Research and Publications - Department of Human Environmental Sciences, General

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    Climate-Related Hazards: A Method for Global Assessment of Urban and Rural Population Exposure to Cyclones, Droughts, and Floods
    (MDPI, 2014) Christenson, Elizabeth; Elliott, Mark; Banerjee, Ovik; Hamrick, Laura; Bartram, Jamie; University of North Carolina; University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Global climate change (GCC) has led to increased focus on the occurrence of, and preparation for, climate-related extremes and hazards. Population exposure, the relative likelihood that a person in a given location was exposed to a given hazard event(s) in a given period of time, was the outcome for this analysis. Our objectives were to develop a method for estimating the population exposure at the country level to the climate-related hazards cyclone, drought, and flood; develop a method that readily allows the addition of better datasets to an automated model; differentiate population exposure of urban and rural populations; and calculate and present the results of exposure scores and ranking of countries based on the country-wide, urban, and rural population exposures to cyclone, drought, and flood. Gridded global datasets on cyclone, drought and flood occurrence as well as population density were combined and analysis was carried out using ArcGIS. Results presented include global maps of ranked country-level population exposure to cyclone, drought, flood and multiple hazards. Analyses by geography and human development index (HDI) are also included. The results and analyses of this exposure assessment have implications for country-level adaptation. It can also be used to help prioritize aid decisions and allocation of adaptation resources between countries and within a country. This model is designed to allow flexibility in applying cyclone, drought and flood exposure to a range of outcomes and adaptation measures.
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    Associations between Perceptions of Drinking Water Service Delivery and Measured Drinking Water Quality in Rural Alabama
    (MDPI, 2014) Wedgworth, Jessica C.; Brown, Joe; Johnson, Pauline; Olson, Julie B.; Elliott, Mark; Forehand, Rick; Stauber, Christine E.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Georgia Institute of Technology; Georgia State University
    Although small, rural water supplies may present elevated microbial risks to consumers in some settings, characterizing exposures through representative point-of-consumption sampling is logistically challenging. In order to evaluate the usefulness of consumer self-reported data in predicting measured water quality and risk factors for contamination, we compared matched consumer interview data with point-of-survey, household water quality and pressure data for 910 households served by 14 small water systems in rural Alabama. Participating households completed one survey that included detailed feedback on two key areas of water service conditions: delivery conditions (intermittent service and low water pressure) and general aesthetic characteristics (taste, odor and color), providing five condition values. Microbial water samples were taken at the point-of-use (from kitchen faucets) and as-delivered from the distribution network (from outside flame-sterilized taps, if available), where pressure was also measured. Water samples were analyzed for free and total chlorine, pH, turbidity, and presence of total coliforms and Escherichia coli. Of the 910 households surveyed, 35% of participants reported experiencing low water pressure, 15% reported intermittent service, and almost 20% reported aesthetic problems (taste, odor or color). Consumer-reported low pressure was associated with lower gauge-measured pressure at taps. While total coliforms (TC) were detected in 17% of outside tap samples and 12% of samples from kitchen faucets, no reported water service conditions or aesthetic characteristics were associated with presence of TC. We conclude that consumer-reported data were of limited utility in predicting potential microbial risks associated with small water supplies in this setting, although consumer feedback on low pressure-a risk factor for contamination-may be relatively reliable and therefore useful in future monitoring efforts.
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    Investigation of E-coli and Virus Reductions Using Replicate, Bench-Scale Biosand Filter Columns and Two Filter Media
    (MDPI, 2015) Elliott, Mark; Stauber, Christine E.; DiGiano, Francis A.; de Aceituno, Anna Fabiszewski; Sobsey, Mark D.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Georgia State University; University of North Carolina; University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; Emory University; Rollins School Public Health
    The biosand filter (BSF) is an intermittently operated, household-scale slow sand filter for which little data are available on the effect of sand composition on treatment performance. Therefore, bench-scale columns were prepared according to the then-current (2006-2007) guidance on BSF design and run in parallel to conduct two microbial challenge experiments of eight-week duration. Triplicate columns were loaded with Accusand silica or crushed granite to compare virus and E. coli reduction performance. Bench-scale experiments provided confirmation that increased schmutzdecke growth, as indicated by decline in filtration rate, is the primary factor causing increased E. coli reductions of up to 5-log10. However, reductions of challenge viruses improved only modestly with increased schmutzdecke growth. Filter media type (Accusand silica vs. crushed granite) did not influence reduction of E. coli bacteria. The granite media without backwashing yielded superior virus reductions when compared to Accusand. However, for columns in which the granite media was first backwashed (to yield a more consistent distribution of grains and remove the finest size fraction), virus reductions were not significantly greater than in columns with Accusand media. It was postulated that a decline in surface area with backwashing decreased the sites and surface area available for virus sorption and/or biofilm growth and thus decreased the extent of virus reduction. Additionally, backwashing caused preferential flow paths and deviation from plug flow; backwashing is not part of standard BSF field preparation and is not recommended for BSF column studies. Overall, virus reductions were modest and did not meet the 5- or 3-log10 World Health Organization performance targets.
