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Collision with power lines is a major cause of mortality for many bird species. Understanding the biotic and abiotic factors that increase collision risk is therefore important for implementing mitigation measures to minimize mortality, such as power line rerouting or wire marking. Here, we used collision events registered during 2003–2015 along 280 km of transmission power lines in southern Portugal to analyse spatio-temporal patterns and collision risk factors in two sympatric, threatened, and collision-prone species: the great bustard Otis tarda and the little bustard Tetrax tetrax. The occurrence of collisions was not uniform across space and time, and variations could be explained by the species' ecological requirements, distribution patterns and behaviour. Although both species fly considerable distances between areas of suitable habitat, collisions were far more likely in power line sections with > 20% (for the little bustard) or > 50% (for the great bustard) of open farmland habitat in the surroundings. Power line configuration was also important: taller pylons and those with a higher number of wire levels posed a higher risk for both species. Wire marking had a small but significant effect for the little bustard, reducing collisions risk. There was, however, no similar effect for the great bustard, possibly a result of limited data. Mitigation measures should be implemented to prevent bustard collisions, including adequate route planning, ideally avoiding areas with > 20% of open habitat. Line configuration and wire marking are particularly important where such localities cannot be avoided and power lines cross areas with a high proportion of bustard habitat, including outside protected areas.
Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
Seed dispersal is an important ecological process that structures plant communities and influences ecosystem functioning. Loss of animal dispersers therefore poses a serious threat to forest ecosystems, particularly in the tropics where zoochory predominates. A prominent example is the near-total extinction of seed dispersers on the tropical island of Guam following the accidental introduction of the invasive brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis), negatively impacting seedling recruitment and forest regeneration. We investigated frugivory by a remnant population of Såli (Micronesian starling – Aplonis opaca) on Guam and two other island populations (Rota, Saipan) to evaluate their ecological role as a seed disperser in the Mariana archipelago. Using a combination of behavioural observations, nest contents and fecal samples, we documented frugivory of 37 plant species. Native plants comprised the majority (66%) of all species and 90% of all seeds identified in fecal and nest contents. Diet was highly similar across age classes and sampling years. In addition, plant species consumed by Såli comprised 88% of bird-dispersed adult trees and 54% of all adult trees in long-term forest monitoring plots, demonstrating the Såli’s broad diet and potential for restoring native forests. Overall, we provide the most comprehensive assessment to date of frugivory by the Såli and confirm its importance as a seed disperser on Guam and throughout the Marianas.
Progesterone (P4) plays a key role in pregnancy establishment and maintenance; during early pregnancy, P4 stimulates the production and release of uterine secretions necessary for conceptus growth prior to implantation; therefore, exogenous P4 supplementation may improve embryo development. This study evaluated the effects of supplementation during early pregnancy with long-acting injectable progesterone or altrenogest on embryonic characteristics of sows and gilts. Thus, a total of 32 sows and 16 gilts were used. On day 6 of pregnancy sows and gilts were allocated to one of the following groups: non-supplemented; supplemented with 20 mg of altrenogest, orally, from days 6 to 12 of pregnancy; supplemented with 2.15 mg/kg of long-acting injectable progesterone on day 6 of pregnancy. Animals were killed on day 28 of pregnancy, and ovulation rate, embryo survival, embryo weight, crown-to-rump length, uterine glandular epithelium and endometrial vascularization were assessed. Treatments had no effect on pregnancy rate, embryo survival or endometrial vascular density (P > 0.05). Non-supplemented gilts presented larger and heavier embryos compared to gilts from supplemented groups (P < 0.05). Sows in the altrenogest group presented larger and heavier embryos compared to non-supplemented sows and sows supplemented with long-acting injectable progesterone. In conclusion, supplementation of sows and gilts with progestagen from day 6 of pregnancy can be used as a means to improve embryo survival without deleterious effects.
