University of Missouri - St. Louis
  • Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
Recent publications
This qualitative research aimed to examine Senegalese disabled women’s access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and information. Poor access to SRH services and information can lead to a range of negative consequences, including poor sexual, reproductive, and maternal health outcomes; rights violations; and impacts on mental health and livelihoods. Disabled women, who are marginalised and stigmatised both by their gender and their disability, may face significant barriers in access, but a full understanding of this access is lacking due to a dearth of research on this population. We used a snowball sampling method to identify 31 women with physical motor disabilities in the Dakar region, and we interviewed them from October to December 2019 using a semi-structured questionnaire. We analysed interviews using thematic analysis, which we complemented with frequency calculations and graphs where appropriate. Respondents reported having difficulties accessing SRH services and information because of structural inaccessibility within health care establishments, financial limitations, inaccessible transportation and far-away health establishments, long wait times in health care establishments, and prejudices and discrimination from health providers. Women had low knowledge of STIs, but were generally well-informed on different types of contraception, felt that accessing SRH information is easier than accessing services, and wished to see improvements in the Senegalese health care system specifically geared towards people with disabilities. Evidence from this research can inform policy and programmatic efforts to improve disabled women’s access to SRH services and information.
BACKGROUND: One of the challenges of the 21st century is the high turnover rate in the nursing profession due to burnout and mental illness. From a biopsychosocial perspective, an individual's personality is an important vulnerability-resilience factor that comprises four temperament traits (i.e., a person's emotional reactions) and three character traits (i.e., self-regulation systems). Indeed, different personality profiles are associated to different coping strategies and health outcomes. OBJECTIVE: We investigated and mapped the temperament and character of Swedish newly graduated and employed nurses’ in relation to the Swedish general population and an age-matched sub-sample. DESIGN: In this cross-sectional study, nurses self-reported their personality (Temperament and Character Inventory) at the beginning of their employment. SETTING: The data collection was conducted at a hospital in the South of Sweden. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 118 newly graduated and employed nurses (Mage = 25.95±5.58) and 1,564 individuals from the Swedish general population participated in the study. METHODS: We calculated T-scores and percentiles for all seven personality dimensions using the Swedish norms (N = 1,564). The profiles were calculated by combining high/low percentiles scores in three temperament dimensions (Novelty Seeking: N/n, Harm Avoidance: H/h, and Reward Dependence: R/r) and in the three character dimensions (Self-Directedness: S/s, Cooperativeness: C/c and Self-Transcendence: T/t). RESULTS: Regarding T-scores, the nurses reported moderately lower Novelty Seeking (> 0.5 SD), slightly higher Harm-Avoidance (about 0.5 SD), moderately higher Persistence (> 0.5 SD) and Reward Dependence (> 0.5 SD), and extremely lower Self-Directedness (> 1 SD). The prevalence of the most common temperament profiles among the nurses (Swedish general population in brackets) were: 39.80% [10.90%] Cautious (nHR), 21.20% [10.90] Reliable (nhR), and 15.30% [16.50%] Methodical (nHr). The prevalence of the most common character profiles among the nurses were: 31.40% [4.90%] Dependent (sCt), 25.40% [14.40%] Apathetic (sct), and 19.50% [8.80%] Moody (sCT). CONCLUSIONS: The analyses of the personality profiles showed that low Novelty Seeking (79%), high Harm Avoidance (65%) high Reward Dependence (80%), low Self-Directedness (95%), and low Self-Transcendence (60%) were more prevalent among the newly graduated and employed nurses. This may partially explain newly graduated nurses’ difficulties at work and high turnover rate. After all, a well-developed character is of special importance when working with patients with serious and terminal illness or under large global crises, such as the current pandemic. Hence, both education at universities and development at work need to be person-centered to reduce stress levels and promote positive self-regulation strategies.
