ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0335.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: tropical reservoir; water quality index (WQI); trophic state index (TSI); ecological risk index (ERI); ecological risk assessment (ERA)
Online: 28 December 2018 (06:47:30 CET)
A study of the water quality of the Adolfo López Mateos Reservoir (ALMD) was developed through different indicators from a spatial and seasonal perspective. Variables related to the general characteristics of water quality, trophic level and ecological risk were assessed through the water Quality Index (WQINSF-BROWN), Trophic State Index (TSICARLSON) and the Ecological Risk Index (RIHAKANSON). Using data from physical, chemical and biological parameters obtained from four sampling points in the ALMD, the water quality was assessed in each model used. The results indicated that the reservoir presents a water quality classified as “medium” (WQINSF-BROWN = 70), where significant variations in the concentrations of some parameters are observed. The reservoir showed a general trophic state classified as “Mesotrophic” (TSIGENERAL-AVERAGE = 43.04). The ecological risk analysis achieved the best classification of the methodology, discarding contamination by heavy metals in surface waters. Through this type of applied methodologies will help as decision making tools in the dam, as well as for application in other dams in the region.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0578.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: ecological footprint calculator; ecological footprint; environmental knowledge; environmental education; environmental values; carbon footprint calculator; carbon footprint; ecological behaviour; pro-environmental behaviour
Online: 25 February 2021 (12:00:10 CET)
Ecological footprint calculators are digital tools that help individuals calculate their environmental or climate impact, with the aim of stimulating pro-environmental behaviour change. These footprint calculators typically take an information-provision approach, but this strategy assumes that increased levels of knowledge result in increased levels of pro-environmental behaviour (i.e., a reduced footprint). This is not a given – existing literature on the relationship between environmental knowledge and pro-environmental behaviour is inconclusive, and this relationship may be different from that of environmental knowledge and ecological footprint. As such, we investigated the relationship between environmental knowledge and ecological footprint as estimated by a footprint calculator. 448 Dutch participants completed an online survey, including an ecological footprint calculator. We found no evidence for a relationship between environmental knowledge and ecological footprint calculator outcome. Rather, an exploratory analysis of our data showed that environmental values were more important predictors of ecological footprint. The finding that increased levels of knowledge are not related to a reduced ecological footprint suggests that calculators would do well to move beyond information provision, and employ additional behaviour change strategies. Based on our exploratory analysis, we provide several concrete examples of potential strategies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0088.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: ecological corridors; green infrastructure; protected areas; landscape components
Online: 7 May 2022 (03:21:34 CEST)
An important set of Ecosystem services (ES) provided by Green infrastructures (GI) consists of habitats and species protection and improvement, which coincides with biodiversity conservation and enhancement. From this perspective, one of the most outstanding features of GI is its attitude towards addressing the negative impacts of habitat fragmentation on the supply of ES related to biodiversity by strengthening the effectiveness of connections between protected areas. Building on a methodological approach defined in previous studies by Cannas, published in a set of articles between 2017 and 2018 [1–4], this study identifies ecological corridors (EC) with reference to the spatial layout of a set of protected areas. Moreover, such methodological approach is implemented into the context of the Sardinian region to map EC, which form, together with protected areas, a network representing the spatial framework of a regional GI. Finally, the relation between the EC and the spatial taxonomy of the landscape components featured by environmental relevance (LCFER), identified by the Regional Landscape Plan is analyzed, in order to assess if, and to what extent, the present regional spatial zoning code can be used as a basis to implement regulations aimed at protecting EC.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0606.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: tinnitus; acupressure; self-help; ecological momentary assessment; stress
Online: 9 August 2021 (11:45:41 CEST)
Tinnitus is a phantom sound perception in the ears or head and can arise from many different medical disorders. Currently, there is no standard treatment for tinnitus that reliably reduces tinnitus. Individual patients reported that acupressure at various points around the ear can help to reduce tinnitus, which was investigated here. With this longitudinal observational study, we report a systematic evaluation of auricular acupressure on 39 tinnitus sufferers, combined with a self-help smartphone app. The participants were asked to report about tinnitus, stress, mood, neck and jaw muscle tensions twice a day using an ecological momentary assessment study design for six weeks. On average, 123.6 questionnaires per person were provided and used for statistical analysis. The treatment responses of the participants were heterogeneous. On average, we ob-served significant negative trends for tinnitus loudness (Cohen’s d effect size: -.861), tinnitus dis-tress (d = -.478), stress (d = -.675), and tensions in the neck muscles (d = -.356). Comparison with a matched control group revealed significant improvements for tinnitus loudness (p = .027) and self-reported stress level (p = .003). The positive results of the observational study motivate fur-ther research including a randomized clinical trial and long-term assessment of the clinical im-provement.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0188.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Other Keywords: ecological sensitivity; ecological sensitivity evaluation; land consolidation; ecological value; Guanling
Online: 9 October 2018 (14:35:04 CEST)
Land consolidation engineering inevitably interferes with terrestrial ecosystems, leading to natural capital loss. Therefore, conducting an ecological sensitivity evaluation of a project area before consolidation engineering is very important for reducing unnecessary human interference. Conservation of terrestrial ecosystems and the biodiversity therein to the greatest possible extent is urgently needed. This research analyzes the interference by human activities caused by land consolidation engineering in terrestrial ecosystems. GIS technology, ecological values, landscape pattern indexes, and an ecological risk evaluation were used to construct an ecological sensitivity evaluation index. The coefficient of variation method and a comprehensive sensitivity rating evaluation were used to calculate the weights and results. The project area was divided into sensitivity zones according to the results, and the results and suggestions are as follows: In the highly eco-sensitive zone, where bare rocks, gravel, and grass-covered areas compose the main landscape type, vegetation should be restored, and forests should be planted. In the medium eco-sensitivity zone, where irrigated paddy fields and arid land compose the main landscape type, land parcels should be merged, and agricultural infrastructure should be constructed or improved. In the low eco-sensitivity zone, where forests compose the main landscape type, roads should be closed, natural habitat should be restored, and buffer zones should be created. This study provides suggestions for future land management decisions.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0061.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: sustainability; digital transformation; suitable for aging; service ecological theory; health service
Online: 6 May 2022 (07:45:20 CEST)
The ageing transformation of digital health services faces issues of how to distinguish influencing factors, redesign services, and effectively promote measures and policies. In this study, in-depth interviews are conducted and grounded theory applied to open coding, main axis coding, and selective coding to form concepts and categories. Trajectory equifinality modeling clarified the evolution logic of digital transformation. Based on the theory of service ecology, a digital health service ageing model is constructed from the "macro-medium-micro" stages and includes governance, service, and technology transformation paths. The macro stage relies on organizational elements to promote the institutionalization of management and guide the transformation of governance for value realization, including the construction of three categories: mechanism, indemnification, and decision-making. The meso stage relies on service elements to promote service design and realize service transformation suitable for aging design, including the construction of three categories: organization, resources, and processes. The micro stage relies on technical elements to practice experiencing humanization, including the construction of three categories: target, methods, and evaluation. These results deepen the understanding of the main behaviors and roles of macro-organizational, meso-service, and micro-technical elements in digital transformation practice and have positive significance for health administrative agencies to implement action strategies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0241.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: Ecological concrete; Cement/cementitious materials; Durability-related properties; Carbonation; Chloride; Diffusion
Online: 14 December 2022 (02:03:05 CET)
The durability of ecological concrete in a marine environment was studied. Specimens of a six-year-old submerged ecological concrete from a breakwater located in the East Mediterranean sea were analyzed for their biological carbonate deposition cover, chloride effective diffusion, carbonation, and mineralogy. About 57% of the surface was found to be covered by biogenic-deposited carbonates. The effective chloride diffusion coefficient and the carbonation rate were found to be reduced proportionally to the biogenic-carbonate cover. Most of the aluminates were found in non-crystalline minerals. No evidence of a sulfate attack was found.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201704.0008.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: Ecological sustainability; Landscape connectivity, Green spaces, Resident perception, Master-planned community, Phoenix
Online: 3 April 2017 (17:03:32 CEST)
Green spaces in residential community is important, yet understudied, feature as an urban ecological system. While large urban parks and remnant wildlands in urban areas tend to receive a public attention from conservation and management perspectives, less is known for the importance of spatial and ecological characteristics of the community-scale landscapes. This study investigates natural elements in four planned communities in Phoenix metropolitan area, Arizona, two of which represent conventional type of neighborhood and the other two exemplify the community development with a proclaimed vision of sustainability. These distinct type of communities, which capture variations in age, location, open space type, and a cross-section of housing density, are compared with regard to landscape connectivity as a means of gauging ecological condition for community sustainability. Using Geographical Information System and landscape connectivity indices, each community’s landscape features including size, physical connectedness and ecological potential were examined. Furthermore, a questionnaire survey was performed to examine the perceptional differences between the two types of community residents. The findings demonstrate that the green spaces in conventional communities are more physically connected than the counterparts, but the naturalness and ecological quality manifested by the amount of the land that may serve as potential urban desert habitats were higher in the sustainable communities. The results of the survey indicated that the respondents inhabiting in sustainable communities possess a higher level of satisfaction than the people in conventional type of community due mainly to the amount of, easy access to, and perceived ecological values of, green spaces in their neighborhoods and surrounding areas. The study concludes that careful community design with ecological consideration can help create sustainable communities which can benefit both site-scale ecosystems and perceived human well-being.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201808.0041.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: human ecological footprint; traditional ecological knowledge; biocultural restoration; social-ecological system; Hawaiian islands
Online: 2 August 2018 (08:55:49 CEST)
Pre-Western contact Hawaiʻi stands as a quintessential sustainability example of a large human population that practiced intensive agriculture, yet minimally displaced native habitats that comprised the foundation of its vitality. An explicit geospatial footprint of human-transformed areas across the pre-contact Hawaiian archipelago comprised less than 15% of total land area, yet provided 100% of human needs, supporting a thriving Polynesian society. A post-contact history of disruption of traditional Hawaiian land-use and its supplanting by Western land tenure and agriculture based on ranching, sugarcane, and pineapple, culminated in a landscape, in which over 50% of native habitats have been lost, while self-sufficiency has plummeted to 15% or less. Recapturing the ʻāina momona (productive lands) of ancient times can be accomplished through study of pre-contact agriculture, assessment of biological and ecological changes imposed on Hawaiian social-ecological systems, and conscious planned efforts to increase self-sufficiency and reduce importation. Impediments include the current tourism-based economy, competition from habitat-modifying introduced species, a suite of agricultural pests severely limiting traditional agriculture, and changes in climate rendering some pre-contact agricultural centers suboptimal. Modified agricultural methods will be required to counteract these limitations, and diversified agriculture to broaden the production base, without contributing to further degradation of native habitats.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0544.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: ecological restoration; illegal mining; Clean Development Mechanism; carbon sequestration; carbon credits
Online: 30 April 2020 (17:24:36 CEST)
Ghana has had a long-standing problem of illegal gold mining that has led to the destruction of the environment. The government of Ghana is taking steps to not only curb illegal mining but also to restore destroyed lands that resulted from illegal mining. The government intends to spend financially in the area of ecological restoration to returned disturbed lands to their natural states possible, but the question remains whether restoring those disturbed lands will be beneficial to the country. The study was undertaken in Bekwai Municipal Area in the Ashanti region of Ghana where most locals are farmers. The research studies whether the benefits of ecological restoration outweigh the cost of ecological restoration? The research deployed a quantitative data collection. The data collected was analyzed using benefit-Cost ratio. The result shows that the benefit of ecological restoration outweighs the cost incurred as dependent on the land use as a carbon sequestration project. In conclusion, investment in ecological restoration is a step in the right direction for a country endowed with gold resources. This will spur growth and at the same time improve and protect the country’s natural resources and environment.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0155.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: environmental efficiency; energy; economic; PV installation; modernization; economic analysis; ecological effect,
Online: 3 November 2020 (14:13:39 CET)
The paper addresses an analysis of the efficiency and profitability of the operation of a photovoltaic installation located in the geometric centre of Europe (near Białystok, Poland), where the intensity of solar irradiation is not too high compared to other European countries. It is calculated that in that place average solar irradiation being lower even by approx. 26 kWh than that for the whole Europe, which results in a 26% drop in the economic potential of the utilisation of solar energy for its conversion. A case study and an economic analysis show that without minimum funding amounting to 50% of the investment costs paid for the modernisation of a central heating system assisted by PV cells, the time of return of pecuniary expenditures exceeds 7 years. Apart from the Simple Pay-Back Time SPBT, discount indicators determined in the paper also include the net present value NPV and the internal rate of return IRR. Moreover, a direct ecological effect has been determined for such an investment.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0595.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: pathological gambling; social ecological model; adolescents; emerging adults; internet; online communities
Online: 28 January 2021 (16:16:00 CET)
Problem gambling among young people is an emerging trend globally. The online environment in particular offers various possibilities for gambling engagement. This is the first cross-national survey study using the social ecological model to analyze problem gambling, especially in the online context. The aim was to analyze how different social ecological spheres explain problem gambling. Participants were young people aged 15–25 in the United States (n = 1,212), South Korea (n = 1,192), Spain (n = 1,212), and Finland (n = 1,200). The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) instrument was used as a measure for problem gambling. Regression models predicted problem gambling with measures of intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, and societal spheres. Spanish participants had the highest SOGS score for problem gambling. Out of the spheres, organizational-sphere measures best explained the variation in problem gambling in all countries (26%) when compared to the societal (3%), interpersonal (5%) and intrapersonal (11%) spheres. In the full model, organizational-sphere measures had strong associations with problem gambling. These included consumer debt, online gambling community participation, online casino participation, and exposure to online pop-up advertisements. Other robust predictors of problem gambling included conformity to group norms in the interpersonal sphere and male gender and impulsivity in the intrapersonal sphere. Cross-national results were similar in different countries. The online context plays a major role in problem gambling behavior. The social ecological model is a useful tool by which to tackle problem gambling and develop preventative measures.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0296.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: semi-arid steppe region; large-scale coal-power base; landscape ecological classification
Online: 23 April 2018 (12:48:59 CEST)
The ecological background condition of the semi-arid steppe region (SASR) is extremely fragile. It is recognized that the development of coal and electricity power is a kind of strong human interference behavior for regional landscape ecology. Landscape ecological classification (LEC) is the premise of landscape ecology research of the mining area. The current research on the SASR and grassland LEC of coal-power base is relatively less, but still remains uncertainty concerning how to stratify and classify urban mining landscapes into units of ecological significance at spatial scales appropriate for management. This study is based on hierarchy theory, scale theory, landscape process, the patch-corridor-matrix model, the network, the theory of multiple planning integration and the principle of remote sensing. According to the comprehensive principle, principles of the combining of structure and function, principle of the combining human-ominated and natural landscape, principle of emphasis, and principle of combining qualitative analysis with quantitative research of LEC in large-scale coal-power base(LSCPB). On the basis of occurrence method land classification, fully consider the ecological attributes of the land, integration pattern, processes and function theory of the landscape ecology, the LEC system of the LSCPB in the SASR has been constructed by using top-down decomposition classification method. Empirical research of the Victory and Mindong No.1 mining areas of Shenhua Group shows that the classification system constructed in this paper can meet the requirements of LEC and fully reflect the status of landscape ecology of LSCPB in SASR. This study can provide theoretical guidance for the landscape ecology of LSCPB, while also supporting a theoretical reference for the LEC research.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0148.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Accounting Keywords: degradation; dependence; local ecological knowledge; Lower Gangetic Floodplains; Ramsar Convention; wetland
Online: 8 July 2020 (11:21:50 CEST)
Unplanned urbanisation and industrialisation have severely degraded natural ecosystems, particularly wetlands. The Ganges-Brahmaputra Basin support 630 million inhabitants; yet continue to be altered rapidly, jeopardizing the region’s social and ecological integrity. By conducting qualitative interviews and participant observation in a wetland dependent village located in the Lower Gangetic Floodplains we investigated how degrading wetlands in sub-urban landscapes were affecting socio-ecological systems. Not only did the wetlands provide livelihood options, mainly fishing and farming, but also provided prestige and autonomy. Vulnerable sections of the society across class, age and gender were solely dependent on the wetland. In absence of political will to safeguard wetland health, industries emerged by altering wetlands, which hampered local community’s livelihood and lifestyle. Further, our study demonstrated that local ecological knowledge could provide qualitative baseline information for fast-tracking identification of important wetlands and creating inventories to initiate wetland conservation and management. Finally, we recommend local governance structures should be strongly tied to international or national wetland policies so that wetland functions along with human health and well-being could be sustained. We strongly advocate that contradictions in policies be resolved to strengthen efforts to conserve wetlands which provide resilience to marginal communities in the face of calamities.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0542.v2
Subject: Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry Keywords: Cyclic voltammograms; Chronoamperometric; Cyclic ketones structure; Environment ecological aspects ferrocene; Ecological aspects
Online: 25 January 2023 (04:01:22 CET)
Ferrocene and its derivatives have ecologically effective antidetane properties. In this regard, ferrocene reacts with cyclic ketones and ferrosenylcarbinols are synthesized. It should be noted that ferrocene enters into electrophilic reactions and the process takes place in an acidic environment. In addition, the yield of the new product was small compared to the reactions of ferrocene with non-cyclic ketones. This is due to the spatial structures of molecules. The elemental analysis of obtained compounds was carried out; the structures were researched by cyclic voltammograms and Chronoamperometric.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0408.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: Chironomidae; freshwaters; macroinvertebrates; ecological indicators
Online: 24 August 2022 (04:33:02 CEST)
Chironomids are the species richest family among macroinvertebrates and are often used as indicators of ecological condition in inland waters. High taxonomic expertise is needed for identification and new species are still described even in the well-known West Palaearctic region. Data were filed in a Microsoft Access relational database and analysed using the R environment. Our database comprises data on Chironomid species collected in rivers and lakes in Italy and some other European countries over a period of about 50 years, often associated with physical-chemical data, but in some cases only benthic macroinvertebrates are available with no associated environmental data. In this case, the possibility of estimating water quality with only species composition available is discussed. Traits summarizing the species response to environmental variables were evaluated, with emphasis on natural and man influenced factors: current velocity, water temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients. Traits calculations was possible using the subset of database including both environmental data and Chironomid abundances. The relations between sites, species and traits were evaluated using correspondence analysis and other multivariate methods. The response of species showed an interaction among different factors, with the possibility to order species along a single environmental gradient, extending from cold running waters to warm standing waters, with few exceptions. The utility and limits of the use of ecological traits are discussed.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0520.v2
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: Biotic interactions; Ecological modeling; Plant facilitation; Plant community ecology; Spatial ecology; Theoretical ecology.