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    The Effects of Age, Priming, and Working Memory on Decision-Making
    (MDPI, 2016) Wood, Meagan; Black, Sheila; Gilpin, Ansley; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    In the current study, we examined the effects of priming and personality on risky decision-making while playing the Game of Dice Task (GDT). In the GDT, participants decide how risky they wish to be on each trial. In this particular study prior to playing the GDT, participants were randomly assigned to one of three priming conditions: Risk-Aversive, Risk-Seeking, or Control. In the Risk-Seeking condition, a fictional character benefitted from risky behavior while in the Risk-Aversive condition, a fictional character benefitted from exercising caution. Although not explicitly stated in the instructions, participants need to make "safe" rather than risky choices to optimize performance on the GDT. Participants were also given Daneman and Carpenter's assessment of working memory task. Interestingly, although older adults self-reported being more cautious than younger adults on the Domain Specific Risk Attitude scale (DOSPERT), older adults made riskier decisions than younger adults on the GDT. However, after controlling for working memory, the age differences on the GDT became insignificant, indicating that working memory mediated the relation between age and risky decisions on the GDT.
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    Designing and Evaluating Bamboo Harvesting Methods for Local Needs: Integrating Local Ecological Knowledge and Science
    (Springer, 2016) Darabant, Andras; Rai, Prem Bahadur; Staudhammer, Christina Lynn; Dorji, Tshewang; University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences, Vienna; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, a large, clump-forming bamboo, has great potential to contribute towards poverty alleviation efforts across its distributional range. Harvesting methods that maximize yield while they fulfill local objectives and ensure sustainability are a research priority. Documenting local ecological knowledge on the species and identifying local users' goals for its production, we defined three harvesting treatments (selective cut, horseshoe cut, clear cut) and experimentally compared them with a no-intervention control treatment in an action research framework. We implemented harvesting over three seasons and monitored annually and two years post-treatment. Even though the total number of culms positively influenced the number of shoots regenerated, a much stronger relationship was detected between the number of culms harvested and the number of shoots regenerated, indicating compensatory growth mechanisms to guide shoot regeneration. Shoot recruitment declined over time in all treatments as well as the control; however, there was no difference among harvest treatments. Culm recruitment declined with an increase in harvesting intensity. When univariately assessing the number of harvested culms and shoots, there were no differences among treatments. However, multivariate analyses simultaneously considering both variables showed that harvested output of shoots and culms was higher with clear cut and horseshoe cut as compared to selective cut. Given the ease of implementation and issues of work safety, users preferred the horseshoe cut, but the lack of sustainability of shoot production calls for investigating longer cutting cycles.
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    Assessment of Groundwater Susceptibility to Non-Point Source Contaminants Using Three-Dimensional Transient Indexes
    (MDPI, 2018) Zhang, Yong; Weissmann, Gary S.; Fogg, Graham E.; Lu, Bingqing; Sun, HongGuang; Zheng, Chunmiao; Hohai University; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; University of New Mexico; University of California Davis; Southern University of Science & Technology
    Groundwater susceptibility to non-point source contamination is typically quantified by stable indexes, while groundwater quality evolution (or deterioration globally) can be a long-term process that may last for decades and exhibit strong temporal variations. This study proposes a three-dimensional (3-d), transient index map built upon physical models to characterize the complete temporal evolution of deep aquifer susceptibility. For illustration purposes, the previous travel time probability density (BTTPD) approach is extended to assess the 3-d deep groundwater susceptibility to non-point source contamination within a sequence stratigraphic framework observed in the Kings River fluvial fan (KRFF) aquifer. The BTTPD, which represents complete age distributions underlying a single groundwater sample in a regional-scale aquifer, is used as a quantitative, transient measure of aquifer susceptibility. The resultant 3-d imaging of susceptibility using the simulated BTTPDs in KRFF reveals the strong influence of regional-scale heterogeneity on susceptibility. The regional-scale incised-valley fill deposits increase the susceptibility of aquifers by enhancing rapid downward solute movement and displaying relatively narrow and young age distributions. In contrast, the regional-scale sequence-boundary paleosols within the open-fan deposits protect deep aquifers by slowing downward solute movement and displaying a relatively broad and old age distribution. Further comparison of the simulated susceptibility index maps to known contaminant distributions shows that these maps are generally consistent with the high concentration and quick evolution of 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP) in groundwater around the incised-valley fill since the 1970s'. This application demonstrates that the BTTPDs can be used as quantitative and transient measures of deep aquifer susceptibility to non-point source contamination.