Introduction Slipping rib syndrome (SRS) or subluxation of the medial aspect of the lower rib costal cartilages is an underdiagnosed cause of debilitating pain in otherwise healthy children. Costal cartilage excision may provide definitive symptom relief. However, limited data exist on the natural history, difficulty in diagnosis, and patient-reported outcomes for SRS in children. Methods We performed a single-institution descriptive study using chart review and a patient-focused survey for patients who underwent surgery for SRS from 2012 to 2020. Data regarding demographics, symptoms, diagnostic workup, and patient-reported outcomes were collected. Results Surgical resection was performed in 13 children. The median age at symptom onset was 12.5 y [IQR 9.7, 13.9], with a preponderance of girls (10, 77%). Eight patients participated in competitive athletics at the time of symptom onset. Prior to diagnosis, patients were seen by a median 3 [IQR 2, 5] providers with a median of 4 [IQR 3, 6] non-diagnostic imaging exams performed. The children included in the study underwent surgery for left (8), bilateral (4), and right (1) SRS. Two were lost to follow-up. At median post-op follow-up of 3.5 mo [IQR 1.2, 9.6], 73% (8/11) had returned to full activity. One reported non-limiting persistent pain symptoms. Conclusions Lack of knowledge regarding SRS may result in delayed diagnosis, excessive testing, and limitation of physical activity. Operative treatment appears to provide durable relief and should be considered for children with SRS. The challenge remains to decrease the number of non-diagnostic exams and time to diagnosis.
Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are prevalent among military populations, and both have been associated with working memory (WM) impairments. Previous resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) research conducted separately in PTSD and mTBI populations suggests that there may be similar and distinct abnormalities in WM-related networks. However, no studies have compared rsFC of WM brain regions in participants with mTBI versus PTSD. We used resting-state fMRI to investigate rsFC of WM networks in U.S. Service Members (n = 127; ages 18–59) with mTBI only (n = 46), PTSD only (n = 24), and an orthopedically injured (OI) control group (n = 57). We conducted voxelwise rsFC analyses with WM brain regions to test for differences in WM network connectivity in mTBI versus PTSD. Results revealed reduced rsFC between ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC), lateral premotor cortex, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) WM regions and brain regions in the dorsal attention and somatomotor networks in both mTBI and PTSD groups versus controls. When compared to those with mTBI, individuals with PTSD had lower rsFC between both the lateral premotor WM seed region and middle occipital gyrus as well as between the dlPFC WM seed region and paracentral lobule. Interestingly, only vlPFC connectivity was significantly associated with WM performance across the samples. In conclusion, we found primarily overlapping patterns of reduced rsFC in WM brain regions in both mTBI and PTSD groups. Our finding of decreased vlPFC connectivity associated with WM is consistent with previous clinical and neuroimaging studies. Overall, these results provide support for shared neural substrates of WM in individuals with either mTBI or PTSD.
Introduction Disparities in surgical management have been documented across a range of disease processes. The objective of this study was to investigate sociodemographic disparities in young females undergoing excision of a breast mass. Methods A retrospective study of females aged 10-21 y who underwent surgery for a breast lesion across eleven pediatric hospitals from 2011 to 2016 was performed. Differences in patient characteristics, workup, management, and pathology by race/ethnicity, insurance status, median neighborhood income, and urbanicity were evaluated with bivariate and multivariable regression analyses. Results A total of 454 females were included, with a median age of 16 y interquartile range (IQR: 3). 44% of patients were nonHispanic (NH) Black, 40% were NH White, and 7% were Hispanic. 50% of patients had private insurance, 39% had public insurance, and 9% had other/unknown insurance status. Median neighborhood income was $49,974, and 88% of patients resided in a metropolitan area. NH Whites have 4.5 times the odds of undergoing preoperative fine needle aspiration or core needle biopsy compared to NH Blacks (CI: 2.0, 10.0). No differences in time to surgery from the initial imaging study, size of the lesion, or pathology were observed on multivariable analysis. Conclusions We found no significant differences by race/ethnicity, insurance status, household income, or urbanicity in the time to surgery after the initial imaging study. The only significant disparity noted on multivariable analysis was NH White patients were more likely to undergo preoperative biopsy than were NH Black patients; however, the utility of biopsy in pediatric breast masses is not well established.
We obtain an upper bound on the first Chern class and the Castelnuovo-Mumford regularity of an initialized rank 3 ACM bundle on a general hypersurface in P4.\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$\mathbb {P}^4.$$\end{document} As a corollary, we prove that a general hypersurface in P4\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$\mathbb {P}^4$$\end{document} of degree d≥4\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$d \ge 4$$\end{document} does not support a rank 3 Ulrich bundle. We also make progress on the base case of a generic version of a conjecture by Buchweitz, Greuel and Schreyer.
