this INFEWS solicitation. A public online educational tool uses this information to visualize how individual and local decisions create environmental footprints, and how those decisions create impacts throughout the food, energy, and water system.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Dimensions of Biodiversity | Award Amount: 290.78K | Year: 2017

Mosses are the second most diverse group of land plants and they play important ecological roles in terrestrial ecosystems. Since an early divergence from other land plants some 450 million years ago, mosses took a different path than vascular plants to solving the challenges to survival and reproduction posed by terrestrial environments. One important trait that is well developed in mosses is the capability of drying without dying, known as desiccation tolerance (DT). This critical trait allows many mosses to survive and reproduce even in drylands, and may be the key to their survival in the face of current, rapid climate change. Syntrichia is a large and diverse genus of mosses occurring worldwide and generally in dryland habitats. Despite their dominance in certain communities such as biological soil crusts, surprisingly little is known about the drivers of biodiversity in this clade. This interdisciplinary project integrates research from genomic, organismal, population, and community levels of organization in order to build a robust understanding of past and present dimensions of biodiversity in Syntrichia. The overall goals are to understand the evolutionary and ecological mechanisms that have produced and maintained functional diversity at these different levels of organization, and promote training, teaching, and learning via: (1) formal education through field and laboratory research; (2) informal education involving a classroom module, short-film series featuring mosses and biocrusts transitioning from desiccation dormancy, a citizen science program Citizens of the Crust, and a series of free public workshops.

The research will examine tradeoffs between asexual and sexual reproduction, and between phenotypic plasticity and canalization into specialized genotypes, by examining the mechanisms underlying traits (including phenotypic plasticity) that drive diversification, reproduction, habitat selection, and physiological trait evolution in environments with varying degrees of water stress. Specific methods to be employed include: (1) sequencing the full genomes of S. caninervis and S. ruralis; (2) using next generation sequencing (NGS) to develop genotypic markers for population-level genetic variation studies, signature transcriptome tools for phenotypic analyses (related to ecophysiological and ecosystem investigations), and multiple single-copy genes for phylogenetic analysis; (3) transcriptomics experiments comparing different development stages and sexes of both species in response to desiccation stress and reproductive state; (3) ecophysiological experiments on multiple populations of S. caninervis and S. ruralis, and all 15 species of N. American Syntrichia, to assess phenotypic plasticity in the key trait of DT; (5) population genetic studies of S. caninervis and S. ruralis in different environments; (6) building a robust phylogeny for Syntrichia and using it to understand evolutionary trends and correlations among the traits under study, as well as to produce a refined classification; (7) examining the role of genetic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity in the resilience to climate change of biocrust communities that are dominated by Syntrichia (with co-occurring mosses, lichens, and cyanobacteria) in field and greenhouse experiments.

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