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The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
Stratigraphic records extending to Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 (57,000–29,000 cal yr BP) or older in Beringia are extremely rare. Three stratigraphic sections in interior western Alaska show near continuous sedimentological and environmental progressions extending from at least MIS 3, if not older, through MIS 1 (14,000 cal yr BP–present). The Kolmakof, Sue Creek, and VABM (vertical angle bench mark) Kuskokwim sections along the central Kuskokwim River, once a highland landscape at the fringe of central and eastern Beringia, contain aeolian deposition and soil sequences dating beyond 50,000 14C yr BP. Thick peaty soil, shallow lacustrine, and tephra deposits represent the MIS 3 interstade (or older). Sand sheet and loess deposits, wedge cast development, and very thin soil development mark the later MIS 3 period and the transition into the MIS 2 stade (29,000–14,000 cal yr BP). Loess accumulation with thicker soil development occurred between ~16,000–13,500 cal yr BP at the MIS 2 and MIS 1 transition. After ~13,500 cal yr BP, loess accumulation waned and peat development increased throughout MIS 1. These stratigraphic sequences represent transitions between a warm and moist period during MIS 3, to a cooler and more arid period during MIS 2, then a return to warmer and moister climates in MIS 1.
Background: There is an unmet need for blood-based biomarkers that can reliably detect MS disease activity. Serum Biomarkers of interest includ Neurofilament-light-chain (NfL), Glial-fibrillary-strocyte-protein(GFAP) and Tau. Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) is reserved for aggressive forms of MS and has been shown to halt detectable CNS inflammatory activity for prolonged periods. Significant pre-treatment tissue damage at followed by inflammatory disease abeyance should be reflected longitudinal sera collected from these patients. Methods: Sera were collected from 23 MS patients pre-treatment, and following BMT at 3, 6, 9 and 12-months in addition from 33 non-inflammatory neurological controls. Biomarker quantification was performed with SiMoA. Results: Pre-AHSCT levels of serum NfL and GFAP but not Tau were elevated compared to controls (p=0.0001), and NfL correlated with lesion-based disease activity (6-month-relapse, MRI-T2 and Gadolinium-enhancement). 3-months post-treatment, while NfL levels remained elevated, Tau/GFAP paradoxically increased (p=0.0023/0.0017). These increases at 3m correlated with MRI ‘pseudoatrophy’ at 6-months. NfL/Tau levels dropped to that of controls by 6-months (p=0.0036/0.0159). GFAP levels dropped progressively after 6-months although even at 12-months remained higher than controls (p=0.004). Conclusions: NfL was the closest correlate of MS disease activity and treatment response. Chemotherapy-related toxicity may account for transient increases in NfL, Tau and MRI brain atrophy post-BMT.
Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of vector-borne disease (VBD) in pets is one cornerstone of companion animal practices. Veterinarians are facing new challenges associated with the emergence, reemergence, and rising incidence of VBD, including heartworm disease, Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. Increases in the observed prevalence of these diseases have been attributed to a multitude of factors, including diagnostic tests with improved sensitivity, expanded annual testing practices, climatologic and ecological changes enhancing vector survival and expansion, emergence or recognition of novel pathogens, and increased movement of pets as travel companions. Veterinarians have the additional responsibility of providing information about zoonotic pathogen transmission from pets, especially to vulnerable human populations: the immunocompromised, children, and the elderly. Hindering efforts to protect pets and people is the dynamic and ever-changing nature of VBD prevalence and distribution. To address this deficit in understanding, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) began efforts to annually forecast VBD prevalence in 2011. These forecasts provide veterinarians and pet owners with expected disease prevalence in advance of potential changes. This review summarizes the fidelity of VBD forecasts and illustrates the practical use of CAPC pathogen prevalence maps and forecast data in the practice of veterinary medicine and client education.
