ResearchPad - ellipses Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Spectral-power associations reflect amplitude modulation and within-frequency interactions on the sub-second timescale and cross-frequency interactions on the seconds timescale]]> We investigated the global structure of intrinsic cross-frequency dynamics by systematically examining power-based temporal associations among a broad range of oscillation frequencies both within and across EEG-based current sources (sites). We focused on power-based associations that could reveal unique timescale dependence independently of interacting frequencies. Large spectral-power fluctuations across all sites occurred at two characteristic timescales, sub-second and seconds, yielding distinct patterns of cross-frequency associations. On the fast sub-second timescale, within-site (local) associations were consistently between pairs of βγ frequencies differing by a constant Δf (particularly Δf ~ 10 Hz at posterior sites and Δf ~ 16 Hz at lateral sites) suggesting that higher-frequency oscillations are organized into Δf amplitude-modulated packets, whereas cross-site (long-distance) associations were all within-frequency (particularly in the >30 Hz and 6–12 Hz ranges, suggestive of feedforward and feedback interactions). On the slower seconds timescale, within-site (local) associations were characterized by a broad range of frequencies selectively associated with ~10 Hz at posterior sites and associations among higher (>20 Hz) frequencies at lateral sites, whereas cross-site (long-distance) associations were characterized by a broad range of frequencies at posterior sites selectively associated with ~10 Hz at other sites, associations among higher (>20 Hz) frequencies among lateral and anterior sites, and prevalent associations at ~10 Hz. Regardless of timescale, within-site (local) cross-frequency associations were weak at anterior sites indicative of frequency-specific operations. Overall, these results suggest that the fast sub-second-timescale coordination of spectral power is limited to local amplitude modulation and insulated within-frequency long-distance interactions (likely feedforward and feedback interactions), while characteristic patterns of cross-frequency interactions emerge on the slower seconds timescale. The results also suggest that the occipital α oscillations play a role in organizing higher-frequency oscillations into ~10 Hz amplitude-modulated packets to communicate with other regions. Functional implications of these timescale-dependent cross-frequency associations await future investigations.

<![CDATA[The applicability of recreation-grade GNSS receiver (GPS watch, Suunto Ambit Peak 3) in a forested and an open area compared to a mapping-grade receiver (Trimble Juno T41)]]>

Due to developments in global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and the miniaturization of their components, the usage of Global Positioning System (GPS) is no longer restricted to professional applications, but has become available in various consumer type devices, such as wristwatches. These commercial devices, however, were primarily designed for tracking activities in predominately urban settings and their accuracy has not been tested in forested areas. In this study, we present an assessment of the positional accuracy of a GPS watch (Ambit Peak 3, Suunto, Finland) under different forest cover types, seasons and meteorological conditions within the Whitehall Forest GPS Test Site located in Athens, Georgia, USA. As a standard of comparison, the performance of the GPS watch measurements was juxtaposed to that of a mapping-grade receiver (Juno T41, Trimble Inc., USA). In this study, we analyzed the differences between the determined and control positions using root-mean-square-error (RMSE), along with the distribution of observed positions through the standard deviational ellipse. The results suggest that the seasonal variations contributed to a statistically significant impact on the RMSE values for the GPS watch. However, there were no statistically significant differences in horizontal position accuracy by forest cover-type when using the GPS watch. Furthermore, no significant differences were found in horizontal position accuracy during the leaf-off period between the RMSE values for the GPS watch and those of the mapping-grade receiver. Lastly, the positional accuracies for both types of receivers were found to be weakly, but significantly correlated with fluctuations in air temperature and absolute humidity.

<![CDATA[Structure and variability of delay activity in premotor cortex]]>

Voluntary movements are widely considered to be planned before they are executed. Recent studies have hypothesized that neural activity in motor cortex during preparation acts as an ‘initial condition’ which seeds the proceeding neural dynamics. Here, we studied these initial conditions in detail by investigating 1) the organization of neural states for different reaches and 2) the variance of these neural states from trial to trial. We examined population-level responses in macaque premotor cortex (PMd) during the preparatory stage of an instructed-delay center-out reaching task with dense target configurations. We found that after target onset the neural activity on single trials converges to neural states that have a clear low-dimensional structure which is organized by both the reach endpoint and maximum speed of the following reach. Further, we found that variability of the neural states during preparation resembles the spatial variability of reaches made in the absence of visual feedback: there is less variability in direction than distance in neural state space. We also used offline decoding to understand the implications of this neural population structure for brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). We found that decoding of angle between reaches is dependent on reach distance, while decoding of arc-length is independent. Thus, it might be more appropriate to quantify decoding performance for discrete BMIs by using arc-length between reach end-points rather than the angle between them. Lastly, we show that in contrast to the common notion that direction can better be decoded than distance, their decoding capabilities are comparable. These results provide new insights into the dynamical neural processes that underline motor control and can inform the design of BMIs.

