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Fruticose lichens of the genus Usnea Dill. ex Adans. (Parmeliaceae), generally known as beard lichens, are among the most iconic epiphytic lichens in modern forest ecosystems. Many of the c. 350 currently recognized species are widely distributed and have been used as bioindicators in air pollution studies. Here we demonstrate that usneoid lichens were present in the Palaeogene amber forests of Europe. Based on general morphology and annular cortical fragmentation, one fossil from Baltic amber can be assigned to the extant genus Usnea. The unique type of cortical cracking indirectly demonstrates the presence of a central cord that keeps the branch intact even when its cortex is split into vertebrae-like segments. This evolutionary innovation has remained unchanged since the Palaeogene, contributing to the considerable ecological flexibility that allows Usnea species to flourish in a wide variety of ecosystems and climate regimes. The fossil sets the minimum age for Usnea to 34 million years (late Eocene). While the other similar fossils from Baltic and Bitterfeld ambers cannot be definitely assigned to the same genus, they underline the diversity of pendant lichens in Palaeogene amber forests.
Positive symptoms are a useful predictor of aggression in schizophrenia. Although a similar pattern of abnormal brain structures related to both positive symptoms and aggression has been reported, this observation has not yet been confirmed in a single sample.
To study the association between positive symptoms and aggression in schizophrenia on a neurobiological level, a prospective meta-analytic approach was employed to analyze harmonized structural neuroimaging data from 10 research centers worldwide. We analyzed brain MRI scans from 902 individuals with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia and 952 healthy controls.
The result identified a widespread cortical thickness reduction in schizophrenia compared to their controls. Two separate meta-regression analyses revealed that a common pattern of reduced cortical gray matter thickness within the left lateral temporal lobe and right midcingulate cortex was significantly associated with both positive symptoms and aggression.
These findings suggested that positive symptoms such as formal thought disorder and auditory misperception, combined with cognitive impairments reflecting difficulties in deploying an adaptive control toward perceived threats, could escalate the likelihood of aggression in schizophrenia.
The illegal killing and taking of wild birds remains a major threat on a global scale. However, there are few quantitative data on the species affected and countries involved. We quantified the scale and scope of this issue in Northern and Central Europe and the Caucasus, using a diverse range of data sources and incorporating expert knowledge. The issue was reported to be widespread across the region and affects almost all countries/territories assessed. We estimated that 0.4–2.1 million birds per year may be killed/taken illegally in the region. The highest estimate of illegal killing in the region was for Azerbaijan (0.2-1.0 million birds per year). Out of the 20 worst locations identified, 13 were located in the Caucasus. Birds were reported to be illegally killed/taken primarily for sport and food in the Caucasus and for sport and predator/pest control in both Northern and Central Europe. All of the 28 countries assessed are parties to the Bern Convention and 19 are also European Union Member States. There are specific initiatives under both these policy instruments to tackle this threat, yet our data showed that illegal killing and taking is still occurring and is not restricted to Mediterranean European countries. Markedly increased effort is required to ensure that existing legislation is adequately implemented and complied with/enforced on the ground. Our study also highlighted the paucity of data on illegal killing and taking of birds in the region. It is a priority, identified by relevant initiatives under the Bern Convention and the European Union, to implement systematic monitoring of illegal killing and taking and to collate robust data, allowing stakeholders to set priorities, track trends and monitor the effectiveness of responses.
Exotic weed propagules (seeds or fruits) often contaminate goods intended for import into Australia. Biosecurity officers must identify such propagules to manage risks, prevent incursions, and decide on potentially costly actions such as cleaning, treating, or destroying cargo. According to observations made by the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, more than 20% of the propagules found by biosecurity officers currently cannot be identified. By far the most important weed families contributing to seed load of imported goods are the grass family (Poaceae) and the daisy family (Asteraceae), accounting together for approximately 80% of cases. To facilitate fast and secure identification, increase the capabilities of biosecurity staff, and reduce the risk of weed incursions, we have developed an interactive digital identification key to the propagules of an initial priority list of 43 species of Asteraceae.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
A diversity of filamentous microfungi was discovered from thallus surfaces of epiphytic lichens preserved in Bitterfeld and Baltic amber. We report seven distinct morphologies of dematiaceous hyphomycetes, some of which closely resemble species of the extant genera Sporidesmium, Taeniolella s. lat. and Taeniolina. Both the placement of the fungi on their substrates and the exquisite preservation of delicate structures indicate that the fungi were fully developed before they were engulfed by fresh resin. The lichens probably grew on the trunks of resin producing trees and became embedded in resin flows together with their fungal associates. The findings demonstrate that a wide range of presumably specialised fungi have lived on living and decomposing lichen thalli at least since the Paleogene. The findings add an interesting new component to the as yet poorly known mycota of the ancient European amber forests.
