Oregon State University
  • Corvallis, Oregon, United States
Recent publications
Biochars can improve soil health but have been widely shown to reduce plant-available nitrogen (N) owing to their high carbon (C) content, which stimulates microbial N-immobilization. However, because biochars contain large amounts of C that are not microbially available, their total elemental C:N ratio does not correspond well with impacts on soil N. We hypothesized that impacts on soil plant-available N would relate to biochar mineralizable-C (C min ) content, and that C:N ratios of the mineralizable biochar component could provide a means for predicting conditions of net soil N-mineralization or -immobilization. We conducted two laboratory experiments, the first measuring biochar C min from respiration of isotopically labeled barley biochars manufactured at 300, 500, and 750 °C, and the second characterizing C min by proxy measurements for ten biochars from six feedstocks at several temperatures. For both experiments, soils were incubated with 2% biochar by mass to determine impacts to soil N-mineralization. Contrary to expectation, all the biochars increased soil N-mineralization relative to unamended soils. Also unexpected, higher temperature (500 and 700 °C) barley biochars with less C min stimulated more soil decomposition and more soil N-mineralization than a 350 °C barley biochar. However, across diverse biochar feedstocks and production methods, none of the biochar characteristics correlated with soil N-mineralization. The finding of improved soil N-mineralization adds complexity to the range of soil N responses that can be expected in response to biochar amendment. Because of the limited ability to predict soil N responses from biochar properties, users should monitor soil N to manage soil fertility.
Access to the opioid antidote naloxone is a critical component of addressing the opioid crisis. Naloxone is a population-level prevention intervention associated with substantial reductions in overdose mortality and reduction of nonfatal overdose. Pharmacies' pivotal role in dispensing medications like buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder and selling nonprescription syringes places them at the crossroads of opioid access and risk mitigation methods like naloxone provision. Testing ways to optimize pharmacy-based naloxone provision will be key as the country expands the implementation of naloxone through the medical system. In the Respond to Prevent Study, we conducted a large, practical study of a pharmacy-focused intervention in a sample of Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts and New Hampshire community chain pharmacies to increase naloxone dispensing and improve opioid safety. The intervention integrated two evidence-based educational toolkits and streamlined materials to enhance the focus on naloxone policy, stigma reduction, and patient communications around naloxone, nonprescription syringes and buprenorphine access. The real-world study implemented a stepped wedge, clustered randomized trial design across 175 community chain pharmacies to evaluate the effectiveness of the Respond to Prevent intervention in increasing: (a) pharmacy based naloxone distribution rates, naloxone-related patient engagement, and pharmacist and technicians' attitudes, knowledge, perceived behavioral control and self-efficacy toward naloxone; and (b) pharmacy nonprescription syringe sales, and pharmacist and technicians' attitudes, knowledge, perceived behavioral control and self-efficacy toward dispensing buprenorphine for opioid use disorder (secondary outcomes). This commentary provides a brief narrative about the study and presents insights on the design and adaptations to our study protocol, including those adopted during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic further compounded by Western wildfires in 2020.
Background Research in a variety of countries indicates that healthcare access and health-related quality of life are challenged among people with a variety of rare diseases (RDs). However, there has been little systematic research on the experiences of children and adults with RDs in the American healthcare system that identifies commonalities across RDs. This research aimed to: (1) Describe demographics, disease characteristics, diagnostic experiences, access to healthcare, knowledge about RDs, support from healthcare professionals, and patient satisfaction among people with RDs and their caregivers; (2) examine predictors of patient satisfaction among adults with RDs; (3) compare health-related quality of life and stigma to US population norms; 4) examine predictors of anxiety and depression among adults and children with RDs. Results This large-scale survey included ( n = 1128) adults with RD or parents or caregivers of children with RDs representing 344 different RDs. About one third of participants waited four or more years for a diagnosis and misdiagnosis was common. A subset of participants reported experiencing insurance-related delays or denials for tests, treatments, specialists, or services. Approximately half of participants felt their medical and social support was sufficient, yet less than a third had sufficient dental and psychological support. Patients were generally neither satisfied or dissatisfied with their healthcare providers. Major predictors of satisfaction were lower stigma, lower anxiety, shorter diagnostic odyssey, greater physical function, and less pain interference. Adults and children with RDs had significantly poorer health-related quality of life and stigma in all domains compared to US norms. Predictors of both anxiety and depression were greater stigma/poor peer relationships, fatigue, sleep disturbance, limited ability to participate in social roles, and unstable disease course. Conclusions People in the U.S. with RDs have poor health-related quality of life and high stigma. These factors are related to patient satisfaction and healthcare access, including diagnostic delays and misdiagnosis. Advocacy work is needed in order to improve healthcare access and ultimately health-related quality of life for children and adults with RDs.
