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Concept: El Salvador


As the world’s population grows to a projected 11.2 billion by 2100, the number of people living in low-lying areas exposed to coastal hazards is projected to increase. Critical infrastructure and valuable assets continue to be placed in vulnerable areas, and in recent years, millions of people have been displaced by natural hazards. Impacts from coastal hazards depend on the number of people, value of assets, and presence of critical resources in harm’s way. Risks related to natural hazards are determined by a complex interaction between physical hazards, the vulnerability of a society or social-ecological system and its exposure to such hazards. Moreover, these risks are amplified by challenging socioeconomic dynamics, including poorly planned urban development, income inequality, and poverty. This study employs a combination of machine learning clustering techniques (Self Organizing Maps and K-Means) and a spatial index, to assess coastal risks in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) on a comparative scale. The proposed method meets multiple objectives, including the identification of hotspots and key drivers of coastal risk, and the ability to process large-volume multidimensional and multivariate datasets, effectively reducing sixteen variables related to coastal hazards, geographic exposure, and socioeconomic vulnerability, into a single index. Our results demonstrate that in LAC, more than 500,000 people live in areas where coastal hazards, exposure (of people, assets and ecosystems) and poverty converge, creating the ideal conditions for a perfect storm. Hotspot locations of coastal risk, identified by the proposed Comparative Coastal Risk Index (CCRI), contain more than 300,00 people and include: El Oro, Ecuador; Sinaloa, Mexico; Usulutan, El Salvador; and Chiapas, Mexico. Our results provide important insights into potential adaptation alternatives that could reduce the impacts of future hazards. Effective adaptation options must not only focus on developing coastal defenses, but also on improving practices and policies related to urban development, agricultural land use, and conservation, as well as ameliorating socioeconomic conditions.

Concepts: Poverty, United States, Hazard, Caribbean, Central America, Nicaragua, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, El Salvador


An epidemic of progressive kidney failure afflicts sugarcane workers in Central America. Repeated high-intensity work in hot environments is a possible cause.

Concepts: Maya civilization, Guatemala, Spanish language, Caribbean, Central America, Nicaragua, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, El Salvador


Previous studies have found that individuals from rural areas in Malaysia and in El Salvador prefer heavier women than individuals from urban areas. Several explanations have been proposed to explain these differences in weight preferences but no study has explored familiarity as a possible explanation. We therefore sought to investigate participants' face preferences while also examining the facial characteristics of the actual participants. Our results showed that participants from rural areas preferred heavier-looking female faces than participants from urban areas. We also found that the female faces from the rural areas were rated as looking heavier than the female faces from the urban areas. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that familiarity may be contributing to the differences found in face preferences between rural and urban areas given that people from rural and urban areas are exposed to different faces.

Concepts: Population, City, Preference, El Salvador


Urban landscapes are commonly considered too mundane and corrupted to be biotically interesting. Recent insect surveys employing 29 Malaise traps throughout Los Angeles, California, however, have uncovered breeding populations of two unexpected species of one of the most studied and familiar groups of organisms, Drosophila “fruit” flies. Unlike most introduced species of drosophilids, which breed in fresh or decaying fruits, these are specialized flower-breeders. A common species in the survey was Drosophila (Drosophila) gentica Wheeler and Takada, previously collected only once, in El Salvador. It belongs to the flavopilosa species group, all species of which have been known until now from central Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, to Veracruz, Mexico and the Caribbean, breeding in flowers of Cestrum (“jessamine”) and Sessea (Solanaceae). The Los Angeles populations are probably breeding in a native and/or introduced Cestrum; in addition, populations in San Luis Obispo County were visiting ornamental Cestrum. Drosophila gentica occurs as far north as San Francisco, where it was found breeding in Cestrum aurantiacum. D. gentica is redescribed and figured in detail for diagnostic and identification purposes. Specimens from Jamaica previously identified as D. gentica are a distinct species but are not formally described in lieu of complete male specimens. Rare in the Malaise traps was Drosophila (Sophophora) flavohirta Malloch, a common species in Australia on the blossoms of native Myrtaceae, found on introduced Eucalyptus in South Africa and both Eucalyptus and Syzygium in Madagascar; adults feed on myrtaceous pollen and nectar, larvae breed in the flowers. It is also redescribed in detail, including its unusual egg. This is the first New World report of this species; DNA sequences confirm it is a morphologically highly aberrant member of the D. melanogaster species group. This study reveals how intensive field sampling can uncover remarkable biodiversity in even the most urbanized areas.

Concepts: Biology, Insect, Drosophila melanogaster, Drosophila, Drosophilidae, El Salvador, Sophophora, Drosophila melanogaster species group


Mesoamerican nephropathy (MeN) is a chronic kidney disease affecting rural inhabitants in Central America. We have previously described the renal morphology in 8 patients from El Salvador. To confirm the renal pathology, we have studied kidney biopsies from patients with MeN in Nicaragua. Follow-up urine and blood samples from both biopsy studies were collected to investigate the natural history.

