Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
{search_item}
Alaeops plinthus USNM 51406 radiograph

Scanned by Anna Maria Mardones/Lisa F. Palmer Sept 2000. Scanned by Anna Maria Mardones/Lisa F. Palmer Sept 2000. © Smithsonian Institution Division of Fishes

Research Training Program 2003

Summary

Intern Name Advisor Name(s) Department Project Title
Amanda Cass Lynne R. Parenti & G. David Johnson Vertebrate Zoology, Fishes A preliminary survey of the dorsal gill arches of flatfishes (Pleuronectiformes) and an examination of potential phylogenetic consequences
Skye Chang Douglas Owsley Anthropology Lost and Found: Forensic Analysis of an 1862 Cast Iron Coffin
Raul Diaz Kevin de Queiroz Vertebrate Zoology, Amphibians & Reptiles Phylogenetic relationships among corytophanine iguanid lizards inferred from morphological characters
Miguel Fernandez Don Wilson, Ron Heyer, & Roy McDiarmid Vertebrate Zoology Testing a predictive model of amphibian distributions for Bolivia
Jocelynn Johnson Ed Vicenzi Mineral Sciences A Microchemical Investigation of Fossilized Wood: Biological Preservation and the Influence of Mineralization
Stephanie Johnson Ted Schultz Entomology Cyphomyrmex longiscapus: One Fungus-Growing Ant Species or Many?
Jennifer Maloney Mike Wise Mineral Sciences Cathodoluminescence Study of Feldspars from the Black Mountain Pegmatite, Maine
Brittany Meagher Jim Luhr Mineral Sciences Looking South of Iceland Through Volcanic Glasses
Abigail Moore Harold Robinson Harold Robinson The delimitation of Viguiera pazensis and V. procumbens (Asteraceae)
Dalia Palchik Mary Jo Arnoldi Anthropology A Short Case-Study of Key Issues Surrounding Gender and Economics in Mali as Observed Through the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Nancy Price Brian Huber Paleobiology Planktonic Foraminiferal Turnover and Paleoceanographic Change across the Aptian-Albian Boundary in the Subtropical North Atlantic
Danielle Royer Richard Potts Anthropology Early Human Stone Tools at Olorgesailie, Kenya
Toccarra Thomas Mary Jo Arnoldi Anthropology Musicianship in Modern Mali: social and political influences
Elizabeth Bollwerk Risa Arbolino Anthropology Southwest Ethnographic Research Project: Picking Out the Pueblos, A Documentation Investigation
Lesley Gregoricka Melinda Zeder Anthropology CSI Sheep: Skeletal Reconstruction and Demographic Analysis
Michael Marchizza Elizabeth Zimmer Botany Genetic Variation Between Two Species of Magnolia Using Chloroplast Gene Spacer Sequences
Clemontene Rountree John Pandolfi Paleobiology Ecology and biodiversity of the Montastraea "annularis" reef corals species complex
Sebastian Patino Alma Solis Entomology Databasing moth genitalia facts
Nicole Whiteclay Dorothy Lippert Anthropology Theoretical Documentation of Pretty Eagle
Soo-Yin Lim-Thompson Mary Sangrey Research Training Program Smithsonian Outreach: Science Resources for Teachers

Research Abstracts

A preliminary survey of the dorsal gill arches of flatfishes (Pleuronectiformes) and an examination of potential phylogenetic consequences

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/cass_parenti.jpgAmanda Cass
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, Massachusetts

Lynne R. Parenti & G. David Johnson
Supervising Scientists
Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/cass_poster.jpg

The flatfishes (Pleuronectiformes) are a diverse and widespread order of fishes united by their ocular asymmetry. Due to their reduced skeletal morphology, much of their classification is based on loss and fusion characters, especially those of the caudal skeleton. Though these characters are used in other classifications and may be phylogenetically informative, no studies of pleuronectiform ontogeny have been conducted to determine homologies of the remaining elements, thus making them a weak tool for phylogenetic analysis. Another character system used to determine phylogenies is the gill arches, specifically the dorsal complex. To date, no systematic study of the Pleuronectiformes has included a detailed analysis of gill arch variation. The aims of the current study were to document variation within this structure across taxa and to determine whether this variation was great enough to be phylogenetically informative and warrant further study. Representatives from each of 10 families were prepared for dissection via clearing and counter-staining. The gill arches were removed from these specimens, observed and documented. Pleuronectiform gill arches were found to vary widely, with several characters delineating previously identified taxa and others drawing connections between groups thought to be only distantly related. Further studies including more taxa are planned and may elucidate the underlying patterns present in this important character system. It is hoped that these studies will shed some light on the obscure interrelationships of these fishes.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Lost and Found: Forensic Analysis of an 1862 Cast Iron Coffin

