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The illegal wildlife trade is driving declines in populations of a number of large, charismatic animal species but also many lesser known and restricted-range species, some of which are now facing extinction as a result. The ploughshare tortoise Astrochelys yniphora, endemic to the Baly Bay National Park of north-western Madagascar, is affected by poaching for the international illegal pet trade. To quantify this, we estimated population trends during 2006–2015, using distance sampling surveys along line transects, and recorded national and international confiscations of trafficked tortoises for 2002–2016. The results suggest the ploughshare tortoise population declined > 50% during this period, to c. 500 adults and subadults in 2014–2015. Prior to 2006 very few tortoises were seized either in Madagascar or internationally but confiscations increased sharply from 2010. Since 2015 poaching has intensified, with field reports suggesting that two of the four subpopulations are extinct, leaving an unknown but almost certainly perilously low number of adult tortoises in the wild. This study has produced the first reliable population estimate of the ploughshare tortoise and shows that the species has declined rapidly because of poaching for the international pet trade. There is an urgent need for increased action both in Madagascar and along international trade routes if the extinction of the ploughshare tortoise in the wild is to be prevented.
The catchments of Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier in the Amundsen Sea Embayment are two of the largest, most rapidly changing, and potentially unstable sectors of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. They are also neighboring outlets, separated by the topographically unconfined eastern shear margin of Thwaites Glacier and the southwest tributary of Pine Island Glacier. This tributary begins just downstream of the eastern shear margin and flows into the Pine Island ice shelf. As a result, it is a potential locus of interaction between the two glaciers and could result in cross-catchment feedback during the retreat of either. Here, we analyze relative basal reflectivity profiles from three radar sounding survey lines collected using the UTIG HiCARS radar system in 2004 and CReSIS MCoRDS radar system in 2012 and 2014 to investigate the extent and character of ocean access beneath the southwest tributary. These profiles provide evidence of ocean access ~12 km inland of the 1992–2011 InSAR-derived grounding line by 2014, suggesting either retreat since 2011 or the intrusion of ocean water kilometers inland of the grounding line.
Military personnel generally under-consume n-3 fatty acids and overconsume n-6 fatty acids. In a placebo-controlled, double-blinded study, we investigated whether a diet suitable for implementation in military dining facilities and civilian cafeterias could benefit n-3/n-6 fatty acid status of consumers. Three volunteer groups were provided different diets for 10 weeks. Control (CON) participants consumed meals from the US Military’s Standard Garrison Dining Facility Menu. Experimental, moderate (EXP-Mod) and experimental-high (EXP-High) participants consumed the same meals, but high n-6 fatty acid and low n-3 fatty acid containing chicken, egg, oils and food ingredients were replaced with products having less n-6 fatty acids and more n-3 fatty acids. The EXP-High participants also consumed smoothies containing 1000 mg n-3 fatty acids per serving, whereas other participants received placebo smoothies. Plasma and erythrocyte EPA and DHA in CON group remained unchanged throughout, whereas EPA, DHA and Omega-3 Index increased in EXP-Mod and EXP-High groups, and were higher than in CON group after 5 weeks. After 10 weeks, Omega-3 Index in EXP-High group had increased further. No participants exhibited changes in fasting plasma TAG, total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, mood or emotional reactivity. Replacing high linoleic acid (LA) containing foods in dining facility menus with similar high oleic acid/low LA and high n-3 fatty acid foods can improve n-6/n-3 blood fatty acid status after 5 weeks. The diets were well accepted and suitable for implementation in group feeding settings like military dining facilities and civilian cafeterias.
Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable respiratory infection caused by Bordetella pertussis which can be fatal in infants. Although high vaccine coverage led to prolonged disease control in England, a national outbreak of pertussis in 2011 led to the largest increase in over two decades, including a marked increase in cases aged ⩾15 years. A case-control study in four regions of England was undertaken to investigate risk factors for pertussis in adolescents and adults, specifically employment type and professional and household contact with children. Pertussis cases were laboratory-confirmed and aged ⩾15 years. Controls were recruited through general practitioner nomination. Demographic and risk factor information were collected using an online survey. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate independent associations with outcome. Two hundred and thirty-one cases and 190 controls were recruited. None of the four employment variables (social care, education, health sector, patient contact) were significantly associated with pertussis. Professional contact with children aged < 1 year was associated with a significantly reduced odds of pertussis [odds ratio (OR) 0·25, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·08–0·78, P = 0·017]. Household contact with ⩾1 child aged 10–14 years was associated with significantly increased odds of pertussis (OR 2·61, 95% CI 1·47–4·64, P = 0·001). Occupational contact with very young children was associated with reduced odds of pertussis, probably due to immune boosting by low-level exposures to B. pertussis. Sharing a household with a young adolescent was a significant risk factor for pertussis in adults and older teenagers. The primary focus of the childhood pertussis vaccination programmes is to prevent infant disease. Although evidence is emerging that adolescent vaccination does not provide indirect protection to infants, our results highlight the importance of children aged 10–14 years in pertussis transmission to older adolescents and adults.