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    Evolving the Anthropocene: linking multi-level selection with long-term social-ecological change
    (Springer, 2018) Ellis, Erle C.; Magliocca, Nicholas R.; Stevens, Chris J.; Fuller, Dorian Q.; University of Maryland Baltimore County; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; University of London; University College London
    To what degree is cultural multi-level selection responsible for the rise of environmentally transformative human behaviors? And vice versa? From the clearing of vegetation using fire to the emergence of agriculture and beyond, human societies have increasingly sustained themselves through practices that enhance environmental productivity through ecosystem engineering. At the same time, human societies have increased in scale and complexity from mobile bands of hunter-gatherers to telecoupled world systems. We propose that these long-term changes are coupled through positive feedbacks among social and environmental changes, coevolved primarily through selection acting at the group level and above, and that this can be tested by combining archeological evidence with mechanistic experiments using an agent-based virtual laboratory (ABVL) approach. A more robust understanding of whether and how cultural multi-level selection couples human social change with environmental transformation may help in addressing the long-term sustainability challenges of the Anthropocene.
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    Importance of Agility Performance in Professional Futsal Players; Reliability and Applicability of Newly Developed Testing Protocols
    (MDPI, 2019) Sekulic, Damir; Foretic, Nikola; Gilic, Barbara; Esco, Michael R.; Hammami, Raouf; Uljevic, Ognjen; Versic, Sime; Spasic, Miodrag; University of Split; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Universite de Sfax
    The purpose of this study was to determine the inter- and intra-testing reliability of newly developed tests of the change of direction speed (CODS) and reactive agility (RAG) in competitive futsal players. Additionally, the developed tests were evaluated for their validity with regard to the differentiation of two performance-levels. Thirty-two professional male futsal players (age = 26.22 +/- 5.22 years; body height = 182.13 +/- 5.99 cm, body mass = 77.43 +/- 8.00 kg) participated in the study. The sample was divided into two groups based on their level of futsal performance: A top-level-group (n = 12) and a team-level-group (n = 20). The variables included body height, mass, body mass index, a sprint over a 10-m distance (S10M), and eight newly developed futsal specific CODS and RAG tests. The CODS and RAG tests were performed by dribbling the balls (CODS_D and RAG_D) and without dribbling (CODS_T and RAG_T), and the performances on the dominant and non-dominant sides were observed separately. All CODS, and RAG tests performed on dominant side and RAG_T tests performed on the non-dominant side had good inter-testing (CV = 5-8%; ICC = 0.76-0.89) and intra-testing (CV = 4-9%; ICC = 0.77-0.91) reliability. However, RAG_D performed on the non-dominant side was not reliable (ICC = 0.60, CV = 10%). The top-level-players outperformed the team-level-players in the CODS and RAG tests that involved dribbling (t-test: 4.28 and 2.40, p < 0.05; effect sizes (ES): 0.81 and 1.5, respectively), while the team-level players achieved better results in the CODS_T (t-test: 2.08, p < 0.05; ES: 0.60). The proposed CODS and RAG tests that involved dribbling over a 3.2-m distance, especially on the dominant side, appeared to be reliable, as well as valid for distinguishing the performance level in futsal players.
