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There is a long history of exploitation of the South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa. Conservation efforts for this species started in the 1960s but best practices were not established, and population trends and the number of nesting females protected remained unknown. In 2014 we formed a working group to discuss conservation strategies and to compile population data across the species’ range. We analysed the spatial pattern of its abundance in relation to human and natural factors using multiple regression analyses. We found that > 85 conservation programmes are protecting 147,000 nesting females, primarily in Brazil. The top six sites harbour > 100,000 females and should be prioritized for conservation action. Abundance declines with latitude and we found no evidence of human pressure on current turtle abundance patterns. It is presently not possible to estimate the global population trend because the species is not monitored continuously across the Amazon basin. The number of females is increasing at some localities and decreasing at others. However, the current size of the protected population is well below the historical population size estimated from past levels of human consumption, which demonstrates the need for concerted global conservation action. The data and management recommendations compiled here provide the basis for a regional monitoring programme among South American countries.
Habitat avoidance is an anti-parasite behaviour exhibited by at-risk hosts that can minimize exposure to parasites. Because environments are often heterogeneous, host decision-making with regards to habitat use may be affected by the presence of parasites and habitat quality simultaneously. In this study we examine how the ovipositing behaviour of a cactiphilic fruit fly, Drosophila nigrospiracula, is affected by the presence of an ectoparasitic mite, Macrocheles subbadius, in conjunction with other environmental factors – specifically the presence or absence of conspecific eggs and host plant tissue. We hypothesized that the trade-off between site quality and parasite avoidance should favour ovipositing at mite-free sites even if it is of inferior quality. We found that although flies avoided mites in homogeneous environments (86% of eggs at mite-free sites), site quality overwhelmed mite avoidance. Both conspecific eggs (65% of eggs at infested sites with other Drosophila eggs) and host plant tissue (78% of eggs at infested sites with cactus) overpowered mite avoidance. Our results elucidate the context-dependent decision-making of hosts in response to the presence of parasites in variable environments, and suggest how the ecology of fear and associated trade-offs may influence the relative investment in anti-parasite behaviour in susceptible hosts.
The General Structure Analysis System (GSAS-II) package provides materials and crystallographic analysis for all types of diffraction data. It was initially made available with very limited capabilities, but over much of the last decade the features have been expanded, so that GSAS-II is now a comprehensive tool for nearly all types of structural and materials characterization studies. The need to provide materials to teach use of GSAS-II, while the software has been undergoing constant revision and expansion, has required new approaches for documentation. This has included providing tutorials, as each major new capability has been added, and context-sensitive help for each section of the program. Comments in the code are also expanded into a software reference guide. Most recently, video versions of more than half of the tutorials were created and others were provided with animated graphics. All GSAS-II documentation is web-based.
We present first results from a coordinated multiwavelength study of the neutron star low-mass X-ray binary EXO 0748 676. Fast UV, X-ray, and optical data were obtained including both spectral and timing information. We discuss how this study allows us to probe the temperature distribution within the binary and hence the geometry and efficiency of X-ray irradiation.
Due to their extremely small luminosity compared to the stars they orbit, planets outside our own Solar System are extraordinarily difficult to detect directly in optical light. Careful photometric monitoring of distant stars, however, can reveal the presence of exoplanets via the microlensing or eclipsing effects they induce. The international PLANET collaboration is performing such monitoring using a cadre of semi-dedicated telescopes around the world. Their results constrain the number of gas giants orbiting 1–7 AU from the most typical stars in the Galaxy. Upgrades in the program are opening regions of “exoplanet discovery space” – toward smaller masses and larger orbital radii – that are inaccessible to the Doppler velocity technique.
Since their discovery (by Father Secchi in 1866) until the end of sixties, Be stars were not a subject of any systematic studies of their possible light and colour variations. Already at that time, the astronomical literature contained ample evidence showing that a number of Be stars were light variables. However, almost all such findings resulted as by-products of studies of different or wider groups of objects. Feinstein (1968) was probably the first who pointed out explicitly that many Be stars are light variables. A pioneering study which was aimed at the detection of light variations of a large group of Be stars by means of differential photoelectric photometry was carried out by Haupt & Schroll (1974).
φ Per (HD 10516) is a spectroscopic binary with a 126.699-day period (Ludendorff 1910, Cannon 1910, Harmanec 1985). However, most of the published RV curves of the primary are based on H I shell lines and exhibit a typical distortion with a sharp maximum, shallow minimum and a bump at 0.P4 after the RV maximum (c.f., e.g., Harmanec 1985). There has been controversy on the nature of the secondary. Hynek (1940) and Hendry (1976) concluded that the binary was composed of two B stars. Peters (1976) suggested that the secondary of φ Per is a Roche-lobe filling K giant. Poeckert (1981) reported the discovery of a weak He II 4686 emission which moved in antiphase to the Be primary and suggested that it originated in the disk around the secondary. In his interpretation, the secondary is a helium star, a remnant of an originally more massive star which in the past transferred its mass to the present Be star. There is now no mass tranfer in the system according to Poeckert. Using RVs of the broad absorptions for primary, and of the He II 4686 emission for the secondary, Poeckert obtained two roughly sinusoidal RV curves and M1sin3i = 21.1 m⊙ and M2sin3i = 3.4 m⊙.
