skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Dunn, Robert R."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Mosquitoes have profoundly affected human history and continue to threaten human health through the transmission of a diverse array of pathogens. The phylogeny of mosquitoes has remained poorly characterized due to difficulty in taxonomic sampling and limited availability of genomic data beyond the most important vector species. Here, we used phylogenomic analysis of 709 single copy ortholog groups from 256 mosquito species to produce a strongly supported phylogeny that resolves the position of the major disease vector species and the major mosquito lineages. Our analyses support an origin of mosquitoes in the early Triassic (217 MYA [highest posterior density region: 188–250 MYA]), considerably older than previous estimates. Moreover, we utilize an extensive database of host associations for mosquitoes to show that mosquitoes have shifted to feeding upon the blood of mammals numerous times, and that mosquito diversification and host-use patterns within major lineages appear to coincide in earth history both with major continental drift events and with the diversification of vertebrate classes.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract The bulk of research on citizen science participants is project centric, based on an assumption that volunteers experience a single project. Contrary to this assumption, survey responses (n = 3894) and digital trace data (n = 3649) from volunteers, who collectively engaged in 1126 unique projects, revealed that multiproject participation was the norm. Only 23% of volunteers were singletons (who participated in only one project). The remaining multiproject participants were split evenly between discipline specialists (39%) and discipline spanners (38% joined projects with different disciplinary topics) and unevenly between mode specialists (52%) and mode spanners (25% participated in online and offline projects). Public engagement was narrow: The multiproject participants were eight times more likely to be White and five times more likely to hold advanced degrees than the general population. We propose a volunteer-centric framework that explores how the dynamic accumulation of experiences in a project ecosystem can support broad learning objectives and inclusive citizen science. 
    more » « less
  3. Many of the choices humans make with regard to infrastructure, urban planning and other phenomena have impacts that will last thousands of years. This can readily be seen in modern cities in which contemporary streets run along street grids that were laid out thousands of years prior or even in which ancient viaducts still play a role. However, rarely do evolutionary biologists explicitly consider the future of life likely to be associated with the decisions we are making today. Here, we consider the evolutionary future of species in cities with a focus on the origin of lineages and species. We do so by adjusting evolutionary predictions from the theory of island biogeography so as to correspond to the unique features of cities as islands. Specifically, the species endemic to cities tend to be associated with the gray habitats in cities. Those habitats tend to be dominated by human bodies, pet bodies and stored food. It is among such species where the origin of new lineages is most likely, although most research on evolution in cities has focused on green habitats. We conclude by considering a range of scenarios for the far future and their implications for the origin of lineages and species. 
    more » « less
  4. A high-resolution map of ant diversity allows an assessment of how well biodiversity centers overlap across taxa. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
  6. Summary

    An important problem in modern forensic analyses is identifying the provenance of materials at a crime scene, such as biological material on a piece of clothing. This procedure, which is known as geolocation, is conventionally guided by expert knowledge of the biological evidence and therefore tends to be application specific, labour intensive and often subjective. Purely data-driven methods have yet to be fully realized in this domain, because in part of the lack of a sufficiently rich source of data. However, high throughput sequencing technologies can identify tens of thousands of fungi and bacteria taxa by using DNA recovered from a single swab collected from nearly any object or surface. This microbial community, or microbiome, may be highly informative of the provenance of the sample, but data on the spatial variation of microbiomes are sparse and high dimensional and have a complex dependence structure that render them difficult to model with standard statistical tools. Deep learning algorithms have generated a tremendous amount of interest within the machine learning community for their predictive performance in high dimensional problems. We present DeepSpace: a new algorithm for geolocation that aggregates over an ensemble of deep neural network classifiers trained on randomly generated Voronoi partitions of a spatial domain. The DeepSpace algorithm makes remarkably good point predictions; for example, when applied to the microbiomes of over 1300 dust samples collected across continental USA, more than half of geolocation predictions produced by this model fall less than 100 km from their true origin, which is a 60% reduction in error from competing geolocation methods. Moreover, we apply DeepSpace to a novel data set of global dust samples collected from nearly 30 countries, finding that dust-associated fungi alone predict a sample's country of origin with nearly 90% accuracy.

