Theses and Dissertations at Montana State University (MSU)

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    Risk mitigation focused on surgical care using process improvement methodologies in rural health systems
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering, 2023) Sitar, Nejc; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Bernadette J. McCrory; This is a manuscript style paper that includes co-authored chapters.
    Rural healthcare is represented by approximately one-third of community hospitals in the United States primarily in the Midwest and Western United States. Due to the lack of resources and the demographic characteristics of rural populations, rural community hospitals are under constant pressure to meet Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) quality requirements. Meeting CMS quality requirements is particularly challenging in surgical care, due to the lower volumes and research opportunities, in addition to a shortage of qualified surgical specialists. The perioperative surgical home (PSH) model was established as a health management concept in a rural community hospital located in the Northwest of the United States to improve the quality of care by providing a longitudinal approach to patient treatment. The main opportunities for PSH improvement were identified in the "decision for surgery," "preoperative," and "postoperative" stages of the PSH model. To improve PSH clinic performance this thesis proposes an improved National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) calculator User Interface (UI), as well as a new prediction model for predicting total joint arthroplasty (TJA) Length of Stay (LOS). The improved layout of the NSQIP calculator was developed based on two approved surveys by card sorting and Borda count methodology, while the new prediction model for predicting TJA patients' LOS was based on the Decision Tree (DT) machine learning model. A usability study of the NSQIP calculator UI identified opportunities for future improvements, such as the reorganized layout of postoperative complications and the addition of a supporting tool that would clearly define postoperative complications. The new DT prediction model outperformed a currently used NSQIP calculator in the prediction accuracy of TJA LOS, as it resulted in lower Root-mean-Square-Error values. Furthermore, the structure of the DT model allowed better interpretability of the decision-making process compared to the NSQIP calculator, which increased the trust and reliability of the calculated prediction. Despite some limitations such as a small sample size, this study provided valuable information for future improvements in rural healthcare, that would enable Rural Community Hospitals to better predict future outcomes and meet the strict CMS quality standard.
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    Broken-symmetry phases of matter and their effects on electronic and magnetic properties
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2023) Peterson, Sean Fahlman; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Yves U. Idzerda; This is a manuscript style paper that includes co-authored chapters.
    Physical symmetries inherent to a material are often reflected in its electronic and magnetic properties. The in-plane four-fold rotational symmetry of thin-film ferromagnets inherent to their tetragonal lattice is also exhibited by their cubic anisotropy. The magnetization as a function of applied magnetic field can be calculated via the Stoner- Wohlfarth model. These calculated hysteresis loops were fit to measured hysteresis loops to determine anisotropy constants consistent with known values. An electronic nematic state reduces the in-plane four-fold rotational symmetry of materials by inducing a structural transition from tetragonal to orthorhombic/monoclinic, with two-fold symmetry. This reduced symmetry persists in the electronic thermal transport. Nematicity enhances nearest-neighbor hopping along one axis and reduces it along the other. This results in a deformed Fermi surface compressed (elongated) along the axis of stronger (weaker) electron hopping. This drags van Hove singularities through the Fermi level, affecting quasiparticle lifetimes. Calculating conductivity from the Boltzmann kinetic equation, nematicity enhances thermal transport along one axis and diminishes it along the other. Additionally, s-wave superconductivity coexisting with nematicity creates a feedback on the superconducting gap with a d-wave instability, which can lead to gapless excitations. In the case of weak feedback, nematic superconductors behave like fully-gapped superconductors along both axes, where transport decreases exponentially with temperature. Once gapless excitations form, transport along both axes becomes T -linear at low-T . Similarly, striped antiferromagnetism (AFM2 and AFM3) reduces the rotational symmetry of a square unit cell to a larger two-fold symmetric magnetic cell. Modeling the band structure with a tight- binding model and considering a smaller periodicity in momentum-space, gaps the Fermi surface along one axis. Calculating conductivity reveals diminished transport along one axis and enhanced thermal transport along the other. Considering d-wave superconductivity in this model results in two cases. One has highly anisotropic transport with greatly enhanced T -linear transport along one axis and diminished transport decreasing exponentially with temperature along the other. The second has weakly anisotropic transport with diminished T -linear conductivity along both axes. The symmetry of a material's properties, such as magnetic anisotropy and thermal transport, are intrinsically linked to their crystalline, electronic, and magnetic symmetries.
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    Thermalization and exciton localization in 2D semiconductors
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2023) Strasbourg, Matthew Christopher; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Nick Borys; This is a manuscript style paper that includes co-authored chapters.