<![CDATA[Body ownership increases the interference between observed and executed movements]]>

When we successfully achieve willed actions, the feeling that our moving body parts belong to the self (i.e., body ownership) is barely required. However, how and to what extent the awareness of our own body contributes to the neurocognitive processes subserving actions is still debated. Here we capitalized on immersive virtual reality in order to examine whether and how body ownership influences motor performance (and, secondly, if it modulates the feeling of voluntariness). Healthy participants saw a virtual body either from a first or a third person perspective. In both conditions, they had to draw continuously straight vertical lines while seeing the virtual arm doing the same action (i.e., drawing lines) or deviating from them (i.e., drawing ellipses). Results showed that when there was a mismatch between the intended and the seen movements (i.e., participants had to draw lines but the avatar drew ellipses), motor performance was strongly “attracted” towards the seen (rather than the performed) movement when the avatar’s body part was perceived as own (i.e., first person perspective). In support of previous studies, here we provide direct behavioral evidence that the feeling of body ownership modulates the interference of seen movements to the performed movements.

<![CDATA[Detection of size of manufactured sand particles based on digital image processing]]>

The size distribution of manufactured sand particles has a significant influence on the quality of concrete. To overcome the shortcomings of the traditional vibration-sieving method, a manufactured sand casting/dispersing system was developed, based on the characteristics of the sand particle contours (as determined by backlit image acquisition) and an extraction mechanism. Algorithms for eliminating particles from the image that had be repeatedly captured, as well as for identifying incomplete particles at the boundaries of the image, granular contour segmentation, and the determination of an equivalent particle size, are studied. The hardware and software for the image-based detection device were developed. A particle size repeatability experiment was carried out on the single-grade sands, grading the size fractions of the manufactured sand over a range of 0.6–4.75 mm. A method of particle-size correction is proposed to compensate for the difference in the results obtained by the image-based method and those obtained by the sieving method. The experimental results show that the maximum repeatability error of single-grade fractions is 3.46% and the grading size fraction is 0.51%. After the correction of the image method, the error between the grading size fractions obtained by the two methods was reduced from 7.22%, 6.10% and 5% to 1.47%, 1.65%, and 3.23%, respectively. The accuracy of the particle-size detection can thus satisfy real-world measuring requirements.

<![CDATA[Static and Dynamic Postural Changes after a Mountain Ultra-Marathon of 80 km and 5500 D+]]>

The study aimed to investigate the effect of fatigue on static and dynamic postural stability after completing a mountain ultra-marathon. Twelve male athletes participated in the study. Postural stability was assessed before and immediately after the race. Static postural stability was evaluated on a dynamometric platform with eyes opened (OE) and closed (CE). Dynamic postural stability was assessed with OE on an instrumented plate which allowed medio-lateral oscillations. Stabilometric data were affected by fatigue in the OE condition, concerning sway path velocity (p = 0.0006), sway area velocity (p = 0.0006), area of the confidence ellipse (p = 0.0016), maximal anterior-posterior (AP) (p = 0.0017) and medio-lateral (ML) (p = 0.0039) oscillations. In the CE condition the sway path velocity (p = 0.0334), the maximal ML oscillations (p = 0.0161) and the area of the confident ellipse (p = 0.0180) were also negatively influenced. Stabilogram diffusion analysis showed in the OE condition an increase of short-term diffusion coefficients considering the anterior-posterior direction (Dfys; p = 0.0023) and the combination of the two (Dfr2s; p = 0.0032). Equally, long term diffusion coefficients increased considering the anterior-posterior direction (Dfyl; p = 0.0093) and the combination of the two (Dfr2l; p = 0.0086). In CE condition greater values were detected for medio-lateral direction (Dfxl; p = 0.033), anterior-posterior direction (Dfyl; p = 0.0459) and the combination of the two (Dfr2l; p = 0.0048). The dynamic postural stability test showed an increase of the time spent with the edges of the plate on the floor (p = 0.0152). Our results showed that mountain ultra-marathon altered static stability more than dynamic stability. An involvement of cognitive resources to monitor postural stability after fatiguing could be the explanation of the worsening in the automatic task (quiet standing) and of the positive compensation in the less automatic task (dynamic standing on the instrumented plate).