Online: 15 January 2021 (12:37:06 CET)
Ecologists use the net biotic interactions among plants as a major factor to predict other ecosystem features, such as species diversity, community structure, or plant atmospheric carbon uptake. By adopting this approach, ecologists have built a giant body of theory founded on observational evidence. However, growing evidence points out that this may not be the right approach. The literature addressing the biophysical mechanisms underlying the plant interactions is much scarcer. A rising number of scientists claim the need for a mechanistic understanding of plant interactions due to the limitations that a phenomenological approach raises both in empirical and theoretical studies. Scattered studies have recently taken such a mechanistic approach, but we still lack a general theoretical framework to study mechanistically plant interactions. In this review, we first recapitulate the elementary units of plant interactions, i.e., all the known biophysical processes affected by the presence of an influencing plant and the possible phenotypic responses of plants influenced by those processes. Second, we discuss how a net interaction between two plants emerges from the simultaneous effect of these elementary units. Third, we touch upon the spatial and temporal variability of the net interaction and discuss the links between this variability and the underlying biophysical processes. We conclude by discussing how to integrate these processes into a mechanistic framework for plant interactions that must necessarily focus on the individual scale and explicitly incorporate the spatial structure of the community and environmental factors: the plant interaction models (PIM). A PIM incorporates a pair or few plants interacting with their physical environment so that the biotic interaction is not imposed but emerges from the model. This type of model can provide concise, mechanistic hypotheses to be tested empirically. This review calls for a paradigm shift in the ecology of plant interactions, from the classic species interaction study towards a more mechanistic individual-level approach. It also presents a comprehensive foundation for studying the mechanisms underpinning the net interaction between two plants.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints201704.0103.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Clinical Psychology Keywords: suicide prevention; e-mental health; implementation; fundamental research; ecological momentary assessment; experience sampling; network analysis
Online: 18 April 2017 (03:24:13 CEST)
Suicidal behaviour remains difficult to predict and prevent, even for experienced mental health care professionals. The known distal risk factors for suicidal behaviour are not sufficiently specific to fully understand the complex dynamic processes that precede a suicide attempt. Real-time mobile monitoring data can be used to analyse proximal risk mechanisms within the suicidal process. At the same time smartphone-based safety planning and self-monitoring may enhance a patient’s self-management skills thereby increasing their capacity to respond to a suicidal crisis and to become more aware of crisis symptoms. The current paper describes the theoretical and conceptual rationale for the CASPAR study which applies an innovative approach to the study of suicidal processes. It uses basic science approaches to inform the implementation of an innovative suicide prevention intervention. We aim to develop and implement mobile safety plan in conjunction with real-time monitoring in order to both directly implement suicide prevention interventions and to study the ongoing dynamics of individual suicidal behaviour by applying network analysis.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0086.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: ecological firewalls; synthetic microbiomes; mutualism; cooperation
Online: 4 March 2022 (21:50:53 CET)
While rapidly becoming a main thread in the development of new therapies, the rise of synthetic biology is also tied to concerns about the potential impact on ecosystems. That is particularly relevant in the of deployment in natural habitats, including the human microbiome. These concerns have boosted the analysis of diverse strategies of containment, from engineered cell death to xenobiology to the creation of Xeno nucleic acids. However, little attention has been paid to the potential containment implicit in nonlinear ecological interactions and the lessons provided by the population dynamics models used in community ecology. If we consider synthetic strains as some class of "species" embedded within an ecological context, it is possible to show that some network interaction patterns and their associated nonlinear responses can offer a reliable source of containment. Here we present and discuss some simple examples of these "ecological firewalls" that could help provide a self-regulating biocontainment. Our firewall designs can help to ensure that engineered organisms have a limited spread while, when required, preventing their extinction. The basic synthetic designs and their dynamical behaviour are presented, each one inspired in a given ecological class of interaction. Their possible applications are discussed and the broader connection with invasion ecology outlined.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0116.v2
Online: 6 April 2021 (14:57:54 CEST)
While sex ratios at birth (SRB) have been shown to vary within and across populations, after over a century of research, explanations have remained elusive. A variety of ecological, demographic, economic, and social variables have been evaluated, yet their association with SRB has been equivocal. Here, in an attempt to shed light on this unresolved topic within the literature, we approach the question of what drives variation in SRB using detailed longitudinal data spanning the frontier-era to the early 20th century in a US population. Using several measures of environmental harshness, we find that fewer boys are born during challenging times. However, these results hold only for the frontier-era and not into a period of rapid industrialization. We argue that the mixed state of the literature may result from the impact and frequency of exogenous stressors being dampened in post-industrial societies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0372.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Architecture And Design Keywords: delta project; university living lab; ecological corridor
Online: 25 June 2018 (07:59:08 CEST)
The University of Guayaquil, which shares the same name as the city where it is located, faces the challenge of transforming its image for the XXI century. It was deemed necessary to identify details about the urban evolution of the historic link with the city, in relation to the changes produced by the project’s siting and its direct area of influence. The goal is to integrate the main university campus within a framework which guarantees sustainability and allows innovation in the living lab. To achieve this, the action research method was applied, focused on participation and the logic framework. For the diagnosis, proposal, and management model, integrated working groups were organized with internal users such as professors, students, and university authorities, and external actors such as residents, the local business community, Guayaquil city council, and the Governorate of Guayas. As result of the diagnosis, six different analysis dimensions were established which correspond to the new urban agenda for the future campus: compactness, inclusiveness, resilience, sustainability, safety and participation. As a proposal, the urban design integrates the analysis dimensions whose financing and execution are given by the Town Hall, at the same time the Governorate integrates the campus with its network of community police headquarters.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201802.0066.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Cardiology Keywords: cardiovascular diseases; risk factors; nutrition; ecological study
Online: 8 February 2018 (03:22:54 CET)
The aim of this study was a large-scale ecological analysis of nutritional and other environmental factors potentially associated with the incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in the global context. Indicators of CVDs from 158 countries were compared with the statistics of mean intake (supply) of 60 food items between 1993 and 2011, obesity rates, health expenditure and life expectancy. This comparison shows that the relationship between CVD indicators (raised blood pressure, CVD mortality, raised blood glucose) and independent variables in the global context is influenced by various factors such as short life expectancy, religiously conditioned dietary customs, the imprecision of some statistics and undernutrition. However, regardless of the statistical method used, the results always show very similar trends and identify high carbohydrate consumption (mainly in the form of cereals and wheat in particular) as a dietary factor most consistently associated with the risk of CVDs. These findings are in line with the changing view of the causes of CVDs. Because only the statistics of raised blood glucose include people using medications and reflect true prevalence that is independent of healthcare, more objective data on the prevalence of CVDs are needed to confirm these observed trends.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0328.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: finfish; shellfish; biodiversity indices, ecological pollution; Payra river
Online: 22 October 2021 (11:58:21 CEST)
The Payra River is one of the large coastal rivers in Bangladesh which supports incredible fish species and has been affected by extensive human disturbance due to huge fishing pressure. The present study provides information about the temporal diversity of finfish and shellfish concerning climatological variables and ecological pollution along with threat assessment in the Payra River, Patuakhali. During the entire study, a total of 61 fish species including 56 finfish and 5 shellfish species were recorded under 22 families belonging to 11 orders. The order-wise fish species availability showed that the Perciformes (29.49%) was the dominant order based on species richness. Among them, 4 endangered, 6 vulnerable, 4 near threatened, 42 least concern, and 5 data deficient species were found. During the study period, the average Shannon-Weaver diversity index value was (3.33±0.12) indicates a good spread of fish population in the Payra river. Average Margalef richness index value was found (7.60±0.32), Pielou's evenness index (0.48±0.05), and Simpson dominance index (0.93±0.02) in Payra river. Dominance and Richness index value indicates clear water environment to slight pollution in the Payra river. Ten different kinds of fishing gears were identified under 3 major groups including 5 nets, 3 hooks and lines, and 2 traps. The phytoplanktonic genus and species revealed moderate pollution. Canonical correspondence analysis ordination plot showed that rainfall was the most influencing driving force among the meteorological parameters. The cluster analysis based on the Bray-Curtis similarity matrix showed that the winter season formed a separate cluster. In the recapitulation, the Payra River is a highly productive system that provides a favorable environment for a large variety of finfish and shellfish species assemblages. Findings of the conducted study are expected to be helpful for the respective researchers, policymakers, managers, and conservationists for the sustainable management of this water body and the interconnected surrounding neighboring countries.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0740.v1
Subject: Engineering, Other Keywords: coastal resilience; climate change; indicators; social-ecological system
Online: 28 April 2021 (10:18:36 CEST)
Accompanied by increasing population growth and urban sprawl, most coastal cities are unprecedentedly vulnerable to climate change and its impacts, such as sea level rise, increasing extreme storm events, and coastal flooding. Coastal resilience and sustainable development are antidotes to vulnerability; they aim to enhance the adaptive capability of absorbing disturbances and resisting uncertainty. This study explores building a quantitative assessment framework to measure resilience and provide an objective and comparable method to understand the strengths and weaknesses in a given region. The proposed 25 resilience indicators incorporate the aspects of essential livelihood protection, infrastructure and natural resource maintenance, emergency facilities and institutions, floodplain management regulations, and adaptive planning process. Each indicator is assigned the resilience quality that includes robustness, resourcefulness, redundancy, and rapidity. The aggregated resilience quality scoring reflects the systematic performance of the city to cope with the coastal hazards. The innovative part of this framework is combining hazard mitigation measures, climate adaptation strategies, and sustainable development goals together to achieve a comprehensive assessment method. In the case of New Haven, the resilience assessment is taken as a practical monitoring tool and decision-making support.
Online: 4 June 2020 (17:36:28 CEST)
The probability of zoonoses, such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), emerging is strongly related to remediable factors such as habitat encroachment and trade in wild animals. Tackling these underlying determinants is important to prevent future pandemics from the approximately 700,000 viruses with the potential to cause zoonoses. Reversing habitat destruction is also vital to halt the accelerating rate of extinction of a wide array of life forms - with all the adverse consequences these extinctions will have for human health. These insights depend on viewing health and disease from within an ecological theoretical framework. We therefore argue that preventing future zoonotic outbreaks as well as dealing with a range of contemporary health issues would be facilitated by grounding our health sciences in more a more explicitly ecological conceptual framework.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201908.0066.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Geography Keywords: Anthropocene; resilience; social-ecological systems; sustainability; transitions; wilderness
Online: 6 August 2019 (03:36:20 CEST)
Since the late 1980s the idea of sustainable development has been gaining widespread recognition as a guiding framework for policies on development and the environment. However, the concept of sustainable development has received a number of criticisms, including its over-emphasis on meeting human needs through economic growth, as well as its failure to recognize dynamic human-environment interactions. In response to these shortfalls, the concepts of resilience and adaptive governance have emerged as alternative perspectives for pursuing sustainable development. Resilience in social-ecological systems emphasizes the capacity of coupled human-environment systems to deal with change while continuing to develop. Adaptive governance relies on diverse and nested institutional mechanisms for connecting actors across multiple scales to manage conflicts and uncertainties in ecosystem management processes. However, the ethical dimensions of resilience and adaptive governance have not received enough attention. A promising ethical perspective for guiding policies on human-environment interactions is the philosophy of deep ecology which highlights the need for recognition of the intrinsic values of all living things, as well as the nurturing of ecological and cultural diversity. We argue that an integration of the principles of deep ecology and adaptive governance provides a complementary set of ethical principles and institutional attributes that offers better prospects for pursuing sustainable development in the era of the Anthropocene. The implications of this integrative agenda include: adoption of a holistic conception of dynamic human-environment interactions; recognition of diverse knowledge systems through an anti-reductionist approach to knowledge; promotion of long term sustainability through respect for ecological and cultural diversity; and embracing decentralization and local autonomy. We further illustrate this integrative agenda using the management of protected areas as a case study.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0085.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: ecological economics; markets; embeddedness; justice; sustainability; efficiency; values
Online: 8 May 2019 (09:03:23 CEST)
Markets dominate the world’s food systems. Today’s food systems fail to realize the normative foundations of ecological economics: justice, sustainability, efficiency, and value pluralism. I argue that markets, as an institution for governing food systems, hinder the realization of these objectives. Markets allocate food toward money, not hunger. They encourage shifting costs on others, including nonhuman nature. They rarely signal unsustainability, and in many ways cause it. They do not resemble the efficient markets of economic theory. They organize food systems according to exchange value at the expense of all other social, cultural, spiritual, moral, and environmental values. I argue that food systems can approach the objectives of ecological economics roughly to the degree that they subordinate market mechanisms to social institutions that embody those values. But such “embedding” processes, whether through creating state policy or alternative markets, face steep barriers and can only partially remedy food markets’ inherent shortcomings. Thus, ecological economists should also study, promote, and theorize non-market food systems.
