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Species distribution models (SDMs) are statistical tools used to develop continuous predictions of species occurrence. ‘Integrated SDMs’ (ISDMs) are an elaboration of this approach with potential advantages that allow for the dual use of opportunistically collected presence-only data and site-occupancy data from planned surveys. These models also account for survey bias and imperfect detection through the use of a hierarchical modelling framework that separately estimates the species–environment response and detection process. This is particularly helpful for conservation applications and predictions for rare species, where data are often limited and prediction errors may have significant management consequences. Despite this potential importance, ISDMs remain largely untested under a variety of scenarios. We performed an exploration of key modelling decisions and assumptions on an ISDM using the endangered Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) as a test species. We found that site area had the strongest effect on the magnitude of population estimates and underlying intensity surface and was driven by estimates of model intercepts. Selecting a site area that accounted for the individual movements of the species within an average home range led to population estimates that coincided with expert estimates. ISDMs that do not account for the individual movements of species will likely lead to less accurate estimates of species intensity (number of individuals per unit area) and thus overall population estimates. This bias could be severe and highly detrimental to conservation actions if uninformed ISDMs are used to estimate global populations of threatened and data-deficient species, particularly those that lack natural history and movement information. However, the ISDM was consistently the most accurate model compared to other approaches, which demonstrates the importance of this new modelling framework and the ability to combine opportunistic data with systematic survey data. Thus, we recommend researchers use ISDMs with conservative movement information when estimating population sizes of rare and data-deficient species. ISDMs could be improved by using a similar parameterization to spatial capture–recapture models that explicitly incorporate animal movement as a model parameter, which would further remove the need for spatial subsampling prior to implementation.
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.
Phenotypic plasticity is thought to evolve in response to environmental unpredictability and can shield genotypes from selection. However, selection can also act on plastic traits. Egg-laying behaviour, including clutch size regulation, is a plastic behavioural trait among tephritid fruit flies. We compared plasticity in clutch size regulation among females of Anastrepha ludens populations stemming from environments that differed in the degree of predictability in egg-laying opportunities. Clutch size regulation in response to hosts of different sizes was compared among flies from (a) a wild, highly isolated population, (b) a wild population that switches seasonally from a small wild host fruit that varies greatly in abundance to an abundant large-sized commercial host, and (c) a laboratory population. Flies from all three populations adjusted clutch number and size according to host size. However, flies from the heterogeneous wild environment were more plastic in adjusting clutch size than flies from agricultural settings that also laid fewer eggs; yet both populations were more plastic in adjusting clutch size in line with host size when compared with laboratory females. When wild and orchard females encountered the largest host, clutch size was extremely variable and egg regulation did not follow the same trend. Heterogeneity in host availability in space and time appears to be as important as seasonal variation in host size in maintaining plastic clutch size regulation behaviour. In stable environments, there was a clear reduction in the plasticity of these traits.
This study investigated the potential application of genomic selection under a multi-breed scheme in the Spanish autochthonous beef cattle populations using a simulation study that replicates the structure of linkage disequilibrium obtained from a sample of 25 triplets of sire/dam/offspring per population and using the BovineHD Beadchip. Purebred and combined reference sets were used for the genomic evaluation and several scenarios of different genetic architecture of the trait were investigated. The single-breed evaluations yielded the highest within-breed accuracies. Across breed accuracies were found low but positive on average confirming the genetic connectedness between the populations. If the same genotyping effort is split in several populations, the accuracies were lower when compared with single-breed evaluation, but showed a small advantage over small-sized purebred reference sets over the accuracies of subsequent generations. Besides, the genetic architecture of the trait did not show any relevant effect on the accuracy with the exception of rare variants, which yielded slightly lower results and higher loss of predictive ability over the generations.
Polyurethane-based bioadhesive was synthesized with polyols derived from castor oil (chemically modified and unmodified) and hexamethylene diisocyanate with chitosan addition as a bioactive filler. The objective was to evaluate the effect of type of polyols with the incorporation of low-concentrations of chitosan on the mechanical and biological properties of the polymer to obtain suitable materials in the design of biomaterials. The results showed that increasing physical crosslinking increased the mechanical and adhesive properties. An in vitro cytotoxic test of polyurethanes showed cellular viability. The biocompatibility of the polyurethanes favors the adhesion of L929 cells at 6, 24, and 48 h. The polyurethanes showed bacterial inhibition depending on the polyol and percentage of chitosan. The antibacterial effect of the polyurethanes for Escherichia coli decreased 60–90% after 24 h. The mechanical and adhesive properties together with biological response in this research suggested these polyurethanes as external application tissue bioadhesives.