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    Large loss of CO2 in winter observed across the northern permafrost region
    (Nature Portfolio, 2019) Natali, Susan M.; Watts, Jennifer D.; Rogers, Brendan M.; Potter, Stefano; Ludwig, Sarah M.; Selbmann, Anne-Katrin; Sullivan, Patrick F.; Abbott, Benjamin W.; Arndt, Kyle A.; Birch, Leah; Bjorkman, Mats P.; Bloom, A. Anthony; Celis, Gerardo; Christensen, Torben R.; Christiansen, Casper T.; Commane, Roisin; Cooper, Elisabeth J.; Crill, Patrick; Czimczik, Claudia; Davydov, Sergey; Du, Jinyang; Egan, Jocelyn E.; Elberling, Bo; Euskirchen, Eugenie S.; Friborg, Thomas; Genet, Helene; Goeckede, Mathias; Goodrich, Jordan P.; Grogan, Paul; Helbig, Manuel; Jafarov, Elchin E.; Jastrow, Julie D.; Kalhori, Aram A. M.; Kim, Yongwon; Kimball, John S.; Kutzbach, Lars; Lara, Mark J.; Larsen, Klaus S.; Lee, Bang-Yong; Liu, Zhihua; Loranty, Michael M.; Lund, Magnus; Lupascu, Massimo; Madani, Nima; Malhotra, Avni; Matamala, Roser; McFarland, Jack; McGuire, A. David; Michelsen, Anders; Minions, Christina; Oechel, Walter C.; Olefeldt, David; Parmentier, Frans-Jan W.; Pirk, Norbert; Poulter, Ben; Quinton, William; Rezanezhad, Fereidoun; Risk, David; Sachs, Torsten; Schaefer, Kevin; Schmidt, Niels M.; Schuur, Edward A. G.; Semenchuk, Philipp R.; Shaver, Gaius; Sonnentag, Oliver; Starr, Gregory; Treat, Claire C.; Waldrop, Mark P.; Wang, Yihui; Welker, Jeffrey; Wille, Christian; Xu, Xiaofeng; Zhang, Zhen; Zhuang, Qianlai; Zona, Donatella; Woods Hole Research Center; University of Bayreuth; University of Alaska Anchorage; Brigham Young University; San Diego State University; University of Gothenburg; National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA); NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); California Institute of Technology; Northern Arizona University; Aarhus University; Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE); Columbia University; UiT The Arctic University of Tromso; Stockholm University; University of California Irvine; Pacific Geographical Institute of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; University of Montana; Dalhousie University; University of Copenhagen; University of Alaska Fairbanks; Max Planck Society; University of California San Diego; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Queens University - Canada; McMaster University; Universite de Montreal; United States Department of Energy (DOE); Los Alamos National Laboratory; Argonne National Laboratory; University of Hamburg; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI); Chinese Academy of Sciences; Shenyang Institute of Applied Ecology, CAS; Colgate University; National University of Singapore; Stanford University; United States Department of the Interior; United States Geological Survey; University of Exeter; University of Alberta; University of Oslo; Lund University; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Wilfrid Laurier University; University of Waterloo; Saint Francis Xavier University - Canada; Helmholtz Association; Helmholtz-Center Potsdam GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences; University of Colorado Boulder; University of Vienna; Marine Biological Laboratory - Woods Hole; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; University of Eastern Finland; University of Oulu; University of Maryland College Park; Purdue University; Purdue University West Lafayette Campus; University of Sheffield
    Recent warming in the Arctic, which has been amplified during the winter(1-3), greatly enhances microbial decomposition of soil organic matter and subsequent release of carbon dioxide (CO2)(4). However, the amount of CO2 released in winter is not known and has not been well represented by ecosystem models or empirically based estimates(5,6). Here we synthesize regional in situ observations of CO2 flux from Arctic and boreal soils to assess current and future winter carbon losses from the northern permafrost domain. We estimate a contemporary loss of 1,662 TgC per year from the permafrost region during the winter season (October-April). This loss is greater than the average growing season carbon uptake for this region estimated from process models (-1,032 TgC per year). Extending model predictions to warmer conditions up to 2100 indicates that winter CO2 emissions will increase 17% under a moderate mitigation scenario-Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5-and 41% under business-as-usual emissions scenario-Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5. Our results provide a baseline for winter CO2 emissions from northern terrestrial regions and indicate that enhanced soil CO2 loss due to winter warming may offset growing season carbon uptake under future climatic conditions.
