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Crino O.L.,University of Montana | Van Oorschot B.K.,University of Montana | Johnson E.E.,University of Montana | Malisch J.L.,University of Montana | And 2 more authors.
General and Comparative Endocrinology | Year: 2011

Roads have been associated with decreased reproductive success and biodiversity in avian communities and increased physiological stress in adult birds. Alternatively, roads may also increase food availability and reduce predator pressure. Previous studies have focused on adult birds, but nestlings may also be susceptible to the detrimental impacts of roads. We examined the effects of proximity to a road on nestling glucocorticoid activity and growth in the mountain white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha). Additionally, we examined several possible indirect factors that may influence nestling corticosterone (CORT) activity secretion in relation to roads. These indirect effects include parental CORT activity, nest-site characteristics, and parental provisioning. And finally, we assessed possible fitness consequences of roads through measures of fledging success. Nestlings near roads had increased CORT activity, elevated at both baseline and stress-induced levels. Surprisingly, these nestlings were also bigger. Generally, greater corticosterone activity is associated with reduced growth. However, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis matures through the nestling period (as nestlings get larger, HPA-activation is greater). Although much of the variance in CORT responses was explained by body size, nestling CORT responses were higher close to roads after controlling for developmental differences. Indirect effects of roads may be mediated through paternal care. Nestling CORT responses were correlated with paternal CORT responses and paternal provisioning increased near roads. Hence, nestlings near roads may be larger due to increased paternal attentiveness. And finally, nest predation was higher for nests close to the road. Roads have apparent costs for white-crowned sparrow nestlings - increased predation, and apparent benefits - increased size. The elevation in CORT activity seems to reflect both increased size (benefit) and elevation due to road proximity (cost). Whether or not roads are good or bad for nestlings remains equivocal. However, it is clear that roads affect nestlings; how or if these effects influence adult survival or reproduction remains to be elucidated. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. Source

Lundberg J.,Carleton University | McFarlane D.A.,Wm Keck Science Center | Brewer-Carias C.,Sociedad Venezolana de Ciencias Naturales
Geomorphology | Year: 2010

A distinctive suite of small-scale erosional forms that are oriented towards the light occur close to the entrance of Cueva Charles Brewer, a large cave in a sandstone tepui, in SE Venezuela. These are the third example of photokarren ever studied in the world, the other two being from Borneo and Ireland. They are the only photokarren ever described from sandstone, and the only example from a non-carbonate environment. The host rock is a poorly-lithified unit of the Precambrian quartz arenite of the Roraima Supergroup. The forms are all oriented towards the light at 30° regardless of rock surface orientation. The primary (negative) erosional form is the tube. Coalescence of tubes results in the positive remnant forms of rods, pinnacles, and cones. The final stage is a bumpy, wavy surface of degraded cones. The size of the features varies with erosion rate, and details of the form vary with development stage. The main population averages 4.4. cm in depth, with 55% of the surface eroded. This is divided into 10% tubes, 70% rods, 10% cones, 5% linear valley and 5% wavy lowland. The micro-ecosystem includes many bacteria, diatoms, red algae, green algae, liverworts, and oribatid mites, but, surprisingly, no cyanobacteria. The presence of a surface biofilm inside the forms but not on the remnant rock surface and, in the non-degraded forms, the direct relationship of biomass with depth suggests that biological activity is the dominant control on development. In addition, direct bacterial corrosion was noted. These same features occur to varying extents in the photokarren of Borneo and Ireland, and the model for development that we present provides a unifying theory for all photokarren. (This study also includes the first published petrographic analysis of uppermost unit of the Mataui Formation). © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Source

Lundberg J.,Carleton University | McFarlane D.A.,Wm Keck Science Center
International Journal of Speleology | Year: 2012

Several caves in Devon, England, have been noted for extensive cracking of substantial flowstone floors. Conjectural explanations have included earthquake damage, local shock damage from collapsing cave passages, hydraulic pressure, and cryogenic processes. Here we present a theoretical model to demonstrate that frost-heaving and fracture of flowstone floors that overlie wet sediments is both a feasible and likely consequence of unidirectional air flow or cold-air ponding in caves, and argue that this is the most likely mechanism for flowstone cracking in caves located in Pleistocene periglacial environments outside of tectonically active regions. Modeled parameters for a main passage in Kents Cavern, Devon, demonstrate that 1 to 6 months of -10 to -15° C air flow at very modest velocities will result in freezing of 1 to 3 m of saturated sediment fill. The resultant frost heave increases with passage width and depth of frozen sediments. In the most conservative estimate, freezing over one winter season of 2 m of sediment in a 6-m wide passage could fracture flowstone floors up to ~13 cm thick, rising to ~23 cm in a 12-m wide passage. Natural flaws in the flowstone increase the thickness that could be shattered. These numbers are quite consistent with the field evidence. Source

Insperger T.,Budapest University of Technology and Economics | Milton J.,Wm Keck Science Center
Journal of the Royal Society Interface | Year: 2013

A model for human postural balance is considered in which the time-delayed feedback depends on position, velocity and acceleration (proportional- derivative-acceleration (PDA) feedback). It is shown that a PDA controller is equivalent to a predictive controller, in which the prediction is based on the most recent information of the state, but the control input is not involved into the prediction. A PDA controller is superior to the corresponding proportional-derivative controller in the sense that the PDA controller can stabilize systems with approximately 40 per cent larger feedback delays. The addition of a sensory dead zone to account for the finite thresholds for detection by sensory receptors results in highly intermittent, complex oscillations that are a typical feature of human postural sway. © 2012 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. Source

Lundberg J.,Carleton University | Brewer-Carias C.,Sociedad Venezolana de Ciencias Naturales | McFarlane D.A.,Wm Keck Science Center
Quaternary Research | Year: 2010

Recent explorations in Cueva Charles Brewer, a large cave in a sandstone tepui, SE Venezuela, have revealed silica biospeleothems of unprecedented size and diversity. Study of one - a sub-spherical mass of opaline silica - reveals a complex, laminated internal structure consisting of three narrow dark bands alternating with two wider light bands. Uranium-thorium dating has produced 3 stratigraphically correct dates on the light bands from 298±6 (MIS 9) to 390±33ka (MIS 11). U concentration is only 30-110ppb. Initial 234U/238U ratios are high and increase over time from 1.8 to 5.3. Growth rate is very low, the fastest, at 0.37±0.23mm/ka, in MIS 9. Trace element and heavy metal content of the dark bands is distinctly higher than that of the light bands. It is hypothesized that the dark and light bands correlate with drier/glacial and wetter/interglacial periods, respectively, and that this sample probably began to grow in MIS 13. The cave is in a region that straddles a regionally important ecotone: the speleothem isotopic and trace element variations may preserve a useful paleoclimatic signal. This is the first published suite of U-Th dates from a single silica speleothem and the longest Quaternary record for this region. © 2010 University of Washington. Source

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