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Both blood- and milk-based biomarkers have been analysed for decades in research settings, although often only in one herd, and without focus on the variation in the biomarkers that are specifically related to herd or diet. Biomarkers can be used to detect physiological imbalance and disease risk and may have a role in precision livestock farming (PLF). For use in PLF, it is important to quantify normal variation in specific biomarkers and the source of this variation. The objective of this study was to estimate the between- and within-herd variation in a number of blood metabolites (β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), non-esterified fatty acids, glucose and serum IGF-1), milk metabolites (free glucose, glucose-6-phosphate, urea, isocitrate, BHB and uric acid), milk enzymes (lactate dehydrogenase and N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAGase)) and composite indicators for metabolic imbalances (Physiological Imbalance-index and energy balance), to help facilitate their adoption within PLF. Blood and milk were sampled from 234 Holstein dairy cows from 6 experimental herds, each in a different European country, and offered a total of 10 different diets. Blood was sampled on 2 occasions at approximately 14 days-in-milk (DIM) and 35 DIM. Milk samples were collected twice weekly (in total 2750 samples) from DIM 1 to 50. Multilevel random regression models were used to estimate the variance components and to calculate the intraclass correlations (ICCs). The ICCs for the milk metabolites, when adjusted for parity and DIM at sampling, demonstrated that between 12% (glucose-6-phosphate) and 46% (urea) of the variation in the metabolites’ levels could be associated with the herd-diet combination. Intraclass Correlations related to the herd-diet combination were generally higher for blood metabolites, from 17% (cholesterol) to approximately 46% (BHB and urea). The high ICCs for urea suggest that this biomarker can be used for monitoring on herd level. The low variance within cow for NAGase indicates that few samples would be needed to describe the status and potentially a general reference value could be used. The low ICC for most of the biomarkers and larger within cow variation emphasises that multiple samples would be needed - most likely on the individual cows - for making the biomarkers useful for monitoring. The majority of biomarkers were influenced by parity and DIM which indicate that these should be accounted for if the biomarker should be used for monitoring.
The main purpose of this study was to find several early factors affecting stayability in rabbit females. To reach this goal, 203 females were used from their first artificial insemination to their sixth parturition. Throughout that period, 48 traits were recorded, considered to be performance, metabolic and immunological indicators. These traits were initially recorded in females’ first reproductive cycle. Later, removed females due to death or culling and those that were non-removed were identified. A first analysis was used to explore whether it was possible to classify females between those reaching and those not reaching up to the mean lifespan of a rabbit female (the fifth reproductive) cycle using information from the first reproductive cycle. The analysis results showed that 97% of the non-removed females were classified correctly, whereas only 60% of the removed females were classified as animals to be removed. The reason for this difference lies in the model’s characteristics, which was designed using early traits and was able to classify only the cases in which females would be removed due to performance, metabolic or immunologic imbalances in their early lives. Our results suggest that the model defines the necessary conditions, but not the sufficient ones, for females to remain alive in the herd. The aim of a second analysis was to find out the main early differences between the non-removed and removed females. The live weights records taken in the first cycle indicated that the females removed in their first cycle were lighter, while those removed in their second cycle were heavier with longer stayability (−203 and +202 g on average, respectively; P < 0.05). Non-removed females showed higher glucose and lower beta-hydroxybutyrate concentrations in the first cycle than the removed females (+4.8 and −10.7%, respectively; P < 0.05). The average lymphocytes B counts in the first cycle were 22.7% higher in the non-removed females group (P < 0.05). The females removed in the first reproductive cycle presented a higher granulocytes/lymphocytes ratio in this cycle than those that at least reached the second cycle (4.81 v. 1.66; P < 0.001). Consequently, non-removed females at sixth parturition offered adequate body development and energy levels, less immunological stress and a more mature immune function in the first reproductive cycle. The females that deviated from this pattern were at higher risk of being removed from the herd.
