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Functional ecology is the branch of ecology that focuses on various functions that species play in the community or ecosystem in which they occur. This accessible guide offers the main concepts and tools in trait-based ecology, and their tricks, covering different trophic levels and organism types. It is designed for students, researchers and practitioners who wish to get a handy synthesis of existing concepts, tools and trends in trait-based ecology, and wish to apply it to their own field of interest. Where relevant, exercises specifically designed to be run in R are included, along with accompanying on-line resources including solutions for exercises and R functions, and updates reflecting current developments in this fast-changing field. Based on more than a decade of teaching experience, the authors developed and improved the way theoretical aspects and analytical tools of trait-based ecology are introduced and explained to readers.
Deficits in social functioning are a core feature of schizophrenia and are influenced by both symptomatic and neurocognitive variables.
In the present study we aimed to determine the reliability and validity of the Portuguese version of the Personal and Social Performance (PSP) scale, and possible correlations with measures of cognitive functioning.
One-hundred and four community and inpatients with schizophrenia were assessed using measures of social functioning and symptom severity alongside measures of executive function, processing speed and verbal memory.
The reliability of the PSP was found to be satisfactory, with a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.789. Inter-rater reliability in the four domains of the PSP varied from 0.430 to 0.954. Low-functioning patients (PSP < 70) were older, had longer duration of illness, were more symptomatic and had worse cognitive performances, as compared to high-functioning patients (PSP ≥ 70). In a regression model, deficits in social functioning were strongly predicted both by symptomatic and neurocognitive variables; these together accounted for up to 62% of the variance.
The present study supports the reliability and validity of the Portuguese language version of the PSP and further supports the original measure. The co-administration of brief cognitive assessments with measures of functioning may lead to more focused interventions, possibly improving outcomes in this group.
In Europe, in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, new nosologic categories were formulated that could not be framed within Manic-Depressive Psycosis or Kraeplins' Demencia Praecox: Bouffée delirante by the French, Cycloid Psychosis by the German, Reactive and Schizophreniform Psychosis by the Scandinavians. These are concepts that are currently classified in the ICD-10 under Acute and Transitory Psychotic Disorders.
Cycloid Psychosis are characterized by an abrupt onset and polimorfic symptomatology namely delusions, hallucinations in every sensory modality, confusion, akinesia or hyperkinesia, feelings of ecstasy, which can vary with time. They have a recurring course, rapid remission followed by the reinstatement of the premorbid personality.
We present a case study of a female, 26 year old patient. The first psychotic episode occurred 2 years ago and was followed by complete recovery. Recently, there was a recrudescence of the symptomatology. She presented with a polimorfic symptoms, alternating between mutism and psychomotor agitation, disorientation, incoherent speech and almost total insomnia. There was an absence of response to antipsychotic medication. Therefore, the patient was submitted to electroconvulsive therapy with an overall improvement of symptoms, maintaining some puerility. The aim of this case study was to draw attention to the diagnosis of Cycloid Psychosis, and it confirms the efficacy of electroconvulsive therapy in its treatment.
To understand the production factors that affect conclusive parameters of sow herd performance can improve the use of the resources and profitability of farm. The objective of this study was to identify associations and quantify the effects of a set of factors related to piglet weight at weaning (PWW), kilograms of piglets weaned per sow per year (kgPWSY) and sow feed conversion (SFC). Data from 150 farms were collected, for a total study population of 135 168 sows, including gilt replacement, breeding (mating), gestation and farrowing/lactation phases. A questionnaire focusing on reproductive performance, management, facilities, feeding, health and biosafety was administered. Multiple linear regression models were used to assess associations among factors with each of the three dependent variables. Increased duration of lactation was positively associated with PWW, kgPWSY and SFC. The increase in the number of live born pigs per litter was positively associated with kgPWSY and with SFC. Farms with higher PWW had farrowing room humidifiers, did not surgically castrate male piglets and used quaternary ammonia compounds for farrowing room disinfection. Farms with higher kgPWSY used lined ceilings in farrowing rooms and winter feeds with higher CP percentages in gestation; they also had more farrowings per sow per year. Sow feed conversion was worse in farms with partly slatted floors during gestation, in farms feeding lactating sows six times a day or ad libitum and farms with a higher sow-handler ratio. This study indicates that farms can increase PWW and kgPWSY and improve the SFC by changing one or more management, biosafety and feeding practices or facilities as well as by focusing on improving several performance parameters, particularly increasing the duration of lactation and the number of live born pigs per litter.
