National Institute of Ecology

Mungyeong, South Korea

National Institute of Ecology

Mungyeong, South Korea

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Riojas-Rodriguez H.,National Institute of Public Health | Schilmann A.,National Institute of Public Health | Marron-Mares A.T.,National Institute of Public Health | Masera O.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2011

Background: Cooking with biomass fuels on open fires results in exposure to health-damaging pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and particulate matter. Objective: We compared CO exposures and urinary PAH biomarkers pre- and postintervention with an improved biomass stove, the Patsari stove. Methods: In a subsample of 63 women participating in a randomized controlled trial in central Mexico, we measured personal CO exposure for 8 hr during the day using continuous monitors and passive samplers. In addition, first-morning urine samples obtained the next day were analyzed for monohydroxylated PAH metabolites by gas chromatography/isotope dilution/high-resolution mass spectrometry. Exposure data were collected during the use of an open fire (preintervention) and after installation of the improved stove (postintervention) for 47 women, enabling paired comparisons. Results: Median pre- and postintervention values were 4 and 1 ppm for continuous personal CO and 3 and 1 ppm for passive sampler CO, respectively. Postintervention measurements indicated an average reduction of 42% for hydroxylated metabolites of naphthalene, fluorene, phenanthrene, and pyrene on a whole-weight concentration basis (micrograms per liter of urine), and a 34% reduction on a creatinine-adjusted basis (micrograms per gram of creatinine). Pre- and postintervention geometric mean values for 1-hydroxypyrene were 3.2 and 2.0 μg/g creatinine, respectively. Conclusion: Use of the Patsari stove significantly reduced CO and PAH exposures in women. However, levels of many PAH biomarkers remained higher than those reported among smokers.


Choe H.,University of California at Davis | Thorne J.H.,University of California at Davis | Seo C.,National Institute of Ecology
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Accurate information on the distribution of existing species is crucial to assess regional biodiversity. However, data inventories are insufficient in many areas. We examine the ability of Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines (MARS) multi-response species distribution model to overcome species' data limitations and portray plant species distribution patterns for 199 South Korean plant species. The study models species with two or more observations, examines their contribution to national patterns of species richness, provides a sensitivity analysis of different range threshold cutoff approaches for modeling species' ranges, and presents considerations for species modeling at fine spatial resolution. We ran MARS models for each species and tested four threshold methods to transform occurrence probabilities into presence or absence range maps. Modeled occurrence probabilities were extracted at each species' presence points, and the mean, median, and one standard deviation (SD) calculated to define data-driven thresholds. A maximum sum of sensitivity and specificity threshold was also calculated, and the range maps from the four cutoffs were tested using independent plant survey data. The single SD values were the best threshold tested for minimizing omission errors and limiting species ranges to areas where the associated occurrence data were correctly classed. Eight individual species range maps for rare plant species were identified that are potentially affected by resampling predictor variables to fine spatial scales. We portray spatial patterns of high species richness by assessing the combined range maps from three classes of species: all species, endangered and endemic species, and range-size rarity of all species, which could be used in conservation planning for South Korea. The MARS model is promising for addressing the common problem of few species occurrence records. However, projected species ranges are highly dependent on the threshold and scale criteria, which should be assessed on a per-project basis.Copiright: © Copyright: 2016 Choe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Lee Y.-Y.,Ewha Womans University | Kim T.G.,Ewha Womans University | Kim T.G.,National Institute of Ecology | Cho K.-S.,Ewha Womans University
Journal of Biotechnology | Year: 2015

This study investigated the effects of proton exchange membranes (PEMs) on performance and microbial community of air-cathode microbial fuel cells (MFCs). Air-cathode MFCs with reactor volume of 1. L were constructed in duplicate with or without PEM (designated as ACM-MFC and AC-MFC, respectively) and fed with a mixture of glucose and acetate (1:1, w:w). The maximum power density and coulombic efficiency did not differ between MFCs in the absence or presence of a PEM. However, PEM use adversely affected maximum voltage production and the rate of organic compound removal (p<. 0.05). Quantitative droplet digital PCR indicated that AC-MFCs had a greater bacterial population than ACM-MFCs (p<. 0.05). Likewise, ribosomal tag pyrosequencing revealed that the diversity index of bacterial communities was greater for AC-MFCs (p<. 0.05). Network analysis revealed that the most abundant genus was Enterococcus, which comprised ≥. 62% of the community and was positively associated with PEM and negatively associated with the rate of chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal (Pearson correlation. >. 0.9 and p<. 0.05). Geobacter, which is known as an exoelectrogen, was positively associated with maximum power density and negatively associated with PEM. Thus, these results suggest that the absence of PEM favored the growth of Geobacter, a key player for electricity generation in MFC systems. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that MFC systems without PEM are more efficient with respect to power production and COD removal as well as exoelectrogen growth. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Jeong S.-Y.,Pusan National University | Yi T.,National Institute of Ecology | Lee C.-H.,Seoul National University | Kim T.G.,Pusan National University
Water Research | Year: 2016

