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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.
A 6–18 GHz high-power amplifier (HPA) design in GaN on SiC technology is presented. This power amplifier consists of a two-stage corporate amplifier with two and four transistors, respectively. It has been fabricated on UMS using their 0.25 µm gate length process, GH25. A study of the suitable attachment method and measurement on wafer and on jig are detailed. This HPA exhibits an averaged output power of 39.2 dBm with a mean gain of 11 dB in saturation and a 24.5% maximum power added efficiency in pulse mode operation with a duty cycle of 10% with a 25 µs pulse width.
In this Research Communication we assessed factors affecting colostrum quality of dairy Lacaune ewes using the Brix-refractometer. Colostrum from 536 lambings from one commercial intensive dairy Lacaune farm were analysed for the following factors with potential influence in colostrum quality: (1) ewe parity (n = 84–132), (2) length of previous dry period (PDP) (n = 23–214), (3) age at first lambing (AFL) of primiparous ewes (n = 9–88), (4) lambing season (n = 192 or 344), and (5) year (2011–2013, n = 142–203). Parity significantly affected colostrum quality, with primiparous ewes showing the highest Brix refractometer values (22·6 ± 5·6%, P < 0·0001), though values were similar among multiparous ewes. PDP length also significantly affected colostrum quality: ewes with the shortest PDP showed the worst quality (16·8 ± 4·2%, P < 0·0001), with quality gradually rising with PDP length. Colostrum quality was significantly higher in 2011 (21·0 ± 5·2%) than in 2012 or 2013 (P < 0·0001); this likely reflects the several-fold greater proportion of animals with long PDP in 2011. In contrast, neither AFL nor lambing season significantly affected colostrum quality. These results suggest that parity and PDP length can substantially affect ovine colostrum quality of dairy ewes under intensive management conditions and they further show the usefulness of the Brix refractometer for providing a rough estimation of colostrum quality on-farm. However, further studies are needed to determine a validated cut-off Brix value for identifying good-quality colostra in ovine species.
A remarkable stela from Montoro, southern Spain, is unique in its morphology, epigraphic traits and landscape context. A programme of chemical characterisation, digital imaging, and geo-lithological and epigraphic analyses were conducted to determine its age and significance, and the results were integrated with data from archaeological investigations of the surrounding area. This multi-faceted approach allowed the stela to be interpreted within the context of early interactions between literate Mediterranean societies of the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age and non-literate Iberian societies. A key outcome of this research is a wider understanding of the complex patterns in the use and perception of early scripts.
The study of the Bom Santo Cave (central Portugal), a Neolithic cemetery, indicates a complex social, palaeoeconomic, and population scenario. With isotope, aDNA, and provenance analyses of raw materials coupled with stylistic variability of material culture items and palaeogeographical data, light is shed on the territory and social organization of a population dated to 3800–3400 cal BC, i.e. the Middle Neolithic. Results indicate an itinerant farming, segmentary society, where exogamic practices were the norm. Its lifeway may be that of the earliest megalithic builders of the region, but further research is needed to correctly evaluate the degree of this community's participation in such a phenomenon.
Examining how variability in population abundance and distribution is allotted among different spatial scales can inform of processes that are likely to generate that variability. Results of studies dealing with scale issues in marine benthic communities suggest that variability is concentrated at small spatial scales (from tens of centimetres to few metres) and that spatial patterns of variation are consistent across ecosystems characterized by contrasting physical and biotic conditions, but this has not been formally tested. Here we quantified the variability in the distribution of intertidal rocky shore communities at a range of spatial scales, from tens of centimetres to thousands of kilometres, both in the NE Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and tested whether the observed patterns differed between the two basins. We focused on canopy-forming macroalgae and associated understorey assemblages in the low intertidal, and on the distribution of Patella limpets at mid intertidal levels. Our results highlight that patterns of spatial variation, at each scale investigated, were consistent between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, suggesting that similar ecological processes operate in these regions. In contrast with former studies, variability in canopy cover, species richness and limpet abundance was equally distributed among spatial scales, possibly reflecting the fingerprint of multiple processes. Variability in community structure of low intertidal assemblages, instead, peaked at the largest scale, suggesting that oceanographic processes and climatic gradients may be important. We conclude that formal comparisons of variability across scales nested in contrasting systems are needed, before any generalization on patterns and processes can be made.
