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Stone was a critical resource for prehistoric hunter-gatherers. Archaeologists, therefore, have long argued that these groups would actively have sought out stone of ‘high quality’. Although the defining of quality can be a complicated endeavour, researchers in recent years have suggested that stone with fewer impurities would be preferred for tool production, as it can be worked and used in a more controllable way. The present study shows that prehistoric hunter-gatherers at the Holocene site of Welling, in Ohio, USA, continuously selected the ‘purest’ stone for over 9000 years.
Diet, obesity and adipokines play important roles in diabetes and CVD; yet, limited studies have assessed the relationship between diet and multiple adipokines. This cross-sectional study assessed associations between diet, adiposity and adipokines in Mexican Americans. The cohort included 1128 participants (age 34·7±8·2 years, BMI 29·5±5·9 kg/m2, 73·2 % female). Dietary intake was assessed by 12-month food frequency questionnaire. Adiposity was measured by BMI, total percentage body fat and percentage trunk fat using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Adiponectin, apelin, C-reactive protein (CRP), dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-IV), IL-1β, IL-1ra, IL-6, IL-18, leptin, lipocalin, monocyte chemo-attractant protein-1 (MCP-1), resistin, secreted frizzled protein 4 (SFRP-4), SFRP-5, TNF-α and visfatin were assayed with multiplex kits or ELISA. Joint multivariate associations between diet, adiposity and adipokines were analysed using canonical correlations adjusted for age, sex, energy intake and kinship. The median (interquartile range) energy intake was 9514 (7314, 11912) kJ/d. Overall, 55 % of total intake was accounted for by carbohydrates (24 % from sugar). A total of 66 % of the shared variation between diet and adiposity, and 34 % of diet and adipokines were explained by the top canonical correlation. The diet component was most represented by sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), fruit and vegetables. Participants consuming a diet high in SSB and low in fruits and vegetables had higher adiposity, CRP, leptin, and MCP-1, but lower SFRP-5 than participants with high fruit and vegetable and low SSB intake. In Mexican Americans, diets high in SSB but low in fruits and vegetables contribute to adiposity and a pro-inflammatory adipokine profile.
The spoon-billed sandpiper Calidris pygmaea, a migratory Arctic-breeding shorebird, is one of the rarest birds and its population has declined since the 1970s. We surveyed its most important known wintering area in the Upper Gulf of Mottama in Myanmar to estimate recent (2009–2016) changes in its numbers there. The total number of small shorebirds present in the Upper Gulf was counted and the proportion of them that were spoon-billed sandpipers was estimated from sample scans. These two quantities were multiplied together to give the estimated number of spoon-billed sandpipers in each of 4 years. Total numbers of combined small shorebird species tripled from 21,000 to 63,000 between 2009 and 2016, coincident with efforts to reduce hunting pressure on waterbirds. However, the proportion of small shorebirds that were spoon-billed sandpipers declined and their estimated absolute numbers fell by about half, from 244 to 112 individuals. It is probable that loss of intertidal habitat and shorebird hunting elsewhere on the migration route of the spoon-billed sandpipers wintering at Mottama is causing a continued decline, although this is occurring at a less rapid rate than that recorded from Arctic Russia before 2010. The number of spoon-billed sandpipers wintering on the Upper Gulf of Mottama remains the highest single-site total for this species from any known wintering site. Preventing resurgence of illegal shorebird hunting and ensuring long-term protection of the intertidal feeding habitats and roost sites in the Gulf are high priorities if extinction of this species is to be averted.
Individuals with schizophrenia have deficits in social cognition that are associated with poor functional outcome. Unfortunately, current treatments result in only modest improvement in social cognition. Oxytocin, a neuropeptide with pro-social effects, has significant benefits for social cognition in the general population. However, studies examining the efficacy of oxytocin in schizophrenia have yielded inconsistent results. One reason for inconsistency may be that oxytocin has typically not been combined with psychosocial interventions. It may be necessary for individuals with schizophrenia to receive concurrent psychosocial treatment while taking oxytocin to have the context needed to make gains in social cognitive skills.