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Keywords: Brain; Borsuk-Ulam theorem; sensation; environment; ecological theory
Online: 26 March 2019 (10:12:37 CET)
During the exploration of the surrounding environment, the brain links together external inputs, giving rise to perception of a persisting object. During imaginative processes, the same object can be recalled in mind even if it is out of sight. Here, topological theory of shape provides a mathematical foundation for the notion of persistence perception. In particular, we focus on ecological theories of perception, that account for our knowledge of world objects by borrowing a concept of invariance in topology. We show how a series of transformations can be gradually applied to a pattern, in particular to the shape of an object, without affecting its invariant properties, such as boundedness of parts of a visual scene. High-level representations of objects in our environment are mapped to simplified views (our interpretations) of the objects, in order to construct a symbolic representation of the environment. The representations can be projected continuously to an environmental object that we have seen and continue to see, thanks to the mapping from shapes in our memory to shapes in Euclidean space.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0360.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: Dispersal range; nesting habitat; reproduction; caste system; ecological dominance
Online: 20 December 2022 (08:40:04 CET)
This review discusses the distribution pattern, nesting style, mating behavior, and colony structure of the Asian weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) in Asia. Recent findings suggested that weaver ant occurrences are not only limited to tropical rainforests biome, agroforestry and large monoculture fields, but have encroached human rural habitation including densely populated urban areas. Comparatively, O. longinoda and O. smaragdina are taxonomically classified as two distinct species, but the main differences between them are strongly dependent on the allopatric nature or geographical speciation of their distribution. Although weaver ants are dominant ubiquitous and conspicuous arboreal insects with a predilection for habitation in trees canopies, viable nests colonies on the ground have been reported in Thailand. O. smaragdina usually construct their polydomous nests (multiple satellites nests arrangement within a single host but diverse plants species) by weaving tree-leaves using their larval silk. Knowledge on mating behavior is rudimentary; hence more studies are needed especially in understanding how weather parameters affect nuptial flight swarming act. At the colony organization level, comprehensive reports about minor and major workers contrasts with the poorly documented but significant intermediate size of workers caste. The versatile impact of Asian Oecophylla is offering important ecological subsistence services to both the nature and humans. This is by combining positive economic implications to food security concern with a provision of organic nutrients for host plants and highly healthful diet enhancer (nourishing-medicinal). Despite its wide presence in large oil palms monoculture, only one report had exposed weaver ants’ potential positive ecological impact (i.e. predation on bagworms Pteroma pendula) in Southeast Asia.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0286.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Other Keywords: ICT; EMI; worker well-being; perceived stress; ecological study
Online: 15 December 2022 (15:05:30 CET)
Based on ICT, specifically smartphones and their mobile apps, this exploratory study questions the impact of EMIs on employees’ perceived stress during work days. A sample of 15 workers, working at least 3 days a week - divided into one control groups (n=5) and one experimental group (n=10) - have used an EMI application “Mon Sherpa” for one-week length. Participants responded to two questionnaires at the beginning of the study: a sociodemographic questionnaire and the PSM-9 (Psychological Stress Measure). They completed the PSM-9 once again in the middle and at the end of the experiment, to compare the score’s evolution depending on the formed groups. Additionally, semi-structured interviews have been conducted with participants of the experimental group (n=9) to identify their application’s perception. Statistics results indicate no effects of the EMIs. However, interviews indicated somatic, behavioral, and cognitive evolutions throughout the experiment in the field of stress, anxiety, and invasive thoughts. These conflicting results might be explained by an immediate but not lasting effect of EMI’s on work-related stress. It may also be partly explained by some limitations of the study. More cross-disciplinary and larger research is required.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0549.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Psychiatry & Mental Health Studies Keywords: air pollution; PM2.5; depression; inflammation; ecological analysis; climate; gender
Online: 29 November 2022 (10:12:54 CET)
Several studies have identified a relationship between air pollution and depression, particularly in relation to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure. However, the strength of this association appears to be moderated by variables such as age, gender, genetic vulnerability, physical activity and climatic conditions, and has not been assessed at a cross-national level to date. The current study examines the association between the prevalence of depression in each country, based on the most recent Global Burden of Disease Study data, and the average national level of PM2.5 based on the World Health Organization’s database. The observed associations were adjusted for age, gender, level of physical activity, income, education, population density, climate, and type of depression. It was observed that there was a modest but significant positive correlation between PM2.5 level and the prevalence of depression even after adjusting for the above confounders. This association was more marked above a certain threshold and applied chiefly to major depressive episodes. These findings are of significant public health importance in terms of preventive strategies aimed at reducing the population-level burden of depression.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0088.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: Circular City Index; Urban Regeneration; Energy and Ecological Transition
Online: 8 October 2022 (03:06:49 CEST)
Cities consume over 75% of natural resources, produce over 50% of global waste and emit 60 - 80% of greenhouse gases. The scenario that by 2050 two thirds of the world population will live in cities, highlights how cities are still responsible of the growing consumption characterized by linear economy processes, with the production of various types of waste. In this unsustainable framework, the Circular Economy offers the opportunity to shape the urban system by means of rethinking the possibility to produce and use goods and services exploring new ways to ensure long-term prosperity. The Circular City paradigm contains in fact all the principles of the Circular Economy: recovery, recycling and sharing. In particular, Circular City also introduces actions related to the development of renewable energy communities, use of green materials, CO2 absorption approaches and Proximity Cities. The aim of this work is to develop a methodology to build a composite index (Circular City Index) capable of measuring the degree of implementation of urban policies that enable the territory to initiate an ecological transition of public assets. The city of Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy) represents the case study to apply circular urban policies in public properties, for civil and military use.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202109.0351.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: oral microbiota; gut microbiota; networks analysis; ecological niche; newborns
Online: 21 September 2021 (09:13:34 CEST)
The onset and progression of the salivary and gut microbiota, the transmission and the impact of the salivary microbiota on the development of early fecal microbial communities was herein explored. We characterized the microbiota of 82 faecal and 80 salivary samples, collected from 82 healty newborns at birth, 7, 15, 30, 90 and 180 days of life, by 16S rRNA targeted-metagenomics approach. Correlation heat-maps and co-occurrence networks were used to investigate microbial taxa relationship in saliva, gut and between the two ecosystems. In saliva microbiota, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus appeared as early commensals, dominating this ecosystem through the time, while Fusobacterium, Prevotella, Porphyromonas, Granulicatella and Veillonella were late colonizers. anaerobes as Enterobacteriace, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, were gut microbiota pioneers, followed by the anaerobic Bifidobacterium, Veillonella, Eggerthella and Bacteroides. Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and Veillonella were shared by gut and saliva ecosystems (core microbiota). Early saliva and gut microbiota seem to evolve independently driven by local adaptation strategies, with the only exception for the oral Streptococcus and Veillonella genera, involved in gut microbiota development as seeding species. A more comprehensive knowledge of how oral microbiota may impact pathophysiological conditions of gut microbiota may open new avenues on the design of postbiotics.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0343.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: Awake Bruxism, Self-Report, Ecological Momentary Assessment, Smartphone Application
Online: 12 March 2021 (15:45:57 CET)
Diagnosis of Awake Bruxism (AB) is problematic due to the inability to use continuous recordings during daytime activities. Recently, a new semi-instrumental approach was suggested, viz., an Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), with the use of a smartphone application. With the application subjects are requested to report, at least 12 times per day, the status of their masticatory muscle activity (relaxed muscles, jaw bracing without tooth contact, teeth contact, teeth clenching or teeth grinding). The aim of the present study was to compare the EMA to the assessment of AB as defined by a single point self-report. The most frequent condition recorded by the EMA was relaxed muscles (ca. 60%) and the least frequent one - Teeth grinding (0.6 %). The relaxed muscle condition also showed the lowest coefficient of variance over a 7day period of report. Additionally, only the relaxed muscles and the Jaw bracing conditions presented an acceptable ability to discriminate between AB positive and AB negative subjects, as defined by single point self-report questions. The combination between self-report and EMA may have a potential to promote our ability to diagnose AB. We suggest to re-consider the conditions of Teeth contact and Teeth grinding while using EMA to evaluate AB.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201801.0187.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Geography Keywords: mountainous areas; urbanization; ecological footprint; Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture
Online: 19 January 2018 (14:46:38 CET)
The rapid urbanization has exerted tremendous pressure on natural systems in mountains. As a measure of sustainable use of natural resources, ecological footprint is an important basis for judging whether the development of a country or region is within the biocapacity. Taking Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture as an example, this study comprehensively analyzes the impact of human activities on mountain resources and environment from the three aspects of urbanization, land use and ecological carrying capacity. The results show that Dali Prefecture with the urbanization rate of 33% is still in the accelerated stage of urbanization. The urban space presents the core-periphery feature, and the central city is the focus of human existence and living activities. The per capita ecological footprint is 1.14 hm2/person higher than the ecological carrying capacity, meaning Dali Prefecture is in an ecological deficit state. This indicates that there is an uncoordinated state between urbanization and environment. Arable land is the main source of per capita ecological footprint in the prefecture. However, the urban expansion overly occupies the arable land in the plain sub-region, leading the arable land to an ecological deficit state. In the future, the development of the mountainous area should focus on the protection of arable land and choose a new sustainable path.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0442.v2
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: bison; restoration; socio-ecological processes; indigenous harvest; maximum entropy modelling
Online: 29 September 2022 (10:58:10 CEST)
The historic western edge of bison (Bison bison) range and the ecological processes that caused its formation are frequently debated with important implications for bison restoration across North America. We test the hypothesis that a combination of bottom-up habitat suitability and top-down harvest pressure from humans were important processes in forming the western edge of bison distribution. Using 9,384 historical journal observations from 1691 – 1928, we employ MaxEnt ecological niche modelling to identify suitable bison habitat across the Western Cordillera from bottom-up climatic, land cover, and topographic factors. We then use mixed-effect logistic regression to test if bison occurrence in journal records can be in part explained by the abundance of Indigenous humans, wolves, or grizzly bears, in addition to MaxEnt-derived habitat suitability. We find support for our hypothesis because of the limited suitable habitat in the Rocky Mountains that likely prevented westward bison dispersal from core habitat, and there was a negative relationship between bison occurrence and human harvest pressure. On this basis, we propose that intensive human harvest from large populations in the Western Cordillera, subsidized by other wildlife, salmon, and vegetation resources, is an underappreciated socioecological process that needs to be restored alongside bison populations. Co-managing bison with Indigenous people will also mitigate the adverse effects of overabundant bison and maximize the ecological and cultural benefits of bison restoration.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0505.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nutrition Keywords: affect; pregnancy; food intake; body mass index; ecological momentary assessment
Online: 30 August 2022 (04:33:53 CEST)
Background: Affective states play a role in dietary behaviors. Yet, little research has studied within-subjects associations between affect and diet during pregnancy. We examined the acute bidirectional relationships between affect and food intake and moderation by pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) in low-income, Hispanic pregnant women using ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Methods: Women (N=57) completed four days of EMA during their first trimester. Women responded to five random prompts per day about their current affect and past two-hour food intake. Results: Higher positive affect (PA) or lower negative affect (NA) predicted greater likelihood of fruit/vegetable consumption in the next two hours in women with lower pre-pregnancy BMI and lower likelihood in women with higher pre-pregnancy BMI. Higher PA predicted less likelihood of fast food consumption in the next two hours in women with lower pre-pregnancy BMI and slightly higher likelihood in women with higher pre-pregnancy BMI. Women with lower pre-pregnancy BMI had higher PA when they reported consuming chips/fries in the past two hours, and women with higher pre-pregnancy BMI had lower PA when they reported consumption of chips/fries in the past two hours. Conclusions: Results showed differential relationships between affect and food intake as a function of pre-pregnancy BMI.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0392.v2
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: forest management methods; adaptive forest management; climate change; ecological norm
Online: 27 July 2022 (04:40:00 CEST)
The compelling effects of climate change on forests may have been underestimated in the past few decades in practical forestry. Although the first attempts to draw attention to this complex problem appeared almost half a century ago, the debate has been conceptual rather than experimental and applicative. At first glance, the con-cerns were mainly related to sustainable forest management (SFM) issues, which obviously needed attention. Over time, the effects of climate change have been mainly considered in the context of the SFM; they started from various and somewhat different scales and goals. Over time, more research and awareness of the im-portance of SFM under the pressure of climate change have led to the development of a clearer field that can be defined as ‘adaptive forest management’ - to climate change. One of the characteristics of this discipline is to be featured by the absence of univocal methods and / or objectives to be pursued but to identify, verify, and adapt methods to the various climatic and forest types and conditions found in the field. Therefore, this work shows some phases of forest planning and management concepts and criteria over time and recalls some innovative and / or adaptive methods related to the approach to forest planning and management under climate change
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0173.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: Tarim river; ecological service function value; river ecosystem; evaluation indicators
Online: 13 June 2022 (09:33:56 CEST)
The estimation of ecological service system value of water resources in Tarim river basin is of great significance for resource allocation management and ecological protection. However, there is still no unified and complete evaluation method for ecological service system value of inland river in China. Based on the perspective of the whole value chain, the study classifies its ecological service functions, and divides 11 sub-categories into 4 categories (supply, regulation, culture and support) as evaluation indicators to carry out quantitative evaluation. The results showed that the total value of ecological service system in Tarim river basin in 2018 was 4156.5247×108 Yuan, and the value of regulating function, cultural function, supporting function and supply function were successively from high to low, which were as follows: 2565.6825×108 Yuan, 1009.5471×108 Yuan, 884.0770×108 Yuan, 20.3350×108 Yuan, among which the value of regulation function is dominant.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0102.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Architecture And Design Keywords: Design Morphology; Ecosystem Thinking and Methods; Ecological Environment; Form Community
Online: 7 February 2022 (16:31:36 CET)
As an emerging discipline, Design Morphology, with the advantage of "Form Study", has been integrated with many disciplines, and gradually formed its collaborative innovation paradigm. The inclusion of "Ecology" into Design Morphology is expected to promote the research of Design Morphology with the help of the systematic thinking and methods of ecology. The ecosystem of Design Morphology includes the natural ecosystem and the quasi-ecosystem closely related to human beings, and also put forward the concept of "Form Community" for the first time in the design field. In fact, this is exactly the research scope of Design Morphology. Advocating the ecological view of Design Morphology, can not only help to design researchers improve their values and world view, with new thinking and method to engage in "Form Study", but also contribute to the theoretical construction and thinking expansion of Design Morphology, and play a positive role in promoting interdisciplinary collaborative innovation led by Design Morphology. In addition, it can be used to evaluate the overall research and future development trend of Design Morphology, and provide the new research ideas and approaches for the development of design.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0469.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Clinical Psychology Keywords: tinnitus; self-help; ecological momentary assessment; ehealth; smart-phone; intervention
Online: 31 January 2022 (14:00:09 CET)
