Browsing by Subject "PRODUCTIVITY"

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  • Laanto, Elina; Mäkelä, Kati; Hoikkala, Ville; Ravantti, Janne; Sundberg, Lotta-Riina (2020)
    Phage therapy is becoming a widely recognized alternative for fighting pathogenic bacteria due to increasing antibiotic resistance problems. However, one of the common concerns related to the use of phages is the evolution of bacterial resistance against the phages, putatively disabling the treatment. Experimental adaptation of the phage (phage training) to infect a resistant host has been used to combat this problem. Yet, there is very little information on the trade-offs of phage infectivity and host range. Here we co-cultured a myophage FCV-1 with its host, the fish pathogenFlavobacterium columnare, in lake water and monitored the interaction for a one-month period. Phage resistance was detected within one day of co-culture in the majority of the bacterial isolates (16 out of the 18 co-evolved clones). The primary phage resistance mechanism suggests defense via surface modifications, as the phage numbers rose in the first two days of the experiment and remained stable thereafter. However, one bacterial isolate had acquired a spacer in its CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat)-Cas locus, indicating that also CRISPR-Cas defense was employed in the phage-host interactions. After a week of co-culture, a phage isolate was obtained that was able to infect 18 out of the 32 otherwise resistant clones isolated during the experiment. Phage genome sequencing revealed several mutations in two open reading frames (ORFs) likely to be involved in the regained infectivity of the evolved phage. Their location in the genome suggests that they encode tail genes. Characterization of this evolved phage, however, showed a direct cost for the ability to infect several otherwise resistant clones-adsorption was significantly lower than in the ancestral phage. This work describes a method for adapting the phage to overcome phage resistance in a fish pathogenic system.
  • Hu, Man; Lehtonen, Aleksi; Minunno, Francesco; Mäkelä, Annikki (2020)
    Tree structure equations derived from pipe model theory (PMT) are well-suited to estimate biomass allocation in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestrisL.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies[L.] Karst.). However, age dependence of parameters should be accounted for when applying the equations.
  • Gedefaw, Melakeneh G.; Geli, Hatim M. E.; Abera, Temesgen (2021)
    Rangelands provide significant socioeconomic and environmental benefits to humans. However, climate variability and anthropogenic drivers can negatively impact rangeland productivity. The main goal of this study was to investigate structural and productivity changes in rangeland ecosystems in New Mexico (NM), in the southwestern United States of America during the 1984-2015 period. This goal was achieved by applying the time series segmented residual trend analysis (TSS-RESTREND) method, using datasets of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from the Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies and precipitation from Parameter elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM), and developing an assessment framework. The results indicated that about 17.6% and 12.8% of NM experienced a decrease and an increase in productivity, respectively. More than half of the state (55.6%) had insignificant change productivity, 10.8% was classified as indeterminant, and 3.2% was considered as agriculture. A decrease in productivity was observed in 2.2%, 4.5%, and 1.7% of NM's grassland, shrubland, and ever green forest land cover classes, respectively. Significant decrease in productivity was observed in the northeastern and southeastern quadrants of NM while significant increase was observed in northwestern, southwestern, and a small portion of the southeastern quadrants. The timing of detected breakpoints coincided with some of NM's drought events as indicated by the self-calibrated Palmar Drought Severity Index as their number increased since 2000s following a similar increase in drought severity. Some breakpoints were concurrent with some fire events. The combination of these two types of disturbances can partly explain the emergence of breakpoints with degradation in productivity. Using the breakpoint assessment framework developed in this study, the observed degradation based on the TSS-RESTREND showed only 55% agreement with the Rangeland Productivity Monitoring Service (RPMS) data. There was an agreement between the TSS-RESTREND and RPMS on the occurrence of significant degradation in productivity over the grasslands and shrublands within the Arizona/NM Tablelands and in the Chihuahua Desert ecoregions, respectively. This assessment of NM's vegetation productivity is critical to support the decision-making process for rangeland management; address challenges related to the sustainability of forage supply and livestock production; conserve the biodiversity of rangelands ecosystems; and increase their resilience. Future analysis should consider the effects of rising temperatures and drought on rangeland degradation and productivity.