The current study tested this hypothesis in a 24-week (48 session) double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that combined oxytocin and Cognitive-Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST), which included elements from Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT). Participants included 62 outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia (placebo n = 31; oxytocin n = 31) who received 36 IU BID, with supervised administration 45 min prior to sessions on CBSST group therapy days. Participants completed a battery of measures administered at 0, 12, and 24 weeks that assessed social cognition.
CBSST generally failed to enhance social cognition from baseline to end of study, and there was no additive benefit of oxytocin beyond the effects of CBSST alone.
Findings suggest that combined CBSST and oxytocin had minimal benefit for social cognition, adding to the growing literature indicating null effects of oxytocin in multi-dose trials. Methodological and biological factors may contribute to inconsistent results across studies.
Satellite remote sensing presents an amazing opportunity to inform biodiversity conservation by inexpensively gathering repeated monitoring information for vast areas of the Earth. However, these observations first need processing and interpretation if they are to inform conservation action. Through a series of case studies, this book presents detailed examples of the application of satellite remote sensing, covering both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, to conservation. The authors describe how collaboration between the remote sensing and conservation communities makes satellite data functional for operational conservation, and provide concrete examples of the lessons learned in addition to the scientific details. The editors, one at NASA and the other at a conservation NGO, have brought together leading researchers in conservation remote sensing to share their experiences from project development through to application, and emphasise the human side of these projects.
Previous studies have shown that the interaction between limiting vitamin A (VA) and an alcohol dehydrogenase 1 C (ADH1C) variant in beef cattle results in increased intramuscular fat in the longissimus thoracis muscle in one genotype when fed low dietary VA. Although quality grade is important for increased profitability and improving taste characteristics of beef products, limiting VA too drastically can impair animal welfare. The objectives of this study were to determine if this marker-assisted management strategy would be effective, and whether any impairment in immune function would occur in a feedlot setting. Mixed breed beef steers (n=2000) were sorted into 40 feedlot pens so that all combinations of ADH1C genotype (TT or CT), VA level (50% or 100% of recommended) and hormonal implant status (implanted (IMP) or non-implanted (NI)) were equally represented within the population. The VA×ADH1C interaction was not observed. An implant status × ADH1C interaction was observed with average daily gain (ADG; P=0.03). Steers that were IMP and CT had higher ADG than IMP TT (CT=1.69 and TT=1.62 kg/day), whereas both genotypes in the NI steers were lower (CT=1.29 and TT=1.32 kg/day). Implant status was shown to affect dry matter intake (DMI; IMP=8.55 and NI=7.87 kg; P<0.01), total days-on-feed (IMP=164.4 and NI 210.5 days; P<0.01), USDA yield grade (YIELD; IMP=2.40 and NI=2.77; P<0.01), marbling score (MARB; IMP=392 and NI=455; P<0.01), longissimus thoracis area (LTA; IMP=85.0 and NI=80.7 cm2; P=0.01) and backfat thickness (FAT; IMP=8.0 and NI 10.0 mm; P<0.01). Overall, IMP animals finished on fewer total days-on-feed with higher ADG, DMI, larger LTA, and lower YIELD, MARB and FAT. To investigate immune function parameters, crossbred steers (n=18) were selected from a prior feeding trial so that all combinations of ADH1C (TT, CT and CC) and VA (25% or 75%) were equally represented. Blood cell count analysis and peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation and stimulation assays were conducted. None of these immune parameters were affected by VA level. Treatment and mortality records were examined in the 2000 steer population, where no correlations with ADH1C, implant status or VA level were observed. Due to no VA × ADH1C interaction, this nutrigenetic marker-assisted management strategy is not effective at this time in commercial beef cattle feedlots, however, supplementing VA at a level as low as 25% of recommended in finishing rations would likely not result in signs of immune dysfunction.