Tinnitus is an auditory phantom perception in the ears or head in the absence of a corresponding external stimulus. There is currently no effective treatment available that reliably reduces tinnitus. Educative counseling is a treatment approach that aims to educate patients and inform them about possible coping strategies. For this feasability study, we implemented educational material and self-help advice in a smartphone app. Participants used the educational smartphone unsupervised during their daily routine over a period of 4 months. Comparing the tinnitus outcome measures before and after smartphone-guided treatment, we measured changes in the tinnitus-related distress, but not in tinnitus loudness. Improvements on the Tinnitus Severity numeric rating scale reached an effect size of .408, while the improvements on the THI were much smaller with an effect size of .168. Analysis on the user behavior showed that frequent and intensive use of the app is a crucial factor for treatment success: participants that used the app more often and interacted with the app intensively, reported a stronger improvement of the tinnitus. Between study allocation and final assessment, 26 of 52 participants dropped out of the study. Reasons for the dropouts and lessons for future studies are discussed in this paper.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0375.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: multi-pond saltern; salinity gradients; microbial community; assembly; ecological processes
Online: 25 January 2022 (09:58:30 CET)
Salinity acts as a critical environmental filter on microbial communities in natural systems, negatively affecting microbial diversity. However, how salinity affects the community assembly remains unclear. This study used Wendeng multi-pond saltern as a model to evaluate the prokaryotic community composition and diversity and quantify the relative importance of ecological processes across salinity gradients. Results showed that low saline salterns (45-80 g/L) exhibited higher bacterial diversity than those in high saline salterns (175-265 g/L). The relative abundance of taxa assigned to Halanaerobiaceae, Haloferacaceae, Desulfohalobiaceae, Phormidiaceae, Rohodobacteraceae, and Nitrococcaceae was higher with increasing salinity. Salinity and pH were the primary environmental factors that directly or indirectly determined the composition and diversity of prokaryotic communities. Microbial co-occurrence network dynamics were more complex in the sediment than in water of salterns. An infer Community Assembly Mechanisms by Phylogenetic-bin-based null model analysis (iCAMP) showed that microbial community assembly in sediment and water differed. Our findings provide more information about microbial community structure and the importance of various ecological processes in controlling microbial community diversity and succession along salinity gradients in water and sediment environments.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0502.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: invasive species; ecological niche models; species distribution models; vector surveillance
Online: 21 December 2020 (10:50:19 CET)
Aedes scapularis is a neotropical mosquito known to transmit pathogens of medical and veterinary importance. Its recent establishment in southeastern Florida has potential public health implications. We used an ecological niche modeling approach to predict the abiotic environmental suitability for Ae. scapularis across much of the Americas and Caribbean Islands. Georeferenced occurrence data obtained from the Global Biodiversity Inventory Facility and recent collection records of Ae. scapularis from southern Florida served as input for model calibration. Environmental layers included bioclimatic variables provided in 2000 to 2010 average Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications climatic (MERRAclim) data. Models were run in the software program Maxent. Isothermality values found often in costal environments contributed strongest to model performance. Model projections suggested areas predicted suitable for Ae. scapularis across portions of the Amazon Basin, the Yucatán Peninsula, the Florida Peninsula, and multiple Caribbean Islands. Additionally, model predictions suggested connectivity of highly suitable or relatively suitable environments spanning the United States Gulf Coast, which may facilitate geographic expansion of this species. At least sixteen Florida counties were predicted highly suitable for Ae. scapularis, suggesting vigilance is needed by vector control and public health agencies to recognize further spread of this vector.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0290.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: hormesis; developmental toxicity; endocrine disruptor; herbicide; ecological risk assessment (ERA)
Online: 13 September 2020 (15:33:58 CEST)
Some herbicides exert hormetic or biphasic non-monotonic dose-response (NMDR), which is one of the major challenges for ecological risk assessment (ERA) of pesticides pollution. In this study, fish embryo toxicity test (FET) with Javanese medaka (Oryzias javanicus) to sublethal concentration of diuron was determined. Inverted U-shape heart rate was observed at 3 days post-exposure (dpe) and 7 dpe. However, at 13 dpe the heart rate (104 ± 2.90 heartbeat/min.) decreased in 10.00 mg.L-1 exposed-embryos. At 20 dpe, hatchability and survival rate were reduced in 5.00 mg.L-1 and 10.00 mg.L-1 exposed groups. Hormetic developmental deformities were observed in embryo-larvae of Javanese medaka. The results revealed a biphasic effect of low concentrations of diuron on some morphological and physiological features of Javanese medaka embryo-larvae, which might be attributed to endocrine disruption of this herbicide. Further studies to support these effects were recommended.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201909.0332.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: ecological efficiency; collaborative innovation; global-malmquist; gravity model; system-gmm
Online: 29 September 2019 (10:42:11 CEST)
Taking capital, manpower, and natural resources as inputs, regional GDP as expected output, and industrial pollution as undesired output, this study measures the ecological efficiency of various regions in China through the Global-Malmquist model. The results show a trend of an initial sharp decline in ecological efficiency followed by a gradual increase in the time dimension, but there is no significant correlation in the spatial dimension. Using the gravity model to quantify the attractiveness of the regions’ capital and human resources for collaborative innovation, it estimates the impact of collaborative innovation on eco-efficiency through the system-Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) model. The results show that technological innovation capital in other regions has a negative “U” relationship with local ecological efficiency, while scientific and technological innovation human resources have a positive “U” relationship. In addition, government financial support in science and technology and the ecological efficiency of the previous period serve as promoting factors of the current local ecological efficiency, while the introduction of foreign technological innovation is likely to inhibit improvements in ecological efficiency. Based on these findings, this study puts forward corresponding policy recommendations for local governments to advance their development agendas alongside their environmental priorities in line with their specific circumstances.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0724.v2
Subject: Social Sciences, Political Science Keywords: Social-Ecological System; Water security; Governance; Institution; Learning; Data-Cube
Online: 22 November 2018 (14:47:31 CET)
The Social-Ecological Systems (SES) framework serves as a valuable framework to explore and understand social and ecological interactions, and pathways in water governance. Yet, it lacks a robust understanding of change. We argue an analytical and methodological approach to engaging global changes in SES is critical to strengthening the scope and relevance of the SES framework. Relying on SES and resilience thinking, we propose an institutional and cognitive model of change that institutions and natural resources systems co-evolve to provide a dynamic understanding of SES that stands on three causal mechanisms: institutional complexity trap, rigidity trap, and learning processes. We illustrate how Data Cube technology could overcome current limitations and offer reliable avenues to test hypothesis about the dynamics of social-ecological systems and water security by offering to combine spatial and time data with no major technical requirements for users.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201712.0073.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: demand-led growth; downshifting; Kaleckian-Harrodian; post-Keynesian; ecological economics
Online: 12 December 2017 (08:34:41 CET)
If the world’s countries seriously tackle the climate targets agreed in Paris, their citizens are likely to experience substantial changes in production, consumption and employment. We present a long-run post-Keynesian model for studying the potential implications of a major transition on macroeconomic stability and employment. It is a demand-led model in which firms have considerable but not absolute freedom to administer prices, while household consumption exhibits inertia. Firms continually seek input-saving technological improvements that, in the aggregate, tie technological progress to firms' cost structure. Together with firm pricing strategies and wage setting, the productivities of different inputs determine the functional income distribution. Saving and investment, and production and purchase of consumption goods, are undertaken by different economic actors, driven by income and capacity utilization, with the possibility that productive capacity exceeds, or falls short of, effective demand. The model produces business cycles and long waves driven by technological change. We present results for a “downshifting” scenario in which households voluntarily withdraw labor and discuss the implications of downshifting for stability, growth, and employment. We contrast the downshifting scenario with ones in which households reduce consumption without withdrawing from the labor pool.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201609.0098.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Other Keywords: ecological niche model; environment; overdispersion; negative binomial; leishmaniasis; infectious disease
Online: 27 September 2016 (10:17:31 CEST)
Leishmaniasis is the third most common vector-borne disease and a very important protozoan infection. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is one of the most common types of leishmaniasis infectious diseases with up to 2 million occurrences of new cases each year worldwide. A dynamic transmission multivariate time series model was applied to the data to account for overdispersion and evaluate the effects of three environmental layers as well as seasonality in the data. Furthermore, ecological niche modeling was used to investigate the geographical suitable conditions for cutaneous leishmaniasis using temperature, precipitation and altitude as environmental layers, together with the leishmaniasis presence data. A retrospective analysis of the cutaneous leishmaniasis spatial data in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2009 indicates a steady increase from 2003 to 2007, a small decrease in 2008, then another increase in 2009. An upward trend and regularly repeating patterns of highs and lows was observed related to the months of the year which suggests seasonality effect in the data. Two peaks were observed in the disease occurrence-- January to March and September to December -- which coincide with the cold period. Ecological niche modelling indicates that precipitation has the greatest contribution to the potential distribution of leishmaniasis.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0370.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Political Science Keywords: socio-ecological systems; sustainability; adaptive cycle; panarchy; commodity frontiers; world-ecology.
Online: 25 October 2022 (02:03:32 CEST)
This article investigates the dynamics of socio-ecological systems (SESs) unsustainability. By adopting a theoretical standpoint grounded in systems’ theory, the analysis shows how SESs’ teleology (or final cause) is of the utmost relevance for understanding unsustainability and how it is pivotal for envisioning possible evolutionary trajectories towards sustainability. Building on the contributions of both system and social scientists, the study argues that SES’s teleology is determined by dominant social ontologies that require a dialectical lens to be properly dealt with. The article therefore proposes the adoption of the adaptive cycle heuristic complemented by an historical-geographical approach based on world-ecology theory as a means to dynamically model of SESs’ behaviour. Such a perspective allows for the direct comparison between the four stages of the panarchy cycle (reorganization, exploitation, conservation, and release) and the four stages theorized by the world-ecology dialectics (expansion, appropriation, capitalization, crisis). In conclusion, the article claims that both system and social scientists would benefit from including in their analysis concepts and definitions from the other field, since both provide valuable insights about SESs' processes of change and both are necessary to envision transition pathways towards sustainability.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0534.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: governance; social-ecological system; tropical cyclone; urban forest; urban tree canopy
Online: 23 July 2021 (10:31:50 CEST)
Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) greatly enhances the livability of cities by reducing urban heat buildup, mitigating stormwater runoff, and filtering airborne particulates, among other ecological services. These benefits, combined with the relative ease of measuring tree cover from aerial imagery, have led many cities to adopt management strategies based on UTC goals. In this study, we conducted canopy analyses for the 300 largest cities in Florida to assess the impacts of development practices, urban forest ordinances, and hurricanes on tree cover. Within the cities sampled, UTC canopy ranged from 5.9% to 68.7% with a median canopy coverage of 32.3% Our results indicate that the peak gust speeds recorded during past hurricanes events were a significant predictor of canopy coverage (P-value = <0.001) across the sampled cities. As peak gust speeds increased from 152 km/h (i.e., a lower-intensity Category 1 storm) to 225 km/h (lower-intensity Category 4 and the maximum gusts captured in our data), predicted canopy in developed urban areas decreased by 7.7%. Beyond the impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms, we found that historic landcover and two out of eight urban forest ordinances were significant predictors of existing canopy coverage (P-landcover <0.001; P-tree preservation ordinance = 0.02, P-heritage tree ordinance = 0.03). Results indicate that local policies and tree protections can protect or enhance urban tree canopy, even in the face of rapid development and periodic natural disturbances.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0470.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: heavy metals; surface sediment; Manila Bay; pollution; multivariate analysis; ecological risk
Online: 18 June 2021 (08:32:18 CEST)
Recent work on heavy metal pollution in Manila Bay suggests elevated concentration in the surface sediments. It is critical to identify the sources of these heavy metals to effectively rehabilitate the bay. Our study investigated the sources of the heavy metal pollution that ended up in Manila Bay and the risks associated with these toxic metals based on a recent survey conducted. Surface sediment samples with higher heavy metal concentrations were found in the upper to middle parts of the bay while lower concentrations were in the southeast areas. Multivariate analyses such as hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA), principal component analysis (PCA), and Pearson correlation analysis were used to identify the sources of the heavy metals. The heavy metal pollution in Manila Bay is attributed to several rivers draining northeast of Manila Bay, particularly the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System (MMORS) which is cited as one of the 30 dirtiest river systems in the world. The ecological risks associated with heavy metals in the sediments found higher incidences of toxicity in north and middle parts of Manila Bay. Cu and Cr posed the highest risks of toxicities than any other heavy metals. Based on our analysis, the counterclockwise water gyre of the bay can explain the distribution and ecological risks associated with the heavy metals as supported by the findings of the PCA. Given the high priority by the Philippine government to rehabilitate the bay, our study strongly shows that efforts to restore the ecological status of Manila Bay will only succeed if the pollution from major rivers draining to it will be properly addressed.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0368.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Geography Keywords: Boom bust economy; Resilience; Single industry; Social ecological system; Sustainable development
Online: 17 September 2020 (03:29:07 CEST)
This paper reports on the changing dynamics of a small town’s social-ecological system (SES) concerning oil and gas industry boom-bust economic cycles and both the vulnerability and resilience of the town over the past 30 years. With the goal to understand how resource-based single industry impact social-ecological systems, we developed indicators of human and environmental well-being and assessed them. Seven indicators include labor force distribution, education, oil price, household income, water quality, air quality, and land cover land use. Over this period, Drayton Valley, Canada quadrupled in size, with more than 20% of the population working in the oil and gas sector. Median income rose to 42% above the national average despite the population lagging national benchmarks for educational attainment. There have also been dramatic fluctuations in levels of fluoride, phosphorus, and other chemicals in water quality samples, implying a correlation with fossil fuel extractive activities over this period. Land cover land use change analysis shows a decreased area of water bodies, wetland, and forests, and increased built capital and agricultural land. While economic boom cycles have led to cash inflows, an exclusive focus on the benefits of the oil and gas industry may leave those dependent on the industry vulnerable to social and environmental risk factors during bust cycles that are beyond their control in the everchanging global oil economy. This phenomenon which has been referred to as the “resource curse” suggests the need to anticipate cyclical (or more sustained) periods of low levels of oil and gas production. These results suggest that single boom-bust economies impact every aspect of social-ecological systems. Therefore, a sustainable development plan that comprehensively considers not only economic growth, but also diversification, environment protection, and strategic land use planning is indispensable to ensure the long-term development of communities that depend upon extractive industries.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0386.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Other Keywords: Geoethics; social-ecological systems; ethical imperatives; COVID-19 pandemic; responsible science
Online: 18 August 2020 (11:15:13 CEST)
Geoscientists developed geoethics, an intra-disciplinary field of applied philosophical studies, during the last decade. Reaching beyond the sphere of professional geosciences, it led to professional, cultural, and philosophical approaches to handle the social-ecological structures of our planet ‘wherever human activities interact with the Earth system’. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 and considering geoscientists’ experiences dealing with disasters (related to hazards like tsunamis, floods, climate changes.), this essay (1) explores the geoethical approach, (2) re-casts geoethics within western philosophical systems, such as the Kantian imperatives, Kohlberg scale of moral adequacy, Jonas’ imperative of responsibility, and (3) advances a ‘geoethical thesis’. The latter takes the form of a hypothesis of a much broader scope of geoethics than initially envisioned. That hypothesis appears by suspecting a relationship between the relative successes in the COVID-19 battle with the positioning of agents (individual, collective, institutional) into ethical frameworks. The turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, calls for the transfer of experiences between different disciplinary domains to further sustainable governance, hence generalising the geoethical approach. It is emphasized that only when behaving as responsible and knowledgeable citizens, then people of any trade (including [geo-]scientists) can transgress the boundaries of ordinary governance practices with legitimacy.
