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In this paper, we present the first data from an alternative extraction method for atmospheric 14CO2 analysis, based on the direct trapping of whole air samples onto a molecular sieve zeolite (13X) trap, incorporated into a commercially available automated graphitization system. Results are presented for both inter-laboratory comparison samples and an in-house reference standard. The in-house reference was used to calculate the standard deviation of measurements (2.0‰). This newly developed method will facilitate faster sample processing and therefore lower cost per analysis, critical for scaling up such studies.
Today, accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) technology enables us to carry out very precise measurements of radiocarbon (14C). Unfortunately, due to fluctuations in the 14C calibration curve, the resulting calibrated time intervals vary from decades up to centuries in calibrated age. Within a time scale of several decades, we can find several time intervals on the 14C calibration curve which correspond with periods of rapid increases in atmospheric 14CO2 activity. Some of these “high slope” parts of the calibration curve could be used for fine time resolution for radiocarbon dating of individual samples. Nevertheless, there are certain limitations owing to the properties of the samples measured. We have prepared a time-resolution curve for the 14C dating method, applying calibration curve IntCal13 and assuming an uncertainty of 14C analyses ±15 yr BP (for recent samples). Our curve of the time resolution covers the last 50 ka. We found several time intervals with time resolution below 50 yr BP for the last 3 ka. Several time intervals which can enable substantially better time resolution compared to neighboring parts of the calibration curve were also found for periods older than 3 ka.
Triatomine bugs carry the parasitic protozoa Trypanosoma cruzi, the causal agent of Chagas disease. It is known that both the parasite and entomopathogenic fungi can decrease bug survival, but the combined effect of both pathogens is not known, which is relevant for biological control purposes. Herein, the survival of the triatomine Meccus pallidipennis (Stal, 1872) was compared when it was coinfected with the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae (Metschnikoff) and T. cruzi, and when both pathogens acted separately. The immune response of the insect was also studied, using phenoloxidase activity in the bug gut and hemolymph, to understand our survival results. Contrary to expectations, triatomine survival was higher in multiple than in single challenges, even though the immune response was lower in cases of multiple infection. We postulate that T. cruzi exerts a protective effect and/or that the insect reduced the resources allocated to defend itself against both pathogens. Based on the present results, the use of M. anisopliae as a control agent should be re-considered.
Name generators (NGs) and position generators (PGs) have been used to measure resources embedded in personal relationships, namely social support and social capital, respectively. Comparisons of these measures adopted NGs that only elicit a small number of alters (max. 5). In this paper we explore whether the measurement of social capital with NGs eliciting larger personal networks (say 15 to 20 alters) gives more comparable results to the PG in terms of occupational prestige. To address this issue, we designed a personal network questionnaire that combined a multiple name generator (MNG) and a PG and enquired about alter characteristics and alter-alter ties for the two sets of nominations simultaneously, allowing their integrated analysis. The questionnaire was implemented in the software EgoNet to collect data from social/environmental entrepreneurs in Spain (N = 30) and Mexico (N = 30. The analysis shows that the two approaches capture mostly non-overlapping sets of personal network members, suggesting that the PG measured in this case available, but not accessed social capital. Remarkably the NG led to a higher average prestige for this occupational group than the PG, but also a lower heterogeneity in prestige. The consequences of using one or another approach and their interpretations are discussed.
Since ancient times, lubricants have been used to reduce friction and wear problems of mechanical systems. However, nowadays, there is a constant effort to improve their performance through additives so that they can accomplish properly in this modern world. In that sense, in this study, it was proposed the use of Poly(ε-Caprolactone) (PCL) as a biodegradable additive in Castor oil. The effect that this additive has on the tribological properties of AISI 4140 steel/Al2O3 tribosystem was analyzed. For this purpose, PCL was dissolved in Castor oil at 65 °C for 15 minutes. Later, once the lubricant formulations got into room temperature, friction tests were conducted with a ball-on-disk configuration. Several experiments were systematically carried out in order to study the factors that could influence the performance of the tribological system, for instance: additive concentration, velocity, temperature, and wear track radius. The kinetic friction coefficient was used to analyze the results as an output variable. The parameters in which the best friction behavior was observed were employed again to compare the efficiency of the polymeric additive by profoundly analyzing and comparing the wear response of the system. The PCL additive showed great results by decreasing friction up to 30% compared to the neat Castor oil. Nevertheless, as the opposite effect, this additive increased the steel wear to almost half an order of magnitude. Given the above, this investigation showed that, with further studies, Poly(ε-Caprolactone) could be used as an additive in vegetable oil-based lubricants for the improvement of friction performance.
