School of Geography - Research Publications
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Designing Interventions that Last: A Classification of Environmental Behaviors in Relation to the Activities, Costs, and Effort Involved for Adoption and Maintenance
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2017-11-06)
Policy makers draw on behavioral research to design interventions that promote the voluntary adoption of environmental behavior in societies. Many environmental behaviors will only be effective if they are maintained over the long-term. In the context of climate change and concerns about future water security, behaviors that involve reducing energy consumption and improving water quality must be continued indefinitely to mitigate global warming and preserve scarce resources. Previous reviews of environmental behavior have focused exclusively on factors related to adoption. This review investigates the factors that influence both adoption and maintenance, and presents a classification of environmental behaviors in terms of the activities, costs, and effort required for both adoption and maintenance. Three categories of behavior are suggested. One-off behaviors involve performing an activity once, such as purchasing an energy efficient washing machine, or signing a petition. Continuous behaviors involve the performance of the same set of behaviors for adoption and for maintenance, such as curbside recycling. Dynamic behaviors involve the performance of different behaviors for adoption and maintenance, such as revegetation. Behaviors can also be classified into four categories related to cost and effort: those that involve little cost and effort for adoption and maintenance, those that involve moderate cost and effort for adoption and maintenance, those that involve a high cost or effort for adoption and less for maintenance, and those that involve less cost or effort for adoption and a higher amount for maintenance. In order to design interventions that last, policy makers should consider the factors that influence the maintenance as well as the adoption of environmental behaviors.
SISALv2: A comprehensive speleothem isotope database with multiple age-depth models
(Copernicus Publications, 2020-10-27)
Characterizing the temporal uncertainty in palaeoclimate records is crucial for analysing past climate change, correlating climate events between records, assessing climate periodicities, identifying potential triggers and evaluating climate model simulations. The first global compilation of speleothem isotope records by the SISAL (Speleothem Isotope Synthesis and Analysis) working group showed that age model uncertainties are not systematically reported in the published literature, and these are only available for a limited number of records (ca. 15 %, n = 107/691). To improve the usefulness of the SISAL database, we have (i) improved the database's spatio-temporal coverage and (ii) created new chronologies using seven different approaches for age- depth modelling. We have applied these alternative chronologies to the records from the first version of the SISAL database (SISALv1) and to new records compiled since the release of SISALv1. This paper documents the necessary changes in the structure of the SISAL database to accommodate the inclusion of the new age models and their uncertainties as well as the expansion of the database to include new records and the qualitycontrol measures applied. This paper also documents the age-depth model approaches used to calculate the new chronologies. The updated version of the SISAL database (SISALv2) contains isotopic data from 691 speleothem records from 294 cave sites and new age-depth models, including age-depth temporal uncertainties for 512 speleothems.
Beyond one-way determinism: San Frediano’s miracle and climate change in Central and Northern Italy in late antiquity
(Springer (part of Springer Nature), 2021-03-20)
Integrating palaeoclimatological proxies and historical records, which is necessary to achieve a more complete understanding of climate impacts on past societies, is a challenging task, often leading to unsatisfactory and even contradictory conclusions. This has until recently been the case for Italy, the heart of the Roman Empire, during the transition between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. In this paper, we present new high-resolution speleothem data from the Apuan Alps (Central Italy). The data document a period of very wet conditions in the sixth c. AD, probably related to synoptic atmospheric conditions similar to a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. For this century, there also exist a significant number of historical records of extreme hydroclimatic events, previously discarded as anecdotal. We show that this varied evidence reflects the increased frequency of floods and extreme rainfall events in Central and Northern Italy at the time. Moreover, we also show that these unusual hydroclimatic conditions overlapped with the increased presence of “water miracles” in Italian hagiographical accounts and social imagination. The miracles, performed by local Church leaders, strengthened the already growing authority of holy bishops and monks in Italian society during the crucial centuries that followed the “Fall of the Roman Empire”. Thus, the combination of natural and historical data allows us to show the degree to which the impact of climate variability on historical societies is determined not by the nature of the climatic phenomena per se, but by the culture and the structure of the society that experienced it.