Trace minerals have important roles in immune function and oxidative metabolism; however, little is known about the relationships between supplementation level and source with outcomes in dairy cattle. Multiparous Holstein cows (n=48) beginning at 60 to 140 days in milk were utilized to determine the effects of trace mineral amount and source on aspects of oxidative metabolism and responses to intramammary lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge. Cows were fed a basal diet meeting National Research Council (NRC) requirements except for no added zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) or manganese (Mn). After a 4-week preliminary period, cows were assigned to one of four topdress treatments in a randomized complete block design with a 2×2 factorial arrangement of treatments: (1) NRC inorganic (NRC levels using inorganic (sulfate-based) trace mineral supplements only); (2) NRC organic (NRC levels using organic trace mineral supplements (metals chelated to 2-hydroxy-4-(methythio)-butanoic acid); (3) commercial inorganic (approximately 2×NRC levels using inorganic trace mineral supplements only; and (4) commercial organic (commercial levels using organic trace mineral supplements only). Cows were fed the respective mineral treatments for 6 weeks. Treatment effects were level, source and their interaction. Activities of super oxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase in erythrocyte lysate and concentrations of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) in plasma were measured as indices of oxidative metabolism. Effects of treatment on those indices were not significant when evaluated across the entire experimental period. Plasma immunoglobulin G level was higher in cows supplemented with organic trace minerals over the entire treatment period; responses assessed as differences of before and after Escherichia coli J5 bacterin vaccination at the end of week 2 of treatment period were not significant. Cows were administered an intramammary LPS challenge during week 5; during week 6 cows fed commercial levels of Zn, Cu and Mn tended to have higher plasma TAC and cows fed organic sources had decreased plasma TBARS. After the LPS challenge, the extent and pattern of response of plasma cortisol concentrations and clinical indices (rectal temperature and heart rate) were not affected by trace mineral level and source. Productive performance including dry matter intake and milk yield and composition were not affected by treatment. Overall, results suggest that the varying level and source of dietary trace minerals do not have significant short-term effects on oxidative metabolism indices and clinical responses to intramammary LPS challenge in midlactation cows.
What does queer mean? And how does identifying as queer affect one’s day-to-day life in the arena of materials science and engineering (MSE)? Although when I was growing up, “queer” was treated as an offensive term, queer has been adopted by a growing number of folks who do not conform to traditional societal conventions.1 This encompasses lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, non-binary, intersex, asexual or other broadly related groups (LGBTQ+), and any similarly aligned subpopulations of humanity that can be broadly defined as gender and sexual minorities (GSM).2–4 Identity is an important attribute that has been tied to the effectiveness of efforts to broaden participation in science5 and engineering.6,7 Identity is important because our sense of self is derived from others, as are the social constructs that establish hierarchies on what is desirable or normal.8 If we associate success in a particular career path with a particular identity (e.g., heterosexual, cis-gender, white male), and our identity is other than that, we may carry an extra burden in achieving success in that career path.9 And, as we all have multiple identities (race, ethnicity, gender, religion) based upon various aspects of our backgrounds, it is evident that personal identities that coincide with the norms of a particular professional role are the easiest. The impacts of identity on self-efficacy are inherent to both imposter syndrome10 and stereotype threat.11
We present techniques developed to calibrate and correct Murchison Widefield Array low-frequency (72–300 MHz) radio observations for polarimetry. The extremely wide field-of-view, excellent instantaneous (u, v)-coverage and sensitivity to degree-scale structure that the Murchison Widefield Array provides enable instrumental calibration, removal of instrumental artefacts, and correction for ionospheric Faraday rotation through imaging techniques. With the demonstrated polarimetric capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array, we discuss future directions for polarimetric science at low frequencies to answer outstanding questions relating to polarised source counts, source depolarisation, pulsar science, low-mass stars, exoplanets, the nature of the interstellar and intergalactic media, and the solar environment.
Cover crops are known to promote many aspects of soil and water quality, yet estimates find that in 2012 only 2.3% of the total agricultural lands in the Midwestern USA were using cover crops. Focus groups were conducted across the Corn Belt state of Iowa to better understand how farmers confront barriers to cover crop adoption in highly intensive agricultural production systems. Although much prior research has focused on analyzing factors that help predict cover crop use on farms, there is limited research on how farmers navigate and overcome field-level (e.g. proper planting of a cover crop) and structural barriers (e.g. market forces) associated with the use of cover crops. The results from the analysis of these conversations suggest that there is a complex dialectical relationship between farmers' individual management decisions and the broader agricultural context in the region that constrains their decisions. Farmers in these focus groups shared how they navigate complex management decisions within a generally homogenized agricultural and economic landscape that makes cover crop integration challenging. Many who joined the focus groups have found ways to overcome barriers and successfully integrate cover crops into their cropping systems. This is illustrated through farmers' descriptions of their ‘whole system’ approach to cover crops management, where they described how they prioritize the success of their cover crops by focusing on multiple aspects of management, including changes they have made to nutrient application and modifications to equipment. These producers also engage with farmer networks to gain strategies for overcoming management challenges associated with cover crops. Although many participants had successfully planted cover crops, they tended to believe that greater economic incentives and/or more diverse crop and livestock markets would be needed to spur more widespread adoption of the practice. Our results further illustrate how structural and field-level barriers constrain individual actions, as it is not simply the basic agronomic considerations (such as seeding and terminating cover crops) that pose a challenge to their use, but also the broader economic and market drivers that exist in agriculturally intensive systems. Our study provides evidence that reducing structural barriers to adoption may be necessary to increase the use of this conservation practice to reduce environmental impacts associated with intensive agricultural production.
