Alpine, TX, United States
Alpine, TX, United States

Sul Ross State University is a public university in Alpine, Texas, United States. Named for former Texas governor and Civil War general Lawrence Sullivan Ross, it was founded in 1917 as Sul Ross Normal College and was made a university in 1969.Sul Ross State University offers certificate programs and associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees. The main campus is situated in the unique environment of the Big Bend region and is the primary institution of higher education serving a 19-county area in far West Texas. SRSU has Rio Grande College branch campuses in Uvalde, Del Rio, and Eagle Pass.The university is governed by the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System, which guides seven universities in the state. Wikipedia.


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News Article | November 22, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

The Community for Accredited Online Schools (AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org), has named it’s picks for the top Trade & Vocational Training Programs at colleges in Texas for 2016-2017. A total of 62 schools were chosen for displaying excellence in career training in the state, with Midland College, University of Texas at Brownsville (now Rio Grande Valley), LeTourneau University, Tarleton State University and Brazosport College scoring highest among four-year schools and El Paso Community College, Lee College, Texas State Technical College Waco, Houston Community College and Grayson College scoring highest among two-year schools. “Job projections through 2024 show trade industries growing at some of the fastest rates in the country,” said Doug Jones, CEO and Founder of the Community for Accredited Online Schools. “The best trade and vocational programs in Texas are found at both two- and four-year schools, and are noted on our list for their dedication to student success both inside the classroom and after graduation.” The Community for Accredited Online Schools analyzes more than a dozen unique data points to determine their “Best of” rankings. Colleges and universities must be regionally accredited and hold public or private not-for-profit status to qualify. For the Best Trade & Vocational Programs list, schools must also offer career counseling and placement services to students. To determine top programs, each qualifying school is scored and ranked based on statistics most important to student success, such as student-teacher ratios, program variety and graduation rates. Complete rankings of the Best Vocational & Trade School Programs in Texas can be found at the link below, along with more information on the data and methodology used to determine school scores: Alvin Community College Amarillo College Angelina College Brookhaven College Cedar Valley College Central Texas College Coastal Bend College College of the Mainland Collin College Covenant School of Nursing and Allied Health Del Mar College Eastfield College El Centro College El Paso Community College Frank Phillips College Galveston College Grayson College Hill College Houston Community College Howard College Kilgore College Lamar Institute of Technology Lamar State College-Orange Lamar State College - Port Arthur Laredo Community College Lee College Lone Star College Mountain View College Navarro College North Central Texas College North Lake College Northeast Texas Community College Northwest Vista College Odessa College Palo Alto College Panola College Ranger College Remington College - Fort Worth Campus Remington College - Houston Campus Remington College - Houston Southeast Campus Remington College - North Houston Campus Richland College San Antonio College San Jacinto College South Plains College Southwest Texas Junior College St. Philip's College Tarrant County College District Temple College Texarkana College Texas State Technical College - West Texas Texas State Technical College - Harlingen Texas State Technical College - Marshall Texas State Technical College - Waco Trinity Valley Community College Tyler Junior College Vernon College Weatherford College Western Texas College Brazosport College LeTourneau University Midland College Parker University Remington College - Dallas Campus Schreiner University South Texas College Sul Ross State University Tarleton State University The University of Texas at Arlington The University of Texas at Brownsville (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio About Us: The Community for Accredited Online Schools (AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org) was founded in 2011 to provide students and parents with quality data and information about pursuing an affordable education that has been certified by an accrediting agency. Our community resource materials and tools span topics such as college accreditation, financial aid, opportunities available to veterans, people with disabilities, as well as online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning programs that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational success. environments that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational and career success.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The Community for Accredited Online Schools, a leading resource provider for higher education information, has released its list of the Best Online Colleges in Texas for 2017. Highlighting both two- and four-year schools, more than 90 Texas colleges received accolades, with the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, University of North Texas, Texas Tech University and Baylor University coming in as the top four-year schools and St. Philip’s College, Odessa College, Del Mar College, Western Texas College and Texas State Technical College Waco ranking highest among two-year schools. “About 1.5 million students enrolled in post-secondary education in Texas in fall 2016,” said Doug Jones, CEO and founder of AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org. “As Internet-based coursework becomes more accessible, students may find that online programs suit their needs better. Schools on our list have been ranked for overall quality, providing excellent options for anyone who wants more flexible education options.” To determine the Best Online Schools in Texas, each college in the state was evaluated using over a dozen unique data points to find which schools best meet students’ needs, including graduation rates, career placement services and financial aid availability. AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org also requires each school highlighted on the lists to carry institutional accreditation and hold public or private not-for-profit status. Find each school’s score and ranking or read more about the data and methodology used to determine the lists here: The Best Four-Year Online Schools in Texas for 2017 include the following: Abilene Christian University Angelo State University Baylor University Concordia University-Texas Dallas Baptist University Dallas Christian College Grace School of Theology Houston Baptist University Howard Payne University Lamar University LeTourneau University Lubbock Christian University Messenger College Midwestern State University Our Lady of the Lake University Prairie View A & M University Sam Houston State University Schreiner University Southern Methodist University Southwestern Adventist University Southwestern Assemblies of God University St Mary's University Stephen F Austin State University Sul Ross State University Tarleton State University Texas A & M International University Texas A & M University-College Station Texas A & M University-Commerce Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi Texas A & M University-Kingsville Texas A & M University-Texarkana Texas Christian University Texas Southern University Texas State University Texas Tech University Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Texas Woman's University The University of Texas at Arlington The University of Texas at Austin The University of Texas at Dallas The University of Texas at El Paso The University of Texas at Tyler The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio The University of Texas of the Permian Basin The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Trinity University University of Dallas University of Houston University of Houston-Clear Lake The Best Two-Year Online Schools in Texas for 2017 include the following: Alvin Community College Amarillo College Austin Community College District Central Texas College College of the Mainland Collin College Del Mar College El Paso Community College Frank Phillips College Grayson College Houston Community College Kilgore College Lamar Institute of Technology Lamar State College-Port Arthur Lone Star College Navarro College North Central Texas College Northwest Vista College Odessa College Palo Alto College Panola College San Antonio College South Plains College St Philip's College Tarrant County College District Temple College Texas State Technical College - West Texas Texas State Technical College-Waco Trinity Valley Community College Tyler Junior College Western Texas College ### About Us: AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org was founded in 2011 to provide students and parents with quality data and information about pursuing an affordable, quality education that has been certified by an accrediting agency. Our community resource materials and tools span topics such as college accreditation, financial aid, opportunities available to veterans, people with disabilities, as well as online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning programs that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational success. environments that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational and career success.