Slaughter is a crucial step in the meat production chain that could induce psychological stress on each animal, resulting in a physiological response that can differ among individuals. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between an animal’s emotional state, the subsequent psychological stress at slaughter and the cellular damage as an effect. In all, 36 entire male pigs were reared at an experimental farm and a cognitive bias test was used to classify them into positive bias (PB) or negative bias (NB) groups depending on their decision-making capabilities. Half of the animals, slaughtered in the same batch, were used for a complete study of biomarkers of stress, including brain neurotransmitters and some muscle biomarkers of oxidative stress. After slaughter, specific brain areas were excised and the levels of catecholamines (noradrenaline (NA) and dopamine (DA)) and indoleamines (5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid and serotonin (5HT)) were analyzed. In addition, muscle proteasome activity (20S), antioxidant defence (total antioxidant activity (TAA)), oxidative damage (lipid peroxidation (LPO)) and autophagy biomarkers (Beclin-1, microtubule-associated protein I light chain 3 (LC3-I) and LC3-II) were monitored during early postmortem maturation (0 to 24 h). Compared with PB animals, NB pigs were more susceptible to stress, showing higher 5HT levels (P<0.01) in the hippocampus and lower DA (P<0.001) in the pre-frontal cortex. Furthermore, NB pigs had more intense proteolytic processes and triggered primary muscle cell survival mechanisms immediately after slaughter (0 h postmortem), thus showing higher TAA (P<0.001) and earlier proteasome activity (P<0.001) and autophagy (Beclin-1, P<0.05; LC3-II/LC3-I, P<0.001) than PB pigs, in order to counteract the induced increase in oxidative stress, that was significantly higher in the muscle of NB pigs at 0 h postmortem (LPO, P<0.001). Our study is the first to demonstrate that pig’s cognitive bias influences the animal’s susceptibility to stress and has important effects on the postmortem muscle metabolism, particularly on the cell antioxidant defences and the autophagy onset. These results expand the current knowledge regarding biomarkers of animal welfare and highlight the potential use of biomarkers of the proteasome, the autophagy (Beclin-1, LC3-II/LC3-I ratio) and the muscle antioxidant defence (TAA, LPO) for detection of peri-slaughter stress.
The Spanish local beef cattle breeds have most likely common origin followed by a process of differentiation. This particular historical evolution has most probably left detectable signatures in the genome. The objective of this study was to identify genomic regions associated with differentiation processes in seven Spanish autochthonous populations (Asturiana de los Valles (AV), Avileña-Negra Ibérica (ANI), Bruna dels Pirineus (BP), Morucha (Mo), Pirenaica (Pi), Retinta (Re) and Rubia Gallega (RG)). The BovineHD 777K BeadChip was used on 342 individuals (AV, n=50; ANI, n=48; BP, n=50; Mo, n=50; Pi, n=48; Re, n=48; RG, n=48) chosen to be as unrelated as possible. We calculated the fixation index (FST) and performed a Bayesian analysis named SelEstim. The output of both procedures was very similar, although the Bayesian analysis provided a richer inference and allowed us to calculate significance thresholds by generating a pseudo-observed data set from the estimated posterior distributions. We identified a very large number of genomic regions, but when a very restrictive significance threshold was applied these regions were reduced to only 10. Among them, four regions can be highlighted because they comprised a large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms and showed extremely high signals (Kullback–Leiber divergence (KLD)>6). They are located in BTA 2 (5 575 950 to 10 152 228 base pairs (bp)), BTA 5 (17 596 734 to 18 850 702 bp), BTA 6 (37 853 912 to 39 441 548 bp) and BTA 18 (13 345 515 to 15 243 838 bp) and harbor, among others, the MSTN (Myostatin), KIT-LG (KIT Ligand), LAP3 (leucine aminopeptidase 3), NAPCG (non-SMC condensing I complex, subunit G), LCORL (ligand dependent nuclear receptor corepressor-like) and MC1R (Melanocortin 1 receptor) genes. Knowledge on these genomic regions allows to identify potential targets of recent selection and helps to define potential candidate genes associated with traits of interest, such as coat color, muscle development, fertility, growth, carcass and immunological response.
The present work is a study on alkali activation of Mexican blast furnace slag, using sodium silicate. The aim is to produce an optimal specimen, homogeneous without carbonation, and with small fraction of crystalline phases, similar to CSH, which provide mechanical properties suitable to use in the construction industry. The samples were prepared using sodium silicate activator solutions with modulus (SiO2/Na2O) of 1.25, 1.5, and 1.75. The weight percentage of Na2O in the activator solutions was added at 4, 6 and 8% relative to the slag weight. The prepared samples were stored in sealed molds, at room temperature (20°C), during 7 days. The X-ray diffraction has revealed the presence of an amorphous phase, semi crystalline clinotobermorite phase and signals of calcium carbonate for the samples of 4 and 6 % of Na2O; in contrast with the 8% Na2O, where the latter signals almost disappeared. The specimen selected as optimal was prepared with an activator concentration of 8% of Na2O /Slag, and SiO2/Na2O of 1.25. A specimen under these optimal conditions was prepared with accelerated curing (40°C, humidity, 48 hours), and a compressive strength test was attained, with an average value of 52 MPa at 3 days.
