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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: B. D'Acunha; H.J. Dalmagro; P.H. Zanella de Arruda; M.S. Biudes; +6 Authors

    Land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) can dramatically affect the magnitude, seasonality and main drivers of evaporation (E) and transpiration (T), together as evapotranspiration (ET), with effects on overall ecosystem function, as well as both the hydrological cycle and climate system at multiple scales. Our understanding of tropical ecosystem responses to LULCC and global change processes is still limited, mainly due to a lack of ground-based observations that cover a variety of ecosystems, land-uses and land-covers. In this study, we used a network of nine eddy covariance flux towers installed in natural (forest, savanna, wetland) and managed systems (rainfed and irrigated cropland, pastureland) to explore how LULCC affects ET and its components in the Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal biomes. At each site, tower-based ET measurements were partitioned into T and E to investigate how these fluxes varied between different land-uses and seasons. We found that ET, T and E decreased significantly during the dry season, except in Amazon forest ecosystems where T rates were maintained throughout the year. In contrast to Amazon forests, Cerrado and Pantanal ecosystems showed stronger stomatal control during the dry season. Cropland and pasture sites had lower ET and T compared to native vegetation in all biomes, but E was greater in Pantanal pasture when compared to Pantanal forest. The T fraction of ET was correlated with LAI and EVI, but relationships were weaker in Amazon forests. Our results highlight the importance of understanding the effects of LULCC on water fluxes in tropical ecosystems, and the implications for climate change mitigation policies and land management.

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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ NERC Open Research A...arrow_drop_down
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    Authors: C. Finlayson; M.G. Hethcoat; P.G. Cannon; R.G. Bryant; +3 Authors
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    Forest Ecology and Management
    Article . 2024 . Peer-reviewed
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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Forest Ecology and M...arrow_drop_down
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      Forest Ecology and Management
      Article . 2024 . Peer-reviewed
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    Authors: Qi-Li Gao; Chen Zhong; Yang Yue; Rui Cao; +1 Authors
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Wang, S;

    Soft robots are of significant research interest in recent decades due to their adaptability to unstructured environments and safe interaction with humans. Soft pneumatic robots, one of the most dominant subsets of soft robots, utilize the interaction between soft elastomeric materials and pressurized air to achieve desired functions. However, the systems currently used for signal computation and pneumatic regulation often make use of rigid valves, pumps, syringe drivers, microcontrollers et al. These bulky and non-integrable devices limit the performance of pneumatically-driven soft robots, carrying challenges for the robot to be miniaturized, untethered, and agile. This DPhil aims to develop pneumatic circuits that can be integrated into the soft robot bodies while performing both onboard computation and control. This thesis presents our contributions towards the aforementioned objective step by step. Firstly, we designed a 3D-printable bistable valve with tunable behaviours for controlling soft pneumatic robots. As an integrable control device, the valve stores one bit of binary information without requiring a constant energy supply and correspondingly controls a pneumatic chamber. Secondly, in order to reduce the number of valves required to control multi-chamber soft robots, we introduced a modular approach to design multi-channel bistable valves based on the previous work. Thirdly, in order to achieve continuous pressure modulation with integrable devices, we designed a soft proportional valve, utilizing the continuous deformation of Magnetorheological Elastomer (MRE) under magnetic flux. Apart from the analogue activation manner, this design also ensures a fast response time, operating at a time scale of tens of milliseconds, much shorter than the mechanical response time of most soft pneumatic actuators. Fourthly, to achieve onboard proportional control of multi-chamber soft robots, we developed an MRE valve array with an embedded cooling chamber. Physical experiments showed that our MRE valve array ensured the independence and accuracy of each valve unit within it, with a significantly lowered temperature of 73.9 $^o$C under 5 minutes of operation. Lastly, we developed an open-source software toolbox supporting the design of integrable pneumatic logic circuits to enhance their accessibility and performance. The toolbox comes with a graphical user interface (GUI) to take users' desired logic functions in the form of a truth table and a set of 2D space constraints related to the available space onboard the robot. It then schedules the pneumatic circuit which performs the desired computation within the space constraints and produces a 3D-printable CAD file that can be fabricated and used directly. The work presented in this thesis enables the community to simplify the process of integrating control devices into soft pneumatic robots, thereby paving the way for a new generation of fully untethered and autonomous soft robots.