News Article | October 29, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

The 2016 ranking of the Best Online Colleges in Texas has been released by leading higher education and online student resource provider, AffordableCollegesOnline.org. Four-year colleges earning the highest marks include the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, the University of Texas, Victoria, and Southwestern Adventist University. Frank Phillips College, Western Texas College and Odessa College received top honors for two-year colleges. Between the two lists, more than 70 colleges in Texas were recognized for their variety of online education options and their strong focus on affordability. "The number of Texans earning college degrees has increased dramatically over the past five years,” said Dan Schuessler, CEO and Founder of AffordableCollegesOnline.org. "We’ve found the schools in Texas who are designing learning options to be more flexible and accessible than ever before, for both in-state students and learners located across the nation.” To earn a place on AffordableCollegesOnline.org’s list, schools are required to meet certain baseline criteria. Colleges must be accredited, public or private not-for-profit institutions. Schools had to also meet baseline affordability standards, offering in-state tuition for under $5,000 per year at two year schools and under $25,000 per year at four year schools. Each college’s ranking is determined by an in-depth analysis of more than a dozen different metrics, ranging from financial aid options to graduation rate to online program variety. The full list of colleges is included below. To see where each ranks specifically and to get more specific details about the methodology used to compare each college, visit the following page: The Best Two-Year Online Colleges in Texas for 2016: Alvin Community College Amarillo College Central Texas College College of the Mainland Collin College Del Mar College El Paso Community College Frank Phillips College Grayson College Houston Community College Kilgore College Lamar Institute of Technology Lone Star College Navarro College North Central Texas College Odessa College Panola College South Plains College Tarrant County College District Temple College Texas State Technical College - Waco Trinity Valley Community College Tyler Junior College Western Texas College The Best Four-Year Online Colleges in Texas for 2016: Amberton University Angelo State University Arlington Baptist College Dallas Baptist University Dallas Christian College Grace School of Theology King's University Lamar University Lubbock Christian University Messenger College Midwestern State University Our Lady of the Lake University Parker University Prairie View A & M University Sam Houston State University South Texas College Southwestern Adventist University Southwestern Assemblies of God University Southwestern Christian College Stephen F. Austin State University Sul Ross State University Tarleton State University Texas A & M University - Central Texas Texas A & M University - College Station Texas A & M University - Commerce Texas A & M University - Corpus Christi Texas A & M University - Kingsville Texas A & M University - Texarkana Texas Tech University Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Texas Woman's University The University of Texas at Arlington The University of Texas at Brownsville The University of Texas at El Paso The University of Texas at Tyler The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center The University of Texas Medical Branch The University of Texas of the Permian Basin University of Houston - Clear Lake University of Houston - Downtown University of Houston - Victoria University of North Texas University of North Texas at Dallas Wayland Baptist University West Texas A & M University AffordableCollegesOnline.org began in 2011 to provide quality data and information about pursuing an affordable higher education. Our free community resource materials and tools span topics such as financial aid and college savings, opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities, and online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning environments that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational and career success. We have been featured by nearly 1,100 postsecondary institutions and nearly 120 government organizations.