28 Cyg (V1624 Cyg, HD 191610, HR 7708; B2e, v sin i = 310 km s-1) has been the target of several observational projects, and in 1988 of a large international campaign. This attention was inspired by several photometric studies and especially by the 1985 nearly simultaneous optical and UV spectroscopic monitoring by Peters & Penrod (1988). They found that the line-profile variations were controlled by two frequencies, 1.45 c/d, and 7.43 c/d, which they identified with sectorial pulsations of modes l = 2, m = +2 and l = 10, m = +10. Rapid changes (0.5 to 1 hr) of the CIV wind profile were found; its equivalent width appeared to correlate with the phase of the l = 2 mode. Pavlovski & Ružić (1990) - who independently analysed Hvar 1985 UBV photometry of 28 Cyg - found periodic light variations with a double-wave light curve and a frequency of 1.54 c/d. However – because of the residual scatter around the mean light–curve – the authors tentatively suggested possible multiperiodicity (1.54, 1.33, and 0.95 c/d).
We probe the structure and kinematics of Seyfert broad-line regions by using a velocity-delay map to fit simultaneously the observed variations in the continuum and the emission-line profiles. The velocity-delay map of C IVλ1550 emission constructed from 44 IUE spectra of NGC 4151 suggests virial motions, with 107M⊙ inside two light days. Pure inflow and outflow kinematics are ruled out by the approximate symmetry of the map. A stronger redshifted response at small delays suggests either a component with free-fall kinematics, or an outflow with CIV being emitted inward by optically thick gas clouds.
We have detected He I absorption from the companion star to X1822–371 and find a lower limit to its K–velocity of 230±50km s−1. We interpret the He I as arising on the X-ray heated inner face of the companion star.
Flickering is a poorly understood phenomenon associated with accretion processes, but this does not suffice to make it interesting. Why then should we bother studying this ‘noise’? Three reasons come to mind: (i) flickering is a fundamental signature of accretion, to the point of being a necessary characteristic (if it doesn’t flicker, it’s not a CV); (ii) energetically, flickering is not a small effect and can contribute up to a few tens of percent of the total luminosity of the system (hence it is often more luminous than the entire secondary star); (iii) flickering is inherently a time-dependent phenomenon and it is hoped that it can provide clues to the nature of the disc viscosity, something that time-independent theory cannot provide.
The enigmatic flaring activity of AE Aqr, which extends from the radio to the X-ray bands, may be the exotic outcome of a relatively feeble accretion flow onto the rapidly spinning white dwarf. We summarize and interpret the results of recent observations by HST and ROSAT of the aperiodic flares. Optical and UV flares are tightly correlated and are clearly involved in powering the emission lines. The spectrum of a flare consists of a Balmer continuum, and a plethora of emission lines, which vary synchronously. The large optical/UV flares are not accompanied by large X-ray outbursts. The radial velocity curves of the UV lines, and of Hα, suggest that they originate in the accretion stream. The observational results dis-favor scenarios invoking coronal activity on the secondary star or instabilities at the disk/magnetosphere interface. Rather, they support a recently proposed scenario in which the accretion flow consists of blobs which are shocked upon encountering the white dwarf magnetosphere.
We observed the new intermediate polar RX J0558+53 withthe 4.2m WHT in March 1995. We detect 2–3%% pulsations of the He ɪɪ emission line on the 545s spin period. The spin-resolved Hell spectrogram shows a complex structure with two roughly anti-phased components moving from red to blue (double pulse). This is most likely produced by non-axisymmetric gas flow in the rotating magnetosphere of the white dwarf.
We review our understanding of the prototype “Propeller” system AE Aqr and we examine its flaring behaviour in detail. The flares are thought to arise from collisions between high density regions in the material expelled from the system after interaction with the rapidly rotating magnetosphere of the white dwarf. We show calculations of the time-dependent emergent optical spectra from the resulting hot, expanding ball of gas and derive values for the mass, lengthscale and temperature of the material involved. We see that the fits suggest that the secondary star in this system has reduced metal abundances and that, counter-intuitively, the evolution of the fireballs is best modelled as isothermal.
We present phase-resolved spectroscopy of two dwarf novae, IP Peg and SS Cyg, observed in outburst with the WHT/ISIS spectropolarimeter. Doppler tomograms of several emission lines show peculiar narrow, stationary emission components.
We present high resolution optical spectroscopy of the cataclysmic variable (CV) V795 Her. The time- and phase- dependent behaviour of the emission source is examined using two-dimensional image analysis and Doppler reconstruction techniques on the orbital profiles. A clear S-wave modulation of a weak emission feature in the Hβ and Hγ line wings (extending to ~1800 km s−1) is present, with complex asymmetric properties.
We derive the temperature and density structure of the accretion disk of the dwarf nova U Gem in quiescence from 3D radiative line and continuum transport calculations of a differentially rotating disk.
The eclipsing RS CVn system AR Lac (G2IV+K0IV) has been observed continuously for one 2 day binary cycle with the EXOSAT observatory. Below 1 keV a factor of two intensity modulation is seen with a flat bottomed minimum around the time of primary eclipse and a shallow dip preceeding primary eclipse. Above 1 keV, where only emission with temperatures > 107 K would be detected, no orbital modulation or eclipse is seen. This suggests that the > 20 million degree emission comes from a large region, comparable in size to the binary seperation. The modulation in the < 1 keV lightcurve has been modelled by x2 fitting to X-ray bright spots and by using maximum entropy deconvolution. The lower temperature emission is found to orginate in compact regions with a pressure and temperature similar to that of the flaring sun.
RXJ0558+5353 was discovered and classified as an intermediate polar during the ROSAT all-sky survey and subsequent optical follow up programme (Haberl et al. 1994). A further pointed ROSAT observation revealed a spin periodicity of 272.74 s and a soft X-ray component well represented by an absorbed 57 eV blackbody, the spin modulation being due principally to intensity variations of the component (rather than variable absorption). Optical spectroscopy showed the orbital period to be 4.15 h. In this paper we show the true spin period to be 545.4555(8) s (Allan, Horne & Hilditch 1995), twice the published X-ray period, and also discuss preliminary results of the first spin-resolved spectroscopy of RXJ0558+5353.