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This paper proposes a differential sensor based on a pair of open split ring resonators (OSRR) operating in reflection. The output signal is thus the differential reflection coefficient of both resonators, intimately related to their dielectric loading. Thus, for identical loads in both sensing resonators, the individual reflection coefficients are equal, thereby providing an ideally null output signal. By contrast, when unequal dielectric loads truncate the symmetry, the reflection coefficients are different, resulting in a differential output signal related to the level of asymmetry. In order to ease the measurement of the output signal, a rat-race hybrid coupler is used. The OSRR sensing loads are connected to the coupled ports of the hybrid coupler, whereas the input signal is injected to the Δ-port, and the output signal is collected at the isolated port (Σ-port). By this means, the output signal, i.e. the differential reflection coefficient between both sensing loads, is obtained from the transmission coefficient of a simple two-port structure. For experimental validation purposes, the sensor is applied to the measurement of isopropanol content in aqueous solutions, and for that purpose, the sensitive regions are equipped with microfluidic channels.
This article examines the conditions under which interest groups interact with political parties. Existing research finds that interest group–political party interactions in most western democracies have become more open and contingent over time. The close ideological and formal organisational ties that once characterised these relations have gradually been replaced by alternative, more pragmatic forms of cooperation. However, most of this research stresses the importance of the structural factors underpinning these links over time and across countries, but sheds little light on the factors driving short-term interest group–party interactions. Here, by drawing on survey data on Spanish interest groups obtained between December 2016 and May 2017, this article seeks to fill this gap by taking into account party status, issue salience and a group’s resources as explanatory variables. It shows that mainstream parties are the primary targets of interest groups, that groups dealing with salient issues are more likely to contact political parties and that the groups with most resources interact with a larger number of parties.
The giant gypsum crystals of Naica cave have fascinated scientists since their discovery in 2000. Human activity has changed the microclimate inside the cave, making scientists wonder about the potential environmental impact on the crystals. Over the last 9 years, we have studied approximately 70 samples. This paper reports on the detailed chemical–structural characterization of the impurities present at the surface of these crystals and the experimental simulations of their potential deterioration patterns. Selected samples were studied by petrography, optical and electronic microscopy, and laboratory X-ray diffraction. 2D grazing incidence X-ray diffraction, X-ray μ-fluorescence, and X-ray μ-absorption near-edge structure were used to identify the impurities and their associated phases. These impurities were deposited during the latest stage of the gypsum crystal formation and have afterward evolved with the natural high humidity. The simulations of the behavior of the crystals in microclimatic chambers produced crystal dissolution by 1–4% weight fraction under high CO2 concentration and permanent fog, and gypsum phase dehydration under air and CO2 gaseous environment. Our work suggests that most surface impurities are of natural origin; the most significant anthropogenic damage on the crystals is the extraction of water from the caves.
Ruddy-headed Goose Chloephaga rubidiceps is the smallest of the five South American sheldgeese and has two separate populations: one sedentary, which resides in the Malvinas/Falkland Islands and one migratory that overwinters mainly in the Pampas region, Argentina and breeds in Southern Patagonia. The Ruddy-headed Goose’s continental population has decreased considerably, and recent estimates indicated that the population size is less than 800 individuals. In Argentina and Chile, this population is categorised as endangered. Understanding migration across vast landscapes is essential for the identification of factors affecting the survival of this endangered population and for the application of effective conservation measures. We aim to provide the first documentation of the complete migration cycle of Ruddy-headed Goose, and to analyse their annual migration in detail, including identification of stop-over, breeding and wintering sites, and to compare migration timing during spring and autumn migration. Adults were captured in the southern Pampas and equipped with solar satellite transmitters in 2015 and 2016. We analysed the influence of season (spring vs autumn migration) on the number and duration of stop-overs, distance travelled and overall migration speed using Generalized Linear Mixed Models. Our results showed that tracked geese used the eastern Patagonian route to reach their breeding grounds and take the same route after breeding. Spring migration was significantly faster than autumn migration, at least based on the number of days spent in their stop-overs. Stop-overs were closer to the final destination, either during spring and autumn migrations, though some of them were not used during subsequent migrations. Our migration cartography for Ruddy-headed Geese, together with the timing and location data, should be used to improve conservation efforts directed at this species and might contribute to the modification of the current status of ‘Least Concern’ under the IUCN criteria.