Exposure to environmental chemicals has adverse effects on the health and survival of humans. Emerging evidence supports the idea that exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) can perturb an individual’s physiological set point and as a result increase his/her propensity toward several diseases. The purpose of this review is to provide an update on di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, the primary plasticizer found in plastic medical devices used in neonatal intensive care units, its effects on the fetus and newborn, epidemiological studies, pharmacokinetics, toxicity and epigenetic implications. We searched the PubMed databases to identify relevant studies. Phthalates are known EDCs that primarily are used to improve the flexibility of polyvinyl chloride plastic products and are called plasticizers in lay terms. Neonates and infants are particularly vulnerable to the effects of phthalates, beginning with maternal exposure and placental transfer during gestation and during infancy following birth. In line with the developmental origins of adult disease, a focus on the effects of environmental chemicals in utero or early childhood on the genesis of adult diseases through epigenome modulation is timely and important. The epigenetic effects of phthalates have not been fully elucidated, but accumulating evidence suggests that they may be associated with adverse health effects, some of which may be heritable. Phthalate exposure during pregnancy and the perinatal period is particularly worrisome in health-care settings. Although the clinical significance of phthalate exposure has been difficult to assess with epidemiologic studies, the evidence that physiological changes occur due to exposure to phthalates is growing and points toward the need for more investigation at a molecular, specifically epigenetic level.
We have compiled a catalogue of H ii regions detected with the Murchison Widefield Array between 72 and 231 MHz. The multiple frequency bands provided by the Murchison Widefield Array allow us identify the characteristic spectrum generated by the thermal Bremsstrahlung process in H ii regions. We detect 306 H ii regions between 260° < l < 340° and report on the positions, sizes, peak, integrated flux density, and spectral indices of these H ii regions. By identifying the point at which H ii regions transition from the optically thin to thick regime, we derive the physical properties including the electron density, ionised gas mass, and ionising photon flux, towards 61 H ii regions. This catalogue of H ii regions represents the most extensive and uniform low frequency survey of H ii regions in the Galaxy to date.
Premunition is the state in a disease where an existing infection protects the host from reinfection with the same species. The cause of premunition is not clearly understood. In this study, we hypothesized that kin-selection might be a contributing factor in premunition. To test this theory, sheep were infected either once with a linguiform or smooth vulval morphotype of Haemonchos contortus, twice with the same morphotype or twice with different morphotypes. All infections resulted in a similar number of adult parasites. However, there were differences in the morphotypes recovered providing potential evidence of kin selection. Negative interference competition might also contribute to the reduction of the incoming population. Allelopathic or physical interactions between the parasites may be the mechanism behind the observed phenomena.
We compare first-order (refractive) ionospheric effects seen by the MWA with the ionosphere as inferred from GPS data. The first-order ionosphere manifests itself as a bulk position shift of the observed sources across an MWA field of view. These effects can be computed from global ionosphere maps provided by GPS analysis centres, namely the CODE. However, for precision radio astronomy applications, data from local GPS networks needs to be incorporated into ionospheric modelling. For GPS observations, the ionospheric parameters are biased by GPS receiver instrument delays, among other effects, also known as receiver DCBs. The receiver DCBs need to be estimated for any non-CODE GPS station used for ionosphere modelling. In this work, single GPS station-based ionospheric modelling is performed at a time resolution of 10 min. Also the receiver DCBs are estimated for selected Geoscience Australia GPS receivers, located at Murchison Radio Observatory, Yarragadee, Mount Magnet and Wiluna. The ionospheric gradients estimated from GPS are compared with that inferred from MWA. The ionospheric gradients at all the GPS stations show a correlation with the gradients observed with the MWA. The ionosphere estimates obtained using GPS measurements show promise in terms of providing calibration information for the MWA.
