School of Geography - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 153
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.
New Genetic and Linguistic Analyses Show Ancient Human Influence on Baobab Evolution and Distribution in Australia
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2015-04-01)
This study investigates the role of human agency in the gene flow and geographical distribution of the Australian baobab, Adansonia gregorii. The genus Adansonia is a charismatic tree endemic to Africa, Madagascar, and northwest Australia that has long been valued by humans for its multiple uses. The distribution of genetic variation in baobabs in Africa has been partially attributed to human-mediated dispersal over millennia, but this relationship has never been investigated for the Australian species. We combined genetic and linguistic data to analyse geographic patterns of gene flow and movement of word-forms for A. gregorii in the Aboriginal languages of northwest Australia. Comprehensive assessment of genetic diversity showed weak geographic structure and high gene flow. Of potential dispersal vectors, humans were identified as most likely to have enabled gene flow across biogeographic barriers in northwest Australia. Genetic-linguistic analysis demonstrated congruence of gene flow patterns and directional movement of Aboriginal loanwords for A. gregorii. These findings, along with previous archaeobotanical evidence from the Late Pleistocene and Holocene, suggest that ancient humans significantly influenced the geographic distribution of Adansonia in northwest Australia.
Drivers of Change in a 7300-Year Holocene Diatom Record from the Hemi-Boreal Region of Ontario, Canada.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2016)
A Holocene lake sediment record spanning the past 7300 years from Wishart Lake in the Turkey Lakes Watershed in the Hemi-Boreal of central Ontario, Canada, was used to evaluate the potential drivers of long-term change in diatom assemblages at this site. An analysis of diatom assemblages found that benthic and epiphytic taxa dominated the mid-Holocene (7300-4000 cal yr BP), indicating shallow, oligotrophic, circum-neutral conditions, with macrophytes present. A significant shift in diatom assemblages towards more planktonic species (mainly Cyclotella sensu lato, but also several species of Aulacoseira, and Tabellaria flocculosa) occurred ~4000 cal yr BP. This change likely reflects an increase in lake level, coincident with the onset of a more strongly positive moisture balance following the drier climates of the middle Holocene, established by numerous regional paleoclimate records. Pollen-inferred regional changes in vegetation around 4000 yrs BP, including an increase in Betula and other mesic taxa, may have also promoted changes in diatom assemblages through watershed processes mediated by the chemistry of runoff. A more recent significant change in limnological conditions is marked by further increases in Cyclotella sensu lato beginning in the late 19th century, synchronous with the Ambrosia pollen rise and increases in sediment bulk density, signaling regional and local land clearance at the time of Euro-Canadian settlement (1880 AD). In contrast to the mid-Holocene increase in planktonic diatoms, the modern increase in Cyclotella sensu lato likely indicates a response to land use and vegetation change, and erosion from the watershed, rather than a further increase in water level. The results from Wishart Lake illustrate the close connection between paleoclimate change, regional vegetation, watershed processes, and diatom assemblages and also provides insight into the controls on abundance of Cyclotella sensu lato, a diatom taxonomic group which has shown significant increases and complex dynamics in the post-industrial era in lakes spanning temperate to Arctic regions.
Early and Middle Holocene Hunter-Gatherer Occupations in Western Amazonia: The Hidden Shell Middens
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-08-28)
We report on previously unknown early archaeological sites in the Bolivian lowlands, demonstrating for the first time early and middle Holocene human presence in western Amazonia. Multidisciplinary research in forest islands situated in seasonally-inundated savannahs has revealed stratified shell middens produced by human foragers as early as 10,000 years ago, making them the oldest archaeological sites in the region. The absence of stone resources and partial burial by recent alluvial sediments has meant that these kinds of deposits have, until now, remained unidentified. We conducted core sampling, archaeological excavations and an interdisciplinary study of the stratigraphy and recovered materials from three shell midden mounds. Based on multiple lines of evidence, including radiocarbon dating, sedimentary proxies (elements, steroids and black carbon), micromorphology and faunal analysis, we demonstrate the anthropogenic origin and antiquity of these sites. In a tropical and geomorphologically active landscape often considered challenging both for early human occupation and for the preservation of hunter-gatherer sites, the newly discovered shell middens provide evidence for early to middle Holocene occupation and illustrate the potential for identifying and interpreting early open-air archaeological sites in western Amazonia. The existence of early hunter-gatherer sites in the Bolivian lowlands sheds new light on the region's past and offers a new context within which the late Holocene "Earthmovers" of the Llanos de Moxos could have emerged.
Which theoretical distribution function best fits measured within day rainfall distributions across Australia?
(Conference Organising Committee, 2006)
Rainfall data at high temporal resolutions is required to accurately model the dynamics of surface runoff processes, in particular sediment entrainment. These processes respond to rainfall intensity variations over short intervals, yet measurement of rainfall intensity at sufficient resolution is available only at a limited number of locations across Australia. On the other hand there is good coverage of rainfall data registered at a daily time step, thus it is desirable to establish a means to estimate within-day distributions of rainfall intensity given the daily rainfall depth and other readily available hydrometeorological data (e.g. temperature, pressure). As a first step towards such a method, an investigation was conducted into the shape of the temporal distribution of high-resolution (6 minute) rainfall intensity within the wet part of rainy days (total rainfall depth > 10mm). This paper quantifies the skill of nine different theoretical distribution functions (TDFs) in fitting characteristics of measured rainfall that are most likely to drive sediment entrainment and transport on hillslopes. Skill is reported by two goodness-of-fit statistics: the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) between the fitted and observed within-day distribution; and the efficiency of prediction of the 30 minutes of highest rainfall intensity (average intensity of the 5 highest intensity intervals). Four TDFs provided relatively poor fits to higher intensity rainfall (two and three parameter lognormal, two parameter Generalized Pareto and Gumbel), and also showed higher RMSE values. The remaining five TDFs performed equally well for both goodness-of-fit measures. Two of these TDFs are extreme value distributions (Generalized Extreme Value and Weibull) and in a strict statistical sense should not be applied to within-day rainfall intensity data. On this basis, the remaining three TDFs (gamma, exponential and the three parameter Generalized Pareto) were selected as suitable candidates to represent within-day rainfall distributions in Australia, in particular for hydrological models seeking to estimate runoff and erosion.
Capturing geomorphologial patterns in ecological resources: fractal dimensions describe fluvial rock distributions
Oral presentation at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of Australia in December 2020