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The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a planned large radio interferometer designed to operate over a wide range of frequencies, and with an order of magnitude greater sensitivity and survey speed than any current radio telescope. The SKA will address many important topics in astronomy, ranging from planet formation to distant galaxies. However, in this work, we consider the perspective of the SKA as a facility for studying physics. We review four areas in which the SKA is expected to make major contributions to our understanding of fundamental physics: cosmic dawn and reionisation; gravity and gravitational radiation; cosmology and dark energy; and dark matter and astroparticle physics. These discussions demonstrate that the SKA will be a spectacular physics machine, which will provide many new breakthroughs and novel insights on matter, energy, and spacetime.
On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm, resulting in serious widespread impact across the island, including communication and power outages, water systems impairment, and damage to life-saving infrastructure. In collaboration with the Puerto Rico Department of Health, the Public Health Branch (PHB), operating under the Department of Health and Human Services Incident Response Coordination Team, was tasked with completing assessments of health-care facilities in Puerto Rico to determine infrastructure capabilities and post-hurricane capacity. Additionally, in response to significant data entry and presentation needs, the PHB leadership worked with the Puerto Rico Planning Board to develop and test a new app-based infrastructure capacity assessment tool. Assessments of hospitals were initiated September 28, 2017, and completed November 10, 2017 (n = 64 hospitals, 97%). Assessments of health-care centers were initiated on October 7, 2017, with 186 health-care centers (87%) assessed through November 18, 2017. All hospitals had working communications; however, 9% (n = 17) of health-care centers reported no communication capabilities. For the health-care centers, 114 (61%) reported they were operational but had sustainment needs. In conclusion, health-care facility assessments indicated structural damage issues and operational capacity decreases, while health-care centers reported loss of communication capabilities post-Hurricane Maria.
Rhinoptera steindachneri is a commercially important, medium-sized, pelagic migratory batoid fish with benthic feeding habits. It has been considered a specialized predator that feeds on molluscs as well as benthic ophiurids and arthropods off the Mexican Pacific coast. Most biological aspects of this species in La Paz Bay are unknown, despite its being a commercially important species of conservation interest. Therefore, the aim of this study was to characterize the feeding habits of R. steindachneri based on specimens caught in artisanal fisheries. The stomach contents of 310 specimens (146 females and 164 males) were analysed, all captured from 2013 to 2015. The vacuity index was 97.1%, and the most important prey species were Mysidium spp. and Cylichna spp. Because of the high frequency of empty stomachs recorded, it was not possible to describe with precision the general diet of the species. Three hypotheses were developed to try to explain why this characteristic occurred in this species, ranging from eating habits to physiology and prey digestion and geographic location of the study. However, considering the mechanical process of prey handling of R. steindachneri, several hypotheses were formulated, with the hour of capture, chemical processes and physiology and prey digestion being the most probable to explain this high vacuity index reported in this study.
