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Introduction: There is currently no protocol for the initiation of extra corporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) in out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Atlantic Canada. Advanced care paramedics (ACPs) perform advanced cardiac life support in the prehospital setting often completing the entire resuscitation on-scene. Implementation of ECPR will present a novel intervention that is only available at the receiving hospital, altering how ACPs manage selected patients. Our objective is to determine if an educational program can improve paramedic identification of ECPR candidates. Methods: An educational program was delivered to paramedics including a short seminar and pocket card coupled with simulations of OHCA cases. A before and after study design using a case-based survey was employed. Paramedics were scored on their ability to correctly identify OHCA patients who met the inclusion criteria for our ECPR protocol. Scores before and after the education delivery were compared using a two tailed t-test. A 6-month follow-up is planned to assess knowledge retention. Qualitative data was also collected from paramedics during simulation to help identify potential barriers to implementation of our protocol in the prehospital setting. Results: Nine advanced care paramedics participated in our educational program. Mean score pre-education was 9.7/16 (61.1%) compared to 14/16 (87.5%) after education delivery. The mean difference between groups was 4.22 (CI = 2.65-5.80, p = 0.0003). There was a significant improvement in the paramedics’ ability to correctly identify ECPR candidates after completing our educational program. Conclusion: Paramedic training through a didactic session coupled with a pocket card and simulation appears to be a feasible method of knowledge translation. 6-month retention data will help ensure knowledge retention is achieved. If successful, this pilot will be expanded to train all paramedics in our prehospital system as we seek to implement an ECPR protocol at our centre.
Introduction: Although use of point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols for patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the Emergency Department (ED) is widespread, our previously reported SHoC-ED study showed no clear survival or length of stay benefit for patients assessed with PoCUS. In this analysis, we examine if the use of PoCUS changed fluid administration and rates of other emergency interventions between patients with different shock types. The primary comparison was between cardiogenic and non-cardiogenic shock types. Methods: A post-hoc analysis was completed on the database from an RCT of 273 patients who presented to the ED with undifferentiated hypotension (SBP <100 or shock index > 1) and who had been randomized to receive standard care with or without PoCUS in 6 centres in Canada and South Africa. PoCUS-trained physicians performed scans after initial assessment. Shock categories and diagnoses recorded at 60 minutes after ED presentation, were used to allocate patients into subcategories of shock for analysis of treatment. We analyzed actual care delivered including initial IV fluid bolus volumes (mL), rates of inotrope use and major procedures. Standard statistical tests were employed. Sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate difference. Results: Although there were expected differences in the mean fluid bolus volume between patients with non-cardiogenic and cardiogenic shock, there was no difference in fluid bolus volume between the control and PoCUS groups (non-cardiogenic control 1878 mL (95% CI 1550 – 2206 mL) vs. non-cardiogenic PoCUS 1687 mL (1458 – 1916 mL); and cardiogenic control 768 mL (194 – 1341 mL) vs. cardiogenic PoCUS 981 mL (341 – 1620 mL). Likewise there were no differences in rates of inotrope administration, or major procedures for any of the subcategories of shock between the control group and PoCUS group patients. The most common subcategory of shock was distributive. Conclusion: Despite differences in care delivered by subcategory of shock, we did not find any significant difference in actual care delivered between patients who were examined using PoCUS and those who were not. This may help to explain the previously reported lack of outcome difference between groups.