770 research outputs found

    A standard protocol to report discrete stage-structured demographic information

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    Stage-based demographic methods, such as matrix population models (MPMs), are powerful tools used to address a broad range of fundamental questions in ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation science. Accordingly, MPMs now exist for over 3000 species worldwide. These data are being digitised as an ongoing process and periodically released into two large open-access online repositories: the COMPADRE Plant Matrix Database and the COMADRE Animal Matrix Database. During the last decade, data archiving and curation of COMPADRE and COMADRE, and subsequent comparative research, have revealed pronounced variation in how MPMs are parameterized and reported. Here, we summarise current issues related to the parameterisation and reporting of MPMs that arise most frequently and outline how they affect MPM construction, analysis, and interpretation. To quantify variation in how MPMs are reported, we present results from a survey identifying key aspects of MPMs that are frequently unreported in manuscripts. We then screen COMPADRE and COMADRE to quantify how often key pieces of information are omitted from manuscripts using MPMs. Over 80% of surveyed researchers (n = 60) state a clear benefit to adopting more standardised methodologies for reporting MPMs. Furthermore, over 85% of the 300 MPMs assessed from COMPADRE and COMADRE omitted one or more elements that are key to their accurate interpretation. Based on these insights, we identify fundamental issues that can arise from MPM construction and communication and provide suggestions to improve clarity, reproducibility and future research utilising MPMs and their required metadata. To fortify reproducibility and empower researchers to take full advantage of their demographic data, we introduce a standardised protocol to present MPMs in publications. This standard is linked to www.compa dre-db.org, so that authors wishing to archive their MPMs can do so prior to submission of publications, following examples from other open-access repositories such as DRYAD, Figshare and Zenodo. Combining and standardising MPMs parameterized from populations around the globe and across the tree of life opens up powerful research opportunities in evolutionary biology, ecology and conservation research. However, this potential can only be fully realised by adopting standardised methods to ensure reproducibility

    A library of quantitative markers of seizure severity

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    OBJECTIVE: Understanding fluctuations in seizure severity within individuals is important for determining treatment outcomes and responses to therapy, as well as assessing novel treatments for epilepsy. Current methods for grading seizure severity rely on qualitative interpretations from patients and clinicians. Quantitative measures of seizure severity would complement existing approaches, for electroencephalographic (EEG) monitoring, outcome monitoring, and seizure prediction. Therefore, we developed a library of quantitative EEG markers that assess the spread and intensity of abnormal electrical activity during and after seizures. METHODS: We analysed intracranial EEG (iEEG) recordings of 1009 seizures from 63 patients. For each seizure we computed 16 markers of seizure severity that capture the signal magnitude, spread, duration, and post-ictal suppression of seizures. RESULTS: Quantitative EEG markers of seizure severity distinguished focal vs. subclinical seizures across patients. In individual patients 53% had a moderate to large difference (ranksum r>0.3, p<0.05) between focal and subclinical seizures in three or more markers. Circadian and longer-term changes in severity were found for the majority of patients. SIGNIFICANCE: We demonstrate the feasibility of using quantitative iEEG markers to measure seizure severity. Our quantitative markers distinguish between seizure types and are therefore sensitive to established qualitative differences in seizure severity. Our results also suggest that seizure severity is modulated over different timescales. We envisage that our proposed seizure severity library will be expanded and updated in collaboration with the epilepsy research community to include more measures and modalities. 漏 2023 International League Against Epilepsy

    Evolution, Complexity, and Life History Theory

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    In this paper, we revisit the long-standing debate of whether there is a pattern in the evolution of organisms towards greater complexity, and how this hypothesis could be tested using an interdisciplinary lens. We argue that this debate remains alive today due to the lack of a quantitative measure of complexity that is related to the teleonomic (i.e. goal-directed) nature of living systems. Further, we argue that such a biological measure of complexity can indeed be found in the vast literature produced within life history theory. We propose that an ideal method to quantify this complexity lays within life history strategies (i.e., schedules of survival and reproduction across an organism鈥檚 life cycle), as it is precisely these strategies that are under selection to optimise the organism鈥檚 fitness. In this context, we set an agenda for future steps: (1) how this complexity can be measured mathematically, and (2) how we can engage in a comparative analysis of this complexity across species to investigate the evolutionary forces driving increases or for that matter decreases in teleonomic complexity

    MOSAIC - A Unified Trait Database to Complement Structured Population Models

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    Abstract Despite exponential growth in ecological data availability, broader interoperability amongst datasets is needed to unlock the potential of open access. Our understanding of the interface of demography and functional traits is well-positioned to benefit from such interoperability. Here, we introduce MOSAIC, an open-access trait database that unlocks the demographic potential stored in the COMADRE, COMPADRE, and PADRINO open-access databases. MOSAIC data were digitised and curated through a combination of existing datasets and new trait records sourced from primary literature. In its first release, MOSAIC (v. 1.0.0) includes 14 trait fields for 300 animal and plant species: biomass, height, growth determination, regeneration, sexual dimorphism, mating system, hermaphrodism, sequential hermaphrodism, dispersal capacity, type of dispersal, mode of dispersal, dispersal classes, volancy, and aquatic habitat dependency. MOSAIC includes species-level phylogenies for 1,359 species and population-specific climate data. We identify how database integration can improve our understanding of traits well-quantified in existing repositories and those that are poorly quantified (e.g., growth determination, modularity). MOSAIC highlights emerging challenges associated with standardising databases and demographic measures

    Diminished circadian and ultradian rhythms in pathological brain tissue in human in vivo

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    Chronobiological rhythms, such as the circadian rhythm, have long been linked to neurological disorders, but it is currently unknown how pathological processes affect the expression of biological rhythms in the brain. Here, we use the unique opportunity of long-term, continuous intracranially recorded EEG from 38 patients (totalling 6338 hours) to delineate circadian and ultradian rhythms in different brain regions. We show that functional circadian and ultradian rhythms are diminished in pathological tissue, independent of regional variations. We further demonstrate that these diminished rhythms are persistent in time, regardless of load or occurrence of pathological events. These findings provide the first evidence that brain pathology is functionally associated with persistently diminished chronobiological rhythms in vivo in humans, independent of regional variations or pathological events. Future work interacting with, and restoring, these modulatory chronobiological rhythms may allow for novel therapies

    [In Press] Repeat testing enhances long-term verbal memory in children with epilepsy

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    To (i) determine whether accelerated long-term forgetting (ALF) can be found using standardized verbal memory test materials in children with genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE) and temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), and (ii) to establish whether ALF is impacted by executive skills and repeat testing over long delays. One hundred and twenty-three children aged 8 to 16, (28 with GGE, 23 with TLE, and 72 typically developing; TD) completed a battery of standardized tests assessing executive functioning and memory for two stories. Stories were recalled immediately and after a 30-min delay. To examine whether repeat testing impacts long-term forgetting, one story was tested via free recall at 1-day and 2-weeks, and the other at 2-weeks only. Recognition was then tested for both stories at 2-weeks. Children with epilepsy recalled fewer story details, both immediately and after 30-min relative to TD children. Compared to TD children, the GGE group, but not the TLE group, showed ALF, having significantly poorer recall of the story tested only at the longest delay. Poor executive skills were significantly correlated with ALF for children with epilepsy. Standard story memory materials can detect ALF in children with epilepsy when administered over long delays. Our findings suggest that (i) ALF is related to poor executive skills in children with epilepsy, and (ii) repeated testing may ameliorate ALF in some children