Ni-based superalloys offer a unique combination of mechanical properties, corrosion resistance and high temperature performance. Near ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was used to study in operando the initial steps of oxidation for Ni-5Cr, Ni-15Cr, Ni-30Cr and Ni-15Cr-6W at 500 °C, p(O 2 )=10 ⁻⁶ mbar. The comparison of oxide evolution for these alloys quantifies the outsized impact of W in promoting chromia formation. For the binary alloys an increase in chromia due to Cr-surface enrichment is followed by NiO nucleation and growth thus seeding a dual-layer structure. The addition of W (Ni-15Cr-6W) shifts the reaction pathways towards chromia thus enhancing oxide quality. Density functional theory calculations confirm that W atoms adjacent to Cr create highly favorable oxygen adsorption sites. The addition of W supercharges the reactivity of Cr with oxygen essentially funneling oxygen atoms into Cr sites. The experimental results are discussed in the context of surface composition, chemistry, reactant fluxes, and microstructure.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is one of the most important livestock diseases restricting international trade. While African buffalo ( Syncerus caffer ) act as the main wildlife reservoir, viral and immune response dynamics during FMD virus acute infection have not been described before in this species. We used experimental needle inoculation and contact infections with three Southern African Territories serotypes to assess clinical, virological and immunological dynamics for thirty days post infection. Clinical FMD in the needle inoculated buffalo was mild and characterised by pyrexia. Despite the absence of generalised vesicles, all contact animals were readily infected with their respective serotypes within the first two to nine days after being mixed with needle challenged buffalo. Irrespective of the route of infection or serotype, there were positive associations between the viral loads in blood and the induction of host innate pro-inflammatory cytokines and acute phase proteins. Viral loads in blood and tonsil swabs were tightly correlated during the acute phase of the infection, however, viraemia significantly declined after a peak at four days post-infection (dpi), which correlated with the presence of detectable neutralising antibodies. In contrast, infectious virus was isolated in the tonsil swabs until the last sampling point (30 dpi) in most animals. The pattern of virus detection in serum and tonsil swabs was similar for all three serotypes in the direct challenged and contact challenged animals. We have demonstrated for the first time that African buffalo are indeed systemically affected by FMD virus and clinical FMD in buffalo is characterized by a transient pyrexia. Despite the lack of FMD lesions, infection of African buffalo was characterised by high viral loads in blood and oropharynx, rapid and strong host innate and adaptive immune responses and high transmissibility.
With the growing number of energy harvesting technologies, there is a need to identify the ones that hold the strongest future potential. This information is important to both investors and policy makers who are looking to adequately resource their development. However, choosing the right technology also requires the right assessment metric. This remains a challenge because of the number of metrics to choose from and lack of guidelines on how to choose the right metric. We attempt to fill this gap through this research. The objective of this article is to examine the future potential of various energy harvesting technologies using well known patent value indicators from literature. Based on a data set consisting of 152 base inventions from four energy harvesting sectors, leading to a study of over 4000 patents, our results show that metrics Technological Activity Degree (TAD) and Knowledge Accumulation (KA) outperform other metrics. The results show that inductive vibration energy harvesting technologies hold a stronger value compared to other technologies in this study, and that not all metrics have the same predictive capability. The study provides guidelines for technology managers and investors for selecting patent evaluation metrics that are appropriate for energy harvesting technologies. https://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S2352484722008782
Introduction The use of the robot in general surgery has exploded in the last decade. The Veterans Health Administration presents a unique opportunity to study differences between surgical approaches due to the ability to control for health system and insurance variability. This study compares clinical outcomes between robot-assisted and laparoscopic or open techniques for three general surgery procedures. Methods A retrospective observational study using the Veterans Affair Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Operative time, length of stay, and complications were compared for cholecystectomy (robot-assisted versus laparoscopic), ventral, and inguinal hernia repair (robot-assisted versus laparoscopic or open) from 2015 to 2019. Results More than 80,000 cases were analyzed (21,652 cholecystectomy, 9214 ventral hernia repairs, and 51,324 inguinal hernia repairs). Median operative time was longer for all robot-assisted approaches as compared to laparoscopic or open techniques with the largest difference seen between open and robot-assisted primary ventral hernia repair (unadjusted difference of 93 min, P < 0.001). Median length of stay was between 1 and 4 d and significantly for robot-assisted ventral hernia repairs (versus open, P < 0.01; versus lap for recurrent hernia, P < 0.05). Specific postoperative outcomes of interest were overall low with few differences between techniques. Conclusions While the robotic platform was associated with longer operative time, these findings must be interpreted in the context of a learning curve and indications for use (i.e., use of the robot for technically challenging cases). Our findings suggest that at the Veterans Health Administration, the robot is as safe a platform for common general surgery procedures as traditional approaches. Future studies should focus on patient-centered outcomes including pain and cosmesis.