Economic pressures continue to mount on modern-day livestock farmers, forcing them to increase herds sizes in order to be commercially viable. The natural consequence of this is to drive the farmer and the animal further apart. However, closer attention to the animal not only positively impacts animal welfare and health but can also increase the capacity of the farmer to achieve a more sustainable production. State-of-the-art precision livestock farming (PLF) technology is one such means of bringing the animals closer to the farmer in the facing of expanding systems. Contrary to some current opinions, it can offer an alternative philosophy to ‘farming by numbers’. This review addresses the key technology-oriented approaches to monitor animals and demonstrates how image and sound analyses can be used to build ‘digital representations’ of animals by giving an overview of some of the core concepts of PLF tool development and value discovery during PLF implementation. The key to developing such a representation is by measuring important behaviours and events in the livestock buildings. The application of image and sound can realise more advanced applications and has enormous potential in the industry. In the end, the importance lies in the accuracy of the developed PLF applications in the commercial farming system as this will also make the farmer embrace the technological development and ensure progress within the PLF field in favour of the livestock animals and their well-being.
Analysis of human remains and a copper band found in the center of a Late Archaic (ca. 5000–3000 cal BP) shell ring demonstrate an exchange network between the Great Lakes and the coastal southeast United States. Similarities in mortuary practices suggest that the movement of objects between these two regions was more direct and unmediated than archaeologists previously assumed based on “down-the-line” models of exchange. These findings challenge prevalent notions that view preagricultural Native American communities as relatively isolated from one another and suggest instead that wide social networks spanned much of North America thousands of years before the advent of domestication.
Subglacial tills play an important role in glacier dynamics but are difficult to characterize in situ. Amplitude Variation with Angle (AVA) analysis of seismic reflection data can distinguish between stiff tills and deformable tills. However, AVA analysis in mountain glacier environments can be problematic: reflections can be obscured by Rayleigh wave energy scattered from crevasses, and complex basal topography can impede the location of reflection points in 2-D acquisitions. We use a forward model to produce challenging synthetic seismic records in order to test the efficacy of AVA in crevassed and geometrically complex environments. We find that we can distinguish subglacial till types in moderately crevassed environments, where ‘moderate’ depends on crevasse spacing and orientation. The forward model serves as a planning tool, as it can predict AVA success or failure based on characteristics of the study glacier. Applying lessons from the forward model, we perform AVA on a seismic dataset collected from Taku Glacier in Southeast Alaska in March 2016. Taku Glacier is a valley glacier thought to overlay thick sediment deposits. A near-offset polarity reversal confirms that the tills are deformable.
Improving milk nitrogen efficiency through a reduction of CP supply without detrimental effect on productivity requires usage of feeding systems estimating both the flows of digestible protein, the exported true proteins and from these predict milk protein yield (MPY). Five feeding systems were compared in their ability to predict MPY v. observed MPY in two studies where either protein supply or protein and energy supply were changed. The five feedings systems were: Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System (v6.5.5), Dutch protein evaluation system (1991 and 2007), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in France (INRA), National Research Council and NorFor. The key characteristic of the systems with the best predicted MPY was the inclusion of a variable efficiency of utilisation of protein supply taking into account the supply of both protein and energy. The systems still using a fixed efficiency had the highest slope bias in their prediction of MPY. Therefore, the development of new feeding systems or improvement of existing systems should include a variable efficiency of utilisation of the protein related to both the protein and energy supply. The limitation of the current comparison did not allow determining if additional factors, as used in INRA, were beneficial. This concept should also probably be transferred to essential amino acids.
This paper addresses the question of whether, according to Plato, there are forms of sensible qualities; it is also addressed to the wider question of whether there are forms of physical and material things more generally. In particular, it considers the tension raised by the following theses: (1) a Platonic form is the essence of some thing; (2) for Plato those essences that are forms are imperceptible and are knowable through reasoning alone; (3) knowing the essence of a particular color (e.g., red) requires presentation with the relevant perceptible quality and hence requires sense perception; and (4) if a sense perceptible quality has an essence, then that essence is a form. The solution I defend to this puzzle basically consists of accepting theses (1) through (3) but denying thesis (4). Sensible qualities, according to Plato, do have essences, but specifying their essences does not require that one postulate a separate form.