Numerous animal species can survive in human-modified habitats, but often display behavioral, morphological, physiological or genetic plasticity compared to non-urban conspecifics. One group of organisms with a large urban presence are bees. Bee species have high diversity and abundance in cities, which has been empirically supported in numerous studies assessing community composition. Recent reviews of these articles reveal global patterns of high bee richness in cities, and the impact of urban landscape characteristics on bee populations. However, more specific information about how bees are able to be successful in cities, as have been studied in birds and mammals, has not been prioritized in any review thus far. These topics, though uncommon in much of the current published literature, are important for understanding how urban pollinating bees survive. Therefore, the goal of this paper is to review urban bee literature, focusing on topics that have yet to be examined in entirety, but are crucial for the plasticity observed, including foraging, nesting, competition, physiological adaptations, morphological shifts, genetics and gene flow. Additionally, we provide predictions and propose possible experimental directions based upon what is currently known about urban animal populations and bee life history. These predictions aim to inspire future multidisciplinary research to holistically evaluate urban bee populations. Expanding the knowledge base from primarily community composition studies to intricate assessments of behavior, genetics, and other important traits will aid in the creation of more targeted conservation policies, land development, and improve the capacity for pollination services in cities.
Objective Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) remains a challenge. The importance of viruses in VAP is not established. We sought to determine the prevalence of viruses in VAP and the outcomes of viral VAP. Design Retrospective study of VAP over 3 years. The frequency of a viral process represented the primary endpoint. Clinical outcomes served as secondary endpoints. We identified variables independently associated with a virus and conducted sensitivity analyses to assess the interaction between type of infection and patient characteristics. Setting Tertiary-care referral center. Patients The final cohort consisted of 710 patients and a virus was isolated in 5.1%. Interventions None. Results The most common viruses included: rhinovirus, influenza A, and cytomegalovirus. Baseline characteristics were similar between those with and without viral infections. In logistic regression, immunosuppression (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.44–6.14) and stem-cell transplantation (SCT, aOR, 3.58; 95% CI, 1.17–10.99) were independently associated with a virus. The presence of either variable performed poorly as a screening test for a virus. In-hospital (22.4% vs 21.6%; P = .869) and 30-day (32.8% vs 27.9%; P = .448) mortality rates were similar between the cohorts, respectively. Sensitivity analyses restricted to patients without a mixed viral and bacterial infection or those who were immunocompetent yielded similar results. Conclusion Although infrequent, a range of viruses may cause VAP. Viruses more often complicate SCT and immunosuppression, but one can isolate viruses in immunocompetent subjects. Viral VAP produces severe infection and results in high mortality rates. Clinical features do not differentiate viral from nonviral VAP.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common age-related, neurodegenerative disease. A small collection of genes has been linked to Parkinson’s disease including LRRK2 , SAT1 , and SNCA , the latter of which encodes the protein alpha-synuclein that aggregates in Lewy bodies as a hallmark of the disease. Overexpression of even wild-type versions of these genes can lead to pathogenesis, yet the regulatory mechanisms that control protein production of the genes are not fully understood. Pumilio proteins belong to the highly conserved PUF family of eukaryotic RNA-binding proteins that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression through binding conserved motifs in the 3’ untranslated region (UTR) of mRNA targets known as PUF Recognition Elements (PREs). The 3’UTRs of LRRK2 , SNCA and SAT1 each contain multiple putative PREs. Knockdown (KD) of the two human Pumilio homologs (Pumilio 1 and Pumilio 2) in a neurodegenerative model cell line, SH-SY5Y, resulted in increased SNCA and LRRK2 mRNA, as well as alpha-synuclein levels, suggesting these genes are normally repressed by the Pumilio proteins. Some studies have indicated a relationship between Pumilio and microRNA activities on the same target, especially when their binding sites are close together. LRRK2 , SNCA , and SAT1 each contain several putative microRNA-binding sites within the 3’UTR, some of which reside near PREs. Small RNA-seq and microRNA qPCR assays were performed in both wild type and Pumilio KD SH-SY5Y cells to analyze global and differential microRNA expression. One thousand four hundred and four microRNAs were detected across wild type and Pumilio KD cells. Twenty-one microRNAs were differentially expressed between treatments, six of which were previously established to be altered in Parkinson’s disease patient samples or research models. Expression of ten miRs predicted to target LRRK2 and SNCA was verified by RT-qPCR. Collectively, our results demonstrate that Pumilios and microRNAs play a multi-faceted role in regulating Parkinson’s disease-associated genes.
