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The Mars Society is an international private organisation advocating the exploration and settlement of Mars. Part of its mission involves selecting areas for Martian analogue research, to test hardware, technology, strategies and human factors relevant to sending people to Mars. Mars Society Australia has selected an area in the Arkaroola region in the Flinders Ranges as the site for the first Australian analogue facility. The facility will be an invaluable public education and outreach tool for Australian science, focusing on astrobiology, and its role in future human Mars missions; demonstrating Australian contributions to astrobiology related science and work on terrestrial analogues to Martian environments.
It has been an underlying assumption in many studies that near-surface layers imaged by ground-penetrating radar (GPR) can be interpreted as depositional markers or isochrones. It has been shown that GPR layers can be approximately reproduced from the measured electrical properties of ice, but these material layers are generally narrower and more closely spaced than can be resolved by typical GPR systems operating in the range 50−400 MHz. Thus GPR layers should be interpreted as interference patterns produced from closely spaced and potentially discontinuous material layers, and should not be assumed to be interpretable as precise markers of isochrones. We present 100 MHz GPR data from Lyddan Ice Rise, Antarctica, in which near-surface (<50 m deep) layers are clearly imaged. The growth of the undulations in these layers with depth is approximately linear, implying that, rather than resulting from a pattern of vertical strain rate, they do correspond to some pattern of snowfall variation. Furthermore, comparison of the GPR layers with snow-stake measurements suggests that around 80% of the rms variability in mean annual accumulation is present in the GPR layers. The observations suggest that, at least in this case, the GPR layers do approximate isochrones, and that patterns of snow accumulation over Lyddan Ice Rise are dominated by extremely persistent spatial variations with only a small residual spatial variability. If this condition is shown to be widely applicable it may reduce the period required for measurements of surface elevation change to be taken as significant indications of mass imbalance.
Recent cases of acute kidney injury due to Seoul hantavirus infection from exposure to wild or pet fancy rats suggest this infection is increasing in prevalence in the UK. We conducted a seroprevalence study in England to estimate cumulative exposure in at-risk groups with contact with domesticated and wild rats to assess risk and inform public health advice. From October 2013 to June 2014, 844 individual blood samples were collected. Hantavirus seroprevalence amongst the pet fancy rat owner group was 34.1% (95% CI 23·9–45·7%) compared with 3·3% (95% CI 1·6–6·0) in a baseline control group, 2·4% in those with occupational exposure to pet fancy rats (95% CI 0·6–5·9) and 1·7% with occupational exposure to wild rats (95% CI 0·2–5·9). Variation in seroprevalence across groups with different exposure suggests that occupational exposure to pet and wild rats carries a very low risk, if any. However incidence of hantavirus infection among pet fancy rat owners/breeders, whether asymptomatic, undiagnosed mild viral illness or more severe disease may be very common and public health advice needs to be targeted to this at-risk group.
Recently, strong large amplitude magnetic field structures (SLAMS) have been observed as a common phenomenon in the vicinity of the quasi-parallel region of Earth’s bow shock. A quasi-parallel shock transition can be considered as a patchwork of SLAMS. Using the data of the AMPTE/IRM magnetometer the properties of SLAMS are studied. Within SLAMS the magnetic field is strongly deformed and, thus, the magnetic field geometry is locally swung into a quasi-perpendicular regime. Therefore, electrons can locally be accelerated to high energies within SLAMS. Assuming that SLAMS also exist in the vicinity of supercritical, quasi-parallel shocks in the solar corona, they are able to generate radio radiation via the enhanced Langmuir turbulence excited by the accelerated electrons. Since SLAMS are connected with strong density enhancements, the aforementioned mechanism can explain the multiple-lane structure often occurred in solar Type II radio bursts.
Subject headings: acceleration of particles — Earth — shock waves — Sun: corona — Sun: radio radiation
Resilience is the capacity of individuals to resist mental disorders despite exposure to stress. Little is known about its neural underpinnings. The putative variation of white-matter microstructure with resilience in adolescence, a critical period for brain maturation and onset of high-prevalence mental disorders, has not been assessed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Lower fractional anisotropy (FA) though, has been reported in the corpus callosum (CC), the brain's largest white-matter structure, in psychiatric and stress-related conditions. We hypothesized that higher FA in the CC would characterize stress-resilient adolescents.
Three groups of adolescents recruited from the community were compared: resilient with low risk of mental disorder despite high exposure to lifetime stress (n = 55), at-risk of mental disorder exposed to the same level of stress (n = 68), and controls (n = 123). Personality was assessed by the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Voxelwise statistics of DTI values in CC were obtained using tract-based spatial statistics. Regional projections were identified by probabilistic tractography.
Higher FA values were detected in the anterior CC of resilient compared to both non-resilient and control adolescents. FA values varied according to resilience capacity. Seed regional changes in anterior CC projected onto anterior cingulate and frontal cortex. Neuroticism and three other NEO-FFI factor scores differentiated non-resilient participants from the other two groups.