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    Injury Severity and Contributing Driver Actions in Passenger Vehicle-Truck Collisions
    (MDPI, 2019) Xu, Jingjing; Wali, Behram; Li, Xiaobing; Yang, Jiaqi; Wuhan University of Technology; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Large-scale truck-involved crashes attract great attention due to their increasingly severe injuries. The majority of those crashes are passenger vehicle-truck collisions. This study intends to investigate the critical relationship between truck/passenger vehicle driver's intentional or unintentional actions and the associated injury severity in passenger vehicle-truck crashes. A random-parameter model was developed to estimate the complicated associations between the risk factors and injury severity by using a comprehensive Virginia crash dataset. The model explored the unobserved heterogeneity while controlling for the driver, vehicle, and roadway factors. Compared with truck passengers, occupants in passenger vehicles are six times and ten times more likely to suffer minor injuries and serious/fatal injuries, respectively. Importantly, regardless of whether passenger vehicle drivers undertook intentional or unintentional actions, the crashes are more likely to associate with more severe injury outcomes. In addition, crashes occurring late at night and in early mornings are often correlated with more severe injuries. Such associations between explanatory factors and injury severity are found to vary across the passenger vehicle-truck crashes, and such significant variations of estimated parameters further confirmed the validity of applying the random-parameter model. More implications based on the results and suggestions in terms of safe driving are discussed.
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    Latent Health Risk Classes Associated with Poor Physical and Mental Outcomes in Workers with COPD from Central Appalachian US States
    (MDPI, 2020) Stellefson, Michael; Wang, Min Qi; Balanay, Jo Anne G.; Wu, Rui; Paige, Samantha R.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; University of Maryland College Park; University of North Carolina; East Carolina University; University of Florida
    Adults who work in the Central Appalachian region of the United States (U.S.) are disproportionately affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). While there is a socio-demographic profile of adults with COPD who are at increased risk for physical and mental distress, the risk factors that uniquely affect the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of Central Appalachian workers with COPD are unknown. Therefore, we conducted a latent class analysis of 2016 and 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 1326 currently employed adults with COPD living in four U.S. states (KY, NC, TN, and WV) within the Central Appalachian Region. Drawing from the social ecological model, we identified associations between theoretically informed risk indicators-comorbid health conditions, substance use and abuse, and limited access to healthcare-on three HRQoL variables, including infrequent (0-13 days) or frequent (>= 14 days) physical distress, mental distress, and limited activity due to poor health over the past 30 days. Workers at high risk for comorbid conditions reported more frequent physical distress, mental distress, and activity limitations as compared to those at low risk. Workers reporting difficulty accessing healthcare were no more likely to report physical or mental distress when compared to workers with adequate access to healthcare; however, those with limited healthcare access did report more frequent activity limitation due to poor health. Interestingly, workers with COPD at high risk for substance use and abuse were no more likely to report poor HRQoL outcomes compared to those at low risk. Our findings have important implications for addressing indicators of poor health among Central Appalachian workers with COPD, especially those living with multiple comorbidities.
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    The Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of an eHealth Lifestyle Program in Women with Recent Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Pilot Study
    (MDPI, 2020) Rollo, Megan E.; Baldwin, Jennifer N.; Hutchesson, Melinda; Aguiar, Elroy J.; Wynne, Katie; Young, Ashley; Callister, Robin; Haslam, Rebecca; Collins, Clare E.; University of Newcastle; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Self-administered eHealth interventions provide a potential low-cost solution for reducing diabetes risk. The aim of this pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT) was to evaluate the feasibility, including recruitment, retention, preliminary efficacy (primary outcome) and acceptability (secondary outcome) of the "Body Balance Beyond" eHealth intervention in women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Women with overweight/obesity who had recent GDM (previous 24 months) were randomised into one of three groups: 1) high personalisation (access to "Body Balance Beyond" website, individual telehealth coaching via video call by a dietitian and exercise physiologist, and text message support); 2) low personalisation (website only); or 3) waitlist control. To evaluate preliminary efficacy, weight (kg), glycosylated hemoglobin, type A1C (HbA1c), cholesterol (total, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL)), diet quality and moderate-vigorous physical activity were analysed at baseline and at 3 and 6 months using generalised linear mixed models. To investigate acceptability, process evaluation was conducted at 3 and 6 months. Of the 327 potential participants screened, 42 women (mean age 33.5 +/- 4.0 years and BMI 32.4 +/- 4.3 kg/m(2)) were randomised, with 30 (71%) completing the study. Retention at 6 months was 80%, 54% and 79% for high personalisation, low personalisation and waitlist control, respectively (reasons: personal/work commitments, n = 4; started weight-loss diet, n = 1; pregnant, n = 1; resources not useful, n = 1; and not contactable, n = 5). No significant group-by-time interactions were observed for preliminary efficacy outcomes, with the exception of HDL cholesterol, where a difference favoured the low personalisation group relative to the control (p = 0.028). The majority (91%) of women accessed the website in the first 3 months and 57% from 4-6 months. The website provided useful information for 95% and 92% of women at 3 and 6 months, respectively, although only a third of women found it motivating (30% and 25% at 3 and 6 months, respectively). Most women agreed that the telehealth coaching increased their confidence for improving diet (85%) and physical activity (92%) behaviours, although fewer women regarded the text messages as positive (22% and 31% for improving diet and physical activity, respectively). The majority of women (82% at 3 months and 87% at 6 months) in the high personalisation group would recommend the program to other women with GDM. Recruiting and retaining women with a recent diagnosis of GDM is challenging. The "Body Balance Beyond" website combined with telehealth coaching via video call is largely acceptable and useful for women with recent GDM. Further analysis of the effect on diabetes risk reduction in a larger study is needed.