  • Passy, Sophia I.; Larson, Chad A.; Jamoneau, Aurelien; Budnick, William; Heino, Jani; Leboucher, Thibault; Tison-Rosebery, Juliette; Soininen, Janne (2018)
    In this intercontinental study of stream diatoms, we asked three important but still unresolved ecological questions: (1) What factors drive the biogeography of species richness and species abundance distribution (SAD)? (2) Are climate-related hypotheses, which have dominated the research on the latitudinal and altitudinal diversity gradients, adequate in explaining spatial biotic variability? and (3) Is the SAD response to the environment independent of richness? We tested a number of climatic theories and hypotheses (i.e., the species-energy theory, the metabolic theory, the energy variability hypothesis, and the climatic tolerance hypothesis) but found no support for any of these concepts, as the relationships of richness with explanatory variables were nonexistent, weak, or unexpected. Instead, we demonstrated that diatom richness and SAD evenness generally increased with temperature seasonality and at mid- to high total phosphorus concentrations. The spatial patterns of diatom richness and the SADmainly longitudinal in the United States but latitudinal in Finlandwere defined primarily by the covariance of climate and water chemistry with space. The SAD was not entirely controlled by richness, emphasizing its utility for ecological research. Thus, we found support for the operation of both climate and water chemistry mechanisms in structuring diatom communities, which underscores their complex response to the environment and the necessity for novel predictive frameworks.
  • Waldén, Pirjetta; Ollikainen, Markku; Kahiluoto, Helena (2020)
    The impact of carbon revenue on the profitability of agroforestry systems in comparison to monocultures is unexplored in regard to Sub-Saharan Africa. This study creates a multivariate model to evaluate the impact of carbon revenue on the profitability of agroforestry relative to the dominant monocultures in Ethiopia by using stylized plots. Yields and carbon stock changes of eight agroforestry systems were modeled based on data from agroforestry plots in the Ethiopian Central Rift Valley. According to our model, agroforestry was, on average, four times more profitable than the main monoculture systems (wheat, barley, maize, teff, sorghum, sugarcane and lentil) even when carbon revenues were excluded, primarily due to the higher prices of fruit produce. Carbon revenues were estimated using a plausible carbon price ranging from US$8/tCO2e to $40/tCO2e and carbon sequestration rates of 0.59 to 17.2 Mg C ha−1 year−1. The possibility of receiving carbon revenue increased the profitability of agroforestry by 0.5% when using the lowest utilized carbon price and carbon sequestration rate, by 20% when using the carbon price of $20 and the average carbon sequestration rate, and by 70% when using the highest price and highest sequestration rate of carbon. On average, carbon revenue increased the profitability of agroforestry by 150% in comparison to monoculture farming. We conclude that carbon income may have significant potential to motivate smallholders to convert to agroforestry when there is a proper management system, a sufficiently high carbon price and effective institutional support to mitigate the transition and transaction costs.
  • Xue, Hailian; Mäkelä, Aino Annikki; Valsta, Lauri Tapani; Vanclay, Jerome; Cao, Tianjian (2019)
    Stand management optimization has long been computationally demanding as increasingly detailed growth and yield models have been developed. Process-based growth models are useful tools for predicting forest dynamics. However, the difficulty of classic optimization algorithms limited its applications in forest planning. This study assessed alternative approaches to optimizing thinning regimes and rotation length using a process-based growth model. We considered (1) population-based algorithms proposed for stand management optimization, including differential evolution (DE), particle swarm optimization (PSO), evolution strategy (ES), and (2) derivative-free search algorithms, including the Nelder–Mead method (NM) and Osyczka’s direct and random search algorithm (DRS). We incorporated population-based algorithms into the simulation-optimization system OptiFor in which the process-based model PipeQual was the simulator. The results showed that DE was the most reliable algorithm among those tested. Meanwhile, DRS was also an effective algorithm for sparse stands with fewer decision variables. PSO resulted in some higher objective function values, however, the computational time of PSO was the longest. In general, of the population-based algorithms, DE is superior to the competing ones. The effectiveness of DE for stand management optimization is promising and manifested.