A unique class of intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells in mammalian retinae has been recently discovered and characterized. These neurons can generate visual signals in the absence of inputs from rods and cones, the conventional photoreceptors in the visual system. These light sensitive ganglion cells (mRGCs) express the non-rod, non-cone photopigment melanopsin and play well documented roles in modulating pupil responses to light, photoentrainment of circadian rhythms, mood, sleep and other adaptive light functions. While most research efforts in mammals have focused on mRGCs in retina, recent studies reveal that melanopsin is expressed in non-retinal tissues. For example, light-evoked melanopsin activation in extra retinal tissue regulates pupil constriction in the iris and vasodilation in the vasculature of the heart and tail. As another example of nonretinal melanopsin expression we report here the previously unrecognized localization of this photopigment in nerve fibers within the cornea. Surprisingly, we were unable to detect light responses in the melanopsin-expressing corneal fibers in spite of our histological evidence based on genetically driven markers and antibody staining. We tested further for melanopsin localization in cell bodies of the trigeminal ganglia (TG), the principal nuclei of the peripheral nervous system that project sensory fibers to the cornea, and found expression of melanopsin mRNA in a subset of TG neurons. However, neither electrophysiological recordings nor calcium imaging revealed any light responsiveness in the melanopsin positive TG neurons. Given that we found no light-evoked activation of melanopsin-expressing fibers in cornea or in cell bodies in the TG, we propose that melanopsin protein might serve other sensory functions in the cornea. One justification for this idea is that melanopsin expressed in Drosophila photoreceptors can serve as a temperature sensor.
The time at which the Laurentide Ice Sheet reached its maximum extent and subsequently retreated from its terminal moraine in New Jersey has been constrained by bracketing radiocarbon ages on preglacial and postglacial sediments. Here, we present measurements of in situ produced 10Be and 26Al in 16 quartz-bearing samples collected from bedrock outcrops and glacial erratics just north of the terminal moraine in north-central New Jersey; as such, our ages represent a minimum limit on the timing of ice recession from the moraine. The data set includes field and laboratory replicates, as well as replication of the entire data set five years after initial measurement. We find that recession of the Laurentide Ice Sheet from the terminal moraine in New Jersey began before 25.2±2.1 ka (10Be, n=16, average, 1 standard deviation). This cosmogenic nuclide exposure age is consistent with existing limiting radiocarbon ages in the study area and cosmogenic nuclide exposure ages from the terminal moraine on Martha’s Vineyard ~300 km to the northeast. The age we propose for Laurentide Ice Sheet retreat from the New Jersey terminal position is broadly consistent with regional and global climate records of the last glacial maximum termination and records of fluvial incision.
Medical and educational partnerships between high- and low-resourced countries provide opportunities to have a long-term meaningful impact on medical training and healthcare delivery.
An otolaryngology partnership between Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana, and the University of Michigan Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery has been undertaken to enhance healthcare delivery at both institutions.
A temporal bone dissection laboratory, with the equipment to perform dedicated otological surgery, and academic platforms for clinical and medical education and residency training have been established.
This article describes the details of this partnership in otological surgery and hearing health, with an emphasis on creating in-country surgical simulation, training on newly acquired medical equipment and planning regarding the formulation of objectified metrics to gauge progress going forward.
Psychosocial therapy after deliberate self-harm might be associated with reduced risk of specific causes of death.
In this matched cohort study, we included patients, who after an episode of deliberate self-harm received psychosocial therapy at a Suicide Prevention Clinic in Denmark between 1992 and 2010. We used propensity score matching in a 1:3 ratio to select a comparison group from 59 046 individuals who received standard care. National Danish registers supplied data on specific causes of death over a 20-year follow-up period.