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound has been reported to improve diagnosis in non-traumatic hypotensive ED patients. We compared diagnostic performance of physicians with and without PoCUS in undifferentiated hypotensive patients as part of an international prospective randomized controlled study. The primary outcome was diagnostic performance of PoCUS for cardiogenic vs. non-cardiogenic shock. Methods: SHoC-ED recruited hypotensive patients (SBP < 100 mmHg or shock index > 1) in 6 centres in Canada and South Africa. We describe previously unreported secondary outcomes relating to diagnostic accuracy. Patients were randomized to standard clinical assessment (No PoCUS) or PoCUS groups. PoCUS-trained physicians performed scans after initial assessment. Demographics, clinical details and findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses including shock category were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes. Final diagnosis was determined by independent blinded chart review. Standard statistical tests were employed. Sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate difference. Results: 273 patients were enrolled with follow-up for primary outcome completed for 270. Baseline demographics and perceived category of shock were similar between groups. 11% of patients were determined to have cardiogenic shock. PoCUS had a sensitivity of 80.0% (95% CI 54.8 to 93.0%), specificity 95.5% (90.0 to 98.1%), LR+ve 17.9 (7.34 to 43.8), LR-ve 0.21 (0.08 to 0.58), Diagnostic OR 85.6 (18.2 to 403.6) and accuracy 93.7% (88.0 to 97.2%) for cardiogenic shock. Standard assessment without PoCUS had a sensitivity of 91.7% (64.6 to 98.5%), specificity 93.8% (87.8 to 97.0%), LR+ve 14.8 (7.1 to 30.9), LR- of 0.09 (0.01 to 0.58), Diagnostic OR 166.6 (18.7 to 1481) and accuracy of 93.6% (87.8 to 97.2%). There was no significant difference in sensitivity (-11.7% (-37.8 to 18.3%)) or specificity (1.73% (-4.67 to 8.29%)). Diagnostic performance was also similar between other shock subcategories. Conclusion: As reported in other studies, PoCUS based assessment performed well diagnostically in undifferentiated hypotensive patients, especially as a rule-in test. However performance was similar to standard (non-PoCUS) assessment, which was excellent in this study.
Introduction: Situational awareness (SA) is essential for maintenance of scene safety and effective resource allocation in mass casualty incidents (MCI). Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can potentially enhance SA with real-time visual feedback during chaotic and evolving or inaccessible events. The purpose of this study was to test the ability of paramedics to use UAV video from a simulated MCI to identify scene hazards, initiate patient triage, and designate key operational locations. Methods: A simulated MCI, including fifteen patients of varying acuity (blast type injuries), plus four hazards, was created on a college campus. The scene was surveyed by UAV capturing video of all patients, hazards, surrounding buildings and streets. Attendees of a provincial paramedic meeting were invited to participate. Participants received a lecture on SALT Triage and the principles of MCI scene management. Next, they watched the UAV video footage. Participants were directed to sort patients according to SALT Triage step one, identify injuries, and localize the patients within the campus. Additionally, they were asked to select a start point for SALT Triage step two, identify and locate hazards, and designate locations for an Incident Command Post, Treatment Area, Transport Area and Access/Egress routes. Summary statistics were performed and a linear regression model was used to assess relationships between demographic variables and both patient triage and localization. Results: Ninety-six individuals participated. Mean age was 35 years (SD 11), 46% (44) were female, and 49% (47) were Primary Care Paramedics. Most participants (80 (84%)) correctly sorted at least 12 of 15 patients. Increased age was associated with decreased triage accuracy [-0.04(-0.07,-0.01);p=0.031]. Fifty-two (54%) were able to localize 12 or more of the 15 patients to a 27x 20m grid area. Advanced paramedic certification, and local residency were associated with improved patient localization [2.47(0.23,4.72);p=0.031], [-3.36(-5.61,-1.1);p=0.004]. The majority of participants (78 (81%)) chose an acceptable location to start SALT triage step two and 84% (80) identified at least three of four hazards. Approximately half (53 (55%)) of participants designated four or more of five key operational areas in appropriate locations. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the potential of UAV technology to remotely provide emergency responders with SA in a MCI. Additional research is required to further investigate optimal strategies to deploy UAVs in this context.