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/chang_owsley.jpgSkye Chang
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, Hawaii

Douglas Owsley, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Anthropology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/chang_poster.jpg

Valuable information on the past, its people, and the societies they lived in can be obtained from archaeological contexts, among which human remains and burials provide a detailed source of information. The discovery and excavation of a cast iron coffin from the Civil War period comprises an exceptional opportunity to study relatively well-preserved human remains and associated artifacts.

This research focuses on the compilation of historic data and information collected from the examination of a skeleton derived from a cast iron coffin. This coffin was excavated from Pulaski, Tennessee in 2002 during the relocation of a known historic family cemetery. The burial contained the only unmarked cast iron coffin, thus an investigation to reveal the identity of the individual was desired prior to its reburial. Historical documentation regarding the primary and secondary excavations, casket manufacture, and genealogical information were examined alongside textile and skeletal data in order to identify the remains as those of Isaac Newton Mason (1828-1862), a private in the 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Phylogenetic relationships among corytophanine iguanid lizards inferred from morphological characters

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/diaz_dequeiroz.jpgRaul Diaz
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California

Kevin de Queiroz, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Amphibians & Reptiles

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/diaz_poster.jpg

Corytophanine lizards are unique within the Iguanidae in having head crests and casques supported by the posterior extension of the parietal bone as well as having lateral fringes of skin along their hind digits which allots them added surface area aiding them in their bipedal locomotion across the surface of water. Their Neotropical distribution extends from Mexico to Colombia, with its main concentration in Central America. Three genera of corytophanines have traditionally been recognized, Basiliscus (four species), Corytophanes (three species), and Laemanctus (two species). The crests also appear to develop after birth and are more pronounced in male than in female Basiliscus; in contrast, they develop in the embryos and are of comparable size in males and females of Corytophanes and Laemanctus. The function of the head crests is not yet well understood. The phylogenetic relationships among the species of corytophanine lizards will be estimated using morphological characters. Characters will be obtained from the literature and verified and supplemented using museum specimens. Phylogenetic relationships will be estimated from those data using parsimony and likelihood methods and compared with estimates based on molecular data. Combined analyses of morphological and molecular data will also be performed. Constrained phylogenetic analyses will be used to test various hypotheses about the systematics and evolution of corytophanine lizards, including hypotheses about the monophyly of various groups, the evolution of head ornamentation, and historical biogeography.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512




Testing a predictive model of amphibian distributions for Bolivia

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/fernandez_wilson.jpgMiguel Fernandez
Universidad Mayor de San Andres
La Paz, BOLIVIA

Don Wilson, Ph.D.
Ron Heyer, Ph.D.
Roy McDiarmid, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientists
Vertebrate Zoology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/fernandez_poster.jpg

In Bolivia today, there is no balance between the many conservation problems and the time and resources available to confront them. Often social and political concerns outweigh any conservation attempts. The identification of priority sites for conservation is necessary and urgent in this country, requiring the implementation of faster and more useful tools to set priorities. Using the NMNH database and other sources, combined with a Geographical Information System (Arc View®), Leptodactylid richness will be analyzed for Bolivia, a map of the localities will be built, and then it will be compared with a predictive distribution model for the same taxa, created by Steffen Reichle for his doctoral thesis. From this analysis, the distribution for each genus will be used to suggest conservation approaches. This project will highlight all regions with high levels of amphibian's richness that were not considered inside Reichle's model. This research is important because, together with other studies in different taxa, it can be used to improve the Bolivian National System of protected areas.

This research was supported by the Alice Eve Kennington Internship Endowment.