At the end of follow-up, 391 (6.9%) of 5678 patients in the psychosocial therapy group had died, compared with 1736 (10.2%) of 17 034 patients in the matched comparison group. Lower odds ratios of dying by mental or behavioural disorders [0.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.37–0.79], alcohol-related causes (0.63, 95% CI 0.50–0.80) and other diseases and medical conditions (0.61, 95% CI 0.49–0.77) were noted in the psychosocial therapy group. Also, we found a reduced risk of dying by suicide as well as other external causes, however, not by neoplasms and circulatory system diseases. Numbers needed to treat were 212.9 (95% CI 139.5–448.4) for mental or behavioural disorders as a cause of death, 111.1 (95% CI 79.2–210.5) for alcohol-related causes and 96.8 (95% CI 69.1–161.8) for other diseases and medical conditions.
Our findings indicate that psychosocial therapy after deliberate self-harm might reduce long-term risk of death from select medical conditions and external causes. These promising results should be tested in a randomized design.
The Hanson Formation, Antarctica, consists of interbedded sandstones and tuffaceous rocks of Early Jurassic age. The sandstones, pebbly to medium-grained, range between quartzo-feldspathic and volcaniclastic, with some of the former being coarse-grained arkoses that imply proximal sources. Geochronology of detrital zircons provides evidence for source rock ages, whereas sandstone petrology demonstrates a mixed provenance. Tuffaceous strata are reworked fine to very fine-grained tuffs resulting from distal Plinian eruptions. Dated tuffs provide time constraints on the duration of volcanism. The sandstones and tuffs accumulated in a rift environment. Geochemically the tuffs are rhyolitic in composition, and the Sr and Nd isotope data together with the patterns on multi-element diagrams suggest they were derived from a volcanic arc, which is interpreted to have been located along the West Antarctic Gondwana margin. The silicic volcanism extends the distribution and timing of magmatism in the Early Jurassic along that margin. The Early Jurassic extensional regime was delimited by the plate margin region and the East Antarctic craton. The rift valley system along the East Antarctic craton margin, in which the Hanson strata accumulated, was the focus for subsequent emplacement of the intrusive and extrusive rocks of the Lower Jurassic Ferrar Large Igneous Province. The Early Jurassic extensional rifts may have been reactivated during Cretaceous–Cenozoic development of the West Antarctic Rift System.
Throughout most of the Local Group, globular clusters (GCs) remain recognisable as extended objects in ground-based images taken in good seeing conditions. However, studying the full extent of the GC systems is challenging because of the large sky area that needs to be surveyed and recent years have seen dramatic progress in our knowledge of GC populations in nearby galaxies, thanks to large imaging surveys. At the same time, techniques for deriving detailed abundances from integrated-light spectra of GCs are maturing so that detailed comparisons of the chemical composition for GCs in different galaxies can now be made. Such comparisons may shed important light on the properties of proto-galactic fragments that were accreted onto galaxy halos. Nevertheless, our census of Local Group GCs probably remains far from complete, in particular at low luminosities and for very extended clusters.
The Spacewatch Project uses four telescopes of apertures 0.9-m, 1.8-m, 2.3-m, and 4-m on Kitt Peak mountain in Arizona for followup astrometry of priority NEOs. Objects as faint as V=23 on the MPC's NEO Confirmation Page, targets of radar, potential impactors, targets of spacecraft observations or visits, and PHAs with future close approaches to Earth receive priority for astrometry.