    image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Oxford University Re...arrow_drop_down
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    Authors: Dance, M;

    Major ecosystem changes are under way in the rapidly warming Arctic region. Sea ice loss and tundra shrub expansion are leading to ecological impacts across multiple biological, spatial, and temporal scales. The distribution and population dynamics of reindeer/caribou (Rangifer tarandus L.) — the most numerous and widespread large herbivore in the Arctic — and the dwarf birches (Betula nana L. and Betula glandulosa Michx.) — dominant tundra shrubs — will be affected. Understanding how these species responded to rapid and large-scale climate and sea ice changes in the past will increase our understanding of the long-term ecological and evolutionary implications of anthropogenic climate change. The impacts of past climate change on species leave genetic imprints in their living descendants, which, in turn, influence their genetic variation and capacity to adapt to future changes. In this thesis, I aim to uncover how climate fluctuations in the Quaternary period (2.6 million years ago - present) shaped the population history of reindeer and the dwarf birches, to improve our understanding of ecological and evolutionary responses to past climate change. I analyse the contemporary genetic variation of these panarctic species in a phylogeographic approach. I model their population history and compare timings of inferred population events with those of climate and environmental changes using paleoenvironmental data. I then explore how the genetic legacies of past climate change impact responses to ongoing climate change in the dwarf birches, in the form of vegetation greening trends associated with the expansion of tundra shrubs. The thesis addresses this aim in three studies presented as research papers. The first paper, ‘Retracing the response of reindeer to postglacial climate change in Arctic islands’, compares reindeer population history and role of sea ice and ice sheet dynamics in postglacial island colonisation across two regions in the Arctic: the North American islands, and the Barents Sea islands. Using extant reindeer genetic variation, I modelled past population dynamics and tested hypotheses of glacial locations and postglacial dispersal. From the best supported models, I compared the timings of population isolation (genetic divergence) and connectivity (genetic admixture) with reconstructed and modelled changes in sea ice cover, glacial ice sheet dynamics, and other records of past environmental change. I found that the best supported model suggested postglacial dispersal onto deglaciated Arctic islands from continental glacial locations, with modelled divergence times broadly in agreement with fossil data. Sea ice changes often coincided with population events, with differing impacts in the two geographically different systems. The compiled evidence suggests that ice sheet retreat, sea ice concentration, and ocean currents appear to be important influences on postglacial reindeer history and genetic structure in Arctic islands. The second paper, ‘Molecular footprints of Quaternary climate fluctuations in the circumpolar tundra shrub dwarf birch’, uses similar phylogeographical methods to the first paper, but with a novel genome-wide genetic dataset compiled across the geographical range of the dwarf birches. I compared the timing of population divergence and admixture with the ice sheet configuration obtained from published reconstructions, and used published pollen, macrofossil, and sedimentary DNA (sedaDNA) records to externally evaluate the demographic events inferred from the dwarf birches’ present genetic configuration. The best supported model suggested a Mid-Quaternary origin of the dwarf birch species complex, likely in response to the global cooling and associated large climatic changes of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition. The results identified two distinct genetic groups in Betula glandulosa for the first time, which likely reflect glacial isolation north and south of the North American ice sheets. Population events were coeval with major climatic transitions, with interactions between ice sheet changes, climatic and environmental conditions in ice-free areas, and geographical constraints likely resulting in a complex population history. The results suggest that tundra shrubs such as the dwarf birches may have had more nuanced responses to past climatic changes than previously suggested, with implications for future eco-evolutionary responses to anthropogenic climate change. The third paper, ‘Arctic greening patterns reflect genetic legacies of glacial refugia and past climate change’ used the ongoing tundra shrub expansion trends, as measured by remotely sensed vegetation greening, as an opportunity to test whether the impacts of past climate change on the genetic structure of the dwarf birches may be influencing their response to contemporary climate change. I tested the association between population-level dwarf birch genetic diversity and genetic admixture, time since glacial ice sheet retreat, contemporary climate, and regional greening trends of the Arctic tundra and high latitude treeless areas. By modelling the relative importance of these factors, I was able to determine that landscape history and genetic diversity in the form of historical genetic admixture are important but previously neglected components of high latitude vegetation greening trends. The relationship between greening trends and genetic diversity suggests that Arctic shrub expansion may be an adaptive response to climate change, and that future evolutionary potential may therefore be modulated by responses to past climate change. Overall, this thesis demonstrates that postglacial climate change and glacial cycles influenced the evolution and population history of reindeer and the dwarf birches. Climatic fluctuations variously drove population isolation and connectivity. The impacts of these processes included driving allopatric speciation, generating diverse genetic lineages in different regions, enabling dispersal into deglaciated areas, and restoring connectivity between divergent lineages. Species responses were complex, with similar climatic processes resulting in different effects depending on geographical and temporal context. Finally, Arctic species responses to past climate change may impact their future population dynamics and evolution by influencing their contemporary genetic structure and adaptive potential, as illustrated by the link between the population history, genetic structure of the dwarf birches, and their response to ongoing climate change in the form of tundra vegetation greening. Reconstructing past species dynamics in relation to paleoclimatic changes is a useful aid for helping us understand the long-term ecological and evolutionary impacts of environmental change.