The pyridine carboxylic acid (PCA) herbicide family can exhibit differential activity within and among plant species, despite molecular resemblances. Aminocyclopyrachlor (AMCP), a pyrimidine carboxylic acid, is a recently discovered compound with similar use patterns to those of the PCA family; however, relative activity among PCAs and AMCP is not well understood. Therefore, the objective of this study was to quantify relative activity among aminopyralid, picloram, clopyralid, triclopyr, and AMCP in canola, squash, and okra using dose-response whole-plant bioassays. Clopyralid was less active than all other herbicides in all species and did not fit dose-response models. Aminopyralid and picloram performed similarly in squash (ED50 = 21.1 and 23.3 g ae ha−1, respectively). Aminopyralid was 3.8 times and 1.7 times more active than picloram in canola (ED50 = 60.3 and 227.7 g ha−1, respectively) and okra (ED50 = 10.3 and 17.3 g ha−1, respectively). Triclopyr (ED50 = 37.3 g ha−1) was more active than AMCP (ED50 = 112.9 g ha−1) and picloram in canola. Aminocyclopyrachlor (ED50 = 6.6 g ha−1) and triclopyr (ED50 = 7.8 g ha−1) were more active in squash than aminopyralid and picloram. In okra, AMCP (ED50 = 14.6 g ha−1) and aminopyralid (ED50 = 10.3 g ha−1) performed similarly but were more active than triclopyr (ED50 = 88.2 g ha−1). Herbicidal activity among AMCP and PCAs was vastly different despite molecular similarities that could be due to variable target-site sensitivity among species.
There is no suitable vaccine against human visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and available drugs are toxic and/or present high cost. In this context, diagnostic tools should be improved for clinical management and epidemiological evaluation of disease. However, the variable sensitivity and/or specificity of the used antigens are limitations, showing the necessity to identify new molecules to be tested in a more sensitive and specific serology. In the present study, an immunoproteomics approach was performed in Leishmania infantum promastigotes and amastigotes employing sera samples from VL patients. Aiming to avoid undesired cross-reactivity in the serological assays, sera from Chagas disease patients and healthy subjects living in the endemic region of disease were also used in immunoblottings. The most reactive spots for VL samples were selected, and 29 and 21 proteins were identified in the promastigote and amastigote extracts, respectively. Two of them, endonuclease III and GTP-binding protein, were cloned, expressed, purified and tested in ELISA experiments against a large serological panel, and results showed high sensitivity and specificity values for the diagnosis of disease. In conclusion, the identified proteins could be considered in future studies as candidate antigens for the serodiagnosis of human VL.
The VISCACHA (VIsible Soar photometry of star Clusters in tApii and Coxi HuguA†) Survey is an ongoing project based on deep and spatially resolved photometric observations of Magellanic Cloud star clusters, collected using the SOuthern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope together with the SOAR Adaptive Module Imager. So far we have used >300h of telescope time to observe ∼150 star clusters, mostly with low mass (M < 104M⊙) on the outskirts of the LMC and SMC. With this high-quality data set, we homogeneously determine physical properties using deep colour-magnitude diagrams (ages, metallicities, reddening, distances, mass, luminosity and mass functions) and structural parameters (radial density profiles, sizes) for these clusters which are used as a proxy to investigate the interplay between the Magellanic Clouds and their evolution. We present the VISCACHA survey and its initial results, based on our first two papers. The project’s long term goals and expected legacy to the community are also addressed.
The fraction of organic matter present affects the fragmentation behavior of sialoliths; thus, pretherapeutic information on the degree of mineralization is relevant for a correct selection of lithotripsy procedures. This work proposes a methodology for in vivo characterization of salivary calculi in the pretherapeutic context. Sialoliths were characterized in detail by X-ray computed microtomography (μCT) in combination with atomic emission spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Correlative analysis of the same specimens was performed by in vivo and ex vivo helical computed tomography (HCT) and ex vivo μCT. The mineral matter in the sialoliths consisted essentially of apatite (89 vol%) and whitlockite (11 vol%) with average density of 1.8 g/cm3. In hydrated conditions, the mineral mass prevailed with 53 ± 13 wt%, whereas the organic matter, with a density of 1.2 g/cm3, occupied 65 ± 10% of the sialoliths’ volume. A quantitative relation between sialoliths mineral density and X-ray attenuation is proposed for both HCT and μCT.