High FA was detected in resilient adolescents in an anterior CC region projecting to frontal areas subserving cognitive resources. Psychiatric risk was associated with personality characteristics. Resilience in adolescence may be related to white-matter microstructure.
Restoration in Mediterranean-climate grasslands is strongly impeded by lack of native propagules and competition with exotic grasses and forbs. We report on a study testing several methods for exotic plant control combined with planting native grasses to restore prairies in former agricultural land in coastal California. Specifically we compared tarping (shading out recently germinated seedlings with black plastic) once, tarping twice, topsoil removal, herbicide (glyphosate), and a control treatment in factorial combinations with or without wood mulch. Into each treatment we planted three native grass species (Elymus glaucus, Hordeum brachyantherum, and Stipa pulchra) and monitored plant survival and cover for three growing seasons. Survival of native grass species was high in all treatments, but was slightly lower in unmulched soil removal and control treatments in the first 2 yr. Mulching, tarping, and herbicide were all effective in reducing exotic grass cover and enhancing native grass cover for the first 2 yr, but by the third growing season cover of the plant guilds and bare ground had mostly converged, primarily because of the declining effects of the initial treatments. Mulching and tarping were both considerably more expensive than herbicide treatment. Topsoil removal was less effective in increasing native grass cover likely because soil removal altered the surface hydrology in this system. Our results show that several treatments were effective in enhancing native grass establishment, but that longer term monitoring is needed to evaluate the efficacy of restoration efforts. The most appropriate approach to controlling exotics to restore specific grassland sites will depend not only on the effectiveness, but also on relative costs and site constraints.
It is generally accepted that the position and development of any one tissue in a plant is to be studied from the point of view of function: nevertheless the physiological need for it may alter as the plant develops. The endodermis is an illustration of this. Its primary function (1) is to restrict the passage of water and soluble substances to certain definite channels: it follows that its best development is in those parts nearest to the source of supply, e.g. in roots and young stems. The cell-walls are at first relatively thin, with the characteristic suberised strip on the radial and transverse walls. Its cells are in uninterrupted contact one with another, there being no intercellular spaces. This leads incidentally to its being also a barrier to gaseous interchange. The ventilating system of the cortex is limited by it internally, and cut off from such intercellular spaces as may lie within.
The ability to discriminate biogenic from abiogenic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) would be useful in the search for extant or extinct life, since CaCO3 can be produced by both biotic and abiotic processes on Earth. Bioprecipitated CaCO3 material was produced during the growth of heterotrophic microbial isolates on medium enriched with calcium acetate or calcium citrate. These biologically produced CaCO3, along with natural and synthetic non-biologically produced CaCO3 samples, were analysed by reflectance spectroscopy (0.35–2.5 μm), Raman spectroscopy (532 and 785 nm), and laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy (365 and 405 nm excitation). Optimal instruments for the discrimination of biogenic from abiogenic CaCO3 were determined to be reflectance spectroscopy, and laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy. Multiple absorption features in the visible light region occurred in reflectance spectra for most biogenic CaCO3 samples, which are likely due to organic pigments. Multiple fluorescence peaks occurred in emission spectra (405 nm excitation) of biogenic CaCO3 samples, which also are best attributed to the presence of organic compounds; however, further analyses must be performed in order to better determine the cause of these features to establish criteria for confirming the origin of a given CaCO3 sample. Raman spectroscopy was not useful for discrimination since any potential Raman peaks in spectra of biogenic carbonates collected by both the 532 and 785 nm lasers were overwhelmed by fluorescence. However, this also suggests that biogenic carbonates may be identified by the presence of this organic-associated fluorescence. No reliable spectroscopic differences in terms of parameters such as positions or widths of carbonate-associated absorption bands were found between the biogenic and abiogenic carbonate samples. These results indicate that the presence or absence of organic matter intimately associated with carbonate minerals is the only potentially useful spectral discriminator for the techniques that were examined, and that multiple spectroscopic techniques are capable of detecting the presence of associated organic materials. However, the presence or absence of intimately associated organic matter is not, in itself, an indicator of biogenicity.
Our previous work identified deficits in interference processing and learning/memory in past suicide attempters who were currently depressed and medication-free. In this study, we extend this work to an independent sample studied at various stages of illness and treatment (mild symptoms, on average) to determine if these deficits in past suicide attempters are evident during a less severe clinical state.
A total of 80 individuals with a past history of major depression and suicide attempt were compared with 81 individuals with a history of major depression and no lifetime suicide attempts on a battery of neurocognitive measures assessing attention, memory, abstract/contingent learning, working memory, language fluency and impulse control.
Past attempters performed more poorly in attention, memory and working memory domains, but also in an estimate of pre-morbid intelligence. After correction for this estimate, tests that had previously distinguished past attempters – a computerized Stroop task and the Buschke Selective Reminding Test – remained significantly worse in attempters. In a secondary analysis, similar differences were found among those with the lowest levels of depression (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score <10), suggesting that these deficits may be trait markers independent of current symptomatology.
Deficits in interference processing and learning/memory constitute an enduring defect in information processing that may contribute to poor adaptation, other higher-order cognitive impairments and risk for suicidal behavior.