    2D semiconductors are a promising class of materials to investigate for applications in the next generation of photonic devices. They can be used to generate quantum light and also exhibit correlated many-body phenomena. Many of the novel optoelectronic properties of 2D semiconductors are associated with strongly-bound hydrogen-like states known as excitons. Excitons in 2D semiconductors have binding energies on the order of 100s of meV and are stable at room temperature. At low temperatures, higher-order excitonic states such as charged excitons and biexcitons--multiple-bound excitons that are like hydrogen molecules-- and localized excitons that emit quantum light are also observed. Whether excited optically or electronically, a diversity of high-energy excitons and free carriers are produced directly after excitation. The relaxation and thermalization of these initial states influence the formation of excitons, biexcitons, and localized excitons. Here, I present work that (i) investigates the thermalization of excited states in a prototypical 2D semiconductor, monolayer (1L-) WSe2, and reports the discovery that the generation of charged biexcitons is enhanced with increasing photoexcitation energy, (ii) shows the emergence of quantum emitters (QEs) in a new 2D QE platform: 1L-WSe2 nanowrinkle arrays induced by Au nano stressors, and (iii) uses a novel method to classify the excited-state dynamics of 2D QEs and differentiate emitter populations. A suite of low-temperature energy- and time- resolved optical spectroscopies are used to conduct this work. This work shows how excited state thermalization affects the formation of exciton and biexcitons and investigates the optical properties of an emergent class of 2D quantum light emitters.
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    Reconstructing large herbivore abundance and environmental interactions in postglacial North America
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2023) Wendt IV, John Arthur Frederic; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: David B. McWethy; This is a manuscript style paper that includes co-authored chapters.
    Large herbivores drive critical ecological processes, yet their long-term dynamics and effects are poorly understood due to the limitations of existing paleoherbivore proxies. To address these shortcomings, long-term records of paleoherbivores were constructed by (i) applying new analytical techniques to existing bison fossil datasets; and (ii) examining fecal steroid data that characterize temporal changes in ungulate abundance and community composition. These paleoherbivore reconstructions were analyzed in relation to their environmental contexts to better understand herbivore-ecosystem interactions through time in three separate studies: First, spatiotemporal changes in postglacial bison distribution and abundance in North America were examined by summarizing fossil bison observations. Bison observations were compared with simulated climate variables in a distribution modeling framework to project probable bison distributions in 1000-year intervals from the Last Glacial Maximum to present in light of changing climatic drivers over time. Since the Bolling-Allerod Interstadial (14.7-12.9 ka) the geographic distribution of bison is primarily explained by seasonal temperature patterns. Second, Holocene records of bison abundance were compared to paleofire reconstructions spanning the midcontinental moisture gradient to determine the relative dominance of herbivores and fire as biomass consumers. Bison dominated biomass consumption in dry settings whereas fire dominated consumption in wetter environments. Historical distributions of herbivory and burning resemble those of Sub-Saharan Africa, suggesting a degree of generality in the feedbacks and interactions that regulate long-term consumer dynamics. Third, the utility of fecal steroids in lake sediments for reconstructing past herbivore abundance and identity was tested by (i) characterizing the fecal steroid signatures of key North American ungulates, (ii) comparing these signatures with multiproxy data preserved in lake sediments from the Yellowstone Northern Range, and (iii) comparing influxes of fecal steroids over time to historical records of ungulate biomass and use. Bison and/or elk were abundant at Buffalo Ford Lake over the past c. 2300 years. Ungulate densities in the watershed were highest in the early 20 th century and likely contributed to decreases in forage taxa and possibly increased lake production. These results demonstrate long-term ecological impacts of herbivores and highlight opportunities for continued development of paleoherbivore proxies.
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    Reimagining John Dewey for the 21st century: the art of living - praxis for social utility and wellbeing
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2023) Munson, Jesine Lynn; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Melissa Ragain
    The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the rich parallels and connections between John Dewey's pragmatic theories involving aesthetics, education, and experience and the aspects of the Compassion Project that center upon participant's physical and imaginative engagement in the experience of creating an artifact expressive of their thoughts and feelings. As human beings inhabit the world, we participate in shared universes of meaning and value that have been realized through human activity. This transformation of the powers of nature into expressive media, or an "artifact", gives shape and significance to human life. Art, in other words, is nothing more than the quest for concretely embodied meaning and value in human existence. Embodied aesthetic experience fluidly incorporates thinking, feeling, and making which produces experiences of the most meaningful sort. This research realizes the importance of this type of mindful, creative, compassionate engagement in developing resilient communities for the Twenty-First Century. By reimagining John Dewey's ideas, I examine the importance of aesthetic experience for our everyday lives as a means for communication and unity across diverse perspectives. The artifact is iconic of that nexus of dynamical change and emblematic of Dewey's theories as they find expression in the Compassion Project. It is a retrofitting of theory to practice. In the process, both Dewey's theories and the Compassion Project's practices may be better illuminated. As this research has progressed, the notion of artifact creation has advanced into the idea of habit formation within ourselves, our actual bodies and minds becoming the artifact of our making, applying pragmatic intelligence as the art of living.
