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Disease surveillance in wildlife populations presents a logistical challenge, yet is critical in gaining a deeper understanding of the presence and impact of wildlife pathogens. Erinaceus coronavirus (EriCoV), a clade C Betacoronavirus, was first described in Western European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) in Germany. Here, our objective was to determine whether EriCoV is present, and if it is associated with disease, in Great Britain (GB). An EriCoV-specific BRYT-Green® real-time reverse transcription PCR assay was used to test 351 samples of faeces or distal large intestinal tract contents collected from casualty or dead hedgehogs from a wide area across GB. Viral RNA was detected in 10.8% (38) samples; however, the virus was not detected in any of the 61 samples tested from Scotland. The full genome sequence of the British EriCoV strain was determined using next generation sequencing; it shared 94% identity with a German EriCoV sequence. Multivariate statistical models using hedgehog case history data, faecal specimen descriptions and post-mortem examination findings found no significant associations indicative of disease associated with EriCoV in hedgehogs. These findings indicate that the Western European hedgehog is a reservoir host of EriCoV in the absence of apparent disease.
Characterisation of genetic diversity in a large number of European pig populations has been undertaken with EC support. The populations sampled included local (rare) breeds, national varieties of the major international breeds, commercial lines and the Chinese Meishan breed. A second phase of the project will sample a further 50 Chinese breeds. Neutral genetic markers (AFLP and microsatellites), with individual or bulk typing, were used and compared.
DNA from 59 European pig populations was extracted on samples of about 50 individuals per population. Individuals were typed for 50 microsatellites and for 148 AFLP bands. A subset of 25 populations was typed for 20 microsatellites on pools of DNA. Allele frequencies were estimated by direct allele counting for the co-dominant markers. Frequencies of AFLP negative alleles (absent bands) were obtained by taking the square root of absent band frequencies. Within-breed variability was summarised using standard statistics: expected and observed heterozygosity, mean observed and effective numbers of alleles, and F statistics. Between-breed diversity analysis was based on a bootstrapped Neighbor-Joining (NJ) tree derived from Reynolds distances (DR). The standard distance of Nei (DS) was also calculated.
The Antarctic Roadmap Challenges (ARC) project identified critical requirements to deliver high priority Antarctic research in the 21st century. The ARC project addressed the challenges of enabling technologies, facilitating access, providing logistics and infrastructure, and capitalizing on international co-operation. Technological requirements include: i) innovative automated in situ observing systems, sensors and interoperable platforms (including power demands), ii) realistic and holistic numerical models, iii) enhanced remote sensing and sensors, iv) expanded sample collection and retrieval technologies, and v) greater cyber-infrastructure to process ‘big data’ collection, transmission and analyses while promoting data accessibility. These technologies must be widely available, performance and reliability must be improved and technologies used elsewhere must be applied to the Antarctic. Considerable Antarctic research is field-based, making access to vital geographical targets essential. Future research will require continent- and ocean-wide environmentally responsible access to coastal and interior Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Year-round access is indispensable. The cost of future Antarctic science is great but there are opportunities for all to participate commensurate with national resources, expertise and interests. The scope of future Antarctic research will necessitate enhanced and inventive interdisciplinary and international collaborations. The full promise of Antarctic science will only be realized if nations act together.
This paper describes the diversity of rodent fauna in an area endemic for hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) in Brazil, the population dynamics and the relationship of rodents with hantavirus in the Cerrado (savanna-like) biome. Additionally, an analysis is made of the partial S segment sequences of the hantaviruses obtained from serologically confirmed human HCPS cases and from rodent specimens. Rodents were collected during four campaigns. Human serum samples were collected from suspected cases of HCPS at hospitals in the state of Minas Gerais. The samples antibody-reactive by ELISA were processed by RT–PCR. The PCR product was amplified and sequenced. Hantavirus was detected only in Necromys lasiurus, the wild rodent species most prevalent in the Cerrado biome (min-max: 50–83·7%). All the six human serum samples were hantavirus seropositive and five showed amplified PCR products. The analysis of the nucleotide sequences showed the circulation of a single genotype, the Araraquara hantavirus. The environmental changes that have occurred in the Cerrado biome in recent decades have favoured N. lasiurus in interspecific competition of habitats, thus increasing the risk of contact between humans and rodent species infected with hantavirus. Our data corroborate the definition of N. lasiurus as the main hantavirus reservoir in the Cerrado biome.
We utilize the concept of sparsity or compressibility to develop an new generation of inversion codes for the Stokes parameters. The inversion code uses numerical optimization techniques based on the idea of proximal algorithms to impose sparsity. In so doing, we allow to exploit the presence of spatial correlation on the maps of physical parameters. Sparsity also regularizes the solution by reducing the number of unknowns. The solution has an increased robustness.