In humans, obesity before and during pregnancy is associated with both fetal macrosomia and growth restriction, and long-term cardiovascular risk in the offspring. We aimed to determine whether overweighted pregnant guinea pig sows results in an increased fetal weight at term and the effects on the vascular reactivity in fetal systemic and umbilical arteries. Pregnant guinea pigs were classified as control (n=4) or high weight (HWS, n=5) according to their pre-mating weight, and their fetuses extracted at 0.9 gestation (~60 days). Segments of fetal femoral and umbilical arteries were mounted in a wire myograph, where the contractile response to KCl (5–125 mM), and the relaxation to nitric oxide synthase-dependent agents (insulin, 10−10–10−7 and acetylcholine, 10−10–10−5) and nitric oxide [sodium nitroprusside (SNP), 10−10–10−5] were determined. Fetuses from HWS (HWSF) were grouped according to their body weight as low (<76 g) or high (>85 g) fetal weight, based on the confidence interval (76.5–84.9 g) of the control group. No HWSF were observed in the normal range. Umbilical arteries from HWSF showed a lower response to KCl and insulin compared with controls, but a comparable response with SNP. Conversely, femoral arteries from HWSF showed an increased response to KCl and acetylcholine, along with a decreased sensitivity to SNP. These data show that overweight sows have altered fetal growth along gestation. Further, large and small fetuses from obese guinea pig sows showed altered vascular reactivity at umbilical and systemic vessels, which potentially associates with long-term cardiovascular risk.
A protective coating was built and assessed in order to reduce the degradation of metallic substrates caused by corrosion damage. Hence, a set of coatings with different configurations, in terms of layer arrangement, was produced by flame-spraying of composite powder (AISI 316L stainless steel coated with an α-alumina layer) onto an AISI 1018 steel substrate. In order to ensure a homogeneous dispersion of phases, a correlation was established between the operating parameters of thermal spraying (roughness and surface temperature of substrate, spraying distance, passing speed) and the splat formation. Then, corrosion damage caused in the coated samples by exposure to a salt spray was monitored through weight measurements and observations with optical and scanning electron microscopy. The results show that corrosion still remains in all cases; however, it proceeds at lower rates for coatings made with composite particles plus an α-alumina layer. The weight loss due to corrosion damage was reduced in approximately 94% as compared with the substrate without protection. Coating adhesion was also improved by an increased substrate roughness, with no need for an intermediate layer.
In traditional transit timing variations (TTVs) analysis of multi-planetary systems, the individual TTVs are first derived from transit fitting and later modelled using n-body dynamic simulations to constrain planetary masses. We show that fitting simultaneously the transit light curves with the system dynamics (photo-dynamical model) increases the precision of the TTV measurements and helps constrain the system architecture. We exemplify the advantages of applying this photo-dynamical model to a multi-planetary system found in K2 data very close to 3:2 mean motion resonance, K2-19. In this case the period of the larger TTV variations (libration period) is much longer (>1.5 years) than the duration of the K2 observations (80 days). However, our method allows to detect the short period TTVs produced by the orbital conjunctions between the planets that in turn permits to uniquely characterise the system. Therefore, our method can be used to constrain the masses of near-resonant systems even when the full libration curve is not observed.
A range of optical and optoelectronic applications would benefit from high refractive index (n), dense and transparent films that guide, concentrate and couple light. However, materials with high n usually have a high optical extinction coefficient (κ) which keeps these materials from being suitable for optical components that require long optical paths. We studied titanium hafnium oxide alloy films to obtain high refractive index (n>2) with minimum optical extinction coefficients (κ < 10−5) over the visible and near IR spectrum (380-930 nm). Titanium hafnium oxide alloys were deposited using pulsed DC reactive magnetron sputtering with and without RF substrate bias on silicon dioxide. For a given deposition condition intended for a specific titanium/hafnium molar fraction ratio, the ion energy of deposition species was explicitly controlled by varying the RF substrate bias. Spectroscopic ellipsometry, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were used to characterize the films. It appears that applying RF substrate bias reduces the nanocrystalline size, changes the surface morphology and increases the refractive index while maintaining comparable titanium/hafnium cation molar fraction. Precise control of the nanostructure of ternary metal oxides can alter their macroscopic properties, resulting in improved optical films.