  • Galbrun, Esther; Tang, Hui; Fortelius, Mikael; Zliobaite, Indre (2018)
    As organisms are adapted to their environments, assemblages of taxa can be used to describe environments in the present and in the past. Here, we use a data mining method, namely redescription mining, to discover and analyze patterns of association between large herbivorous mammals and their environments via their functional traits. We focus on functional properties of animal teeth, characterized using a recently developed dental trait scoring scheme. The teeth of herbivorous mammals serve as an interface to obtain energy from food, and are therefore expected to match the types of plant food available in their environment. Hence, dental traits are expected to carry a signal of environmental conditions. We analyze a global compilation of occurrences of large herbivorous mammals and of bioclimatic conditions. We identify common patterns of association between dental traits distributions and bioclimatic conditions and discuss their implications. Each pattern can be considered as a computational biome. Our analysis distinguishes three global zones, which we refer to as the boreal-temperate moist zone, the tropical moist zone and the tropical-subtropical dry zone. The boreal-temperate moist zone is mainly characterized by seasonal cold temperatures, a lack of hypsodonty and a high share of species with obtuse lophs. The tropical moist zone is mainly characterized by high temperatures, high isothermality, abundant precipitation and a high share of species with acute rather than obtuse lophs. Finally, the tropical dry zone is mainly characterized by a high seasonality of temperatures and precipitation, as well as high hypsodonty and horizodonty. We find that the dental traits signature of African rain forests is quite different from the signature of climatically similar sites in North America and Asia, where hypsodont species and species with obtuse lophs are mostly absent. In terms of climate and dental signatures, the African seasonal tropics share many similarities with Central-South Asian sites. Interestingly, the Tibetan plateau is covered both by redescriptions from the tropical-subtropical dry group and by redescriptions from the boreal-temperate moist group, suggesting a combination of features from both zones in its dental traits and climate.
  • Gora, Evan M.; Kneale, Riley C.; Larjavaara, Markku; Muller-Landau, Helene C. (2019)
    Woody debris (WD) stocks and fluxes are important components of forest carbon budgets and yet remain understudied, particularly in tropical forests. Here we present the most comprehensive assessment of WD stocks and fluxes yet conducted in a tropical forest, including one of the first tropical estimates of suspended WD. We rely on data collected over 8 years in an old-growth moist tropical forest in Panama to quantify spatiotemporal variability and estimate minimum sample sizes for different components. Downed WD constituted the majority of total WD mass (78%), standing WD contributed a substantial minority (21%), and suspended WD was the smallest component (1%). However, when considering sections of downed WD that are elevated above the soil, the majority of WD inputs and approximately 50% of WD stocks were disconnected from the forest floor. Branchfall and liana wood accounted for 17 and 2% of downed WD, respectively. Residence times averaged 1.9 years for standing coarse WD (CWD; > 20 cm diameter) and 3.6 years for downed CWD. WD stocks and inputs were highly spatially variable, such that the sampling efforts necessary to estimate true values within 10% with 95% confidence were > 130 km of transects for downed CWD and > 550 ha area for standing CWD. The vast majority of studies involve much lower sampling efforts, suggesting that considerably more data are required to precisely quantify tropical forest WD pools and fluxes. The demonstrated importance of elevated WD in our study indicates a need to understand how elevation above the ground alters decomposition rates and incorporate this understanding into models of forest carbon cycling.
  • Mganga, Kevin Z.; Ndathi, Aphaxard J. N.; Wambua, Stephen M.; Bosma, Luwieke; Kaindi, Eric M.; Kioko, Theophilus; Kadenyi, Nancy; Musyoki, Gilbert K.; van Steenbergen, Frank; Musimba, Nashon K. R. (2021)
    Context. Rangeland grasses native to Africa constitute the main diet for free-ranging livestock and wild herbivores. Leaf:stem ratio is a key characteristic used for assessing quality of forages. However, studies to determine the allocation of biomass to leaves and stems as well as chemical components and nutritive value, especially of grasses in African rangelands, are rare. Aim. This study was conducted to establish biomass allocation and chemical and mineral components in leaf and stem fractions of three grasses, Eragrostis superba, Enteropogon macrostachyus and Cenchrus ciliaris, all indigenous to African rangelands. Methods. Plant height, plant densities, plant tiller densities and biomass yields were estimated at the elongation stage, before inflorescence. Chemical and mineral components were determined from biomass harvested at the vegetative phase for all three grass species. Dry matter, ash content, organic matter, crude protein, neutral detergent fibre, acid detergent fibre, acid detergent lignin, and calcium, phosphorus and potassium contents were determined. Key results. Enteropogon macrostachyus displayed significantly greater plant and tiller densities and plant height than the other two species. Leaf and stem biomass fractions varied significantly (P <0.05) among grasses. Leaf:stem ratio of E. superba was double that of E. macrostachyus and C. ciliaris. Crude protein and organic matter yields and net energy for lactation were highest (P <0.05) in E. superba leaf biomass, as was Ca content. Conclusions. Eragrostis superba demonstrated greater potential as a forage species for ruminant animal production than E. macrostachyus and C. ciliaris. Implications. Eragrostis superba is a key forage species that warrants promotion in pasture establishment programs in its native environments.
