University of Guam
  • Mangilao Village, GU, Guam
Recent publications
Purpose: Breast cancer is the second cause of death from cancer in Guam and Hawai‘i and disproportionately impacts Native Hawaiian, CHamoru, and Filipino women. Although a few culturally informed interventions addressing breast cancer survivorship exist, none have been developed or tested for Native Hawaiian, CHamoru, and Filipino women. To address this, the TANICA study began with key informant interviews in 2021. Methods: Purposive sampling and grounded theory approaches were used to conduct semi-structured interviews with individuals experienced in providing healthcare or implementing community programs and/or research with ethnic groups of interest in Guam and Hawai‘i. A literature review and expert consultation identified intervention components, engagement strategies, and settings. Interview questions aimed to understand the relevance of evidence-based interventions and explored socio-cultural factors. Participants completed demographics and cultural affiliation surveys. Interviews were independently analyzed by trained researchers. Themes were mutually agreed upon by reviewers and key themes were identified based on frequencies. Results: Nineteen interviews were conducted in Hawai‘i (n=9) and Guam (n=10). Interviews confirmed the relevance of most of the previously identified evidence-based intervention components for Native Hawaiian, CHamoru, and Filipino breast cancer survivors. Ideas around culturally responsive intervention components and strategies emerged that were shared across and unique to each ethnic group and site. Conclusion: Evidence-based intervention components appear relevant, yet cultural and place-based strategies are needed for Native Hawaiian, CHamoru, and Filipino women in Guam and Hawai‘i. Future research should triangulate these findings with the lived experiences of Native Hawaiian, CHamoru, and Filipino breast cancer survivors to develop culturally informed interventions.
Context: State and territorial health agencies can optimize programmatic funding through braiding and layering strategies. Implementation: The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation, a territorial health agency located on the Pacific Island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), restructured its Non-Communicable Disease Bureau into 4 new units. Existing funding streams were braided and layered to support the restructuring. A shared vision of strengthening crosscutting connections to improve population health outcomes helped guide the restructuring process. Vision planning with leaders and funding partners, establishing buy-in within agency and external partners, and assessing immediate impacts were a few of the steps taken by the agency to ensure a successful restructuring. Impact: The immediate impact of the restructure has been positive. In both the CNMI and select states that have undertaken similar efforts, braiding and layering funding has facilitated more streamlined processes, coordinated approaches across programs and funding partners, and provided deeper levels of trust in partnerships. Although it is still too early to draw long-term assessments in the CNMI, the agency projects that coordinated funds will strengthen its foundational capabilities and promote a more community-centered, collaborative, and effective approach to public health. Restructuring the Non-Communicable Disease Bureau through braiding and layering funds gives the agency the flexibility it needs to more effectively address the social determinants of health and local population health priorities through a client-centered approach, ultimately improving health outcomes for the commonwealth. Lessons learned and implications: The agency experienced several challenges throughout the restructuring process that offer lessons learned for addressing effective health financing. For example, ample time is needed at the beginning of the braiding and layering process to establish policies and procedures for efficient accounting, documenting, and reporting. In addition, ongoing support and training opportunities for programmatic teams can smooth out the transition from siloed to braided and layered funding structures. These lessons, in addition to key elements mapped out by experienced state health agencies, can guide and prepare other agencies interested in implementing innovative funding mechanisms.
This study unpacks socially shared meanings of internal displacement as illustrated in Philippine media, using a social representations approach. Following our theoretical framework, we identified processes of symbolic coping about internal displacement from among 422 media articles published between 2006 and 2020. Philippine media uses anchoring and objectification in socially representing forced migration. It associates internal displacement with events in Philippine history and links it with everyday emotions like anger, anxiety and fear. It describes involuntary migration using metaphors such as hell on earth, chicken in a coop and canned sardines. It uses symbolism, such as footwear and doll, to demonstrate evacuee empowerment and personifies the internally displaced as Muslims or Indigenous Peoples who are fleeing for their lives while carrying their possessions. Our findings point to internal displacement as a space not only for suffering and deprivation but also for sustaining oneself and demonstrating human agency. Our study shows that beyond the dire circumstances surrounding internal displacement are structural issues that need to be dealt with: armed conflicts, terrorism, violence and disaster management.