Concepts: Belize, Caribbean, Central America, Nicaragua, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica


This paper provides early instrumental data recovered for 20 countries of Latin-America and the Caribbean (Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, British Guiana, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, France (Martinique and Guadalupe), Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Suriname) during the 18th and 19th centuries. The main meteorological variables retrieved were air temperature, atmospheric pressure, and precipitation, but other variables, such as humidity, wind direction, and state of the sky were retrieved when possible. In total, more than 300,000 early instrumental data were rescued (96% with daily resolution). Especial effort was made to document all the available metadata in order to allow further post-processing. The compilation is far from being exhaustive, but the dataset will contribute to a better understanding of climate variability in the region, and to enlarging the period of overlap between instrumental data and natural/documentary proxies.

Concepts: Spanish language, Caribbean Sea, Latin America, Central America, Nicaragua, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, El Salvador, Costa Rica


The Mesoamerican region is considered to be one of the areas in the world most vulnerable to climate change. We developed a framework for quantifying the vulnerability of the livelihoods of coffee growers in Mesoamerica at regional and local levels and identify adaptation strategies. Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concepts, vulnerability was defined as the combination of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. To quantify exposure, changes in the climatic suitability for coffee and other crops were predicted through niche modelling based on historical climate data and locations of coffee growing areas from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Future climate projections were generated from 19 Global Circulation Models. Focus groups were used to identify nine indicators of sensitivity and eleven indicators of adaptive capacity, which were evaluated through semi-structured interviews with 558 coffee producers. Exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity were then condensed into an index of vulnerability, and adaptation strategies were identified in participatory workshops. Models predict that all target countries will experience a decrease in climatic suitability for growing Arabica coffee, with highest suitability loss for El Salvador and lowest loss for Mexico. High vulnerability resulted from loss in climatic suitability for coffee production and high sensitivity through variability of yields and out-migration of the work force. This was combined with low adaptation capacity as evidenced by poor post harvest infrastructure and in some cases poor access to credit and low levels of social organization. Nevertheless, the specific contributors to vulnerability varied strongly among countries, municipalities and families making general trends difficult to identify. Flexible strategies for adaption are therefore needed. Families need the support of government and institutions specialized in impacts of climate change and strengthening of farmer organizations to enable the adjustment of adaptation strategies to local needs and conditions.

Concepts: Guatemala, Coffee, Central America, Nicaragua, Mesoamerica, Coffea arabica, El Salvador, Costa Rica


Silicic calderas form during explosive volcanic eruptions when magma withdrawal triggers collapse along bounding faults. The nature of specific interactions between magmatism and tectonism in caldera-forming systems is, however, unclear. Regional stress patterns may control the location and geometry of magma reservoirs, which in turn may control the spatial and temporal development of faults. Here we provide new insight into strike-slip volcano-tectonic relations by analysing Bouguer gravity data from Ilopango caldera, El Salvador, which has a long history of catastrophic explosive eruptions. The observed low gravity beneath the caldera is aligned along the principal horizontal stress orientations of the El Salvador Fault Zone. Data inversion shows that the causative low-density structure extends to ca. 6 km depth, which we interpret as a shallow plumbing system comprising a fractured hydrothermal reservoir overlying a magmatic reservoir with vol% exsolved vapour. Fault-controlled localization of magma constrains potential vent locations for future eruptions.

Concepts: Volcano, Magma, Basalt, El Salvador, Lava, Volcanology, Caldera, Fault


Recent studies have begun to reveal the complex evolutionary and biogeographic histories of mainland anoles in Central America, but the origins and relationships of many taxa remain poorly understood. One such group is the Anolis (Norops) crassulus species subgroup, which contains ten morphologically similar highland taxa, the majority of which have restricted distributions. The nominal taxon A. crassulus has a disjunct distribution from Chiapas, Mexico, through Guatemala, in the highlands of El Salvador, and in the Chortís Highlands of Honduras. We test the relationships of these species using multiple mitochondrial and nuclear loci in concatenated and multispecies coalescent frameworks, in an effort to both resolve long-standing taxonomic confusion and present new insights into the evolution and biogeography of these taxa.

Concepts: Maya civilization, Guatemala, Spanish language, Central America, Nicaragua, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, El Salvador, Honduras


Previous studies on face preferences have found that online and laboratory experiments yield similar results with samples from developed countries, where the majority of the population has internet access. No study has yet explored whether the same holds true in developing countries, where the majority of the population does not have internet access. This gap in the literature has become increasingly important given that several online studies are now using cross-country comparisons. We therefore sought to determine if an online sample is representative of the population in the developing country of El Salvador. In studies of Hispanic men and women aged 18-25, we tested facial masculinity and adiposity preferences by collecting data in person as well as online. Our results showed that there were no differences in preferences between people who reported having internet access, whether they were tested online or in person. This provides evidence that testing style does not bias preferences among the same population. On the other hand, our results showed multiple differences in preferences between people who reported having internet access and people who reported not having internet access. More specifically, we found that people without internet access preferred more feminine men, more masculine women, and women with higher adiposity than people with internet access. We also found that people without internet access had fewer resources (e.g. running water) than people with internet access, suggesting that harshness in the environment may be influencing face preferences. These findings suggest that online studies may provide a distorted perspective of the populations in developing countries.

Concepts: Gender, Developed country, Spanish language, Developing country, Preference, Masculinity, El Salvador, Femininity