<![CDATA[Measuring (subglacial) bedform orientation, length, and longitudinal asymmetry – Method assessment]]>

Geospatial analysis software provides a range of tools that can be used to measure landform morphometry. Often, a metric can be computed with different techniques that may give different results. This study is an assessment of 5 different methods for measuring longitudinal, or streamlined, subglacial bedform morphometry: orientation, length and longitudinal asymmetry, all of which require defining a longitudinal axis. The methods use the standard deviational ellipse (not previously applied in this context), the longest straight line fitting inside the bedform footprint (2 approaches), the minimum-size footprint-bounding rectangle, and Euler’s approximation. We assess how well these methods replicate morphometric data derived from a manually mapped (visually interpreted) longitudinal axis, which, though subjective, is the most typically used reference. A dataset of 100 subglacial bedforms covering the size and shape range of those in the Puget Lowland, Washington, USA is used. For bedforms with elongation > 5, deviations from the reference values are negligible for all methods but Euler’s approximation (length). For bedforms with elongation < 5, most methods had small mean absolute error (MAE) and median absolute deviation (MAD) for all morphometrics and thus can be confidently used to characterize the central tendencies of their distributions. However, some methods are better than others. The least precise methods are the ones based on the longest straight line and Euler’s approximation; using these for statistical dispersion analysis is discouraged. Because the standard deviational ellipse method is relatively shape invariant and closely replicates the reference values, it is the recommended method. Speculatively, this study may also apply to negative-relief, and fluvial and aeolian bedforms.

<![CDATA[Faunal Communities Are Invariant to Fragmentation in Experimental Seagrass Landscapes]]>

Human-driven habitat fragmentation is cited as one of the most pressing threats facing many coastal ecosystems today. Many experiments have explored the consequences of fragmentation on fauna in one foundational habitat, seagrass beds, but have either surveyed along a gradient of existing patchiness, used artificial materials to mimic a natural bed, or sampled over short timescales. Here, we describe faunal responses to constructed fragmented landscapes varying from 4–400 m2 in two transplant garden experiments incorporating live eelgrass (Zostera marina L.). In experiments replicated within two subestuaries of the Chesapeake Bay, USA across multiple seasons and non-consecutive years, we comprehensively censused mesopredators and epifaunal communities using complementary quantitative methods. We found that community properties, including abundance, species richness, Simpson and functional diversity, and composition were generally unaffected by the number of patches and the size of the landscape, or the intensity of sampling. Additionally, an index of competition based on species co-occurrences revealed no trends with increasing patch size, contrary to theoretical predictions. We extend conclusions concerning the invariance of animal communities to habitat fragmentation from small-scale observational surveys and artificial experiments to experiments conducted with actual living plants and at more realistic scales. Our findings are likely a consequence of the rapid life histories and high mobility of the organisms common to eelgrass beds, and have implications for both conservation and restoration, suggesting that even small patches can rapidly promote abundant and diverse faunal communities.

<![CDATA[Stable Isotopes Reveal Long-Term Fidelity to Foraging Grounds in the Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus wollebaeki)]]>