Rationale: Preterm infants are at risk for ventilatory control instability that may be due to aberrant peripheral chemoreceptor activity. While term infants have increasing peripheral chemoreceptor contribution to overall ventilatory drive with increasing postnatal age, how peripheral chemoreceptor contribution changes in preterm infants with increasing postmenstrual age is not known. Objectives: To evaluate peripheral chemoreceptor activity between 32 and 52 weeks postmenstrual age in preterm infants, using both quantitative and qualitative measures. Methods: 55 infants born between 24 weeks 0 days and 28 weeks 6 days gestation underwent hyperoxic testing at 1 to 4 time points between 32 and 52 weeks postmenstrual age. Quantitative minute ventilation decreases were calculated, and qualitative responses were categorized as apnea, continued breathing with a clear reduction in minute ventilation, sigh breaths, and no response. Measurements and main results: 280 hyperoxic tests were analyzed (2.2 ± 0.3 tests per infant at each time point). Mean peripheral chemoreceptor contribution to ventilatory drive was 85.2 ± 20.0% at 32 weeks and 64.1 ± 22.0% at 52 weeks. Apneic responses were more frequent at earlier postmenstrual ages. Conclusions: Among preterm infants, the peripheral chemoreceptor contribution to ventilatory drive was greater at earlier postmenstrual ages. Apnea was a frequent response to hyperoxic testing at earlier postmenstrual ages, suggesting high peripheral chemoreceptor activity. A clearer description of how peripheral chemoreceptor activity changes over time in preterm infants may help explain how ventilatory control instability contributes to apnea and sleep-disordered breathing later in childhood.
Background: Evidence seems to suggest that the risk of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) might vary across communities due to differences in population characteristics and movement patterns. However, little is known about these differences in the greater St Louis Area of Missouri and yet this information is useful for targeting control efforts. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to investigate (a) geographic disparities of COVID-19 risk and (b) associations between COVID-19 risk and socioeconomic, demographic, movement and chronic disease factors in the Greater St. Louis Area of Missouri, USA. Methods: Data on COVID-19 incidence and chronic disease hospitalizations were obtained from the Department of Health and Missouri Hospital Association, respectively. Socioeconomic and demographic data were obtained from the 2018 American Community Survey while population mobility data were obtained from the SafeGraph website. Choropleth maps were used to identify geographic disparities of COVID-19 risk and several sociodemographic and chronic disease factors at the ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) spatial scale. Global negative binomial and local geographically weighted negative binomial models were used to investigate associations between ZCTA-level COVID-19 risk and socioeconomic, demographic and chronic disease factors. Results: There were geographic disparities found in COVID-19 risk. Risks tended to be higher in ZCTAs with high percentages of the population with a bachelor's degree (p<0.0001) and obesity hospitalizations (p<0.0001). Conversely, risks tended to be lower in ZCTAs with high percentages of the population working in agriculture (p<0.0001). However, the association between agricultural occupation and COVID-19 risk was modified by per capita between ZCTA visits. Areas that had both high per capita between ZCTA visits and high percentages of the population employed in agriculture had high COVID-19 risks. The strength of association between agricultural occupation and COVID-19 risk varied by geographic location. Conclusions: Geographic disparities of COVID-19 risk exist in the St. Louis area and are associated with sociodemographic factors, population movements, and obesity hospitalization risks. The latter is particularly concerning due to the growing prevalence of obesity and the known immunological impairments among obese individuals. Therefore, future studies need to focus on improving our understanding of the relationships between COVID-19 vaccination efficacy, obesity and waning of immunity among obese individuals so as to better guide vaccination regimens and reduce disparities.