Active forest restoration programs on western US national forests face multiple challenges to meet their broad ecological goals while designing projects that generate sufficient revenue to build and maintain private forest management capacity needed to expand the scale and scope of treatments. We explored ways to design projects where admixing of treatments along gradients of dry and moist mixed conifer forest types could maximize financial viability while including substantial area where broadcast burning could be applied in conjunction with other treatments. In general, we found that restoration treatments in dry forests that included density reduction thinning and broadcast burning resulted in a net projected cost ranging from $110 to $8000 per ha. By contrast, density reduction thinning in moist mixed conifer forests on more productive microsites generated significant commercial timber volume and projected revenue that ranged from $4000 to $20,000 per ha. We used spatial optimization methods to identify potential project areas that maximized revenue while meeting constraints to treat a minimum proportion of each project with broadcast burning. Multiple project area sizes were also explored to understand the effect of restoration scale on financial outcomes. We found that optimal projects in terms of generating revenue to subsidize density reduction and broadcast burning were 810 ha and contained >50% dry forest area. Larger projects and those with a higher percentage of dry forest area resulted in lower revenue, eliminating revenue when projects reached 2700 ha. Forest restoration programs can use these methods to plan and design restoration projects that are financially viable while addressing the broadcast burn backlog in dry forests that require relatively expensive fuel reduction treatments prior to re-introducing fire.
Manganese (Mn) may play an outsized role in soil biogeochemical cycles relative to its abundance. The role of Mn-facilitated oxidation of biomacromolecules during litter decomposition is well-established, but the balance between Mn-promoted soil organic carbon (SOC) oxidation and long-term SOC protection in mineral soils is unknown, especially in subsoils. In this study, we used soils collected across the US National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) to assess the distribution of Mn and relationships between Mn abundance and SOC concentration, potential mineralization, and persistence at a continental spatial scale. Total reducible Mn was not spatially correlated to site moisture (Spearman’s Rho = 0.24), highlighting that Mn abundance may influence SOC cycling independently from other moisture-driven soil chemical properties (e.g., reactive iron and aluminum). However, Mn effects on SOC cycling depended on depth, soil, or site-level properties. In particular, fungal:bacterial biomass ratio, proportion of SOC in the free light fraction, lignin abundance, and/or proportion of undegraded organic matter mediated the effect of Mn on SOC cycling metrics. For example, the effect of Mn on SOC concentration in subsoils shifted from positive (approximately +270 % relative to mean subsoil SOC) to negative (−125 %) with increasing fungal:bacterial ratio. We propose that convergence of high Mn, lignin-rich substrates, and fungal:bacterial ratio amplifies lignin mineralization in surface soils, but does not result in higher net SOC turnover due to fungal biomass stabilization. In contrast, we suggest that Mn abundance promotes smaller, but more persistent SOC stocks in subsoils by accelerating SOC transformation from particulate to microbial biomass pools.