The purple sea urchin P. lividus is a marine resource greatly valued for its highly nutritious roe. The objective of this work is to analyse the spatial distribution pattern and population structure of this species in the region of Cantabria (Bay of Biscay) in order to identify the most appropriate zones for sustainable harvesting and for the establishment of adequate management strategies. Two depth ranges were studied (<5 and 5–10 m) in five coastal areas. The available stock of commercial individuals (size >55 mm) was estimated based on the density of individuals and biometric parameters. Significant differences were found among areas but not among depth ranges. Three areas showed low densities with large individuals, whereas two areas showed high densities with small individuals. Despite the average smaller size of the individuals, these high-density areas accumulated 76% of the commercial stock, making these the most suitable zones for the sustainable harvesting of P. lividus in the region. The high variability of the observed density values resulted in elevated uncertainty in the estimation of stocks. However, the high sea urchin densities together with the high percentages of commercial individuals suggest that the resource is currently underexploited. Further studies should be carried out, and precautionary measures should be adopted before opening the fishery. The suitability of many of these measures is discussed in the present work, as a necessary step in the management of the P. lividus fishery in Cantabria.
Coastal ecosystems are highly complex and driven by multiple environmental factors. To date we lack scientific evidence for the relative contribution of natural and anthropogenic drivers for the majority of marine habitats in order to adequately assess the role of different stressors across the European seas. Such relationship can be investigated by analysing the correlation between environmental variables and biotic patterns in multivariate space and taking into account non-linearities. Within the framework of the EMBOS (European Marine Biodiversity Observatory System) programme, hard bottom intertidal communities were sampled in a standardized way across European seas. Links between key natural and anthropogenic drivers and hard bottom communities were analysed using Boosted Regression Trees modelling. The study identified strong interregional variability and showed that patterns of hard bottom macroalgal and invertebrate communities were primarily a function of tidal regime, nutrient loading and water temperature (anomalies). The strength and shape of functional form relationships varied widely however among types of organisms (understorey algae composing mostly filamentous species, canopy-forming algae or sessile invertebrates) and aggregated community variables (cover or richness). Tidal regime significantly modulated the effect of nutrient load on the cover and richness of understorey algae and sessile invertebrates. In contrast, hydroclimate was more important for canopy algae and temperature anomalies and hydroclimate separately or interactively contributed to the observed patterns. The analyses also suggested that climate-induced shifts in weather patterns may result in the loss of algal richness and thereby in the loss of functional diversity in European hard bottom intertidal areas.
Within the COST action EMBOS (European Marine Biodiversity Observatory System) the degree and variation of the diversity and densities of soft-bottom communities from the lower intertidal or the shallow subtidal was measured at 28 marine sites along the European coastline (Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean) using jointly agreed and harmonized protocols, tools and indicators. The hypothesis tested was that the diversity for all taxonomic groups would decrease with increasing latitude. The EMBOS system delivered accurate and comparable data on the diversity and densities of the soft sediment macrozoobenthic community over a large-scale gradient along the European coastline. In contrast to general biogeographic theory, species diversity showed no linear relationship with latitude, yet a bell-shaped relation was found. The diversity and densities of benthos were mostly positively correlated with environmental factors such as temperature, salinity, mud and organic matter content in sediment, or wave height, and related with location characteristics such as system type (lagoons, estuaries, open coast) or stratum (intertidal, subtidal). For some relationships, a maximum (e.g. temperature from 15–20°C; mud content of sediment around 40%) or bimodal curve (e.g. salinity) was found. In lagoons the densities were twice higher than in other locations, and at open coasts the diversity was much lower than in other locations. We conclude that latitudinal trends and regional differences in diversity and densities are strongly influenced by, i.e. merely the result of, particular sets and ranges of environmental factors and location characteristics specific to certain areas, such as the Baltic, with typical salinity clines (favouring insects) and the Mediterranean, with higher temperatures (favouring crustaceans). Therefore, eventual trends with latitude are primarily indirect and so can be overcome by local variation of environmental factors.