Spineless cactus is a useful feed for various animal species in arid and semiarid regions due to its adaptability to dry and harsh soil, high efficiency of water use and carbohydrates storage. This meta-analysis was carried out to assess the effect of spineless cactus on animal performance, and develop and evaluate equations to predict dry matter intake (DMI) and average daily gain (ADG) in meat lambs. Equations for predicting DMI and ADG as a function of animal and diet characteristics were developed using data from eight experiments. The dataset was comprised of 40 treatment means from 289 meat lambs, in which cactus was included from 0 to 75% of the diet dry matter (DM). Accuracy and precision were evaluated by cross-validation using the mean square error of prediction (MSEP), which was decomposed into mean bias, systematic bias and random error; concordance correlation coefficient, which was decomposed into accuracy (Cb) and precision (ρ); and coefficient of determination (R2). In addition, the data set was used to evaluate the predicting accuracy and precision of the main lamb feeding systems (Agricultural and Food Research Council, Small Ruminant Nutritional System, National Research Council and Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) and also two Brazilian studies. The DMI, CP intake (CPI), metabolizable energy (ME) intake and ADG increased when cactus was included up to 499 g/kg DM (P<0.001). In contrast, animals fed high levels of cactus (>500 g/kg DM) had a decreased DMI, CPI and NDF intake, but increased feed efficiency (P<0.001) and similar ADG compared with those without cactus addition. The DMI was positively correlated with initial BW, final BW, concentrate and ADG, while it was negatively correlated with cactus inclusion and ME of the diet. On other hand, ADG was positively correlated with DMI, initial and mean BW and concentrate, and it was negatively correlated with cactus inclusion. The two developed equations had high accuracy (Cb of 0.95 for DMI and 0.94 for ADG) and the random error of MSEP was 99% for both equations. The precision of both equations was moderate, with R2 values of 0.53 and 0.50 and ρ values of 0.73 and 0.71 for DMI and ADG, respectively. In conclusion, the developed equation to predict DMI had moderate precision and high accuracy, nonetheless, it was more efficient than those reported in the literature. The proposed equations can be a useful alternative to estimate intake and performance of lambs fed cactus.
This paper describes a model of electron energization and cyclotron-maser emission applicable to astrophysical magnetized collisionless shocks. It is motivated by the work of Begelman, Ergun and Rees [Astrophys. J. 625, 51 (2005)] who argued that the cyclotron-maser instability occurs in localized magnetized collisionless shocks such as those expected in blazar jets. We report on recent research carried out to investigate electron acceleration at collisionless shocks and maser radiation associated with the accelerated electrons. We describe how electrons accelerated by lower-hybrid waves at collisionless shocks generate cyclotron-maser radiation when the accelerated electrons move into regions of stronger magnetic fields. The electrons are accelerated along the magnetic field and magnetically compressed leading to the formation of an electron velocity distribution having a horseshoe shape due to conservation of the electron magnetic moment. Under certain conditions the horseshoe electron velocity distribution function is unstable to the cyclotron-maser instability [Bingham and Cairns, Phys. Plasmas 7, 3089 (2000); Melrose, Rev. Mod. Plasma Phys. 1, 5 (2017)].
The coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari), can survive in residual coffee berries during the inter-harvest period, while new fructification only appears 2–3 months after the last harvest. The dispersal of colonizing females is an adaptation that enables the life cycle of the species to go ahead whenever his flight aptitude allows. This paper focuses on accurately determining the rate of inseminated females ready to reproduce when emerging from residuals berries to colonize new ones, which constitutes a characteristic of the live cycle far from common in Curculionidae. We dissected females caught in traps baited with a mixture of alcohols during the inter-harvest season, females from infested residual berries collected from branches, and virgin females obtained from pupae reared individually in the laboratory. After microscopic preparation with Giemsa stain, spermathecae were observed to identify the physiological status of each specimen. Out of the females found in the traps, 98.4% displayed recent and abundant insemination and 1.6% sporadic insemination. In contrast, in residual berries, most of females were recently inseminated (84.5%), followed by virgin females (10.5%) and older inseminated females (5%). In addition, the flight tests of the virgin females were negative. These results indicate that all colonizing females were inseminated, ready for flying and oviposition, females inside residual berries showed different physiological status, and virgin females could not migrate since they could not flight. The large number of inseminated females inside the residual berries, and the capacity of migrating females to colonize and reproduce, suggest that it is necessary to control residual berries and use traps to stop the dispersal and reproduction of this pest.
