Matching Items (6)

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Regional variability in drought as a function of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

Description

The influence of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) produces pronounced regional variability in drought over the Caribbean, Central America and equatorial South America area. Through spatial statistical analyses, we identified

The influence of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) produces pronounced regional variability in drought over the Caribbean, Central America and equatorial South America area. Through spatial statistical analyses, we identified a marked dichotomy between drought values of the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) in northern Mexico and equatorial South America as a function of the AMO. The relationship is such that significant negative correlations between the drought index and phase of the AMO are identified for northern Mexico and on the Atlantic side of Central America. This indicates that drought (negative values of the SPEI) episodes are linked to the positive phase of the AMO. Alternately, there are high positive correlations between the AMO and on the Pacific side of Central America, the Caribbean and mainly in the northern South American area closest to the equator. Although many potential causes have been proposed in explanation of precipitation variability over the region, this geographic dichotomy suggests that movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) may play a significance role. The heightened vulnerability of the developing nations in this region to drought episodes makes forecasting droughts of great importance. These nations are greatly dependent on water intensive industries to maintain economic development. Thus, the findings of this research can assist in informing drought preparedness strategies to mitigate significant losses due to drought.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Using GIS to Analyze the Effect of Multiple Threats on Caribbean Corals

Description

This thesis utilizes GIS mapping to analyze the severity of four threats: ocean acidification, sea surface temperature, artisanal fishing, and destructive fishing, in conjunction with coral species distribution. This project

This thesis utilizes GIS mapping to analyze the severity of four threats: ocean acidification, sea surface temperature, artisanal fishing, and destructive fishing, in conjunction with coral species distribution. This project produced maps that depicts each of these threats and shows the distribution of its severity. Compiling this data we can see that ocean acidification is the most pressing threat in the Caribbean to coral and that neither type of fishing really has a large effect. A species named Madracis carmabi is also flagged to be of particular concern as it is severely threatened by both ocean acidification and sea surface temperature.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

The population history of the Caribbean: perspectives from ancient and modern DNA analysis

Description

Although the Caribbean has been continuously inhabited for the last 7,000 years, European contact in the last 500 years dramatically reshaped the cultural and genetic makeup of island populations. Several

Although the Caribbean has been continuously inhabited for the last 7,000 years, European contact in the last 500 years dramatically reshaped the cultural and genetic makeup of island populations. Several recent studies have explored the genetic diversity of Caribbean Latinos and have characterized Native American variation present within their genomes. However, the difficulty of obtaining ancient DNA from pre-contact populations and the underrepresentation of non-Latino Caribbean islanders in current research have prevented a complete understanding of genetic variation over time and space in the Caribbean basin. This dissertation uses two approaches to characterize the role of migration and admixture in the demographic history of Caribbean islanders. First, autosomal variants were genotyped in a sample of 55 Afro-Caribbeans from five islands in the Lesser Antilles: Grenada, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Trinidad, and St. Vincent. These data were used to characterize genetic structure, ancestry and signatures of selection in these populations. The results demonstrate a complex pattern of admixture since European contact, including a strong signature of sex-biased mating and inputs from at least five continental populations to the autosomal ancestry of Afro-Caribbean peoples. Second, ancient mitochondrial and nuclear DNA were obtained from 60 skeletal remains, dated between A.D. 500–1300, from three archaeological sites in Puerto Rico: Paso del Indio, Punta Candelero and Tibes. The ancient data were used to reassesses existing models for the peopling of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean and to examine the extent of genetic continuity between ancient and modern populations. Project findings support a largely South American origin for Ceramic Age Caribbean populations and identify some genetic continuity between pre and post contact islanders. The above study was aided by development and testing of extraction methods optimized for recovery of ancient DNA from tropical contexts. Overall, project findings characterize how ancient indigenous groups, European colonial regimes, the African Slave Trade and modern labor movements have shaped the genomic diversity of Caribbean islanders. In addition to its anthropological and historical importance, such knowledge is also essential for informing the identification of medically relevant genetic variation in these populations.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Intergenerational variation in cultural models of body size in Puerto Rico

Description

Culture informs ideas about healthy and acceptable body types. Through globalization the U.S.-European body model has become increasingly significant in local contexts, influencing local body models. While Puerto Ricans have