We describe a new freshwater myxosporean species Ceratomyxa gracillima n. sp. from the gall bladder of the Amazonian catfish Brachyplatystoma rousseauxii; the first myxozoan recorded in this host. The new Ceratomyxa was described on the basis of its host, myxospore morphometry, ssrDNA and internal transcribed spacer region (ITS-1) sequences. Infected fish were sampled from geographically distant localities: the Tapajós River, Pará State, the Amazon River, Amapá State and the Solimões River, Amazonas State. Immature and mature plasmodia were slender, tapered at both ends, and exhibited vermiform motility. The ribosomal sequences from parasite isolates from the three localities were identical, and distinct from all other Ceratomyxa sequences. No population-level genetic variation was observed, even in the typically more variable ITS-1 region. This absence of genetic variation in widely separated parasite samples suggests high gene flow as a result of panmixia in the parasite populations. Maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony analyses placed C. gracillima n. sp. sister to Ceratomyxa vermiformis in a subclade together with Ceratomyxa brasiliensis and Ceratomyxa amazonensis, all of which have Amazonian hosts. This subclade, together with other Ceratomyxa from freshwater hosts, formed an apparently early diverging lineage. The Amazonian freshwater Ceratomyxa species may represent a radiation that originated during marine incursions into the Amazon basin that introduced an ancestral lineage in the late Oligocene or early Miocene.
Background: No standardized method of resident operative-case logging exists. Our study sought to develop a standardized form used by residents to log operative-cases. Methods: Members of the Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative (CNRC), a national resident-led research organization have created a standardized document based on the current Royal College objectives for operative procedures (section 5). Modifications to structure and content will be guided via consensus from Canadian neurosurgery program-directors. Results: Program directors in each CNRC collaborative institution will be asked to modify the standardized form. The CNRC currently involves thirteen of the fourteen Canadian neurosurgery residency programs. Additional consensus, if necessary, can be reached at the Royal College meeting for program directors of neurosurgery March 20th 2017. Conclusions: A standardized operative-case log represents the first step in a prospective study towards compiling operative volume of all Canadian neurosurgical residents over one academic year. Such data will be essential to guide informed decisions with regard to Royal College requirements as Canadian neurosurgical programs transition to a competency based framework.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) has become an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). Current established protocols (e.g. RUSH and ACES) were developed by expert user opinion, rather than objective, prospective data. Recently the SHoC Protocol was published, recommending 3 core scans; cardiac, lung, and IVC; plus other scans when indicated clinically. We report the abnormal ultrasound findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, to assess if the recommended 3 core SHoC protocol scans were chosen appropriately for this population. Methods: Recruitment occurred at seven centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1) who were randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care with no PoCUS) groups. All scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians within one hour of arrival in the ED. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. A threshold incidence for positive findings of 10% was established as significant for the purposes of assessing the appropriateness of the core recommendations. Results: 138 patients had a PoCUS screen completed. All patients had cardiac, lung, IVC, aorta, abdominal, and pelvic scans. Reported abnormal findings included hyperdynamic LV function (59; 43%); small collapsing IVC (46; 33%); pericardial effusion (24; 17%); pleural fluid (19; 14%); hypodynamic LV function (15; 11%); large poorly collapsing IVC (13; 9%); peritoneal fluid (13; 9%); and aortic aneurysm (5; 4%). Conclusion: The 3 core SHoC Protocol recommendations included appropriate scans to detect all pathologies recorded at a rate of greater than 10 percent. The 3 most frequent findings were cardiac and IVC abnormalities, followed by lung. It is noted that peritoneal fluid was seen at a rate of 9%. Aortic aneurysms were rare. This data from the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients, supports the use of the prioritized SHoC protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). While PoCUS protocols have been shown to improve early diagnostic accuracy, there is little published evidence for any mortality benefit. We report the findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on survival and key clinical outcomes. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 7 centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1), randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care and no PoCUS) groups. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. The primary outcome measure was 30-day/discharge mortality. Secondary outcome measures included diagnostic accuracy, changes in vital signs, acid-base status, and length of stay. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers test, and continuous data by Student T test and multi-level log-regression testing. (GraphPad/SPSS) Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no difference between groups for the primary outcome of mortality; PoCUS 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%) vs. Control 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.869 to 1.15; p=1.00). There were no differences in the secondary outcomes; ICU and total length of stay. Our sample size has a power of 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Other secondary outcomes are reported separately. Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We did not find any mortality or length of stay benefits with the use of a PoCUS protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings. While PoCUS may have diagnostic benefits, these may not translate into a survival benefit effect.
