GANSER, GLASS, KESSLERA Survey of Tick-Borne Bacterial Pathogens in Florida

Carrie E. De Jesus, Claudia Ganser, William H. Kessler, Zoe S. White, Chanakya R. Bhosale, Gregory E. Glass, and Samantha M. Wisely

Article first published online: 13 SEPT 2019 Insects

DOI: 10.3390/insects10090297

ABSTRACT: Within the past three decades, new bacterial etiological agents of tick-borne disease have been discovered in the southeastern U.S., and the number of reported tick-borne pathogen infections has increased. In Florida, few systematic studies have been conducted to determine the presence of tick-borne bacterial pathogens. This investigation examined the distribution and presence of tick-borne bacterial pathogens in Florida. Ticks were collected by flagging at 41 field sites, spanning the climatic regions of mainland Florida. DNA was extracted individually from 1608 ticks and screened for Anaplasma, Borrelia, Ehrlichia and Rickettsia using conventional PCR and primers that amplified multiple species for each genus. PCR positive samples were Sanger sequenced. Four species of ticks were collected: Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Dermacentor variabilis, and Ixodes scapularis. Within these ticks, six bacterial species were identified: Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia lonestari, Ehrlichia ewingii, Rickettsia amblyommatis, Rickettsia andeanae, Rickettsia parkeri, and Rickettsia endosymbionts. Pathogenic Borrelia, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia species were all detected in the North and North-Central Florida counties; however, we found only moderate concordance between the distribution of ticks infected with pathogenic bacteria and human cases of tick-borne diseases in Florida. Given the diversity and numerous bacterial species detected in ticks in Florida, further investigations should be conducted to identify regional hotspots of tick-borne pathogens.

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BUNTING, WAYLENInterannual Hydroclimatic Variability of the Lake Mweru Basin, Zambia

Peter Waylen, Christopher Annear, and Erin Bunting

Article first published online: 29 AUG 2019 Water

DOI: 10.3390/w11091801

ABSTRACT: Annual precipitation inputs to the Lake Mweru basin, Zambia, were computed from historic data and recent gridded data sets to determine historic (1925–2013) changes in lake level and their potential impacts on the important fisheries of the lake. The results highlight a period from the early 1940s to the mid-1960s when interannual variability of inputs doubled. Existing lake level data did not capture this period but they did indicate that levels were positively correlated with precipitation one to three years previously, reflecting the hydrologic storage of the lake, the inflowing Luapula River and the upstream Bangweulu wetland complex. Lag cross-correlations of rainfall to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole were weak and spatially and temporally discontinuous. The two drivers were generally positively correlated and induced opposing effects upon annual precipitation and lagged lake levels. This correlation became non-significant during the time of high observed interannual variability and basin inputs were prone to the vagaries of either driver independently or reinforcing drought/excess conditions. During times of high flows and persistent elevated lake levels, breeding habitat for fish increased markedly, as did nutrition supplied from the upstream wetlands. High hydrologic storage ensures that lake levels change slowly, despite contemporary precipitation totals. Therefore, good conditions for the growth of fish populations persisted for several years and populations boomed. Statistical models of biological populations indicated that such temporally autocorrelated conditions, combined with abundant habitat and nutrition can lead the “boom and bust” of fish populations witnessed historically in Lake Mweru.

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WAYLENSocializing the rain: human adaptation to ecological variability in a fishery, Mweru-Luapula, Zambia

Christopher M. Annear, Peter R. Waylen

Article first published online: 23 AUG 2019 Journal of Political Ecology

DOI: 10.2458/v26i1.23246

ABSTRACT: Rainfall drives fishery fertility in Mweru-Luapula, thus rainfall variability contributes to frequent changes in fishing catches. Fishers and traders have adapted their institutions to this variable ecology in a variety of ways, including learning to read the fishery for productive periods and practicing multiple modes of income procurement. By accurately identifying inter-annual, inter-decadal, and longer spans of rainfall trends, future high and low yields can be forecast. This article presents and analyzes annual rainfall in the fishery from 1916-1992 and quantitative fish market data comprised of observed fish catch numbers by species in three markets from September 2004 to September 2005. It uses political ecology to better understand fish production, trade, and subsistence in this South-Central African freshwater fishery. We combine qualitative analysis of fisher and marketer perceptions of the fishery and knowledge of rainfall patterns to show how human behavior is not “tragically” driven, but instead based on the state of the ecological, sociocultural, and socioeconomic environment at a given time.