A Microchemical Investigation of Fossilized Wood: Biological Preservation and the Influence of Mineralization

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/jjohnson_vicenzi.jpgJocelynn Johnson
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba
CANADA

Ed Vicenzi, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Mineral Sciences

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/jjohnson_poster.jpg

The degree of structural change in fossilized wood may be directly linked to the minerals that replace the cellular structure. Improved knowledge of the amount of biological structure that can be preserved in the process of petrifaction of easily recognized organisms increases the chances of identifying microorganisms in other geological samples. As the project deals with both biological organisms and minerals, four things were taken into consideration: species of plant, amount of decay, and minerals present, and the most suitable imaging technique(s) for each specimen. Of the six fossil wood specimens that were analyzed in this study, two were identified to the genus level, Callixylon sp., an extinct conifer, and Salix sp. the common willow, both were remarkably well preserved. The remaining four specimens were unidentifiable as decay was too far progressed prior to mineralization. The ages of the specimens ranged from Miocene-Pliocene to Devonian. Nine minerals were identified in the six samples. The specimens have one dominant mineral, and may have up to four additional accessory minerals. The dominant minerals were chalcedony (SiO2), opal (SiO2onH2O), hematite (FeO2), dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2), limonite (FeOHo nH2O), and apatite (Ca5(PO4)3(OH,F,Cl), and may also occur as accessory minerals. The remaining three minerals occurring only as accessory minerals were pyrite (FeS2), calcite (CaCO3), and barite (BaSO4). Generally, specimens mineralized with common mineralizing agents such as chalcedony, apatite, or calcite more faithfully retain the original cellular structure than specimens that were mineralized with more rare minerals such as hematite or limonite. Determination of the amount of structure preserved and by which minerals, was accomplished through the use of seven imaging techniques. A structure that may be clearly visible in one technique, may be completely obscured in another, this validates the need for complimentary techniques. Light-based methods included: transmitted, reflected and polarized light microscopy. Electron-based methods included: back scattered electron imaging and x-ray mapping using the scanning electron microscope, charge-contrast imaging using the environmental scanning electron microscope, and cathodoluminescence imaging using a cathodoluminoscope.

This research was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Women's Committee Internship Endowment




Cyphomyrmex longiscapus: One Fungus-Growing Ant Species or Many?

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/sjohnson_schultz.jpgStephanie Johnson
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

Ted Schultz, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Entomology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/sjohnson_poster.jpg

Found commonly on the banks of small streams in the wet forests of Panama, Colombia, and Costa Rica, Cyphomyrmex longiscapus sensu lato is an ideal organism for the study of the evolution of fungus-growing behavior and cultivar specificity. Morphometrics, nest size and architecture, and other evidence suggest that C. longiscapus s. l. may actually be a complex of several cryptic species that are new to science. C. longiscapus s. l. specimens were collected from three disjunct localities: (i) La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica, (ii) Bocas del Toro, Panama, and (iii) Darien, Panama. Samples of specimens from each locality were mounted on pins, and a subset of the pinned specimens was selected for measurement; sampling included as many nests as possible in order to eliminate any nest bias. Three standard ant measurements, head width, head length, and Weber's length, were taken for 33 ants from Bocas Del Toro, 24 ants from La Selva, and 41 ants from Darien. Specimens representing all three ant castes (workers, reproductive females, and males), were measured digitally using a Leica M40 microscope tethered to a JVC digital camera driven by Automontage software. The resulting data were analyzed and compared to those produced by a previous study of the Colombian C. longiscapus type series and C. longiscapus ants from central Panama using ANOVA tests and general linear modeling with SYSTAT software. Field observations suggest that the nest architecture of the Costa Rican and Bocas del Toro populations are very different from that of the central Panamanian C. longiscapus populations. The number of workers per nest also differs greatly between typical central Panamanian C. longiscapus populations, which average approximately 20 workers per nest, and the Bocas del Toro population, which averages hundreds of workers per nest. My morphometric analysis indicates that there are significant differences in head width and Weber's length between the different populations. The combined evidence suggests that the populations studied may actually be different cryptic species; however, additional morphological study and genetic analysis are needed before any firm conclusions can be made.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Cathodoluminescence Study of Feldspars from the Black Mountain Pegmatite, Maine

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/maloney_wise2.jpgJennifer Maloney
West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia

