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The predominantly carbonate nature of the mountains near the coast of Málaga and Marbella (Costa del Sol, southern Spain) and the presence of springs have favored the formation of travertine buildups during the Quaternary. The geomorphic characteristics of the slopes and the location of the springs have determined the development of three types of travertine growths: (1) spring travertines, located preferentially on the south mountainside, where the slope is steepest; (2) pool-dam-cascade travertines, which form along the north and east edges, far from the carbonate relief and with a gentler slope; and (3) river-valley travertines, formed in the courses of the springs of any sector. Field observations combined with new amino acid racemization (AAR) dating of Helicidae gastropods show that most of the travertine formations are polyphasic and that their development was interrupted by stages of erosion and incision. Five stages of travertine development are evident, most of which are related to warm, moist episodes corresponding to marine oxygen isotope stages (MIS) 7, 5, 3, and 1, although local travertine growth also occurred during MIS 6 and during the transition from MIS 3 to 2.
Despite intensive research during the last few decades, understanding of ecological and physiological factors related to haemosporidian infections in birds is still fragmentary. Since more model organisms are needed in order to understand these infections in the wild, we analysed avian haemosporidian infections in the rufous-collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis, Emberizidae) in a dry forest of the Ecuadorian Andes. Parasite diversity was screened using molecular and morphological approaches. By molecular diagnosis, we identified three linages that were phylogenetically placed in the context of molecular haemosporidian diversity and associated with a morphospecies. By microscopy, we identified five described morphospecies and one additional undescribed morphospecies. We found that avian haemosporidian prevalence on the study site was 76.3%. Additionally, we used a series of generalized linear models to explore the potential relationship of parasite prevalence and parasitaemia with a set of variables related to physiological and environmental conditions. Although our results revealed associations of haemosporidian infections with precipitation, age and sampling site, the models only explained a small fraction of the variation.
New fossil material of Auliscomys formosus Reig 1978 allows restudy of the oldest known South American representative of the subfamily Sigmodontinae. Description of Auliscomys formosus was based on a fragmentary dentary exhumed from the Monte Hermoso Formation of central Argentina. Previous studies allocated A. formosus to the early Pliocene. A reevaluation of dental and cranial morphology, including for the first time the upper dentition, and the inclusion of A. formosus in a phylogenetic analysis of the tribe Phyllotini indicate that A. formosus represents a new genus, Kraglievichimys. Kraglievichimys shares a mosaic of characters with the living Auliscomys Osgood, 1915 and Loxodontomys Osgood, 1947. The taxonomic reassignment of A. formosus and the possibility that the Monte Hermoso Formation may be younger than early Pliocene in age provide a new understanding of cricetid diversification in South America. Estimates of sigmodontine ancestry by molecular approaches are biased toward older ages, whereas this new interpretation of the history of K. formosus suggests that the South American history of sigmodontines spans less than 4 million years.
We determined the molecular epidemiology of Bordetella pertussis isolates to evaluate its potential impact on pertussis reemergence in a population of Mexico. Symptomatic and asymptomatic cases were included. Pertussis infection was confirmed by culture and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Selected B. pertussis isolates were further analysed; i.e. clonality was analysed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and ptxP-ptxA, prn, fim2 and fim3 typing was performed by PCR and sequencing. Out of 11 864 analysed samples, 687 (5.8%) were positive for pertussis, with 244 (36%) confirmed by both culture and PCR whereas 115 (17%) were positive only by culture and 328 (48%) were positive only by PCR. One predominant clone (clone A, n = 62/113; 55%) and three major subtypes (A1, A2 and A3) were identified by PFGE. All 113 selected isolates had the allelic combination ptxP3-ptxA1. The predominant clone A and the three major subtypes (A1, A2 and A3) corresponded to the emerging genotypes ptxP3-ptxA1-prn2-fim2-1-fim3-2 and ptxP3-ptxA1-prn2-fim2-1-fim3-1. In conclusion, the presence of an endemic clone and three predominant subtypes belonging to the genotypes ptxP3-ptxA1-prn2-fim2-1-fim3-2 and ptxP3-ptxA1-prn2-fim2-1-fim3-1 were detected. This finding supports the global spread/expansion reported for these outbreaks associated genotypes.
Burnt lime has played a significant role in daily Maya life since at least as far back as 1100 b.c., and yet its ephemeral nature has limited archaeological studies of its production. The application of new surveying and remote sensing technologies in recent decades is now allowing for a more in-depth investigation of the burnt lime industries that existed in different subregions of the Maya area. This article provides an overview of the current understanding of pre-Hispanic Maya burnt lime production. It then presents an analysis of the factors influencing the development and identification of distinct subregional lime production industries, including: lime consumption requirements and inter-site spacing; natural environment; local social and economic trajectories; and the objectives and survey universes of archaeological investigations. In reporting the tremendous advances made over the past few decades, this paper encourages archaeologists to include a focus on identifying lime production features in their research agendas.
Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Steud. is widely used as a high-protein supplementary food for ruminants in many parts of the tropics. Native to Central America and Mexico, it has become widely naturalized elsewhere but the introduced populations are mostly of unknown origin and uncertain quality. Studies of the genetic resources from the native range, under a research programme at OFI, have shown great variation between populations in yield (Dunsdon and Simons, 1996). The objective of the research described here was to investigate whether there is also important genetic variation in fodder quality, to inform decisions on future distribution of ‘superior’ germplasm of G. sepium under the OFI programme.