In this paper, a differential microfluidic sensor and comparator based on a pair of microstrip lines loaded with dumbbell-shaped defected ground structure resonators is applied to the characterization of electrolyte concentration in samples of horse urine. Since variations in the total electrolyte content in urine may be indicative of certain pathologies, the interest is to use the device as a comparator, in order to determine changes in the electrolyte concentration as compared to a reference level. To validate the approach, we have made differential measurements of a set of urine samples with different electrolyte concentrations (which have been previously obtained by means of electrochemical methods). The obtained results correlate with the nominal electrolyte concentrations of the samples, thereby pointing out the potential of the approach as a low-cost pre-screening method (or complementary diagnosis system) to detect potential pathologies or diseases in horses and other animals.
This study explores the differential effects of captions and subtitles on extensive TV viewing comprehension by adolescent beginner foreign language learners, and how their comprehension is affected by factors related to the learner, preteaching of target vocabulary, the lexical coverage of the episodes, and the testing instruments. Four classes of secondary school students took part in an 8-month intervention viewing 24 episodes of a TV series, two classes with captions, and two with subtitles. One class in each language condition received explicit instruction on target vocabulary. Comprehension was assessed through multiple-choice and true-false items, which included a combination of textually explicit and inferential items. Results showed a significant advantage of subtitles over captions for content comprehension, and prior vocabulary knowledge emerged as a significant predictor—particularly in the captions condition. Comprehension scores were also mediated by test-related factors, with true-false items receiving overall more correct responses while textually explicit and inferential items scores differed according to language of the on-screen text. Lexical coverage also emerged as a significant predictor of comprehension.
Landscapes are defined as ‘an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors’ (Council of Europe, 2000). Cultural landscapes are defined by the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1992) as distinct geographical areas or properties uniquely ‘represent[ing] the combined work of nature and of man’. It also describes cultural landscapes as a ‘diversity of manifestations of the interaction between humankind and its natural environment’, and that the protection of traditional cultural landscapes can contribute to maintaining biological diversity. Indeed, Pilgrim and Pretty (2010) propose that the resilience of ecocultural systems is at its strongest when biological and cultural diversity can be considered as an interdependent whole.
The occupation history of the Cahokia archaeological complex (ca. AD 1050–1400) has received significant academic attention for decades, but the subsequent repopulation of the region by indigenous peoples is poorly understood. This study presents demographic trends from a fecal stanol population reconstruction of Horseshoe Lake, Illinois, along with information from archaeological, historical, and environmental sources to provide an interpretation of post-Mississippian population change in the Cahokia region. Fecal stanol data indicate that the Cahokia region reached a population minimum by approximately AD 1400, regional population had rebounded by AD 1500, a population maximum was reached by AD 1650, and population declined again by AD 1700. The indigenous repopulation of the area coincides with environmental changes conducive to maize-based agriculture and bison-hunting subsistence practices of the Illinois Confederation. The subsequent regional depopulation corresponds to a complicated period of warfare, epidemic disease, Christianization, population movement, and environmental change in the eighteenth century. The recognition of a post-Mississippian indigenous population helps shape a narrative of Native American persistence over Native American disappearance.
In recent decades, concern about rabbit welfare and sustainability has increased. The housing system is a very important factor for animal welfare. However, information about how different available housing types for female rabbits affect their health status is scarce, but this is an important factor for their welfare. Hence, the objective of this study was to evaluate the health status of female rabbits in five common housing systems: three different single-housing systems with distinct available surfaces and heights; a single-housing system with a platform; a collective system. Female rabbits in the collective and platform cages had greater cortisol concentrations in hair than those in the single-housing system with no platform. Haptoglobin concentrations and kit mortality rates during lactation were greater for the collective-cage female rabbits. The collective group had more culled females and more lesions than in the other groups. The main reasons for culling in all the groups were reproduction problems and presence of abscesses, and the collective group of females was the most affected. In conclusion, it appears that keeping females together in collective systems negatively affects their health status and welfare, while single-housing systems imply lower kit mortality rates during lactation and cortisol concentrations, and fewer lesions in female rabbits.