Subglacial carbonate deposits as a potential proxy for a glacier's former presence
(Copernicus Publications, 2021-01-04)
The retreat of ice shelves and glaciers over the last century provides unequivocal evidence of recent global warming. Glacierets (miniature glaciers) and ice patches are important components of the cryosphere that highlight the global retreat of glaciers, but knowledge of their behaviour prior to the Little Ice Age is lacking. Here, we report the uranium–thorium age of subglacial carbonate deposits from a recently exposed surface previously occupied by the disappearing Triglav Glacier (southeastern European Alps) that may elucidate the glacier's presence throughout the entire Holocene. The ages suggest the deposits' possible preservation since the Last Glacial Maximum and Younger Dryas. These thin deposits, formed by regelation, are easily eroded if exposed during previous Holocene climatic optima. The age data indicate the glacier's present unprecedented level of retreat since the Last Glacial Maximum and the potential of subglacial carbonates as additional proxies to highlight the extraordinary nature of the current global climatic changes.
A changing sense of place: Geography and COVID‐19
In this essay, I explain how geography offers important ideas to better understand what is happening to our sense of place during the COVID‐19 crisis, complementing the scientific understandings provided by epidemiologists and public health experts. I explain how geographical ideas relating to place and mobility can help us make sense of our current situation and consider what we might be feeling. These geographical ideas also provide us with important political tools to identify the new forms of inequality and hardship that are unfolding, prompting questions about how we should collectively respond to shape the future of place.
Trobriand Tales, Kwanebuyee Kilivila: Folktales and Mythical Stories from the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea, Collected by Jerry W. Leach and Held at the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
(Smithsonian Institution Press, 2021)
This volume comprises an edited compilation of traditional oral narratives from the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea obtained by Jerry W. Leach from 1970 to 1973, which are held in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives. The narratives encompass key aspects of Trobriand cultural heritage as well as insights into the Kilivila language, regional cosmologies, and past and present social practices. The narratives constitute an elaborate but fragile system of knowledge that is threatened by rapid social change. The book is the culmination of a research project begun in 2011 through the auspices of the Recovering Voices Program at the National Museum of Natural History. Traveling to the Trobriand Islands with copies of the Leach narratives, the editor worked with communities to select the most culturally important and prevalent narratives, 79 of which are presented here. Trobriand communities proposed that those narratives be printed in Kilivila and in English to help preserve traditional knowledge for future generations. Each narrative is categorized in local terms, preceded by details regarding the storytellers and a summary, as well as links to other stories when narratives are related, and many are followed by a list of key words and expressions that are defined in a section on vocabulary. Further explanations and illustrations help clarify and complete the stories, providing examples of traditional objects and techniques as well as their uses.
Hydrological controls on oviposition habitat are associated with egg-laying phenology of some caddisflies
Abstract 1. Seasonal variation in resource availability can have strong effects on life histories and population densities. Emergent rocks (ERs) are an essential oviposition resource for multiple species of stream insects. The availability of ERs depends upon water depth and clast size, which vary with discharge and river geomorphology, respectively. Recruitment success for populations may depend on whether peak egg-laying periods occur at times when ER are also abundant. For multiple species that oviposit on ER, we tested whether seasonal fluctuations in ER abundance were concurrent with oviposition phenology. We also tested whether high discharge drowned ERs for sufficiently long periods to preclude egg laying, and whether this problem varied between rivers differing in channel morphology and particle size distribution. 2. We obtained a continuous timeseries of water level (WL) measured every 30 min for two years at sites on three rivers in south-eastern Australia with similar hydrology but different geomorphology. A relationship between WL and ER numbers was determined empirically at each site and these relationships were used to predict ER availability over the two years. Egg masses of ten species of caddisflies were enumerated each month for a year in one river to establish oviposition phenology. 3. Abundance of ERs was inversely related to discharge in all three rivers. ERs were most abundant during autumn and scarce during spring. Site-specific geomorphology resulted in skewed or multimodal distributions of ER abundance each year. Between years, catchment-scale hydrometeorology mediated patterns of ER availability, despite the close proximity of sites. Temporal variance in ER availability was not consistently correlated with mean WL or WL variance. ER variance increased with WL variance, when WL was below a threshold equivalent to mean annual WL. Above this threshold, most ER were likely to be submerged. 4. Oviposition phenology varied strongly among the ten species of caddisflies, with egg-laying ranging from in 1-2 months to year-round. Temporal variations in ER and egg mass abundance were not correlated for most species. Below a threshold minimum number of ER, egg masses were highly crowded onto the few available ER, which is evidence that ER were in short supply. For five species, high egg mass abundance was positively associated with periods of the year when the time above the threshold number of ERs was high. Unusually, two species laid most egg masses during winter and when the time above this threshold was short. Three species showed no association between egg mass abundance and time above this threshold; two of these species laid eggs year-round. 5. Regional hydrometeorology controlled the availability of ERs, but between-river differences were sufficient to deliver different outcomes in the availability of oviposition sites between years and seasons. Caddisflies were rarely prevented from laying eggs but periods when ERs were in short supply created crowding, which may be associated with negative fitness effects on hatching larvae. Geomorphological controls on availability of oviposition resources may have strong implications for the coexistence of species that overlap temporally in egg-laying.
