The viability of many species has been jeopardized by numerous negative factors over the centuries, but climate change is predicted to accelerate and increase the pressure of many of these threats, leading to extinctions. The Hawaiian honeycreepers, famous for their spectacular adaptive radiation, are predicted to experience negative responses to climate change, given their susceptibility to introduced disease, the strong linkage of disease distribution to climatic conditions, and their current distribution. We document the rapid collapse of the native avifauna on the island of Kaua'i that corresponds to changes in climate and disease prevalence. Although multiple factors may be pressuring the community, we suggest that a tipping point has been crossed in which temperatures in forest habitats at high elevations have reached a threshold that facilitates the development of avian malaria and its vector throughout these species' ranges. Continued incursion of invasive weeds and non-native avian competitors may be facilitated by climate change and could also contribute to declines. If current rates of decline continue, we predict multiple extinctions in the coming decades. Kaua'i represents an early warning for the forest bird communities on the Maui and Hawai'i islands, as well as other species around the world that are trapped within a climatic space that is rapidly disappearing.
Approximately 25% of individuals aged 65 years or older in the United States have diabetes mellitus. Diabetes rates in this age group are higher for Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AA/PI) than for whites. We examined racial/ethnic differences in diabetes-related potentially preventable hospitalizations (DRPH) among people aged 65 years or older for Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Native Hawaiians, and whites.
Biofouled debris from the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami has landed in the Northeast Pacific and along the Hawaiian Islands since 2012. As of 2017, >630 biofouled debris items with >320 living species of algae, invertebrates, and fish have been examined. The invasive mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis was present on >50% of those items. Size, reproduction, and growth of this filter-feeding species were examined to better understand long-distance rafting of a coastal species. The majority of mussels (79%) had developing or mature gametes, and growth rates averaged 0.075±0.018 SE mm/day. Structural and elemental (barium/calcium) analysis of mussel shells generated estimates of growth in coastal waters (mean=1.3 to 25mm total length), which provides an indication of residence times in waters along North America and the Hawaiian Islands prior to landing. Detailed studies of individual species contribute to our understanding of debris as a transport vector and aid efforts to evaluate potential risks associated with marine debris.
The 2011 East Japan earthquake generated a massive tsunami that launched an extraordinary transoceanic biological rafting event with no known historical precedent. We document 289 living Japanese coastal marine species from 16 phyla transported over 6 years on objects that traveled thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean to the shores of North America and Hawai'i. Most of this dispersal occurred on nonbiodegradable objects, resulting in the longest documented transoceanic survival and dispersal of coastal species by rafting. Expanding shoreline infrastructure has increased global sources of plastic materials available for biotic colonization and also interacts with climate change-induced storms of increasing severity to eject debris into the oceans. In turn, increased ocean rafting may intensify species invasions.
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) were hunted commercially in Canada’s Pacific region until 1966. Depleted to an estimated 1,400 individuals throughout the North Pacific, humpback whales are listed as Threatened under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) and Endangered under the US Endangered Species Act. We conducted an 8-year photo-identification study to monitor humpback whale usage of a coastal fjord system in British Columbia (BC), Canada that was recently proposed as candidate critical habitat for the species under SARA. This participatory research program built collaborations among First Nations, environmental non-governmental organizations and academics. The study site, including the territorial waters of Gitga'at First Nation, is an important summertime feeding destination for migratory humpback whales, but is small relative to the population’s range. We estimated abundance and survivorship using mark-recapture methods using photographs of naturally marked individuals. Abundance of humpback whales in the region was large, relative to the site’s size, and generally increased throughout the study period. The resulting estimate of adult survivorship (0.979, 95% CI: 0.914, 0.995) is at the high end of previously reported estimates. A high rate of resights provides new evidence for inter-annual site fidelity to these local waters. Habitat characteristics of our study area are considered ecologically significant and unique, and this should be considered as regulatory agencies consider proposals for high-volume crude oil and liquefied natural gas tanker traffic through the area. Monitoring population recovery of a highly mobile, migratory species is daunting for low-cost, community-led science. Focusing on a small, important subset of the animals' range can make this challenge more tractable. Given low statistical power and high variability, our community is considering simpler ecological indicators of population health, such as the number of individuals harmed or killed each year by human activities, including ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.