A selection of 1,2-disubstituted 5-nitroindazolin-3-ones (1–19) and 3-alkoxy-5-nitroindazoles substituted at positions 1 (20–24) or 2 (25–39) from our in-house compound library were screened in vitro against the most common curable sexually transmitted pathogen, Trichomonas vaginalis. A total of 41% of the studied molecules (16/39) achieved a significant activity of more than 85% growth inhibition at the highest concentration assayed (100 µg mL−1). Among these compounds, 3-alkoxy-5-nitroindazole derivatives 23, 24, 25 and 27 inhibited parasite growth by more than 50% at 10 µg mL−1. In addition, the first two compounds (23, 24) still showed remarkable activity at the lowest dose tested (1 µg mL−1), inhibiting parasite growth by nearly 40%. Their specific activity towards the parasite was corroborated by the determination of their non-specific cytotoxicity against mammalian cells. The four mentioned compounds exhibited non-cytotoxic profiles at all of the concentrations assayed, showing a fair antiparasitic selectivity index (SI > 7·5). In silico studies were performed to predict pharmacokinetic properties, toxicity and drug-score using Molinspiration and OSIRIS computational tools. The current in vitro results supported by the virtual screening suggest 2-substituted and, especially, 1-substituted 3-alkoxy-5-nitroindazoles as promising starting scaffolds for further development of novel chemical compounds with the main aim of promoting highly selective trichomonacidal lead-like drugs with adequate pharmacokinetic and toxicological profiles.
Emotional states, attitudes and intentions are often conveyed by modulations in the tone of voice. Impaired recognition of emotions from a tone of voice (receptive prosody) has been described as characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia. However, the ability to express non-verbal information in speech (expressive prosody) has been understudied. This paper describes a useful technique for quantifying the degree of expressive prosody deficits in schizophrenia, using a semi-automatic method, and evaluates this method’s ability to discriminate between patient and control groups. Forty-five medicated patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia were matched with thirty-five healthy comparison subjects. Production of expressive prosodic speech was analyzed using variation in fundamental frequency (F0) measures on an emotionally neutral reading task. Results revealed that patients with schizophrenia exhibited significantly more pauses (p < .001), were slower (p < .001), and showed less pitch variability in speech (p < .05) and fewer variations in syllable timing (p < .001) than control subjects. These features have been associated with «flat» speech prosody. Signal processing algorithms applied to speech were shown to be capable of discriminating between patients and controls with an accuracy of 93.8%. These speech parameters may have a diagnostic and prognosis value and therefore could be used as a dependent measure in clinical trials.
Tin oxide is of great interest due to their potential technological applications, such as: gas sensors, energy conversion, catalysts and others. Appropriate doping can further enhance the conductivity of the SnO2 material with little loss of transparency. Isolated tin iron oxide fibers (Sn1-xFexO2-δ) with x (molar %) = 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 were prepared by the electrospinning technique. Anhydrous SnCl4, FeCl3·6H2O, different alcohols, chloroform and a polymer (PEO) were used as precursor materials. Appropriate mixture of these reagents defines the deposition solution. The samples were deposited on glass substrates and annealed at 500o C. The fibers are characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), impedance spectroscopy and temperature dependence current-voltage measurements. The fibers with diameters between 2 to 12 microns were used for sensorial purpose. Thus, water vapor sensor responses were also measured and the experimental results are tested using the Freundlich isotherms model.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
Individuals with cocaine and gambling addictions exhibit cognitive flexibility deficits that may underlie persistence of harmful behaviours.
We investigated the neural substrates of cognitive inflexibility in cocaine users v. pathological gamblers, aiming to disambiguate common mechanisms v. cocaine effects.
Eighteen cocaine users, 18 pathological gamblers and 18 controls performed a probabilistic reversal learning task during functional magnetic resonance imaging, and were genotyped for the DRD2/ANKK Taq1A polymorphism.
Cocaine users and pathological gamblers exhibited reduced ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) signal during reversal shifting. Cocaine users further showed increased dorsomedial PFC (dmPFC) activation relative to pathological gamblers during perseveration, and decreased dorsolateral PFC activation relative to pathological gamblers and controls during shifting. Preliminary genetic findings indicated that cocaine users carrying the DRD2/ANKK Taq1A1+ genotype may derive unique stimulatory effects on shifting-related ventrolateral PFC signal.
Reduced ventrolateral PFC activation during shifting may constitute a common neural marker across gambling and cocaine addictions. Additional cocaine-related effects relate to a wider pattern of task-related dysregulation, reflected in signal abnormalities in dorsolateral and dmPFC.