Fossil tree resins preserve a wide range of animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms in microscopic fidelity. Fossil organisms preserved in an individual piece of amber lived at the same time in Earth history and mostly even in the same habitat, but they were not necessarily parts of the same interacting community. Here, we report on an in situ preserved corticolous community from a piece of Miocene Dominican amber which is composed of a lichen, a moss and three species of leafy liverworts. The lichen is assigned to the extant genus Phyllopsora (Ramalinaceae, Lecanoromycetes) and is described as P.magna Kaasalainen, Rikkinen & A. R. Schmidt sp. nov. The moss, Aptychellites fossilis Schäf.-Verw., Hedenäs, Ignatov & Heinrichs gen. & sp. nov., closely resembles the extant genus Aptychella of the family Pylaisiadelphaceae. The three leafy liverworts comprise the extinct Lejeuneaceae species Cheilolejeunea antiqua (Grolle) Ye & Zhu, 2010 and Lejeunea miocenica Heinrichs, Schäf.-Verw., M. A. M. Renner & G. E. Lee sp. nov. and the extinct Radulaceae species Radula intecta M. A. M. Renner, Schäf.-Verw. & Heinrichs sp. nov. The presence of five associated extinct cryptogam species, four of which belong to extant genera, further substantiates the notion of a stasis in morphotype diversity, but a certain turnover of species, in the Caribbean since the early Miocene.
A new approach is proposed to extract the slow-time feature of human motion in high-resolution radars. The approach is based on the self-similarity matrix (SSM) of the radar signals. The Mutual Information is used as a measure of similarity. The SSMs of different radar signals (high-resolution range profile, micro-Doppler, and range-Doppler video sequence) are compared, and the angel-invariant property of the SSMs is demonstrated. The SSM for different activities (i.e. walking and running) is extracted from range-Doppler video sequence and analyzed. Finally, simulation result is validated by experimental data.
This article analyses how Rousseau's First Discourse and the questions it posed about human progress and the reform of society were debated in the institutional context of the Berlin Academy by Formey and Herder. Despite some important disagreements, Formey and Herder fundamentally shared Rousseau's assumption that erudition could be detrimental both to society and to the individual. In order to limit the socially corrosive effects of the arts and the sciences, and in an attempt to realize their full beneficent potential, they called for their reform through institutional regulation and management by a meritocracy of scholarly experts. Drawing on Hume, Herder in particular developed a positive role for the modern state as an active agent of enlightenment, provided it not only promoted the arts and sciences but also guaranteed freedom and the rule of law to ensure their flourishing.
ADS-B provides convenient means of air traffic control (ATC) for its low cost and simple ground station hardware. In a low percentage of cases, aircraft positions transmitted via ADS-B are error prone due to e.g. faulty wiring with onboard navigation systems. In the proposed approach, direction of arrival (DOA) estimation is used to verify ADS-B airborne positions. The potential positioning error of ADS-B is thereby evaluated by comparing DOA estimates to DOA values calculated from ADS-B references and the sensor position and orientation. To prove the accuracy of the applied DOA estimation sensor, an additional measurement campaign using a dedicated measurement aircraft has been conducted.
In this work we investigate theoretically the effects imposed by plasmon
excitations in spherical metallic nanoparticles (MNPs) on the rate of energy
transfer in peridinin-chlorophyll-protein (PCP) complex reconstituted with
both chlorophyll a (Chl a) and chlorophyll
b (Chl b). This light-harvesting
complex is unique since it features efficient energy transfer both from
higher-lying Chl b to lower-lying Chl a as
well as in the opposite, less energy-favorable direction. The results of
calculations show that the Förster energy transfer rate decreases with a
MNP-PCP distance changing from 2 to 144nm, while the energy
transfer from Chl a to Chl b remains less
efficient at all distances. We conclude that plasmon excitations allow for
controlling the energy transfer between Chls, as well as the excitation
distribution between two spectrally distinguishable Chls within the
reconstituted PCP complex.