This paper proposes a model for enhancing privacy and security in cloud computing known as the Covenant Code Exchange (CCE). The model is proposed as part of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for cloud providers and users as well as a third party (a witness). In particular, the model we propose allows a cloud provider, user and a witness to exchange covenant codes during transactions to ensure privacy, security and accountability. The covenant code exchange (CCE) requires the code of all parties that are involved for a successful transaction. A key feature of the proposed model is that a transaction cannot be completed with the codes of all parties concerned. Our model is very efficient and effective; when compared to other models; certification, accreditation, authorization and authentication, it involves a transaction cannot be completed until all parties have exchange of covenant codes. Additionally, when there is a breach in security, all parties will be held accountable. This ensures that each party is critical and cautions before, during and after a transaction is successfully executed.
Public health authorities worldwide are advocating for contact-tracing apps to help track COVID-19 infections during the pandemic and interrupt virus transmission. However, app users have to share their personally identifiable information, whereabouts, and in some cases, their vaccination records with authorities via mobile Internet. This situation creates grave concerns about how such personal information is transmitted, stored, archived, and disposed. In addition, the apps' technical design would also impact the adoption, such as whether the apps would drain the battery. Further, citizens' high distrust of governments also reduces app adoption. This article reviews recent research on contact-tracing apps and examines how privacy concerns, distrust in governments, and misinformation affect people's perceptions of contact-tracing apps. We recommend possible solutions for promoting these apps by analyzing what we learn from recent literature.
The morphology of paired fins is commonly overlooked in morphological studies, particularly the pelvic girdle and fins. Consequently, previous phylogenetic studies incorporating morphological data used few skeletal characters from this complex. In this paper, the phylogenetic significance of pelvic articular characters for elasmobranchs is discussed in light of the morphological variation observed in 130 species, the most comprehensive study exploring the morphology of the pelvic girdle done so far. The 10 morphological characters proposed herein for the pelvic articulation were incorporated into a molecular matrix of NADH2 sequences and submitted to an analysis of maximum parsimony employing extended implied weighting. The most stable tree was selected based on the distortion coefficients, SPR distances (subtree pruning and regrafting) and fit values. Some of the striking synapomorphies recovered within elasmobranchs include the presence of an articular surface for the first enlarged pelvic radial supporting Elasmobranchii and the pelvic articular region for the basipterygium extending from the posterolatral margin of the pelvic girdle over its lateral surface in Echinorhinus + Hexanchiformes. Additionally, the proposed characters and their distributions are discussed considering the relationships recovered and also compared with previous morphological and molecular phylogenetic hypotheses.
Endozoicomonas sp. strain GU-1 was isolated from two separate staghorn coral (Acropora pulchra) colonies collected in Guam, Micronesia. Both isolates were grown in marine broth prior to DNA extraction and Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) sequencing. Genomes were approximately 6.1 Mbp in size, containing highly similar gene content and matching sets of rRNA sequences.
When the Japanese formerly took control of Micronesia in 1919, they were aware of the extensive range of marine species that could be exploited and quickly set about creating a tuna fishing industry. Historical documents from the pre-World War II period provide evidence on how this was implemented and how Okinawan migration helped to drive the tuna fishing industry throughout Micronesia. During World War II, many of the fishing boats were converted and used by the Japanese military in a variety of activities, and some were sunk during the war. Following World War II, the United States of America attempted to revive the tuna fishing industry in association with local people and with limited success, but today the tuna fishing industry is the Federated States of Micronesia’s most important, profitable and sustainable industry, and part of a leading world industry in sustainable fisheries management. This paper provides information on the steps taken in achieving this position. It also considers the archeological remains, primarily the fishing boat wrecks located in Chuuk and the Marshall Islands. They are a significant part of the underwater cultural heritage of Micronesia, yet little is known about them, given the dominance of the World War II shipwrecks and the diving tourism industry. An aim of this paper is to raise awareness about this overlooked heritage, a heritage that has focus and relevance for local people of Micronesia.
