Matching Items (27)

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A microbial survey of the International Space Station (ISS)

Description

Background
Modern advances in sequencing technology have enabled the census of microbial members of many natural ecosystems. Recently, attention is increasingly being paid to the microbial residents of human-made, built

Background
Modern advances in sequencing technology have enabled the census of microbial members of many natural ecosystems. Recently, attention is increasingly being paid to the microbial residents of human-made, built ecosystems, both private (homes) and public (subways, office buildings, and hospitals). Here, we report results of the characterization of the microbial ecology of a singular built environment, the International Space Station (ISS). This ISS sampling involved the collection and microbial analysis (via 16S rRNA gene PCR) of 15 surfaces sampled by swabs onboard the ISS. This sampling was a component of Project MERCCURI (Microbial Ecology Research Combining Citizen and University Researchers on ISS). Learning more about the microbial inhabitants of the “buildings” in which we travel through space will take on increasing importance, as plans for human exploration continue, with the possibility of colonization of other planets and moons.
Results
Sterile swabs were used to sample 15 surfaces onboard the ISS. The sites sampled were designed to be analogous to samples collected for (1) the Wildlife of Our Homes project and (2) a study of cell phones and shoes that were concurrently being collected for another component of Project MERCCURI. Sequencing of the 16S rRNA genes amplified from DNA extracted from each swab was used to produce a census of the microbes present on each surface sampled. We compared the microbes found on the ISS swabs to those from both homes on Earth and data from the Human Microbiome Project.
Conclusions
While significantly different from homes on Earth and the Human Microbiome Project samples analyzed here, the microbial community composition on the ISS was more similar to home surfaces than to the human microbiome samples. The ISS surfaces are OTU-rich with 1,036–4,294 operational taxonomic units (OTUs per sample). There was no discernible biogeography of microbes on the 15 ISS surfaces, although this may be a reflection of the small sample size we were able to obtain.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-12-05

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Social roles and performance of social-ecological systems: evidence from behavioral lab experiments

Description

Social roles are thought to play an important role in determining the capacity for collective action in a community regarding the use of shared resources. Here we report on the

Social roles are thought to play an important role in determining the capacity for collective action in a community regarding the use of shared resources. Here we report on the results of a study using a behavioral experimental approach regarding the relationship between social roles and the performance of social-ecological systems. The computer-based irrigation experiment that was the basis of this study mimics the decisions faced by farmers in small-scale irrigation systems. In each of 20 rounds, which are analogous to growing seasons, participants face a two-stage commons dilemma. First they must decide how much to invest in the public infrastructure, e.g., canals and water diversion structures. Second, they must decide how much to extract from the water made available by that public infrastructure. Each round begins with a 60-second communication period before the players make their investment and extraction decisions. By analyzing the chat messages exchanged among participants during the communication stage of the experiment, we coded up to three roles per participant using the scheme of seven roles known to be important in the literature: leader, knowledge generator, connector, follower, moralist, enforcer, and observer. Our study supports the importance of certain social roles (e.g., connector) previously highlighted by several case study analyses. However, using qualitative comparative analysis we found that none of the individual roles was sufficient for groups to succeed, i.e., to reach a certain level of group production. Instead, we found that a combination of at least five roles was necessary for success. In addition, in the context of upstream-downstream asymmetry, we observed a pattern in which social roles assumed by participants tended to differ by their positions. Although our work generated some interesting insights, further research is needed to determine how robust our findings are to different action situations, such as biophysical context, social network, and resource uncertainty.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Modeling the Relations Among Morphological Awareness Dimensions, Vocabulary Knowledge, and Reading Comprehension in Adult Basic Education Students

Description

This study extended the findings of Tighe and Schatschneider (2015) by investigating the predictive utility of separate dimensions of morphological awareness as well as vocabulary knowledge to reading comprehension in

This study extended the findings of Tighe and Schatschneider (2015) by investigating the predictive utility of separate dimensions of morphological awareness as well as vocabulary knowledge to reading comprehension in adult basic education (ABE) students. We competed two- and three-factor structural equation models of reading comprehension. A three-factor model of real word morphological awareness, pseudoword morphological awareness, and vocabulary knowledge emerged as the best fit and accounted for 79% of the reading comprehension variance. The results indicated that the constructs contributed jointly to reading comprehension; however, vocabulary knowledge was the only potentially unique predictor (p = 0.052), accounting for an additional 5.6% of the variance. This study demonstrates the feasibility of applying a latent variable modeling approach to examine individual differences in the reading comprehension skills of ABE students. Further, this study replicates the findings of Tighe and Schatschneider (2015) on the importance of differentiating among dimensions of morphological awareness in this population.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-02-04