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    Comparing juvenile physiology and morphology of two high-elevation pines, Pinus albicaulis and Pinus balfouriana
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2023) Sparks, Katherine Elizabeth; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Danielle Ulrich
    Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis, PIAL) and foxtail pine (P. balfouriana, PIBA) are slow-growing, high-elevation, five needled ("high five") white pines and are foundation and keystone species in alpine and subalpine environments, providing essential resources and habitat for many species including the Clark's nutcracker and grizzly bears. In recent years, PIAL has experienced significant decline due to an amalgamation of climate change, white pine blister rust, and mountain pine beetle. As a result, PIAL is listed as endangered under the Canadian Species at Risk Act and threatened under the United States Endangered Species Act. Conversely, PIBA has experienced minimal decline. PIBA also exists in two disjunct populations, one in southern California (PIBAS) and one in northern California (PIBA N), resulting in the species being split into two sub-species (P. balfouriana subsp. austrina and balfouriana). Our study compared the physiology and morphology of the two species (PIAL and PIBA) and the two foxtail populations (PIBA N and PIBAS) to better understand how they interact with and respond to abiotic and biotic stressors in their high-elevation environments. We grew four-year-old PIAL and PIBA juveniles in a common greenhouse environment. In total, we measured 159 traits describing their morphology, biomass, stomata, xylem, budburst phenology, physiology, whole plant Volatile Organic Compounds (wpVOCs), phloem volatile resin (PVR) compounds, and Non-Structural Carbohydrates (NSCs). We found that PIAL and PIBA displayed different suites of traits that enable them to persist in their high elevation habitats, characterized by similar abiotic stressors (cold temperatures, high winds, summer drought) and biotic stressors (white pine blister rust, bark beetle). The two foxtail populations were similar for most traits except for wpVOC concentration and composition where PIBAS had significantly higher wpVOC concentration than PIBA N. For most traits, PIAL was most similar to PIBA N and differed the most with PIBAS while PIBA N was the intermediate being more similar to both groups, especially in wpVOC composition and concentration.
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    Numerical simulation of rock ramp fishway for small-bodied Great Plains fishes
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering, 2023) Ufelle, Cindy Chidumebi; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Kathryn Plymesser
    The preservation and restoration of fish populations and their habitats have become significant aspects of environmental conservation efforts. Effectiveness of fish passage structures plays a crucial role in facilitating the successful migration of various fish species. This research focused on utilizing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models to assess the hydraulic conditions within a rock ramp fishway with varying slopes and flow rates for small-bodied Great Plains fishes. This work built upon a previous study conducted by Swarr (2018) to investigate the passage success rates of three small-bodied fish of the Great Plains of North America: Flathead Chub (Platygobio gracilis), Arkansas Darter (Etheostoma cragini), and Stonecat (Noturus flavus) within a full-scale laboratory rock ramp fishway. Using commercial software, Flow-3D Hydro, CFD models were developed to simulate and predict hydraulic parameters such as flow depths, velocities, and turbulence kinetic energies (TKEs) within the fishway. To validate the accuracy of the CFD models, predicted flow depths and velocities were compared with observed data for two slopes: 2% and 10%. The CFD model results indicated that increasing slopes and flow rates led to corresponding increases in the mean values of the studied parameters. The mean depth varied from 0.051 m on the 2% slope to 0.068 m on the 10% slope. The mean velocity increased from 0.272 m/s on the mildest slope to 1.003 m/s on the steepest slope. Additionally, the average TKE ranged from 0.003 J/kg on the 2% slope to 0.014 J/kg on the 10% slope. The study highlighted that higher velocity and TKE values at steeper slopes may have contributed to the poor upstream passage rate, particularly for weaker swimmer species, like the Arkansas Darter, at slopes greater than 4%, as observed in the physical model study. Findings demonstrated that the presence of rocks in the fishway created diverse flow conditions. Low-velocity zones observed behind rocks within the fishway may provide favorable conditions for successful fish ascent. This research showcases the capabilities of CFD in providing quantitative data for optimizing fish passage structure design and contributing to conservation efforts.