Backs J.R.,University of Illinois at Chicago | Terry M.,Sul Ross State University | Ashley M.V.,University of Illinois at Chicago
International Journal of Plant Sciences | Year: 2016

Premise of research. Hybridization among oaks is well documented and is of special concern in conservation efforts directed toward threatened or endangered Quercus, species such as Quercus hinckleyi. Methodology. This study uses DNA microsatellite analysis to characterize hybridization between the threatened oak Q. hinckleyi C.H.Muller and two putative hybridizing species, Quercus pungens Liebmann and Quercus vaseyana Buckley. The two potential hybridizers were sampled at Guadalupe Mountains National Park (GUMO), approximately 320 km from the current range of Q. hinckleyi. Quercus pungens and two possible hybrids located in near proximity to the relict populations of Q. hinckleyi were also sampled. Pivotal results. Genetic variability was high in all three species, with mean number of alleles per locus ranging from 12.625 to 17.875, mean observed heterozygosity from 0.734 to 0.807, and mean expected heterozygosity from 0.851 to 0.869. Quercus hinckleyi is genetically differentiated from the putative hybridizers and has two distinct genetic clusters within its metapopulation. The two hybridizer species from GUMO, where they are sympatric, are not differentiated. The population identified as Q. pungens found near Q. hinckleyi is genetically distinct from the GUMO samples and has five of eight genets with greater than 90% Q. hinckleyi introgression. Two of the 14 identified Q. hinckleyi in close proximity to this population had Q. pungens introgression. Bayesian clustering analysis showed that 5% of the samples identified as Q. hinckleyi in the field were hybrids, and one putative hybrid was confirmed genetically. Conclusions. While there is some hybridization in the Q. hinckleyi population, we found no evidence of genetic swamping. This may be explained by the spatial isolation of the Q. hinckleyi remnants relative to other oak species and by its common asexual (cloning) method of reproduction. © 2015 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.


Davis F.R.,Sul Ross State University
World Oil | Year: 2011

The US Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) issued new requirements for oil and gas companies working on the US outer continental shelf to develop and implement a Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) program. The new regulation, which became effective November 15, 2011, incorporates and makes mandatory the American Petroleum Institute's Recommended Practice for Development of a Safety and Environmental Management Program for Offshore Operations and Facilities. The audit is the initial step in determining if an operator's SEMS program is effective. The company must develop a SEMS auditing program, which should define who is responsible for conducting the audit. All companies must define and document an emergency action plan and designate responsibilities for implementation of the plan. The first SEMS audit must be completed within two years of the initial implementation of the SEMS program. The audit scope should include a review of all company procedures addressing the SEMS elements.