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An iterative approach to case study analysis: insights from qualitative analysis of quantitative inconsistencies

Description

Large-N comparative studies have helped common pool resource scholars gain general insights into the factors that influence collective action and governance outcomes. However, these studies are often limited by missing

Large-N comparative studies have helped common pool resource scholars gain general insights into the factors that influence collective action and governance outcomes. However, these studies are often limited by missing data, and suffer from the methodological limitation that important information is lost when we reduce textual information to quantitative data. This study was motivated by nine case studies that appeared to be inconsistent with the expectation that the presence of Ostrom’s Design Principles increases the likelihood of successful common pool resource governance. These cases highlight the limitations of coding and analysing Large-N case studies. We examine two issues: 1) the challenge of missing data and 2) potential approaches that rely on context (which is often lost in the coding process) to address inconsistencies between empirical observations theoretical predictions. For the latter, we conduct a post-hoc qualitative analysis of a large-N comparative study to explore 2 types of inconsistencies: 1) cases where evidence for nearly all design principles was found, but available evidence led to the assessment that the CPR system was unsuccessful and 2) cases where the CPR system was deemed successful despite finding limited or no evidence for design principles. We describe inherent challenges to large-N comparative analysis to coding complex and dynamically changing common pool resource systems for the presence or absence of design principles and the determination of “success”. Finally, we illustrate how, in some cases, our qualitative analysis revealed that the identity of absent design principles explained inconsistencies hence de-facto reconciling such apparent inconsistencies with theoretical predictions. This analysis demonstrates the value of combining quantitative and qualitative analysis, and using mixed-methods approaches iteratively to build comprehensive methodological and theoretical approaches to understanding common pool resource governance in a dynamically changing context.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-09-09

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Irrigation experiments in the lab: trust, environmental variability, and collective action

Description

Research on collective action and common-pool resources is extensive. However, little work has concentrated on the effect of variability in resource availability and collective action, especially in the context of

Research on collective action and common-pool resources is extensive. However, little work has concentrated on the effect of variability in resource availability and collective action, especially in the context of asymmetric access to resources. Earlier works have demonstrated that environmental variability often leads to a reduction of collective action in the governance of shared resources. Here we assess how environmental variability may impact collective action. We performed a behavioral experiment involving an irrigation dilemma. In this dilemma participants invested first into a public fund that generated water resources for the group, which were subsequently appropriated by one participant at a time from head end to tail end. The amount of resource generated for the given investment level was determined by a payoff table and a stochastic event representing environmental variability, i.e., rainfall. Results show that that (1) upstream users’ behavior is by far the most important variable in determining the outcome of collective action; (2) environmental variability (i.e. risk level in investing in the resource) has little effect on individual investment and extraction levels; and (3) the action-reaction feedback is fundamental in determining the success or failure of communities.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Dual Coding Theory Explains Biphasic Collective Computation in Neural Decision-Making

Description

A central question in cognitive neuroscience is how unitary, coherent decisions at the whole organism level can arise from the distributed behavior of a large population of neurons with only

A central question in cognitive neuroscience is how unitary, coherent decisions at the whole organism level can arise from the distributed behavior of a large population of neurons with only partially overlapping information. We address this issue by studying neural spiking behavior recorded from a multielectrode array with 169 channels during a visual motion direction discrimination task. It is well known that in this task there are two distinct phases in neural spiking behavior. Here we show Phase I is a distributed or incompressible phase in which uncertainty about the decision is substantially reduced by pooling information from many cells. Phase II is a redundant or compressible phase in which numerous single cells contain all the information present at the population level in Phase I, such that the firing behavior of a single cell is enough to predict the subject's decision. Using an empirically grounded dynamical modeling framework, we show that in Phase I large cell populations with low redundancy produce a slow timescale of information aggregation through critical slowing down near a symmetry-breaking transition. Our model indicates that increasing collective amplification in Phase II leads naturally to a faster timescale of information pooling and consensus formation. Based on our results and others in the literature, we propose that a general feature of collective computation is a “coding duality” in which there are accumulation and consensus formation processes distinguished by different timescales.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-06-06