Stegophorus macronectes (Johnston & Mawson, 1942) is a gastrointestinal parasite found in Antarctic seabirds. The original description of the species, which was based only on females, is poor and fragmented with some unclear diagnostic characters. This study provides new morphometric and molecular data on this previously poorly described parasite. Nuclear rDNA sequences (18S, 5.8S, 28S and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions) were isolated from S. macronectes specimens collected from the chinstrap penguin Pygoscelis antarctica Forster on Deception Island, Antarctica. Using 18S rDNA sequences, phylogenetic analyses (maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference) of the order Spirurida were performed to determine the phylogenetic location of this species. Primer pairs of the ITS regions were designed for genus-level identification of specimens, regardless of their cycle, as an alternative to coprological methods. The utility of this molecular method for identification of morphologically altered specimens is also discussed.
The B fields in OB stars (BOB) survey is an ESO large programme collecting spectropolarimetric observations for a large number of early-type stars in order to study the occurrence rate, properties, and ultimately the origin of magnetic fields in massive stars. As of July 2014, a total of 98 objects were observed over 20 nights with FORS2 and HARPSpol. Our preliminary results indicate that the fraction of magnetic OB stars with an organised, detectable field is low. This conclusion, now independently reached by two different surveys, has profound implications for any theoretical model attempting to explain the field formation in these objects. We discuss in this contribution some important issues addressed by our observations (e.g., the lower bound of the field strength) and the discovery of some remarkable objects.
Rotation is a key parameter in the evolution of massive stars, affecting their evolution, chemical yields, ionizing photon budget, and final fate. We determined the projected rotational velocity, υe sin i, of ~330 O-type objects, i.e. ~210 spectroscopic single stars and ~110 primaries in binary systems, in the Tarantula nebula or 30 Doradus (30 Dor) region. The observations were taken using VLT/FLAMES and constitute the largest homogeneous dataset of multi-epoch spectroscopy of O-type stars currently available. The most distinctive feature of the υe sin i distributions of the presumed-single stars and primaries in 30 Dor is a low-velocity peak at around 100 km s−1. Stellar winds are not expected to have spun-down the bulk of the stars significantly since their arrival on the main sequence and therefore the peak in the single star sample is likely to represent the outcome of the formation process. Whereas the spin distribution of presumed-single stars shows a well developed tail of stars rotating more rapidly than 300 km s−1, the sample of primaries does not feature such a high-velocity tail. The tail of the presumed-single star distribution is attributed for the most part – and could potentially be completely due – to spun-up binary products that appear as single stars or that have merged. This would be consistent with the lack of such post-interaction products in the binary sample, that is expected to be dominated by pre-interaction systems. The peak in this distribution is broader and is shifted toward somewhat higher spin rates compared to the distribution of presumed-single stars. Systems displaying large radial velocity variations, typical for short period systems, appear mostly responsible for these differences.
The aim of the study was the construction of risk maps for exposure to Phlebotomus sergenti, the main vector of Leishmania tropica, with a view to identifying hot spots for the potential establishment of this parasite in the southwest of Europe. Data were collected on the presence/absence of this vector and the ecological and climatic characteristics of 662 sampling sites located in the southeast, centre and northeast of the Iberian Peninsula (south-western Europe). The environmental factors associated with the distribution of P. sergenti were determined. The best predictors for the presence of this dipteran were ‘altitude’, ‘land use’, ‘land surface temperature’, ‘aspect’, ‘adjacent land cover’, ‘absence of vegetation in wall’ and the ‘absence of PVC pipes in the drainage holes of retaining walls’. Risk maps for exposure to the vector were drawn up based on these variables. The validation of the predictive risk model confirmed its usefulness in the detection of areas with a high risk of P. sergenti being present. These locations represent potential hot spots for an autochthonous focus of L. tropica becoming established. The risk maps produced for P. sergenti presence revealed several areas in the centre and south of the Iberian Peninsula to be the most prone to this process, which would make it possible for the disease to enter south-western Europe.
Large fullerenes and fullerene-based molecules have been proposed as carriers of diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). The recent detection of the most common fullerenes (C60 and C70) around some Planetary Nebulae (PNe) now enable us to study the DIBs in fullerene-rich space environments. We have studied the presence of DIBs in the optical spectra (~3300-9400 Å) of two fullerene-containing PNe (Tc 1 and M 1-20). Special attention is given to DIBs which are found to be unusually intense in fullerene-containing PNe; several of these DIBS have not previously been reported. Fullerenes larger than C60 (and C70) and multishell fullerenes may be possible candidate carriers for the unusual DIBs seen in fullerene-rich environments.