Current research into the production of sustainable construction materials for retrofitting and strengthening historic structures has been rising, with geopolymer technology being seen as an advantageous alternative to traditional concrete. Fiber reinforcement using this novel cementitious material involves a low embodied carbon footprint while ensuring cohesiveness with local materials. This study aims to develop fly ash-based geopolymers reinforced with six different types of fibers: polyvinyl alcohol, polypropylene, chopped basalt, carbon fiber, and copper-coated stainless steel. The samples are produced by mixing the geopolymer mortar in random distribution and content. Twenty-eight geopolymer mixes are evaluated through compressive strength, split-tensile strength, and modulus of elasticity to determine the fiber mix with the best performance compared with pure geopolymer mortar as a control. Polyvinyl alcohol and copper-coated stainless-steel fiber samples had considerably high mechanical properties and fracture toughness under applied tensile loads. However, the polypropylene fiber source did not perform well and had lower mechanical properties. One-way ANOVA verifies these results. Based on these findings, polyvinyl alcohol and stainless-steel fibers are viable options for fiber reinforcement in historical structures, and further optimization and testing are recommended before application as a reinforcement material in historic structures.
Background: With increasing rates of overweight/obesity and disparities by ethnicity, it is important to understand the role of diet in ameliorating this health problem. Objective: The current study examined the relation of diet quality as measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2015 with BMI and obesity among participants of the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) in cross-sectional analyses at 3 time points (T-1 to T-3) over 20 years. Design: In a subset of 1,860 MEC participants, three cross-sectional analyses at cohort entry (1993-1996, T-1) and follow-ups in 2003-2008 (T-2) and 2013-2016 (T-3) were performed. Participant/setting: The cohort consists of African American, Native Hawaiian, Japanese American, Latino, and White adults in Hawaii and California with a mean age of 48 years at T-1. Main outcome measure: BMI/weight status in relation to diet quality. Statistical analysis: Linear and multinomial logistic regressions were applied to analyze the relation of diet quality with BMI and obesity while adjusting for known confounders. Results: HEI-2015 increased by 6.1 and 5.1 units for men and women from T-1 to T-3; the respective values for BMI were 1.5 and 2.4 kg/m2. Diet quality was inversely associated with BMI across time: BMI was lower by -0.47, -0.72, and -0.92 units for every 10-point increase in HEI-2015 scores at T-1, T-2, and T-3 (p<0.0001 for all). During the 20 years, the association was consistently high among Japanese American participants (-0.79, -0.87, -1.02) and weakest in African American cohort members (-0.34, -0.37,-0.40). Higher diet quality was related to lower odds of having obesity at all 3 time points with prevalence odds ratios of 0.72, 0.57, and 0.60. Conclusions: These findings suggest that consuming a high-quality diet is related to a lower BMI and rates of overweight/obesity but with the strongest association at an older age. To understand the ethnic differences, investigations of dietary habits/behaviors and/or fat distribution patterns will be needed in the future.
Life history characteristics of the Pacific yellowtail emperor, Lethrinus atkinsoni, were described from commercial samples in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands spanning a 28‐month market sampling period. Derived statistics pertaining to growth, life span, mortality and reproductive features were obtained through analyses of sectioned sagittal otoliths and gonad tissues. Maximum age observed was 18 years, with females attaining 50% sexual maturity at 3.3 years at a fork length of 20.9 cm; too few male specimens precluded male maturation estimates. We concluded that the species exhibited an undetermined sexual pattern as no evidence of prior female function was observed in mature males. No annual spawning periods were identifiable. Early growth rates estimated by settlement size‐constrained VBGF models using fish landed by the nighttime commercial spear fishery (NCSF) were rapid. Exploitation rates indicated very low‐to‐moderate levels of exploitation. Boat‐based fishing efforts from the NCSF captured the larger individuals of the species, whereas shore‐based efforts captured the vast majority of individuals representing sizes generally below that of the estimated 50% maturation level. Extensive fishery‐independent in situ diver observations indicated the species may have a restricted range. Expanded fishery‐dependent collection of L. atkinsoni specimens and studies of its movement ecology at Saipan would provide additional input for fishery management, as well as a formal stock assessment which juvenile‐biased catches indicate are necessary. Life history characteristics pertaining to the sexual maturation and age and growth of the yellowtail emperor were derived. Exploitation rate was considered to be low to moderate. Species demographics differed between harvest types.