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    Hazard Recognition Patterns Demonstrated by Construction Workers
    (MDPI, 2020) Uddin, S. M. Jamil; Albert, Alex; Alsharef, Abdullah; Pandit, Bhavana; Patil, Yashwardhan; Nnaji, Chukwuma; North Carolina State University; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Construction workers fail to recognize a large number of safety hazards. These unrecognized safety hazards can lead to unintended hazard exposure and tragic safety incidents. Unfortunately, traditional hazard recognition interventions (e.g., job hazard analyses and safety training) have been unable to tackle the industry-wide problem of poor hazard recognition levels. In fact, emerging evidence has demonstrated that traditional hazard recognition interventions have been designed without a proper understanding of the challenges workers experience during hazard recognition efforts. Interventions and industry-wide efforts designed based on a more thorough understanding of these challenges can yield substantial benefits-including superior hazard recognition levels and lower injury rates. Towards achieving this goal, the current investigation focused on identifying hazard categories that workers are more proficient in recognizing and others that they are less proficient in recognizing (i.e., hazard recognition patterns). For the purpose of the current study, hazards were classified on the basis of the energy source per Haddon's energy release theory (e.g., gravity, motion, electrical, chemical, etc.). As part of the study, 287 workers representing 57 construction workplaces in the United States were engaged in a hazard recognition activity. Apart from confirming previous research findings that workers fail to recognize a disproportionate number of safety hazards, the results demonstrate that the workers are more proficient in recognizing certain hazard types. More specifically, the workers on average recognized roughly 47% of the safety hazards in the gravity, electrical, motion, and temperature hazard categories while only recognizing less than 10% of the hazards in the pressure, chemical, and radiation hazard categories. These findings can inform the development of more robust interventions and industry-wide initiatives to tackle the issue of poor hazard recognition levels in the construction industry.
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    Crisis Brings Innovative Strategies: Collaborative Empathic Teleintervention for Children with Disabilities during the COVID-19 Lockdown
    (MDPI, 2021) Schiariti, Veronica; McWilliam, Robin A.; University of Victoria; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Background: While coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread across the globe, public health strategies-including the social distancing measures that many countries have implemented- have caused disruptions to daily routines. For children with disabilities and their families, such measures mean a lack of access to the resources they usually have through schools and habilitation or rehabilitation services. Health emergencies, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, require innovative strategies to ensure continuity of care. The objective of this perspective paper is to propose the adoption of two innovative strategies for teleintervention. Methods: The novel strategies include: (1) to apply the principles of the Routines-Based Model beyond the early years of development, and (2) to adopt My Abilities First-which is a novel educational tool promoting an abilities-oriented approach in healthcare encounters. Results: In the context of COVID-19, and using accessible language, the content of the paper highlights what is important for families and individuals with disabilities, and how the proposed novel strategies could be useful delivering remote support. Conclusions: The principles of the Routines-Based Model and My Abilities First are universal and facilitate collaborative, empathic, family-centered teleintervention for children and youth with disabilities during and post the COVID-19 lockdown.