Decisions on the use of nature reflect the values and rights of individuals, communities and society at large. The values of nature are expressed through cultural norms, rules and legislation, and they can be elicited using a wide range of tools, including those of economics. None of the approaches to elicit peoples’ values are neutral. Unequal power relations influence valuation and decision-making and are at the core of most environmental conflicts. As actors in sustainability thinking, environmental scientists and practitioners are becoming more aware of their own posture, normative stance, responsibility and relative power in society. Based on a transdisciplinary workshop, our perspective paper provides a normative basis for this new community of scientists and practitioners engaged in the plural valuation of nature.
A zirconolite glass-ceramic material is a candidate wasteform for immobilisation of chlorine contaminated plutonium residues, in which plutonium and chlorine are partitioned to the zirconolite and aluminosilicate glass phase, respectively. A preliminary investigation of chlorine speciation was undertaken by analysis of Cl K-edge X-ray Absorption Near Edge Spectroscopy (XANES), to understand the incorporation mechanism. Cl was found to be speciated as the Cl- anion within the glass phase, according to the characteristic chemical shift of the X-ray absorption edge. By comparison with Cl K-edge XANES data acquired from reference compounds, the local environment of the Cl- anion is most closely approximated by the mineral marialite, in which Cl is co-ordinate to 4 x Na and/or Ca atoms.
Pulmonary hypertension is a complex and progressive condition that is either idiopathic or heritable, or associated with one or multiple health conditions, with or without congenital or acquired cardiovascular disease. Recent developments have tremendously increased the armamentarium of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in children and young adults with pulmonary hypertension that is still associated with a high morbidity and mortality. These modalities include non-invasive imaging, pharmacotherapy, interventional and surgical procedures, and supportive measures. The optimal, tailored diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for pulmonary hypertension in the young are rapidly evolving but still face enormous challenges: Healthcare providers need to take the patient’s age, development, disease state, and family concerns into account when initiating advanced diagnostics and treatment. Therefore, there is a need for guidance on core and advanced medical training in paediatric pulmonary hypertension. The Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology working group “pulmonary hypertension, heart failure and transplantation” has produced this document as an expert consensus statement; however, all recommendations must be considered and applied in the context of the local and national infrastructure and legal regulations.
A taxonomic revision of Begonia veitchii Hook.f. is presented. Two taxa are newly recognised as synonyms of Begonia veitchii: B. baumannii Lemoine and B. clarkei Hook.f. Addditionally, two infraspecific taxa are newly described and illustrated: Begonia veitchii var. machupicchuensis Tebbitt, which is endemic to the Cusco Department of Peru, and B. veitchii var. lanatifolia Tebbitt, which is endemic to Chuquisaca Department, Bolivia. Begonia veitchii, as well as four taxa recognised as synonyms of B. veitchii – B. baumannii, B. rosaeflora Hook.f., B. coriacea A.DC. and B. clarkei – are lectotypified. A key, descriptions, distribution map and illustrations are provided for all the recognised infraspecific taxa of Begonia veitchii.
The design of government portfolios – that is, the distribution of competencies among government ministries and office holders – has been largely ignored in the study of executive and coalition politics. This article argues that portfolio design is a substantively and theoretically relevant phenomenon that has major implications for the study of institutional design and coalition politics. The authors use comparative data on portfolio design reforms in nine Western European countries since the 1970s to demonstrate how the design of government portfolios changes over time. Specifically, they show that portfolios are changed frequently (on average about once a year) and that such shifts are more likely after changes in the prime ministership or the party composition of the government. These findings suggest a political logic behind these reforms based on the preferences and power of political parties and politicians. They have major implications for the study of institutional design and coalition politics.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
Before drawing conclusions on the contribution of an effective intervention to daily practice and initiating dissemination, its quality and implementation in daily practice should be optimal. The aim of this process evaluation was to study these aspects alongside a randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of a multidisciplinary biannual medication review in long-term care organizations (NTR3569).
Process evaluation with multiple measurements.
Thirteen units for people with dementia in six long-term care organizations in the Netherlands.