Yue Y.,Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Yue Y.,Sul Ross State University | Fulvio P.F.,University of Puerto Rico at San Juan | Dai S.,Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Dai S.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2015

ConspectusMetal-organic frameworks (MOFs) represent a new family of microporous materials; however, microporous-mesoporous hierarchical MOF materials have been less investigated because of the lack of simple, reliable methods to introduce mesopores to the crystalline microporous particles. State-of-the-art MOF hierarchical materials have been prepared by ligand extension methods or by using a template, resulting in intrinsic mesopores of longer ligands or replicated pores from template agents, respectively. However, mesoporous MOF materials obtained through ligand extension often collapse in the absence of guest molecules, which dramatically reduces the size of the pore aperture. Although the template-directed strategy allows for the preparation of hierarchical materials with larger mesopores, the latter requires a template removal step, which may result in the collapse of the implemented mesopores. Recently, a general template-free synthesis of hierarchical microporous crystalline frameworks, such as MOFs and Prussian blue analogues (PBAs), has been reported. This new method is based on the kinetically controlled precipitation (perturbation), with simultaneous condensation and redissolution of polymorphic nanocrystallites in the mother liquor. This method further eliminates the use of extended organic ligands and the micropores do not collapse upon removal of trapped guest solvent molecules, thus yielding hierarchical MOF materials with intriguing porosity in the gram scale. The hierarchical MOF materials prepared in this way exhibited exceptional properties when tested for the adsorption of large organic dyes over their corresponding microporous frameworks, due to the enhanced pore accessibility and electrolyte diffusion within the mesopores.As for PBAs, the pore size distribution of these materials can be tailored by changing the metals substituting Fe cations in the PB lattice. For these, the textural mesopores increased from approximately 10 nm for Cu analogue (mesoCuHCF), to 16 nm in Co substituted compound (mesoCoHCF), and to as large as 30 nm for the Ni derivative (mesoNiHCF). While bulk PB and analogues have a higher capacitance than hierarchical analogues for Na-batteries, the increased accessibility to the microporous channels of PBAs allow for faster intercalated ion exchange and diffusion than in bulk PBA crystals. Thus, hierarchical PBAs are promising candidates for electrodes in future electrochemical energy storage devices with faster charge-discharge rates than batteries, namely pseudocapacitors. Finally, this new synthetic method opens the possibility to prepare hierarchical materials having bimodal distribution of mesopores, and to tailor the structural properties of MOFs for different applications, including contrasting agents for MRI, and drug delivery. © 2015 American Chemical Society.


Platt S.G.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Thorbjarnarson J.B.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Rainwater T.R.,Medical University of South Carolina | Martin D.R.,Sul Ross State University
Journal of Herpetology | Year: 2013

We studied diet and size-related dietary patterns among American Crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) in marine habitats of coastal Belize (1996-1997). Prey items recovered from crocodile (N = 97) stomach contents included insects, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Based on an overlapping group analysis of percent occurrence, we concluded that hatchlings and small juveniles feed largely on insects and crustaceans, larger juveniles broaden their diet to include fish and nonfish vertebrates, subadults consume increasing amounts of crustaceans with lesser amounts of insects and nonfish vertebrates, and adults subsist primarily on marine crustaceans. Dietary diversity was uniformly low across all size classes but greatest among small and large juveniles. Conversely, hatchlings, subadults, and adults had the most specialized (least diverse) diet owing to reliance upon a limited selection of prey, largely insects (hatchlings) or crustaceans (subadults and adults). Dietary overlap was greatest between adjacent size classes and lowest between the largest and smallest size classes. The high prevalence of freshly ingested prey among all size classes indicates frequent, regular feeding by C. acutus in coastal habitats, perhaps driven by the relatively small size of frequently consumed prey such as crabs. Because crabs have a blood salt content equivalent to the external medium and comprise a large portion of the diet, these prey likely impose a high osmoregulatory burden on C. acutus inhabiting hyperosmotic coastal environments. Contrary to earlier assertions that salt glands in C. acutus lack the excretory capacity to balance salt and water, we suggest populations in coastal Belize rely on these glands in addition to behavioral strategies to maintain osmotic homeostasis. Copyright 2013 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.