The adoption of conservation agriculture has gained considerable attention due to growing interest in managing soil biological diversity and overall soil health. However, there is limited understanding of how practices such as conservation tillage and residue retention affect soil biota across different spatial scales and are associated with alterations to other soil properties. In this study, we examined changes in soil physicochemical properties, soil macrofauna, and microbial communities at two soil depths (0–10 cm, and 10–20 cm) in a 6-year field experiment manipulating tillage and maize residue management. The following treatments were included in the experiment: no-till with residue retention; no-till with residue harvest; conventional tillage with residue retention; and conventional tillage with residue harvest. Macrofauna taxa were identified and estimated visually, while bacterial and fungal communities were identified and analyzed using high throughput sequencing and multivariate statistics including non-metric dimensional scaling and indicator species analysis. Soil physicochemical properties measured include soil carbon and nitrogen, soil moisture, permanganate oxidizable carbon, available soil phosphate, pH, electrical conductivity and aggregate stability. Residue retention increased macrofauna abundance and diversity across soil depths and tillage treatments. Fungal diversity was also highest under residue retention in the topsoil (0–10 cm), while bacterial diversity was generally higher under conventional tillage. Residue retention was the main driver of macrofauna and microbial community composition, while an interaction between tillage and residue management indicated that the effect of tillage on microbial communities was most pronounced when residues were retained. Soil carbon and nitrogen, aggregate stability, permanganate oxidizable carbon, soil moisture content, available soil phosphate and soil electrical conductivity were all enhanced under residue retention in the topsoil. Indicator species analysis suggested that macrofauna taxa belonging to Annelida, Aranaea and Chilopoda together with bacterial phyla Fibrobacteres and fungal phyla Rozellomycota were indicators for no-till combined with residue retention, while Coleoptera, Spirochaetae and Basidiomycota were indicators for conventional tillage with residue retention. Multivariate analyses suggested that total macrofauna abundance, soil carbon and pH were strongly associated with bacterial and fungal community composition in the topsoil layer. Co-inertia analysis indicated significant covariation between soil physicochemical, macrofauna, bacterial and fungal datasets, suggesting a strong association between different soil parameters and cascading effects of management on multiple soil properties. Our findings demonstrate that residue retention enhances soil biological, physical and chemical properties and that communities of soil macro- and microorganisms tend to respond in similar ways to these management interventions.
Oceans are increasingly looked toward for their contribution to addressing climate change. These so-called ocean-based climate “solutions” often fall under the umbrella of the “blue economy,” a term used to refer to new ways of organizing ocean economies to provide equitable economic and environmental benefits. Yet, thus far the literature exploring blue economies and blue economy governance has largely overlooked or downplayed its equity and justice roots and implications, including how blue economies are embedded in multiple scales of environmental injustices. This is particularly important when blue economies include offshore oil production. The purpose of this paper is to both emphasize the need and provide an approach to incorporate justice and equity—specifically climate justice—into blue economy planning and scholarship. We build on conceptualizations of blue economies as assemblages to draw attention to the global reach of climate impacts associated with oil that are often overlooked or ignored at sites of production and through regional governance. We argue that greenhouse gas emissions from the life cycle of oil should be included in policies and planning (including blue economy planning) at sites of production, but that this must also incorporate underlying power structures that lead to uneven impacts and climate injustice. We look at environmental assessments as a regional governance tool that could be used to shape opportunities and openings to organize blue economies differently. To illustrate these points, we look at how environmental assessments are playing (and could play) a role in enacting and shaping Newfoundland and Labrador's blue economy.
In semelparous Pacific salmon, increased cortisol levels accompany sexual maturation and may be related to the rapid senescence and death that occur after spawning. In fish with extremely high cortisol, pre-spawning mortality is more likely. This may be because elevated cortisol is accompanied by energy depletion and reduces the immune capacity of sexually maturing individuals, thus increasing their susceptibility to parasites and pathogens. Several studies have measured cortisol levels in Pacific salmon during the last few weeks prior to spawning, but there is a lack of information regarding longer-term changes in resting and stressed cortisol levels of migrating adult Pacific salmon. A better understanding of the scope of the cortisol response during sexual maturation could contribute to understanding the extremely high pre-spawning mortality experienced by some threatened populations of Pacific salmon. The objective of this study was to determine the scope of the cortisol stress response in spring Chinook salmon as well as the dynamics of resting cortisol during maturation. We conducted a laboratory experiment in which plasma cortisol in adult Chinook salmon was measured before and after application of a standardized stressor applied at monthly intervals during the last three months prior to spawning. We found that resting and stressed cortisol levels increased during the last three months prior to spawning. We also found that sexually maturing Chinook salmon are able to mount a cortisol response to acute stressors when resting levels are elevated during maturation. Additionally, the effects of stress and time on cortisol dynamics differed between males and females as well as between individuals, which has implications for population resilience to anthropogenic stressors in wild populations.