There is an increasing interest in pasture-based dairy systems in Europe, mainly because of increasing production costs for intensive dairying. Milk is a matrix of compounds that influence nutritional and manufacturing properties, many dependent on husbandry linked to pasture-based systems (increase in pasture intake, forage : concentrate ratio, clover inclusion in swards/silages and use of alternative dairy breeds). The present study investigated the impact of three grazing-based dairy systems with contrasting feeding intensity or reliance on pasture intakes (conventional high-intensity, low pasture intake [CH], organic medium-intensity, medium pasture intake [OM], conventional low-intensity, high pasture intake [CL]) on milk fatty acid (FA) profiles, protein composition and α-tocopherol and antioxidants concentrations. The proportion of animals of alternative breeds (e.g. Jersey) and crossbred cows in the herd increased with decreasing production intensity (CH < OM < CL). Milk constituents known to be beneficial for human health, such as vaccenic acid, rumenic acid, monounsaturated FA, polyunsaturated FA, antioxidants and caseins, were elevated with decreasing production intensity (CH < OM < CL), while less desirable saturated FA were lower, although not all differences between OM and CL were significant. Omega-3 FA were maximized under OM practices, primarily as a result of higher clover intake. Increases in pasture intake may explain the higher concentrations of desirable FA while increased use of crossbreed cows is likely to be responsible for higher total protein and casein content of milk; a combination of these two factors may explain increased antioxidant levels. The higher concentrations of vaccenic acid, rumenic acid, omega-3 FA, lutein, zeaxanthin, protein and casein in OM and CL milk were found over most sampling months and in both years, reinforcing the higher nutritional quality and manufacturing properties associated with milk from these systems. A switch to pasture-based dairy products would increase the intake of milk's beneficial compounds and reduce consumption of less desirable saturated FA.
Our goal was to identify climate variables and management practices associated with the presence of E. coli O157 in rangeland cow-calf operations located in a major leafy green production region in the California Central Coast. E. coli O157 was present in 2·6% (68/2654) of faecal, 1·5% (3/204) of water and 1·1% (1/93) of sediment samples collected on eight ranches over 2.5 years. Five (62·5%) ranches were positive at least once during the study. The odds of detecting E. coli O157 in faecal samples was higher during periods of higher maximum soil temperature, higher maximum relative humidity, and larger herd sizes, but decreased as wind speed increased. Molecular subtyping of isolates from cattle faeces and streams/sediments suggested minimal movement of strains between ranches. The findings suggest that E. coli O157 prevalence is relatively low on cow-calf ranches in this region, spatially constrained, but may vary by weather conditions and herd size.
This study examined the effect of long-term selection of a maternal rabbit line, solely for a reproductive criterion, on the ability of female rabbits to deal with constrained environmental conditions. Female rabbits from generations 16 and 36 (n=72 and 79, respectively) of a line founded and selected to increase litter size at weaning were compared simultaneously. Female rabbits were subjected to normal (NC), nutritional (NF) or heat (HC) challenging conditions from 1st to 3rd parturition. Animals in NC and NF were housed at normal room temperatures (18°C to 25°C) and respectively fed with control (11.6 MJ digestible energy (DE)/kg dry matter (DM), 126 g digestible protein (DP)/kg DM, and 168 g of ADF/kg DM) or low-energy fibrous diets (9.1 MJ DE/kg DM, 104 g DP/kg DM and 266 g ADF/kg DM), whereas those housed in HC were subjected to high room temperatures (25°C to 35°C) and the control diet. The litter size was lower for female rabbits housed in both NF and HC environments, but the extent and timing where this reduction took place differed between generations. In challenging conditions (NF and HC), the average reduction in the reproductive performance of female rabbits from generation 16, compared with NC, was −2.26 (P<0.05) and −0.51 kits born alive at 2nd and 3rd parturition, respectively. However, under these challenging conditions, the reproductive performance of female rabbits from generation 36 was less affected at 2nd parturition (−1.25 kits born alive), but showed a greater reduction at the 3rd parturition (−3.53 kits born alive; P<0.05) compared with NC. The results also showed differences between generations in digestible energy intake, milk yield and accretion, and use of body reserves throughout lactation in NC, HC and NF, which together indicate that there were different resource allocation strategies in the animals from the different generations. Selection to increase litter size at weaning led to increased reproductive robustness at the onset of an environmental constraint, but failure to sustain the reproductive liability when the challenge was maintained in the long term. This response could be directly related to the short-term environmental fluctuations (less severe) that frequently occur in the environment where this line has been selected.