Background: Compared to the U.S. population, cervical cancer (CC) incidence is significantly higher among the CHamoru, Micronesian, and Caucasian populations in Guam. From 2008-2012, CC was the fifth most common cancer diagnosed on the island. Despite the prevalence of CC and low HPV vaccine uptake, there is a concerning lack of awareness and preventative behavior among young adults. This study was aimed at influencing college students' knowledge and awareness of CC, CC screening, HPV, and the HPV vaccination. Methods: We delivered a 30-minute educational intervention to a sample of 108 university students in a classroom setting. The effect of the educational intervention was measured through a pre-and post-test on CC and HPV health behaviors, knowledge, and awareness. Results were analyzed using SPSS and an exact McNemar's test was used to examine the difference in the proportion of correct answers to the tests. Two-way mixed ANOVA was used to examine between (gender, ethnicity, and class level) and within subjects (pre-and post-test) program effects. Results: Of the 108 participants, only 39 (36.1%) reported being vaccinated for HPV, 23 (21.3%) had not been vaccinated, and 46 (42.6%) did not know if they had been vaccinated for HPV. Only forty-one (60.3%) female participants had had a Pap smear. When comparing the pre-to-posttest responses, most questions had an increase in correct responses. Time also influenced CCA and HPV knowledge and awareness scores as there was a significant increase in scores from the pre- to post-test. Conclusion: The educational intervention was an effective tool for increasing knowledge and awareness of CC, HPV, and HPV vaccination among college students. While study results demonstrate the educational intervention's success as a baseline measure of knowledge, the inclusion of behavioral outcome measures, such as intent to get vaccinated or screened, could result in more robust future studies.
Genetic diversity within species represents a fundamental yet underappreciated level of biodiversity. Because genetic diversity can indicate species resilience to changing climate, its measurement is relevant to many national and global conservation policy targets. Many studies produce large amounts of genome‐scale genetic diversity data for wild populations, but most (87%) do not include the associated spatial and temporal metadata necessary for them to be reused in monitoring programs or for acknowledging the sovereignty of nations or Indigenous Peoples. We undertook a “distributed datathon” to quantify the availability of these missing metadata and to test the hypothesis that their availability decays with time. We also worked to remediate missing metadata by extracting them from associated published papers, online repositories, and from direct communication with authors. Starting with 848 candidate genomic datasets (reduced representation and whole genome) from the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration, we determined that 561 contained mostly samples from wild populations. We successfully restored spatiotemporal metadata for 78% of these 561 datasets (N = 440 datasets comprising 45,105 individuals from 762 species in 17 phyla). Looking at papers and online repositories was much more fruitful than contacting authors, who only replied to our email requests 45% of the time. Overall, 23% of our email queries to authors unearthed useful metadata. Importantly, we found that the probability of retrieving spatiotemporal metadata declined significantly with the age of the dataset, with a 13.5% yearly decrease for metadata located in published papers or online repositories and up to a 22% yearly decrease for metadata that were only available from authors. This rapid decay in metadata availability, mirrored in studies of other types of biological data, should motivate swift updates to data sharing policies and researcher practices to ensure that the valuable context provided by metadata is not lost to conservation science forever. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Coral reefs are highly threatened environs subject to ongoing unprecedented degradation as a result of anthropogenic activities. Given the existential threat to coral reef ecosystems, extractive industries that make use of coral reef resources, are facing significant public and political pressure to quantify and justify their environmental impact. In Australia, hundreds of thousands of live scleractinian (hard) corals are harvested annually directly from the wild to supply the growing international marine aquarium trade. Many of the most popular and high value aquarium corals are believed to be slow growing, which would make them particularly vulnerable to over-fishing. Corals present a number of unique challenges for fisheries management, not least of which, is the marked variation in the size of corals, which may be harvested in whole or in part. This issue is further compounded because harvest limits are typically weight-based, but there is very limited information on the standing biomass of corals in targeted stocks. Herein, we describe size-weight relationships for some of Australia’s most heavily targeted coral species ( Catalaphyllia jardinei , Duncanopsammia axifuga , Euphyllia glabrescens , Homophyllia cf. australis , Micromussa lordhowensis , Trachyphyllia geoffroyi ), which allows estimation of standing biomass from transect surveys. This work represents an important first step in the development of ecologically sound management strategies by bridging the gap between catch reporting and stock assessments.