Subject: Keywords: indigenous peoples; local communities; resilience; cultural heritage; socio-ecological systems; networks
Online: 31 May 2020 (15:57:36 CEST)
Global environmental and societal changes threaten the cultures of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC). Despite the importance of IPLC worldviews and knowledge systems to human well-being and biodiversity, risks to these cultural resources are commonly simplified or neglected in environmental impact assessments, in part because cultural impacts are often indirect and therefore difficult to demonstrate. Here, we show that dependency of a culture on the environment can be mapped through human connections with biophysical elements in their environment. We illustrate a rich variety of cultural values that connect an indigenous Māori tribe in New Zealand with their local environment, then evaluate the resilience of this socio-environmental value system to environmental changes. Our results detail how loss of access to key environmental elements can have extensive direct and cascading impacts on multiple facets of indigenous cultural heritage. Consequently, considering only direct effects of environmental change on cultural heritage, or treating the richness of IPLC environmental relations simplistically, can severely underestimate the seriousness of environmental impacts on IPLC culture. Thus, protecting Earth’s cultural and biological diversity requires inclusion of human-environment relationships in environmental impact assessments.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0224.v2
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: soil; groundwaters; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); industrial complex; ecological risk; contamination
Online: 8 March 2020 (16:24:28 CET)
Research subjects of this study are four representative locations in the industrial complex, in the city of Banja Luka, Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (∑16PAHs), humus and pH were determined. The main objective of the paper is to determine the concentration levels, to assess the probable sources of PAHs contamination in soil and groundwater and to determine the ecological risk. The ∑16PAHs in soil (at depths of 30 cm, 100 cm, 200 cm, 300 cm and 400 cm) ranged from 0.99 to 2.24 mg/kg, from 0.34 to 0.46, from 0.24 to 0.32, from 0.13 to 0.27 and from 0.13 to 0.47, with mean values of 1.70 mg/kg, 0.40 mg/kg, 0.28 mg/kg, 0.20 mg/kg and 0.26 mg/kg, respectively. The ∑16PAHs in groundwater ranged from 0.23 to 4.50 mg/m3, with a mean value of 1.42 mg/m3. Surface soil and groundwater are heavily contaminated. All values of ∑PAHs in soil layers were lower in the depths of the soil. Factor analysis indicates three sources of contamination, i.e. principal component (PC) PC1 (pyrogenic), PC2 (petrogenic) and PC3 (biomass), with 52.39%, 26.14% and 8.46% of the total variance, respectively. ∑PAH and PAHs indicate high ecological risk for most PAHs, which decreases with soil depth.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201906.0305.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: biological invasions; invasive species, status, ecological niche, invasive niche, Ulex europaeus
Online: 29 June 2019 (10:38:29 CEST)
This study analyzes the natural and social factors influencing the emergence and publicization of the invasive status of a fast growing bush, gorse (Ulex europaeus), by comparison between countries on a global scale. We used documents collected on the web in a standardized way. The results show that in all the countries studied, there are several public statuses attributed to gorse. The invasive status is the one that is most shared. The other most frequently encountered status are those of noxious weed, and of economically useful. The invasive status is publicized in nearly all countries, including those where gorse is almost absent. We quantified the publicization of the invasive gorse status of gorse by an indicator with 5 levels, and then performed a multivariate analysis that combines natural and social explanatory variables. The results lead us to propose the concept of invasive niche: the set of natural and social parameters that allow a species to be considered invasive in a given socio-ecosystem.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0197.v1
Subject: Keywords: pro-environmental behavior, social-ecological systems, conservation, social networks, landscape structure
Online: 15 May 2019 (12:24:16 CEST)
Conservation of natural habitats in human-dominated landscapes is critical for halting biodiversity loss. Maintaining habitat quantity and connectivity requires landscape-level collective action, which results from environmental decisions made by individual land owners. We investigate how individual decision making in a rural collective translates into quantitative differences in landscape-level environmental outcomes. Behavioral science has become a critical domain of knowledge in conservation, but little attention has been paid to how multiple behavioral drivers determine the success of collective environmental action. We developed a social-ecological model for landscape-level conservation using a detailed data set of 600 land owners in New Zealand. With the model, we tested whether the effect of social influence networks on collective conservation action was altered by their interplay with land owners’ personal characteristics, connections to cross-scale actors and local environmental contexts. Interactions between multiple behavioral drivers determined the environmental outcomes of collective action in unexpected ways by modifying, muting or amplifying the effects of single drivers. Importantly, we detected a social-ecological mechanism for rapid change in the extent of protected habitats, which can explain highly successful or failed environmental outcomes of collective conservation. Further, when environmentally desirable and undesirable behaviors spread simultaneously through the social network, homophily and network cohesion hinder desirable environmental outcomes. This effect can be modified by other drivers such as social responses to local environmental change. Thus, understanding how the antagonistic and synergistic effects of behavioral drivers can be best utilized in conservation will benefit biodiversity and ensure benefits that humans obtain from biodiversity.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0151.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: ecological footprint; biocapacity; resource consumption; grazing land; carbon emission; renewable energy
Online: 9 July 2018 (14:05:23 CEST)
Urbanization and industrialization processes in Mongolia have been significant and rapid for the last half-century. During this period, changes in political and economic systems, growth in the population, and the occasional harsh climate conditions were subject to fluctuations in the natural resource usage. The total Ecological Footprint (EF) in Mongolia has increased from 6.8 million global hectares (gha) in 1961 to 14.6 million gha in 2012. However, Biocapacity (BC) has decreased from 50.6 million gha in 1961 to 39.0 million gha in 2012. The study shows that grazing land Footprint and carbon uptake land Footprint are the two major contributors of the recent intensified use of biological resources. To ensure stable economic development and sustainable use of natural resources, environmental planning is required to consider both the population’s pressure on the environment and the ecosystem’s regeneration capacity, simultaneously. We have proposed a few possible strategies for sustainable utilization of grazing land Footprint and carbon Footprint. For grazing land Footprint, efficient management of both herding practice and number of animals should be considered. In case of carbon Footprint, it is estimated that with the improved combustion efficiencies of coal-based power plants and the maximum use of renewable energy, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Mongolia can be reduced up to 30% compared to the base line business as usual case in 2030.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201704.0186.v2
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: biodiversity; connectivity; ecological integrity; Mountain Treasures; protected areas; Southern Appalachian Mountains
Online: 29 May 2017 (10:58:00 CEST)
Conservation scientists recognize that additional protected areas are needed to maintain biological diversity and ecological processes. As regional conservation planners embark on recommending additional areas for protection in formal conservation reserves, it is important to evaluate candidate lands for their role in building a resilient protected areas system of the future. Here, we evaluate North Carolina’s Mountain Treasures with respect to their (i) ecological integrity, (ii) role in connecting existing core protected areas, (iii) potential to diversify the ecosystem representation of reserves, and (iv) role in maintaining hotspots of biologically-rich areas not well protected. Mountain Treasures represent a citizen inventory of roadless areas and serve as candidates for elevated levels of conservation protection on U.S. federal lands. We compared Mountain Treasures to other candidate lands throughout the country to evaluate their potential national significance. While the Mountain Treasures tended to be more impacted by human modifications than other roadless areas, they are as important as other roadless areas with respect to their role in connecting existing protected areas and diversifying representation of ecosystems in conservation reserves. However, Mountain Treasures tended to have a much higher biodiversity priority index than other roadless areas leading to an overall higher composite score compared to other roadless areas. Our analysis serves as an example of how using broad-scale datasets can help conservation planners assess the national significance of local areas.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0226.v3
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Oncology & Oncogenics Keywords: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma ecology; Unity of ecology and evolution; Pathological ecosystem; Tumor microenvironment; Tumor host interface; Tumor budding; Ecological pathology; Ecological radiology; Multidimensional tumoriecology; Medical ecology tree
Online: 29 December 2022 (09:19:56 CET)
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a particular entity of head neck cancer that is generally regarded as a genetic disease with diverse extent of intertumor and intratumor heterogeneity. Here, we declare that, NPC is not only a genetic disease; it could be better conceptualized as a multidimensional spatiotemporal “unity of ecology and evolution” pathological ecosystem. Subsequently, we discuss NPC cells as invasive species and its metastasis as a multidirectional ecological dispersal. We then interpreter the foundational ecological principles to understand NPC progression. The model of “mulberry-fish-ponds” can well illustrate the dynamic reciprocity of cancer ecosystem. We propose that tumor-host interface is the ecological transition zone in cancers, and tumor buddings should be recognized as ecological islands separated from the mainland. It should be noted that the invasive edge has a significantly molecular and functional edge effect because of its curvature and irregularity. Selection driving factors and ecological therapy including hyperthermia for NPC patients, and future perspectives of “ecological pathology”, “multidimensional spatiotemporal tumoriecology” are also pointed out. We advance that “nothing in cancer evolution or ecology makes sense except in the light of the other”. Medical ecology tree is unprecedentedly constructed to demonstrate that the initiation and progression of human diseases could be a multidimensional spatiotemporal ecological process. The establishment of “NPC ecology” and “medical ecology tree” might provide a new paradigm and conceptual framework for our understanding of the complex progression of human diseases and development of potential preventive and therapeutic strategies for patients.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0431.v1
Subject: Engineering, Other Keywords: Resilience; Risky-Opportunity Analysis Method (ROAM); Socio-Ecological Transition; Socio-Technical Transition; Cyber-Physic-Social Systems; Change Management; Risk Management; Critical Infrastructure Resilience; Critical Entities Digitization; Risky-Opportunity (RO); Payment Service Providers (PSP); Stress; Strain
Online: 28 October 2021 (10:13:39 CEST)
Socio-ecologic, socio-economic, and socio-technical transitions are opportunities that require fundamental changes in the system. These will encounter matters associated with security, service adoption by end-users, infrastructure and availability. The purpose of this study is to examine and overcome the risks to take advantage of opportunities through the novel Risky-Opportunity Analysis Method (ROAM). A novel quantitative method is designed to determine when, after making some changes, the risks become acceptable so that the opportunity does not deviate from the objectives. The approach provided a quantitative evaluation of the possible changes in parallel with digitization, towards providing a green Service Supply Chain (SSC). The result of ROAM shows that the most cost-effective change to increase the resilience of the system is a solution (SMS) which is different from that identified by a TOPSIS multi-criteria method. Real-word decisions in change management should tackle the complexity of systems and uncertainty of events during and after transition through a careful analysis of the alternatives. A case-study was carried out to evaluate the alternatives of an ancillary service in the Payment Service Providers (PSP). The comparison of the ROAM results with the traditional TOPSIS of the case-study unveils the priority of the ROAM in practice when the alternatives are Risky-Opportunities. The existing risk assessment tools do not take advantage of risky opportunities. To this aim, the current article introduces the term Risky-Opportunity, and two indexes Stress and Strain of the alternatives that are designed to be employed in the new quantitative ROAM approach.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0403.v2
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: Nature-based solutions; climate change adaptation; climate change vulnerability; social-ecological systems
Online: 20 September 2022 (12:35:06 CEST)
Nature-based solutions (NbS) - working with and enhancing nature to address societal challenges - are increasingly being featured in climate change adaptation policy and plans. While there is growing evidence that NbS can reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts in general, there is a lack of understanding on the mechanisms through which this can be achieved, particularly in the Global South. To address this, we analyse 85 nature-based interventions in rural areas across the Global South, and factors mediating their effectiveness, based on a systematic map of peer-reviewed studies encompassing a wide diversity of ecosystems, climate impacts, and intervention types. We develop and apply an analytical framework of people’s social-ecological vulnerability to climate change, in terms of six pathways of vulnerability reduction: social and ecological exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Most cases (95%) report a reduction in vulnerability, primarily by lowering ecosystem sensitivity to climate impacts (73% of interventions), followed by reducing social sensitivity (52%), reducing ecological exposure (36%), increasing social adaptive capacity (31%), increasing ecological adaptive capacity (19%) and/or reducing social exposure (14%). An analysis of mediating factors shows that social dimensions are equally important as technical factors in NbS to achieving equitable and effective outcomes. Attention to the distinct social and ecological pathways through which vulnerability is reduced helps to harness the multiple benefits of working with nature in a warming world.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0401.v1
Subject: Engineering, Civil Engineering Keywords: ecological cement; cementitious system; thermodynamic; calcium silicate hydrate; tricalcium silicate; GEM-Selektor
Online: 30 May 2022 (11:41:13 CEST)
Ecological ternary cements (ECP) were perpared with powders of phosphogypsum (PG), fly ash (FA) and portland cement (PC). The evolution mechanism of the hydration product structure was characterized through macro and micro experiments.The thermodynamic characteristics of solid phase, solid solution phase and aqueous solution in process of hydration about phosphogypsum-fly ash-cement ternary cementitious system were studied based on the Gibbs-free-energy C-S-H thermodynamic model and GEM-Selektor software, and compared with experimental results. The results show that in the hydration reaction the thermodynamic interaction between mineral single-phase and hydration products plays an important role in the spatio-temporal distribution of ions in the cementitious system. The values of CaO、SiO2Hand H2Ohyd gradually increased with the increase of Ca/Si ratio, while the values of CaOext and H2OOH showed a positive proportional relationship, and the values of SiO2H and SiO2 showed an inverse proportional relationship. GEM-Selektor is accurate in the simulation calculation of the total amount of AFt and AFm mineral phases which quantitatively analysis the correlation between C-S-H gels formation and C3S with complex decomposition ion groups.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0171.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: national park; social-ecological system; ecosystem services; tea cultivation; protected area management
Online: 11 March 2022 (14:47:43 CET)
A healthy park-people relation depends essentially on the fair and sustainable maintenance of rural livelihood. When protected area is designated, rural people may face restrictions of access to land and resource use for multiple ecosystem services. In Wuyishan of China, we analysed the role of traditional tea cultivation during consistent protected area management to find ways to maintain stability of this social-ecological system in the new national park era. We used an intensive social survey to investigate tea’s role, perception of ecosystem services and impacts on tea cultivation from consistent conservation policies. Results showed that tea cultivation brought major household income and associated with multiple culture services. Protected area management affected land use and conservation outcomes were more obvious to farmers than economic and social ones. From the perspective of a social-ecological system, tea cultivation in national should be conservation-compatible activities from which the potentially lost economic value is remedied by ecological and cultural valorisation. To sustain the resilience of the social-ecological system, we proposed a three-scale management framework to regulate biophysical elements at land plot scale, to link production and market at the mountain level, and to secure tenure and encourage community participation at the landscape level.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0035.v1
Subject: Biology, Entomology Keywords: Aedes albopictus; ovitrap; regularized logistic regression; ecological niche model; environmental factors; surveillance
Online: 2 February 2022 (13:18:11 CET)
Background: In Switzerland, Aedes albopictus is well established in Ticino, south of the Alps, where surveillance and control are implemented. The mosquito has also been observed in Swiss cities north of the Alps. Decision-making tools are urgently needed by the local authorities in order to optimize surveillance and control. Methods: A regularized logistic regression was used to link the long-term dataset of Ae. albopictus occurrence in Ticino with socio-environmental predictors. The probability of establishment of Ae. albopictus was extrapolated to Switzerland and more finely to the cities of Basel and Zurich. Results: The model performed well, with an AUC of 0.86. Ten so-cio-environmental predictors were selected as informative, including the road-based distance in minutes of travel by car from the nearest cell established in the previous year. The risk maps showed high suitability for Ae. albopictus establishment in the Central Plateau, the area of Basel and the lower Rhone Valley in the Canton of Valais. Conclusions: The areas identified as suitable for Ae. albopictus establishment are consistent with the actual current findings of tiger mosquito. Our approach provides a useful tool to prompt authorities’ intervention in the areas where there is higher risk of introduction and establishment of Ae. albopictus.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0035.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: Climate change; Ecological dynamics; Mathematical programming; Optimization; Spatial analysis; Systematic Conservation Planning
Online: 2 December 2021 (11:59:43 CET)
Biodiversity conservation questions human practices towards biodiversity and, therefore, largely conflicts with ordinary societal aspirations. Decisions on the location of protected areas, one of the most convincing conservation tools, reflect such a competitive endeavor. Operations Research (OR) brings a set of analytical models and tools capable of resolving the conflicting interests between ecology and economy. Recent technological advances have boosted the size and variety of data available to planners, thus challenging conventional approaches bounded on optimized solutions. New models and methods are requested to use such a massive amount of data in integrative schemes addressing a large variety of concerns. Here, we provide an overview on the past, present and future challenges that characterize spatial conservation models supported by OR. By enlarging the spatial, temporal, taxonomic and societal horizons of biodiversity conservation planners navigate around multiple bio-socioeconomic equilibria and are able to decide on cost-effective strategies to improve biodiversity persistence.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0551.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica; stable carbon isotope (δ13C); ecological stoichiometry; environmental factors
Online: 22 June 2021 (14:36:01 CEST)
The decline in Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica in the introduction area has had a high profile in recent years. For the ecological restoration, management and silvicultural design of Mongolian pines in the introduction area, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive and in-depth study on the ecological adaptation mechanism of Mongolian pines in provenances. The ecological process of water and nutrient accumulation as well as the influence of environmental factors on the photosynthetic physiology are the key to revealing the ecological adaptation mechanism of Mongolian pines. According to the differences of climate in the distribution area of Mongolian pines, sampling sites were set up, the effects of environmental factors on leaf δ13C and the relationship between leaf δ13C and nutrient content were analyzed. The results showed that leaf δ13C values were ranging from - 29.7 ‰ to - 23.76 ‰. The ecological stoichiometry, including LC (522.81 mg·g-1), LN (16.04 mg·g-1), LP (1.19 mg·g-1) and L-N:P (13.56), indicated that leaf photosynthesis and water use efficiency is greatly affected by environmental conditions, Mongolian pines had strong ability of carbon fixation, and its growth was obviously restricted by nitrogen. Although there was no significant correlation between δ13C with stoichiometric parameters in leaf, photosynthesis was the key link in the process of carbon fixation. It also showed that Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica was a stomatal limited plant. Leaf δ13C had significant correlation with climatic factors. VPD is the dynamic factor affecting the photosynthetic physiological process in leaves. Air and soil moisture are the dominate factors affecting the leaf stomatal conductance and determines leaf δ13C value, while other factors indirectly affect leaf δ13C by its impact on relative humidity or soil water content. Soil phosphorus content affected by clay is a key factor affecting soil water availability and soil nutrient cycling. Photosynthetic process in leaf is the dynamic process affecting the nutrient accumulation.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0220.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: 3D printing; 3D scanning; customized ecological objects; methods; stereolithography; open-source lab
Online: 12 March 2020 (14:46:07 CET)
3D printing is described as the third industrial revolution: its impact is global in industry and progresses every day in society. It presents a huge potential for ecology and evolution, sciences with a long tradition of inventing and creating objects for research, education and outreach. Its general principle as an additive manufacturing technique is relatively easy to understand: objects are created by adding material layers on top of each other. Although this may seem very straightforward on paper, it is much harder in the real world. Specific knowledge is indeed needed to successfully turn an idea into a real object, because of technical choices and limitations at each step of the implementation. This article aims at helping scientists to jump in the 3D printing revolution, by offering a hands-on guide to current 3D printing technology. We first give a brief overview of uses of 3D printing in ecology and evolution, then review the whole process of object creation, split into three steps: (1) obtaining the digital 3D model of the object of interest, (2) choosing the 3D printing technology and material best adapted to the requirements of its intended use, (3) pre- and post-processing the 3D object. We compare the main technologies available and their pros and cons according to the features and the use of the object to be printed. We give specific and key details in appendices, based on examples in ecology and evolution.