Most otariids have colony-specific foraging areas during the breeding season, when they behave as central place foragers. However, they may disperse over broad areas after the breeding season and individuals from different colonies may share foraging grounds at that time. Here, stable isotope ratios in the skull bone of adult Galapagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki) were used to assess the long-term fidelity of both sexes to foraging grounds across the different regions of the Galapagos archipelago. Results indicated that the stable isotope ratios (δ13C and δ15N) of sea lion bone significantly differed among regions of the archipelago, without any significant difference between sexes and with a non significant interaction between sex and region. Moreover, standard ellipses, estimated by Bayesian inference and used as a measure of the isotopic resource use area at the population level, overlapped widely for the sea lions from the southern and central regions, whereas the overlap of the ellipses for sea lions from the central and western regions was small and non-existing for those from the western and southern regions. These results suggest that males and females from the same region within the archipelago use similar foraging grounds and have similar diets. Furthermore, they indicate that the exchange of adults between regions is limited, thus revealing a certain degree of foraging philopatry at a regional scale within the archipelago. The constraints imposed on males by an expanded reproductive season (~ 6 months), resulting from the weak reproductive synchrony among females, and those imposed on females by a very long lactation period (at least one year but up to three years), may explain the limited mobility of adult Galapagos sea lions of both sexes across the archipelago.

<![CDATA[Bioelectrical impedance vector analysis (BIVA) for measuring the hydration status in young elite synchronized swimmers]]>


The assessment of body hydration is a complex process, and no measurement is valid for all situations. Bioelectrical impedance vector analysis (BIVA) has emerged as a relatively novel technique for assessing hydration status in sports. We applied BIVA a) to determine hydration changes evoked by an intense synchronized swimming (SS) training session; b) to characterize the sample of young elite swimmers in relation with a nonathletic reference population; and c) to generate its 50%, 75% and 95% percentiles of the bioelectrical variables.


Forty-nine elite SS female swimmers of two age categories, comen (Co: 13.9 ± 0.9 years, n = 34) and junior (Jr: 16.3 ± 0.6 years, n = 15), performed a long, high intensity training session. Body mass (BM) and bioelectrical variables (R, resistance; Xc, reactance; PA, phase angle; and Z, impedance module) were assessed pre- and post-training. BIVA was used to characterize 1) the distribution pattern of the bioelectrical vector (BIA vector) for both age groups, and 2) pre- to post-training BIA vector migration. Bioelectrical variables were also correlated with BM change values.


Most swimmers were mostly located outside the 75% and some beyond the 95% percentile of the bioelectrical tolerance ellipses of the general population. The BIA vector showed statistically significant differences in both Co (T2 = 134.7, p = 0.0001) and Jr (T2 = 126.2, p < 0.001). Both groups were also bioelectrically different (T2 = 17.6, p < 0.001). After the training session, a decrease in BM (p = 0.0001) and an increase in BIA variables (p = 0.01) was observed. BIVA also showed a significant pre-post vector migration both in Co (T2 = 82.1; p < 0.001) and Jr (T2 = 41.8; p < 0.001). No correlations were observed between BM changes and bioelectrical variables.


BIVA showed specific bioelectrical characteristics in young elite SS athletes. Considering the decrease in BM and the migration of the BIA vector, we conclude that the homeostatic hydration status of these young elite female swimmers was affected by the execution of intense training sessions. From a methodological perspective, BIVA appears to be sensitive enough to detect subtle hydration changes, but further research is needed to ensure its validity and reliability. Moreover, these findings highlight the importance of ensuring adequate fluid intake during training in young SS athletes.

<![CDATA[Robust information propagation through noisy neural circuits]]>

Sensory neurons give highly variable responses to stimulation, which can limit the amount of stimulus information available to downstream circuits. Much work has investigated the factors that affect the amount of information encoded in these population responses, leading to insights about the role of covariability among neurons, tuning curve shape, etc. However, the informativeness of neural responses is not the only relevant feature of population codes; of potentially equal importance is how robustly that information propagates to downstream structures. For instance, to quantify the retina’s performance, one must consider not only the informativeness of the optic nerve responses, but also the amount of information that survives the spike-generating nonlinearity and noise corruption in the next stage of processing, the lateral geniculate nucleus. Our study identifies the set of covariance structures for the upstream cells that optimize the ability of information to propagate through noisy, nonlinear circuits. Within this optimal family are covariances with “differential correlations”, which are known to reduce the information encoded in neural population activities. Thus, covariance structures that maximize information in neural population codes, and those that maximize the ability of this information to propagate, can be very different. Moreover, redundancy is neither necessary nor sufficient to make population codes robust against corruption by noise: redundant codes can be very fragile, and synergistic codes can—in some cases—optimize robustness against noise.