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    Firescapes and the birth of a genre: an environmental and literary history of 1910
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2023) Wood, Amelia Anne; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Mark Fiege
    This thesis discusses the unique interplay of the historic fires occurring in Montana and Idaho in the summer of 1910, the prominent ideologies of the American West and the Conservation Movement at the time, and the life and work of contemporary Idaho author, Edward Elmer Smith. The purpose and driving question behind this study is to examine the various means by which a communal environmental consciousness is culturally produced. In addressing this question, the fires of 1910 serve as a useful case study. By exploring the mutual influences of the 1910 fires (an environmental event), the ideologies of the time (the prevailing culture), and the content of Smith's popular science fiction trilogy, The Skylark, (a tangible vessel by which one culture is carried into and made part of a future culture), we can begin to see how communal environmental ideas and ethics are birthed and carried into new generations. This thesis argues that Smith, residing in Idaho during the fires, allows dominate ideas of fire, wilderness, frontiers, masculinity, and more, to shape the characters and plot of his fiction. In this manner, the trilogy should be understood as an example of literature shaped by an environmental event--in this case fire, and subsequently as a powerful tool used to shape an aspect of an on- going communal environmental consciousness as his works grew in popularity.
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    Use of geothermal bridge deck deicing systems to mitigate concrete deterioration in Montana
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering, 2023) Turner, Ethan Joseph; Co-chairs, Graduate Committee: Kirsten Matteson and Mohammad Khosravi
    Reinforced concrete bridge decks face deterioration from thermal stresses, frost action, and early-age cracking. This thesis presents experimental testing and numerical simulations on a bridge deck deicing system's ability to mitigate concrete deterioration. Two experimental bridge deck models were constructed with embedded heat exchanger tubing and instrumented with thermocouples and strain gauges. The models were tested in a cold chamber laboratory under conditions representative of Montana winter weather. The experimental results suggested that a bridge deck deicing system with an inlet temperature of 8 °C shows promise in deicing, reducing thermal movements, and mitigating early-age cracking through thermal shrinkage. The temperature and strain results of the experiment were used to validate a numerical model constructed in COMSOL Multiphysics. Inlet fluid temperatures of 10 °C and 50 °C, chosen from common ground temperatures in Montana, were tested to evaluate the system's effect on frost action and thermal stresses. With a 10 °C inlet fluid temperature, the system showed promise in deicing and mitigating concrete deterioration. While the system did not always raise the surface temperature above 0 °C, the consistent increase in temperature suggested that under certain weather conditions, the system could keep the top surface temperature above 0 °C for a longer period than with no system. The system was also successful in reducing the range of strain due to thermal movements. The system was not able to mitigate the effects of frost action or temperature gradients. The temperature gradients induced by the system were at times worse than without the system, but the difference was insignificant. With a 50 °C fluid temperature, the system was more effective in deicing and mitigating frost action. The range of strain from thermal movements was also reduced more than with a 10 °C inlet fluid temperature. The thermal gradients, however, were at times slightly greater than design gradients provided by design specifications. The excessive gradients, however, only occurred during extreme weather conditions that are less common in Montana. While not perfect, geothermal bridge deck deicing systems show promise for mitigating some mechanisms of concrete deterioration, while keeping other mechanisms within allowable limits.
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    Climate change at the air-water interface affects giant salmonfly (Pteronarcys californica) emergence timing and adult lifespan
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2023) Roche, Alzada Lois; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Lindsey K. Albertson
    Aquatic invertebrates experience complex temperature regimes throughout their life history, especially during the vulnerable life stage transition from aquatic to terrestrial habitats. When climate warming interacts with snowmelt in high elevation systems, it creates a novel set of conditions in which spring water temperatures remain within a narrow range from year-to-year while summer water and air temperatures rise. Giant salmonflies (Pteronarcys californica) depend on spring water temperature cues to time their large, synchronous emergence in early summer, but it is unknown how variable temperatures after this springtime cue affect life-history traits. We experimentally tested how changes in temperature in the 6 weeks before and after emergence affect emergence timing, emergence success, and adult lifespans. We found that the timing of emergence was 2.8 days earlier with each degree of warming during the weeks preceding emergence. However, there was no evidence that emergence success was affected by higher water temperature within our test temperature range (13-23°C). In the terrestrial adult stage, adult lifespans were shortened by increased air temperatures, especially when water temperatures during the aquatic juvenile stage had also been increased. The predicted lifespan was almost five times longer at the coldest air and water temperature combination than at the warmest (28 vs. 6 days). The shortest lifespans observed (3 days) are not likely to prevent successful reproduction, given that salmonflies can mate and oviposit within days of emergence. Still, because salmonflies can oviposit repeatedly for up to 80% of their lifespan, shortened lifespans may reduce total egg production and thus fitness. Our results indicate that rising water and air temperatures will impact not only the life history of the insects, but also the organisms in the riparian zone that rely on salmonfly emergence by altering the timing, magnitude, and duration of the nutrients provided by these large-bodied aquatic insects.