Coexistence of predatory caddisfly species may be facilitated by variations in the morphology of feeding apparatus and diet
1. The hypothesis of community‐wide character displacement (CWCD) predicts that coexisting species in the same guild should differ in morphological traits associated with resource acquisition, such that interspecific competition is unlikely. Hypothesis tests often focus on trophic structures involved in food acquisition, because variations in the morphology of foraging apparatus and diet composition may be directly related. Empirical evidence of such associations among sympatric guild members is, however, uncommon. 2. The predatory larvae of caddisflies in the family Hydrobiosidae are ideal for studies of CWCD because the morphology of the prehensile foreleg, used to capture prey, varies markedly among genera. Further, hydrobiosids typically occur as species‐rich guilds, often with 10–20 species in a single community. Although the larvae are known to be predatory, detailed information on the diet of coexisting species is scarce. This study tested whether larval diet varied among multiple, sympatric species of hydrobiosid caddisflies that differed in foreleg morphology. 3. Larval specimens were collected in summer and primarily from one river in central Victoria, Australia. Gut contents of late instar larvae were examined to describe diet composition, and diet was compared among taxa using measures of diet breadth and overlap. 4. Seven sympatric species from six genera that differed in foreleg morphology were collected and late instar larvae were exclusively carnivorous. Diet composition and breadth varied markedly among some species, and diet was associated with morphology of the prehensile foreleg. Specialist predator species consumed predominantly chironomids and had high diet overlap. Generalists consumed primarily chironomids and mayflies, but overlap varied depending upon the preferred mayfly family and representation of other prey items, such as blackflies and insect eggs. All predator species consumed some caseless caddisflies and intraguild predation was strong in at least one species. 5. The marked differences in diet and foreleg morphology among hydrobiosid species are consistent with the notion that CWCD influences guild membership and may facilitate species coexistence within guilds that are typically species‐rich. Although rarely considered for freshwater communities, CWCD may help explain species membership within other guilds. The magnitude of diet variations among genera within this family are more usually found across multiple families or orders, demonstrating that assumptions about the diet of even closely related taxa may be erroneous.
Does the choice of neighbourhood supermarket access measure influence associations with individual-level fruit and vegetable consumption? A case study from Glasgow
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have provided mixed evidence with regards to associations between food store access and dietary outcomes. This study examines the most commonly applied measures of locational access to assess whether associations between supermarket access and fruit and vegetable consumption are affected by the choice of access measure and scale. METHOD: Supermarket location data from Glasgow, UK (n = 119), and fruit and vegetable intake data from the 'Health and Well-Being' Survey (n = 1041) were used to compare various measures of locational access. These exposure variables included proximity estimates (with different points-of-origin used to vary levels of aggregation) and density measures using three approaches (Euclidean and road network buffers and Kernel density estimation) at distances ranging from 0.4 km to 5 km. Further analysis was conducted to assess the impact of using smaller buffer sizes for individuals who did not own a car. Associations between these multiple access measures and fruit and vegetable consumption were estimated using linear regression models. RESULTS: Levels of spatial aggregation did not impact on the proximity estimates. Counts of supermarkets within Euclidean buffers were associated with fruit and vegetable consumption at 1 km, 2 km and 3 km, and for our road network buffers at 2 km, 3 km, and 4 km. Kernel density estimates provided the strongest associations and were significant at a distance of 2 km, 3 km, 4 km and 5 km. Presence of a supermarket within 0.4 km of road network distance from where people lived was positively associated with fruit consumption amongst those without a car (coef. 0.657; s.e. 0.247; p0.008). CONCLUSIONS: The associations between locational access to supermarkets and individual-level dietary behaviour are sensitive to the method by which the food environment variable is captured. Care needs to be taken to ensure robust and conceptually appropriate measures of access are used and these should be grounded in a clear a priori reasoning.
