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  1. The taxonomic foundation of a new regional flora or monograph is the reconciliation of pre-existing names and taxonomic concepts (i.e., variation in usage of those names). This reconciliation is traditionally done manually, but the availability of taxonomic resources online and of text manipulation software means that some of the work can now be automated, speeding up the development of new taxonomic products. As a contribution to developing a new Flora of Alaska (, we have digitized the main pre-existing flora (Hultén 1968) and combined it with key online taxonomic name sources (Panarctic Flora, Flora of North America, International Plant Names Index - IPNI, Tropicos, Kew’s World Checklist of Selected Plant Families), to build a canonical list of names anchored to external Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) (e.g., IPNI URLs). We developed taxonomically-aware fuzzy-matching software ( matchnames , Webb 2020) to identify cognates in different lists. The taxa for which there are variations between different sources in accepted names and synonyms are then flagged for review by taxonomic experts. However, even though names may be consistent across previous monographs and floras, the taxonomic concept (or circumscription) of a name may differ among authors, meaning that the way an accepted name in themore »flora is applied may be unfamiliar to the users of previous floras. We therefore have begun to manually align taxonomic concepts across five existing floras: Panarctic Flora, Flora of North America, Cody’s Flora of the Yukon (Cody 2000), Welsh’s Flora (Welsh 1974) and Hultén’s Flora (Hultén 1968), analysing usage and recording the Region Connection Calculus (RCC-5) relationships between taxonomic concepts common to each source. So far, we have mapped taxa in 13 genera, containing 557 taxonomic concepts and 482 taxonomic concept relationships. To facilitate this alignment process we developed software ( tcm , Webb 2021) to record publications, names, taxonomic concepts and relationships, and to visualize the taxonomic concept relationships as graphs. These relationship graphs have proved to be accessible and valuable in discussing the frequently complex shifts in circumscription with the taxonomic experts who have reviewed the work. The taxonomic concept data are being integrated into the larger dataset to permit users of the new flora to instantly see both the chain of synonymy and concept map for any name. We have also worked with the developer of the Arctos Collection Management Solution (a database used for the majority of Alaskan collections) on new data tables for storage and display of taxonomic concept data. In this presentation, we will describe some of the ideas and workflows that may be of value to others working to connect across taxonomic resources.« less
  2. In this article, we reflect on our experience applying a framework for evaluating systems change to an evaluation of a statewide West Virginia alliance funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve the early persistence of rural, first-generation, and other underrepresented minority science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students in their programs of study. We begin with a description of the project and then discuss the two pillars around which we have built our evaluation of this project. Next, we present the challenge we confronted (despite the utility of our two pillars) in identifying and analyzing systems change, as well as the literature we consulted as we considered how to address this difficulty. Finally, we describe the framework we applied and examine how it helped us and where we still faced quandaries. Ultimately, this reflection serves two key purposes: (1) to consider a few of the challenges of measuring changes in systems, and (2) to discuss our experience applying one framework to address these issues.

  3. Garrido, Daniel (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in clinical settings and in food production have been linked to the increased prevalence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AR). Consequently, public health and consumer concerns have resulted in a remarkable reduction in antibiotics used for food animal production. However, there are no data on the effectiveness of antibiotic removal in reducing AR shared through horizontal gene transfer (HGT). In this study, we used neonatal broiler chicks and Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg, a model food pathogen, to test if chicks raised antibiotic free harbor transferable AR. We challenged chicks with an antibiotic-susceptible S . Heidelberg strain using various routes of inoculation and determined if S . Heidelberg isolates recovered carried plasmids conferring AR. We used antimicrobial susceptibility testing and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to show that chicks grown without antibiotics harbored an antimicrobial resistant S . Heidelberg population at 14 days after challenge and chicks challenged orally acquired AR at a higher rate than chicks inoculated via the cloaca. Using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, we found that S . Heidelberg infection perturbed the microbiota of broiler chicks, and we used metagenomics and WGS to confirm that a commensal Escherichia coli population was the main reservoirmore »of an IncI1 plasmid acquired by S . Heidelberg. The carriage of this IncI1 plasmid posed no fitness cost to S . Heidelberg but increased its fitness when exposed to acidic pH in vitro . These results suggest that HGT of plasmids carrying AR shaped the evolution of S . Heidelberg and that antibiotic use reduction alone is insufficient to limit antibiotic resistance transfer from commensal bacteria to Salmonella enterica . IMPORTANCE The reported increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans has resulted in a major shift away from antibiotic use in food animal production. This shift has been driven by the assumption that removing antibiotics will select for antibiotic susceptible bacterial taxa, which in turn will allow the currently available antibiotic arsenal to be more effective. This change in practice has highlighted new questions that need to be answered to assess the effectiveness of antibiotic removal in reducing the spread of antibiotic resistance bacteria. This research demonstrates that antibiotic-susceptible Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg strains can acquire multidrug resistance from commensal bacteria present in the gut of neonatal broiler chicks, even in the absence of antibiotic selection. We demonstrate that exposure to acidic pH drove the horizontal transfer of antimicrobial resistance plasmids and suggest that simply removing antibiotics from food animal production might not be sufficient to limit the spread of antimicrobial resistance.« less
  4. Collections digitization relies increasingly upon computational and data management resources that occasionally exceed the capacity of natural history collections and their managers and curators. Digitization of many tens of thousands of micropaleontological specimen slides, as evidenced by the effort presented here by the Indiana University Paleontology Collection, has been a concerted effort in adherence to the recommended practices of multifaceted aspects of collections management for both physical and digital collections resources. This presentation highlights the contributions of distributed cyberinfrastructure from the National Science Foundation-supported Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) for web-hosting of collections management system resources and distributed processing of millions of digital images and metadata records of specimens from our collections. The Indiana University Center for Biological Research Collections is currently hosting its instance of the Specify collections management system (CMS) on a virtual server hosted on Jetstream, the cloud service for on-demand computational resources as provisioned by XSEDE. This web-service allows the CMS to be flexibly hosted on the cloud with additional services that can be provisioned on an as-needed basis for generating and integrating digitized collections objects in both web-friendly and digital preservation contexts. On-demand computing resources can be used for the manipulation of digitalmore »images for automated file I/O, scripted renaming of files for adherence to file naming conventions, derivative generation, and backup to our local tape archive for digital disaster preparedness and long-term storage. Here, we will present our strategies for facilitating reproducible workflows for general collections digitization of the IUPC nomenclatorial types and figured specimens in addition to the gigapixel resolution photographs of our large collection of microfossils using our GIGAmacro system (e.g., this slide of conodonts). We aim to demonstrate the flexibility and nimbleness of cloud computing resources for replicating this, and other, workflows to enhance the findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reproducibility of the data and metadata contained within our collections.« less