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    Authors: Moreno-Sánchez, PA; Banitsas, K; Van Gils, M; Abbod, M;

    People in the world are living longer than ever before, a major achievement of modern science and healthcare. Older people make up a growing proportion of the population, as well as an increasing contribution to society. However, an aging population might lead to the presumption that there will be an increased need for health and social care services. The reality, however, is more complicated. Without significant improvements in healthcare, the aging population will increase the number of people with ill-health and disabilities. Chronic conditions, and multiple morbidities at the same time will increase in numbers common. This, in turn, will put additional pressure on public services and care providers. To meet this demand, there is a need to adapt digital health and care systems and support for elderly as well as their informal caregivers. Currently, digital technologies are advancing at a rapid pace, with promising achievements that will have a relevant impact on the healthcare field. These advanced digital technologies (robotics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, internet of things, or virtual-augmented reality) are grouped under the concept of Health 4.0, which fosters the use of cyber-physical systems to transform the current hospital-centric care delivery toward a more ubiquitous, smart, preventive, and personalized approach. This paper explores how health and care need change with age and how this need can be accommodated using Heath 4.0 technologies. We contribute to the Health 4.0 literature by offering a synthesis of the benefits and challenges that elderly people deal with when using Health 4.0 technologies.

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    Authors: Huanfa Chen; Xiaowei Gao; Huanhuan Li; Zaili Yang;
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    Applied Geography
    Article . 2024 . Peer-reviewed
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    Authors: Bullock, James M.; Jarvis, Susan G.; Fincham, William N.W.; Risser, Hannah; +5 Authors

    Fertilisers and pesticides are major sources of the environmental harm that results from farming, yet it remains difficult to target reductions in their impacts without compromising food production. We suggest that calculating the ratio of agrochemical inputs to yield can provide an indication of the potential sustainability of farmland, with those areas that have high input relative to yield being considered as less sustainable. Here we design an approach to characterise such Input to Yield Ratios (IYR) for four inputs that can be plausibly linked to environmental impacts: the cumulative risk resulting from pesticide exposure for honeybees and for earthworms, and the amount of nitrogen or phosphorus fertiliser applied per unit area. We capitalise on novel national-scale data to assess IYR for wheat farming across all of England. High-resolution spatial patterns of IYR differed among the four inputs, but hotspots, where all four IYRs were high, were in key agricultural regions not usually characterised as having low suitability for cropping. By scaling the magnitude of each input against crop yield, the IYR does not penalise areas of high yield with higher inputs (important for food production), or areas with low yields but which are achieved with low inputs (important as low impact areas). Instead, the IYR provides a globally applicable framework for evaluating the broad patterns of trade-offs between production and environmental risk, as an indicator of the potential for harm, over large scales. Its use can thus inform targeting to improve agricultural sustainability, or where one might switch to other land uses such as ecosystem restoration.

