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  1. Abstract

    Rare birds known as “accidentals” or “vagrants” have long captivated birdwatchers and puzzled biologists, but the drivers of these rare occurrences remain elusive. Errors in orientation or navigation are considered one potential driver: migratory birds use the Earth’s magnetic field—sensed using specialized magnetoreceptor structures—to traverse long distances over often unfamiliar terrain. Disruption to these magnetoreceptors or to the magnetic field itself could potentially cause errors leading to vagrancy. Using data from 2 million captures of 152 landbird species in North America over 60 years, we demonstrate a strong association between disruption to the Earth’s magnetic field and avian vagrancy during fall migration. Furthermore, we find that increased solar activity—a disruptor of the avian magnetoreceptor—generally counteracts this effect, potentially mitigating misorientation by disabling the ability for birds to use the magnetic field to orient. Our results link a hypothesized cause of misorientation to the phenomenon of avian vagrancy, further demonstrating the importance of magnetoreception among the orientation mechanisms of migratory birds. Geomagnetic disturbance may have important downstream ecological consequences, as vagrants may experience increased mortality rates or facilitate range expansions of avian populations and the organisms they disperse.

  2. Abstract

    Bacterial communities associated with vegetation-soil interfaces have important roles in terrestrial ecosystems. These bacterial communities, studied almost exclusively in unburnt ecosystems or those affected by rare, high-intensity wildfires, have been understudied in fire-frequented grasslands and savannas. The composition of ground-level bacterial communities was explored in an old-growth pine savanna with a centuries-long management history of prescribed fires every 1–2 years. Using 16S metabarcoding, hypotheses were tested regarding differences in bacterial families of litter and soil surface substrates in patches of ground layer vegetation that were naturally burnt or unburnt during landscape-level prescribed fires. Litter/soil substrates and fire/no fire treatments explained 67.5% of bacterial community variation and differences, driven by relative abundance shifts of specific bacterial families. Fires did not strongly affect plant or soil variables, which were not linked to bacterial community differences. Litter/soil substrates and the naturally patchy frequent fires appear to generate microhabitat heterogeneity in this pine savanna, driving responses of bacterial families. Prescribed fire management may benefit from considering how fire-altered substrate heterogeneity influences and maintains microbial diversity and function, especially in these fiery ecosystems. Frequent, low-intensity fires appear ecologically important in maintaining the diverse microbial foundation that underlie ecosystem processes and services in fire-frequented habitats.

  3. Abstract Background

    A robotic rehabilitation gym can be defined as multiple patients training with multiple robots or passive sensorized devices in a group setting. Recent work with such gyms has shown positive rehabilitation outcomes; furthermore, such gyms allow a single therapist to supervise more than one patient, increasing cost-effectiveness. To allow more effective multipatient supervision in future robotic rehabilitation gyms, we propose an automated system that could dynamically assign patients to different robots within a session in order to optimize rehabilitation outcome.

    Methods

    As a first step toward implementing a practical patient-robot assignment system, we present a simplified mathematical model of a robotic rehabilitation gym. Mixed-integer nonlinear programming algorithms are used to find effective assignment and training solutions for multiple evaluation scenarios involving different numbers of patients and robots (5 patients and 5 robots, 6 patients and 5 robots, 5 patients and 7 robots), different training durations (7 or 12 time steps) and different complexity levels (whether different patients have different skill acquisition curves, whether robots have exit times associated with them). In all cases, the goal is to maximize total skill gain across all patients and skills within a session.

    Results

    Analyses of variance across different scenarios show that disjunctive and time-indexedmore »optimization models significantly outperform two baseline schedules: staying on one robot throughout a session and switching robots halfway through a session. The disjunctive model results in higher skill gain than the time-indexed model in the given scenarios, and the optimization duration increases as the number of patients, robots and time steps increases. Additionally, we discuss how different model simplifications (e.g., perfectly known and predictable patient skill level) could be addressed in the future and how such software may eventually be used in practice.

    Conclusions

    Though it involves unrealistically simple scenarios, our study shows that intelligently moving patients between different rehabilitation robots can improve overall skill acquisition in a multi-patient multi-robot environment. While robotic rehabilitation gyms are not yet commonplace in clinical practice, prototypes of them already exist, and our study presents a way to use intelligent decision support to potentially enable more efficient delivery of technologically aided rehabilitation.