The degree of development and operability of the indicators for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) using Descriptor 1 (D1) Biological Diversity was assessed. To this end, an overview of the relevance and degree of operability of the underlying parameters across 20 European countries was compiled by analysing national directives, legislation, regulations, and publicly available reports. Marked differences were found between countries in the degree of ecological relevance as well as in the degree of implementation and operability of the parameters chosen to indicate biological diversity. The best scoring EU countries were France, Germany, Greece and Spain, while the worst scoring countries were Italy and Slovenia. No country achieved maximum scores for the implementation of MSFD D1. The non-EU countries Norway and Turkey score as highly as the top-scoring EU countries. On the positive side, the chosen parameters for D1 indicators were generally identified as being an ecologically relevant reflection of Biological Diversity. On the negative side however, less than half of the chosen parameters are currently operational. It appears that at a pan-European level, no consistent and harmonized approach currently exists for the description and assessment of marine biological diversity. The implementation of the MSFD Descriptor 1 for Europe as a whole can therefore at best be marked as moderately successful.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
A multidisciplinary study from a number of drilled cores in the Guadalquivir estuary has made possible to identify as many as three extreme wave events and their facies in the 4th millennium BP (A: ~ 4000 cal yr BP, B: ~ 3550 cal yr BP, and C: ~ 3150 cal yr BP). These events, which caused strong erosion in the Guadalquivir sandy barrier and in the neighboring aeolian systems of El Abalario, brought about significant paleogeographical changes that may have affected human settlements established in the area during the Neolithic and Copper Age periods and during the Middle Bronze Age. The three events can be spatially correlated and their facies differentiated from more proximal to more distal from the coastline. The most proximal facies is characterized by a massive accumulation of shells, a sandy or sandy–muddy matrix, an erosive base, a highly diverse mixture of species (marine and estuarine), and lithoclasts. The most distal facies presents a muddy–sandy matrix, dominance of estuarine fauna, shell accumulation, presence of terrestrial species, mudpebbles, pebbles in a clayey matrix, and bioturbation. The evidence presented will further advance scientific knowledge about the impact of extreme wave events on coastal areas in SW Iberia and NW Africa.
Networks of protected areas are one of the main strategies used to address the biodiversity crisis. These should encompass as many species and ecosystems as possible, particularly in territories with high biological diversity, such as the Spanish arid zones. We produce a priority ranking of the arid zones of south-east Spain according to the rarity and richness of their characteristic flora and the level of endangerment. The resulting hierarchy shows that optimal zones for the preservation of the flora are located outside the network of protected areas. In particular, it is important to extend the network and encourage the creation of microreserves in the depression of the River Guadiana Menor (Granada), where there is least protection. This river valley is a particularly important arid site because of its unique flora and fauna, and palaeontological and archaeological findings.
The Meta-cognitions Questionnaire 30 (MCQ-30; Wells & Cartwright-Hatton, 2004) has been used to assess individual differences in metacognitive beliefs considered to be central in the metacognitive theory of generalized anxiety disorder (Wells, 2005). In the present study, the psychometric properties, reliability, and validity of a Spanish adaptation of the MCQ-30 were tested in a broad sample of participants (N = 768) of Spanish nationality aged 16–81 years (31.1% males, 68.9% females). Confirmatory factor analysis showed the expected five-factor structure, which was found to be invariant across gender. Internal consistency and test-retest reliability of the subscales were adequate, and the expected relationships to theoretically related variables such as pathological worry, meta-worry, thought suppression and trait anxiety were obtained. Convergent validity with other measures of beliefs about worry was also found. Taken together, these findings suggest that the Spanish version of the MCQ-30 is a valid instrument for evaluating metacognitive beliefs in the Spanish-speaking population.
We study the theoretical properties of the regular spacings found in the oscillation spectra of δ Scuti stars. A linear relation between the large separation and the mean density is predicted to be found in the low-frequency domain (i.e. radial orders spanning from 1 to 8, approximately) of the main-sequence δ Scuti stars' oscillation spectrum. This implies an independent direct measure of the average density of δ Scuti stars, analogous to that of the Sun, and places tight constraints on the mode identification and hence on the stellar internal structure and dynamics, and allows a determination the radii of planets orbiting around δ Scuti stars with unprecedented precision. This opens the way for studying the evolution of regular patterns in pulsating stars, and its relation to stellar structure and evolution.