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Concept: Geodesy


BACKGROUND: A remote sensing technique was developed which combines a Geographic Information System (GIS); Google Earth, and Microsoft Excel to identify home locations for a random sample of households in rural Haiti. The method was used to select homes for ethnographic and water quality research in a region of rural Haiti located within 9 km of a local hospital and source of health education in Deschapelles, Haiti. The technique does not require access to governmental records or ground based surveys to collect household location data and can be performed in a rapid, cost effective manner. METHODS: The random selection of households and the location of these households during field surveys were accomplished using GIS, Google Earth, Microsoft Excel, and handheld Garmin GPSmap 76CSx GPS units. Homes were identified and mapped in Google Earth, exported to ArcMap 10.0, and a random list of homes was generated using Microsoft Excel which was then loaded onto handheld GPS units for field location. The development and use of a remote sensing method was essential to the selection and location of random households. RESULTS: A total of 537 homes initially were mapped and a randomized subset of 96 was identified as potential survey locations. Over 96% of the homes mapped using Google Earth imagery were correctly identified as occupied dwellings. Only 3.6% of the occupants of mapped homes visited declined to be interviewed. 16.4% of the homes visited were not occupied at the time of the visit due to work away from the home or market days. A total of 55 households were located using this method during the 10 days of fieldwork in May and June of 2012. CONCLUSIONS: The method used to generate and field locate random homes for surveys and water sampling was an effective means of selecting random households in a rural environment lacking geolocation infrastructure. The success rate for locating households using a handheld GPS was excellent and only rarely was local knowledge required to identify and locate households. This method provides an important technique that can be applied to other developing countries where a randomized study design is needed but infrastructure is lacking to implement more traditional participant selection methods.

Concepts: Geographic information system, Randomness, Map, Global Positioning System, Remote sensing, Surveying, Geodesy, Google Earth


For many species, geographical ranges are expanding toward the poles in response to climate change, while remaining stable along range edges nearest the equator. Using long-term observations across Europe and North America over 110 years, we tested for climate change-related range shifts in bumblebee species across the full extents of their latitudinal and thermal limits and movements along elevation gradients. We found cross-continentally consistent trends in failures to track warming through time at species' northern range limits, range losses from southern range limits, and shifts to higher elevations among southern species. These effects are independent of changing land uses or pesticide applications and underscore the need to test for climate impacts at both leading and trailing latitudinal and thermal limits for species.

Concepts: Earth, Sun, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, North America, Bumblebee, Latitude, Geodesy


A new dinosaur tracksite in the Vale de Meios quarry (Serra de Aire Formation, Bathonian, Portugal)preserves more than 700 theropod tracks. They are organized in at least 80 unidirectional trackways arranged in a bimodal orientation pattern (W/NW and E/SE). Quantitative and qualitative comparisons reveal that the large tridactyl, elongated and asymmetric tracks resemble the typical Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Megalosauripus ichnogenus in all morphometric parameters. Few of the numerous tracks are preserved as elite tracks while the rest are preserved as different gradients of modified true tracks according to water content, erosive factors, radial fractures and internal overtrack formations. Taphonomical determinations are consistent with paleoenvironmental observations that indicate an inter-tidal flat located at the margin of a coastal barrier. The Megalosauripus tracks represent the oldest occurrence of this ichnotaxon and are attributed to large megalosaurid dinosaurs. Their occurrence in Vale de Meios tidal flat represents the unique paleoethological evidence of megalosaurids moving towards the lagoon, most likley during the low tide periods with feeding purposes.

Concepts: Coast, Dinosaur, Theropoda, Intertidal zone, Tide, Geodesy, Jurassic, Megalosaurus


The pace of scientific discovery is being transformed by the availability of ‘big data’ and open access, open source software tools. These innovations open up new avenues for how scientists communicate and share data and ideas with each other and with the general public. Here, we describe our efforts to bring to life our studies of the Earth system, both at present day and through deep geological time. The GPlates Portal ( is a gateway to a series of virtual globes based on the Cesium Javascript library. The portal allows fast interactive visualization of global geophysical and geological data sets, draped over digital terrain models. The globes use WebGL for hardware-accelerated graphics and are cross-platform and cross-browser compatible with complete camera control. The globes include a visualization of a high-resolution global digital elevation model and the vertical gradient of the global gravity field, highlighting small-scale seafloor fabric such as abyssal hills, fracture zones and seamounts in unprecedented detail. The portal also features globes portraying seafloor geology and a global data set of marine magnetic anomaly identifications. The portal is specifically designed to visualize models of the Earth through geological time. These space-time globes include tectonic reconstructions of the Earth’s gravity and magnetic fields, and several models of long-wavelength surface dynamic topography through time, including the interactive plotting of vertical motion histories at selected locations. The globes put the on-the-fly visualization of massive data sets at the fingertips of end-users to stimulate teaching and learning and novel avenues of inquiry.

