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Charleston, SC, United States

The College of Charleston is a public, sea-grant and space-grant university located in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States. The college was founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785, making it the oldest college or university in South Carolina, the 13th oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the oldest municipal college in the country. The founders of the College include three future signers of the Declaration of Independence and three future signers of the United States Constitution . It is said that the college was founded to "encourage and institute youth in the several branches of liberal education." The college is in company with the Colonial Colleges as one of the oldest schools in the United States. It is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Wikipedia.

Oprisan S.A.,College of Charleston | Buhusi C.V.,Utah State University
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2014

Cognitive processes such as decision-making, rate calculation and planning require an accurate estimation of durations in the supra-second range- interval timing. In addition to being accurate, interval timing is scale invariant: the time-estimation errors are proportional to the estimated duration. The origin and mechanisms of this fundamental property are unknown. We discuss the computational properties of a circuit consisting of a large number of (input) neural oscillators projecting on a small number of (output) coincidence detector neurons, which allows time to be coded by the pattern of coincidental activation of its inputs. We showed analytically and checked numerically that time-scale invariance emerges from the neural noise. In particular, we found that errors or noise during storing or retrieving information regarding the memorized criterion time produce symmetric, Gaussian-like output whose width increases linearly with the criterion time. In contrast, frequency variability produces an asymmetric, long-tailed Gaussianlike output, that also obeys scale invariant property. In this architecture, time-scale invariance depends neither on the details of the input population, nor on the distribution probability of noise. © 2014 The Author(s). Source

Murren C.J.,College of Charleston
Integrative and Comparative Biology | Year: 2012

Proper functioning of complex phenotypes requires that multiple traits work together. Examination of relationships among traits within and between complex characters and how they interact to function as a whole organism is critical to advancing our understanding of evolutionary developmental plasticity. Phenotypic integration refers to the relationships among multiple characters of a complex phenotype, and their relationships with other functional units (modules) in an organism. In this review, I summarize a brief history of the concept of phenotypic integration in plant and animal biology. Following an introduction of concepts, including modularity, I use an empirical case-study approach to highlight recent advance in clarifying the developmental and genomic basis of integration. I end by highlighting some novel approaches to genomic and epigenetic perturbations that offer promise in further addressing the role of phenotypic integration in evolutionary diversification. In the age of the phenotype, studies that examine the genomic and developmental changes in relationships of traits across environments will shape the next chapter in our quest for understanding the evolution of complex characters. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. All rights reserved. Source

Sotka E.E.,College of Charleston
Integrative and Comparative Biology | Year: 2012

Populations evolve generalist, specialist, and plastic strategies in response to environmental heterogeneity. Describing such within-species variation in phenotype and how it arises is central to understanding a variety of ecological and evolutionary topics. The literature on phenotypic differences among populations is highly biased; for every one article published on a marine species, at least 10 articles are published on a terrestrial species and eight focus on terrestrial plants. Here, I outline what we know from the marine literature about geographic variation in phenotype in the sea, with a principal focus on local adaptation. The theory of environmental "grain" predicts that the most likely evolutionary response (e.g., local adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, generalism, and balanced polymorphism) depends on the spatial scale of environmental variation relative to the distance that an organism disperses. Consistent with these predictions, phenotypic plasticity is stronger among invertebrates with geographically broad dispersal versus restricted dispersal (i.e., planktonic-dispersers versus direct-developers). However, contrary to predictions, the relative frequency, and spatial scale of local adaptation is not consistently greater among direct-developers relative to planktonic disperers. This indicates that the likelihood of local adaptation depends on other organismal or environmental traits. Two of the most vexing issues that remain include (1) predicting the extent to which barriers to dispersal are a cause versus consequence of phenotypic differentiation and (2) delineating the relative importance of evolutionary forces that favor or impede local adaptation. Understanding the mechanistic basis of the geography of phenotypic differences, or phenogeography, has gained recent momentum because of a need to predict impacts of global climatic change, anthropogenic disturbances, and dispersal of organisms to non-native habitats. © 2012 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. All rights reserved. Source

Pritchard S.G.,College of Charleston
Plant Pathology | Year: 2011

Climate changes will influence soil organisms both directly (warming) and indirectly (warming and elevated CO2) via changes in quantity and quality of plant-mediated soil C inputs. Elevated atmospheric CO2 commonly stimulates flow of organic C into the soil system, increases root production and exudation, but decreases litter quality. There is little evidence that atmospheric CO2 enrichment will increase total soil organic matter content because greater C flow into soil stimulates the soil food web, often leading to equivalent increases in soil CO2 efflux. Effects of warming on C allocation belowground, on the other hand, will depend largely on the temperature optima of different plant species. Warming is likely to increase the rate of soil organic matter decomposition by stimulating soil heterotrophic respiration, although some degree of acclimatization to warming is likely. Mycorrhizal and N2-fixing relationships are generally enhanced by CO2 enrichment, but effects of warming are highly variable. Data suggest that energy flow through fungal pathways may be enhanced relative to bacterial pathways by both warming and atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Whether the shift toward fungal domination of soils will increase soilborne fungal disease occurrence in the future is still an open question. Plant heat and drought tolerance, along with resistance to pathogens in warmer and wetter soils, may be achieved, to some unknown extent, by exploitation and management of beneficial soil organisms. Further study is needed to develop a more holistic understanding of the effects of climate change on belowground processes. © 2011 The Author. Plant Pathology © 2011 BSPP. Source

Governments, NGOs, and natural scientists have increased research and policy-making collaborations with Indigenous peoples for governing natural resources, including official co-management regimes. However, there is continuing dissatisfaction with such collaborations, and calls for better communication and mutual learning to create more "adaptive" co-management regimes. This, however, requires that both Western and Indigenous knowledge systems be equal participants in the "co-production" of regulatory data. In this article, I examine the power dynamics of one co-management regulatory regime, conducting a multi-sited ethnography of the practices of researching and managing one transnational migratory species, greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons frontalis), who nest where Koyukon Athabascans in Alaska, USA, practice subsistence. Analyzing the ethnographic data through the literatures of critical geography, science studies and Indigenous Studies, I describe how the practice of researching for co-management can produce conflict. "Scaling" the data for the co-management regime can marginalize Indigenous understandings of human-environment relations. While Enlightenment-based practices in wildlife biology avoid "anthropomorphism, " Indigenous Studies describes identities that operate through non-modern, deeply imbricated human-nonhuman identities that do not separate "nature" and "society" in making knowledge. Thus, misunderstanding the "nature" of their collaborations causes biologists and managers to measure and research the system in ways that erase how subsistence-based Indigenous groups already "manage" wildlife: by living through their ethical commitments to their fellow beings. At the end of the article, I discuss how managers might learn from these ontological and epistemological differences to better "co-produce" data for co-management. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source

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