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Beddow J.M.,Hall University of Applied Sciences | Beddow J.M.,University of Minnesota | Beddow J.M.,CSIRO | Pardey P.G.,Hall University of Applied Sciences | And 13 more authors.
Nature Plants | Year: 2015

Breeding new crop varieties with resistance to the biotic stresses that undermine crop yields is tantamount to increasing the amount and quality of biological capital in agriculture. However, the success of genes that confer resistance to pests induces a co-evolutionary response that depreciates the biological capital embodied in the crop, as pests evolve the capacity to overcome the crop's new defences. Thus, simply maintaining this biological capital, and the beneficial production and economic outcomes it bestows, requires continual reinvestment in new crop defences. Here we use observed and modelled data on stripe rust occurrence to gauge changes in the geographic spread of the disease over recent decades. We document a significant increase in the spread of stripe rust since 1960, with 88% of the world's wheat production now susceptible to infection. Using a probabilistic Monte Carlo simulation model we estimate that 5.47 million tonnes of wheat are lost to the pathogen each year, equivalent to a loss of US$979 million per year. Comparing the cost of developing stripe-rust-resistant varieties of wheat with the cost of stripe-rust-induced yield losses, we estimate that a sustained annual research investment of at least US$32 million into stripe rust resistance is economically justified. © 2015, Nature Publishing Group. All rights reserved.


PubMed | International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, University of New South Wales, Hall University of Applied Sciences and Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries
Type: | Journal: Nature plants | Year: 2016

Breeding new crop varieties with resistance to the biotic stresses that undermine crop yields is tantamount to increasing the amount and quality of biological capital in agriculture. However, the success of genes that confer resistance to pests induces a co-evolutionary response that depreciates the biological capital embodied in the crop, as pests evolve the capacity to overcome the crops new defences. Thus, simply maintaining this biological capital, and the beneficial production and economic outcomes it bestows, requires continual reinvestment in new crop defences. Here we use observed and modelled data on stripe rust occurrence to gauge changes in the geographic spread of the disease over recent decades. We document a significant increase in the spread of stripe rust since 1960, with 88% of the worlds wheat production now susceptible to infection. Using a probabilistic Monte Carlo simulation model we estimate that 5.47 million tonnes of wheat are lost to the pathogen each year, equivalent to a loss of US$979 million per year. Comparing the cost of developing stripe-rust-resistant varieties of wheat with the cost of stripe-rust-induced yield losses, we estimate that a sustained annual research investment of at least US$32 million into stripe rust resistance is economically justified.


PubMed | University of Pennsylvania and Hall University of Applied Sciences
Type: | Journal: Journal of neuroscience methods | Year: 2014

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is widely used as a model for understanding the neuronal and genetic bases of behavior. Recent studies have required longitudinal assessment of individual animals behavior over extended periods.Here we present a technique for automated monitoring of multiple worms for several days. Our method uses an array of plano-concave glass wells containing standard agar media. The concave well geometry allows worms to be imaged even at the edge of the agar surface and prevents them from burrowing under the agar. We transfer one worm or embryo into each well, and perform imaging of the array of wells using a single camera. Machine vision software is used to quantify size, activity, and/or fluorescence of each worm over time.We demonstrate the utility of our method in two applications: (1) quantifying behavioral quiescence and developmental rate in wild-type and mutant animals, and (2) characterizing differences in mating behavior between two C. elegans strains.Current techniques for tracking behavior in identified worms are generally restricted to imaging either single animals or have not been shown to work with arbitrary developmental stages; many are also technically complex. Our system works with up to 24 animals of any stages and is technically simple.Our multi-well imaging method is a powerful tool for quantification of long-term behavioral phenotypes in C. elegans.


Foth M.,Health Science University | Schusterschitz C.,Hall University of Applied Sciences | Flatscher-Thoni M.,Health Science University
Journal of Public Health (Germany) | Year: 2012