  • Wasonga, Daniel; Kleemola, Jouko; Alakukku, Laura; Mäkelä, Pirjo (2020)
    Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) experiences intermittent water deficit and suffers from potassium (K) deficiency that seriously constrains its yield in the tropics. Currently, the interaction effect between deficit irrigation and K fertigation on growth and yield of cassava is unknown, especially during the early growth phase. Therefore, pot experiments were conducted under controlled greenhouse conditions using cassava cuttings. Treatments initiated at 30 days after planting included three irrigation doses (30%, 60%, 100% pot capacity) and five K (0.01, 1, 4, 16, and 32 mM) concentrations. The plants were harvested 90 days after planting. Decreasing irrigation dose to 30% together with 16 mM K lowered the leaf water potential by 69%, leaf osmotic potential by 41%, photosynthesis by 35%, stomatal conductance by 41%, water usage by 50%, leaf area by 17%, and whole-plant dry mass by 41%, compared with full-irrigated plants. Lowering the K concentration below 16 mM reduced the values further. Notably, growth and yield were decreased the least compared with optimal, when irrigation dose was decreased to 60% together with 16 mM K. The results demonstrate that deficit irrigation strategies could be utilized to develop management practices to improve cassava productivity by means of K fertigation under low moisture conditions.
  • Pokharel, Kisun; Peippo, Jaana; Honkatukia, Mervi; Seppälä, Arja; Rautiainen, Johanna; Ghanem, Nasser; Hamama, Tuula-Marjatta; Crowe, Mark A.; Andersson, Magnus; Li, Meng-Hua; Kantanen, Juha (2018)
    Background: The highly prolific breeds of domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are globally valuable genetic resources for sheep industry. Genetic, nutritional and other environmental factors affect prolificacy traits in sheep. To improve our knowledge of the sheep prolificacy traits, we conducted mRNA-miRNA integrated profiling of ovarian tissues from two pure breeds with large (Finnsheep) vs. small (Texel) litter sizes and their F1 crosses, half of which were fed a flushing diet. Results: Among the samples, 16,402 genes (60.6% known ovine genes) were expressed, 79 novel miRNAs were found, and a cluster of miRNAs on chromosome 18 was detected. The majority of the differentially expressed genes between breeds were upregulated in the Texel with low prolificacy, owing to the flushing diet effect, whereas a similar pattern was not detected in the Finnsheep. F1 ewes responded similarly to Finnsheep rather than displaying a performance intermediate between the two pure breeds. Conclusions: The identification and characterization of differentially expressed genes and miRNAs in the ovaries of sheep provided insights into genetic and environmental factors affecting prolificacy traits. The three genes (CST6, MEPE and HBB) that were differentially expressed between the group of Finnsheep and Texel ewes kept in normal diet appeared to be candidate genes of prolificacy traits and will require further validation.