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    The Routines-Based Model Internationally Implemented
    (MDPI, 2020) McWilliam, R. A.; Boavida, Tania; Bull, Kerry; Canadas, Margarita; Hwang, Ai-Wen; Jozefacka, Natalia; Lim, Hong Huay; Pedernera, Marisu; Sergnese, Tamara; Woodward, Julia; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Instituto Universitario de Lisboa; Universidad Catolica de Valencia San Vicente Martir; Chang Gung University; Pedagogical University of Cracow
    Professionals from 10 countries are implementing practices from the Routines-Based Model, which has three main components: needs assessment and intervention planning, a consultative approach, and a method for running classrooms. Its hallmark practices are the Routines-Based Interview, support-based visits with families, and a focus on child engagement. Implementers were interested in actual practices for putting philosophy and theory into action in their systems and cultures. We describe implementation challenges and successes and conclude that (a) models have to be adaptable, (b) some principles and practices are indeed universal, (c) we can shape excellent practices for international use, and (d) leadership is vital.
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    Migration towards Bangladesh coastlines projected to increase with sea-level rise through 2100
    (IOP, 2021) Bell, A. R.; Wrathall, D. J.; Mueller, V; Chen, J.; Oppenheimer, M.; Hauer, M.; Adams, H.; Kulp, S.; Clark, P. U.; Fussell, E.; Magliocca, N.; Xiao, T.; Gilmore, E. A.; Abel, K.; Call, M.; Slangen, A. B. A.; Boston University; New York University; Oregon State University; Arizona State University; Arizona State University-Tempe; CGIAR; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); Ohio State University; Princeton University; Florida State University; University of London; King's College London; Ulster University; Brown University; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Clark University; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Utrecht University; Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
    To date, projections of human migration induced by sea-level change (SLC) largely suggest large-scale displacement away from vulnerable coastlines. However, results from our model of Bangladesh suggest counterintuitively that people will continue to migrate toward the vulnerable coastline irrespective of the flooding amplified by future SLC under all emissions scenarios until the end of this century. We developed an empirically calibrated agent-based model of household migration decision-making that captures the multi-faceted push, pull and mooring influences on migration at a household scale. We then exposed similar to 4800 000 simulated migrants to 871 scenarios of projected 21st-century coastal flooding under future emissions pathways. Our model does not predict flooding impacts great enough to drive populations away from coastlines in any of the scenarios. One reason is that while flooding does accelerate a transition from agricultural to non-agricultural income opportunities, livelihood alternatives are most abundant in coastal cities. At the same time, some coastal populations are unable to migrate, as flood losses accumulate and reduce the set of livelihood alternatives (so-called 'trapped' populations). However, even when we increased access to credit, a commonly-proposed policy lever for incentivizing migration in the face of climate risk, we found that the number of immobile agents actually rose. These findings imply that instead of a straightforward relationship between displacement and migration, projections need to consider the multiple constraints on, and preferences for, mobility. Our model demonstrates that decision-makers seeking to affect migration outcomes around SLC would do well to consider individual-level adaptive behaviors and motivations that evolve through time, as well as the potential for unintended behavioral responses.
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    The scarcity-weighted water footprint provides unreliable water sustainability scoring
    (Elsevier, 2021) Vanham, Davy; Mekonnen, Mesfin M.; European Commission Joint Research Centre; EC JRC ISPRA Site; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    To evaluate the environmental sustainability of blue water use or the blue water footprint (WI) of a product, organisation, geographical entity or a diet, two well-established indicators are generally applied: water efficiency and blue water stress. In recent years. the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) community has developed, used and promoted the indicator scarcity-weighted NNE which aims to grasp both blue water use and blue water stress in one indicator. This indicator is now recommended in an ISO document on water footprinting and many scholars have used associated scarcity-weighted water use indicators. However, questions on its physical meaning and its ability to correctly evaluate water sustainability have emerged. Here, we analyse for global irrigated wheat production to what extend the scarcity-weighted WF addresses blue water stress and water efficiency. We observe inconsistent results, as a significant proportion of unsustainably produced irrigated wheat has better scarcityweighted WF scores as compared to sustainably produced irrigated wheat Using the scarcity-weighted WF or scarcity-weighted water use for policy-making including product labelling, punishes some farmers producing their wheat in a water-sustainable way and promotes some farmers producing wheat unsustainably. Applying the scarcity-weighted WE indicator thereby is contraproductive in reaching the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.4 on reducing water stress. In line with the specifications of this SDG target, to evaluate the sustainability of blue water use or the blue WE, the two indicators water stress and water efficiency should be used separately, in a complementary way. (C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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    Utilizing a Novel 2D Image Processing System for Relating Body Composition Metrics to Performance in Collegiate Female Rowers
    (MDPI, 2021) Esco, Michael R.; Holmes, Clifton J.; Sullivan, Katherine; Hornikel, Bjoern; Fedewa, Michael V.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    The purpose of this study was to determine if rowing performance was associated with fat mass (FM) or fat-free mass (FFM) measured using a novel 2D digital image analysis system. Nineteen female rowers (ages = 20.3 +/- 1.0 years, weight = 73.8 +/- 8.3 kg, height = 172.7 +/- 4.7 cm) participated in this study. FM and FFM were estimated with a smartphone application that uses an automated 2D image analysis program. Rowing performance was measured using a 2 km (2k) timed trial on an indoor ergometer. The average speed of the timed trial was recorded in raw units (m center dot s(-1)) and adjusted for body weight (m center dot s(-1)center dot kg(-1)). FFM was significantly correlated to unadjusted 2k speed (r = 0.67, p < 0.05), but not for FM (r = 0.44, p > 0.05). When 2k speed was adjusted to account for body weight, significant correlations were found with FM (r = -0.56, p < 0.05), but not FFM (r = -0.34, p > 0.05). These data indicate that both FM and FFM are related to rowing performance in female athletes, but the significance of the relationships is dependent on overall body mass. In addition, the novel 2D imaging system appears to be a suitable field technique when relating body composition to rowing performance.
