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Title: Discussion on “Spatial+: A novel approach to spatial confounding” by Dupont, Wood, and Augustin
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National Science Foundation
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  1. Social animals may use alternative strategies when foraging, with producer–scrounger being one stable dichotomy of strategies. While ‘producers’ search and discover new food sources, ‘scroungers’ obtain food discovered by producers. Previous work suggests that differences in cognitive abilities may influence tendencies toward being either a producer or a scrounger, but scrounging behaviour in the context of specialized cognitive abilities is less understood. We investigated whether food-caching mountain chickadees, which rely on spatial cognition to retrieve food caches, engage in scrounging when learning a spatial task. We analysed data from seven seasons of spatial cognition testing, using arrays of radio frequency identification-enabled bird feeders, to identify and quantify potential scrounging behaviour. Chickadees rarely engaged in scrounging, scrounging was not repeatable within individuals and nearly all scrounging events occurred before the bird learned the ‘producer’ strategy. Scrounging was less frequent in harsher winters, but adults scrounged more than juveniles, and birds at higher elevations scrounged more than chickadees at lower elevations. There was no clear association between spatial cognitive abilities and scrounging frequency. Overall, our study suggests that food-caching species with specialized spatial cognition do not use scrounging as a stable strategy when learning a spatial task, instead relying on learning abilities.

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  2. We propose computationally efficient methods for estimating stationary multivariate spatial and spatial–temporal spectra from incomplete gridded data. The methods are iterative and rely on successive imputation of data and updating of model estimates. Imputations are done according to a periodic model on an expanded domain. The periodicity of the imputations is a key feature that reduces edge effects in the periodogram and is facilitated by efficient circulant embedding techniques. In addition, we describe efficient methods for decomposing the estimated cross spectral density function into a linear model of coregionalization plus a residual process. The methods are applied to two storm datasets, one of which is from Hurricane Florence, which struck the southeastern United States in September 2018. The application demonstrates how fitted models from different datasets can be compared, and how the methods are computationally feasible on datasets with more than 200,000 total observations. 
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    Abstract Background Prior research has revealed positive effects of spatial activity participation (e.g., playing with blocks, sports) on current and future spatial skills. However, research has not examined the degree to which spatial activity participation remains stable over time, and little is known about how participating in spatial activities at multiple points in development impacts spatial thinking. In this study, adolescents completed measures of spatial thinking and questionnaires assessing their current and previous participation in spatial activities. Results Participation in childhood spatial activities predicted adolescent spatial activity participation, and the relation was stronger for females than for males. Adolescents’ current participation in spatial activities predicted spatial thinking skills, whereas participation in childhood spatial activities predicted adolescents’ spatial habits of mind, even when accounting for factors such as gender and academic performance. No cumulative benefit was incurred due to participating in spatial activities in both childhood and adolescence, and a lack of spatial activities in childhood was not made up for by later spatial activity participation. Conclusions These findings reveal a consistently positive relationship in spatial activity participation between childhood and adolescence. Results highlight the importance of participating in spatial activities during childhood, and underscore the differential impact that participation in spatial activities during childhood versus adolescence has on different facets of adolescents’ spatial thinking. Implications for the timing of interventions is discussed. 
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