Aim: Data-protection regulations in German hospitals, based on data-protection laws and internal regulations, must be complied with and taken into account in daily work. However, these regulations are not always respected, as evidenced by the data-protection scandals in Germany of recent years. Subjects and methods: In a 2010 survey, data was collected from 557 individuals including administrative staff, nursing staff, physicians, physicians with scientific/research-based work and other health professionals of 26 hospitals in Germany to analyze the factors of relevance with regard to data-protection compliance. Results: The acceptance of hospital staff concerning dataprotection regulations is significantly influenced by subjective values and personal attitudes. Significant differences related to the acceptance of data-protection rules and regulations can be found in gender or type of hospital. The results show that employees consider rules and regulations to be necessary and important. However damage caused by data security breaches and the likelihood that they will occur, are considered to be less significant. A large impact on individual data-protection compliance can be reported in the subjective norm, which is influenced by the effect of close colleagues and superiors. Conclusion: The underlying results of the study at hand demonstrate practical implications which can lead to a high degree of data-protection compliance in the future. The related aspects deserving future investigation of the possible explanations for differences in behavior related to data protection among various occupational groups in hospitals are discussed. Men and women exhibit very different levels of dataprotection acceptance, so future efforts to increase sensitivity and awareness of data-protection issues in employees require gender-specific approaches. Another issue that merits investigation is the source of the influence of hospital type on dataprotection compliance. © Springer-Verlag 2011.


van Gessel C.,Hall University of Applied Sciences
Zoo Biology | Year: 2015

Two female polar bears at Dierenrijk Zoo in the Netherlands were monitored at their maternity den one day before the birth of their cubs and three days postpartum. Each bear was monitored for 96hr to document behaviour and vocalisations. The goal was to obtain insight into the differences between the mother that lost her litter and the other that successfully reared her cubs. Six groups of cub vocalisations were identified: Comfort, Discomfort, Distress, Nursing Attempts, Nursing, and No Vocalisation. Maternal vocalisations were split into three groups: Calm, Grooming, and Stress. Maternal behaviours were also split into three groups: Active, Rest, and Stress. The unsuccessful mother produced more stress vocalisations before and during the birth of her cub, whereas the successful mother appeared less stressed. Vocalisations indicate that the cub that died tried to nurse but was unsuccessful. The unsuccessful mother showed less stress as her cub got weaker and vocalised less. From this I suggest that maternal stress was a factor in cub mortality. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Junghaenel D.U.,Hall University of Applied Sciences | Christodoulou C.,Hall University of Applied Sciences | Lai J.-S.,Hall University of Applied Sciences | Stone A.A.,Hall University of Applied Sciences
Journal of Psychosomatic Research | Year: 2011

To investigate demographic correlates of fatigue in the US general population using a new instrument developed by the Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS). First, we examined correlations between the new PROMIS instrument and the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue (FACIT-F) and the SF-36v2 Vitality subscale. Based on prior findings, we further examined several demographic correlates of fatigue: whether women would report higher levels of fatigue compared to men, and whether married people would experience lower levels of fatigue compared to unmarried people. We also explored the relationship between age, education, and fatigue. Methods: Analyses were based on fatigue ratings by 666 individuals from the general population. Fatigue was assessed with the new PROMIS instrument, the FACIT-F, and the SF-36v2 Vitality subscale. Differences in fatigue were examined with independent samples t-tests and univariate ANOVAs. Results: The three fatigue instruments were highly intercorrelated. Confirming prior reports, women reported higher levels of fatigue than men. Married participants reported significantly less fatigue than their unmarried counterparts. Univariate ANOVAs yielded a main effect for participants' age; younger participants gave significantly higher fatigue ratings. We also found a main effect for participants' education. Participants with a masters or doctoral degree had significantly lower ratings of fatigue than participants with some college education and education up to high school. Conclusion: Female gender, not being married, younger age and lower educational attainment were each associated with increased fatigue in the general population and the three fatigue instruments performed equally well in detecting the observed associations. © 2011.


PubMed | Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Hall University of Applied Sciences and Harvard University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Brain imaging and behavior | Year: 2016

Dyslexia is characterized by a deficit in language processing which mainly affects word decoding and spelling skills. In addition, children with dyslexia also show problems in mathematics. However, for the latter, the underlying structural correlates have not been investigated. Sixteen children with dyslexia (mean age 9.8years [0.39]) and 24 typically developing children (mean age 9.9years [0.29]) group matched for age, gender, IQ, and handedness underwent 3T MR diffusion tensor imaging as well as cognitive testing. Tract-Based Spatial Statistics were performed to correlate behavioral data with diffusion data. Children with dyslexia performed worse than controls in standardized verbal number tasks, such as arithmetic efficiency tests (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). In contrast, the two groups did not differ in the nonverbal number line task. Arithmetic efficiency, representing the total score of the four arithmetic tasks, multiplication, and division, correlated with diffusion measures in widespread areas of the white matter, including bilateral superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi in children with dyslexia compared to controls. Children with dyslexia demonstrated lower performance in verbal number tasks but performed similarly to controls in a nonverbal number task. Further, an association between verbal arithmetic efficiency and diffusion measures was demonstrated in widespread areas of the white matter suggesting compensatory mechanisms in children with dyslexia compared to controls. Taken together, poor fact retrieval in children with dyslexia is likely a consequence of deficits in the language system, which not only affects literacy skills but also impacts on arithmetic skills.