Mullet T.C.,Sul Ross State University | Mullet T.C.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Ward Jr. J.P.,New Mexico State University
Journal of Raptor Research | Year: 2010

In some portions of their range, Mexican Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis lucida) are found occupying conifer-dominated forests, whereas in other portions of their range, they occupy narrow and steep-walled canyons. Although the characteristics of this owl's nesting and roosting habitat have been studied extensively in predominately forested environments, there is far less information describing microhabitat features associated with nesting and roosting sites in canyon systems. In this report, we quantitatively describe microhabitat characteristics of nest and roost sites of Mexican Spotted Owls within the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas, where Spotted Owls dwell primarily in narrow, rocky, and semiarid canyons. We measured 21 habitat features describing the geomorphology of the canyon and finer-scaled variables at accessible owl nest or roost sites (n 10) and at nearby random sites up- (n 10) and down-canyon (n 10); we found that tree canopy cover (%) was significantly higher at nest and roost sites than at down-canyon random sites, and percent cover of saplings and rocky debris was significantly (P < 0.05) greater at nest and roost sites than at up-canyon and down-canyon random sites. Our findings matched some of the results of previous studies conducted in canyonlands in Utah, Arizona, and Colorado but also differed in some respects. © 2010 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.


News Article | December 21, 2016
Site: phys.org

"Most people think a snake is more likely to strike after you have handled or harassed it," said Tracy Langkilde, professor and department head of biology. "Our results show this is not true. We show that how stressed a snake gets when handled or harassed does not determine how likely it is to strike." The researchers found that cottonmouths with high baseline levels of corticosterone, a hormone that is used to estimate the amount of stress an animal experiences, were more likely to strike during an encounter with a person than were cottonmouths with lower baseline levels of corticosterone. Surprisingly, an increase in corticosterone levels that occurred after a standardized stressful experience did not make the snakes more likely to strike. Only eleven of the thirty-two snakes in the experiment struck after being held by snake tongs on their first encounter. After a short period of stressful confinement, just seven of the snakes attempted to strike when held by tongs. These results, recently published online in the journal, General and Comparative Endocrinology, suggest that cottonmouths are not as aggressive as popular lore suggests and that the level of aggression a cottonmouth displays during an encounter may often be exaggerated. Based on this work, the researchers suggest that protecting the habitats of snakes so they do not routinely experience high stress may be an effective way to reduce the incidence of snakebite. If snakes are not stressed, they may be less likely to strike humans when encountered. These results may have implications in the developing world where snakebites from all species result in 25,000 to 125,000 deaths a year and up to 400,000 amputations annually. Although stress is considered an important factor affecting behavior, the interaction between stress hormones and behavior in wild animals is not well understood. This motivated the researchers to design an experiment that could gain insight into how stress drives behavior in snakes in the real world. The researchers selected the cottonmouth snake, a venomous pit viper endemic to the southeastern United States because it has a clear suite of anti-predator behaviors that are easy to measure. Anti-predator behaviors include flashing the white lining of mouth—which gives the snake its common name—vibrating the end of its tail, flicking its tongue, hissing, fleeing the scene and striking. The research team included Herr, Langkilde and Sean Graham, a former post-doctoral researcher in the Langkilde lab who is now assistant professor at Sul Ross State University. Langkilde, an expert in animal behavior, Graham, an expert in stress physiology with previous experience studying cottonmouth snakes, and Herr combined their expertise to design the field experiment. Herr and Graham then set out to selected field sites in Alabama to collect data. The team explored beaver marshes and cypress swamps in search of cottonmouth snakes to stage threatening encounters. In an encounter, Herr and Graham would stand one meter away from a snake and record any anti-predator behavior. After 15 seconds, Graham would grab the snake at mid-body with tongs and observe the snake for 15 seconds for any changes in behavior. After placing a clear plastic tube around the head of the snake to prevent it from striking, Herr would draw a blood sample from the tail. Blood samples were used to measure corticosterone levels. The snake was then placed in a 5-gallon bucket for 30 minutes to subject it to a stressful confined environment. The researchers then held the snake with tongs again, recorded its behavior, and took another blood sample to measure post-confinement corticosterone levels. They found that confinement did raise corticosterone levels in the snakes, but that whether a given snake would strike during the subsequent encounter was not related to its post-confinement corticosterone level or to how much its corticosterone went up during the experiment. These results showed that a snake's striking behavior was related to its baseline level of corticosterone—its level of stress before the encounter—but not to its level of corticosterone after a short period of handling and confinement stress. "These are some of the first results we know of that connect stress biology with anti-predator behavior in the wild," said Herr. According to the researchers, the main limitation of this study is that the researchers only show a correlation between baseline corticosterone levels and behavior in cottonmouth snakes. In other words, the researchers did not demonstrate that high baseline stress levels cause a cottonmouth to strike. To answer this question and exclude other possible causes like genetics, they are planning an experiment to manipulate the stress levels of cottonmouths to understand the impact this factor has on snakes' behavior. Explore further: Australian man bitten by venomous snake twice in 3 days