Mike Wise, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Mineral Sciences

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/maloney_poster.jpg

The Black Mountain pegmatite, located in Oxford county, Maine, is an internally zoned granitic pegmatite that contains many replacement features that are caused by late-stage fluids. The reaction of the residual fluids with other minerals can be observed using cathodoluminescence (CL). Albite commonly replaces pre-existing minerals, and occurs in three varieties in the pegmatite: saccharoidal albite, cleavelandite, and blocky albite. With the exception of blocky albite, each variety replaces other minerals (potassium feldspar, quartz, muscovite, lepidolite, and spodumene) in all zones of the pegmatite. The principal feature that is observed in the albite is the reduction of luminescence wherever replacement occurs. The exact reason for this is still not known, but there are several possibilities that can be considered: 1) the incorporation of a quenching agent in the albite during the replacement process, 2) the reduction of activators (Ti4+, Mn2+. Fe2+, Fe3+) in albite during the breakdown of replaced minerals, and 3) an increase in the amount of activating elements leading to concentration quenching in the albite.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Looking South of Iceland Through Volcanic Glasses

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/meagher_luhr.jpgBrittany Meagher
University of California Riverside
Riverside, California

Jim Luhr, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Mineral Sciences

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/meagher_poster.jpg

Iceland has been hypothesized to not only be a hot spot but also a wet spot. This would mean that water contents of Mid Ocean Ridge Basalts (MORBs) would increase as Iceland is approached along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from the south. To test this hypothesis, twenty-eight samples were obtained from the Smithsonian Sea-Floor Glass Collection. The majority of these samples run along the Reykjanes Ridge just south of Iceland. These samples were analyzed for H2O using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. Upon analyzing the results of this method, it was found that H2O increases as Iceland is approached from the South along the Reykjanes Ridge. Similar increases can also be seen in the abundances of K2O and P2O5. This is what was expected since K (potassium), H (hydrogen), and P (phosphorus) are all incompatible elements in basaltic systems. One way to explain this increase in incompatible elements is to argue that there is a lower percent of melting happening beneath Iceland compared to the southern Reykjanes Ridge. However, since Iceland is known to be a very active hot spot, where anomalously large volumes of magma have erupted, the idea of lowering the percent melting to provide an explanation for the abundance of incompatible elements does not make sense. The logical alternative explanation is that the Icelandic hot spot must come from an enriched mantle source, in turn showing that Iceland is indeed not only a hot spot but also a wet spot.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




The delimitation of Viguiera pazensis and V. procumbens (Asteraceae)

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/moore_robinson.jpgAbigail Moore
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah

Harold Robinson, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Botany

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/moore_poster.jpg

The genus Viguiera Kunth in H.B.K. is in the tribe Heliantheae of the family Asteraceae (the sunflower family). It has been credited with more than 150 species native to the New World. Two of these species are V. pazensis Rusby and V. procumbens (Pers.) S.F.Blake, both from the Andes. S. F. Blake, in his 1918 monograph of Viguiera, claimed they were distinct species and gave characters for distinguishing between them. Blake's hypothesis was tested by examining herbarium specimens of both putative species to determine if they represent two species or one variable species. It was concluded that they represent the same species because no characters could be found to distinguish them. Viguiera pazensis was thus synonymized with V. procumbens because V. procumbens is the older name. In addition, Viguiera in its traditional sense is polyphyletic. Therefore, V. procumbens and its relatives will be transferred into the genus Rhysolepis S.F.Blake, whose type they are more closely related to than the type of Viguiera. Viguiera procumbens will become Rhysolepis helianthoides once it has been transferred to Rhysolepis, from an earlier name, Sanvitalia helianthoides L. Rich. in Willd., which was blocked from use in Viguiera.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




A Short Case-Study of Key Issues Surrounding Gender and Economics in Mali as Observed Through the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/palchik_arnoldi.jpgDalia Palchik
Tufts University
Medford, Massachusetts

Mary Jo Arnoldi, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Anthropology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/palchik_poster.jpg

The West African country of Mali has a rich cultural heritage with dynamic artisan and music traditions. In that heritage, the role of women is continually important and often separate from the roles played by the men. This research sought to document Mali's participation in the 37th Annual American Folklife Festival held on the National Mall in Washington, DC and study issues pertaining to women's role in the Diaspora. Research focused on the eight women presenting their regional cuisines in the "Foodways" demonstrations and secondarily on the Diaspora seen through a Malian woman living in the U.S. who was able to translate the Malian languages and culture to the American public. Data were collected through observing, photographing and videotaping demonstrators' and artisans' exhibitions, performances, and free-time. Additionally, interviews were conducted with participants and volunteers. Key issues included women's and Mali's relationship with modernization and with the open market, urbanization, the importance of the woman in the family's economy, cultural and ethnic traditions and identification, dynamics between government and NGO programs for women and girls. In Mali, a country whose cultural heritage is held in high regard by people both in the highest and lowest classes, the Festival was an opportunity not only to inform the American public of its rich culture of today and yesterday, but also an opportunity for its government to make important steps towards the economic improvement of one of the poorest countries in the world. In observing and interacting with the upper-class urban women of the "Foodways" exhibition, parts of their involvement in the Malian economic arena through cuisine and entrepreneurship became apparent.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Planktonic Foraminiferal Turnover and Paleoceanographic Change across the Aptian-Albian Boundary in the Subtropical North Atlantic