PubMed | Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Munich Re and Hall University of Applied Sciences
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Risk analysis : an official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis | Year: 2016

Recent findings on construal level theory (CLT) suggest that abstract thinking leads to a lower estimated probability of an event occurring compared to concrete thinking. We applied this idea to the risk context and explored the influence of construal level (CL) on the overestimation of small and underestimation of large probabilities for risk estimates concerning a vague target person (Study 1 and Study 3) and personal risk estimates (Study 2). We were specifically interested in whether the often-found overestimation of small probabilities could be reduced with abstract thinking, and the often-found underestimation of large probabilities was reduced with concrete thinking. The results showed that CL influenced risk estimates. In particular, a concrete mindset led to higher risk estimates compared to an abstract mindset for several adverse events, including events with small and large probabilities. This suggests that CL manipulation can indeed be used for improving the accuracy of lay peoples estimates of small and large probabilities. Moreover, the results suggest that professional risk managers risk estimates of common events (thus with a relatively high probability) could be improved by adopting a concrete mindset. However, the abstract manipulation did not lead managers to estimate extremely unlikely events more accurately. Potential reasons for different CL manipulation effects on risk estimates accuracy between lay people and risk managers are discussed.


PubMed | Leibniz Institute fuer Wissensmedien, Hall University of Applied Sciences and RWTH Aachen
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

The approximate number system (ANS) was proposed to be a building block for later mathematical abilities. Several measures have been used interchangeably to assess ANS acuity. Some of these measures were based on accuracy data, whereas others relied on response time (RT) data or combined accuracy and RT data. Previous studies challenged the view that all these measures can be used interchangeably, because low correlations between some of the measures had been observed. These low correlations might be due to poor reliability of some of the measures, since the majority of these measures are mathematically related. Here we systematically investigated the relationship between common ANS measures while avoiding the potential confound of poor reliability. Our first experiment revealed high correlations between all accuracy based measures supporting the assumption that all of them can be used interchangeably. In contrast, not all RT based measures were highly correlated. Additionally, our results revealed a speed-accuracy trade-off. Thus, accuracy and RT based measures provided conflicting conclusions regarding ANS acuity. Therefore, we investigated in two further experiments which type of measure (accuracy or RT) is more informative about the underlying ANS acuity, depending on participants preferences for accuracy or speed. To this end, we manipulated participants preferences for accuracy or speed both explicitly using different task instructions and implicitly varying presentation duration. Accuracy based measures were more informative about the underlying ANS acuity than RT based measures. Moreover, the influence of the underlying representations on accuracy data was more pronounced when participants preferred accuracy over speed after the accuracy instruction as well as for long or unlimited presentation durations. Implications regarding the diffusion model as a theoretical framework of dot comparison as well as regarding the relationship between ANS acuity and math performance are discussed.


PubMed | University Graduate Center and Hall University of Applied Sciences
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in psychology | Year: 2015

Number facts are commonly assumed to be verbally stored in an associative multiplication fact retrieval network. Prominent evidence for this assumption comes from so-called operand-related errors (e.g., 4 6 = 28). However, little is known about the development of this network in children and its relation to verbal and non-verbal memories. In a longitudinal design, we explored elementary school children from grades 3 and 4 in a multiplication verification task with the operand-related and -unrelated distractors. We examined the contribution of multiplicative fact retrieval by verbal and visuo-spatial short-term and working memory (WM). Children in grade 4 showed smaller reaction times in all conditions. However, there was no significant difference in errors between grades. Contribution of verbal and visuo-spatial WM also changed with grade. Multiplication correlated with verbal WM and performance in grade 3 but with visuo-spatial WM and performance in grade 4. We suggest that the relation to verbal WM in grade 3 indicates primary linguistic learning of and access to multiplication in grade 3 which is probably based on verbal repetition of the multiplication table heavily practiced in grades 2 and 3. However, the relation to visuo-spatial semantic WM in grade 4 suggests that there is a shift from verbal to visual and semantic learning in grade 4. This shifting may be induced because later in elementary school, multiplication problems are rather carried out via more written, i.e., visual tasks, which also involve executive functions. More generally, the current data indicates that mathematical development is not generally characterized by a steady progress in performance; rather verbal and non-verbal memory contributions of performance shift over time, probably due to different learning contents.

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