Matching Items (51)

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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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The Role of Information in Governing the Commons: Experimental Results

Description

The structure and dynamics of ecosystems can affect the information available to resource users on the state of the common resource and the actions of other resource users. We present

The structure and dynamics of ecosystems can affect the information available to resource users on the state of the common resource and the actions of other resource users. We present results from laboratory experiments that showed that the availability of information about the actions of other participants affected the level of cooperation. Since most participants in commons dilemmas can be classified as conditional cooperators, not having full information about the actions of others may affect their decisions. When participants had more information about others, there was a more rapid reduction of the resource in the first round of the experiment. When communication was allowed, limiting the information available made it harder to develop effective institutional arrangements. When communication was not allowed, there was a more rapid decline of performance in groups where information was limited. In sum, the results suggest that making information available to others can have an important impact on the conditional cooperation and the effectiveness of communication.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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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.

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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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Institutions and the performance of coupled infrastructure systems

Description

Institutions, the rules of the game that shape repeated human interactions, clearly play a critical role in helping groups avoid the inefficient use of shared resources such as fisheries, freshwater,

Institutions, the rules of the game that shape repeated human interactions, clearly play a critical role in helping groups avoid the inefficient use of shared resources such as fisheries, freshwater, and the assimilative capacity of the environment. Institutions, however, are intimately intertwined with the human, social, and biophysical context within which they operate. Scholars typically are careful to take this context into account when studying institutions and Ostrom’s Institutional Design Principles are a case in point. Scholars have tested whether Ostrom’s Design Principles, which specify broad relationships between institutional arrangements and context, actually support successful governance of shared resources. This article further contributes to this line of research by leveraging the notion of institutional design to outline a research trajectory focused on coupled infrastructure systems in which institutions are seen as one class of infrastructure among many that dynamically interact to produce outcomes over time.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-09-23

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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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Advancing the understanding of behavior in social-ecological systems: results from lab and field experiments

Description

Experiments have made important contributions to our understanding of human behavior, including behavior relevant for understanding social-ecological systems. When there is a conflict between individual and group interests in social-ecological

Experiments have made important contributions to our understanding of human behavior, including behavior relevant for understanding social-ecological systems. When there is a conflict between individual and group interests in social-ecological systems, social dilemmas occur. From the many types of social-dilemma formulations that are used to study collective action, common-pool resource and public-good dilemmas are most relevant for social-ecological systems. Experimental studies of both common-pool resource and public-good dilemmas have shown that many predictions based on the conventional theory of collective action, which assumes rational, self-interested behavior, do not hold. More cooperation occurs than predicted (Ledyard 1995), “cheap talk” increases cooperation (Ostrom 2006), and participants are willing to invest in sanctioning free riders (Yamagishi 1986, Ostrom et al. 1992, Fehr and Gächter 2000, Chaudhuri 2011). Experiments have also demonstrated a diversity of motivations, which affect individual decisions about cooperation and sanctioning (see Fehr and Fischbacher 2002 and Sobel 2005 for reviews, and Bowles 2008 for policy implications).

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015