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    Authors: Helen X.H. Bao; Ziyou Wang; Robert Liangqi Wu;
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    Land Use Policy
    Article . 2024 . Peer-reviewed
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      Land Use Policy
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    Authors: Dlzar Al Kez; Aoife Foley; Zrar Khald Abdul; Dylan Furszyfer Del Rio;

    Energy poverty affects billions worldwide, including people in developed and developing countries. Identifying those living in energy poverty and implementing successful solutions require timely and detailed survey data, which can be costly, time-consuming, and difficult to obtain, particularly in rural areas. Through machine learning, this study investigates the possibility of identifying vulnerable households by combining satellite remote sensing with socioeconomic survey data in the UK. In doing so, this research develops a machine learning-based approach to predicting energy poverty in the UK using the low income low energy efficiency (LILEE) indicator derived from a combination of remote sensing and socioeconomic data. Data on energy consumption, building characteristics, household income, and other relevant variables at the local authority level are fused with geospatial satellite imagery. The findings indicate that a machine learning algorithm incorporating geographical and environmental information can predict approximately 83% of districts with significant energy poverty. This study contributes to the expanding body of research on energy poverty prediction and can help shape policy and decision-making for energy efficiency and social fairness in the UK and worldwide.

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    Energy Policy
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      Energy Policy
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: B. D'Acunha; H.J. Dalmagro; P.H. Zanella de Arruda; M.S. Biudes; +6 Authors

    Land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) can dramatically affect the magnitude, seasonality and main drivers of evaporation (E) and transpiration (T), together as evapotranspiration (ET), with effects on overall ecosystem function, as well as both the hydrological cycle and climate system at multiple scales. Our understanding of tropical ecosystem responses to LULCC and global change processes is still limited, mainly due to a lack of ground-based observations that cover a variety of ecosystems, land-uses and land-covers. In this study, we used a network of nine eddy covariance flux towers installed in natural (forest, savanna, wetland) and managed systems (rainfed and irrigated cropland, pastureland) to explore how LULCC affects ET and its components in the Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal biomes. At each site, tower-based ET measurements were partitioned into T and E to investigate how these fluxes varied between different land-uses and seasons. We found that ET, T and E decreased significantly during the dry season, except in Amazon forest ecosystems where T rates were maintained throughout the year. In contrast to Amazon forests, Cerrado and Pantanal ecosystems showed stronger stomatal control during the dry season. Cropland and pasture sites had lower ET and T compared to native vegetation in all biomes, but E was greater in Pantanal pasture when compared to Pantanal forest. The T fraction of ET was correlated with LAI and EVI, but relationships were weaker in Amazon forests. Our results highlight the importance of understanding the effects of LULCC on water fluxes in tropical ecosystems, and the implications for climate change mitigation policies and land management.

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    Authors: C. Finlayson; M.G. Hethcoat; P.G. Cannon; R.G. Bryant; +3 Authors
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    Forest Ecology and Management
    Article . 2024 . Peer-reviewed
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      Forest Ecology and Management
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    Authors: Qi-Li Gao; Chen Zhong; Yang Yue; Rui Cao; +1 Authors
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    Applied Geography
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    Authors: Wang, S;