Subject: Biology, Plant Sciences Keywords: fenugreek; medicinal plant; 4-hydroxy isoleucine; trigonelline; ecological condition; canonical correspondence analysis
Online: 15 August 2019 (08:15:09 CEST)
Trigonella foenum is one of the oldest medicinal plants that grow in many parts of Iran with the diverse ecological situation. Employing this plant for treating diabetes and high cholesterol has a long history, because of some metabolites. Due to the habitat of fenugreek is a wide range of climatic conditions, it may have power to cope with climate variation. The main intention of this inquiry was to understand the effect of the environmental variables on this therapeutic plant features. It was also interesting for us to understand which environment variables are more impressive for enhancing of trigonelline and 4-hydroxy isoleucine content as the most important metabolites of this plant. For achieving this goal, environmental information and vegetal data were analyzed to discover the role of nature on the seed part of fenugreek life in 50 different regions of Iran. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) displayed that high content of metabolites and some morphological characteristics happened in high temperature and solar irradiation. Partial least squares regression (PLSR) and path analysis used to find the best predictors and direct and indirect effect of all variables on 4-hydroxy isoleucine and trigonelline. Ecological condition were the best predictors and had the highest direct and indirect impact on 4-hydroxy isoleucine. However, for trigonelline, the environment did not play a senior role. It seems that the reaction of components of fenugreek does not follow the same way. Studying on morphological, primary and secondary metabolites, and surrounding environment of fenugreek, helped us to have a more precise judgment about the life of this plant.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0065.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: agroecology; biodiversity; ecosystem services; post-normal science; socio-ecological systems; sustainability; stakeholders
Online: 6 May 2019 (12:28:18 CEST)
Sustainable agriculture is essential to provide food security for a growing world population without further sacrificing the integrity of the environment. To make progress towards agricultural sustainability we must consider ecological and socioeconomic processes within the agricultural socio-ecosystem and involve stakeholders in the research process. We propose an innovative experimental approach for examining how natural regulation of ecosystems may provide an alternative to increasing external inputs in agriculture while improving the socio-economic welfare of farmers. These “social-ecological experiments” go further to participatory action research by not only involving stakeholders in the research process but also by manipulating simultaneously socioeconomic and ecological processes under real field conditions to give a faster route to sustainability. Social-ecological experiments are undertaken in real field conditions, explicitly involving stakeholders, and help untangle the drivers of social-ecological dynamics under various land management and farming practices. Social-ecological experiments are distinct from adaptive management and scenario-planning approaches as they highlight the interactions between ecological and social processes, manipulate the social and ecological processes shaping the system and show causal links between patterns and processes. As an example, we describe a social-ecological experiment for reducing herbicide use. Social-ecological experiments offer great opportunities for increasing stakeholders’ acceptance of environmental policies implemented through adaptive management. These experiments may help to identify management practices that optimize multiple objectives, deliver a portfolio of ecosystem services and satisfy key stakeholders.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0176.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: agricultural stakeholders; extension; multivariate analysis; socio-ecological systems; mental models; sustainable agriculture
Online: 9 October 2018 (06:03:38 CEST)
The sustainability of agriculture depends as much on the natural resources required for production as it does on the stakeholders that manage those resources. It is thus essential to understand the variables that influence the decision-making process of agricultural stakeholders to design educational programs, interventions, and policies geared towards their specific needs, a required step to enhance agricultural sustainability. We examined the perceptions, experiences, and priorities that influence management decisions of five major groups of agricultural stakeholders (conventional small grain producers, organic small grain producers, organic vegetable producers, extension agents and agro-industry crop consultants, and researchers) across the Montana, United States. Results revealed that while stakeholder groups have distinct perceptions, experiences, and priorities, there were similarities across groups. Specifically, organic vegetable and organic small grain producers showed similar responses that were, in turn, divergent of conventional producers, researchers, and crop consultants. Conventional small grain producers and researchers showed overlapping response patterns while crop consultants formed an isolated group. Our results reinforce the need for agricultural education and programs that address unique and shared experiences, priorities, and concerns of multiple stakeholder groups. This study endorses the call for a paradigm shift from the traditional top-down agricultural extension model to one that accounts for participants’ socio-ecological contexts to facilitate the adoption of sustainable agricultural systems that support environmental and human wellbeing.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201808.0073.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Artificial restoration; ecological restoration; coal mining subsidence; semi–arid; soil microbial community
Online: 3 August 2018 (15:48:23 CEST)
Increased attention has been paid to the influence of coal mining subsidence on ecological environment. Restoration of ecosystem in damaged mining area is critical for restoring disturbed environment. The comparing of plant communities and microbial communities in the artificial restoration and natural restoration areas provides an effective method for evaluating the restoration effects. However, such studies are limited in coal mining subsidence restoration areas. Subsidence area in Shendong mining area, located in the semi-arid region of Western China, was restored from 2003 with 5 ecological restoration plant species. In July 2017, the comparison and analysis of plant and microbial communities were conducted at the artificial restoration areas (AR) and the natural remediation areas (NR). The results showed that the artificial ecological restoration in Shendong mining area has achieved some success, but it has not recovered to a similar ecosystem before the destruction. A higher plant species, coverage and bacterial community diversity were observed in AR. However, these features have lower similarity compared with those in NR sites. Potential soil factors, such as pH, moisture content, total carbon content, organic matter, nitrogen and bulk density, have a greater impact on soil bacterial community structure and diversity. In the ecological restoration of the mining area, attention should be paid to the restoration of soil properties in the mining area. This study can provide theoretical guidance for more scientific ecological restoration in the damaged mining area.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0517.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: city trees; landscape design; landscape architecture; socio-ecological system; urban ecosystem; urban forest
Online: 30 August 2022 (09:54:35 CEST)
Despite the abundance of tree diversity in the natural world, and generally high tree species richness in urban areas, urban forests continue to be dominated by a limited number of species. As socio-ecological systems, urban forests are shaped by historical and current management efforts and decision-making of a wide range of human actors. Drawing on past research, we offer a conceptual framework for describing the complex interactions among tree producers and consumers as trees are selected, grown, specified, and planted in private and public urban areas. We illustrate how multiple layers of selection criteria filter down the entirety of potential local tree diversity to a handful of commonly used and accepted tree species. We detail the actors and decision makers who impact tree composition and diversity across several land types. Finally, we identify research, education and outreach needs as they relate to creating more diverse and resilient urban forest ecosystems.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0314.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: two-way FDI; structural distortion; ecological civilization construction; spatial econometrics; carbon emission intensity
Online: 22 June 2022 (10:10:13 CEST)
In this paper, industrial structure distortion, two-way FDI and carbon emission intensity are brought into a unified research framework, and based on China's panel data from 2011 to 2020, empirical tests are conducted employing Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA), spatial econometric model and intermediary effect test. The results show the following. Firstly, China's industrial structure distortion index shows a downward trend. The industrial structure distortion index is the highest in the west, followed by the middle, and the lowest in the East. Secondly, the relationship between carbon emission intensity and economic development shows a "decoupling" effect and keeps decreasing year by year. The spatial disparity is remarkable, showing the pattern of "the east leading, the middle catching up and the west lagging ". At the provincial level, except in Xinjiang province, the carbon emission intensity of other provinces showed different degrees of decline. In terms of spatial distribution, the polarization characteristics of carbon emission intensity are significant, and the traditional spatial distribution pattern has been broken. Thirdly, there is a positive spatial correlation between China's industrial structure distortion, two-way FDI and carbon emission intensity. The distortion of industrial structure will not only lead to the increase of local carbon emission intensity but also produce reverse spillover to adjacent areas. IFDI and OFDI provide a strong driving force for the decline of carbon emission intensity. IFDI promotes the decline of carbon emission intensity in adjacent areas, while OFDI will increase the carbon emission intensity in surrounding areas. The interaction of IFDI and OFDI can significantly reduce the carbon emission intensity of local and adjacent areas. Fourthly, the results of intermediary effect analysis show that two-way FDI is the two channels of industrial structure distortion affecting carbon emission intensity. Industrial structure distortion can affect the transmission mechanism of carbon emission intensity by affecting two-way FDI.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0309.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: Ecological flow; Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration; Index of Hydrological Regime Alteration; HEC-HMS
Online: 13 May 2021 (14:25:13 CEST)
According to the Water Framework Directive, the Ecological Flow (Eflow) is assumed to be the minimum water discharge required to achieve and maintain the environmental objectives of “good quality status” in a natural water body. It is highly recognized that, the hydrological regime of natural flow plays a primary and crucial role influencing the physical conditions of habitats, which in turn determines the biotic composition and sustainability of aquatic ecosystems. Furthermore, the simple assumption to supply a minimum instream during dry periods is not enough any longer in order to protect the river environment. The recent hydro-ecological understanding states that all flow components might be considered as operational targets for water management, starting from base flows (including low flows) to high and flood regimes in terms of magnitude, frequency, duration, timing and rate of change. Several codes have been developed and applied on different case studies in order to define common tools to be implemented for the Eflow assessment. The study proposes the application of the Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration methodology (IHA by TNC) coupled to the valuation of the Index of Hydrological Regime Alteration (IARI by ISPRA) as an operative tool to define the ecological flow in each monitoring cross section to support the sustainable water resources management and planning. The case study of Agri River, in Basilicata (Southern Italy) is presented. The analyses have been carried out on monthly discharge data derived applying the HEC-Hydrological Modelling System at the basin scale using the daily rain data measurements obtained by the regional rainfall gauge stations and calibrated through the observed inlet water discharge registered at the Lago del Pertusillo reservoir station.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0091.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Evolutionary dynamics; life-history stages; mating systems; biotic interactions; climatic variability; ecological genomics
Online: 4 September 2020 (08:13:40 CEST)
Contemporary climate change is exposing plant populations to novel combinations of temperatures, drought stress, [CO2] and other abiotic and biotic conditions. These changes are rapidly disrupting the evolutionary dynamics of plants. Despite the multifactorial nature of climate change, most studies typically manipulate only one climatic factor. In this opinion piece, we seek to explore how climate change factors interact with each other and with biotic pressures to alter evolutionary processes. We first explore the ramifications of climate change for key life history stages (germination, growth and reproduction). We then examine how mating system variation influences population persistence under rapid environmental change and propose that mixed mating could be advantageous in future climates. Furthermore, we discuss how spatial and temporal mismatches between plants and their mutualists and antagonists could promote or constrain adaptive responses to climate change. For example, plant-virus interactions vary from highly pathogenic to mildly facilitative, and are partly mediated by temperature, moisture availability and [CO2]. Will host plants exposed to novel, stressful abiotic conditions be more susceptible to viral pathogens? Finally, we propose novel experimental approaches that could illuminate how plants will cope with unprecedented global change, such as resurrection studies combined with experimental evolution, genomics or epigenetics.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0027.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: nurses; coping; mood; fatigue; burnout; ecological momentary assessment; lagged effects; accumulated effects; stress
Online: 2 September 2020 (05:17:18 CEST)
Nurses experience significant stress and emotional exhaustion, leading to burnout and fatigue. This study assessed how the nurses’ mood and fatigue evolves during their shifts, and the lagged and accumulated factors that influence these phenomena. A two-level design with repeated measures was applied to a sample of 113 nurses, performing an ecological momentary assessment of different parameters and multilevel longitudinal two-level modelling of the data. Accordingly, mood appeared to be explained by effort, by the negative lagged effect of reward and by accumulated effort, each following a quadratic trend, and it was influenced by previously executing a direct care task. By contrast, fatigue was explained by the current and lagged effect of effort, by the lagged effect of reward and by accumulated effort, again following quadratic trends. Fatigue was also associated with direct care, and the prior effect of documentation and communication tasks. Mood was also explained by problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies, indicative of negative mood, and by support-seeking and refusal coping strategies. Hence, mood and fatigue do not depend on a single factor like workload but rather, on the evolution and distribution of tasks, as well as on the stress during a shift and how it is handled.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0104.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Sociology Keywords: Anthropocene; nature; capitalism; ecological crisis; geoengineering; planetary boundaries; climate change; extinction; environmental crisis
Online: 7 May 2018 (07:39:13 CEST)
The Anthropocene has emerged as the dominant conceptualization of the current geological epoch and, more significantly, of Humanity’s relation to nature. By its proponents the Anthropocene is espoused as a “solution formulation,” an analytical tool which clarifies Humanity’s multifarious impacts on nature and nature’s subsequent crises; and further as a conceptual apparatus from which to launch mitigation and adaption strategies, promising deliverance from or at least engagement with ecological crises. However, the Anthropocene is not a neutral concept, merely illuminating transition within ecological conditions and connections between human activities and nature; rather, it is a particular prism from which to understand humanity’s relation to nature. And, as the Anthropocene becomes ascendant both analytically and politically, it becomes vital to question its imaginary, how it constructs nature and Humanity, how it influences and constrains responses to ecological crises, and what the long-term implications of operating within this imaginary are. I argue that the Anthropocene as a political/analytical prism rests upon flawed conceptions of nature, history, and humanity, rending it an impotent construct from which to respond to ecological crises; offering only partial and presumptive “solutions” in the form of intensified governmental regulation and the application of manifold technological “fixes” through the geoengineering of Earth’s systems, in an attempt to address isolated aspects of ecological destruction.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0041.v1
Subject: Engineering, General Engineering Keywords: ecological farming system; dynamic numerical simulation; evaporative cooling system; treated wastewater; temperature; humidity
Online: 2 May 2018 (12:56:15 CEST)
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is significantly dependent on desalinated water and groundwater resource, which is expensive and highly energy intensive. Despite the scarce water resource, only 54% of the recycled water was reused in 2015. In this study, an “Oasis” complex comprised of Sustainable Farming Compartments (SFCs) was proposed for reusing treated wastewater to decrease the ambient temperature of the SFC via an evaporative cooling system. A prototype SFC with half the original scale (width = 1.8 m, depth = 1.5 m, front height = 1.2 m back height = 0.9 m) was designed, built, and tested in an environmentally controlled laboratory and field site to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of the SFC under the climatic conditions in Abu Dhabi. Based on the experimental results, the temperature drops obtained from the SFC in the laboratory and field site were 5 ̊C at initial relative humidity of 60% and 7- 15 ̊C at initial relative humidity of 50%, respectively. An energy simulation using dynamic numerical simulations was performed in comparison to the results of the experiment. The energy-based dynamic simulation shows good agreement with the experimental results. The total power consumption of the SFC system was approximately three and a half times lower than that of an electrical air conditioner.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0060.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Econometrics & Statistics Keywords: carbon dioxide emissions; Ecological footprint; Economic growth; EKC hypothesis; Environmental degradation; ARDL; Methane emissions