Culture informs ideas about healthy and acceptable body types. Through globalization the U.S.-European body model has become increasingly significant in local contexts, influencing local body models. While Puerto Ricans have historically valued plump bodies - a biocultural legacy of a historically food scarce environment - this dissertation investigated shifts in these ideals across generations to a stronger preference for thinness. A sample of 23 intergenerational family triads of women, and one close male relative or friend per woman, were administered quantitative questionnaires. Ethnographic interviews were conducted with a sub-sample of women from 16 triads and 1 quintet. Questions about weight history and body sizes were used to address cultural changes in body models. Findings indicate the general trend for all generations has been a reduction in the spectrum of acceptable bodies to an almost singular idealized thin body. Female weight gain during puberty and influence of media produced varied responses across age groups. Overall, Puerto Ricans find it acceptable to gain weight with ageing, during a divorce, and postpartum. Thin bodies are associated with beauty and health, but healthy women that do not resemble the thin ideal, submit themselves to dangerous weight loss practices to achieve self and social acceptance. Further research and direct interventions need to be conducted to alter perceptions that conflate beauty with health in order to address the `normative discontent' women of all ages experience. Weight discrimination and concern with being overweight were evident in Puerto Rican everyday life, indicated by the role of media and acculturation in this study. Anti-fat attitudes were stronger for individuals that identified closely with United States culture. Exposure to drama and personal transformation television programs are associated with increased body image dissatisfaction, and increased exposure to variety shows and celebrity news shows is associated with increased anti-fat attitudes and body dissatisfaction. In sum, the positive valuation of fat in the Puerto Rican cultural body size model in the 1970s has shifted toward a negative valuation of fat and a preference for thin body size.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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At home in the world: masculinity, maturation, and domestic space in the Caribbean Bildungsroman

Description

This project examines C.L.R. James, V.S. Naipaul, and George Lamming's appropriation of the European Bildungsroman, a novel depicting the maturation of the hero prompted by his harmonious dialectical relationship with

This project examines C.L.R. James, V.S. Naipaul, and George Lamming's appropriation of the European Bildungsroman, a novel depicting the maturation of the hero prompted by his harmonious dialectical relationship with the social realm (Bildung). I contend that James, Naipaul, and Lamming use the Bildungsroman genre to critique colonialism's effects on its subjects, particularly its male subjects who attend colonial schools that present them with disconcerting curricula and gender ideologies that hinder their intellectual and social development. Disingenuously cloaked in paternalistic rhetoric promising the advancement of "uncivilized" peoples, colonialism, these novels show, actually impedes the development of its subjects. Central to these writers' critiques is the use of houses, space, and land. Although place functions differently in Minty Alley, A House for Mr. Biswas, and In the Castle of My Skin, the novels under consideration here, the corresponding relationship between a mature, autonomous self and a home of one's own is made evident in each. Tragically, the men in these novels are never able to find communities in which they cease to feel out of place, nor are they ever able to find secure domestic spaces. Because the discourse of home so closely parallels the discourse of Bildung, I contend that the protagonists' inability to find stable housing suggests the inaccessibility of Bildung in a colonized space. Further, I assert that this literal homelessness is symbolic of the educated male's cultural exile; he is unable to find a location where he can live in dialectical harmony with any community, which is the ideal aim of Bildung. Leaving the Caribbean proves to be the colonized male's only strategy for pursuing Bildung; thus, these novels suggest that while Bildung is impossible in the Caribbean, it is not impossible for the Caribbean subject.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Is whale watching a win-win for people and nature?: an analysis of the economic, environmental, and social impacts of whale watching in the Caribbean

Description

Whale watching has been hailed by environmental non-governmental organizations like Greenpeace and the International Fund for Animal Welfare as a responsible form of tourism that has the potential to enhance

Whale watching has been hailed by environmental non-governmental organizations like Greenpeace and the International Fund for Animal Welfare as a responsible form of tourism that has the potential to enhance conservation outcomes for cetaceans, while also supporting the economic development of coastal communities. Tourism research suggests that while it is possible for whale watching to provide these benefits, it may also have considerable costs to members of host communities and cetaceans. My dissertation sought to gather data on the economic, ecological, and social impacts of whale watching in the Caribbean in order to evaluate the industry's performance in the region. My project thus took the form of three sub-projects. The first used an ordinary least squares analysis to examine the relationship between Caribbean country characteristics and whale watching expenditures. This analysis showed that a country's level of development changes the strength of correlations, that mass tourism development is negatively associated with whale watching profits, and that cetacean biodiversity and whale watching regulations designed to protect cetaceans both had positive relationships with the whale watching industry. In the second sub-project, I developed an index of Caribbean cetacean vulnerability to the negative impacts of whale watching with a traditional literature review informed by systematic methods. The index illustrated that both target and non-target species had vulnerabilities, and that regulations addressing these issues in the Caribbean were lacking overall. Considerable gaps in data were also identified. Finally, I used qualitative interviews in Dominica and the Dominican Republic to gather information on resident perceptions of whale watching. This analysis revealed overall positive perceptions of the industry in both countries, but also uncovered considerable levels of social conflict surrounding whale watching. Taken together, the results of my study suggest that better regulatory structures, investment in the local community, and efforts to maximize cooperation are needed in order for the Caribbean whale watch industry to better serve local communities, while mitigating its impacts on cetaceans.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017