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/price_huber.jpgNancy Price
The Richard Stockton College of NJ
Pomona, New Jersey

Dr. Brian Huber, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Paleobiology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/price_poster.jpg

It has been long recognized that the Aptian-Albian boundary in the Cretaceous marks an evolutionarily significant turnover in planktonic foraminiferal assemblages. This turnover, which precedes the deposit of black shales during the Ocean Anoxic Event 1b of the Albian, is best seen in the primarily diagenetically unaltered, pristinely preserved samples from Ocean Drilling Program Site 1049 located in the subtropical North Atlantic. The change in foraminiferal assemblages, which occurs abruptly over a very short stratigraphic interval, is marked by an overall drop in species diversity and is characterized by a loss of the large-sized species bearing pore mound wall texture in favor of smaller smooth-walled species. Stable isotope values were used as to infer and compare, for the first time, relative depth ecologies of species from across the Aptian-Albian boundary, as well as, to make conclusions about paleoceanographic change. Oxygen isotope values in the late Aptian indicate that the mixed surface waters were cool, or highly saline, with a slight cooling just prior to the boundary. This, however, was followed by an abrupt -2.0‰ shift to more negative oxygen isotope values that coincides with the boundary indicating a warming trend that marks the onset of OAE 1b. In addition, a -2.0‰ shift in carbon isotope values at the base of OAE 1b directly coincides with the extinction of Ticinella bejaouaensis and other larger planktonic species, an event that defines the stratigraphic location of the Aptian-Albian boundary at 145.26 mbsf. The simultaneous and abrupt changes of both the planktonic foraminiferal assemblages and the stable isotope values in conjunction with the onset of Ocean Anoxic Event 1b at the Aptian-Albian boundary indicate that changes associated with that event had a profound effect on the climate, oceanography, and biota of North American oceans. Further study of this interval is required, however, to make any conclusions about a definable cause for the faunal turnover at the Aptian-Albian boundary.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Early Human Stone Tools at Olorgesailie, Kenya

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/royer_potts.jpgDanielle Royer
University of Toronto
Toronto, CANADA

Dr. Richard Potts, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Anthropology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/royer_poster.jpg

Our ancestors have been making stone tools for over two million years. At Olorgesailie, located in the Rift Valley of Kenya, in Eastern Africa, paleoanthropologists have excavated over 20,000 stone tools that are nearly one million years old. From these pieces of stones modified into useful tools, paleoanthropologists can decipher clues about the behavior and activity patterns of early humans across an ancient landscape. In this research project, some of the questions we sought to answer include 1) did early humans use the entire landscape equally and in the same way, 2) did early humans know that different stones made tools of different quality, and 3) did early humans use particular types of stones to make tools for specific activities. By mapping the location of all excavated areas and the location of each source of stone raw material within the Olorgesailie basin, we were able to measure the distance between the place where a tool was made and used, and the place where that stone originally came from. This allowed us to observe some interesting patterns that give us insight into early human behavior. At Olorgesailie, it appears that early humans were quite selective about where to make stone tools and where to use them: stone tools are not distributed equally across the landscape, but instead they form clusters. Our research also demonstrates that early humans knew the value of good stone raw material, seeking out high quality stone from sources further away, while nearly ignoring lower quality stones closer to them. Furthermore, some areas of the ancient landscape have a high frequency of tools made from a particular type of stone raw material. This may indicate that early humans were engaging in specific activities requiring the use of tools of a particular type. This project is part of on-going research at Olorgesailie.

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Human Origins Initiative (Award Number BCS-021851) and the Bill and Jean Lane Internship Endowment.