    more » « less
  7. null (Ed.)
    Sourdough bread is an ancient fermented food that has sustained humans around the world for thousands of years. It is made from a sourdough ‘starter culture’ which is maintained, portioned, and shared among bread bakers around the world. The starter culture contains a community of microbes made up of yeasts and bacteria, which ferment the carbohydrates in flour and produce the carbon dioxide gas that makes the bread dough rise before baking. The different acids and enzymes produced by the microbial culture affect the bread’s flavor, texture and shelf life. However, for such a dependable staple, sourdough bread cultures and the mixture of microbes they contain have scarcely been characterized. Previous studies have looked at the composition of starter cultures from regions within Europe. But there has never been a comprehensive study of how the microbial diversity of sourdough starters varies across and between continents. To investigate this, Landis, Oliverio et al. used genetic sequencing to characterize the microbial communities of sourdough starters from the homes of 500 bread bakers in North America, Europe and Australasia. Bread makers often think their bread’s unique qualities are due to the local environment of where the sourdough starter was made. However, Landis, Oliverio et al. found that geographical location did not correlate with the diversity of the starter cultures studied. The data revealed that a group of microbes called acetic acid bacteria, which had been overlooked in past research, were relatively common in starter cultures. Moreover, starters with a greater abundance of this group of bacteria produced bread with a strong vinegar aroma and caused dough to rise at a slower rate. This research demonstrates which species of bacteria and yeast are most commonly found in sourdough starters, and suggests geographical location has little influence on the microbial diversity of these cultures. Instead, the diversity of microbes likely depends more on how the starter culture was made and how it is maintained over time. 
    more » « less
  8. ABSTRACT Bacteria within the genus Mycobacterium can be abundant in showerheads, and the inhalation of aerosolized mycobacteria while showering has been implicated as a mode of transmission in nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung infections. Despite their importance, the diversity, distributions, and environmental predictors of showerhead-associated mycobacteria remain largely unresolved. To address these knowledge gaps, we worked with citizen scientists to collect showerhead biofilm samples and associated water chemistry data from 656 households located across the United States and Europe. Our cultivation-independent analyses revealed that the genus Mycobacterium was consistently the most abundant genus of bacteria detected in residential showerheads, and yet mycobacterial diversity and abundances were highly variable. Mycobacteria were far more abundant, on average, in showerheads receiving municipal water than in those receiving well water and in U.S. households than in European households, patterns that are likely driven by differences in the use of chlorine disinfectants. Moreover, we found that water source, water chemistry, and household location also influenced the prevalence of specific mycobacterial lineages detected in showerheads. We identified geographic regions within the United States where showerheads have particularly high abundances of potentially pathogenic lineages of mycobacteria, and these “hot spots” generally overlapped those regions where NTM lung disease is most prevalent. Together, these results emphasize the public health relevance of mycobacteria in showerhead biofilms. They further demonstrate that mycobacterial distributions in showerhead biofilms are often predictable from household location and water chemistry, knowledge that advances our understanding of NTM transmission dynamics and the development of strategies to reduce exposures to these emerging pathogens. IMPORTANCE Bacteria thrive in showerheads and throughout household water distribution systems. While most of these bacteria are innocuous, some are potential pathogens, including members of the genus Mycobacterium that can cause nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung infection, an increasing threat to public health. We found that showerheads in households across the United States and Europe often harbor abundant mycobacterial communities that vary in composition depending on geographic location, water chemistry, and water source, with households receiving water treated with chlorine disinfectants having particularly high abundances of certain mycobacteria. The regions in the United States where NTM lung infections are most common were the same regions where pathogenic mycobacteria were most prevalent in showerheads, highlighting the important role of showerheads in the transmission of NTM infections. 
    more » « less