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine some of the characteristics of the resulting inventory. Over 13,000 global and regional IBAs have so far been identified and documented in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in almost all of the world’s countries and territories, making this the largest global network of sites of significance for biodiversity. IBAs have been identified using standardised, data-driven criteria that have been developed and applied at global and regional levels. These criteria capture multiple dimensions of a site’s significance for avian biodiversity and relate to populations of globally threatened species (68.6% of the 10,746 IBAs that meet global criteria), restricted-range species (25.4%), biome-restricted species (27.5%) and congregatory species (50.3%); many global IBAs (52.7%) trigger two or more of these criteria. IBAs range in size from < 1 km2 to over 300,000 km2 and have an approximately log-normal size distribution (median = 125.0 km2, mean = 1,202.6 km2). They cover approximately 6.7% of the terrestrial, 1.6% of the marine and 3.1% of the total surface area of the Earth. The launch in 2016 of the KBA Global Standard, which aims to identify, document and conserve sites that contribute to the global persistence of wider biodiversity, and whose criteria for site identification build on those developed for IBAs, is a logical evolution of the IBA concept. The role of IBAs in conservation planning, policy and practice is reviewed elsewhere. Future technical priorities for the IBA initiative include completion of the global inventory, particularly in the marine environment, keeping the dataset up to date, and improving the systematic monitoring of these sites.
BirdLife International´s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Programme has identified, documented and mapped over 13,000 sites of international importance for birds. IBAs have been influential with governments, multilateral agreements, businesses and others in: (1) informing governments’ efforts to expand protected area networks (in particular to meet their commitments through the Convention on Biological Diversity); (2) supporting the identification of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the marine realm, (3) identifying Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention; (4) identifying sites of importance for species under the Convention on Migratory Species and its sister agreements; (5) identifying Special Protected Areas under the EU Birds Directive; (6) applying the environmental safeguards of international finance institutions such as the International Finance Corporation; (7) supporting the private sector to manage environmental risk in its operations; and (8) helping donor organisations like the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) to prioritise investment in site-based conservation. The identification of IBAs (and IBAs in Danger: the most threatened of these) has also triggered conservation and management actions at site level, most notably by civil society organisations and local conservation groups. IBA data have therefore been widely used by stakeholders at different levels to help conserve a network of sites essential to maintaining the populations and habitats of birds as well as other biodiversity. The experience of IBA identification and conservation is shaping the design and implementation of the recently launched Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) Partnership and programme, as IBAs form a core part of the KBA network.
In the current study, phage-exposed mimotopes as targets against tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) were selected by means of bio-panning cycles employing sera of TL patients and healthy subjects, besides the immune stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from untreated and treated TL patients and healthy subjects. The clones were evaluated regarding their specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) production in the in vitro cultures, and selectivity and specificity values were calculated, and those presenting the best results were selected for the in vivo experiments. Two clones, namely A4 and A8, were identified and used in immunization protocols from BALB/c mice to protect against Leishmania amazonensis infection. Results showed a polarized Th1 response generated after vaccination, being based on significantly higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); which were associated with lower production of specific IL-4, IL-10 and immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibodies. Vaccinated mice presented significant reductions in the parasite load in the infected tissue and distinct organs, when compared with controls. In conclusion, we presented a strategy to identify new mimotopes able to induce Th1 response in PBMCs from TL patients and healthy subjects, and that were successfully used to protect against L. amazonensis infection.
In this study, a Leishmania hypothetical protein, LiHyS, was evaluated regarding its antigenicity, immunogenicity and protective efficacy against visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Regarding antigenicity, immunoblottings and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using human and canine sera showed high sensitivity and specificity values for the recombinant protein (rLiHyS) in the diagnosis of VL. When evaluating the immunogenicity of LiHyS, which is possibly located in the parasite's flagellar pocket, proliferative assays using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy subjects or VL patients showed a high proliferative index in both individuals, when compared to the results obtained using rA2 or unstimulated cultures. Later, rLiHyS/saponin was inoculated in BALB/c mice, which were then challenged with Leishmania infantum promastigotes. The vaccine induced an interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-12 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor production, which was maintained after infection and which was associated with high nitrite and IgG2a antibody levels, as well as low IL-4 and IL-10 production. Significant reductions in the parasite load in liver, spleen, bone marrow and draining lymph nodes were found in these animals. In this context, the present study shows that the rLiHyS has the capacity to be evaluated as a diagnostic marker or vaccine candidate against VL.