To systematically study biofilm communities responsible for biofouling in membrane bioreactors (MBRs), we characterized the spatiotemporal dynamics of bacterial and fungal biofilm communities, and their networks, in a pilot-scale flat-sheet MBR treating actual municipal wastewater. Activated sludge (AS) and membrane samples were collected on days 4 and 8. The membranes were cut into 18 tiles, and bacterial and fungal communities were analyzed using next generation sequencing. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) plots revealed significant temporal variations in bacterial and fungal biofilm communities due to changes in the abundances of a few dominant members. Although the experimental conditions and inoculum species pools remained constant, variogram plots of bacterial and fungal communities revealed decay in local community similarity with geographic distance at each sampling time. Variogram modeling (exponential rise to maximum, R2 ≥ 0.79) revealed that decay patterns of both communities were different between days 4 and 8. In addition, networks of bacteria or fungi alone were distinct in network composition between days 4 and 8. The day-8 networks were more compact and clustered than those of the earlier time point. Bacteria-fungi networks show that the number of inter-domain associations decreased from 113 to 40 with time, confirming that membrane biofilm is a complex consortium of bacteria and fungi. Spatiotemporal succession in biofilm communities may be common on MBR membranes, resulting from different geographic distributions of initial microbial populations and their priority effects. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd


Lee H.,National Institute of Ecology | Lee H.,Seoul National University | Alday J.G.,University of Liverpool | Cho K.-H.,Inha University | And 2 more authors.
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2014

Flooding can have a major impact on riverside plant communities, and this is likely to be especially important in monsoonal climates, where large floods occur after heavy rain. In urban areas where riparian vegetation remnants are the only vegetation of conservation interest remaining, understanding the impacts that floods have on these ecosystems is needed to inform their future conservation. Accordingly, we assessed the impact of a flood caused by Typhoon "Ewiniar" on the soil seed bank of five plant communities of the only remaining fragment of high-quality riverine habitat within the Seoul city stretch of the Han River (South Korea). We surveyed the seed bank composition of the five dominant plant communities before and after the flood. We also measured selected soil physico-chemical properties in each community. We used univariate and multivariate methods to examine the effect of the flood on both seed bank and soil physico-chemical properties. Flooding resulted in variable deposition of sediment within the plant communities; four communities varied from 14.6 to 18.8. cm but the fifth (dominated by Miscanthus sacchariflorus) had much less sediment (4.8. cm). The physico-chemical properties of the surface soil also changed after the flood, with the sediment particle size being the most affected. The species richness and composition of the seed bank suffered significant changes after the flood. In both cases there was a homogenization process, with was also impinged on species with different life-forms (annuals and perennials). Our results suggest that an extreme flood can affect the riparian vegetation seed bank by removing wetland plant species and allowing common and ruderal species to establish. There may also be different interactions between the different plant communities in terms of sediment capture and this translates into altered soil conditions and seed banks. These results are of use to conservation policy-makers aiming to conserve a native flora within severely modified urban rivers, and these remnant areas can provide an important seed source of wetland plants to aid restoration of riparian ecosystems. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Ahn J.H.,Chungbuk National University | Kim E.S.,National Institute of Biological Resources | Lee C.,Chungbuk National University | Kim S.,National Institute of Biological Resources | And 3 more authors.
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters | Year: 2013

Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. (Nymphaeaceae), commonly called lotus, is widely distributed throughout Eastern Asia. It has been used for food and medicine for a long time. A phytochemical investigation of N. nucifera leaves led to the isolation of 13 megastigmanes (1-13), including a new megastigmane, nelumnucifoside A (1), and a new eudesmane sesquiterpene, nelumnucifoside B (14), eight alkaloids (15-22), and 11 flavonoids (23-33). Their chemical structures were determined based on spectroscopic methods including 1D, 2D NMR and MS spectrometry. The relative and absolute stereochemistry of the compounds was determined by NOESY and CD spectrometry, respectively. Compounds 19 and 22 significantly inhibited pancreatic lipase, whereas compounds 15 and 16 showed a strong inhibitory effect on adipocyte differentiation. Therefore, the leaves of N. nucifera have potential as an anti-obesity agent by inhibiting pancreatic lipase and adipocyte differentiation. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Yeo I.-A.,National Institute of Ecology | Yee J.-J.,Dong - A University
Automation in Construction | Year: 2016