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The Tragedy of the Unexamined Cat: Why K–12 and University Education Are Still in the Dark Ages and How Citizen Science Allows for a Renaissance

Description

At the end of the dark ages, anatomy was taught as though everything that could be known was known. Scholars learned about what had been discovered rather than how to

At the end of the dark ages, anatomy was taught as though everything that could be known was known. Scholars learned about what had been discovered rather than how to make discoveries. This was true even though the body (and the rest of biology) was very poorly understood. The renaissance eventually brought a revolution in how scholars (and graduate students) were trained and worked. This revolution never occurred in K–12 or university education such that we now teach young students in much the way that scholars were taught in the dark ages, we teach them what is already known rather than the process of knowing. Citizen science offers a way to change K–12 and university education and, in doing so, complete the renaissance. Here we offer an example of such an approach and call for change in the way students are taught science, change that is more possible than it has ever been and is, nonetheless, five hundred years delayed.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-03-01

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Using Bayesian Nonparametric Hidden Semi-Markov Models to Disentangle Affect Processes during Marital Interaction

Description

Sequential affect dynamics generated during the interaction of intimate dyads, such as married couples, are associated with a cascade of effects—some good and some bad—on each partner, close family members,

Sequential affect dynamics generated during the interaction of intimate dyads, such as married couples, are associated with a cascade of effects—some good and some bad—on each partner, close family members, and other social contacts. Although the effects are well documented, the probabilistic structures associated with micro-social processes connected to the varied outcomes remain enigmatic. Using extant data we developed a method of classifying and subsequently generating couple dynamics using a Hierarchical Dirichlet Process Hidden semi-Markov Model (HDP-HSMM). Our findings indicate that several key aspects of existing models of marital interaction are inadequate: affect state emissions and their durations, along with the expected variability differences between distressed and nondistressed couples are present but highly nuanced; and most surprisingly, heterogeneity among highly satisfied couples necessitate that they be divided into subgroups. We review how this unsupervised learning technique generates plausible dyadic sequences that are sensitive to relationship quality and provide a natural mechanism for computational models of behavioral and affective micro-social processes.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05-17

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The Role of Diverse Strategies in Sustainable Knowledge Production

Description

Online communities are becoming increasingly important as platforms for large-scale human cooperation. These communities allow users seeking and sharing professional skills to solve problems collaboratively. To investigate how users cooperate

Online communities are becoming increasingly important as platforms for large-scale human cooperation. These communities allow users seeking and sharing professional skills to solve problems collaboratively. To investigate how users cooperate to complete a large number of knowledge-producing tasks, we analyze Stack Exchange, one of the largest question and answer systems in the world. We construct attention networks to model the growth of 110 communities in the Stack Exchange system and quantify individual answering strategies using the linking dynamics on attention networks. We identify two answering strategies. Strategy A aims at performing maintenance by doing simple tasks, whereas strategy B aims at investing time in doing challenging tasks. Both strategies are important: empirical evidence shows that strategy A decreases the median waiting time for answers and strategy B increases the acceptance rate of answers. In investigating the strategic persistence of users, we find that users tends to stick on the same strategy over time in a community, but switch from one strategy to the other across communities. This finding reveals the different sets of knowledge and skills between users. A balance between the population of users taking A and B strategies that approximates 2:1, is found to be optimal to the sustainable growth of communities.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-03-02

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The Free Energy Requirements of Biological Organisms; Implications for Evolution

Description

Recent advances in nonequilibrium statistical physics have provided unprecedented insight into the thermodynamics of dynamic processes. The author recently used these advances to extend Landauer’s semi-formal reasoning concerning the thermodynamics

Recent advances in nonequilibrium statistical physics have provided unprecedented insight into the thermodynamics of dynamic processes. The author recently used these advances to extend Landauer’s semi-formal reasoning concerning the thermodynamics of bit erasure, to derive the minimal free energy required to implement an arbitrary computation. Here, I extend this analysis, deriving the minimal free energy required by an organism to run a given (stochastic) map π from its sensor inputs to its actuator outputs. I use this result to calculate the input-output map π of an organism that optimally trades off the free energy needed to run π with the phenotypic fitness that results from implementing π. I end with a general discussion of the limits imposed on the rate of the terrestrial biosphere’s information processing by the flux of sunlight on the Earth.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-04-13