Population irruptions of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) cause extensive degradation of coral reefs, threatening the structure and function of these important ecosystems. For population irruptions to initiate and spread, large numbers of planktonic larvae have to successfully transition into their benthic life-history stage (i.e. settlement), whereby larval behaviour and the presence of settlement cues may shape spatial patterns of recruitment and adult densities. Our results demonstrate that a wide range of coralline algae species induce COTS larvae to settle; however, the capacity to promote settlement success varied manyfold among algal species, ranging from greater than 90% in Melyvonnea cf. madagascariensis to less than 2% in Lithophyllum cf. kotschyanum and two Porolithon species at 24 h. Because many coralline algae species that promote high settlement success are prevalent in shallow reef habitats, our findings challenge the hypothesis that COTS larvae predominantly settle in deep water. Considering both larval behaviour and algal ecology, this study highlights the ecological significance of coralline algae communities in driving recruitment patterns of COTS. More specifically, the local abundance of highly inductive coralline algae (especially, Melyvonnea cf. madagascariensis ) may explain some of the marked spatial heterogeneity of COTS populations and the incidence of population irruptions.
Nautiloids are a charismatic group of marine molluscs best known for their rich fossil record, but today they are restricted to a handful of species in the family Nautilidae from around the Coral Triangle. Recent genetic work has shown a disconnect between traditional species, originally defined on shell characters, but now with new findings from genetic structure of various Nautilus populations. Here, three new species of Nautilus from the Coral Sea and South Pacific region are formally named using observations of shell and soft anatomical data augmented by genetic information: N. samoaensis sp. nov. (from American Samoa), N. vitiensis sp. nov. (from Fiji), and N. vanuatuensis sp. nov. (from Vanuatu). The formal naming of these three species is timely considering the new and recently published information on genetic structure, geographic occurrence, and new morphological characters, including color patterns of shell and soft part morphology of hood, and will aid in managing these possibly endangered animals. As recently proposed from genetic analyses, there is a strong geographic component affecting taxonomy, with the new species coming from larger island groups that are separated by at least 200 km of deep water (greater than 800 m) from other Nautilus populations and potential habitats. Nautilid shells implode at depths greater than 800 m and depth therefore acts as a biogeographical barrier separating these species. This isolation, coupled with the unique, endemic species in each locale, are important considerations for the conservation management of the extant Nautilus species and populations.