Perinatal maternal high-fat (HF) diet programmes offspring obesity. Obesity is associated with overactivation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in adult subjects, but the role of the ECS in the developmental origins of obesity is mostly unknown. The ECS consists of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors (cannabinoid type-1 receptor (CB1) and cannabinoid type-2 receptor (CB2)) and metabolising enzymes. We hypothesised that perinatal maternal HF diet would alter the ECS in a sex-dependent manner in white and brown adipose tissue of rat offspring at weaning in parallel to obesity development. Female rats received standard diet (9 % energy content from fat) or HF diet (29 % energy content from fat) before mating, during pregnancy and lactation. At weaning, male and female offspring were killed for tissue harvest. Maternal HF diet induced early obesity, white adipocyte hypertrophy and increased lipid accumulation in brown adipose tissue associated with sex-specific changes of the ECS’s components in weanling rats. In male pups, maternal HF diet decreased CB1 and CB2 protein in subcutaneous adipose tissue. In female pups, maternal HF diet increased visceral and decreased subcutaneous CB1. In brown adipose tissue, maternal HF diet increased CB1 regardless of pup sex. In addition, maternal HF diet differentially changed oestrogen receptor across the adipose depots in male and female pups. The ECS and oestrogen signalling play an important role in lipogenesis, adipogenesis and thermogenesis, and we observed early changes in their targets in adipose depots of the offspring. The present findings provide insights into the involvement of the ECS in the developmental origins of metabolic disease induced by inadequate maternal nutrition in early life.
Triclopyr is a synthetic auxin herbicide currently available as a triethylamine salt, butoxyethyl ester, pyridinyloxyacetic acid, or choline salt. The formulation of a herbicide has the potential to impact its activity; therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the relative activity of these four triclopyr formulations. Greenhouse dose–response studies were conducted twice at the University of Florida in 2015. The four formulations were foliar applied at rates ranging from 17 to 1,121 g ae ha−1 to 2- to 3-leaf soybean, sunflower, tomato, and cotton. The amine salt formulation provided the lowest ED50 values in tomato and sunflower (22.87 and 60.39 g ha−1, respectively); whereas in soybean, amine and choline formulations provided the lowest ED50 values (22.56 and 20.95 g ha−1, respectively). No differences between formulations were observed in cotton. These data suggest that (1) the amine salt formulation of triclopyr might be more active than the others on tomato and sunflower, and (2) the amine and choline salt formulations might be more active than the others on soybean. Further work must be conducted to determine whether there are differences among these formulations under a range of field conditions and target species. In addition, other important management factors such as applicator safety, volatility potential, and cost should be considered when choosing the best formulated product to be applied.
Two separate experiments were conducted in 2015 and 2016 in Citra, FL to investigate the effects of preplant application timing of 2,4-D and dicamba on sesame stand and yield. Nonlinear regression analysis was performed to determine the application timing that caused 10% stand or yield reduction (GR10) compared to the nontreated control (NTC) and expressed as d before planting (DBP; longer intervals indicate more injury). Likewise, regression analysis was used to determine sesame stand that resulted in 10% yield reduction (YR10) expressed as plants m−1 row. Stand measured 3 wk after planting (WAP) revealed 2,4-D applied at 0.53 kg ae ha−1 to be the least injurious treatment to sesame stand (GR10=6.4 DBP). Conversely, dicamba at 1.12 kg ha−1 produced a GR10 of 15.7 DBP for sesame stand at 3 WAP. 2,4-D applied at 0.53 and 1.06 kg ha−1 and dicamba applied at 0.56 kg ha−1 had the lowest GR10 for yield of 2, 3.7, and 3 DBP, respectively. Dicamba applied at 1.12 kg ha−1 proved to be the most injurious treatment to yield, which produced a GR10 value of 10.3 DBP. To simulate possible stand losses associated with dicamba or 2,4-D and the subsequent effect on yield, a separate experiment was conducted in which sesame was thinned to various plant densities and yield was recorded to determine the relationship between plant stand and seed yield. The regression analysis of these data was then compared to that of the experiment treated with 2,4-D and dicamba to separate any physiological effects of the herbicides that would lead to yield reduction from yield effects due to stand loss only. Rate constants were compared and no statistical differences were detected between herbicide and non-herbicide treatments, suggesting that yield reductions that occur from preplant applications of 2,4-D and dicamba were purely due to stand reductions.