  • Rissanen, Kaisa; Martin-Guay, Marc-Olivier; Riopel-Bouvier, Anne-Sophie; Paquette, Alain (2019)
    Biodiversity affects ecosystem functioning in forests by, for example, enhancing growth and altering the forest structure towards greater complexity with cascading effects on other processes and trophic levels. Complexity in forest canopy could enhance light interception and form a link between diversity and productivity in polyculture forests, but the effect of canopy structure on light interception is rarely directly measured. We modelled the canopy surface structure of a tree diversity experiment by photographing it using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and combining the photos into a digital elevation model with photogrammetry tools. We analysed the effects of tree diversity and functional diversity on canopy structural complexity and light interception with a structural equation model. Our results show that: a) increased structural complexity of the canopy reduces light interception, whereas b) tree diversity increases the structural complexity of the canopy, and has a dual impact on light interception. Tree diversity decreased light interception through the structural complexity of the canopy but increased it probably through canopy packing and crown complementarity. However, the effects of both tree diversity and structural complexity of canopy were smaller than the effect of the functional identities of the tree species, especially the differences between deciduous and evergreen trees. We conclude that more complexity in canopy structure can be gained through increased tree diversity, but complex canopy structure does not increase light interception in young forests.
  • Peltomaa, Elina; Johnson, Matthew D.; Taipale, Sami J. (2018)
    Microalgae have the ability to synthetize many compounds, some of which have been recognized as a source of functional ingredients for nutraceuticals with positive health effects. One well-known example is the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are essential for human nutrition. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the two most important long-chain omega-3 (-3) PUFAs involved in human physiology, and both industries are almost exclusively based on microalgae. In addition, algae produce phytosterols that reduce serum cholesterol. Here we determined the growth rates, biomass yields, PUFA and sterol content, and daily gain of eight strains of marine cryptophytes. The maximal growth rates of the cryptophytes varied between 0.34-0.70 divisions day(-1), which is relatively good in relation to previously screened algal taxa. The studied cryptophytes were extremely rich in -3 PUFAs, especially in EPA and DHA (range 5.8-12.5 and 0.8-6.1 mu g mg dry weight(-1), respectively), but their sterol concentrations were low. Among the studied strains, Storeatula major was superior in PUFA production, and it also produces all PUFAs, i.e., -linolenic acid (ALA), stearidonic acid (SDA), EPA, and DHA, which is rare in phytoplankton in general. We conclude that marine cryptophytes are a good alternative for the ecologically sustainable and profitable production of health-promoting lipids.
  • MASK Study Grp (2018)
    mHealth, such as apps running on consumer smart devices is becoming increasingly popular and has the potential to profoundly affect healthcare and health outcomes. However, it may be disruptive and results achieved are not always reaching the goals. Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) has evolved from a guideline using the best evidence-based approach to care pathways suited to real-life using mobile technology in allergic rhinitis (AR) and asthma multimorbidity. Patients largely use over-the-counter medications dispensed in pharmacies. Shared decision making centered around the patient and based on self-management should be the norm. Mobile Airways Sentinel networK (MASK), the Phase 3 ARIA initiative, is based on the freely available MASK app (the Allergy Diary, Android and iOS platforms). MASK is available in 16 languages and deployed in 23 countries. The present paper provides an overview of the methods used in MASK and the key results obtained to date. These include a novel phenotypic characterization of the patients, confirmation of the impact of allergic rhinitis on work productivity and treatment patterns in real life. Most patients appear to self-medicate, are often non-adherent and do not follow guidelines. Moreover, the Allergy Diary is able to distinguish between AR medications. The potential usefulness of MASK will be further explored by POLLAR (Impact of Air Pollution on Asthma and Rhinitis), a new Horizon 2020 project using the Allergy Diary.