Short-term electrical energy load forecasting is one of the most significant problems associated with energy management for smart grids, which aims to optimize the operational strategies of buildings. Electricity forecasting models are considered a key aspect of the provision of better electricity management and reductions in energy consumption. This motivates the researchers to develop efficient electricity load forecasting (ELF) models, based on historical nonlinear and high volatile data, which require appropriate forecasting strategies. Therefore, in this article, we present an innovative two-phase framework for short-term ELF. The first phase is dedicated to data cleansing, in which pre-processing strategies are applied to raw data. In the second phase, a deep residual Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) is designed to extract the important features from the refined data. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to introduce a deep CNN architecture for the extraction of spatial features from electricity data. The output of the residual CNN network is forwarded to a stacked Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) network to learn the temporal information of the electricity data. The proposed model is then evaluated using the Individual-Household-Electric-Power-Consumption (IHEPC) and Pennsylvania–New Jersey–Maryland (PJM) datasets. The results reveal a significant reduction in the error rate over the IHEPC dataset in terms of Mean-Absolute-Error (MAE) (15.65%), Mean-Square-Error (MSE) (8.77%), and Root-Mean-Square-Error (RMSE) (14.85%) and over the PJM dataset our method reduced RMSE up to 3.4% as compared to baseline models i.e., linear regression, LSTM, and Gated Recurrent Unit (GRU). Furthermore, we performed several experiments with CNN, LSTM, and GRU models and evaluated it with additional Coefficient of Variation of the RMSE (CV-RMSE) metrics, which proves the effectiveness of our model for short-term load forecasting.
Research in water desalination technologies is constantly growing to meet global demands for freshwater. Though acting to meet these demands, the rapid growth and spread of desalination technologies poses environmental issues due to the increasing brine concentrates that are ultimately discharged back to nature. This article presents a cyclone separator to transform a humidification-dehumidification (HDH) cycle to a dual-product cycle to produce freshwater and solid salt crystals for highly saline streams. A desalination cycle equipped with a cyclone separator is used to treat water with 3.5 %–81 % salinity. The separation efficiency is well above 99 % and can produce potable water from hyper saline feed in a once-through process. The cyclone separator performance was tested under different conditions including humidity ratios, relative humidities, and feed stream's salinities. The cyclone separator is self-cleaning and overcomes salt scaling. This behavior is a direct function of the walls' temperature and the carrier air dew point. Self-cleaning capability allows the cyclone separator to treat feed water of extreme salinities (up to 810,000 ppm) down to freshwater salinity with zero liquid discharge. The cyclone separator was utilized in a novel HDH desalination technology to treat different salinities. The product was freshwater of salinity <500 ppm.
Consistent spatial variation in phenotypes within a species can reflect local adaptation to gradients in selective pressures, or plastic responses to variable conditions. In benthic marine foundation systems with long, dispersive pelagic larval stages, the usual assumption is that the plastic strategy should dominate, yet surprising examples of local adaptation are accumulating. We tested the potential for local adaptation to an environmentally-driven spatial gradient in predation pressure on the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) in a Florida estuary by reciprocally transplanting juvenile oysters between two sites. Experimental units included oysters in predator exclosures and controls that were exposed to both consumption by predators and nonconsumptive predator cues. One month after deployment, juvenile oysters from the upper-estuary site where more predators of adult oysters are present exhibited thicker shells in both the upper and lower estuary deployment sites, a possible signal of local adaption to a more intense predation regime. However, nine months after deployment, oysters sourced from both the upper and lower demes had thicker shells in predator-exposed treatments than in predator exclosures, regardless of location. Additionally, there was no evidence that the thicker shells in those oysters led to changes in survival or growth, as one would expect. These results suggest that while oysters from high-predator sites may initially exhibit an apparently adaptive antipredator trait, over the course of an oyster's life, trait expression is a plastic response to the perceived predation threat environment.
Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) are the most valuable fishery on the U.S. West Coast and both larval and adult Dungeness crabs are important components of regional food webs. Previous experiments have shown decreased survival and a slower development rate for Dungeness crab zoea reared in water with high CO2, indicating a susceptibility to ocean acidification. In this study we reared late-stage megalopae and juvenile Dungeness crabs in both ambient and high CO2 conditions for over 300 days. Counter to expectations, crabs reared in high CO2 had a higher survival rate than those reared in ambient conditions and crabs in high CO2 transitioned more quickly in one of the stages (J5 to J6). However, crabs reared in high CO2 were generally smaller and had a higher resting metabolic rate than crabs in ambient CO2. We hypothesized that two separate mechanisms were in effect, with one process driving survival and a second process driving size and respiration rate. We further hypothesized that increased mortality in ambient CO2 could be caused by a CO2-sensitive microbial pathogen, but that size and respiration differences were caused by the direct effects of CO2 on the crabs themselves. Overall, the zoea stages seem more sensitive to CO2 than the megalopae and juvenile stages.