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    Data-driven approaches for distribution grid modernization: exploring state estimaion, pseudo-measurement generation and false data detection
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering, 2023) Radhoush, Sepideh; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Brad Whitaker
    Distribution networks must be regularly updated to enhance their performance and meet customer electricity requirements. Advanced technologies and infrastructure--including two- way communication, smart measuring devices, distributed generations in various forms, electric vehicles, variable loads, etc.--have been added to improve the overall efficiency of distribution networks. Corresponding to these new features and structures, the continuous control and monitoring of distribution networks should be intensified to keep track of any modifications to the distribution network performance. Distribution system state estimation has been introduced for real-time monitoring of distribution networks. State estimation calculations are highly dependent on measurement data which are collected from measurement devices in distribution networks. However, the installation of measurement devices is not possible at all buses to ensure the distribution network is fully observable. To address the lack of real measurements, pseudo- measurements are produced from historical load and generation data. Available measurements, along with physical distribution network topology, are fed into a state estimation algorithm to determine system state variables. Then, state estimation results are sent to a control center for further processing to enhance distribution network operation. However, the accuracy of state estimation results could be degraded by false data injection attacks on measurement data. If these attacks are not detected, distribution network operation could be significantly influenced. Different methods have been developed to enhance a distribution network operation and management. Machine learning approaches have also been identified to be beneficial in solving different types of problems in a power grid. In this dissertation, machine learning is applied to three areas of distribution systems: generating pseudo-measurements, performing distribution system state estimation calculations, and detecting false data injection attacks on measurement data. In addition to addressing these areas individually, machine learning is used to simultaneously perform distribution system state estimation calculation and false data injection attack detection. This is done by taking advantage of conventional and smart measurement data at different time scales. The results reveal that the operation and performance of a distribution network are improved using machine learning algorithms, leading to more effective power grid modernization.
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    Biochemical, physiological, and genetic investigations of multiple herbicide resistant Avena fatua L.
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Agriculture, 2023) Wright, Lucas Arlin; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: William Dyer; Barbara K. Keith (co-chair)
    Intense herbicide usage has led to the evolution of herbicide resistant weeds, which threaten food production and security. The multiple herbicide resistant (MHR) Avena fatua (wild oat) lines investigated here are resistant to all members of selective herbicide families available for A. fatua control. The research in this thesis is designed to help understand some of the ecological, biochemical, and genetic aspects of MHR. First, MHR lines with elevated volatile organic compound (VOC) levels and herbicide susceptible lines were used to compare the feeding behavior of Spodoptera exigua (beet armyworm), and potential role of VOCs to mitigate herbicide injury. Results for feeding behavior were mixed, possibly being influenced by environmental and genetic changes more than VOCs. Exposing VOCs to A. fatua lines found that linalool reduced flucarbazone injury of HS plants, while a combined VOC treatment generally increased herbicide injury. MHR responded differently than HS plants to some treatments, suggesting that MHR has fundamental VOC perception alterations. Other studies compared plant pigments and energy management capabilities and showed that MHR lines had higher beta-carotene and chlorophyll b concentrations, as well as enhanced photosynthetic and excess energy management capabilities in MHR lines. Finally, two populations of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) were phenotyped for herbicide resistance and used to discover several quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with resistance. Overall, this work contributes to our understanding of MHR and will lay the groundwork for future studies.
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    When and where does irrigation water originate? Leveraging stable water isotopes and synthetic aperture radar to assess the complex hydrology of a snow-dominated catchment in southwestern Montana
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2023) Rickenbaugh, Eliza Apple; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Eric A. Sproles; This is a manuscript style paper that includes co-authored chapters.