Our ability to reliably use radiocarbon (14C) dates of mollusk shells to estimate calendar ages may depend on the feeding preference and habitat of a particular species and the geology of the region. Gastropods that feed by scraping are prone to incorporation of carbon from the substrate into their shells as evidenced by studies comparing the radiocarbon dates of shells and flesh from different species on different substrates (Dye 1994; Hogg et al. 1998). Limpet shells (Patella sp.) are commonly found in prehistoric midden deposits in the British Isles and elsewhere, however these shells have largely been avoided for radiocarbon dating in regions of limestone outcrops. Results from limpets (Patella vulgata) collected alive on limestone and volcanic substrates on the coasts of Ireland indicate that the shells were formed in equilibrium with the seawater, with no significant 14C offsets. Limpets collected from the east coast of Northern Ireland have elevated 14C due to the output of Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant. In all locations, the flesh was depleted in 14C compared to the shells. The results will have an important consequence for radiocarbon dating of midden deposits as well as the bone of humans and animals who fed on the limpets.
We sampled individual growth rings from three ancient remnant bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) trees from a massive buried deposit at the mouth of the Altamaha River on the Georgia Coast to determine the best technique for radiocarbon (14C) dating pretreatment. The results of our comparison of traditional ABA pretreatment and holocellulose and α-cellulose fractions show no significant differences among the pretreatments (<1 sigma) thereby suggesting that ABA pretreatment will prove sufficient for the development of a high-resolution 14C tree-ring chronology based on these ancient bald cypresses which will indicate whether the U.S. Southeast is subject to a regional radiocarbon offset.
The Bay of Málaga is located in a high biodiversity and productivity area that harbours a wide variety of commercial species exploited by different fishing fleets. Benthic and demersal fauna from circalittoral soft bottoms have been studied using a benthic dredge (BD) (8 sampling stations) and an otter trawl (OT) (8 sampling stations on a seasonal basis). Some sediment and water column variables, as well as the trawling activity, have also been studied and used for analysing their linkage with the fauna. A total of 287 species have been found in these bottoms and fish, molluscs and crustaceans represented the most diverse and abundant faunistic groups. A new record of the decapod Hippolyte leptometrae for Spanish waters is also included in this study. Some multivariate analyses using BD samples indicated the presence of three assemblages, but these seem to represent different facies of a single benthic community due to the absence of acute sediment changes and significant differences in the fauna. OT samples only displayed differences related to seasons but not to sediment types or depth. These seasonal differences seem to be linked to biological and ecological features of both dominant and/or commercial species. Mud and organic matter contents (%OM) in sediment, as well as the temperature, were the main variables linked to the spatial distribution of the benthic community identified with BD, whereas medium and coarse sand as well as gravel contents were the main variables linked to the changes of the epibenthic and demersal assemblage resulting from OT samples. The information of this study is of importance for improving the knowledge on the biodiversity of circalittoral soft bottoms of the Mediterranean and Alboran Sea as well as for the potential creation of a Marine Fisheries Reserve in the Bay of Málaga.
The Murcia Twin Registry (MTR) is the only population-based registry in Spain. Created in 2006, the registry has been growing more than a decade to become one of the references for twin research in the Mediterranean region. The MTR database currently comprises 3545 adult participants born between 1940 and 1977. It also holds a recently launched satellite registry of university students (N = 204). Along five waves of data collection, the registry has gathered questionnaire and anthropometric data, as well as biological samples. The MTR keeps its main research focus on health and health-related behaviors from a public health perspective. This includes lifestyle, health promotion, quality of life or environmental conditions. Future short-term development points to the expansion of the biobank and the continuation of the collection of longitudinal data.
First-degree relatives of patients with psychotic disorder have higher levels of polygenic risk (PRS) for schizophrenia and higher levels of intermediate phenotypes.
We conducted, using two different samples for discovery (n = 336 controls and 649 siblings of patients with psychotic disorder) and replication (n = 1208 controls and 1106 siblings), an analysis of association between PRS on the one hand and psychopathological and cognitive intermediate phenotypes of schizophrenia on the other in a sample at average genetic risk (healthy controls) and a sample at higher than average risk (healthy siblings of patients). Two subthreshold psychosis phenotypes, as well as a standardised measure of cognitive ability, based on a short version of the WAIS-III short form, were used. In addition, a measure of jumping to conclusion bias (replication sample only) was tested for association with PRS.