The objective of the current experiment was to determine the effects of increasing levels of palm kernel cake in a finishing diet on feed intake, digestibility, performance, ingestive behaviour and carcass traits in zebu bulls. Thirty-two Nellore bulls (420 ± 25.0 kg initial body weight [BW] and 24-months-old), were assigned randomly to individual pens with four treatments (0, 70, 140 and 210 g/kg of palm kernel cake by total dry matter [DM]) and eight replicates per treatment. The inclusion of palm kernel cake linearly decreased DM, crude protein and non-fibrous carbohydrate intake and increased ether extraction intake and digestibility. There was a linear decrease in final BW and hot carcass weight (HCW) associated with palm kernel cake inclusion in the bull diet. However, the gain : feed ratio was similar among the diets. Eating and rumination rates (g DM or neutral detergent fibre/h) were reduced, whereas the total chewing time and idling (min/day) were not affected by palm kernel cake inclusion. There were no effects of palm kernel cake inclusion on most quantitative carcass characteristics and qualitative carcass attributes (subcutaneous fat thickness, longissimus muscle area, colour, texture and marbling). The inclusion of palm kernel cake (up to 210 g/kg total DM) in beef cattle finishing diets decreased eating and rumination rates, thereby decreasing average daily gain and, consequently, final BW and HCW. However, qualitative carcass attributes were not affected by the use of palm kernel cake.
Bovine brucellosis is a worldwide zoonotic disease that still burdens several countries in the Mediterranean, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Although the disease is present in Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands seem to be free from the disease based on a survey conducted in 1997 where all tested animals showed negative results. This study aimed at estimating the probability of freedom from brucellosis in this Ecuadorian province in 2014. A survey was implemented on the three main cattle-producing islands of the province: Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristóbal. Thirty-three cattle farms and 410 cattle were tested for brucellosis using the Rose Bengal test and indirect ELISA. All animals showed negative results for both tests. Probability of freedom was estimated at 98%, 91% and 88% for Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristóbal, respectively, considering a herd-level design seroprevalence of 20% and animal-level design seroprevalence of 15%, and assuming a perfect specificity of the survey. The negative results found in 1997 and present surveys suggest that the Galapagos Islands are free from bovine brucellosis.
A long-standing problem of the general paradigm of low-mass star formation is the “luminosity problem”: protostars are less luminous than theoretically predicted. One possible solution is that the accretion process is episodic. FU Orionis-type stars (FUors) are thought to be the visible examples for objects in the high accretion state and it is still debated what physical mechanism triggers the phenomenon. For many of these objects their disk properties are still largely unknown so we conducted a deep, high spatial resolution (down to 20 au) ALMA Band 6 (1.3 mm) dust continuum survey of a sub-sample of known FUors. Here we present preliminary results of our survey, including the mass, size and spectral slope of each disk.
Having disk-to-star accretion rates on the order of 10-4M⊙/yr, FU Orionis-type stars (FUors) are thought to be the visible examples for episodic accretion. FUors are often surrounded by massive envelopes, which replenish the disk material and enable the disk to produce accretion outbursts. We observed the FUor-type star V346 Nor with ALMA at 1.3 mm continuum and in different CO rotational lines. We mapped the density and velocity structure of its envelope and analyzed the results using channel maps, position-velocity diagrams, and spectro-astrometric methods. We discovered a pseudo-disk and a Keplerian disk around a 0.1 M⊙ central star. We determined an infall rate from the envelope onto the disk of 6×10-6M⊙/yr, a factor of few higher than the quiescent accretion rate from the disk onto the star. This hints for a mismatch between the infall and accretion rates as the cause of the eruption.
We performed a new series of measurements on samples that were part of early measurements on radiocarbon (14C) dating made in 1948–1949. Our results show generally good agreement to the data published in 1949–1951, despite vast changes in technology, with only two exceptions where there was a discrepancy in the original studies. Our new measurements give calibrated ages that overlap with the known ages. We dated several samples at four different laboratories, and so we were also able to make a small intercomparison at the same time. In addition, new measurements on samples from other Egyptian materials used by Libby and co-workers were made at UC Irvine. Samples of tree rings used in the original studies (from Broken Flute Cave and Centennial Stump) were obtained from the University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research archive and remeasured. New data were compared to the original studies and other records.
