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  1. Abstract Animal-related outages (AROs) are a prevalent form of outages in electrical distribution systems. Animal-infrastructure interactions vary across species and regions, underlining the need to study the animal-outage relationship in more species and diverse systems. Animal activity has been an indicator of reliability in the electrical grid system by describing temporal patterns in AROs. However, these ARO models have been limited by a lack of available species activity data, instead approximating activity based on seasonal patterns and weather dependency in ARO records and characteristics of broad taxonomic groups, e.g. squirrels. We highlight available resources to fill the ecological data gap limiting joint analyses between ecology and energy sectors. Species distribution modeling (SDM), a common technique to model the distribution of a species across geographic space and time, paired with community science data, provided us with species-specific estimates of activity to analyze alongside spatio-temporal patterns of ARO severity. We use SDM estimates of activity for multiple outage-prone bird species to examine whether diverse animal activity patterns were important predictors of ARO severity by capturing existing variation within animal-outage relationships. Low dimensional representation and single patterns of bird activity were important predictors of ARO severity in Massachusetts. However, both patterns of summer migrants and overwintering species showed some degree of importance, indicating that multiple biological patterns could be considered in future models of grid reliability. Making the best available resources from quantitative ecology known to outside disciplines can allow for more interdisciplinary data analyses between ecological and non-ecological systems. This can result in further opportunities to examine and validate the relationships between animal activity and grid reliability in diverse systems. 
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  2. Silva, Daniel de (Ed.)
    Biodiversity loss is a global ecological crisis that is both a driver of and response to environmental change. Understanding the connections between species declines and other components of human-natural systems extends across the physical, life, and social sciences. From an analysis perspective, this requires integration of data from different scientific domains, which often have heterogeneous scales and resolutions. Community science projects such as eBird may help to fill spatiotemporal gaps and enhance the resolution of standardized biological surveys. Comparisons between eBird and the more comprehensive North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) have found these datasets can produce consistent multi-year abundance trends for bird populations at national and regional scales. Here we investigate the reliability of these datasets for estimating patterns at finer resolutions, inter-annual changes in abundance within town boundaries. Using a case study of 14 focal species within Massachusetts, we calculated four indices of annual relative abundance using eBird and BBS datasets, including two different modeling approaches within each dataset. We compared the correspondence between these indices in terms of multi-year trends, annual estimates, and inter-annual changes in estimates at the state and town-level. We found correspondence between eBird and BBS multi-year trends, but this was not consistent across all species and diminished at finer, inter-annual temporal resolutions. We further show that standardizing modeling approaches can increase index reliability even between datasets at coarser temporal resolutions. Our results indicate that multiple datasets and modeling methods should be considered when estimating species population dynamics at finer temporal resolutions, but standardizing modeling approaches may improve estimate correspondence between abundance datasets. In addition, reliability of these indices at finer spatial scales may depend on habitat composition, which can impact survey accuracy. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    The electric power grid is a critical societal resource connecting multiple infrastructural domains such as agriculture, transportation, and manufacturing. The electrical grid as an infrastructure is shaped by human activity and public policy in terms of demand and supply requirements. Further, the grid is subject to changes and stresses due to diverse factors including solar weather, climate, hydrology, and ecology. The emerging interconnected and complex network dependencies make such interactions increasingly dynamic, posing novel risks, and presenting new challenges to manage the coupled human–natural system. This paper provides a survey of models and methods that seek to explore the significant interconnected impact of the electric power grid and interdependent domains. We also provide relevant critical risk indicators (CRIs) across diverse domains that may be used to assess risks to electric grid reliability, including climate, ecology, hydrology, finance, space weather, and agriculture. We discuss the convergence of indicators from individual domains to explore possible systemic risk, i.e., holistic risk arising from cross-domain interconnections. Further, we propose a compositional approach to risk assessment that incorporates diverse domain expertise and information, data science, and computer science to identify domain-specific CRIs and their union in systemic risk indicators. Our study provides an important first step towards data-driven analysis and predictive modeling of risks in interconnected human–natural systems. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
  6. Abstract