Musicianship in Modern Mali: social and political influences

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/thomas_arnoldi.jpgToccarra Thomas
Smith College
Northampton, Massachusetts

Mary Jo Arnoldi, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Anthropology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/thomas_poster.jpg

In 1960, the West African country of Mali gained independence from French colonial rule. The new socialist government of President Modibo Keita invested heavily in young people's participation in music and theater as an important arena for creating a new modern society. Modernizing the society involved honoring pre-colonial history and cultural heritage as authentically Malian, while simultaneously deconstructing and undercutting certain traditional practices such as the gerontocracy and the caste system. Mali's traditional musical landscape, once heavily shaped by caste rules, was redefined. During government-sponsored festivals, young people from every caste were offered the opportunity to become musical performers. This research focused on field investigations at the 37th Annual Folklife Festival held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and analyzed the ways that three contemporary music groups speak about the authenticity of their music, and the ways that each group consciously places themselves on a continuum between "tradition and modernity". The research sought to place the groups/singers along a continuum between tradition and modernity within Malian social structure. Investigation concentrated on interviews with three singers/groups: Neba Solo, Tartit, and Miriam Bagayoko. Data gathered included biographies, attitudes towards their music, notion of different audiences and performances contexts, and their aspirations as musicians.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, Award Number DBI-0243512.




Southwest Ethnographic Research Project: Picking Out the Pueblos, A Documentation Investigation

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/bollwerk_arbolino.jpgElizabeth Bollwerk
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana

Risa Arbolino, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Anthropology
Repatriation Office

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/bollwerk_poster.jpg

The Repatriation Office of the National Museum of Natural History was established in 1991 to carry out the repatriation provisions of the National Museum of the American Indian Act (NMAI Act) which was passed by Congress in 1989. This act required that the Smithsonian inventory, document, and if requested, repatriate (or return) culturally affiliated human remains and funerary objects to Native groups. Although the Smithsonian has fulfilled this requirement, various ethnographical and archaeological collections are in need of more thorough investigation. The General Pueblo collection is an example. The Pueblo region consisted of an area occupied by approximately twenty-eight different Native American tribes spread out across Arizona and New Mexico. Yet all of these villages are distinctive cultural groups beliefs and traditions that have been passed down through generations, and remain very much alive in the present day. Consequently, having these items lumped in one category would make the repatriation process extremely difficult. Therefore, it was necessary to conduct an in-depth study to ascertain whether there was any evidence available to prove what village each object had originated in. It was decided that the best way to search for this information was to investigate the many forms of documentation that accompanied the objects as they become part of the museum collection. These documents were from a range of sources and sometimes but not always included data about who collected the object, where and when it was collected, and what the object was used for. This investigation included 1) going to the MSC (Museum Support Center, where all the collections are housed) and looking at each object, noting what was written on the tag and the object itself 2) checking this information against the original ledger books 3) completing another check against the original card catalogue and 4) examining Accession Files to find any information on donors or the cultural background of the objects. After all of this information had been gathered, it was entered into a database and compared to see whether it a) agreed and b) provided enough evidence to discern which Pueblo the object had come from. Although the search failed to discover any new evidence for some objects, in many cases the records held information that demonstrated which village certain objects had come from. In light of this new information it will be recommended that these items be added to the collections from specific Pueblos that already exist, and that the records associated with them be updated. The findings of this investigation will be recorded in a report that will be kept on file in the Repatriation Office as a reference for future Native American tribes and researchers who are interested in the collection.

This research was supported by a grant from the University of Notre Dame NMNH Internship Program in Anthropology.




CSI Sheep: Skeletal Reconstruction and Demographic Analysis

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/gregoricka_zeder.jpgLesley Gregoricka
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana

Melinda Zeder, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Anthropology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/gregoricka_poster.jpg