  • Marshall, Karen; Salmon, G.R.; Tebug, Stanly; Juga, Jarmo; MacLeod, M.; Poole, Elizabeth Jane; Baltenweck, I.; Missohou, Ayao (2020)
    Senegal, located in West Africa, is an example of a low-to middle-income country where the govern-ment has prioritized improving livestock production self-sufficiency, with a strong focus on dairy. Among other initiatives, the use of exotic dairy cattle has been promoted, despite no evidence for the potential liveli-hood benefits (or otherwise) to smallholder farmers on adopting the new genetics. The current work fills this evidence gap by performing a farm-level economic study comparing the keeping of different breed and cross-breed types of dairy cattle under different management levels. Data for the study were obtained by monitoring 220 smallholder dairy cattle farms, with a combined cattle population of about 3,000 animals, over an almost 2-yr period. Findings of the study suggest that the most net-beneficial and cost-beneficial dairy cattle enterprise that could be used by the smallholder farmers was to keep crossbred indigenous zebu by exotic Bos taurus animals under management standards that are consid-ered good compared with local standards. This dairy enterprise type was 7.4-fold more net beneficial and had a 1.4-fold more favorable cost-benefit ratio than the traditional system of keeping indigenous zebu animals under poor (low-input) management. Interestingly, the keeping of (near) pure B. taurus dairy cattle resulted in the highest milk yields and thus benefit from milk, but was not the most net beneficial due to the high costs of keeping these animals, particularly in terms of feed. We also found that increasing the managementlevel of any of the breed or cross-breed types under consideration, including the indigenous zebu animals, resulted in an increased net benefit of 2.2-to 2.9-fold. Results of this economic analysis are discussed as part of a broader trade-off analysis, resulting in recommendations to strengthen the Senegal dairy sector. The combined intervention of improved dairy cattle genetics and management is considered a promising intervention to improve livelihoods of the rural poor as well as livestock production self-sufficiency for Senegal; some other system constraints are addressed.
  • Brink, Christiaan W.; Santangeli, Andrea; Amar, Arjun; Wolter, Kerri; Tate, Gareth; Kruger, Sonja; Tucker, Andrew S.; Thomson, Robert L. (2020)
    Under the current African vulture crisis, supplementary feeding sites (SFS), which provide carrion resources, have become a popular conservation tool to address vulture declines. In South Africa, this practice is unregulated and the context in which SFS operate and their adherence to best management practices is currently unknown. In this study, we conducted a survey with SFS managers regarding the management of their SFS to evaluate potential conservation implications of different practices. Half of the SFS surveyed were associated with livestock farming. Overall, most managers (84%) perceived some benefit from running an SFS, largely attributed to cleaning services provided by vultures. Over half of the managers perceived no disadvantages from running SFS. We found a positive correlation between numbers of vultures seen at SFS and the amount of food provided there. Despite unintentional and intentional poisoning being identified by experts as the most critical threats to vultures in Southern Africa, only 47 and 24% of managers, respectively, listed these as potential threats to vultures, highlighting limited understanding of current vulture conservation issues. Most managers (85%) vetted carcasses for provisioning suitability based on whether they had been treated with veterinary drugs, but relatively few managers (10%) did the same for lead (Pb) contamination. Only 30% of managers considered threats to vultures when they decided on a location for their SFS. Overall, this study unveils that at many SFS, safety conditions are not met and vultures may be exposed to risks, such as the ingestion of toxic substances (e.g., Pb) or electrocution by energy infrastructure. To minimize unintended negative consequences from SFS, it will be essential to increase the interaction between SFS managers and conservation practitioners, to increase the flow of information on best management practices and enforce stringent and clear guidelines that minimize any risks to vultures.
  • Kangas, Laura; Maanavilja, Liisa; Hajek, Tomas; Juurola, Eija; Chimner, Rodney A.; Mehtatalo, Lauri; Tuittila, Eeva-Stiina (2014)
  • Heponiemi, Tarja; Hyppönen, Hannele; Kujala, Sari; Aalto, Anna-Mari; Vehko, Tuulikki; Vänskä, Jukka; Elovainio, Marko (2018)
    Background: Among the important stress factors for physicians nowadays are poorly functioning, time consuming and inadequate information systems. The present study examined the predictors of physicians' stress related to information systems (SRIS) among Finnish physicians. The examined predictors were cognitive workload, staffing problems, time pressure, problems in teamwork and job satisfaction, adjusted for baseline levels of SRIS, age, gender and employment sector. Methods: The study has a follow-up design with two survey data collection waves, one in 2006 and one in 2015, based on a random sample of Finnish physicians was used. The present study used a sample that included 1109 physicians (61.9% women; mean age in 2015 was 54.5; range 34-72) who provided data on the SRIS in both waves. The effects of a) predictor variable levels in 2006 on SRIS in 2015 and b) the change in the predictor variables from 2006 to 2015 on SRIS in 2015 were analysed with linear regression analyses. Results: Regression analyses showed that the higher level of cognitive workload in 2006 significantly predicted higher level of SRIS in 2015 (beta = 0.08). The reciprocity of this association was tested with cross-lagged structural equation model analyses which showed that the direction of the association was from cognitive workload to SRIS, not from SRIS to cognitive workload. Moreover, increases in time pressure (beta = 0.16) and problems in teamwork (beta = 0.10) were associated with higher levels of SRIS in 2015, whereas job satisfaction increase was associated with lower SRIS (beta = -0.06). Conclusions: According to our results, physicians' cognitive workload may have long-lasting negative ramifications in regard to how stressful physicians experience their health information systems to be. Thus, organisations should pay attention to physicians workload if they wish physicians to master all the systems they need to use. It is also important to provide physicians with enough time and collegial support in their system-related problems, and in learning new systems and system updates.