Introduction: Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols are commonly used to guide resuscitation for emergency department (ED) patients with undifferentiated non-traumatic hypotension. While PoCUS has been shown to improve early diagnosis, there is a minimal evidence for any outcome benefit. We completed an international multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess the impact of a PoCUS protocol on key resuscitation markers in this group. We report diagnostic impact and mortality elsewhere. Methods: The SHoC-ED1 study compared the addition of PoCUS to standard care within the first hour in the treatment of adult patients presenting with undifferentiated hypotension (SBP<100 mmHg or a Shock Index >1.0) with a control group that did not receive PoCUS. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. 4 North American, and 3 South African sites participated in the study. Resuscitation outcomes analyzed included volume of fluid administered in the ED, changes in shock index (SI), modified early warning score (MEWS), venous acid-base balance, and lactate, at one and four hours. Comparisons utilized a T-test as well as stratified binomial log-regression to assess for any significant improvement in resuscitation amount the outcomes. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no significant difference in mean total volume of fluid received between the control (1658 ml; 95%CI 1365-1950) and PoCUS groups (1609 ml; 1385-1832; p=0.79). Significant improvements were seen in SI, MEWS, lactate and bicarbonate with resuscitation in both the PoCUS and control groups, however there was no difference between groups. Conclusion: SHOC-ED1 is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard of care in hypotensive ED patients. No significant difference in fluid used, or markers of resuscitation was found when comparing the use of a PoCUS protocol to that of standard of care in the resuscitation of patients with undifferentiated hypotension.
Introduction/Innovation Concept: University Departments of Emergency Medicine are responsible for the supervision of research and other scholarly projects for fellows, residents and students, though often lack resources to provide adequate input and oversight. Many departments cover large geographical areas and several programs. We piloted new research committee structures and processes to improve oversight and output of research projects. Methods: We created an interactive group supervision tool based around formation of a collaborative research committee, with rotating chairs from each program, to provide supervision and face to face interaction, and direction for research learners. Included were all Dalhousie University adult and pediatric emergency medicine residency and fellowship programs, as well as trauma and EMS programs across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. In addition to providing expertise in clinical trial coordination, database management, research administration, grant applications and Research Ethics Board submissions, we have completed a 2-year pilot of our interactive group supervision tool for research projects. Curriculum, Tool, or Material: The interactive tool consists of a structured PICOD form; allocation of topic and research mentors; standardized yearly milestones from project development through presentation and publication; and regular video-conferenced and in-person interactive group sessions involving several project leads, as well as program research directors, researchers, and co-ordinators. To date, all participating program learners have engaged with the tool, with positive feedback from learners, supervisors and program directors. Conclusion: We report our development of a regional collaborative interactive group supervision tool, that maximizes expert resources in the provision of research and scholarly project supervision.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasonography (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of hypotensive patients in the emergency department (ED). It has been shown rule out certain shock etiologies, and improve diagnostic certainty, however evidence on benefit in the management of hypotensive patients is limited. We report the findings from our international multicenter RCT assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on diagnostic accuracy, as well as other key outcomes including mortality, which are reported elsewhere. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 4 North American and 3 Southern African sites. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 mmHg or shock index >1) who were randomized to either PoCUS or control groups. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Demographics, clinical details and findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers two-tailed test. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. The perceived shock category changed more frequently in the PoCUS group 20/127 (15.7%) vs. control 7/125 (5.6%); RR 2.81 (95% CI 1.23 to 6.42; p=0.0134). There was no significant difference in change of diagnostic impression between groups PoCUS 39/123 (31.7%) vs control 34/124 (27.4%); RR 1.16 (95% CI 0.786 to 1.70; p=0.4879). There was no significant difference in the rate of correct category of shock between PoCUS (118/127; 93%) and control (113/122; 93%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.936 to 1.08; p=1.00), or for correct diagnosis; PoCUS 90/127 (70%) vs control 86/122 (70%); RR 0.987 (95% CI 0.671 to 1.45; p=1.00). Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We found that the use of PoCUS did change physicians’ perceived shock category. PoCUS did not improve diagnostic accuracy for category of shock or diagnosis.
