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Wilson G.I.,University of Swansea | Holton M.D.,University of Swansea | Walker J.,University of Swansea | Jones M.W.,University of Swansea | And 8 more authors.
PeerJ | Year: 2015

Understanding the way humans inform themselves about their environment is pivotal in helping explain our susceptibility to stimuli and how this modulates behaviour and movement patterns. We present a new device, the Human Interfaced Personal Observation Platform (HIPOP), which is a head-mounted (typically on a hat) unit that logs magnetometry and accelerometry data at high rates and, following appropriate calibration, can be used to determine the heading and pitch of the wearer's head. We used this device on participants visiting a botanical garden and noted that although head pitch ranged between-80° and 60°, 25% confidence limits were restricted to an arc of about 25° with a tendency for the head to be pitched down (mean head pitch ranged between -43° and 0°).Mean rates of change of head pitch varied between -0.00187°/0.1 s and 0.00187°/0.1 s, markedly slower than rates of change of head heading which varied between -0.3141°/0.1 s and 0.01263°/0.1 s although frequency distributions of both parameters showed themto be symmetrical and monomodal. Overall, there was considerable variation in both head pitch and head heading, which highlighted the role that head orientation might play in exposing people to certain features of the environment. Thus, when used in tandem with accurate position-determining systems, the HIPOP can be used to determine how the head is orientated relative to gravity and geographic North and in relation to geographic position, presenting data on how the environment is being 'framed' by people in relation to environmental content. © 2015 Wilson et al. Source


Ennos R.A.,University of Edinburgh | Whitlock R.,University of Sheffield | Fay M.F.,Jodrell Laboratory | Jones B.,Countryside Council for Wales | And 5 more authors.
Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2012

Many endemic plant species belong to taxonomically complex groups. These endemics have often arisen as a consequence of recent and rapid evolutionary divergence facilitated by processes such as hybridization, polyploidy and/or breeding system transitions. The rapid and dynamic nature of divergence in taxonomically complex groups leads to problems in the implementation of traditional species-based approaches for the conservation of the biodiversity that they contain. Firstly, the taxa of interest can be difficult to define and identify, leading to practical difficulties in implementing conservation measures. Secondly, a species-based approach often fails to capture the complexity of diversity present in the taxonomically complex group. To accommodate these challenges, we have developed a Process-Based Species Action Plan approach. This is designed to conserve the processes leading to the generation of biodiversity, rather than focusing on the preservation of individual named taxa. We illustrate the approach using a group of endemic tree species (Sorbus) on the Scottish island of Arran that have originated via a combination of multiple recent hybridization events and apomixis. The plan focuses on the optimization of habitat management to ensure the reproduction and regeneration of Sorbus in the zone in which these evolutionary processes operate, and to facilitate hybridization that will ensure the continued generation of diversity in this group. © 2011 The Linnean Society of London. Source


de Vere N.,National Botanic Garden of Wales | Rich T.C.G.,National Museum Wales | Ford C.R.,National Botanic Garden of Wales | Trinder S.A.,National Botanic Garden of Wales | And 10 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

We present the first national DNA barcode resource that covers the native flowering plants and conifers for the nation of Wales (1143 species). Using the plant DNA barcode markers rbcL and matK, we have assembled 97.7% coverage for rbcL, 90.2% for matK, and a dual-locus barcode for 89.7% of the native Welsh flora. We have sampled multiple individuals for each species, resulting in 3304 rbcL and 2419 matK sequences. The majority of our samples (85%) are from DNA extracted from herbarium specimens. Recoverability of DNA barcodes is lower using herbarium specimens, compared to freshly collected material, mostly due to lower amplification success, but this is balanced by the increased efficiency of sampling species that have already been collected, identified, and verified by taxonomic experts. The effectiveness of the DNA barcodes for identification (level of discrimination) is assessed using four approaches: the presence of a barcode gap (using pairwise and multiple alignments), formation of monophyletic groups using Neighbour-Joining trees, and sequence similarity in BLASTn searches. These approaches yield similar results, providing relative discrimination levels of 69.4 to 74.9% of all species and 98.6 to 99.8% of genera using both markers. Species discrimination can be further improved using spatially explicit sampling. Mean species discrimination using barcode gap analysis (with a multiple alignment) is 81.6% within 10×10 km squares and 93.3% for 2×2 km squares. Our database of DNA barcodes for Welsh native flowering plants and conifers represents the most complete coverage of any national flora, and offers a valuable platform for a wide range of applications that require accurate species identification. © 2012 de Vere et al. Source


Hawkins J.,National Botanic Garden of Wales | Hawkins J.,University of Cardiff | De Vere N.,National Botanic Garden of Wales | De Vere N.,Aberystwyth University | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Identifying the floral composition of honey provides a method for investigating the plants that honey bees visit. We compared melissopalynology, where pollen grains retrieved from honey are identified morphologically, with a DNA metabarcoding approach using the rbcL DNA barcode marker and 454-pyrosequencing. We compared nine honeys supplied by beekeepers in the UK. DNA metabarcoding and melissopalynology were able to detect the most abundant floral components of honey. There was 92% correspondence for the plant taxa that had an abundance of over 20%. However, the level of similarity when all taxa were compared was lower, ranging from 22-45%, and there was little correspondence between the relative abundance of taxa found using the two techniques. DNA metabarcoding provided much greater repeatability, with a 64% taxa match compared to 28% with melissopalynology. DNA metabarcoding has the advantage over melissopalynology in that it does not require a high level of taxonomic expertise, a greater sample size can be screened and it provides greater resolution for some plant families. However, it does not provide a quantitative approach and pollen present in low levels are less likely to be detected. We investigated the plants that were frequently used by honey bees by examining the results obtained from both techniques. Plants with a broad taxonomic range were detected, covering 46 families and 25 orders, but a relatively small number of plants were consistently seen across multiple honey samples. Frequently found herbaceous species were Rubus fruticosus, Filipendula ulmaria, Taraxacum officinale, Trifolium spp., Brassica spp. and the non-native, invasive, Impatiens glandulifera. Tree pollen was frequently seen belonging to Castanea sativa, Crataegus monogyna and species of Malus, Salix and Quercus.We conclude that although honey bees are considered to be supergeneralists in their foraging choices, there are certain key species or plant groups that are particularly important in the honey bees environment. The reasons for this require further investigation in order to better understand honey bee nutritional requirements. DNA metabarcoding can be easily and widely used to investigate floral visitation in honey bees and can be adapted for use with other insects. It provides a starting point for investigating how we can better provide for the insects that we rely upon for pollination. Copyright © 2015 Hawkins et al. Source

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