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    Extreme heat events heighten soil respiration
    (Nature Portfolio, 2021) Anjileli, Hassan; Huning, Laurie S.; Moftakhari, Hamed; Ashraf, Samaneh; Asanjan, Ata Akbari; Norouzi, Hamid; AghaKouchak, Amir; University of California Irvine; California State University Long Beach; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Concordia University - Canada; Universities Space Research Association (USRA); University of California System
    In the wake of climate change, extreme events such as heatwaves are considered to be key players in the terrestrial biosphere. In the past decades, the frequency and severity of heatwaves have risen substantially, and they are projected to continue to intensify in the future. One key question is therefore: how do changes in extreme heatwaves affect the carbon cycle? Although soil respiration (Rs) is the second largest contributor to the carbon cycle, the impacts of heatwaves on Rs have not been fully understood. Using a unique set of continuous high frequency in-situ measurements from our field site, we characterize the relationship between Rs and heatwaves. We further compare the Rs response to heatwaves across ten additional sites spanning the contiguous United States (CONUS). Applying a probabilistic framework, we conclude that during heatwaves Rs rates increase significantly, on average, by similar to 26% relative to that of non-heatwave conditions over the CONUS. Since previous in-situ observations have not measured the Rs response to heatwaves (e.g., rate, amount) at the high frequency that we present here, the terrestrial feedback to the carbon cycle may be underestimated without capturing these high frequency extreme heatwave events.
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    COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance among College Students: A Theory-Based Analysis
    (MDPI, 2021) Sharma, Manoj; Davis, Robert E.; Wilkerson, Amanda H.; University of Nevada Las Vegas; University of Arkansas Fayetteville; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    The severity and pervasiveness of the COVID-19 pandemic have necessitated the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines. Three vaccines have been approved in the United States (USA). However, there is still some hesitancy in COVID-19 vaccine acceptability among some subgroups, including college students. While research is limited on vaccine acceptability behavior among college students, preliminary data suggests hesitancy as being high. This study aimed to explain the correlates of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among college students who reported hesitancy toward the COVID-19 vaccine and those who did not using the initiation component of the multi-theory model (MTM) of health behavior change. Using a cross-sectional study design, data were collected from a Southern USA University (n = 282) utilizing a valid and reliable 27-item questionnaire in February and March 2021. Almost half (47.5%) of participants reported hesitancy to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The three constructs of MTM's initiation model, behavioral confidence (b = 0.089, p < 0.001), participatory dialogue (b = 0.056, p < 0.001), and changes in the physical environment (b = 0.066, p = 0.001) were significantly associated with COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among those who were not hesitant to take the vaccine and accounted for 54.8% of the variance. Among those who were hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine, the MTM construct of behavioral confidence (b = 0.022, p < 0.001) was significant along with Republican Party political affiliation (b = -0.464, p = 0.004), which was negatively associated with vaccine acceptance. The model accounted for 60.6% of the variance in intention to take the COVID-19 vaccine. This study provides evidence for the utility of MTM as a timely intervention to design messages for college students to enhance COVID-19 vaccine acceptability.