<![CDATA[Spatiotemporal dynamics of the Southern California Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) invasion]]>

Biological invasions are governed by spatial processes that tend to be distributed in non-random ways across landscapes. Characterizing the spatial and temporal heterogeneities of the introduction, establishment, and spread of non-native insect species is a key aspect of effectively managing their geographic expansion. The Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri), a vector of the bacterium associated with huanglongbing (HLB), poses a serious threat to commercial and residential citrus trees. In 2008, D. citri first began expanding northward from Mexico into parts of Southern California. Using georeferenced D. citri occurrence data from 2008–2014, we sought to better understand the extent of the geographic expansion of this invasive vector species. Our objectives were to: 1) describe the spatial and temporal distribution of D. citri in Southern California, 2) identify the locations of statistically significant D. citri hotspots, and 3) quantify the dynamics of anisotropic spread. We found clear evidence that the spatial and temporal distribution of D. citri in Southern California is non-random. Further, we identified the existence of statistically significant hotspots of D. citri occurrence and described the anisotropic dispersion across the Southern California landscape. For example, the dominant hotspot surrounding Los Angeles showed rapid and strongly asymmetric spread to the south and east. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of quantitative invasive insect risk assessment with the application of a spatial epidemiology framework.

<![CDATA[Vowel production of Mandarin-speaking hearing aid users with different types of hearing loss]]>

In contrast with previous research focusing on cochlear implants, this study examined the speech performance of hearing aid users with conductive (n = 11), mixed (n = 10), and sensorineural hearing loss (n = 7) and compared it with the speech of hearing control. Speech intelligibility was evaluated by computing the vowel space area defined by the Mandarin Chinese corner vowels /a, u, i/. The acoustic differences between the vowels were assessed using the Euclidean distance. The results revealed that both the conductive and mixed hearing loss groups exhibited a reduced vowel working space, but no significant difference was found between the sensorineural hearing loss and normal hearing groups. An analysis using the Euclidean distance further showed that the compression of vowel space area in conductive hearing loss can be attributed to the substantial lowering of the second formant of /i/. The differences in vowel production between groups are discussed in terms of the occlusion effect and the signal transmission media of various hearing devices.

<![CDATA[Fast Outlier Detection Using a Grid-Based Algorithm]]>

As one of data mining techniques, outlier detection aims to discover outlying observations that deviate substantially from the reminder of the data. Recently, the Local Outlier Factor (LOF) algorithm has been successfully applied to outlier detection. However, due to the computational complexity of the LOF algorithm, its application to large data with high dimension has been limited. The aim of this paper is to propose grid-based algorithm that reduces the computation time required by the LOF algorithm to determine the k-nearest neighbors. The algorithm divides the data spaces in to a smaller number of regions, called as a “grid”, and calculates the LOF value of each grid. To examine the effectiveness of the proposed method, several experiments incorporating different parameters were conducted. The proposed method demonstrated a significant computation time reduction with predictable and acceptable trade-off errors. Then, the proposed methodology was successfully applied to real database transaction logs of Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute. As a result, we show that for a very large dataset, the grid-LOF can be considered as an acceptable approximation for the original LOF. Moreover, it can also be effectively used for real-time outlier detection.

<![CDATA[A computational method for three-dimensional reconstruction of the microarchitecture of myometrial smooth muscle from histological sections]]>


The fibrous structure of the myometrium has previously been characterised at high resolutions in small tissue samples (< 100 mm3) and at low resolutions (∼500 μm per voxel edge) in whole-organ reconstructions. However, no high-resolution visualisation of the myometrium at the organ level has previously been attained.

Methods and results

We have developed a technique to reconstruct the whole myometrium from serial histological slides, at a resolution of approximately 50 μm per voxel edge. Reconstructions of samples taken from human and rat uteri are presented here, along with histological verification of the reconstructions and detailed investigation of the fibrous structure of these uteri, using a range of tools specifically developed for this analysis. These reconstruction techniques enable the high-resolution rendering of global structure previously observed at lower resolution. Moreover, structures observed previously in small portions of the myometrium can be observed in the context of the whole organ. The reconstructions are in direct correspondence with the original histological slides, which allows the inspection of the anatomical context of any features identified in the three-dimensional reconstructions.