Previously, we showed that disinfection of sink drains is effective at decreasing bacterial loads. Here, we report our evaluation of the ideal frequency of sink-drain disinfection and our comparison of 2 different hydrogen peroxide disinfectants.
Due in part to the influence of Michael McConnell, free exercise exemptionism is generally thought to be compatible with, if not dictated by, the founders’ church-state political philosophy. This article rejects that position, arguing instead that America’s constitutional tradition offers two distinct conceptions of religious liberty: the founders’ natural rights free exercise and modern moral autonomy exemptionism. The chapter aims to distinguish these two approaches by clarifying how they are grounded upon divergent philosophical understandings of human freedom and by explaining how they advance different views of what religious liberty is, how it is threatened, and, accordingly, how it is best protected. The article also attempts to demonstrate how our modern approach expands the protection for religious liberty in some ways but limits it in others.
Parasite composition can be affected by physiological and ecological changes during host ontogeny. Intertidal fish do not travel long distances and live in the same area throughout their lifetimes, meaning that parasite communities can differ across geographic ranges. The objective of this study was to analyse the parasite communities of three fish species (Hypsoblennius sordidus, Helcogrammoides cunninghami and Scartichthys viridis) collected from the Chilean coast. The composition of parasite species was compared among host ontogenetic stages (larvae, juveniles and mature fish) and geographic areas. A total of 184 larval, 252 juveniles and 217 mature individuals were collected in the northern area (c. 24°S), and 186 larval, 192 juveniles and 112 mature individuals from the central area (c. 33°S). Ectoparasites were most prevalent in fish from the central area, whereas endoparasites were most prevalent in the northern area. The parasite species richness varied significantly between geographical areas for H. sordidus and H. cunninghami, but the parasite composition varied significantly between geographical areas for all fish species analysed. Therefore, the geographical area was the most important factor determining the parasite composition of intertidal fish species. The absence of endoparasites in fish larvae and the increased infestation in juvenile and mature fish may be explained by the shift in habitat from the water column to intertidal pools where prey abundance and availability are higher. On the other hand, hydrographic barriers affecting prey distributions may also offer an explanation as to the differences in parasite composition.
Plants that release molecules affecting other plants are a source of potential bioherbicides. Silver wattle (Acacia dealbata Link), considered invasive worldwide, was found to be phytotoxic to various other plant species. Combining the search for alternative bioherbicides while reducing the spread of this invader by preventing seed formation is a good potential strategy to solve both agricultural and environmental problems. This study aimed to identify nonvolatile compounds from A. dealbata flowers and explore their phytotoxicity on the germination process and seedling and plant growth of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and rigid ryegrass (Lolium rigidum Gaudin). We identified methyl cinnamate and methyl anisate as potential phytotoxins in the extracts, but we used pure commercial molecules to conduct bioassays. Methyl cinnamate showed higher phytotoxicity than methyl anisate and was selected for further bioassays. Methyl cinnamate reduced guaiacol peroxidase activity by 57% and 85% in L. rigidum and lettuce, respectively, and α-amylase by 6% in L. rigidum. This compound also inhibited early stem and radicle growth of dicotyledonous lettuce (60% and 89%, respectively) and monocotyledonous L. rigidum (76% and 87%, respectively), both species having small seeds. However, wheat with a larger seed size was not affected by the phytotoxin. The results obtained indicate a potential bioherbicidal effect for methyl cinnamate, and its application might be useful in wheat crops infested by L. rigidum. We suggest that collecting A. dealbata flowers would prevent Acacia seed formation and thus play a role in invasive pest management, as well as serving as a source of potential herbicides to other species.