  • Brink, C. W.; Santangeli, A.; Amar, A.; Wolter, K.; Tate, G.; Krüger, S.; Tucker, A. S.; Thomson, R. L. (2020)
    Old world vultures are the most threatened group of raptors globally. Supplementary feeding sites (SFS) are a popular conservation tool, widely used to assist vulture populations. Despite their popularity, the impact of SFS on vultures remains largely unstudied. A lack of knowledge on the number, distribution and management of SFS is a key factor hindering such research. In this study, we compile records of SFS in South Africa and conduct questionnaires with SFS managers to characterize SFS. We identify 143 currently active SFS. Our data suggest that SFS numbers have been stable over the last decade. The average provisioning rate for all SFS was 64.6 kg day(-1). Overall SFS provide an estimated 3301 tonnes of food to scavengers each year, the equivalent of 83% of the energetic needs of all vultures in the region. This contribution was highly skewed, however, with just 17% of active SFS sites providing 69% of all food. Furthermore, these resources were not equally distributed, with SFS in Limpopo, North West and Kwazulu-Natal provinces providing 83% of the total meat provisioned. The three most common meat types provided at SFS were beef (39%), pork (33%) and game (19%). Worryingly, we found that 68% and 28% of SFS managers were unaware of the potential harmful effects of lead and veterinary drugs, respectively, which highlights potential poisoning risks associated with SFS. Examining exposure to SFS by different vulture species, we found that whilst SFS are accessible across the distribution range of vultures with large home ranges (e.g. African white-backed and Cape vultures), those species with smaller home ranges have relatively poor accessibility. With this study, we demonstrate the potential importance, but also associated risks, of SFS to vultures in South Africa, and provide the information base to assess the impacts of this popular but as yet largely unassessed conservation tool.
  • Abera, Temesgen Alemayehu; Heiskanen, Janne Hermanni; Pellikka, Petri Kauko Emil; Maeda, Eduardo Eiji (2018)
    Climate–vegetation interaction can be perturbed by human activities through deforestation and natural extreme climatic events. These perturbations can affect the energy and water balance, exacerbating heat stress associated with droughts. Such phenomena are particularly relevant in the Horn of Africa, given its economic and social vulnerability to environmental changes. In this paper, we used 16-year time series (2001–2016) of remotely sensed environmental data with the objective of 1) clarifying how rainfall–vegetation interaction affects land surface temperature (LST) seasonality across the Horn of Africa, and 2) evaluating how this interaction affects LST anomalies during forest loss and drought events. Our results showed that vegetation seasonality follows rainfall modality patterns in 81% of the region. On the other hand, seasonality of daytime LST was negatively related to vegetation greenness patterns across ecoregions, and rainfall modality. LST varied more strongly in grasslands and shrublands than over other vegetation classes. Comparison of LST before and after forest loss in three selected areas (two in Ethiopia and one in Kenya) revealed an annual average increase in LST of 0.7 °C, 1.8 °C, and 0.2 °C after climate variability correction, respectively. The average increase in LST was relatively high and consistent during dry months (1.5 °C, 3 °C, and 0.6 °C). As expected, the rainfall anomalies during droughts (2010/2011, 2015, and 2016) were positively correlated with vegetation greenness anomalies. Nonetheless, the degree with which vegetation cover is affected by extreme rainfall events has a strong influence in regulating the impact of droughts on temperature anomalies. This highlights the importance of vegetation resilience and land cover management in regulating the impact of extreme events.