GLEAM, the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA survey, is a survey of the entire radio sky south of declination + 25° at frequencies between 72 and 231 MHz, made with the MWA using a drift scan method that makes efficient use of the MWA’s very large field-of-view. We present the observation details, imaging strategies, and theoretical sensitivity for GLEAM. The survey ran for two years, the first year using 40-kHz frequency resolution and 0.5-s time resolution; the second year using 10-kHz frequency resolution and 2 s time resolution. The resulting image resolution and sensitivity depends on observing frequency, sky pointing, and image weighting scheme. At 154 MHz, the image resolution is approximately 2.5 × 2.2/cos (δ + 26.7°) arcmin with sensitivity to structures up to ~ 10° in angular size. We provide tables to calculate the expected thermal noise for GLEAM mosaics depending on pointing and frequency and discuss limitations to achieving theoretical noise in Stokes I images. We discuss challenges, and their solutions, that arise for GLEAM including ionospheric effects on source positions and linearly polarised emission, and the instrumental polarisation effects inherent to the MWA’s primary beam.
The Murchison Widefield Array is a Square Kilometre Array Precursor. The telescope is located at the Murchison Radio–astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The MWA consists of 4 096 dipoles arranged into 128 dual polarisation aperture arrays forming a connected element interferometer that cross-correlates signals from all 256 inputs. A hybrid approach to the correlation task is employed, with some processing stages being performed by bespoke hardware, based on Field Programmable Gate Arrays, and others by Graphics Processing Units housed in general purpose rack mounted servers. The correlation capability required is approximately 8 tera floating point operations per second. The MWA has commenced operations and the correlator is generating 8.3 TB day−1 of correlation products, that are subsequently transferred 700 km from the MRO to Perth (WA) in real-time for storage and offline processing. In this paper, we outline the correlator design, signal path, and processing elements and present the data format for the internal and external interfaces.
The Murchison Widefield Array is a new low-frequency interferometric radio telescope built in Western Australia at one of the locations of the future Square Kilometre Array. We describe the automated radio-frequency interference detection strategy implemented for the Murchison Widefield Array, which is based on the aoflagger platform, and present 72–231 MHz radio-frequency interference statistics from 10 observing nights. Radio-frequency interference detection removes 1.1% of the data. Radio-frequency interference from digital TV is observed 3% of the time due to occasional ionospheric or atmospheric propagation. After radio-frequency interference detection and excision, almost all data can be calibrated and imaged without further radio-frequency interference mitigation efforts, including observations within the FM and digital TV bands. The results are compared to a previously published Low-Frequency Array radio-frequency interference survey. The remote location of the Murchison Widefield Array results in a substantially cleaner radio-frequency interference environment compared to Low-Frequency Array’s radio environment, but adequate detection of radio-frequency interference is still required before data can be analysed. We include specific recommendations designed to make the Square Kilometre Array more robust to radio-frequency interference, including: the availability of sufficient computing power for radio-frequency interference detection; accounting for radio-frequency interference in the receiver design; a smooth band-pass response; and the capability of radio-frequency interference detection at high time and frequency resolution (second and kHz-scale respectively).
The science cases for incorporating high time resolution capabilities into modern radio telescopes are as numerous as they are compelling. Science targets range from exotic sources such as pulsars, to our Sun, to recently detected possible extragalactic bursts of radio emission, the so-called fast radio bursts (FRBs). Originally conceived purely as an imaging telescope, the initial design of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) did not include the ability to access high time and frequency resolution voltage data. However, the flexibility of the MWA’s software correlator allowed an off-the-shelf solution for adding this capability. This paper describes the system that records the 100 μs and 10 kHz resolution voltage data from the MWA. Example science applications, where this capability is critical, are presented, as well as accompanying commissioning results from this mode to demonstrate verification.
We present the results of an approximately 6 100 deg2 104–196 MHz radio sky survey performed with the Murchison Widefield Array during instrument commissioning between 2012 September and 2012 December: the MWACS. The data were taken as meridian drift scans with two different 32-antenna sub-arrays that were available during the commissioning period. The survey covers approximately 20.5 h < RA < 8.5 h, − 58° < Dec < −14°over three frequency bands centred on 119, 150 and 180 MHz, with image resolutions of 6–3 arcmin. The catalogue has 3 arcmin angular resolution and a typical noise level of 40 mJy beam− 1, with reduced sensitivity near the field boundaries and bright sources. We describe the data reduction strategy, based upon mosaicked snapshots, flux density calibration, and source-finding method. We present a catalogue of flux density and spectral index measurements for 14 110 sources, extracted from the mosaic, 1 247 of which are sub-components of complexes of sources.