Enlist E3™ soybean, resistant to 2,4-D, glufosinate, and glyphosate, provides options to control glyphosate-resistant Sumatran fleabane before planting and in crop. Twenty field trials were conducted in Argentina to determine Enlist E3 soybean sensitivity to POST applications of 2,4-D choline+glyphosate or glufosinate. Maximum injury from a single 2,4-D choline+glyphosate application at 1X (1140+1140 g ae ha−1) and 2X rate was 4% and 13%, respectively, at 3 days after treatment in the temperate Humid Pampa region. Slightly higher injury of 11 and 23% was observed in sub-tropical region of northern Argentina. Injury was transient with recovery occurring within 14 days. Injury caused by sequential applications was equivalent to that caused by single applications. Soybean yield was not affected by single nor sequential applications. In four trials, control programs containing 2,4-D choline+glyphosate applied PRE and POST provided greater GR Sumatran fleabane control and a 12 to 26% increase in yield compared to 2,4-D choline+glyphosate applied at PRE only. This research demonstrates the glyphosate-resistant control programs that include 2,4-D choline, glyphosate, and glufosinate provide excellent GR Sumatran fleabane control.
Field studies of grazing management have frequently concluded that the magnitude and direction of vegetation response is dependent on initial vegetation condition. On upland heath, this dependence reflects the importance of small-scale ecological processes (e.g. plant competition), and local neighbourhood effects (e.g. spatial distribution of plant species), in driving the vegetation dynamics. These small-scale effects, together with variation in grazing patterns, increase the difficulty of deriving general rules about the effect of grazing on vegetation change from field studies. However, we need to determine the impacts of such grazing-related vegetation change upon biodiversity, (e.g. birds). For many bird species it is impractical to use experimental approaches due to low breeding densities, and the influence of other site and management effects (e.g. predator control). To predict the effect of management changes on them requires an accurate assessment of the large-scale effects of grazing management on the ecological landscape using data from small-scale field studies. This paper sets out an approach that integrates field studies with theoretical models to investigate the large-scale effects of grazing management on plant and bird communities on upland heath.
The loss of natural habitats is a major threat to biodiversity, and protected area designation is one of the standard responses to this threat. However, greater understanding of the drivers of habitat loss and of the circumstances under which protected areas succeed or fail is still needed. We use visual assessment of satellite images to quantify land-cover change over periods of up to 30 years in and around a matched sample of protected and unprotected Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in Africa. We modelled the annual survival of forests and other natural land covers as a function of a range of environmental and anthropic predictors of plausible drivers. The best-supported model indicated that survival rates of natural land cover were highest in steeper areas, at higher altitudes, in areas with lower human population densities and in areas where the cover of natural habitats was already higher at the start of the period. Survival rates of natural land cover in protected areas were, on average, around twice those in unprotected areas, but the differences between them varied along different environmental gradients. The overall survival rates of both protected and unprotected forests were significantly lower than those of other natural land-cover types, but the net benefit of protection, in terms of the absolute difference in rates of loss between protected and unprotected sites, was higher in forests. Interaction terms indicated that as slope and altitude increased, the natural protection offered by topography increasingly nullified the additional benefits of legislative protection. Furthermore, protected area designation offered reduced additional benefits to the survival of natural land cover in areas where rates of conversion were higher at the start of the observation period. Variation in the impacts of protected area status along different environmental gradients indicates that targets to improve the world's protected area network, such as Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, need to look beyond simple area-based metrics. Our methods and results contribute to the development of a protocol for prioritizing places where protection is likely to have the greatest effect.
Signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed to the effective protection of at least 17% of the terrestrial environment by 2020 (Aichi Target 11). Here, we assess the coverage of terrestrial protected areas (land protected by legislation) on the UK's Overseas Territories. These 14 Territories are under the sovereignty of the UK, a signatory of the CBD, and are particularly biodiverse. Eight Territories have protected areas covering 17% or more of their land, but the extent of protection across these Territories as a whole is low, with only 4.8% of this land designated as protected. This protection covered 51% of sites already identified as of conservation importance (Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas), although only 8% of the area of these sites was protected. The expansion of effective protection to meet the 17% target provides an opportunity to capture the most important sites for conservation. Locally led designation will require an improvement in knowledge of the distribution and density of species. This, together with measures to ensure that the protection is enforced and effective, will require provision of resources. This should be seen as an investment in the UK meeting its obligations to Aichi Target 11.