Online: 4 January 2023 (03:44:17 CET)
Climate change has become a major concern for developing countries given the risk that it posses on energy and food independence, and on general productivity. Despite having an energy system with low carbon intensity when compared to other Latin American countries, Colombia is already facing climate change impacts and requires urgent efforts to mitigate them. As a developing country, the challenge is bigger as policies for economic growth should be in line with the global commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With the aim of contributing to the design of climate policies, this study assesses the impact of economic development on the environment by examining the validity of the Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis for Colombia. Statistically validated and stable autoregressive distributed lag models are estimated for three different environmental indicators: carbon dioxide emissions, methane emissions, and ecological footprint. Moreover, the effects of other variables such as urbanization, foreign direct investment, value added of agricultural and industrial sectors, and energy use are analyzed with dynamic simulations. Empirical evidence supports a long-run equilibrium relationship among investigated variables and the existence of an inverted U-shaped EKC relationship between Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and methane emissions, and GDP and ecological footprint. Shifting to renewable energy sources and leveraging the use of cleaner technologies in agricultural and industrial sectors are found to be key for economic growth without harming the environment.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0109.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: Agroecology; Crop modeling; Crop production; Decision support system; Ecological management; On-farm experimentation; Optimization
Online: 7 December 2022 (02:14:42 CET)
Precision agriculture and open-source data repositories provide a plethora of field-specific ecological data about agroecosystems, but few mechanisms have been developed to turn that information into management recommendations for crop production. The On-Farm Precision Experiments (OFPE) framework is an agroecological model-based methodology to improve crop manager’s abilities to make field-scale agronomic input decisions. This work evaluates the use of field-specific experiments that employ open-source data and the data emanating from precision agriculture technologies to gain local knowledge of the spatial and temporal variability in agroeconomic performance at the sub-field scale. Quantification of the temporal variability in crop response to inputs (e.g., crop seeding rates, crop rotations, fertilizers, other soil amendments, pesticides, etc.) allows for estimation of the probability that a future management scenario will outcompete another, in terms of crop yield, crop quality, farmer net return, or environmental quality. The challenge is to integrate OFPE into applied management with minimal disruption of stakeholder practices while drawing on historic knowledge about the field and economic constraints. OFPE is the basis of a decision support system that includes a six-step cyclical process that harnesses precision agriculture technology to apply experiments and gather field-specific data, incorporates modern data management and analytical approaches, and generates management recommendations as probabilities of outcomes. The OFPE framework allows field managers to assess the tradeoffs in agronomic input management between the maximization of crop production, quality and profits from production while considering environmental effects.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0404.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Geoinformatics Keywords: Spatiotemporal Modelling; Ecological Modelling; Sparse Data; Minkowskian Geometry; Time Series Analysis; Spatial Statistics; Isoscapes
Online: 24 December 2021 (11:16:17 CET)
We developed a novel approach in the field of spatiotemporal modelling, based on the spatialisation of time: the Timescape algorithm. It is especially aimed at sparsely distributed datasets in ecological research, whose spatial and temporal variability is strongly entangled. The algorithm is based on the definition of a spatiotemporal distance that incorporates a causality constraint and that is capable of accommodating the seasonal behaviour of the modelled variable as well. The actual modelling is conducted exploiting any established spatial interpolation technique, substituting the ordinary spatial distance with our Timescape distance, thus sorting, from the same input set of observations, those causally related to each estimated value at a given site and time. The notion of causality is expressed topologically and it has to be tuned for each particular case. The Timescape algorithm originates from the field of stable isotopes spatial modelling (isoscapes), but in principle it can be used to model any real scalar random field distribution.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0757.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: habitat connectivity; movements of organisms; nutrient transport; offshore ecological restoration; artificial habitat; biodiversity conservation
Online: 31 March 2021 (10:12:41 CEST)
Ecological connectivity, as a research method related to spatial ecology and conservation biology, has attracted increasing attention from researchers at home and abroad in recent years. Habitat connectivity, as a key link in ecological connectivity, is of great significance to promote offshore ecological restoration and protection. However, there has been less systematic research about habitat connectivity, which lacks corresponding theories and practices. Therefore, this paper discusses habitat connectivity from three aspects: (1) the concept of habitat connectivity is introduced and clarified, (2) the application of connectivity in artificial habitat and adjacent waters and its relationship with biodiversity conservation are reviewed and illustrated with examples, and (3) the future development trends of this research direction are summarized and prospected, in order to provide a scientific basis and useful reference for the related work of offshore restoration projects in China. Generally, this paper argues that an increase in human behavior irreversibly destroys the connectivity of marine habitats and threatens the temporal scales of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Therefore, the theoretical research results and practical experience of ecological connectivity should be fully applied to marine ecosystems, and the restoration of degraded ecosystems should be encouraged and supported in ways that promote natural recovery.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0073.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Urban ecology; ecological knowledge; socio-ecology; urban birds; urban vegetation; exotic species; Biocultural homogenization
Online: 4 August 2020 (03:45:30 CEST)
Urbanization has impacted biodiversity and ecosystems at a global scale. At the same time, it has been recognized as a driver of the gap between humans and nature. The lack of direct contact with nature can deteriorate several aspects of human wellbeing, and change knowledge and attitudes of people towards the environment. However, this phenomenon is still poorly understood in Megacities outside developed countries. Here, we explore the relationship between ecological knowledge and self-reported wellbeing in an important urban park in Santiago, Chile. We conducted semi-structured surveys to park users to explore their notions, preferences, ecological knowledge of plants and birds and self-reported wellbeing. Citizens associated urban parks mainly with “nature”, and particularly with the presence of trees and plants. Trees were recognized as the most relevant elements of urban parks, in turn, birds were ranked as the less relevant. Regarding ecological knowledge, respondents correctly identified an average of 2.01 plants and 2.44 birds out of a total of 10 for each taxon, and exotic species were more likely to be recognized. Park users also reported high scores for self-reported wellbeing. Interestingly, variance of self-reported wellbeing scores tended to increase at low levels of ecological knowledge of trees, but no significant relationship was detected with knowledge of birds, nor native species. These results suggest that parks can positively contribute to bring people closer to nature. Ecological knowledge was related to self-reported wellbeing. Improving ecological knowledge can be critical to restore the relationship between humans and nature in megacities.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201909.0206.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: environmental monitoring; ecological processes; functional diversity; environmental indicators; primers for environmental rehabilitation; Urucum Massif
Online: 18 September 2019 (12:57:40 CEST)
Despite the wide variety of variables commonly applied to measure different aspects of rehabilitation, the assessment and subsequent definition of indicators of environmental rehabilitation status are not simple tasks. The main challenges are comparing rehabilitated sites with target ecosystems as well as integrating individual environmental and eventually collinear variables into a single tractable measure of the state of a system before effective indicators that track rehabilitation may be modeled. For that, a consensus is lacking regarding which and how many variables need to be surveyed. Our approach considered ecological processes, vegetation structure, and community diversity from nonrehabilitated, rehabilitating and reference sites. We applied this approach to a curated set of 32 environmental variables retrieved from nonrevegetated, rehabilitating and reference sites associated with iron ore mines from the Urucum Massif, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. By integrating variables from a single attribute or the entire set of variables into a single estimation of rehabilitation status, the proposed multivariate approach is straightforward and able to adequately address collinearity among variables. The proposed approach allows for the identification of biases towards single variables, surveys or analyses, which is necessary to rank environmental variables regarding their importance to the assessment. Furthermore, we show that bootstrapping permitted the detection of the minimum number of environmental variables necessary to achieve reliable estimations of the rehabilitation status. Finally, we show that the proposed variable integration enables the definition of environmental indicators for more comprehensive monitoring of mineland rehabilitation. Thus, the proposed multivariate ordination represents a powerful tool to outline the benefits of rehabilitating sites for the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services provided that sufficient environmental variables related to ecological processes, diversity and vegetation structure are gathered from nonrehabilitated, rehabilitating and reference study sites. By identifying deviations from predicted rehabilitation trajectories and providing assessments for environmental agencies, this proposed multivariate ordination increases the effectiveness of (mineland) rehabilitation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0233.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: urban rivers; ecological status; ecosystem services; developing countries; Nicaragua; nature-based solutions; green infrastructure
Online: 20 May 2019 (09:07:23 CEST)
Natural rivers in urban areas bear significant potential to provide ecosystem services for the surrounding inhabitants. However, surface sealing by houses and street networks, urban drainage, disposal of waste and wastewater resulting from advancing urbanization usually lead to the deterioration of urban rivers and their riparian areas. This ultimately damages their ability to provide ecosystem services. This paper presents an innovative methodology for a rapid and low-cost assessment of the ecological status of urban rivers and riparian areas in developing countries under data scarce conditions. The methodology uses a combination of field data and freely available high-resolution satellite images to assess three ecological status categories: river hydromorphology, water quality, and riparian land cover. The focus here is on the assessment of proxies for biophysical structures and processes representing ecological functioning that enable urban rivers and riparian areas to provide ecosystem services. These proxies represent a combination of remote sensing land cover- and field-based indicators. Finally, the three ecological status categories are combined to quantify the potential of different river sections to provide regulating ecosystem services. The development and application of the methodology is demonstrated and visualized for each 100 m section of the Pochote River in the City of León, Nicaragua. This spatially distributed information of the ecosystem service potential of individual sections of the urban river and riparian areas can serve as important information for decision making regarding the protection, future use, and city development of these areas, as well as the targeted and tailor-made development of nature-based solutions such as green infrastructure.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201707.0097.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: urban sustainability; California; landscape decision-making; urban environment; water use behaviors; social-ecological systems
Online: 31 July 2017 (16:45:57 CEST)
Urban development and planning are increasingly centered on matters of sustainability, balancing economic development with ecosystem services and biotic structures within urban environments. In addition to these institutional and structural factors, the decision-making process within individual households must be understood to address rising concerns about water use. Therefore, individual characteristics and preferences that influence the use of water also warrant examination. In response to a survey of occupants of single-family residences in the Fresno Clovis Metropolitan Area of California, contextual interviews and focus group interviews with a homeowner sub-sample, we find evidence of an interplay of social-structural, institutional, and cultural factors involved in influencing individual water use behaviors and landscape decision making. The complexity of residential behaviors and decision-making poses some potential issues with regards to the interactions between individual households and institutional actors in matters of water usage and landscaping, as survey respondents indicate relatively little confidence in institutions and groups to make wise water policy decisions. We conclude that the promotion and implementation of sustainable water use practices will require not only environmental education for the citizenry, but also a tailoring of information for environmental educational initiatives that address the particularities of individual neighborhoods and communities.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0205.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: heavy metals; abandoned mine; soil pollution; potential ecological risk; multivariate analysis; health index; soil; sediments
Online: 15 March 2022 (10:58:46 CET)
A recent survey that determined heavy metal concentrations in an abandoned Hg mine in Palawan, Philippines, found the occurrence of Hg with As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sb, Tl, V, and Zn. While the Hg originated from the mine waste calcines as supported by previous studies, the critical knowledge about the origin of the other heavy metals remains to be unknown. Our study investigated the sources of heavy metal pollution surrounding the abandoned Hg mine; and assessed the soil and sediment quality, ecological risks, and health risks associated with these toxic metals. Multivariate analyses, such as hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA), principal component analysis (PCA), and Pearson correlation analysis, were used to identify the heavy metal sources from the results of a previous paper. Our results showed that Fe, Ni, Cr, Co, and Mn are associated with the ultramafic geology of the study, whereas As, Ba, Cd, Cu, Pb, Sb, Tl, V, and Zn are likely due to historical mining and processing of cinnabar from 1953-1976. The mine waste calcines were used as construction material for the wharf and as land filler for the adjacent communities. The modified contamination factor (mCdeg) showed that the coast of Honda Bay is highly contaminated, while the inland areas, including the rivers, are very- to ultra-highly contaminated. There is a considerable ecological risk associated with the heavy metals, wherein Ni, Hg, Cr, and Mn contribute an average of 46.3 %, 26.3 %, 11.2 %, and 9.3 % to the potential ecological risk index (RI), respectively. The overall mean hazard index (HI) for both adults (1.4) and children (12.1) exceeded 1, implying the probability of non-carcinogenic adverse effects. The mean total cancer risk over a lifetime (LCR) for both adults (1.19×10-3) and children (2.89×10-3) exceeded the tolerable threshold of 10-4, suggesting a potentially high risk for developing cancer mainly by Ni, Co, and Cr exposure.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0390.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: Aerial laser scanning; Canopy structural complexity; Forest structure; National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON); Pulse density
Online: 23 December 2021 (11:59:27 CET)
Recent expansion in data sharing has created unprecedented opportunities to explore structure-function linkages in ecosystems across spatial and temporal scales. However, characteristics of the same data product, such as resolution, can change over time or spatial locations, as protocols are adapted to new technology or conditions, which may impact the data’s potential utility and accuracy for addressing end user scientific questions. The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) provides data products for users from 81 sites and over a planned 30-year time frame, including discrete return Light Detection and Range (LiDAR) from an airborne observatory platform. LiDAR is a well-established and increasingly available remote sensing technology for measuring three-dimensional (3D) characteristics of ecosystem and landscape structure, including forest structural diversity. The LiDAR product that NEON provides can vary in point density from 2 – 25+ points/m2 depending on instrument and acquisition date. We used NEON LiDAR from five forested sites to (1) identify the minimum point density at which structural diversity metrics can be robustly estimated across forested sites from different ecoclimatic zones in the USA and (2) to test the effects of variable point density on the estimation of a suite of structural diversity metrics and multivariate structural complexity types within and across forested sites. Twelve out of sixteen structural diversity metrics were sensitive to LiDAR point density in at least one of the five NEON forested sites. The minimum point density to reliably estimate the metrics ranged from 2.0 to 7.5 pt/m2, but our results indicate that point densities above 7-8 pt/m2 should provide robust measurements of structural diversity in forests for temporal or spatial comparisons. The delineation of multivariate structural complexity types from a suite of 16 structural diversity metrics was robust within sites and across forest types for a LiDAR point density of 4 pt/m2 and above. This study shows that different metrics of structural diversity can vary in their sensitivity to the resolution of LiDAR data and users of these open-source data products should consider the point density of their data and use caution in metric selection when making spatial or temporal comparisons from these datasets.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0312.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Architecture And Design Keywords: ecopolitana; greenscape; forestry plan; ecological network; green infrastructures; biodiversity; agroecology; conservation agricolture; Sentinel 2; LiDAR.