Read the full publication at Journal of Political Ecology

Image courtesy Sensors

BUNTING, CHILD, HERRERO, SOUTHWORTHIntegrating Surface-Based Temperature and Vegetation Abundance Estimates into Land Cover Classifications for Conservation Efforts in Savanna Landscapes

Hannah Victoria Herrero, Jane Southworth, Erin Bunting, Romer Ryan Kohlhaas, and Brian Child

Article first published online: 07 AUG 2019 Sensors

DOI: 10.3390/s19163456

ABSTRACT: Southern African savannas are an important dryland ecosystem, as they account for up to 54% of the landscape, support a rich variety of biodiversity, and are areas of key landscape change. This paper aims to address the challenges of studying this highly gradient landscape with a grass–shrub–tree continuum. This study takes place in South Luangwa National Park (SLNP) in eastern Zambia. Discretely classifying land cover in savannas is notoriously difficult because vegetation species and structural groups may be very similar, giving off nearly indistinguishable spectral signatures. A support vector machine classification was tested and it produced an accuracy of only 34.48%. Therefore, we took a novel continuous approach in evaluating this change by coupling in situ data with Landsat-level normalized difference vegetation index data (NDVI, as a proxy for vegetation abundance) and blackbody surface temperature (BBST) data into a rule-based classification for November 2015 (wet season) that was 79.31% accurate. The resultant rule-based classification was used to extract mean Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) NDVI values by season over time from 2000 to 2016. This showed a distinct separation between each of the classes consistently over time, with woodland having the highest NDVI, followed by shrubland and then grassland, but an overall decrease in NDVI over time in all three classes. These changes may be due to a combination of precipitation, herbivory, fire, and humans. This study highlights the usefulness of a continuous time-series-based approach, which specifically integrates surface temperature and vegetation abundance-based NDVI data into a study of land cover and vegetation health for savanna landscapes, which will be useful for park managers and conservationists globally.

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MOSSA and WUDecadal-Scale Variations of Thalweg Morphology and Riffle–Pool Sequences in Response to Flow Regulation in the Lowermost Mississippi River

Chia-Yu Wu and Joann Mossa

Article first published online: 5 JUN 2019 Water

DOI: 10.3390/w11061175

ABSTRACT: The lowermost Mississippi River (LMR) is one of the largest deltaic systems in North America and one of the heavily human-manipulated fluvial river systems. Historic hydrographic surveys from the mid-1900s to the early 2010s were used to document the thalweg morphology adjustments, as well as the riffle–pool sequences. Extensive aggradation was observed during 1950s to 1960s, as the Atchafalaya River was enlarging before the completion of the Old River Control Structure (ORCS). Following the completion of the ORCS, reductions in sediment input to the LMR resulted in net degradation of the thalweg profile patterns since the mid-1960s except for the 1992–2004 period. Different flood events that supplied sediment might be the cause of upstream aggradation from 1963–1975 and net aggradation along the entire reach from 1992–2004. Furthermore, the change pattern of thalweg profiles appear to be controlled by backwater effects, as well as the Bonnet Carré spillway opening. Results from riffle–pool sequences reveal that the averaging Ws ratios (length to channel width) are 6–7, similar to numerous previous studies. Temporal variations of the same riffles and pools reveal that aggradation and degradation might be heavily controlled by similar factors to the thalweg variations (i.e., sediment supply, backwater effects). In sum, this study examines decadal-scale geomorphic responses in a low-lying large river system subject to different human interventions, as well as natural flood events. Future management strategies of this and similar river systems should consider recent riverbed changes in dredging, sediment management, and river engineering.

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GOLANTWomen Caring for Our Aging in Place Seniors Will Lose Out because of U.S. Immigration Policies

Stephen M. Golant

Article first published online: 15 Apr 2019 Journal of Aging & Social Policy

DOI: 10.1080/08959420.2019.1603535

ABSTRACT: Most older people experiencing chronic health problems, physical disabilities, and memory losses are still able to age in place in their own homes. However, they often need help from others to enjoy healthy, active, and independent lives. They turn mostly to family members, mainly women and usually their daughters, daughters-in-law or wives. But caring for frail elders has become more demanding and complex, and these family members often feel physically and emotionally overwhelmed and burnt out. They concede that they cannot do it alone. Others find it more difficult to hold full-or even part-time jobs. Hiring home (direct) care workers to assist their loved ones can be an effective solution to ease their caregiving responsibilities. However, these personal care aides, home health aides, and nursing assistants are already in short supply. Moreover, going forward the aging of the baby boomer population will result in an even greater demand for their services even as these jobs are often unattractive to American-born workers and turnover is high. This country’s immigration policies will make it even more difficult for women caring for older persons to hire these workers. Over 25 percent of home care workers are low-skilled immigrants or foreign-born. However, the Trump administration’s policies reduce the number of immigrants entering the U.S. and specifically choke off the various pathways that enable low-skilled persons to be hirable in the home care sector. Female caregivers seeking relief from their caregiving responsibilities will lose out unless we remove these immigration barriers.