In both discovery and replication sample, evidence for an association between PRS and subthreshold psychosis phenotypes was observed in the relatives of patients, whereas in the controls no association was observed. Jumping to conclusion bias was similarly only associated with PRS in the sibling group. Cognitive ability was weakly negatively and non-significantly associated with PRS in both the sibling and the control group.
The degree of endophenotypic expression of schizophrenia polygenic risk depends on having a sibling with psychotic disorder, suggestive of underlying gene–environment interaction. Cognitive biases may better index genetic risk of disorder than traditional measures of neurocognition, which instead may reflect the population distribution of cognitive ability impacting the prognosis of psychotic disorder.
The understanding of the genetic basis of grain dormancy in wheat has rapidly improved in the last few years, and a number of genes have been identified related to that trait. We recently identified the wheat genes TaPM19-A1 and -A2 and we have now taken the first step towards understanding the role of this class of genes in seeds. By investigating the Arabidopsis homologous PM19-Like 1 (PM19L1) we have found that it has a seed-specific expression pattern and, while its expression is higher in dormant than in non-dormant seeds, knock-out mutations produced seeds with increased dormancy. Not only primary dormancy, but also secondary dormancy in response to high temperature was increased by the loss-of-function. We have also examined the function of PM19L1 by localizing the PM19 protein primarily to the cotyledon cells in seeds, possibly in membranes. By investigating the co-expression network of this gene we have found that it is connected to a small group of abscisic acid (ABA)-induced seed maturation and storage-related genes. The function of PM19L1 represents a good opportunity to explore the interactions of key factors that can influence seed dormancy such as ABA, temperature and membrane properties.
This research communication addresses the hypothesis that in dual-purpose goats, exposure to 1 h of extra-light given from 16 to 17 h after dawn (pulse of light) in winter stimulates milk yield. One group of goats was maintained under natural short photoperiod (natural day; ND (n = 7)). Another group of lactating females was submitted to an artificial long-day photoperiod consisting of 16 h light and 8 h darkness (long days; LD (n = 7)). A third group of females received one single hour of extra-light 16 h after the fixed dawn (pulse of light; PL (n = 6)). Goats from LD and PL yielded 30% more milk than goats from ND. Mean percentages of fat, protein and lactose contents in milk did not differ between the 3 groups at any stage of lactation, but these components in grams/day were higher in goats from PL than in the others two groups within the first 45 d of lactation. In conclusion, dual-purpose lactating goats that started their lactation during natural short days, the daily exposition to a 1-h pulse of light is sufficient to stimulate milk yield compared to females maintained under natural short photoperiod.
The Life Cycle Energy Optimisation (LCEO) methodology aims at finding a design solution that uses a minimum amount of cumulative energy demand over the different phases of the vehicle's life cycle, while complying with a set of functional constraints. This effectively balances trade-offs, and therewith avoids sub-optimal shifting between the energy demand for the cradle-to-production of materials, operation of the vehicle, and end-of-life phases. The present work describes the extension of the LCEO methodology to perform holistic product system optimisation. The constrained design of an automotive component and the design of a subset of the processes which are applied to it during its life cycle are simultaneously optimised to achieve a minimal product system life cycle energy. A subset of the processes of the end-of-life phase of a vehicle's roof are modeled through a continuous formulation. The roof is modeled as a sandwich structure with its design variables being the material compositions and the thicknesses of the different layers. The results show the applicability of the LCEO methodology to product system design and the use of penalization to ensure solution feasibility.
The establishment of an invasive species depends on reproductive success and dispersion capability in the new environment. One of the striking examples of invasion in urban environments is the mosquito Aedes aegypti Linnaeus, 1762 (Culicidae). The success of this species is primarily attributed to its ability to colonize urban environments, and some of the important adaptive strategies associated with this ability is the preference for humans as a blood source and intense occupation of residential (indoor) environments. This study evaluated the effects of location (indoor vs. outdoor) and water nutrient level (% organic matter) on the oviposition preference of A. aegypti in an urban environment. We used oviposition choice experiments to evaluate mosquito oviposition in containers holding 1:1 vs 1:0 ratios of water: organic matter placed indoors and outdoors. Eggs were sampled once per week for nine weeks. Our results revealed a strong oviposition preference for outdoor containers, with a significant preference for containers with higher concentrations of organic matter during the fifth to ninth weeks. However, mosquitoes occupying indoor environments did not prefer to lay eggs in containers with lower levels of organic matter. A better understanding of the preferences of A. aegypti regarding the nutrient level and location of oviposition containers can increase our understanding of the behavioral factors allowing mosquitoes to utilize anthropogenic environments.
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.