Online: 17 November 2021 (23:13:51 CET)
A national green planning strategy has recently been introduced in the Italian urban planning sector, aimed at making all local initiatives undertaken nationwide consistent with each other. At a regional level, Friuli Venezia-Giulia has recently implemented a Landscaping Plan, which is of an urban planning and ecological nature at an intermediate level between national and local. This article describes the local green plan of Latisana, which has been entitled Ecopolitana, given that it is represents the experimental phase, at a regional level, of the possibilities offered by landscape planning and design. Specifically, it outlines the multi-disciplinary approach used, demonstrating how landscape planning can be compared to the sustainable development of cities, with specific regard to the agricultural sector. Regarding the agricultural sector, a low-intensity cropping model is also suggested, based on the principles of agroecology and landscape ecology, which has already been implemented in the historical rural landscape of Plasencis (UD) and developed through GIS analysis and remote sensing processes. Its aim is to be the starting point for the achievement of the goals set in the 2030 Agenda, and especially Goals 13 (Climate action) and 15 (Life on land), given the current scarcity of agroecological infrastructures in the area of Latisana (UD) and the high percentage of soil used for intensive cropping.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0076.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Accounting Keywords: Complex Network Theory; Social Network Analysis; High-Tech Enterprises; Co-Competition Relationship; Innovation Ecological Niche
Online: 5 July 2021 (08:00:56 CEST)
The fusion of "innovation theory" and "ecology" gave birth to a large number of studies on "innovation ecology", which mainly studies how to build an industrial ecological chain at the regional level, focusing on self-evolution, achieving ecological balance, and enabling the regional economy to take the path of sustainable innovation. This type of research borrows a lot of concepts from ecology, and very vividly describes the competition and cooperation relationships formed by various agents in the innovation system, laying a good foundation for qualitative analysis of the inherent dynamics of innovation development. However, many studies focus on the analogous description of ecosystems and economic systems, lacking scientifically and rigorously quantitative empirical research as a support. This paper uses network-based indicators such as degree, cluster coefficient, and betweenness centrality to measure the function and position of high-tech enterprises in the Z-Park in a business environment, so as to clarify the socio-economic meaning of the topological structure of the regional innovation system. On this basis, it provides theoretical references for regional innovation development and sustainable development policy formulation.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0073.v2
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: ecological stoichiometry; predator; spider; sex; nutrition; nutritional ecology; arthropod; nutrient cycling; trophic link; food web
Online: 29 July 2020 (09:40:28 CEST)
Nutritional limitations may shape populations and communities of organisms. This phenomenon is often studied by treating populations and communities as pools of homogenous individuals with average nutritional optima and experiencing average constraints and trade-offs that influence their fitness in a standardized way. However, populations and communities consist of individuals belonging to different sexes, each with specific nutritional demands and limitations. Taking this into account, we used the ecological stoichiometry framework to study sexual differences in the stoichiometric phenotypes, reflecting stoichiometric niches, of four spider taxa differing in hunting mode. The species and sexes differed fundamentally in their elemental phenotypes, including elements beyond those most commonly studied (C, N and P). Both species and sexes were distinguished by the C:N ratio and concentrations of Cu, K and Zn. Species additionally differed in concentrations of Na, Mg and Mn. Phosphorous was not involved in this differentiation. Sexual dimorphism in spiders’ elemental phenotypes, related to differences in their stoichiometric niches, suggests different nutritional optima and differences in nutritional limitation experienced by different sexes and species. This may influence the structure and functioning of spider populations and communities.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0211.v2
Subject: Keywords: Thermoregulation; microbial metabolism; overflow metabolism; biofilms; public goods; social evolution; ecological competition; fever; bacteriophage defense
Online: 17 July 2020 (09:35:22 CEST)
Many microbes live in habitats below their optimum temperature. Retention of metabolic heat by aggregation or insulation would boost growth. Generation of excess metabolic heat may also provide benefit. A cell that makes excess metabolic heat pays the cost of production, whereas the benefit may be shared by neighbors within a zone of local heat capture. Metabolic heat as a shareable public good raises interesting questions about conflict and cooperation of heat production and capture. Metabolic heat may also be deployed as a weapon. Species with greater thermotolerance gain by raising local temperature to outcompete less thermotolerant taxa. Metabolic heat may provide defense against bacteriophage attack, by analogy with fever in vertebrates. This article outlines the theory of metabolic heat in microbial conflict and cooperation, presenting several predictions for future study.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0429.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: ground arthropods; spatial ecology; drylands; logistic function; biological diversity; ecological functioning; threshold values; desertification; conservation.
Online: 28 February 2020 (12:20:37 CET)
Drylands are arid and semiarid ecosystems, where the lack of rains imposes harsh conditions for the survival of organisms. These ecosystems are also susceptible to degradation and desertification, and their conservation depends on the understanding of the ecological functioning of vegetation and soil. In drylands, the vegetation is spatially structured as a mosaic of patches (vegetation) and interpatches (bare soil), a consequence of plant-plant interactions (facilitation and competition). Empirical data and modeling approaches reinforce the role of ecological facilitation for the maintenance of all organisms in drylands. However, the actual range of facilitation is still poorly known. Here, we explored data of meso- and micro-arthropods found in soil as bioindicators to infer the range of facilitation provided by plants to soil. We regarded data of abundances and species densities (independent samples) collected in random patches and bare soil places as dependent variables. Data of patch size and distances between bare soil and patches were arranged in a single shuffle, producing a 1-d coordinate system centered at the border of the patch. Discrete portions of this system are taken to calculate averages and variances of abundance and species density, and we investigated how soil communities variate across the patch border. We employ techniques of signal analysis to reduce the data noise and obtain a smooth and continuous behavior, which allowed us to fit a logistic function. Our findings indicate that soil communities suddenly change from simple patterns to numerous and diverse communities in bare soil regions, meaning that the influence of vegetation on soil goes beyond the patch border. We interpreted the variations in fauna as a consequence of the positive influence provided by plants (or its lack) on surrounding bare soil. We observe a fast decaying of fauna quantities at 0.35 m outside the patch border, a threshold that reveals the mean range of facilitation provided by plants. However, the changes in soil communities outside the patches seem not necessarily related to the efficiency of soil processes mediated by arthropods, which seem to be more active inside large patches. Concluding, we found a minimum patch-size (radius ~ 0.5 m) able to maintain high diverse communities in soil, and an average distance of vegetation influence along the patch border (halo between 0.35 and 0.50 m). This information can be interpreted in terms of facilitation provided by plants to soil conditions, which seems to differ from the quantitative functionality of soil processes. Our findings contribute to the general understanding of the ecological functioning of drylands, as well as to better plan conservation actions.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0568.v1
Subject: Biology, Forestry Keywords: ecological chemometrics; carbon cycle; nitrogen cycle; carbon and nitrogen distribution; plant leaf-litter-soil continuum
Online: 24 October 2018 (11:12:48 CEST)
We analyzed the plant-litter-soil continuum to investigate the carbon and nitrogen distribution and ecological stoichiometry of an evergreen broad-leaved forest at Dagangshan Mountain, Jiangxi. The results showed that the average C and N contents and C:N ratios in the leaves and fine roots among 6 different tree species were 401.87g/kg, 21.41g/kg, 19.27 and 348.64g/kg, 15.73g/kg, 23.97, respectively; the average C and N contents and C:N ratios were 323.06 g/kg, 12.76 g/kg, 25.58 respectively in leaf litter, and 16.40 g/kg, 1.09 g/kg, 16.27 respectively for soil. In contrast with the C content, the total N content of the fine roots and litter had a high coefficient of variation and a high spatial heterogeneity. We ranked the six different representative tree species according to total C and N content in leaves and fine roots. The results for each species were generally consistent with each other, showing a positive correlation relationship between total C and N content in the leaves and roots. Among them, S. discolor (Champ. ex Benth.) Muell. plants displayed high carbon and nitrogen storage capacities, and on the other hand, C. fargesii Franch., C. myrsinifolia (Blume) Oersted, A. fortunei (Hemsl.) Makino, and V. fordii (Hemsl.) Airy Shaw showed a high nitrogen transfer rate. Total soil N and C decreased with depth. Soil organic carbon (SOC), soil resistant organic carbon (ROC), total N, alkali nitrogen, NH4+-N and NO3--N contents were all also negative correlated with soil depth, but the contents of the NH4+-N and NO3--N did not change significantly; The spatial distribution of soil NO3--N was significantly heterogeneous. At 0-10 cm soil depth, SOC was positively correlated with alkaline nitrogen, and at 10-20 cm soil depth, SOC was significantly positively correlated with total N. In general, when soil carbon was abundant, nitrogen supply capacity was also high.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0554.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Developmental Psychology Keywords: Instrumented Toys; Ecological Behavioural Assessment; Executive Function Development; Inertial Motion Detection; Barometric Force Sensing; 3D Printing
Online: 29 December 2022 (04:16:43 CET)
The first years of an infant’s life represent a sensitive period for neurodevelopment and see the emergence of nascent forms of executive function (EF), which are required to support complex cognition. Few tests exist for measuring EF during infancy, and the available tests require painstaking manual coding of infant behaviour. In modern clinical and research practice, human coders collect data on EF performance by manually labelling video recordings of infant behaviour during toy or social interaction. Besides being extremely time-consuming, video annotation is known to be rater-dependent and subjective. To address these issues, starting from existing cognitive flexibility research protocols, we developed instrumented toys as a new task instrumentation and data collection tool suitable for infant use. A commercially available device comprising a Barometer and Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) embedded in a 3D-printed lattice structure was used to detect when and how the infant interacts with the toy. The data collected using the instrumented toys provides a rich dataset describing the sequence of toy interaction and individual toy interaction patterns, from which EF-relevant aspects of infant cognition may be inferred. Such a tool potentially provides an objective, reliable, and scalable method of collecting early developmental data in socially interactive contexts.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0443.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: Climate change; Nationalism; Anthropocene; Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK); Geoethics; Sustainable communities; Subsistence societies; Indigenous peoples; Anthropocene
Online: 17 March 2021 (14:33:37 CET)
This article argues that we need to look at living examples provided by non-state communities in various regions of the world that are, perhaps unwittingly, contributing to the maintenance of the Earth's optimal thermal balance. These fully sustainable communities have been living outside the mainstream for centuries, even millennia, providing examples in the global struggle against the degradation of social–ecological systems. They have all, to varying degrees, embraced simple forms of living that make them ‘exemplary ethical communities’ (EECs) – human communities with a track record of sustainability related to forms of traditional knowledge and the capacity to survive outside the capitalist market and nation-state system. The article proceeds in three steps: First, it condenses a large body of research on the limits of the existing nation-state system and its accompanying ideology, nationalism, identifying this institutional–ideological complex as the major obstacle to tackling climate change. Second, alternative social formations that could offer viable micro-level and micro-scale alternatives are suggested. These are unlikely to identify with existing nation-states as they often form distinct types of social communities. Taking examples from hunter-gatherer societies and simple-living religious groups, it is shown how the protection and maintenance of these EECs could become the keystone in the struggle for survival of humankind and other forms of life. Finally, further investigation is called for, into how researchers can come forward with more examples of actually existing communities that might provide pathways to sustainability and resistance to the looming global environmental catastrophe.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0178.v2
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: biodiversity; biogeography; competitive exclusion; ecological niche model; molecular taxonomic identification; PCR-RFLP; Reticulitermes; saproxylic; species richness
Online: 17 January 2019 (03:55:36 CET)
In both managed and unmanaged forests, termites are functionally important members of the dead-wood-associated (saproxylic) insect community. However, little is known about regional-scale environmental drivers of geographic distributions of termite species, and how these environmental factors impact co-occurrence among congeneric species. Here we focus on the southern Appalachian Mountains—a well-known center of endemism for forest biota—and use Ecological Niche Modeling (ENM) to examine the distributions of three species of Reticulitermes termites (i.e., R. flavipes, R. virginicus, and R. malletei). To overcome deficiencies in public databases, ENMs were underpinned by field-collected high-resolution occurrence records coupled with molecular taxonomic species identification. Spatial overlap among areas of predicted occurrence of each species was mapped, and aspects of niche similarity were quantified. We also identified environmental factors that most strongly contribute to among-species differences in occupancy. Overall, we found that R. flavipes and R. virginicus showed significant niche divergence, which was primarily driven by dry-season precipitation. Also, all three species were most likely to co-occur in the mid-latitudes of the study area (i.e., northern Alabama and Georgia, eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina), which is an area of considerable topographic complexity. This work provides important baseline information for follow-up studies of local-scale drivers of these species’ distributions. It also identifies specific geographic areas where future assessments of the frequency of true syntopy vs. micro-allopatry, and associated interspecific competitive interactions, should be focused.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0106.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: social ecological system; tree canopy goal; urban conservation; urban forest equity; urban forest goals; urban tree canopy
Online: 7 June 2022 (11:08:20 CEST)
Urban forests are critical infrastructure for mitigating environmental and social challenges cities face. Municipalities and non-governmental entities, among others, often set goals (e.g., tree planting or canopy targets) to support urban forests and their benefits. We focus on canopy goals and develop conceptual underpinnings for an analysis of where additional canopy, as one important dimension of the urban forest, can fit within the landscape, while considering factors that influence where trees can be planted and where canopy can grow – ‘practical canopy.’ We apply this in New York City (NYC) to inform the setting of a canopy goal by the NYC Urban Forest Task Force (UFTF) for the NYC Urban Forest Agenda, which may trigger a virtuous cycle that supports the urban forest there. We further develop framing for a ‘priority canopy’ analysis to understand where urban forest expansion should be prioritized given more context (e.g., environmental hazards, local preferences), which can inform how expansion of the urban forest is achieved. We estimate an opportunity for 15,899 ha of new canopy in NYC given existing opportunities and constraints (practical canopy), which, if leveraged, could result in nearly doubling the canopy as of 2017 (17,253 ha). However, like existing canopy, practical canopy is not evenly distributed, in general, or across jurisdictions and land uses. Relying solely on areas identified as practical canopy to expand the urban forest would exacerbate inequities in its distribution. We discuss how the NYC UFTF established an aspirational but achievable goal of 30% canopy cover by 2035, which was informed by this analysis and guided by priorities of equity, health, and resilience. Achievement of this goal will ultimately require a combination of protecting and stewarding the existing resource, and leveraging opportunities for tree planting. Achieving a more equitable urban forest will also require identification of priority canopy, and, in cases, creation of new opportunities for tree planting and canopy expansion. Overall, the collaborative establishment of such goals based on local context can be instrumental in creating a virtuous cycle, moving conservation actors toward exercising influence and agency within the social ecological system.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0476.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: Trophic ecology; ecological plasticity; European catfish; pelagic habitat; littoral habitat; commercial fishermen; stomach content analyses; commercial harvest
Online: 24 August 2021 (16:14:00 CEST)
Ecological information of invasive alien species are crucial for their effective management. How-ever, they are often lacking in newly invaded ecosystems. This is the case of the European catfish Silurus glanis L. in Lake Maggiore where the species is present since 1990 but no scientific infor-mation are available on its ecology. To start filling this knowledge gap, 236 catfish (67 cm to 150 cm of total length) were collected, measured, and dissected for stomach content analyses from three localities and in two habitats (littoral vs. pelagic) in late autumn/early winter. NPUE and BPUE (individuals and biomass (g) per unit effort (m2)) of catfish was generally higher in littoral (NPUE > 0.01; BPUE > 96) than pelagic habitats (NPUE < 0.009; BPUE < 114) but catfish had, on average, larger sizes in pelagic habitats. Overall, 581 individual prey items were recorded belonging to12 taxa. Pelagic catfish specialized their diet exclusively on three prey fish (coregonids, shad and roach) whilst the diet of littoral catfish was more variable, and was dominated by crayfish, perch, and roach. These results highlighted for the first time the interaction of larger catfish with the lake’s pelagic food web, and thus possible consequences are discussed, including the potential contrasting role S. glanis may have for the lake’s fishery.