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ANTUNES, SIMMONS, WALKER, WAYLEN – Discipline and Develop: Destruction of the Brazil Nut Forest in the Lower Amazon Basin

Cynthia S. Simmons, Robert Walker, Stephen Aldrich, Eugenio Arima, Ritaumaria Pereira, Edna Maria Ramos de Castro, Fernando Michelotti, Michael Waylen, & Aghane Antunes

Article first published online: 20 DEC 2018 The Annals of the American Association of Geographers

DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2018.1489215

ABSTRACT: This article considers Amazonian environmental change by focusing on political and economic processes in a place-specific context with far-reaching global implications. In particular, we consider the destruction of the Brazil nut forest (BNF) in the lower basin. The Brazil nut tree yields a valuable nontimber forest product, and its loss raises concerns about Amazonia’s agro-ecological sustainability. The article posits the destruction of the BNF as an outcome of land creation, the transformation of soil surfaces into a production factor for market-oriented agriculture. Land creation in the lower basin sparked violent conflict, with the destruction of the BNF as collateral damage. Our account complements earlier research on the political economy of Amazonian development by providing an update tuned to the institutional and economic changes that have led to the region’s engagement with globalized beef markets and to the transformative impact on implicated actors (i.e., peasant, capital, and the state). In addition, the article uses the BNF case to consider current threats to Amazonia. In Brazil, deforestation rates declined after the turn of the millennium, due to environmental policy. Recent numbers show deforestation on the rise, however, as South American nations fast-track large infrastructure projects to transform Amazonia into a transport hub and a continental source of hydropower. The article questions whether Brazil’s environmental policies will sustain the Amazonian forest over the long run; the BNF disappeared despite efforts at conservation buttressed by legislative action. The article uses data from surveys, remote sensing, regional newspapers, and secondary sources based on declassified documents from Brazil’s Armed Forces, the National Truth Commission, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Read the full publication at The Annals of the American Association of Geographers

 

 

 

 

 

GLASS, MULLENSFourth National Climate Assessment (NCA)

Article first published online: NOV 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA)

ABSTRACT: These Summary Findings represent a high-level synthesis of the material in the underlying report. The findings consolidate Key Messages and supporting evidence from 16 national-level topic chapters, 10 regional chapters, and 2 chapters that focus on societal response strategies (mitigation and adaptation). Unless otherwise noted, qualitative statements regarding future conditions in these Summary Findings are broadly applicable across the range of different levels of future climate change and associated impacts considered in this report.

Read the full publication at Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA)

 

 

 

 

 

ANTUNES, SIMMONS, WALKER, WAYLENScience in support of Amazonian conservation in the 21st century: the case of Brazil

Cynthia S. Simmons, Lisa Famolare, Marcia N. Macedo, Robert T. Walker, Michael T. Coe, Brett Scheffers, Eugenio Arima, Rafael Munoz-Carpena, Denis Valle, Clyde Fraisse, Paul Moorcroft, Marcelo Diniz, Marcia Diniz, Claudio Szlafsztein, Ritaumaria Pereira, Cesar Ruiz, Gilberto Rocha, Daniel Juhn, Luis Otávio do Canto Lopes, Michael Waylen, Aghane Antunes, Yankuic M Galvan

Article first published online: 14 NOV 2018 Biotropica

DOI: 10.1111/btp.12610

ABSTRACT: This article presents a 21st Century agenda for Amazonian conservation. The agenda calls for developing a system of refugia and a scientific methodology for predicting impacts of the infrastructure development vision for the region. It also calls for a collaborative approach to conservation planning, in the interest of fruitful engagement with decision-makers and stakeholders. The ideas explored here emerged from the collaboration of peers over a decade, which culminated in a panel presentation, Scientific Analysis, and Simulation Models to Support Conservation and Development Decision-Making, at the Tools and Strategies Workshop held at the University of Florida in October, 2017.

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RYANTemperature explains broad patterns of Ross River virus transmission

Marta Strecker Shocket, Sadie J Ryan, Erin A Mordecai

Article first published online: 28 AUG 2018 eLife

DOI: 10.7554/eLife.37762.001

ABSTRACT: Thermal biology predicts that vector-borne disease transmission peaks at intermediate temperatures and declines at high and low temperatures. However, thermal optima and limits remain unknown for most vector-borne pathogens. We built a mechanistic model for the thermal response of Ross River virus, an important mosquito-borne pathogen in Australia, Pacific Islands, and potentially at risk of emerging worldwide. Transmission peaks at moderate temperatures (26.4°C) and declines to zero at thermal limits (17.0 and 31.5°C). The model accurately predicts that transmission is year-round endemic in the tropics but seasonal in temperate areas, resulting in the nationwide seasonal peak in human cases. Climate warming will likely increase transmission in temperate areas (where most Australians live) but decrease transmission in tropical areas where mean temperatures are already near the thermal optimum. These results illustrate the importance of nonlinear models for inferring the role of temperature in disease dynamics and predicting responses to climate change.

Read the full publication at eLife.