We present an exceptional data set acquired with the Vacuum Tower Telescope (Tenerife, Spain) covering the pre-flare, flare, and post-flare stages of an M3.2 flare. The full Stokes spectropolarimetric observations were recorded with the Tenerife Infrared Polarimeter in the He i 1083.0 nm spectral region. The object under study was active region NOAA 11748 on 2013 May 17. During the flare the chomospheric He i 1083.0 nm intensity goes strongly into emission. However, the nearby photospheric Si i 1082.7 nm spectral line profile only gets shallower and stays in absorption. Linear polarization (Stokes Q and U) is detected in all lines of the He i triplet during the flare. Moreover, the circular polarization (Stokes V) is dominant during the flare, being the blue component of the He i triplet much stronger than the red component, and both are stronger than the Si i Stokes V profile. The Si i inversions reveal enormous changes of the photospheric magnetic field during the flare. Before the flare magnetic field concentrations of up to ~1500 G are inferred. During the flare the magnetic field strength globally decreases and in some cases it is even absent. After the flare the magnetic field recovers its strength and initial configuration.
Intensification of Brazilian cattle ranching systems has attracted both national and international attention due to its direct relation with Amazon deforestation on the one hand and increasing demand of the global population for meat on the other. Since Brazilian cattle ranching is predominantly pasture-based, we particularly focus on pasture management. We summarize the most recurrent opportunities and risks associated with pasture intensification that are brought up within scientific and political dialogues, and discuss them within the Brazilian context. We argue that sustainable intensification of pasturelands in Brazil is a viable way to increase agricultural output while simultaneously sparing land for nature. Since environmental degradation is often associated with low-yield extensive systems in Brazil, it is possible to obtain higher yields, while reversing degradation, by adopting practices like rotational grazing, incorporation of legumes and integrated crop-livestock-forestry systems. Technical assistance is however essential, particularly for small- and medium-scale farmers. Sound complementary policies and good governance must accompany these measures so that a ‘rebound effect’ does not lead to increased deforestation and other adverse social and environmental impacts. It is also important that animal welfare is not compromised. Although the discussion is presented with respect to Brazil, some aspects are relevant to other developing countries.
We describe microbiological, clinical and epidemiological aspects of a diphtheria outbreak that occurred in Maranhão, Brazil. The majority of the 27 confirmed cases occurred in partially (n = 16) or completely (n = 10) immunized children (n = 26). Clinical signs and characteristic symptoms of diphtheria such as cervical lymphadenopathy and pseudomembrane formation were absent in 48% and 7% of the cases, respectively. Complications such as paralysis of lower limbs were observed. Three cases resulted in death, two of them in completely immunized children. Microbiological analysis identified the isolates as Corynebacterium diphtheriae biovar intermedius with a predominant PFGE type. Most of them were toxigenic and some showed a decrease in penicillin G susceptibility. In conclusion, diphtheria remains endemic in Brazil. Health professionals need to be aware of the possibility of atypical cases of C. diphtheriae infection, including pharyngitis without pseudomembrane formation.
This chapter reviews evidence concerning the vital role that temporal dynamics can have in the ecology of trees and other long-lived species in the assembly and maintenance of natural communities. The research synthesised here was stimulated by a desire to determine the action of temporal dynamics in nature, and its implications for the nature of competition, community structure and assembly on multiple scales and across a range of climatic conditions. For the most part, the results discussed concern tropical forests, but we think they provide strong support for a more general view that can be applied across biomes. Finally, we ask if there may be a potential role for temporal dynamics in speciation, in light of what we have learned from the tropical trees.
A field programme begun in the late ’90s in the tropical dry forest of México was consciously designed to study the coexistence of closely related species in a very speciose community, but the role of temporal dynamics had not been suspected and its finding was serendipitous. With centuries-long lifespans, decades-long juvenile stages and low population turnover rates, trees are problematic candidates for demographic analyses, either observational or experimental. Unless instant death is involved, the particular hurdle with trees, as with any long-lived organism, is directly connecting any specific response in the early life of the individual with the long-term individual persistence or character of the standing population. However, trees differ from many long-lived organisms in carrying their history in their structure at both the individual and population levels. Thus, a tree population itself documents individual success over the history of the population (Parker et al. 1997, Cole et al. 2011). The distribution of a population with regard to physical conditions, size and age structure and relative to other woody species all contain information on the ecology and interactions of species (e.g. Veblen 1989, 1992, Villalba and Veblen 1998, Kelly et al. 2001) and it was the age structure of populations that revealed the action of temporal dynamics at Chamela Biological Station.