Human strongyloidiasis is caused by helminth Strongyloides stercoralis. It has a worldwide distribution, often neglected and cause of severe morbidity. The parasitological diagnosis is hindered by the low and irregular amount of larvae in feces. The goal of the present study was to detect IgG and IgG immune complex using conventional serum samples and saliva as alternative samples. We collected samples from 60 individuals, namely: group I composed of 30 healthy individuals; and group II composed of 30 individuals eliminating S. stercoralis larvae in feces. We calculated the area under the curve, general index of diagnostic accuracy, Kappa index and determined the correlations between different diagnostic tests. The detection of IgG levels was performed by an immunoenzymatic assay with alkaline extract of S. venezuelensis larvae as antigen. Positivity of anti-S. stercoralis IgG in serum samples from group I was 3·3%, and from group II 93·3%. The detection of immune complex indicated that group I exhibited 3·3% and group II 56·7%. In the saliva samples, IgG detection was 26·7% for group I and 43·3% for group II. Immune complex was detected in 20% of group I, and 30% of group II. IgG immune complex in conventional serum samples and saliva as alternative samples can be considered biomarkers for the diagnosis of active strongyloidiasis.
The coffee berry borer (CBB), Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari), is a multivoltine species closely associated with coffee crops worldwide, causing severe damage to the bean. In Mexico, as in all tropical regions, CBB survives during the inter-harvest period in residual berries on the ground or in dry berries remaining on the branches, and then disperses in search of the first suitable berries. In this study, we investigated how CBB dispersed from the first infested nodes during the fruiting period of Coffea canephora Pierre, which provides a favourable trophic level for this insect. Forty-five branches equally distributed in 15 coffee trees, with one infested node and four uninfested nodes, were selected. The branches were subjected to three treatments over nine weeks: 1) glue between nodes with full protection, 2) glue between nodes without protection, and 3) no glue and no protection. In addition, 45 CBB-free branches were selected and subjected to the same three treatments. CBB colonization can occur in three ways: 1) from an infested node to an uninfested node on the same branch, 2) from infested berries to uninfested berries within the nodes, 3) from branches to other branches. We also found that CBB dispersal between nodes of the same branches never occurred by walking but by flying. Thus, in this context of coffee berry development and ripening, and unlike the phenological situation of the inter-harvest period, CBB continuously travels very short distances, thus limiting its control.
Four early-generation backcross populations (BC1F2) derived from one common recipient parental background, Weed Tolerant Rice 1 (‘WTR1’), and four different donor parents (‘Y134’, ‘Zhong 143’, ‘Khazar’, and ‘Cheng Hui-448’) were tested to identify suitable donor and recipient parents for weed competitiveness and to standardize evaluation of the weed-competitive ability in rice. ‘GSR IR2-6’ (G-6) derived from a backcross of WTR1/Y134//WTR1 was selected as the best population and was advanced for phenotypic experiments in the 2014 dry season. The introgression lines (ILs) derived from the G-6 population were evaluated for seed germination and seedling vigor in greenhouse conditions and for weed-competitive ability under field conditions (upland weed-free, upland weedy, and lowland weedy). Parents and checks were included for comparison. Selection pressure for weed competitiveness was relatively stronger in upland conditions than in lowland conditions. After three rounds of selection and based on their relative grain yield performances across conditions, a total of 21 most-promising introgression fixed lines showing superior traits and weed-competitive ability were identified. G-6-L2-WL-3, G-6-RF6-WL-3, G-6-L15-WU-1,G-6-Y16-WL-2, and G-6-L6-WU-3 were the top ILs in lowland weedy conditions, whereas G-6-Y7-WL-3, G-6-Y6-WU-3, G-6-Y3-WL-3, and G-6-Y8-WU-1 were the highest yielding in upland weedy conditions. The use of weed-competitive rice cultivars in African and Asian countries will be a highly effective strategy to reduce production costs and provide alternative solutions to the unavailability of herbicides. Competitive rice varieties will also significantly improve grain yields in aerobic rice systems and can become an important strategy for successful upland rice production.