In 1988, a Joint Commission (9 and 25) meeting on the causes of the well-known limitations on the precision of infrared astronomy led to several suggestions to improve matters (see Milone 1989). These included better reporting of the photometric systems in use by practitioners, redesign of the infrared passbands to be more optimally placed inside the atmospheric windows, and development of a method to ascertain the water vapor content of the atmosphere when the astronomical infrared measurements were being made. An Infrared Astronomy Working Group was formed to look into the matter. Advice and suggestions were solicited from the community at large. All who volunteered information became, de facto, members of the Working Group. A small subgroup composed of Andrew Young, Chris Stagg, and Milone set to work on the central of the recommendations: improvement of the passbands. Young, Milone, k Stagg (1994) (hereafter YMS) summarized the work: existing JHKLMN and Q infrared passbands were found to be both far from standardized, and all too frequently defined, to various degrees, by the water vapor and other components of the terrestrial atmosphere. Following extensive numerical simulations with a MODTRAN 3 terrestrial-atmospheres model package, and Kurucz stellar atmospheres, we suggested a set of improved infrared passbands designed explicitly to fit within, and not be defined by, the terrestrial atmospheric windows; however, we sought to optimize them so as to get the maximum throughput consistent with plausible limitations on precision of manufacture of the filters. In 1995 and again in 1997, a number of improvements were made in the code with which the improved passbands were designed. While they do not much affect the optimization trials and thus the passband recommendations, they have been used to extend the modeling.
Ca/vitamin D supplementation maintains bone health and decreases stress fracture risk during initial military training (IMT); however, there is evidence that Ca may negatively affect the absorption of other critical micronutrients, particularly Fe. The objective of this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was to determine whether providing 2000 mg/d Ca and 25µg/d vitamin D in a fortified food product during 9 weeks of military training affects Fe status in young adults. Male (n 98) and female (n 54) volunteers enrolled in US Army basic combat training (BCT) were randomised to receive a snack bar with Ca/vitamin D (n 75) or placebo (snack bar without Ca/vitamin D; n 77) and were instructed to consume 2 snack bars/d between meals throughout the training course. Circulating ionised Ca was higher (P<0·05) following BCT among those consuming the Ca/vitamin D bars compared with placebo. Fe status declined in both groups over the course of BCT. Transferrin saturation, serum ferritin and Hb were reduced (P<0·05) and soluble transferrin receptor increased (P<0·05) following BCT. There were no differences (P>0·05) in markers of Fe status between placebo and Ca/vitamin D groups. Collectively, these data indicate that Ca/vitamin D supplementation through the use of a fortified food product consumed between meals does not affect Fe status during IMT.
We use the Stansel (2013) metropolitan area economic freedom index and 25 conditioning variables to analyze the spatial relationships between institutional quality and economic outcomes across 381 U.S. metropolitan areas. Specifically, we allow for spatial dependence in both the dependent and independent variables and estimate how economic freedom impacts both per capita income growth and per capita income levels. We find that economic freedom and per capita income growth and income levels are directly and positively related. Furthermore, we find that the total (direct plus indirect) effects on all metropolitan areas are positive and larger in magnitude than the direct effects alone, indicating that freedom-enhancing reforms in one metropolitan area lead to positive-sum games with neighboring metropolitan areas.
Cygnus A, the nearest truly powerful radio galaxy, resides at the centre of a massive galaxy cluster. Chandra X-ray observations reveal its cocoon shocks, radio lobe cavities and an X-ray jet, which are discussed here. It is argued that X-ray emission from the outer regions of the cocoon shocks is nonthermal. The X-ray jets are best interpreted as synchrotron emission, suggesting that they, rather than the radio jets, are the path of energy flow from the nucleus to the hotspots. In that case, a model shows that the jet flow is non-relativistic and carries in excess of one solar mass per year.