Concepts: Earth's magnetic field, Earth, Geology, Topography, Open source, Geomorphology, Geodesy, Digital elevation model


Animals navigate their environment using a variety of senses and strategies. This multiplicity enables them to respond to different navigational requirements resulting from habitat, scale and purpose. One of the challenges social animals face is how to reunite after periods of separation. We explore a variety of possible mechanisms used to reunite the members of a cheetah coalition dispersed within a large area after prolonged separation. Using GPS data from three cheetahs reuniting after weeks of separation, we determined that 1) the likelihood of purely coincidental reunion is miniscule 2) the reunion occurred in an area not normally frequented 3) with very little time spent in the region in advance of the reunion. We therefore propose that timely encounter of scent markings where paths cross is the most likely mechanism used to aid the reunion.

Concepts: English-language films, Navigation, Lion, Global Positioning System, Cheetah, GPS, Geodesy, Longitude


OBJECTIVE: In aged-care facilities (ACFs) monitoring of warfarin can be logistically challenging and International Normalised Ratio (INR control) is often suboptimal. We aimed to determine whether an integrated information and communications technology system and the use of point-of-care (POC) monitors by nursing staff could improve the INR control of aged-care facility residents who take warfarin. METHODS: Nursing staff identified residents who were prescribed warfarin in participating ACFs. A computer program (MedePOC) was developed to store and transmit INR results from the ACFs to general practitioners (GPs) for dosage adjustment. Nursing staff received training in the use of the CoaguChek XS point-of-care INR monitor and the MedePOC software. Following a run-in phase, eligible patients were monitored weekly for up to 12 weeks. The primary outcome was the change in the time in therapeutic range (TTR) in the intervention phase compared to the TTR in the 12 months preceding the study. All GPs, nursing staff and patients were surveyed for their experiences and opinions of the project. KEY FINDINGS: Twenty-four patients and 19 GPs completed the trial across six ACFs. The mean TTR for all patients improved non-significantly from 58.9 to 60.6% (P = 0.79) and the proportion of INR tests in range improved non-significantly from 57.1 to 64.1% (P = 0.21). The mean TTR improved in 14 patients (58%) and in these patients the mean absolute improvement in TTR was 23.1%. A post hoc analysis of the INR data using modified therapeutic INR ranges to reflect the dosage adjustment practices of GPs suggested that the intervention did lead to improved INR control. The MedePOC program and POC monitoring was well received by nursing staff. CONCLUSIONS: Weekly POC INR monitoring conducted in ACFs and electronic communication of the results and warfarin doses resulted in non-significant improvements in INR control in a small cohort of elderly residents. Further research involving modification to the communication strategy and a longer follow-up period is warranted to investigate whether this strategy can improve INR control and clinical outcomes in this vulnerable population.

Concepts: Game theory, Better, Improve, Dose, Communication, Prothrombin time, Surveying, Geodesy


Biotic interactions underlie ecosystem structure and function, but predicting interaction outcomes is difficult. We tested the hypothesis that biotic interaction strength increases toward the equator, using a global experiment with model caterpillars to measure predation risk. Across an 11,660-kilometer latitudinal gradient spanning six continents, we found increasing predation toward the equator, with a parallel pattern of increasing predation toward lower elevations. Patterns across both latitude and elevation were driven by arthropod predators, with no systematic trend in attack rates by birds or mammals. These matching gradients at global and regional scales suggest consistent drivers of biotic interaction strength, a finding that needs to be integrated into general theories of herbivory, community organization, and life-history evolution.

Concepts: Predation, Ecology, Earth, Tropic of Cancer, Equator, Latitude, Geodesy, Antarctic Circle


In order to determine the effects on foraminifera due to spilled crude oil in the “Herbei Spirit” incident, a study of benthic foraminiferal assemblages was carried out on sediment samples collected from the Sogeunri tidal flat, Taean Peninsula, Korea. Breakages of the chambers in the Ammonia beccarii and Elphidium subincertum species of the Sogeunri tidal flat with a low pH (6.98 on average) were marked. These chamber breakages occurred in 71.6% of A. beccarii and are thought to be caused by decalcification due to the fall in pH resulting from the “Hebei Spirit” oil spill. The factors that affect breakage of the chamber in benthic foraminifera under low pH condition may be not only deto decalcification but also to exposure duration of substrata in the tidal flat spilled crude oil.

Concepts: Petroleum, PH, Exxon Valdez oil spill, Oil spill, Foraminifera, Geodesy, The Chamber, Chambers of parliament


Adequate dual antiplatelet (AP) therapy is imperative when performing neurovascular stenting procedures. Currently, no consensus for the ideal AP regimen exists. Thus the present study aimed to gain a better understanding of real world practice AP patterns by surveying neurointerventional surgeons.

Concepts: Present, Truth, Earth, United States, Reality, Surveying, Geodesy


Atomic clocks have been instrumental in science and technology, leading to innovations such as global positioning, advanced communications, and tests of fundamental constant variation. Timekeeping precision at 1 part in 10(18) enables new timing applications in relativistic geodesy, enhanced Earth- and space-based navigation and telescopy, and new tests of physics beyond the Standard Model. Here, we describe the development and operation of two optical lattice clocks, both utilizing spin-polarized, ultracold atomic ytterbium. A measurement comparing these systems demonstrates an unprecedented atomic clock instability of 1.6 × 10(-18) after only 7 hours of averaging.

Concepts: Photon, Physics, Navigation, Global Positioning System, Standard Model, Geodesy, Atomic clock