Lithotripsy methods show relatively low efficiency in the fragmentation of sialoliths compared with the success rates achieved in the destruction of renal calculi. However, the information available on the mechanical behavior of sialoliths is limited and their apparently tougher response is not fully understood. This work evaluates the hardness and Young’s modulus of sialoliths at different scales and analyzes specific damage patterns induced in these calcified structures by ultrasonic vibrations, pneumoballistic impacts, shock waves, and laser ablation. A clear correlation between local mechanical properties and ultrastructure/chemistry has been established: sialoliths are composite materials consisting of hard and soft components of mineralized and organic nature, respectively. Ultrasonic and pneumoballistic reverberations damage preferentially highly mineralized regions, leaving relatively unaffected the surrounding organic matter. In contrast, shock waves leach the organic component and lead to erosion of the overall structure. Laser ablation destroys homogeneously the irradiated zones regardless of the mineralized/organic nature of the underlying ultrastructure; however, damage is less extensive than with mechanical methods. Overall, the present results show that composition and internal structure are key features behind sialoliths’ comminution behavior and that the organic matter contributes to reduce the therapeutic efficiency of lithotripsy methods.
The Laboratory for Intense Lasers (L2I) is a research centre in optics and lasers dedicated to experimental research in high intensity laser science and technology and laser plasma interaction. Currently the laboratory is undergoing an upgrade with the goal of increasing the versatility of the laser systems available to the users, as well as increasing the pulse repetition rate. In this paper we review the current status of the laser research and development programme of this facility, namely the upgraded capability and the recent progress towards the installation of an ultrashort, diode-pumped OPCPA laser system.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of dietary lysine on performance, protein deposition and respiratory chain gene expression in male broilers. A total of 252 Cobb 500 broilers were distributed, in a completely randomized design, into four treatments with seven replicates of nine birds per experimental unit. Experimental treatments consisted of diets based on corn and soybean meal, with four levels of digestible lysine: 1.016%, 1.099%, 1.182% and 1.265%. The increase in the level of digestible lysine in the diet provided higher weight gains, feed efficiency and body protein deposition. Birds fed the lowest level of dietary lysine (1.016%) showed a lower expression of genes such as NADH dehydrogenase subunit I (ND1), cytochrome b (CYTB) and cytochrome c oxidase subunits I (COX I), II (COX II) and III (COX III), displaying the worst performance and body protein deposition. This demonstrates the relationship existing between the expression of the evaluated genes and the performance responses. In conclusion, results indicate that broilers fed diets with higher levels of digestible lysine have increased messenger RNA expression of some genes coded in the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ND1, CYTB, COX I, COX II and COX III). It may be stated that diets with proper levels of digestible lysine, within the ‘ideal protein’ concept, promote the expression of genes, which increases the mitochondrial energy, thereby fostering body protein deposition and the performance of broilers in the starter phase.
To characterize meal patterns across ten European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) calibration study.
Cross-sectional study utilizing dietary data collected through a standardized 24 h diet recall during 1995–2000. Eleven predefined intake occasions across a 24 h period were assessed during the interview. In the present descriptive report, meal patterns were analysed in terms of daily number of intake occasions, the proportion reporting each intake occasion and the energy contributions from each intake occasion.
Twenty-seven centres across ten European countries.
Women (64 %) and men (36 %) aged 35–74 years (n 36 020).
Pronounced differences in meal patterns emerged both across centres within the same country and across different countries, with a trend for fewer intake occasions per day in Mediterranean countries compared with central and northern Europe. Differences were also found for daily energy intake provided by lunch, with 38–43 % for women and 41–45 % for men within Mediterranean countries compared with 16–27 % for women and 20–26 % for men in central and northern European countries. Likewise, a south–north gradient was found for daily energy intake from snacks, with 13–20 % (women) and 10–17 % (men) in Mediterranean countries compared with 24–34 % (women) and 23–35 % (men) in central/northern Europe.
We found distinct differences in meal patterns with marked diversity for intake frequency and lunch and snack consumption between Mediterranean and central/northern European countries. Monitoring of meal patterns across various cultures and populations could provide critical context to the research efforts to characterize relationships between dietary intake and health.
AMS radiocarbon and OSL dating, and profiling were used to directly delimit periods of variscite production at Pico Centeno Mine 2. These results were integrated with analysis of other well-dated periods of variscite production to establish an Iberian-wide chronological framework. Variscite production at Pico Centeno Mine 2 began at ~ 5200 BC, coincident with alpine jade production or Casa Montero Iberian flint production. Variscite was only used occasionally, together with other greenstones, during the 5th and 6th millennia BC. During the 4th millennium BC, variscite use began to increase to its apogee in the first half of 3rd millennium BC when it appeared in nearly every Iberian burial site. This increase in variscite production and use coincided with decline in the popularity of alpine jade. By the end of the 3rd millennium BC, new resources began to be valued such as Asian and African Ivory, Baltic and Sicilian amber, and copper-based metal products. The variscite cycle thus started with the decline of jade in the 5th–4th millennium BC, and ended with the appearance of copper, ivory and extra-peninsular amber by the end of the 3rd millennium BC.