The availability of snack food displays that may trigger impulse purchases in Melbourne supermarkets
BACKGROUND: Supermarkets play a major role in influencing the food purchasing behaviours of most households. Snack food exposures within these stores may contribute to higher levels of consumption and ultimately to increasing levels of obesity, particularly within socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. We aimed to examine the availability of snack food displays at checkouts, end-of-aisle displays and island displays in major supermarket chains in the least and most socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Melbourne. METHODS: Within-store audits of 35 Melbourne supermarkets. Supermarkets were sampled from the least and most socioeconomically disadvantaged suburbs within 30 km of the Melbourne CBD. We measured the availability of crisps, chocolate, confectionery, and soft drinks (diet and regular) at the checkouts, in end-of-aisle displays, and in island bin displays. RESULTS: Snack food displays were most prominent at checkouts with only five stores not having snack foods at 100% of their checkouts. Snack foods were also present at a number of end-of-aisle displays (at both the front (median 38%) and back (median 33%) of store), and in island bin displays (median number of island displays: 7; median total circumference of island displays: 19.4 metres). Chocolate items were the most common snack food item on display. There was no difference in the availability of these snack food displays by neighbourhood disadvantage. CONCLUSIONS: As a result of the high availability of snack food displays, exposure to snack foods is almost unavoidable in Melbourne supermarkets, regardless of levels of neighbourhood socioeconomic disadvantage. Results of this study could promote awareness of the prominence of unhealthy food items in chain-brand supermarkets outlets.
Structural and Psycho-Social Limits to Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Barrier Reef Region
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2016-03-09)
Adaptation, as a strategy to respond to climate change, has limits: there are conditions under which adaptation strategies fail to alleviate impacts from climate change. Research has primarily focused on identifying absolute bio-physical limits. This paper contributes empirical insight to an emerging literature on the social limits to adaptation. Such limits arise from the ways in which societies perceive, experience and respond to climate change. Using qualitative data from multi-stakeholder workshops and key-informant interviews with representatives of the fisheries and tourism sectors of the Great Barrier Reef region, we identify psycho-social and structural limits associated with key adaptation strategies, and examine how these are perceived as more or less absolute across levels of organisation. We find that actors experience social limits to adaptation when: i) the effort of pursuing a strategy exceeds the benefits of desired adaptation outcomes; ii) the particular strategy does not address the actual source of vulnerability, and; iii) the benefits derived from adaptation are undermined by external factors. We also find that social limits are not necessarily more absolute at higher levels of organisation: respondents perceived considerable opportunities to address some psycho-social limits at the national-international interface, while they considered some social limits at the local and regional levels to be effectively absolute.
The history of introduction of the African baobab (Adansonia digitata, Malvaceae: Bombacoideae) in the Indian subcontinent
(ROYAL SOC, 2015-09-01)
To investigate the pathways of introduction of the African baobab, Adansonia digitata, to the Indian subcontinent, we examined 10 microsatellite loci in individuals from Africa, India, the Mascarenes and Malaysia, and matched this with historical evidence of human interactions between source and destination regions. Genetic analysis showed broad congruence of African clusters with biogeographic regions except along the Zambezi (Mozambique) and Kilwa (Tanzania), where populations included a mixture of individuals assigned to at least two different clusters. Individuals from West Africa, the Mascarenes, southeast India and Malaysia shared a cluster. Baobabs from western and central India clustered separately from Africa. Genetic diversity was lower in populations from the Indian subcontinent than in African populations, but the former contained private alleles. Phylogenetic analysis showed Indian populations were closest to those from the Mombasa-Dar es Salaam coast. The genetic results provide evidence of multiple introductions of African baobabs to the Indian subcontinent over a longer time period than previously assumed. Individuals belonging to different genetic clusters in Zambezi and Kilwa may reflect the history of trafficking captives from inland areas to supply the slave trade between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. Baobabs in the Mascarenes, southeast India and Malaysia indicate introduction from West Africa through eighteenth and nineteenth century European colonial networks.