Tulane Undergraduate Research Journal https://journals.tulane.edu/turj <p>The <strong><em>Tulane Undergraduate Research Journal</em></strong> is an annual, peer-reviewed research journal run by Newcomb-Tulane College students. We publish outstanding undergraduate research from all areas of knowledge and accept submissions from across the globe.</p> <p>The journal is on hiatus for the current academic year. Please check back in fall of 2023 for news regarding our submission schedule.</p> Office of Undergraduate Research, Newcomb-Tulane College en-US Tulane Undergraduate Research Journal 2333-1062 <p>Tulane Undergraduate Research Journal&nbsp;is an open-access journal, so articles will be released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivs CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 Unported license, allowing the free dissemination of the work for noncommercial purposes. Authors retain copyright to the work and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) [see <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/legalcode">http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/legalcode</a>]; authors further grant the journal a waiver of clause 4(b) [restriction against commercial advantage or private monetary compensation]. If the journal rejects the work, the journal simultaneously waives the granted right of first publication.</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> Environmental Disasters and Water Quality: A Multifaceted Look into the Effects of Anthropogenic and Natural Disasters on Water Quality Metrics in Coastal Louisiana https://journals.tulane.edu/turj/article/view/3673 <p>Water quality plays an important role in the ecological, economical, and societal well-being of all communities. Perhaps nowhere is this more important than coastal Louisiana, with many towns subsisting primarily on maritime industry and countless communities being at the mercy of the state of the Gulf of Mexico.<sup>1</sup> In every ecological disaster affecting coastal regions, whether natural or anthropogenic, some 2.6 million people, approximately half the population of the state, are at risk of losing their homes, their livelihoods, or even their very lives.<sup>2</sup> Keeping the importance of water quality to these communities in mind, we set out to quantify and analyze the effects of two natural disasters (Hurricanes Rita and Harvey) and one anthropogenic ecological disaster (the BP oil spill) on salinity, pH, and dissolved oxygen (DO). These parameters are some of the most important water quality metrics for industries such as the seafood industry<sup>3</sup>, which comprises a large portion of the economy in Southern Louisiana.<sup>4</sup> Using these metrics, we found that hurricane activity was strongly linked to changes in both salinity and pH. However, the anthropogenic ecological disaster we investigated, the BP oil spill, was not linked to significant changes to either top or bottom layer dissolved oxygen, despite the fact that chemical dispersant agents used have been linked to a lowering of DO levels.<sup>5</sup> It is posited that this finding relates more to the distance between the Deepwater Horizon wellhead (the site of the spill) and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) Facility in Cocodrie, Louisiana (the site of water sampling) than it does to the actual effect of these agents.</p> Eshan Damle Ysabelle Broderson Nicola Anderson Sharhana Shrestha William Bai Jordan Godfrey Arjun Yusufji Lindsey Friedmann Yasmin Maurice Meagan Kelly Grace Qian Meenakshi Vijayaraghavan Copyright (c) 2022 Eshan Damle, Ysabelle Broderson, Nicola Anderson, Sharhana Shrestha, William Bai, Jordan Godfrey, Arjun Yusufji, Lindsey Friedmann, Yasmin Maurice, Meagan Kelly, Grace Qian, Meenakshi Vijayaraghavan http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-06-01 2022-06-01 4 1 Turning On the Off Switch https://journals.tulane.edu/turj/article/view/3680 <p>In the thalamocortical circuit, cortical inhibition is important for fine-tuning the cortical activity of the adult mouse brain. Incomplete or improper development of cortical inhibitory interneurons is associated with disorders such as epilepsy and autism. Cortical interneurons are mainly located throughout the cortical layers of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1). The somatosensory cortex receives direct input from the thalamus indiscrete regions known as “barrels”. Each barrel contains a diverse collection of neurons that receive input specific to an individual vibrissa. The ability to visualize the barrel cortex upon immunological staining techniques makes the barrel cortex a helpful tool for investigation of cortical development and plasticity.