Last Spring, a mysterious box of animal bones was discovered in a dark corner of the attic at the National Museum of Natural History. Containing mostly sheep remains, the box proved most puzzling, as no written documentation of who collected the sample, where it was collected, or when it was collected exists. This research focused on three important aspects: investigating the origins of the box, reconstructing the individual sheep, and analyzing the demography of the mystery population. First, packing materials found with the bones provided helpful evidence in determining the origins of this mystery. Rocks, ceramics, insects, plants, and a tin all contributed critical information, as interpreting these clues adds to the story the bones tell. The rocks and insects proved too universal to isolate any exact location. The ceramic pieces appeared to be irrigation tiles buried in a farm field, giving an interesting glimpse at the details in which the animals were buried but not disclosing any specific localities. An unusual plant pod assisted in pinpointing where the box came from; found in tropical climates, the pod grows only in Africa and Asia. A British fruitcake tin also assisted in unraveling the mystery, providing a time range of 1870-1940s. Secondly, in reconstructing the sheep skeletons, the various stages of long bone fusion were used to age the individuals, enabling the bones to be organized, matched into pairs, and eventually assembled into individuals. Examining tooth eruption and wear patterns offered valuable age statistics as well, providing age curves that express survivorship and mortality rates. From this data, the demography of the mystery box's population is revealed. In a normal, managed (domestic) herd providing meat and milk, as sheep age, there are proportionally less older individuals; in other words, more sheep die or are culled as they get older, so a small population of older adults with a large population of newborns is to be expected. However, an unusual number of newborns and older adults dominate the demography of the box, suggesting that a catastrophic, mass die-off occurred, selectively picking off the weakest members of the population. Naturally, the very young and the very old would be much more susceptible to disease or an early winter than the stronger, young population. Also, the sheep appear to have been buried in order to deflesh the bones, suggesting this was no cumulative butchery scheme but a single catastrophic incident. Adding to this argument is the lack of butchery marks on the bones, indicating that the sheep were not killed for food. Consequently, the composition of the boxed individuals suggests the representation of the weaker portion of a population, caused by some sort of natural disaster, and not a complete herd or mass slaughter.

This research was supported by a grant from the University of Notre Dame NMNH Internship Program in Anthropology.




Genetic Variation Between Two Species of Magnolia Using Chloroplast Gene Spacer Sequences

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/marchizza_zimmer.jpgMichael Marchizza
Largo High School
Largo, Maryland

Elizabeth Zimmer, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Botany

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/marchizza_poster.jpg

The plant family known as the Magnoliaceae includes woody trees and shrubs comprising 12 genera and about 220 species. There are about 75 species in the Magnolia genus. Eight of these are native to North America. Some of these species were introduced to England in the 18th century for ornamental purposes. Many of the natural and heritage cultivars are still maintained both here and in England. This research investigates the genetic diversity in these cultivars. Though the word Magnolia has come to be associated with the Southern United States, there are some species of Magnolia that thrive throughout the Eastern United States. Two of the native American species, Magnolia virginiana (sweet bay magnolia) and Magnolia grandiflora (bull bay or Southern magnolia) were used for an initial investigation into genetic variation both within each species and between the two species by comparing a region of chloroplast DNA. The sweet bay magnolia is a graceful evergreen (southern habitats) to semi-evergreen (northern habitats) that performs well in a wide range of soil conditions from wet to slightly dry. It often grows as a multi trunked clump. Because of its form and fragrant ivory lemon-scented flowers it is often used in landscaping. Southern magnolia is a large, broad-leafed evergreen that typically has a straight and erect trunk with spreading branches. Its large, white flowers make it ideal as a landscape tree. In this study, leaf tissue was collected from two individuals of each species. The DNA was then extracted and isolated. A set of primers was used for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) in order to amplify, or copy, the chloroplast regions under study. The amplified regions were then sequenced to compare the genetic variation of the individuals. Eventually, additional specimens from all over the Eastern United States will be collected and compared in order to produce phylogenetic relationships. Other primers will be used to look at other regions of the chloroplast DNA and also nuclear ribosomal DNA.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Teachers Award Number DBI-0243512, Supplement #1.




Ecology and biodiversity of the Montastraea "annularis" reef corals species complex

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/rountree_pandolfi.jpgClemontene Rountree
Alice Deal Junior High School
Washington, D.C.

John Pandolfi, Ph.D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Paleobiology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/rountree_poster.jpg

The reef coral know to scientists as Montastraea "annularis" has long held the interest of coral reef ecologists because it is one of the most dominant corals of Caribbean reefs. Recent discoveries have led investigators to conclude that modern Montastraea "annularis," long thought to represent one species, consists of a complex of three different species. Although these three species can be distinguished by growth form, traditional measurements of internal structures used to differentiate M. "annularis" from other corals do not distinguish these three species from each other. Measurements of less commonly used internal structures were measured on collected specimens to determine if they vary among the three species. Finding internal structures that can be used in identifying these species is important to ecologists and paleontologists who may not have samples that display growth form. Additional data must be collected before conclusions can be drawn regarding the non-traditional measurements. In addition, transect data of species distribution across the reef was analyzed to quantify their ecological distribution. These data show a significant difference in the water depth preference of each species. M. faveolata favors shallower depths, M. franksi deeper depths and M. annularis s.s. mid depths. Understanding of the differences among species and their distribution is important for evaluation of ecosystem health and to understand the loss of biodiversity plaguing our world today.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Teachers Award Number DBI-0243512, Supplement #1.