The Vista Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV) ESO Public Survey is an ongoing time-series, near-infrared (IR) survey of the Galactic bulge and an adjacent portion of the inner disk, covering 562 square degrees of the sky, using ESO's VISTA telescope. The survey has provided superb multi-color photometry in 5 broadband filters (Z, Y, J, H, and Ks), leading to the best map of the inner Milky Way ever obtained, particularly in the near-IR. The main part of the survey, which is focused on the variability in the Ks-band, is currently underway, with bulge fields observed between 34 and 73 times, and disk fields between 34 and 36 times. When the survey is complete, bulge (disk) fields will have been observed up to a total of 100 (60) times, providing unprecedented depth and time coverage in the near-IR. Here we provide a first overview of stellar variability in the VVV data.
The Kûngnât Complex (1275±1.8 Ma) in the Gardar Alkaline Province, South Greenland, cuts Archaean gneisses and comprises two intersecting syenitic stocks and a gabbroic ring-dyke. The magmas, with increasingly more primitive compositions, were emplaced successively by ring-faulting and roof stoping. The syenites are orthocumulates (cumulus alkali feldspar, olivine, pyroxene, titanomagnetite and apatite; intercumulus phases include alkali amphibole, biotite, quartz and calcite). In the well dissected earlier stock, a 2.2 km-thick layered sequence displays graded modal layering, feldspar lamination and cryptic layering. Modal layering in both stocks is directed mainly inwards at 35° – 50°. Heterogeneous nucleation of the cumulus assemblage, close to steep thermal boundary layers, is inferred. The modal layering is ascribed primarily to gravitational sorting aided by the large density differential between a) feldspar and b) Fe-rich silicates and oxides. Episodic collapse of cumulus + melt slurries contributed to inward-dipping crystal pediments on the chamber floors. The Ring-Dyke (up to 100 m wide) is nearly continuous through 360°. Kûngnât exhibits a compositional nearcontinuum from olivine gabbro through syenite intermediaries to alkali granite, ascribed to protracted assimilation/fractional crystallization processes. The most radiogenic Nd isotope data from Kûngnât (εNdi values between –3.3 and –1.0) point to a lithospheric mantle source, whereas the most unradiogenic values imply enrichment in LREE by crustal contamination of the magmas.
The purpose of this chapter is to show how double dividends could be obtained from using market instruments to tax water use in a developing country. The double dividends are namely environmental (water conservation) on the one hand, and poverty reduction dividends on the other. We apply a water tax on selected industries in South Africa to reduce demand for water, and then transfer the revenue from this tax to the poor to achieve reduction in absolute levels of poverty.
South Africa is classified as a semi-arid country. Precipitation has been fluctuating over the years with an average of 500 mm per annum, well below the world average of about 860 mm (DWAF 2002). The total flow of all the rivers in the country combined amounts to approximately 49 200 million m³ per year, while the National Water Resource Strategy estimated the total water requirement for the year 2000 at 13 280 million m3 per year, excluding environmental requirements. In addition, South Africa is poorly endowed in groundwater as most of the country is underlain by hard rock formations that do not contain any major groundwater aquifers (DWAF 2002).
While currently only about 24% of rural people have access to water on site, additional sources of water supply are environmentally, financially and politically hard to develop. At the same time, unemployment in rural areas of South Africa is extremely high, which results in severe poverty conditions in these areas.
The description of Plasmodium ookinete surface proteins and their participation in the complex process of mosquito midgut invasion is still incomplete. In this study, using phage display, a consensus peptide sequence (PWWP) was identified in phages that bound to the Plasmodium berghei ookinete surface and, in selected phages, bound to actin and enolase in overlay assays with ookinete protein extracts. Actin was localized on the surface of fresh live ookinetes by immunofluorescence and electron microscopy using specific antibodies. The overall results indicated that enolase and actin can be located on the surface of ookinetes, and suggest that they could participate in Plasmodium invasion of the mosquito midgut.
Recently reported results from latest Mars Orbiters and Rovers missions are transforming our opinion about the red planet. That dry and inhospitable planet reported in the past is becoming a wetter planet with high probabilities of water existence in the past. Nowadays, some results seem to indicate the presence of water beneath the Mars surface. But also mineralogy studies by NASA Opportunity Rover report iron oxides and hydroxides precipitates on Endurance Crater. Sedimentary deposits have been identified at Meridiani Planum. These deposits must have generated in a dune aqueous acidic and oxidizing environment. Similarities appear when we study Rio Tinto, and acidic river under the control of iron.
The discovery of extremophiles on Earth widened the window of possibilities for life to develop in the Universe, and as a consequence on Mars and other planetary bodies with astrobiological interest. The compilation of data produced by the ongoing missions offers an interested view for life possibilities to exist: signs of an early wet Mars and rather recent volcanic activity as well as ground morphological characteristics that seem to be promoted by liquid water. The discovery of important accumulations of sulfates and the existence of iron minerals such as jarosite in rocks of sedimentary origin has allowed specific terrestrial models to come into focus. Río Tinto (Southwestern Spain, Iberian Pyritic Belt) is an extreme acidic environment, product of the chemolithotrophic activity of micro-organisms that thrive in the massive pyrite-rich deposits of the Iberian Pyritic Belt. Some particular protective environments should house the organic molecules and bacterial life forms in harsh environments such as Mars surface supporting microniches inside precipitated minerals or inside rocks. Terrestrial analogues could help us to afford the comprehension of habitability (on other planetary bodies).