    Soft robots are of significant research interest in recent decades due to their adaptability to unstructured environments and safe interaction with humans. Soft pneumatic robots, one of the most dominant subsets of soft robots, utilize the interaction between soft elastomeric materials and pressurized air to achieve desired functions. However, the systems currently used for signal computation and pneumatic regulation often make use of rigid valves, pumps, syringe drivers, microcontrollers et al. These bulky and non-integrable devices limit the performance of pneumatically-driven soft robots, carrying challenges for the robot to be miniaturized, untethered, and agile. This DPhil aims to develop pneumatic circuits that can be integrated into the soft robot bodies while performing both onboard computation and control. This thesis presents our contributions towards the aforementioned objective step by step. Firstly, we designed a 3D-printable bistable valve with tunable behaviours for controlling soft pneumatic robots. As an integrable control device, the valve stores one bit of binary information without requiring a constant energy supply and correspondingly controls a pneumatic chamber. Secondly, in order to reduce the number of valves required to control multi-chamber soft robots, we introduced a modular approach to design multi-channel bistable valves based on the previous work. Thirdly, in order to achieve continuous pressure modulation with integrable devices, we designed a soft proportional valve, utilizing the continuous deformation of Magnetorheological Elastomer (MRE) under magnetic flux. Apart from the analogue activation manner, this design also ensures a fast response time, operating at a time scale of tens of milliseconds, much shorter than the mechanical response time of most soft pneumatic actuators. Fourthly, to achieve onboard proportional control of multi-chamber soft robots, we developed an MRE valve array with an embedded cooling chamber. Physical experiments showed that our MRE valve array ensured the independence and accuracy of each valve unit within it, with a significantly lowered temperature of 73.9 $^o$C under 5 minutes of operation. Lastly, we developed an open-source software toolbox supporting the design of integrable pneumatic logic circuits to enhance their accessibility and performance. The toolbox comes with a graphical user interface (GUI) to take users' desired logic functions in the form of a truth table and a set of 2D space constraints related to the available space onboard the robot. It then schedules the pneumatic circuit which performs the desired computation within the space constraints and produces a 3D-printable CAD file that can be fabricated and used directly. The work presented in this thesis enables the community to simplify the process of integrating control devices into soft pneumatic robots, thereby paving the way for a new generation of fully untethered and autonomous soft robots.

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    Authors: Dance, M;