Databasing moth genitalia facts

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/patino_solis.jpgSebastian Patino
Lubbock High School
Lubbock, Texas

Alma Solis, Ph. D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Entomology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/patino_poster.jpg

Databasing of scientific facts makes it easier for scientists to find and share information. On-line access is simple and fast; it can be done from anywhere in the world. The subjects of this databasing project are the snout moths (Family Crambidae). Specimens were collected from many countries around the world and catalogued into the Smithsonian collections. Microscope slides were made of the moth genitalia after they were dissected to determine their identity. All facts relating to the moths were written in a notebook. These facts include the family, subfamily, genus and species of the moth; the slide number; the sex of the moth; and the locality where the specimen was found. The tools used in this research include a data notebook and computer. Handwritten information from the notebook was entered into an electronic database using File Maker Pro. The entries generated will be available worldwide to any scientist or anyone else who wishes to have information about the U.S. National collection of snout moths.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Assistantships for Minority High School Students Award Number DBI-0243512, Supplement #1




Theoretical Documentation of Pretty Eagle

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/whiteclay_lippert.jpgNicole Whiteclay
Yorktown High School
Crow Agency, Montana

Dorothy Lippert, Ph. D.
Supervising Scientist
Department of Anthropology

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/whiteclay_poster.jpg

Pretty Eagle (1840-1903) was a principal chief of the Crows. Following his death, Pretty Eagle's body was placed in a wagon about sixteen miles south of Hardin, Montana. Several years later, his body was sold to the Museum of Natural History in New York City. In 1994, the museum repatriated Pretty Eagle's remains to the Crows. This is my theoretical review of the documentation of Pretty Eagle. To determine tribal affiliation, examination of the skull is recommended. Since Pretty Eagle was Crow, and skull shape differs from one population to the next, measurements would be taken of the skull with a digitizer. Comparing this data to measurements of other skulls would find similarities between people and groups, such as facial features. I believe in the importance of studying human remains and explaining what kind of information can be gained from such studies. The methods used in these studies benefit not only Native American tribes, but also other researchers.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Assistantships for Minority High School Students Award Number DBI-0243512, Supplement #1




Smithsonian Outreach: Science Resources for Teachers

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/images/limthompson_sangrey.jpgSoo-Yin Lim-Thompson
University of Minnesota, Crookston
Crookston, Minnesota

Mary Sangrey
Sponsoring Staff

http://www.nmnh.si.edu/rtp/students/2003/virtualposters/images/limthompson_poster.jpg

The Smithsonian has an international reputation for science excellence and is a target destination for visitors to the Washington, DC area. The educational potential for such an institution, both on-site and through distance outreach is almost unsurpassed. A Research Opportunities Award was granted to provide an opportunity to conduct a survey of the education resources and activities for K -12 science (Life and Earth Science) curriculum that are available through the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian Institution encompasses sixteen museums and galleries. For this survey, five museums were selected to identify and gather educational resources, materials and services pertaining to the life and earth sciences.

The survey revealed that education resources and materials for educators are disseminated in a variety of ways and can be divided into two broad categories: a) "Inside" museum resources, and b) "outside" museum resources. "Inside" museum resources are services provided for schools to visit the site. This is effective for schools that are within travel distance and able to tailor their field trips to specific content introduced in the classroom. "Outside" museum resources are services intended for schools both within travel distance and distant communities. The majority of the resources and services available are designed for the early and middle grades (Pre-K to 8). There are very limited resources for the high school grades that can be integrated into their science curriculum, in particular, the biological sciences. The preliminary recommendation is that additional educational materials and opportunities need to be developed to facilitate linking Smithsonian science to high school students and their science curriculum.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Research Assistanceships for Minority High School Students Award Number DBI-0243512, Supplement #1.

[ TOP ]