Strong ground motions induce large dynamic stress changes that may disturb the magma chamber of a volcano, thus accelerating the volcanic activity. An underground nuclear explosion test near an active volcano constitutes a direct treat to the volcano. This study examined the dynamic stress changes of the magma chamber of Baekdusan (Changbaishan) that can be induced by hypothetical North Korean nuclear explosions. Seismic waveforms for hypothetical underground nuclear explosions at North Korean test site were calculated by using an empirical Green’s function approach based on a source-spectral model of a nuclear explosion; such a technique is efficient for regions containing poorly constrained velocity structures. The peak ground motions around the volcano were estimated from empirical strong-motion attenuation curves. A hypothetical M7.0 North Korean underground nuclear explosion may produce peak ground accelerations of 0.1684 m/s(2) in the horizontal direction and 0.0917 m/s(2) in the vertical direction around the volcano, inducing peak dynamic stress change of 67 kPa on the volcano surface and ~120 kPa in the spherical magma chamber. North Korean underground nuclear explosions with magnitudes of 5.0-7.6 may induce overpressure in the magma chamber of several tens to hundreds of kilopascals.
The Tea Party movement, which rose to prominence in the United States after the election of President Barack Obama, provides an ideal context in which to examine the roles of racial concerns and ideology in politics. A three-wave longitudinal study tracked changes in White Americans' self-identification with the Tea Party, racial concerns (prejudice and racial identification), and ideologies (libertarianism and social conservatism) over nine months. Latent Growth Modeling (LGM) was used to evaluate potential causal relationships between Tea Party identification and these factors. Across time points, racial prejudice was indirectly associated with movement identification through Whites' assertions of national decline. Although initial levels of White identity did not predict change in Tea Party identification, initial levels of Tea Party identification predicted increases in White identity over the study period. Across the three assessments, support for the Tea Party fell among libertarians, but rose among social conservatives. Results are discussed in terms of legitimation theories of prejudice, the “racializing” power of political judgments, and the ideological dynamics of the Tea Party.
To evaluate trends in premature death rates by cause of death, age, race, and urbanization level in the United States.
Although cigarette smoking has substantially declined since the release of the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health,* disparities in tobacco use exist among racial/ethnic populations (1). Moreover, because estimates of U.S. adult cigarette smoking and tobacco use are usually limited to aggregate racial or ethnic population categories (i.e., non-Hispanic whites [whites]; non-Hispanic blacks or African Americans [blacks]; American Indians and Alaska Natives [American Indians/Alaska Natives]; Asians; Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders [Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders]; and Hispanics/Latinos [Hispanics]), these estimates can mask differences in cigarette smoking prevalence among subgroups of these populations. To assess the prevalence of and changes in cigarette smoking among persons aged ≥18 years in six racial/ethnic populations and 10 select subgroups in the United States,(†) CDC analyzed self-reported data collected during 2002-2005 and 2010-2013 from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) (2) and compared differences between the two periods. During 2010-2013, the overall prevalence of cigarette smoking among the racial/ethnic populations and subgroups ranged from 38.9% for American Indians/Alaska Natives to 7.6% for both Chinese and Asian Indians. During 2010-2013, although cigarette smoking prevalence was relatively low among Asians overall (10.9%) compared with whites (24.9%), wide within-group differences in smoking prevalence existed among Asian subgroups, from 7.6% among both Chinese and Asian Indians to 20.0% among Koreans. Similarly, among Hispanics, the overall prevalence of current cigarette smoking was 19.9%; however, within Hispanic subgroups, prevalences ranged from 15.6% among Central/South Americans to 28.5% among Puerto Ricans. The overall prevalence of cigarette smoking was higher among men than among women during both 2002-2005 (30.0% men versus 23.9% women) and 2010-2013 (26.4% versus 21.1%) (p<0.05). These findings highlight the importance of disaggregating tobacco use estimates within broad racial/ethnic population categories to better understand and address disparities in tobacco use among U.S. adults.
Population-based prevalence estimates of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) need to be determined to assess its burden among Chinese Americans, the fastest growing racial group in the United States.