In this study, an Energy Integrated Support System (EnerISS) Modeler (or simply, Modeler), an automated module of a knowledge-based urban planning support system, was developed to support the strategic technology implementation of environmentally friendly local energy planning. Modeler was developed as a tool that integrates various formats of the planning data into a unified format during the planning stage. It automates the three-dimensional (3D) modeling of the integrated urban space and presents visual information to support decision-making processes. The system architecture of Modeler includes the formation of building polygons, textures for classified land cover shape, topography, and 3D urban space. Modeler was developed on a native-based software (S/W) platform. It was created with a single document frame (SDF) from the Windows Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) Library and is driven by a 3D-based engine that can be used by a GIS client. Modeler was validated for a domestic city in the urban planning stage on a test bed platform. Because of the expansion of a ubiquitous environment and increasing social network services (SNS), the ability to port the Modeler to a web-based platform should be investigated, thus enabling easier access for decision makers. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Choi A.S.,National Institute of Ecology | Fielding K.S.,University of Queensland
Sustainability (Switzerland) | Year: 2016

There has been little attention paid to the systematic measurement issue of general attitudes toward human-culture relationships. This paper applied the Cultural Worldview (CW) scale that was developed by Choi et al. in 2007 (published in the Journal of Cultural Economics), and investigated its dimensionality and relationship with willingness to pay (WTP) for cultural heritage protection through a sequential integration between latent variables and valuation models. A case study of 997 Korean respondents was employed to examine conservation values of cultural heritage sites using discrete choice models. Confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated that this scale can be used either as a single second-order factor or four correlated factors. A more parsimonious version of the CWscale with twelve items is endorsed in this paper and the results also confirm that it is valid for use with non-Western nations. The ?ndings support a significant attitude-WTP relationship; there was a significant role of the CW scale that reveals unobserved factors in valuation models. © 2016 by the authors.


Ramos J.,National Institute of Ecology | Gavilan Arturo A.,National Institute of Ecology | Romero T.,National Institute of Ecology | Ize I.,National Institute of Ecology
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2011

Lindane has been historically used as a broad spectrum pesticide in agricultural, livestock, forestry, veterinary and human health applications. Several factors have contributed to concern over the production and use of lindane including its properties of persistence, toxicity, bioaccumulation and potential for long-range transport. Mexico has been involved in activities to control the use of lindane for about a decade, most of them derived from the agreement to develop a North American Regional Action Plan with Canada and the United States of America under the framework of the trilateral Commission for Environmental Cooperation. As a first effort, in 2003, Mexico developed a national diagnosis to assess the lindane status in the country, which was the initiative that encouraged stakeholder active participation and constituted one of the main information sources to establish national actions. Since then, Mexico has participated in several efforts for lindane control, even making important contributions to global actions for lindane elimination such as the nomination for its inclusion in Annex A of the Stockholm Convention, as well as the development of a methodology for effective participation in the POP (Persistent Organic Pollutants) Review Committee. Mexico's actions at national, regional and global level are worth to be shared as they represent a successful example, in which an effective participation and coordination of stakeholders allowed the country to define a national strategy and to propose a global initiative to eliminate lindane. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Song B.,National Institute of Ecology | Park K.,Changwon National University
Advances in Meteorology | Year: 2015

The aim was to identify microclimate characteristics in relation to ground cover in green areas and the reflectivity of building coating materials. Furthermore, microclimate modeling of temperatures was conducted using ENVI-met, to analyze the effects of improved thermal environments based on increased green areas and increased reflectivity of exterior coatings. The accuracy of ENVI-met was validated through comparisons with field temperature measurements. The RMSE deviation of the predicted and actual field temperature values was 3-6°C; however, the explanatory power was as high as 60%. ENVI-met was performed for commercial and single residential areas that have high densities of artificial cover materials, before and after changes related to development of green areas and to increase in the reflectivity of coating materials. The results indicated that both areas exhibited distinct temperature reductions due to the creation of green spaces. When the reflectivity of the coating material was increased, a temperature increase was observed in all land-use types. Therefore, in order to improve the thermal environment of complex urban areas, it is necessary to improve green-area development and to use high-reflectivity ground and building cover materials, while taking into account the spatial characteristics of land-use types and their surrounding areas. © 2015 Bonggeun Song and Kyunghun Park.

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