Background Children with glomerular disease have unique risk factors for compromised bone health. Studies addressing skeletal complications in this population are lacking. Methods This retrospective cohort study utilized data from PEDSnet, a national network of pediatric health systems with standardized electronic health record data for more than 6.5 million patients from 2009 to 2021. Incidence rates (per 10,000 person-years) of fracture, slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE), and avascular necrosis/osteonecrosis (AVN) in 4598 children and young adults with glomerular disease were compared with those among 553,624 general pediatric patients using Poisson regression analysis. The glomerular disease cohort was identified using a published computable phenotype. Inclusion criteria for the general pediatric cohort were two or more primary care visits 1 year or more apart between 1 and 21 years of age, one visit or more every 18 months if followed >3 years, and no chronic progressive conditions defined by the Pediatric Medical Complexity Algorithm. Fracture, SCFE, and AVN were identified using SNOMED-CT diagnosis codes; fracture required an associated x-ray or splinting/casting procedure within 48 hours. Results We found a higher risk of fracture for the glomerular disease cohort compared with the general pediatric cohort in girls only (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.6; 95% CI, 1.3 to 1.9). Hip/femur and vertebral fracture risk were increased in the glomerular disease cohort: adjusted IRR was 2.2 (95% CI, 1.3 to 3.7) and 5 (95% CI, 3.2 to 7.6), respectively. For SCFE, the adjusted IRR was 3.4 (95% CI, 1.9 to 5.9). For AVN, the adjusted IRR was 56.2 (95% CI, 40.7 to 77.5). Conclusions Children and young adults with glomerular disease have significantly higher burden of skeletal complications than the general pediatric population.
This study explored the experiences of older adult volunteers who pivoted from in-person tutoring to letter writing and online tutoring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixty-one older adult volunteers were surveyed in the beginning and end of the school year about their experiences, including their perceived benefits, challenges, and feedback on the pandemic transition. Eleven of the surveyed volunteers participated in focus groups at the end of the school year. Perceived benefits included having a positive impact on a child’s life and meaningful engagement during the pandemic, and perceived challenges included difficulty engaging students and lack of control over learning environments. The participants also suggested increasing opportunities for informal interactions with staff and students, technology training, and peer support between volunteers. There was agreement that the remote volunteering experience was not a substitute for in-person tutoring, but it was better than no volunteering at all.
Objective Whether short-term, low-potency opioid prescriptions for acute pain lead to future at-risk opioid use remains controversial and inadequately characterized. Our objective was to measure the association between emergency department (ED) opioid analgesic exposure after a physical, trauma-related event and subsequent opioid use. We hypothesized ED opioid analgesic exposure is associated with subsequent at-risk opioid use. Methods Participants were enrolled in AURORA, a prospective cohort study of adult patients in 29 U.S., urban EDs receiving care for a traumatic event. Exclusion criteria were hospital admission, persons reporting any non-medical opioid use (e.g., opioids without prescription or taking more than prescribed for euphoria) in the 30 days before enrollment, and missing or incomplete data regarding opioid exposure or pain. We used multivariable logistic regression to assess the relationship between ED opioid exposure and at-risk opioid use, defined as any self-reported non-medical opioid use after initial ED encounter or prescription opioid use at 3-months. Results Of 1441 subjects completing 3-month follow-up, 872 participants were included for analysis. At-risk opioid use occurred within 3 months in 33/620 (5.3%, CI: 3.7,7.4) participants without ED opioid analgesic exposure; 4/16 (25.0%, CI: 8.3, 52.6) with ED opioid prescription only; 17/146 (11.6%, CI: 7.1, 18.3) with ED opioid administration only; 12/90 (13.3%, CI: 7.4, 22.5) with both. Controlling for clinical factors, adjusted odds ratios (aORs) for at-risk opioid use after ED opioid exposure were: ED prescription only: 4.9 (95% CI 1.4, 17.4); ED administration for analgesia only: 2.0 (CI 1.0, 3.8); both: 2.8 (CI 1.2, 6.5). Conclusions ED opioids were associated with subsequent at-risk opioid use within three months in a geographically diverse cohort of adult trauma patients. This supports need for prospective studies focused on the long-term consequences of ED opioid analgesic exposure to estimate individual risk and guide therapeutic decision-making.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) has invested more than US$45 million into turfgrass and environmental research since 1983. We recently projected a $1.03 billion annual benefit to the U.S. golf industry from the USGA's investment in the three areas of water, fertilizer, and pesticide management research. However, the effort also has improved putting green construction techniques (PGCT), encouraged the incorporation of naturalized roughs (NR), and improved turfgrass cultivars (ITC). Our objective was to estimate the golf industry's financial benefit from the USGA's investment in these additional three areas. Data were collected from an online survey focused on the benefits associated with golf facilities’ adoption of research‐based management practices. Multiple econometric models were developed for PGCT, NR, and ITC that used data from the survey. All three research areas have been widely adopted throughout the U.S. golf industry. Across the three areas studied, modeling indicated a total annual financial benefit of $886.9 million to the golf industry. Further, the total annual financial benefit from all six areas is $1.92 billion. Compared with an estimated yearly Green Section budget of roughly $10 million, this is a healthy return on the USGA's investment and demonstrates the importance of research investment to the sustainability of the golf industry. The United States Golf Association (USGA) has invested more than $45 million in turfgrass and environmental research since 1983. The USGA's investment in research into putting green construction techniques, naturalized roughs, and improved turfgrass cultivars returns $886.9 million annually to the golf industry. Over six well‐defined areas, the USGA's research investment returns $1.92 billion annually to the U.S. golf industry. Research investments are critical for sustainably managing golf courses.