Physicians, pharmacists, and nursing staff of participating units.
The PROPER intervention is a structured and biannually repeated multidisciplinary medication review supported by organizational preparation and education, evaluation, and guidance.
Web-based questionnaires, interviews, attendance lists of education sessions, medication reviews and evaluation meetings, minutes, evaluation, and registration forms.
Participation rates in education sessions (95%), medication reviews (95%), and evaluation meetings (82%) were high. The intervention’s relevance and feasibility and applied implementation strategies were highly rated. However, the education sessions and conversations during medication reviews were too pharmacologically oriented for several nursing staff members. Identified barriers to implementation were required time, investment, planning issues, and high staff turnover; facilitators were the positive attitude of professionals toward the intervention, the support of higher management, and the appointment of a local implementation coordinator.
Implementation was successful. The commitment of both higher management and professionals was an important factor. This may partly have been due to the subject being topical; Dutch long-term-care organizations are pressed to lower inappropriate psychotropic drug use.
The Hkakabo Razi region located in northern Myanmar is an Important Bird Area and part of the Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity Hotspot. Within the framework of the World Heritage Convention to enlist the site under criterion (ix) and (x), we conducted a biodiversity assessment for passerine birds using DNA barcoding and other molecular markers. Of the 441 bird species recorded, we chose 16 target species for a comparative phylogeographic study. Genetic analysis was performed for a larger number of species and helped identifying misidentified species. We found phylogeographic structure in all but one of the 16 study species. In 13 species, populations from northern Myanmar were genetically distinctive and local mitochondrial lineages differed from those found in adjacent regions by 3.9–9.9% uncorrected genetic distances (cytochrome-b). Since the genetic distinctiveness of study populations will be corroborated by further differences in morphology and song as in other South-East Asian passerines, many of them will be candidates for taxonomic splits, or in case an older taxon name is not available, for the scientific description of new taxa. Considering the short time frame of our study we predict that a great part of undetected faunal diversity in the Hkakabo Razi region will be discovered.
This study aimed to evaluate the transcriptional changes occurring in isolated perfused mammary alveolar tissue in response to inoculation with S. agalactiae and to identify the most affected biological functions and pathways after 3 h. Four udders taken at slaughter from cows with healthy mammary gland were perfused ex situ with warmed and gassed Tyrode's solution. Mammary alveolar tissue samples were taken from the left fore and rear quarters (IQ-inoculated quarters) before inoculation (hour 0) and at 3 h post inoculation (hpi) and at the same times from control right fore and rear quarters (not inoculated: NIQ). A total of 1756 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified between IQ and NIQ at 3 hpi using edgeR package. Within this set of DEGs, 952 were up regulated and mainly involved with innate immune response and inflammatory response, e.g., CD14, CCL5, TLR2, IL-8, SAA3, as well as in transcriptional regulation such as FOS, STAT3 and NFKBIA. Genes down-regulated (804) included those involved with lipid synthesis e.g., APOC2, SCD, FABP3 and FABP4. The most affected pathways were chemokine signaling, Wnt signaling and complement and coagulation cascades, which likely reflects the early stage response of mammary tissue to S. agalactiae infection. No significant gene expression changes were detected by RNA-Seq in the others contrasts. Real time-PCR confirmed the increase in mRNA abundance of immune-related genes: TLR2, TLR4, IL-1β, and IL-10 at 3 hpi between IQ and NIQ. The expression profiles of Casp1 and Bax for any contrasts were unaffected whereas Bcl2 was increased in IQ, which suggests no induction of apoptosis during the first hours after infection. Results provided novel information regarding the early functional pathways and gene network that orchestrate innate immune responses to S. agalactiae infection. This knowledge could contribute to new strategies to enhance resistance to this disease, such as genomic selection.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Feed represents a substantial proportion of production costs in the dairy industry and is a useful target for improving overall system efficiency and sustainability. The objective of this study was to develop methodology to estimate the economic value for a feed efficiency trait and the associated methane production relevant to Canada. The approach quantifies the level of economic savings achieved by selecting animals that convert consumed feed into product while minimizing the feed energy used for inefficient metabolism, maintenance and digestion. We define a selection criterion trait called Feed Performance (FP) as a 1 kg increase in more efficiently used feed in a first parity lactating cow. The impact of a change in this trait on the total lifetime value of more efficiently used feed via correlated selection responses in other life stages is then quantified. The resulting improved conversion of feed was also applied to determine the resulting reduction in output of emissions (and their relative value based on a national emissions value) under an assumption of constant methane yield, where methane yield is defined as kg methane/kg dry matter intake (DMI). Overall, increasing the FP estimated breeding value by one unit (i.e. 1 kg of more efficiently converted DMI during the cow’s first lactation) translates to a total lifetime saving of 3.23 kg in DMI and 0.055 kg in methane with the economic values of CAD $0.82 and CAD $0.07, respectively. Therefore, the estimated total economic value for FP is CAD $0.89/unit. The proposed model is robust and could also be applied to determine the economic value for feed efficiency traits within a selection index in other production systems and countries.