Conclusions and significance

The methods presented here have been used to generate a faithful representation of myometrial smooth muscle at a resolution of ∼50 μm per voxel edge. Characterisation of the smooth muscle structure of the myometrium by means of this technique revealed a detailed view of previously identified global structures in addition to a global view of the microarchitecture. A suite of visualisation tools allows researchers to interrogate the histological microarchitecture. These methods will be applicable to other smooth muscle tissues to analyse fibrous microarchitecture.

<![CDATA[Mathematical algorithm for the automatic recognition of intestinal parasites]]>

Parasitic infections are generally diagnosed by professionals trained to recognize the morphological characteristics of the eggs in microscopic images of fecal smears. However, this laboratory diagnosis requires medical specialists which are lacking in many of the areas where these infections are most prevalent. In response to this public health issue, we developed a software based on pattern recognition analysis from microscopi digital images of fecal smears, capable of automatically recognizing and diagnosing common human intestinal parasites. To this end, we selected 229, 124, 217, and 229 objects from microscopic images of fecal smears positive for Taenia sp., Trichuris trichiura, Diphyllobothrium latum, and Fasciola hepatica, respectively. Representative photographs were selected by a parasitologist. We then implemented our algorithm in the open source program SCILAB. The algorithm processes the image by first converting to gray-scale, then applies a fourteen step filtering process, and produces a skeletonized and tri-colored image. The features extracted fall into two general categories: geometric characteristics and brightness descriptions. Individual characteristics were quantified and evaluated with a logistic regression to model their ability to correctly identify each parasite separately. Subsequently, all algorithms were evaluated for false positive cross reactivity with the other parasites studied, excepting Taenia sp. which shares very few morphological characteristics with the others. The principal result showed that our algorithm reached sensitivities between 99.10%-100% and specificities between 98.13%- 98.38% to detect each parasite separately. We did not find any cross-positivity in the algorithms for the three parasites evaluated. In conclusion, the results demonstrated the capacity of our computer algorithm to automatically recognize and diagnose Taenia sp., Trichuris trichiura, Diphyllobothrium latum, and Fasciola hepatica with a high sensitivity and specificity.

<![CDATA[Impact of the 2015 El Niño-Southern Oscillation on the Abundance and Foraging Habits of Guadalupe Fur Seals and California Sea Lions from the San Benito Archipelago, Mexico]]>

The abundance of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) (CSLs) and Guadalupe fur seals (Arctocephalus philippii townsendi) (GFSs) from the San Benito Archipelago (SBA) was determined through nine monthly surveys in 2014–2015. Assessment of their foraging habits was examined based on the isotopic analysis of pups (maternal indicators) (SIAR/SIBER-R). Environmental variability between 2014 and 2015 was also analyzed, in terms of sea surface temperature (SST) and chlorophyll (Chl-a) concentration. Both otariids reached their highest abundance in July of both years; however, relative to 2014, the 2015 survey showed a 59.7% decline in the total GFS abundance and a 42.9% decrease of GFS pups, while total CSL abundance decreased 52.0% and CSL pup presence decreased in 61.7%. All monthly surveys for both otariids showed a similar trend (>50% decrease in 2015). Compared to 2014, the 2015 GFSs isotopic niche was three times larger (2.0 in 2015, 0.6 in 2014) and the δ13C was significantly lower. CSLs also showed significantly lower δ13C and higher δ15N in 2015. Interannual segregation was greater for CSLs, and their pup body mass was also significantly lower during the 2015 breeding season (mean = 8.7 kg) than in the same season of 2014 (mean = 9.9 kg). The decrease in δ13C for both otariids reflected a more oceanic foraging; most likely associated with the decline in primary productivity in surrounding areas to the SBA, related to a higher SST caused by the 2015 ENSO, with a subsequent increase in foraging effort. These would explain the fewer observed individuals on land, especially pups, which showed diminished body condition (CSLs). This study highlights the importance of marine mammals as sentinel species that respond dynamically to changes in environment, providing valuable information on the effect of ENSO on pinnipeds in Mexican waters.