    Many agricultural regions around the world rely on water stored in mountainous snowpacks for irrigation supply. Consequently, our current and future ability to produce food is threatened by more frequent, severe, and extended snow droughts. As these snow droughts intensify, water resource managers will need more efficient and accurate methods to characterize the snowmelt cycle and forecast water availability. Focusing on a montane headwater catchment in Southwestern Montana (423 km 2 in area, between 1465 m to 3270 m in elevation), we integrate in-situ and remotely sensed data to assess the relative contributions of groundwater and the current season's snowmelt to irrigation supply for water year (WY, Oct 1 - Sep 30) 2023. To understand the period over which snow contributes to stream water in this catchment, we analyze backscatter data from Sentinel-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). This provides approximate dates of snowmelt runoff onset at 10 m resolution every twelve days. We find that the median date of snowmelt runoff onset in WY 2023 in this catchment was April 20, six days later than the 7-year median date of snowmelt runoff onset. To assess relative contributions to streamflow we compare stable water isotope ratios (deltaH2 and deltaO18) from biweekly samples of stream water at low elevations against monthly samples of snow and groundwater. Samples range in elevation from 1,475 m to 2,555 m. We find that stream water below the highest diversion point is predominantly composed of groundwater. Results demonstrate alignment between two disparate approaches for estimating temporal trends in snowpack contribution to stream flow. While our work focuses on a catchment in Montana, the efforts and approaches used are potentially applicable globally for agricultural regions that rely on snowmelt for irrigation.
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    Sowing the seeds of love: a look into non-conventional science documentary with a focus on audience entertainment
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture, 2023) Young, Riley Ilyse; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Cindy Stillwell
    This paper explores the makings of the film Sowing the Seeds of Love and the stylistic choices made to produce a science documentary film focusing on audience entertainment. Sowing the Seeds of Love, a three-part short film starring an animal and a celebrity for each section bringing attention to the non-heteronormative mating behaviors of each animal species. The entire film is shot on 16mm film and uses animation and scripted scientific information representative of each celebrity host and their time of peek popularity to focus on the nostalgia of the audience. The goal of this film is to highlight a commentary on heteronormative roles in our society challenged by the mating behaviors of animals across our planet. This paper also explores three different documentaries that inspired the topic and style of Sowing the Seeds of Love and how the filmmaker came to the decisions of certain stylistic choices to create a non-traditional documentary in wildlife film.
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    A computational study of a high-spin iron(I) complex for possible dinitrogen reduction to ammonia
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2023) Pollock, Charlie Jeananne; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Martin A. Mosquera
    A series of high-spin, low coordinate, paramagnetic iron complexes bearing a phenyltris((tert- butylthio)methyl)borate ligand were computationally modeled with density functional theory (DFT) and complete active space self-consistent field theory (CASSCF). The iron complexes examined in this research were inspired by nitrogenase, a naturally occurring, dinitrogen- fixating, iron-containing metalloenzyme. DFT and CASSCF offer a convenient way to explore reactions, complexes, and molecular orbitals without an immediate need to perform synthetic experiments. Our computational work can be used to guide synthetic efforts as well as urge future theoretical work in related research. DFT was utilized to compute two different thermodynamic properties: bond dissociation free energy (BDFE N-H) and Gibb's free energy. The conductor-like polarizable continuum model (CPCM) was applied to examine the solution phase of the system, and all BDFE and DeltaG values found were endothermic in tetrahydrofuran (THF). The methods, BP86 and BP86 ZORA, examined the gas phase of the system. The BDFE and DeltaG values calculated when using those two methods were largely inconsistent, which lead to the conclusion that the solution phase model is the most appropriate method for computing values of the dinitrogen complex ([Fe] 2(Mu-N 2)) and its related complexes. An N 2 vibrational mode was found (1915.30 cm -1) for [Fe] 2(Mu-N 2), which reflects a strongly coordinated dinitrogen bridge (Fe-N identical to N-Fe). Broken symmetry DFT (BSDFT) was used to examine the exchange coupling, which was found to have positive values (JAB =82.51 cm -1, 61.88 cm -1, 81.36 cm -1), and implied that [Fe] 2(Mu-N 2) is ferromagnetically coupled. Lastly, CASSCF and DFT were applied to plot and characterize certain molecular orbitals of [Fe] 2(Mu-N 2). The plotted and characterized molecular orbitals reflected moderate (DFT) to strong (CASSCF) covalent bonding between iron and dinitrogen. All this data reflected the synthetic plausibility of dinitrogen coordination to the bridged, Fe(I) complex ([Fe] 2(Mu-N 2)) that can be reduced through the dinitrogen cleavage mechanism.
