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Cane toad accelerometry and more
Date:4/21/2010

Measuring Energetics and Behaviour Using Accelerometry in Cane Toads Bufo marinus

Abstract

Background: Cane toads Bufo marinus were introduced to Australia as a control agent but now have a rapidly progressing invasion front and damage new habitats they enter. Predictive models that can give expansion rates as functions of energy supply and feeding ground distribution could help to maximise control efficiency but to date no study has measured rates of field energy expenditure in an amphibian.

Methodology: In the present study we used the accelerometry technique to generate behavioural time budgets and, through the derivation of ODBA (overall dynamic body acceleration), to obtain estimates of energetics in free ranging cane toads. This represents the first time that accelerometers have been used to not only quantify the behaviour of animals but also assign to those behaviours rates of energy expenditure. Firstly, laboratory calibrations between ODBA and metabolic rate were obtained and used to generate a common prediction equation for the subject toads (R2 = 0.74). Furthermore, acceleration data recorded during different behaviours was studied to ascertain threshold values for objectively defining behaviour categories.

Conclusions: Importantly, while subsequent accelerometer field deployments were relatively short they agreed with previous studies on the proportion of time that cane toads locomote yet suggest that the metabolic rate of cane toads in the wild may sometimes be considerably higher than might be assumed based on data for other species.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Funding: LGH was supported by a University of Queensland Travel Award for International Collaborative Research and a Royal Society International Travel Grant. CRW is an Australian Research Council QEII Fellow (project number DP0987626). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Contacts:
Lewis G. Halsey
Roehampton University, London, United Kingdom
l.halsey@roehampton.ac.uk

Jen Laloup
Public Library of Science
jlaloup@plos.org
415-624-1220

Citation: Halsey LG, White CR (2010) Measuring Energetics and Behaviour Using Accelerometry in Cane Toads Bufo marinus. PLoS ONE 5(4): e10170. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010170

PLEASE LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (URL goes live after the embargo ends): http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010170

FOR A PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE FULL ARTICLE, VISIT THE FOLLOWING URL: http://www.plos.org/press/pone-05-04-halsey.pdf


An Extensive Alien Plant Inventory from the Inhabited Areas of Galapagos

Abstract

Background: Plant invasions are causing habitat degradation in Galapagos. Problems are concentrated on the four inhabited islands. Plants introduced to rural areas in the humid highlands and urban areas on the arid coast act as foci for invasion of the surrounding Galapagos National Park.

Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we present results of the most comprehensive inventory to date of alien vascular plants in the inhabited areas of Galapagos. The survey was conducted between 2002 and 2007, in 6031 properties (97% of the total) on Floreana, Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz Islands. In total 754 alien vascular plant taxa were recorded, representing 468 genera in 123 families. Dicotyledons represented 554 taxa, onocotyledons 183, there were 7 gymnosperms and 10 pteridophytes. Almost half (363) of the taxa were herbaceous. The most represented families were Fabaceae (sensu lato), Asteraceae and Poaceae. The three most recorded species in the humid rural areas were Psidium guajava, Passiflora edulis and Bryophyllum pinnatum, and in the dry urban areas, Aloe vera, Portulaca oleracea and Carica papaya. In total, 264 (35%) taxa were recorded as naturalized. The most common use for taxa was ornamental (52%).

Conclusions/Significance: This extensive survey has increased the known alien vascular flora of Galapagos by 257 species, giving a ratio of alien to native taxa of 1.57:1. It provides a crucial baseline for plant invasion management in the archipelago and contributes data for meta analyses of invasion processes worldwide. A repeat of the survey in the future would act as an effective early detection tool to help avoid further invasion of the Galapagos National Park.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Funding: This work was accomplished with the support of Project ECU/00/G31 ''Control of Invasive Species in the Galapagos Archipelago'', a donation from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to the Ecuadorian Government, represented by the Ministry of Environment. The Project was implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and was executed by the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS), Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), National Institute for Galapagos (INGALA) and Ecuadorian Service for Agriculture and Livestock Sanitation - Galapagos (SESA-Galapagos). Additional financial support was provided by TAME Airlines, Galapagos Conservation Trust and Galapagos Conservancy. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. SWCA is included in the article because it relates to Christopher Buddenhagen's current place of employment, but SWCA did not fund any of the work and does not have any relation with the submitted article. C. Buddenhagen was employed by the Charles Darwin Foundation at the time of the inventory, and any subsequent work in relation with the submitted article was done on his own personal time.

Contacts:
Anne Guezou
Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, Galapagos, Ecuador,
anne.guezou@fcdarwin.org.ec

Jen Laloup
Public Library of Science
jlaloup@plos.org
415-624-1220

Citation: Guezou A, Trueman M, Buddenhagen CE, Chamorro S, Guerrero AM, et al. (2010) An Extensive Alien Plant Inventory from the Inhabited Areas of Galapagos. PLoS ONE 5(4): e10276. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010276

PLEASE LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (URL goes live after the embargo ends): http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010276

FOR A PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE FULL ARTICLE, VISIT THE FOLLOWING URL: http://www.plos.org/press/pone-05-04-guezou.pdf


Do Pressures to Publish Increase Scientists' Bias? An Empirical Support from US States Data

Abstract

Background: The growing competition and "publish or perish" culture in academia might conflict with the objectivity and integrity of research, because it forces scientists to produce "publishable" results at all costs. Papers are less likely to be published and to be cited if they report "negative" results (results that fail to support the tested hypothesis). Therefore, if publication pressures increase scientific bias, the frequency of "positive" results in the literature should be higher in the more competitive and "productive" academic environments.

Methods: This study verified this hypothesis by measuring the frequency of positive results in a large random sample of papers with a corresponding author based in the US. Across all disciplines, papers were more likely to support a tested hypothesis if their corresponding authors were working in states that, according to NSF data, produced more academic papers per capita. The size of this effect increased when controlling for state's per capita R&D expenditure and for study characteristics that previous research showed to correlate with the frequency of positive results, including discipline and methodology.

Conclusion: Although the confounding effect of institutions' prestige could not be excluded (researchers in the more productive universities could be the most clever and successful in their experiments), these results support the hypothesis that competitive academic environments increase not only scientists' productivity but also their bias. The same phenomenon might be observed in other countries where academic competition and pressures to publish are high.

Competing Interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist.

Funding: This research was entirely supported by a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (Grant Agreement Number PIEF-GA-2008-221441). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Contacts:

Daniele Fanelli
The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
dfanelli@staffmail.ed.ac.uk

Jen Laloup
Public Library of Science
jlaloup@plos.org
415-624-1220

Citation: Fanelli D (2010) Do Pressures to Publish Increase Scientists' Bias? An Empirical Support from US States Data. PLoS ONE 5(4): e10271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010271

PLEASE LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (URL goes live after the embargo ends): http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010271

FOR A PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE FULL ARTICLE, VISIT THE FOLLOWING URL: http://www.plos.org/press/pone-05-04-fanelli.pdf


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Contact: Jen Laloup
jlaloup@plos.org
415-624-1220
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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