<![CDATA[Fine-Scale Ecological and Genetic Population Structure of Two Whitefish (Coregoninae) Species in the Vicinity of Industrial Thermal Emissions]]>

Thermal pollution from industrial processes can have negative impacts on the spawning and development of cold-water fish. Point sources of thermal effluent may need to be managed to avoid affecting discrete populations. Correspondingly, we examined fine-scale ecological and genetic population structure of two whitefish species (Coregonus clupeaformis and Prosopium cylindraceum) on Lake Huron, Canada, in the immediate vicinity of thermal effluent from nuclear power generation. Niche metrics using δ13C and δ15N stable isotopes showed high levels of overlap (48.6 to 94.5%) in resource use by adult fish captured in areas affected by thermal effluent compared to nearby reference locations. Isotopic niche size, a metric of resource use diversity, was 1.3- to 2.8-fold higher than reference values in some thermally affected areas, indicative of fish mixing. Microsatellite analyses of genetic population structure (Fst, STRUCTURE and DAPC) indicated that fish captured at all locations in the vicinity of the power plant were part of a larger population extending beyond the study area. In concert, ecological and genetic markers do not support the presence of an evolutionarily significant unit in the vicinity of the power plant. Thus, future research should focus on the potential impacts of thermal emissions on development and recruitment.

<![CDATA[Psychophysical Evaluation of Congenital Colour Vision Deficiency: Discrimination between Protans and Deutans Using Mollon-Reffin’s Ellipses and the Farnsworth-Munsell 100-Hue Test]]>

We have used the Farnsworth-Munsell 100-hue (FM 100) test and Mollon-Reffin (MR) test to evaluate the colour vision of 93 subjects, 30.4 ± 9.7 years old, who had red-green congenital colour vision deficiencies. All subjects lived in Belém (State of Pará, Brazil) and were selected by the State of Pará Traffic Department. Selection criteria comprised the absence of visual dysfunctions other than Daltonism and no history of systemic diseases that could impair the visual system performance. Results from colour vision deficient were compared with those from 127 normal trichromats, 29.3 ± 10.3 years old. For the MR test, measurements were taken around five points of the CIE 1976 colour space, along 20 directions irradiating from each point, in order to determine with high-resolution the corresponding colour discrimination ellipses (MacAdam ellipses). Three parameters were used to compare results obtained from different subjects: diameter of circle with same ellipse area, ratio between ellipse’s long and short axes, and ellipse long axis angle. For the FM 100 test, the parameters were: logarithm of the total number of mistakes and positions of mistakes in the FM diagram. Data were also simultaneously analysed in two or three dimensions as well as by using multidimensional cluster analysis. For the MR test, Mollon-Reffin Ellipse #3 (u’ = 0.225, v’ = 0.415) discriminated more efficiently than the other four ellipses between protans and deutans once it provided larger angular difference in the colour space between protan and deutan confusion lines. The MR test was more sensitive than the FM 100 test. It separated individuals by dysfunctional groups with greater precision, provided a more sophisticated quantitative analysis, and its use is appropriate for a more refined evaluation of different phenotypes of red-green colour vision deficiencies.

<![CDATA[Visual Data Exploration for Balance Quantification in Real-Time During Exergaming]]>

Unintentional injuries are among the ten leading causes of death in older adults; falls cause 60% of these deaths. Despite their effectiveness to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls, balance training programs have several drawbacks in practice, such as lack of engaging elements, boring exercises, and the effort and cost of travelling, ultimately resulting in low adherence. Exergames, that is, digital games controlled by body movements, have been proposed as an alternative to improve balance. One of the main challenges for exergames is to automatically quantify balance during game-play in order to adapt the game difficulty according to the skills of the player. Here we perform a multidimensional exploratory data analysis, using visualization techniques, to find useful measures for quantifying balance in real-time. First, we visualize exergaming data, derived from 400 force plate recordings of 40 participants from 20 to 79 years and 10 trials per participant, as heat maps and violin plots to get quick insight into the nature of the data. Second, we extract known and new features from the data, such as instantaneous speed, measures of dispersion, turbulence measures derived from speed, and curvature values. Finally, we analyze and visualize these features using several visualizations such as a heat map, overlapping violin plots, a parallel coordinate plot, a projection of the two first principal components, and a scatter plot matrix. Our visualizations and findings suggest that heat maps and violin plots can provide quick insight and directions for further data exploration. The most promising measures to quantify balance in real-time are speed, curvature and a turbulence measure, because these measures show age-related changes in balance performance. The next step is to apply the present techniques to data of whole body movements as recorded by devices such as Kinect.