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    Assessing and improving sustainability of Camelina sativa through rhizobacterial inoculants and soil enzymatic activity
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Agriculture, 2023) Stowell, Henry Douglas; Co-chairs, Graduate Committee: Catherine A. Zabinski and Jed O. Eberly
    Camelina sativa is an oilseed crop with potential to be used in biofuel production as an alternative to contemporary fossil fuels. To ensure biofuels are a more sustainable alternative , considerations and improvements must be made regarding the inputs and land-use needs of producing biofuel feedstocks. This research assessed the beneficial effects of inoculating C. sativa plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria candidates in greenhouse trials. Additionally, we explored agronomic responses of C. sativa and bulk soil enzymes in field trials across Montana to nitrogen and sulfur fertilizer treatments applied as pelleted urea and gypsum respectively. Co- inoculations of Pseudomonas putida ATCC 12633 and Bacillus thuringiensis ATCC 33679 were associated with seed yield increases of 60% relative to the uninoculated control. Co-inoculations of Pseudomonas brassicacearum 36D4 and B. thuringiensis ATCC 33679 were associated with significantly shortened root lengths of early seedlings but did not reduce total biomass. Field trials found a strong seed yield response to nitrogen treatments, with yields increasing with each treatment up to 168 kg N/ha. No significant yield response to sulfur treatments was observed. Additionally, fertilizer treatments did not have any significant effects on the activities of arylsulfatase, beta-glucosaminidase, beta-glucosidase, or urease in soils sampled at crop flowering. Rhizobacterial inoculants have potential to improve crop yields without additional inputs and should be tested on C. sativa in field settings. Urea applications can be used to improve C. sativa yields without any short term effects on soil enzymatic activity, but longer-term studies are needed to accurately determine the effects of the crop and its inputs on soil properties.
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    Automatic 2D material detection and quantum emission prediction using deep learning-based models
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering, 2023) Ramezani, Fereshteh; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Brad Whitaker
    The realm of quantum engineering holds immense promise for revolutionizing technological landscapes, particularly with the advent of 2D materials in quantum device applications. The fundamental properties of these materials make them pivotal in various quantum applications. However, the progress in quantum engineering faces significant roadblocks, primarily centered around two challenges: accurate 2D material detection and understanding the random nature of quantum fluctuations. In response to the first challenge, I have successfully implemented a new deep learning pipeline to identify 2D materials in microscopic images. I have used a state-of-the-art two-stage object detector and trained it on images containing flakes of varying thickness of hexagonal boron nitride (hBN, a 2D material). The trained model achieved a high detection accuracy for the rare category of thin flakes (< or = 50 atomic layers thick). My further analysis shows that this proposed pipeline is robust against changes in color or substrate background, and could be generalized to various microscope settings. As an achievement, I have integrated my proposed method to the 2D quantum material pipeline (2D-QMaP), that has been under development by the MonArk Quantum Foundry, to provide automated capabilities that unite and accelerate the primary stages of sample preparation and device fabrication for 2D quantum materials research. My proposed algorithm has given the 2D-QMaP fully automatic real-time 2D flake detection capabilities, which has never been done effectively before. To address the second challenge, I assessed the random nature of quantum fluctuations, and I developed time series forecasting deep learning models to analyze and predict quantum emission fluctuations for the first time. My trained models can roughly follow the actual trend of the data and, under certain data processing conditions, can predict peaks and dips of the fluctuations. The ability to anticipate these fluctuations will allow physicists to harness quantum fluctuation characteristics to develop novel scientific advances in quantum computing that will greatly benefit quantum technologies. The automated 2D material identification, addressing the laborious process of flake detection, and the introduction of innovative quantum fluctuations analysis with predictive capabilities not only streamline research processes but also hold the promise of creating more stable and dependable quantum emission devices, thus significantly advancing the broader field of quantum engineering.
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    Avatar: a cultural and ethical journey across settler-colonialism
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2023) Koh, Celia; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Alex Harmon
    This thesis critically examines James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar, as a complex cinematic narrative that delves into themes of colonialism, environmental degradation, and Indigenous rights. By identifying the practices of settler-colonialism present and denounced in the movie, this paper aims to draw parallels with the settlement in America and to understand if Avatar's anti-colonial and environmental messages is a truthful representation of Native American culture in the United States. In this line of reasoning, the focus will be on the portrayal of Pandora as a parallel representation on Earth and his interpretation of the roles of the Indigenous inhabitants of Pandora. First, looking at the movie as a critique of settler-colonialism, also embedded in the American history, and of the cultural construction of race will help shed light on the intricacies of the understanding of cultures and their appreciation. Then, by focusing on the strong environmental message conveyed in the movie, as interconnectedness, respect for nature, and the safeguarding of resources is omnipresent throughout, I aim to understand to what extent Jamec Cameron's Avatar is authentically--or not--representing Native American spirituality and environmental values. Finally, this paper explores the potential of the movie as decolonizing, although Cameron's representation and depiction of Indigenous cultures have caused controversy.