Wildland fires impact ecosystems and communities worldwide. Many wildfires burn in living or a mixture of living and senescent vegetation. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the burning behavior of living fuels, in contrast to just dead or dried fuels, to more effectively support fire management decisions. In this study, the ignition and burning behaviors of needles placed in convective heat flux were evaluated. The species included longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), western red cedar (Thuja plicata), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), western larch (Larix occidentalis), pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia), white spruce (Picea glauca), and sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate). The ignition and burning behaviors were related to live fuel moisture content (LFMC), pilot flame temperatures, and convective heat fluxes. The different stages of ignition and burning were captured using high-speed imaging. In general, four burning stages can be observed: droplet ejection and burning, a transition stage, flaming combustion, and smoldering combustion. Ejection and subsequent burning of droplets can occur prior to sustained flaming ignition only in live fuels. For some species (e.g., longleaf pine, ponderosa pine, white spruce), droplet ejection and burning can reduce ignition times relative to dried fuel with lower LFMC. In general, the transition stage tends to take longer than the flaming and droplet stages (when these occur). During the transition stage, the fuels are heated, and pyrolysis occurs. Timescales to ignition and the different stages of ignition and burning vary more among live fuels than dead and dried fuels. This conclusion indicates that other parameters, such as chemical composition and structural morphology of the fuel, can significantly influence the burning of live fuels.
It is commonly assumed that salient singletons generate an “attend-to-me signal” which causes suppression to develop over time, eventually preventing capture. Despite this assumption and the name “singleton suppression,” a causal link between salience and suppression has not yet been clearly established. We point out the plausibility of a simple alternative mechanism: distractors might be suppressed because they are distractors rather than targets, even when non-salient. To look for evidence of salience-based suppression, we had participants search for a target shape among distractors, which sometimes included irrelevant-colored distractors. The critical manipulation was whether the irrelevant-colored distractor was salient (a color singleton) or non-salient (three non-target colored shapes; a triplet). On 30% of trials, probe letters were presented briefly inside each shape and participants were to report those letters. Probe recall below baseline indicates suppression. Experiment 1 showed that suppression was not triggered any more strongly by salient distractors (singletons) than by non-salient distractors (triplets). Experiment 2 showed that strong suppression effects developed rapidly even in the absence of salient singletons. These findings raise the thus-far neglected question of whether salience plays any role in suppression.
Birding is a growing nature-based tourism activity, and a better understanding of birder preferences could support tourism development and species conservation. Using a hybrid choice modeling approach, we analyzed birding destination preferences and how they vary by recreation specialization. This approach allows a continuum of specialization rather than allocating birders into discrete segments. A sample of 205 birders recruited in the 2017 summer season in Varanger, Norway, completed an online choice experiment with scenarios that included five systematically-varied destination attributes: Birding quality, bird diversity, landscape scenic quality, facilitation (e.g., trails and specialized guides), and a visitor fee. The hybrid choice (HC) model explained preference heterogeneity better than the attributes only multinomial logit (MNL) or random parameters logit (RPL) models. Birding quality, landscape scenery, and a medium level of facilitation were significant predictors in all models, while high bird diversity was significant only in the RPL and HC models. Interaction terms in the HC model indicated that birding quality, bird diversity, and the highest level of facilitation (specialized guides and birding hides) were more important for “more specialized” birders than for “less specialized” birders. Findings allow destinations to target birder segments more deliberately, while also assisting in planning and management decisions. Management implications Main drivers of birder destination choice are innate in the natural landscapes and ecosystems; exceptional birding quality and spectacular scenery were the strongest determinants of birding destination choice in our study. More specialized birders place higher priority on bird diversity, and birding facilitation. Less specialized birders might need a larger variety of facilitation and non-birding offers. Our results also indicate that those visiting spectacular but vulnerable nature destinations are willing to pay moderate fees for conservation and management. Fee revenue can fund site hardening facilities and services, allowing for more visitors without increasing pressure on the wildlife.
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12,192 members
Jacob Tennessen
  • Department of Integrative Biology
Ronald P. Neilson
  • Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
Richard Rodrigues
  • College of Pharmacy
Jadwiga Giebbultowicz
  • Department of Integrative Biology
Raghu Sangeetha
  • Department of Chemistry
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