High-starch diets (HSDs) fed to high-producing ruminants are often responsible for rumen dysfunction and could impair animal health and production. Feeding HSDs are often characterized by transient rumen pH depression, accurate monitoring of which requires costly or invasive methods. Numerous clinical signs can be followed to monitor such diet changes but no specific indicator is able to make a statement at animal level on-farm. The aim of this pilot study was to assess a combination of non-invasive indicators in dairy cows able to monitor a HSD in experimental conditions. A longitudinal study was conducted in 11 primiparous dairy cows fed with two different diets during three successive periods: a 4-week control period (P1) with a low-starch diet (LSD; 13% starch), a 4-week period with an HSD (P2, 35% starch) and a 3-week recovery period (P3) again with the LSD. Animal behaviour was monitored throughout the experiment, and faeces, urine, saliva, milk and blood were sampled simultaneously in each animal at least once a week for analysis. A total of 136 variables were screened by successive statistical approaches including: partial least squares-discriminant analysis, multivariate analysis and mixed-effect models. Finally, 16 indicators were selected as the most representative of a HSD challenge. A generalized linear mixed model analysis was applied to highlight parsimonious combinations of indicators able to identify animals under our experimental conditions. Eighteen models were established and the combination of milk urea nitrogen, blood bicarbonate and feed intake was the best to detect the different periods of the challenge with both 100% of specificity and sensitivity. Other indicators such as the number of drinking acts, fat:protein ratio in milk, urine, and faecal pH, were the most frequently used in the proposed models. Finally, the established models highlight the necessity for animals to have more than 1 week of recovery diet to return to their initial control state after a HSD challenge. This pilot study demonstrates the interest of using combinations of non-invasive indicators to monitor feed changes from a LSD to a HSD to dairy cows in order to improve prevention of rumen dysfunction on-farm. However, the adjustment and robustness of the proposed combinations of indicators need to be challenged using a greater number of animals as well as different acidogenic conditions before being applied on-farm.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
Microstructural analysis and bulk dielectric property analysis (real and imaginary permittivity at 95 GHz) were performed at temperatures ranging from 25 to 550 °C for ceramic composites comprising a hot-pressed aluminum nitride matrix (containing yttria and trace carbon as sintering additives) with molybdenum powder as a millimeter-wave radiation-absorbing additive. Loading percentages in the range of 0.25 vol% to 4.0 vol% Mo were characterized. For the temperature regime evaluated, the temperature-related changes in real and imaginary components of permittivity were found to be relatively modest compared with those driven by Mo loading. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopic analysis of Mo grains and surrounding regions showed the presence of a mixed-phase layer, containing Mo2C, at the AlN–Mo interface. The Mo2C-containing mixed-phase layer, typically a few micrometers thick, surrounded the Mo grains. Further characterization of this mixed-phase layer is required to determine its contribution to the dielectric properties of the composite.