Matching Items (54)

127872-Thumbnail Image.png

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

128184-Thumbnail Image.png

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

128227-Thumbnail Image.png

Navigating a Murky Adaptive Comanagement Governance Network: Agua Fria Watershed, Arizona, USA

Description

Adaptive comanagement endeavors to increase knowledge and responsiveness in the face of uncertainty and complexity. However, when collaboration between agency and nonagency stakeholders is mandated, rigid institutions may hinder participation

Adaptive comanagement endeavors to increase knowledge and responsiveness in the face of uncertainty and complexity. However, when collaboration between agency and nonagency stakeholders is mandated, rigid institutions may hinder participation and ecological outcomes. In this case study we analyzed qualitative data to understand how participants perceive strengths and challenges within an emerging adaptive comanagement in the Agua Fria Watershed in Arizona, USA that utilizes insight and personnel from a long-enduring comanagement project, Las Cienegas. Our work demonstrates that general lessons and approaches from one project may be transferable, but particular institutions, management structures, or projects must be place-specific. As public agencies establish and expand governance networks throughout the western United States, our case study has shed light on how to maintain a shared vision and momentum within an inherently murky and shared decision-making environment.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

128232-Thumbnail Image.png

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

128237-Thumbnail Image.png

Linking classroom learning and research to advance ideas about social-ecological resilience

Description

There is an increasing demand in higher education institutions for training in complex environmental problems. Such training requires a careful mix of conventional methods and innovative solutions, a task not

There is an increasing demand in higher education institutions for training in complex environmental problems. Such training requires a careful mix of conventional methods and innovative solutions, a task not always easy to accomplish. In this paper we review literature on this theme, highlight relevant advances in the pedagogical literature, and report on some examples resulting from our recent efforts to teach complex environmental issues. The examples range from full credit courses in sustainable development and research methods to project-based and in-class activity units. A consensus from the literature is that lectures are not sufficient to fully engage students in these issues. A conclusion from the review of examples is that problem-based and project-based, e.g., through case studies, experiential learning opportunities, or real-world applications, learning offers much promise. This could greatly be facilitated by online hubs through which teachers, students, and other members of the practitioner and academic community share experiences in teaching and research, the way that we have done here.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

128244-Thumbnail Image.png

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

128245-Thumbnail Image.png

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

128246-Thumbnail Image.png

Interplay of multiple goods, ecosystem services, and property rights in large social-ecological marine protected areas

Description

Protected areas are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, and increasingly, conservation science is integrating ecological and social considerations in park management. Indeed, both social and ecological factors need to be

Protected areas are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, and increasingly, conservation science is integrating ecological and social considerations in park management. Indeed, both social and ecological factors need to be considered to understand processes that lead to changes in environmental conditions. Here, we use a social-ecological systems lens to examine changes in governance through time in an extensive regional protected area network, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. We studied the peer-reviewed and nonpeer-reviewed literature to develop an understanding of governance of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and its management changes through time. In particular, we examined how interacting and changing property rights, as designated by the evolving marine protected area network and other institutional changes (e.g., fisheries management), defined multiple goods and ecosystem services and altered who could benefit from them. The rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 2004 substantially altered the types and distribution of property rights and associated benefits from ecosystem goods and services. Initially, common-pool resources were enjoyed as common and private benefits at the expense of public goods (overexploited fisheries and reduced biodiversity and ecosystem health). The rezoning redefined the available goods and benefits and who could benefit, prioritizing public goods and benefits (i.e., biodiversity conservation), and inducing private costs (through reduced fishing). We also found that the original conceptualization of the step-wise progression of property rights from user to owner oversimplifies property rights based on its division into operational and collective-choice rule-making levels. Instead, we suggest that a diversity of available management tools implemented simultaneously can result in interactions that are seldom fully captured by the original conceptualization of the bundling of property rights. Understanding the complexities associated with overlapping property rights and multiple goods and ecosystem services, particularly within large-scale systems, can help elucidate the source and nature of some of the governance challenges that large protected areas are facing.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

128248-Thumbnail Image.png

Institutions and government efficiency: decentralized Irrigation management in China

Description

In order to improve the efficiency of government spending, it is necessary for the decentralized irrigation management to gain support from local institutions. Efficient institutions take on several distinct configurations

In order to improve the efficiency of government spending, it is necessary for the decentralized irrigation management to gain support from local institutions. Efficient institutions take on several distinct configurations in different irrigation districts. In this research, we upgrade Tang’s (1992) framework focusing on incentives, to a framework that includes institutional incentives and coordination. Within the framework, we then classify 5 institutional variables: water pricing reform (P), government funding (F), coordination by administration (C), having formal monitors (M) and self-organized management (S). This article processes the data obtained through a field survey (2009–2011) in 20 of China’s southern counties, where they implement the “Small-scale Irrigation and Water Conservancy Key Counties Construction (Key Counties Construction)”, a national project supported by the central government. Next, it applies Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to measure the efficiency of government spending and uses Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to extract efficient institutional configurations. It concludes that there are generally three types of institutional configurations able to improve the efficiency of government spending, which are respectively: “government funding combined with coordination by administration”, “water pricing reform combined with self-organized management and coordination by administration or water pricing reform combined with self-organized management and government funding and formal monitors” and “self-organized management”. Among these, the second configuration is a mixed governance structure with multiple institutions coexisting, and this configuration occurs in the most efficient key counties. For that reason, it is viewed as the mainstream irrigation management approach, and we expect it to be the development trend in the future. Although Chinese irrigation policies are formalizing effective local institutions, they are still not sufficient. Future policies are needed to 1) promote institutions of government support for water laws in order to build stable expectations for both water user associations (WUAs) and farmers, 2) guide water pricing reform by ensuring farmers’ water rights and regulating water markets, and 3) provide opportunities for hiring professional monitors and crafting formal rules.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-02-01

128141-Thumbnail Image.png

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