We are reporting here the multidisciplinary study of some endolithic niches inside salt deposits used by phototrophs for taking advantage of sheltering particular light wavelengths. These acidic salts deposits located in Río Tinto shelter life forms that are difficult to visualize by eye. This interdisciplinary field analogue campaign was conducted in the framework of the CAREX FP7 EC programme.
Vanadium pentoxide gels V205.nH20 are formed via the condensation of vanadic acid in aqueous solutions. They exhibit both ionic and electronic conductivity and could therefore be used as cathode materials in lithium batteries or electrochromic display devices. The polymerization process leads to ribbon-like vanadium pentoxide particles. In a given range of concentration, sols and gels exhibit a homogeneous lyotropic nematic phase in which the ribbons align in the same direction. Ordered fluid phases are thus obtained leading to oriented films when deposited onto flat substrates. Moreover, mixed oxides MxV205 (M = Na+, K+,Ba2+, Al3+, Fe3+,Fe3+,...) exhibiting some preferred orientation are obtained via ion exchange.These compounds exhibit improved lectrochemical properties (specific capacity, cycling properties) compared to usual mixed oxides prepared via solid state reactions.
This paper emphasizes the interest of sol-gel synthesis in obtaining high performance cathodic materials. New vanadium oxides, vanadium bronzes (MxV2O5) and manganese oxides (MnO2) are prepared via the sol-gel process using inorganic precursors in aqueous medium. Their electrochemical behaviour (working potential, specific capacity, kinetics of Li transport, rechargeability, cycle life) is investigated and discussed in relation with their specific structural, chemical and physical features. In particular, the results are compared to that achieved for the corresponding classical compounds prepared via a synthesis route involving solid state reactions or precipitationreactions.
Al-, Ti- and Zr-pilared clays were characterized and NiMo/Pilc's were tested in HDS reactions. The combination of activity measurements with Mossbauer Spectroscopy and x-ray microanalysis at microscopical scale give insight in the metal phases migration during pillaring, reaction and regeneration steps. α-Fe phase in free Fe2O3 islands predominate together with structural Fe3+ phase, but during the catalytic reaction Fe2+ forms. Delamination of the Ti- and Zr-Clay supports, together with high Lewis acidity might enhance their catalytic properties.
As integrated circuit sizes decrease below 0.25 microns, device performance will no longer improve at the same rate as for past generations because of RC interconnect delay which becomes significant as compared to the intrinsic gate delay. Parallel approaches to address this are to use a lower resistance metal (i.e., copper instead of aluminum) and to use a dielectric material with a dielectric constant significantly below that of dense silica (∼4). Recently, considerable progress has been made in development of thin films of nanoporous silica for these applications. Advantages include high thermal stability, small pore size, similarity to conventional spin-on deposition processes and spin-on glass precursors and final material (silica). The dielectric constant of nanoporous silica can be tailored between ∼1 and 3 which allows its’ implementation at multiple technology nodes in integrated circuit manufacture.
Recent development efforts have been focused on; 1) simpler and more reproducible deposition processes, 2) a more complete understanding of processing-property relationships for this material, 3) scale-up of manufacturing to yield a range of precursor products with stability for at least six months and very high purity, and 4) working with customers to integrate this material into both aluminum/gapfill and copper/damascene process flows. This paper targets several specific issues related to nanoporous silica use including water adsorption, pore size distribution control, processing at commercially viable throughputs, and obtaining thickness and dielectric uniformity across 200 mm wafers and wafer to wafer.
Pr doped YBa2Cu3O7-d targets with composition Y1-xPrxBa2Cu3O7-d where × = 0.0001, 0.001, 0.01, and 0.1 were prepared from oxide powders and were used to deposit thin films by pulsed laser deposition using conditions previously optimized for pure YBa2Cu3O7-d. The Pr dopant was found to be dispersed throughout the film by secondary ion mass spectrometry and found to have an increased density of nanoparticles on the surface. The pinning force of the doped samples was found to decrease with increasing concentration of Pr; however, at 0.01% concentration the doped film displayed a significant enhancement over pure YBa2Cu3O7-d for nearly the full range of 0 – 9 T.
The new Core-XAS (X-ray absorption spectroscopy) beamline (B18) at Diamond aims to provide a reliable spectrometer for a broad scientific community. With this in mind, B18 has been built as a general-purpose beamline and offers to users a variety of sample environments and detection methods. Here we will present the first commissioning results and some of the capabilities of this versatile instrument.