</p> <p>In the present study, we will investigate the role of <em>Shox2</em>, a transcription factor located in thalamocortical neurons, in cortical development. <em>Shox2</em> is known to regulate ion channels important for pacemaking activity in the brain, facilitating well-timed communications between the thalamus and the cortex. By modulating the firing properties and timing of inputs to the cortex, <em>Shox2</em> expression may play a role in guiding the development of neurons in S1.</p> <p>We used viral injections to unilaterally knockout <em>Shox2</em> expression in P6 and P21 mice, and we investigated the role of <em>Shox2</em> in postnatal cortical development. Interestingly, unilateral knockout of <em>Shox2</em> at P6 resulted in structural abnormalities in the barrel cortex as well as reduced interneuron expression measured at adulthood. Unilateral <em>Shox2</em> KO induced after P21 was not found to negatively influence barrel organization, however <em>Shox2</em> KO induced after P21 resulted in interneuron expression abnormalities similar to those seen in P6 KO mice. This research provides supporting evidence for thalamocortically induced maturation of S1 and illuminates the criticality of <em>Shox2</em> expression in cortical interneuron maturation.</p> Valerie Warkins Copyright (c) 2022 Valerie Warkins http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-06-01 2022-06-01 4 1 Continuity and Change in the Post-Colonial Period for Spanish and English-speaking New World Countries https://journals.tulane.edu/turj/article/view/3675 <p>Despite the word revolution being colloquially used as a synonym for change, it is just as crucial and fascinating to examine which elements of the pre-revolutionary government and society managed to remain largely intact. This paper will specifically examine the status and rights of the indigenous people and women in two New World societies in their earlier days of independence, the former Spanish colonies of Central and South America and the Thirteen Colonies of British North America that became the United States. Contrary to popular stereotypes of traditionalist Catholics and freedom-loving/open-minded Anglophones, a careful reading and analysis of primary and secondary sources supports the assertion that Spanish-societies, despite retaining the racial hierarchy and gender roles, tended to grant more legal rights and chances for assimilation into and participation in society to women and Native Peoples than their English-speaking counterparts.</p> Ning Xi Copyright (c) 2022 Ning Xi http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-06-01 2022-06-01 4 1 Alexander Hamilton, Alexis de Tocqueville, and the American Presidency https://journals.tulane.edu/turj/article/view/3678 <p>Alexander Hamilton and Alexis de Tocqueville are two of the most distinguished commentators on American democracy. In their writings, each man evaluated the American constitutional system and, more specifically, the American presidency. Most previous scholarship on their understanding of the American executive treats them individually; or, if compared to another thinker, they are not compared to one another. Since both men are still relied on by politicians, judges and the American public as authorities on American democracy, this essay examines the similarities and differences in their views on the American presidency. Specifically, I argue that Hamilton and Tocqueville understood presidential power similarly as both believed the president had implied powers and that the president must be a single person. However, the two thinkers viewed executive power differently as Hamilton thought the president should be eligible for re-election and did not have enough power, while Tocqueville believed the president should not be eligible for re-election and that the American presidency contained enough power. In doing so, I illuminate the complexities of their views on the executive and provide the reader with insight into the way two profound thinkers understood the proper role of the American executive.</p> Matthew Chopp Copyright (c) 2022 Matthew Chopp http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-06-01 2022-06-01 4 1 Journal Masthead https://journals.tulane.edu/turj/article/view/3685 Andrew Squitiro Copyright (c) 2022 Andrew Squitiro http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-06-01 2022-06-01 4 1 Letter from the Editor https://journals.tulane.edu/turj/article/view/3686 Andrew Squitiro Copyright (c) 2022 Andrew Squitiro http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-06-01 2022-06-01 4 1 About the Authors https://journals.tulane.edu/turj/article/view/3684 Andrew Squitiro Copyright (c) 2022 Andrew Squitiro http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2022-06-01 2022-06-01 4 1