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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  5. Abstract

    Advent of satellite altimetry brought into focus the pervasiveness of mesoscale eddies$${{{{{{{\bf{{{{{{{{\mathcal{O}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}({100})$$O(100)km in size, which are the ocean’s analogue of weather systems and are often regarded as the spectral peak of kinetic energy (KE). Yet, understanding of the ocean’s spatial scales has been derived mostly from Fourier analysis in small representative” regions that cannot capture the vast dynamic range at planetary scales. Here, we use a coarse-graining method to analyze scales much larger than what had been possible before. Spectra spanning over three decades of length-scales reveal the Antarctic Circumpolar Current as the spectral peak of the global extra-tropical circulation, at ≈ 104km, and a previously unobserved power-law scaling over scales larger than 103km. A smaller spectral peak exists at ≈ 300 km associated with mesoscales, which, due to their wider spread in wavenumber space, account for more than 50% of resolved surface KE globally. Seasonal cycles of length-scales exhibit a characteristic lag-time of ≈ 40 days per octave of length-scales such that in both hemispheres, KE at 102km peaks in spring while KE at 103km peaks in late summer. These results provide a new window for understanding the multiscale oceanic circulation within Earth’s climate system, including the largest planetary scales.

  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 13, 2023
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 3, 2023
  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 25, 2023
  9. Volcanic eruptions impact climate, subtly and profoundly. The size of an eruption is only loosely correlated with the severity of its climate effects, which can include changes in surface temperature, ozone levels, stratospheric dynamics, precipitation, and ocean circulation. We review the processes—in magma chambers, eruption columns, and the oceans, biosphere, and atmosphere—that mediate the climate response to an eruption. A complex relationship between eruption size, style, duration, and the subsequent severity of the climate response emerges. We advocate for a new, consistent metric, the Volcano-Climate Index, to categorize climate response to eruptions independent of eruption properties and spanning the full range of volcanic activity, from brief explosive eruptions to long-lasting flood basalts. A consistent metric for categorizing the climate response to eruptions that differ in size, style, and duration is critical for establishing the relationshipbetween the severity and the frequency of such responses aiding hazard assessments, and furthering understanding of volcanic impacts on climate on timescales of years to millions of years. ▪ We review the processes driving the rocky relationship between eruption size and climate response and propose a Volcano-Climate Index. ▪ Volcanic eruptions perturb Earth's climate on a range of timescales, with key open questions regarding how processesmore »in the magmatic system, eruption column, and atmosphere shape the climate response to volcanism. ▪ A Volcano-Climate Index will provide information on the volcano-climate severity-frequency distribution, analogous to earthquake hazards. ▪ Understanding of the frequency of specific levels of volcanic climate effects will aid hazard assessments, planning, and mitigation of societal impacts.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 31, 2023
  10. Beryllium ammonia complexes Be(NH 3 ) 4 are known to bear two diffuse electrons in the periphery of a Be(NH 3 ) 4 2+ skeleton. The replacement of one ammonia with a methyl group forms CH 3 Be(NH 3 ) 3 with one peripheral electron, which is shown to maintain the hydrogenic-type shell model observed for Li(NH 3 ) 4 . Two CH 3 Be(NH 3 ) 3 monomers are together linked by aliphatic chains to form strongly bound beryllium ammonia complexes, (NH 3 ) 3 Be(CH 2 ) n Be(NH 3 ) 3 , n = 1–6, with one electron around each beryllium ammonia center. In the case of a linear carbon chain, this system can be seen as the analog of two hydrogen atoms approaching each other at specific distances (determined by n). We show that the two electrons occupy diffuse s-type orbitals and can couple exactly as in H 2 in either a triplet or singlet state. For long hydrocarbon chains, the singlet is an open-shell singlet nearly degenerate with the triplet spin state, which transforms to a closed-shell singlet for n = 1 imitating the σ-covalent bond of H 2 . The biradical character of themore »system is analyzed, and the singlet–triplet splitting is estimated as a function of n based on multi-reference calculations. Finally, we consider the case of bent hydrocarbon chains, which allows the closer proximity of the two diffuse electrons for larger chains and the formation of a direct covalent bond between the two diffuse electrons, which happens for two Li(NH 3 ) 4 complexes converting the open-shell to closed-shell singlets. The energy cost for bending the hydrocarbon chain is nearly compensated by the formation of the weak covalent bond rendering bent and linear structures nearly isoenergetic.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 21, 2023