Background: The prevalence of food insecurity and its relationship to diet quality are factors impacting the health of persons living across the United States-affiliated Pacific region (USAP). Objectives: To characterize the relationship between household food security status and diet quality of 2- to 8-y-old children across jurisdictions in the USAP. Methods: Baseline data from 2- to 8-y-olds (n = 3099) enrolled in the Children's Healthy Living Program for Remote Underserved Minority Populations in the Pacific region, an obesity prevention study conducted in communities across Alaska, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, and Hawaii, and a concomitant prevalence study in communities across the Freely Associated States (FAS) (the Federated States of Micronesia: Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap; Republic of Marshall Islands; Republic of Palau) were collected in 2012. Caregivers self-reported sociodemographic data and food insecurity. Assisted by their caregiver, children completed two dietary records on nonconsecutive, randomly assigned days. The Healthy Eating Index 2005 (HEI-2005) was used to assess the diet quality. Data were summarized overall and by jurisdiction. Differences in HEI-2005 and HEI component scores among jurisdictions and by household food security status were tested using 1-factor ANOVA. Results: Half or more of participants from American Samoa, Guam, CNMI, and FAS reported household food insecurity (n = 295, 59.7%; n = 292, 49.9%; n = 267, 54.6%; n = 572, 69.0%, respectively). HEI-2005 scores varied by jurisdiction (P < 0.001) and were significantly lower among FAS participants (54.7 ± 1.2) than among all other jurisdictions (P < 0.05). Total diet quality scores did not differ by food security status (59.9 ± 0.8 food secure compared with 58.3 ± 1.1 food insecure, P = 0.07); however, most diet quality adequacy component scores were significantly higher and moderation component scores significantly lower among participants in food secure households than those in food insecure households. Conclusions: Significant differences in children's diet quality and household food security existed across USAP jurisdictions.
Nitzschia martiana , recently restored to Homoeocladia (C. Agardh) emend Lobban et Ashworth, has needle-like cells and forms macroscopic colonies that are so distinctive that they have been reported on the basis of light microscopy alone. It is the type species for Homoeocladia , which have long flaps (conopea) arising from the sternum and covering a valve depression. This group has extreme diversity at the ultrastructural level and it would not be surprising to find another similar to H. martiana . However, Nitzschia venerata , sp. nov., is a surprising look-alike found in a coral reef seaweed sample from Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands (Western Pacific Ocean). It was studied with light- and scanning electron microscopy. Attempts to find colonies in live and preserved samples were unsuccessful. It is very long and narrow, with a valve depression like that in conopeate species. However, ultrastructurally it is not conopeate because the long flaps arise from the valve face and grow toward the keel and can therefore be classified as scuta. Although tube formation remains unknown, the extreme length and narrowness of the cells suggest it might occur, so that scientists identifying potential H. martiana should be alert to the possibility that they have N. venerata or some other needle-like Homoeocladia.
Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems remain largely unexplored. The aim of this study was to determine how the acoustic fsh biodiversity varied depending on the depth and the type of island in six Polynesian islands. The link between benthic cover and fsh sound diversity was established. In most islands, acoustic fsh α-diversity decreased between 20 and 60 m but not between 60 and 120 m. Fish sound types community composition was more driven by depth, likely due to benthic coral cover diferences, than by the type of island. These results show fsh sounds exhibit a bathymetric stratifcation and can refect diferent habitat features. It opens perspectives in the monitoring of mesophotic coral ecosystems using passive acoustics.
Earthquakes expose vulnerable reinforced concrete structures in the last few decades. One of the crucial parts of a reinforced structural frame subjected to seismic loads, which often triggers older building collapse, is the beam–column joint (BCJ). Modern codes about BCJ are aligned with its cyclic load mechanisms, which are the diagonal strut and the truss mechanism. Each factor of BCJ assembly plays a significant role in resistance to cyclic loads. Experimental studies on BCJ cyclic load behavior are synthesized in this review paper, including the standard parameters such as crack patterns, energy dissipation, bond behavior, and stiffness degradation. This study also involves the assessments of the code provisions for BCJ after modification of variables in BCJ geometry. It was found in this literature review that the behavior of BCJ is dependent on assembly geometry, material characteristics, and some external conditions. Experimental and analytical results from available literature also noticed the overestimates and underestimates depicted in the current design codes such as ACI, New Zealand, and the European codes.
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1,031 members
Christopher S. Lobban
  • Division of Natural Sciences
Sarah Lemer
  • Marine Laboratory
Rachael T Leonguerrero
  • Office of Research & Sponsored Programs
Joseph D. Rouse
  • Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific
Tom Schils
  • Marine Laboratory
UOG Station, 96923, Mangilao Village, GU, Guam
Head of institution
Dr. Thomas W. Krise