News Article | December 21, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Whether a wild cottonmouth snake will attempt to strike in an encounter depends on its baseline stress level, according to a team of scientists led by undergraduate researcher Mark Herr. "Most people think a snake is more likely to strike after you have handled or harassed it," said Tracy Langkilde, professor and department head of biology. "Our results show this is not true. We show that how stressed a snake gets when handled or harassed does not determine how likely it is to strike." The researchers found that cottonmouths with high baseline levels of corticosterone, a hormone that is used to estimate the amount of stress an animal experiences, were more likely to strike during an encounter with a person than were cottonmouths with lower baseline levels of corticosterone. Surprisingly, an increase in corticosterone levels that occurred after a standardized stressful experience did not make the snakes more likely to strike. Only eleven of the thirty-two snakes in the experiment struck after being held by snake tongs on their first encounter. After a short period of stressful confinement, just seven of the snakes attempted to strike when held by tongs. These results, recently published online in the journal, General and Comparative Endocrinology, suggest that cottonmouths are not as aggressive as popular lore suggests and that the level of aggression a cottonmouth displays during an encounter may often be exaggerated. Based on this work, the researchers suggest that protecting the habitats of snakes so they do not routinely experience high stress may be an effective way to reduce the incidence of snakebite. If snakes are not stressed, they may be less likely to strike humans when encountered. These results may have implications in the developing world where snakebites from all species result in 25,000 to 125,000 deaths a year and up to 400,000 amputations annually. Although stress is considered an important factor affecting behavior, the interaction between stress hormones and behavior in wild animals is not well understood. This motivated the researchers to design an experiment that could gain insight into how stress drives behavior in snakes in the real world. The researchers selected the cottonmouth snake, a venomous pit viper endemic to the southeastern United States because it has a clear suite of anti-predator behaviors that are easy to measure. Anti-predator behaviors include flashing the white lining of mouth -- which gives the snake its common name -- vibrating the end of its tail, flicking its tongue, hissing, fleeing the scene and striking. The research team included Herr, Langkilde and Sean Graham, a former post-doctoral researcher in the Langkilde lab who is now assistant professor at Sul Ross State University. Langkilde, an expert in animal behavior, Graham, an expert in stress physiology with previous experience studying cottonmouth snakes, and Herr combined their expertise to design the field experiment. Herr and Graham then set out to selected field sites in Alabama to collect data. The team explored beaver marshes and cypress swamps in search of cottonmouth snakes to stage threatening encounters. In an encounter, Herr and Graham would stand one meter away from a snake and record any anti-predator behavior. After 15 seconds, Graham would grab the snake at mid-body with tongs and observe the snake for 15 seconds for any changes in behavior. After placing a clear plastic tube around the head of the snake to prevent it from striking, Herr would draw a blood sample from the tail. Blood samples were used to measure corticosterone levels. The snake was then placed in a 5-gallon bucket for 30 minutes to subject it to a stressful confined environment. The researchers then held the snake with tongs again, recorded its behavior, and took another blood sample to measure post-confinement corticosterone levels. They found that confinement did raise corticosterone levels in the snakes, but that whether a given snake would strike during the subsequent encounter was not related to its post-confinement corticosterone level or to how much its corticosterone went up during the experiment. These results showed that a snake's striking behavior was related to its baseline level of corticosterone -- its level of stress before the encounter -- but not to its level of corticosterone after a short period of handling and confinement stress. "These are some of the first results we know of that connect stress biology with anti-predator behavior in the wild," said Herr. According to the researchers, the main limitation of this study is that the researchers only show a correlation between baseline corticosterone levels and behavior in cottonmouth snakes. In other words, the researchers did not demonstrate that high baseline stress levels cause a cottonmouth to strike. To answer this question and exclude other possible causes like genetics, they are planning an experiment to manipulate the stress levels of cottonmouths to understand the impact this factor has on snakes' behavior. The National Science Foundation and a Summer Discovery Grant from Penn State Office of Undergraduate Education supported this work.

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