Throughout the 1950s, colonial Kenya experimented with multiracial governance – maintaining separate racial identities and instituting group political representation – as a strategy for protecting white supremacy. Though independence negotiations in 1960 ended political multiracialism, in cultural arenas, white sports officials – and their conservative allies in the International Olympic Committee – continued drawing on multiracialist ideologies to justify their disproportionate influence as heads of Kenya's sports organizations and as coaches. Kenyan sport during the midcentury thus reveals the unevenness and incompleteness of decolonization, as well as the specific means by which white settlers attempted to maintain power in the independent era. These efforts can be seen as part of a broader, global right-wing backlash to African nationalism. Though white Kenyans attempted to clutch onto power within the world of sport, Kenya's independent state actors intervened, nationalizing the sports administration and sidelining white-dominated institutions. While recent scholarship has examined African decolonization as a contested process, much of this work has centered on the formal mechanisms of transition. This article shows that, after political transition, sport became a new battleground of decolonization.
An expert panel on trends in dental practice structure and organization was convened as part of the University of Washington Continuing Dental Education program entitled “The Changing Face of Dentistry.” This article presents the results of the authors’ perspectives related to the ongoing trends in these areas; the ways in which events in the previous year, including the COVID-19 pandemic, had modified these trends; and the ways in which dentistry should respond to these trends. Knowledge Transfer Statement This perspective is intended to stimulate thoughts by clinicians, researchers, and educators about needed trends to the dental profession. With consideration of changes needed within the dental profession, improvements and implementation of diagnostic coding and value-based care could result in improved oral health for numerous Americans.
Disentangling the relative importance of different biodiversity drivers (i.e., climate, edaphic, historical factors, or human impact) to predict plant species richness at the local scale is one of the most important challenges in ecology. Biodiversity modelling is a key tool for the integration of these drivers and the predictions generated are essential , for example, for climate change forecast and conservation planning. However, the reliability of biodiversity models at the local scale remains poorly understood, especially in tropical species-rich areas, where they are required. We inventoried all woody plants with stems ≥ 2.5 cm in 397 plots across the Andes-Amazon gradient. We generated and mapped 19 uncorrelated biodiversity drivers at 90 m resolution, grouped into four categories: microclimatic, microtopographic, anthropic, and edaphic. In order to evaluate the importance of the different categories, we grouped biodiversity drivers into four different clusters by categories. For each of the four clusters of biodiversity drivers, we modelled the observed species richness using two statistical techniques (random forest and Bayesian inference) and two modelling procedures (including or excluding a spatial component). All the biodiversity models produced were evaluated by 10-fold cross-validation. Species richness was accurately predicted by random forest (Spearman correlation up to 0.85 and explained variance up to 67%). The results suggest that precipitation and temperature are important driving forces of species richness in the region. Nonetheless, a spatial component should be considered to properly predict biodiversity. This could reflect macroevolutionary underlying forces not considered here, such as colonization time, dispersal capacities, or speciation rates. However, the proposed biodiversity modelling approach can predict accurately species richness at the local scale and detailed resolution (90 m) in tropical areas, something that previous works had found extremely challenging. The innovative methodology presented here could be employed in other areas with conservation needs.
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2,331 members
Ana Patricia Mendoza
  • Department of Biology
Bettina Casad
  • Psychological Sciences
P. Fraundorf
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
Martin Pelikan
  • Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Lea Kosnik
  • Department of Economics
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Chancellor Thomas F. George
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