    Major ecosystem changes are under way in the rapidly warming Arctic region. Sea ice loss and tundra shrub expansion are leading to ecological impacts across multiple biological, spatial, and temporal scales. The distribution and population dynamics of reindeer/caribou (Rangifer tarandus L.) — the most numerous and widespread large herbivore in the Arctic — and the dwarf birches (Betula nana L. and Betula glandulosa Michx.) — dominant tundra shrubs — will be affected. Understanding how these species responded to rapid and large-scale climate and sea ice changes in the past will increase our understanding of the long-term ecological and evolutionary implications of anthropogenic climate change. The impacts of past climate change on species leave genetic imprints in their living descendants, which, in turn, influence their genetic variation and capacity to adapt to future changes. In this thesis, I aim to uncover how climate fluctuations in the Quaternary period (2.6 million years ago - present) shaped the population history of reindeer and the dwarf birches, to improve our understanding of ecological and evolutionary responses to past climate change. I analyse the contemporary genetic variation of these panarctic species in a phylogeographic approach. I model their population history and compare timings of inferred population events with those of climate and environmental changes using paleoenvironmental data. I then explore how the genetic legacies of past climate change impact responses to ongoing climate change in the dwarf birches, in the form of vegetation greening trends associated with the expansion of tundra shrubs. The thesis addresses this aim in three studies presented as research papers. The first paper, ‘Retracing the response of reindeer to postglacial climate change in Arctic islands’, compares reindeer population history and role of sea ice and ice sheet dynamics in postglacial island colonisation across two regions in the Arctic: the North American islands, and the Barents Sea islands. Using extant reindeer genetic variation, I modelled past population dynamics and tested hypotheses of glacial locations and postglacial dispersal. From the best supported models, I compared the timings of population isolation (genetic divergence) and connectivity (genetic admixture) with reconstructed and modelled changes in sea ice cover, glacial ice sheet dynamics, and other records of past environmental change. I found that the best supported model suggested postglacial dispersal onto deglaciated Arctic islands from continental glacial locations, with modelled divergence times broadly in agreement with fossil data. Sea ice changes often coincided with population events, with differing impacts in the two geographically different systems. The compiled evidence suggests that ice sheet retreat, sea ice concentration, and ocean currents appear to be important influences on postglacial reindeer history and genetic structure in Arctic islands. The second paper, ‘Molecular footprints of Quaternary climate fluctuations in the circumpolar tundra shrub dwarf birch’, uses similar phylogeographical methods to the first paper, but with a novel genome-wide genetic dataset compiled across the geographical range of the dwarf birches. I compared the timing of population divergence and admixture with the ice sheet configuration obtained from published reconstructions, and used published pollen, macrofossil, and sedimentary DNA (sedaDNA) records to externally evaluate the demographic events inferred from the dwarf birches’ present genetic configuration. The best supported model suggested a Mid-Quaternary origin of the dwarf birch species complex, likely in response to the global cooling and associated large climatic changes of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition. The results identified two distinct genetic groups in Betula glandulosa for the first time, which likely reflect glacial isolation north and south of the North American ice sheets. Population events were coeval with major climatic transitions, with interactions between ice sheet changes, climatic and environmental conditions in ice-free areas, and geographical constraints likely resulting in a complex population history. The results suggest that tundra shrubs such as the dwarf birches may have had more nuanced responses to past climatic changes than previously suggested, with implications for future eco-evolutionary responses to anthropogenic climate change. The third paper, ‘Arctic greening patterns reflect genetic legacies of glacial refugia and past climate change’ used the ongoing tundra shrub expansion trends, as measured by remotely sensed vegetation greening, as an opportunity to test whether the impacts of past climate change on the genetic structure of the dwarf birches may be influencing their response to contemporary climate change. I tested the association between population-level dwarf birch genetic diversity and genetic admixture, time since glacial ice sheet retreat, contemporary climate, and regional greening trends of the Arctic tundra and high latitude treeless areas. By modelling the relative importance of these factors, I was able to determine that landscape history and genetic diversity in the form of historical genetic admixture are important but previously neglected components of high latitude vegetation greening trends. The relationship between greening trends and genetic diversity suggests that Arctic shrub expansion may be an adaptive response to climate change, and that future evolutionary potential may therefore be modulated by responses to past climate change. Overall, this thesis demonstrates that postglacial climate change and glacial cycles influenced the evolution and population history of reindeer and the dwarf birches. Climatic fluctuations variously drove population isolation and connectivity. The impacts of these processes included driving allopatric speciation, generating diverse genetic lineages in different regions, enabling dispersal into deglaciated areas, and restoring connectivity between divergent lineages. Species responses were complex, with similar climatic processes resulting in different effects depending on geographical and temporal context. Finally, Arctic species responses to past climate change may impact their future population dynamics and evolution by influencing their contemporary genetic structure and adaptive potential, as illustrated by the link between the population history, genetic structure of the dwarf birches, and their response to ongoing climate change in the form of tundra vegetation greening. Reconstructing past species dynamics in relation to paleoclimatic changes is a useful aid for helping us understand the long-term ecological and evolutionary impacts of environmental change.

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    Authors: Moreno-Sánchez, PA; Banitsas, K; Van Gils, M; Abbod, M;

    People in the world are living longer than ever before, a major achievement of modern science and healthcare. Older people make up a growing proportion of the population, as well as an increasing contribution to society. However, an aging population might lead to the presumption that there will be an increased need for health and social care services. The reality, however, is more complicated. Without significant improvements in healthcare, the aging population will increase the number of people with ill-health and disabilities. Chronic conditions, and multiple morbidities at the same time will increase in numbers common. This, in turn, will put additional pressure on public services and care providers. To meet this demand, there is a need to adapt digital health and care systems and support for elderly as well as their informal caregivers. Currently, digital technologies are advancing at a rapid pace, with promising achievements that will have a relevant impact on the healthcare field. These advanced digital technologies (robotics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, internet of things, or virtual-augmented reality) are grouped under the concept of Health 4.0, which fosters the use of cyber-physical systems to transform the current hospital-centric care delivery toward a more ubiquitous, smart, preventive, and personalized approach. This paper explores how health and care need change with age and how this need can be accommodated using Heath 4.0 technologies. We contribute to the Health 4.0 literature by offering a synthesis of the benefits and challenges that elderly people deal with when using Health 4.0 technologies.

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    Authors: Huanfa Chen; Xiaowei Gao; Huanhuan Li; Zaili Yang;
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