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    The effects of angled insoles on short radius flat-track running mechanics
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering, 2023) Bianchini, Christopher David; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Corey Pew
    While indoor track allows athletes to compete during the winter period of December to February, injury rates during the indoor track and field season are 16% higher than the outdoor season. Increases in injury rates are often attributed to the shorter turn radii experienced by athletes when competing on a 200m indoor track as opposed to the longer turn radii of a 400m outdoor track. A common method of counteracting these asymmetries is to bank the turns of a 200m indoor track. Aligning the athlete's resultant force vector perpendicular to the running surface can alleviate many of the running form abnormalities caused by turn running. However, the high cost of implementing a banked indoor track can be prohibitive to many programs who currently have a flat track facility. To this end, we have developed two experimental insoles designed to alleviate the asymmetries experienced during turn running: a physically angled foam insole and an insole containing an angled stiff mid-plate. Insole function was tested through human participant running trials to identify their effects on indoor flat track running mechanics. 12 NCAA Division 1 track and field athletes (6 male, 6 female, age: 21 + or - 2 years, mass: 61.4 + or - 11.4 kg, height: 1.77 + or - 0.17 m) who specialize in distance and mid-distance running provided informed consent to participate in this Institutional Review Board-approved protocol. Kinematics, muscle activation, and ground interaction variables were monitored during running trials and used to compare the effects of the insoles on running biomechanics. The physically angled insole produced positive results for ankle joint angles and ground interaction variables for turn running. The angled plate insole positively affected right-side ankle joint angle positioning and did not significantly impact straight running mechanics. Both insoles produced higher levels of muscle activation asymmetry, indicating that this may be a required effect of turn running regardless of joint angle positioning and ground interaction. While the angled plate insoles showed almost no impact on straight or turn running mechanics, the wedge insoles functioned effectively to alleviate several asymmetries related to turn running.
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    Sleep attitudes in adolescents: demographic differences and associations with sleep health
    (Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science, 2023) Alvarado, Giovanni; Chairperson, Graduate Committee: Cara A. Palmer
    About 70-90% of adolescents in the United States receive less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep on a nightly basis despite its importance in everyday functioning (Keyes et al., 2015). Health-related attitudes are modifiable and predict actual health behaviors and previous research suggests that there are differences in how people value sleep (Ruggiero et al., 2019). Although previous work has examined sleep attitudes in teenagers, this has yet to be examined quantitatively in relation to actual sleep behavior. The purpose of this study is to examine how adolescents prioritize sleep and how this relates to other sleep outcomes. Participants included 649 adolescents from the United States (ages 13-18, M = 16.2, SD = 1.08; female = 79.7%; white = 45.2%) and were recruited through advertisements distributed throughout Instagram. Participants completed a brief 15-minute online survey to assess sleep outcomes and sleep attitudes. Adolescents completed the Charlotte Attitudes Towards Sleep Scale, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Sleep Timing Questionnaire, the Adolescent Sleep Hygiene Scale, the MacArthur Scale of Subjective Social Status - Youth Version, and sociodemographics. A series of regression models were conducted examining sleep outcomes predicted by adolescent sleep attitudes while adjusting for sociodemographics. An additional regression model was conducted examining adolescent sleep attitudes predicted by perceived socioeconomic status while adjusting for sociodemographics. Results suggested that teens who reported more positive attitudes towards sleep also reported longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, shorter sleep latency, earlier weekday and weekend bedtimes, and better sleep hygiene. There were also no significant differences in sleep atttitudes across sociodemographics. Follow-up exploratory analyses examined the two sleep attitudes subscales as independent predictors and outcomes and the pattern of findings remained unchanged. This study helps address the lack of research surrounding sleep attitudes in an adolescent sample. Results showed that sleep attitudes significantly predict sleep outcomes, but no significant differences were found across sociodemographic groups once accounting for covariates. Overall, findings from this study advance research on sleep attitudes by examining attitudes in a youth sample and suggest that sleep attitudes are a possible modifiable target to minimize sleep health difficulties.
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