    There is an urgent need to synthesize the state of our knowledge on plant responses to climate. The availability of open-access data provide opportunities to examine quantitative generalizations regarding which biomes and species are most responsive to climate drivers. Here, we synthesize time series of structured population models from 162 populations of 62 plants, mostly herbaceous species from temperate biomes, to link plant population growth rates (λ) to precipitation and temperature drivers. We expect: (1) more pronounced demographic responses to precipitation than temperature, especially in arid biomes; and (2) a higher climate sensitivity in short-lived rather than long-lived species. We find that precipitation anomalies have a nearly three-fold larger effect onλthan temperature. Species with shorter generation time have much stronger absolute responses to climate anomalies. We conclude that key species-level traits can predict plant population responses to climate, and discuss the relevance of this generalization for conservation planning.

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  7. Abstract

    Matrix population models (MPMs) are an important tool for biologists seeking to understand the causes and consequences of variation in vital rates (e.g. survival, reproduction) across life cycles. Empirical MPMs describe the age‐ or stage‐structured demography of organisms and usually represent the life history of a population during a particular time frame at a specific geographical location.

    The COMPADRE Plant Matrix Database and COMADRE Animal Matrix Database are the most extensive resources for MPM data, collectively containing >12,000 individual projection matrices for >1,100 species globally. Although these databases represent an unparalleled resource for researchers, land managers and educators, the current computational tools available to answer questions with MPMs impose significant barriers to potential COM(P)ADRE database users by requiring advanced knowledge to handle diverse data structures and program custom analysis functions.

    To close this knowledge gap, we present two interrelated R packages designed to (a) facilitate the use of these databases by providing functions to acquire, quality control and manage both the MPM data contained in COMPADRE and COMADRE, and a user's own MPM data (Rcompadre) and (b) present a range of functions to calculate life‐history traits from MPMs in support of ecological and evolutionary analyses (Rage). We provide examples to illustrate the use of both.

    RcompadreandRagewill facilitate demographic analyses using MPM data and contribute to the improved replicability of studies using these data. We hope that this new functionality will allow researchers, land managers and educators to unlock the potential behind the thousands of MPMs and ancillary metadata stored in the COMPADRE and COMADRE matrix databases, and in their own MPM data.

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  8. Abstract

    Stage‐based demographic methods, such as matrix population models (MPMs), are powerful tools used to address a broad range of fundamental questions in ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation science. Accordingly, MPMs now exist for over 3000 species worldwide. These data are being digitised as an ongoing process and periodically released into two large open‐access online repositories: the COMPADRE Plant Matrix Database and the COMADRE Animal Matrix Database. During the last decade, data archiving and curation of COMPADRE and COMADRE, and subsequent comparative research, have revealed pronounced variation in how MPMs are parameterized and reported.

    Here, we summarise current issues related to the parameterisation and reporting of MPMs that arise most frequently and outline how they affect MPM construction, analysis, and interpretation. To quantify variation in how MPMs are reported, we present results from a survey identifying key aspects of MPMs that are frequently unreported in manuscripts. We then screen COMPADRE and COMADRE to quantify how often key pieces of information are omitted from manuscripts using MPMs.

    Over 80% of surveyed researchers (n = 60) state a clear benefit to adopting more standardised methodologies for reporting MPMs. Furthermore, over 85% of the 300 MPMs assessed from COMPADRE and COMADRE omitted one or more elements that are key to their accurate interpretation. Based on these insights, we identify fundamental issues that can arise from MPM construction and communication and provide suggestions to improve clarity, reproducibility and future research utilising MPMs and their required metadata. To fortify reproducibility and empower researchers to take full advantage of their demographic data, we introduce a standardised protocol to present MPMs in publications. This standard is linked towww.compadre‐, so that authors wishing to archive their MPMs can do so prior to submission of publications, following examples from other open‐access repositories such as DRYAD, Figshare and Zenodo.

    Combining and standardising MPMs parameterized from populations around the globe and across the tree of life opens up powerful research opportunities in evolutionary biology, ecology and conservation research. However, this potential can only be fully realised by adopting standardised methods to ensure reproducibility.

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