Introduction: The percentage of unplanned return visits (URV) to the Emergency Department (ED) within 48 or 72 hours of discharge that result in an admission to hospital has been recommended as the top Canadian ED patient safety quality indicator. International data exists although inconsistences exist in the way URV are defined and measured. To our knowledge there are no published Canadian data on the percentage of ED URV admissions. This study examines our own URV data and in particular the correlation between URV admission rates and first visit Canadian Triage Acuity Scale (CTAS) category. Methods: A retrospective analysis of 12-month’s data (January - December 2015) was completed for URV to the ED of a 445 bed regional tertiary care adult and pediatric teaching hospital with 57,000 annual attendances. URV was defined as any patient registering within 72 hours of an earlier visit that had resulted in a discharge from ED. Planned return visits were excluded. The data was analysed for an overall URV percentage, UV percentage by first visit CTAS category, overall percentage of URV admitted and URV admission percentage by first visit CTAS category. Pearson R correlation and Fishers Exact Test were used to test the relationship. Results: During the 12-month period there were 57,025 registrations of which 46,793 patients were discharged. There were 3566 URV (7.62% of those discharged); the number of URV admitted was 532 (1.14 % of those discharged). The return rate/admission rates by CTAS category were: CTAS 1: 6.74%/1.55%; CTAS 2: 7.86%/1.92%; CTAS 3: 8.54%/1.35%; CTAS 4: 5.99%/0.40%; CTAS 5: 5.55%/0.27%. The RR of admission on return for discharged CTAS groups 1 and 2, compared with CTAS 3, 4 and 5 was 1.90 (95 CI 1.57 to 2.30; p<0.0001). Rate of admission on return was negatively correlated with initial CTAS level (Pearson r = -0.89 (95 CI -0.99 to -0.03); R2=0.79; F=11.25; p=0.04). Conclusion: We have demonstrated a relationship between first visit CTAS category and the unplanned return admission rate. If admission is taken as a marker of illness severity, then the likelihood of an inappropriate discharge is inversely proportional to first visit CTAS score. While this makes sense intuitively, our data confirms this relationship in a Canadian tertiary care hospital and supports the reporting of ED URV admission data by first visit triage category as an important quality indicator.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound has become an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension. Current established protocols (RUSH, ACES, etc) were developed by expert user opinion, rather than objective, prospective data. We wished to use reported disease incidence to develop an informed approach to PoCUS in hypotension using a “4 F’s” approach: Fluid; Form; Function; Filling. Methods: We summarized the incidence of PoCUS findings from an international multicentre RCT, and using a modified Delphi approach incorporating this data we obtained the input of 24 international experts associated with five professional organizations led by the International Federation of Emergency Medicine. The modified Delphi tool was developed to reach an international consensus on how to integrate PoCUS for hypotensive emergency department patients. Results: Rates of abnormal PoCUS findings from 151 patients with undifferentiated hypotension included left ventricular dynamic changes (43%), IVC abnormalities (27%), pericardial effusion (16%), and pleural fluid (8%). Abdominal pathology was rare (fluid 5%, AAA 2%). After two rounds of the survey, using majority consensus, agreement was reached on a SHoC-hypotension protocol comprising: A. Core: 1. Cardiac views (Sub-xiphoid and parasternal windows for pericardial fluid, cardiac form and ventricular function); 2. Lung views for pleural fluid and B-lines for filling status; and 3. IVC views for filling status; B. Supplementary: Additional cardiac views; and C. Additional views (when indicated) including peritoneal fluid, aorta, pelvic for IUP, and proximal leg veins for DVT. Conclusion: An international consensus process based on prospectively collected disease incidence has led to a proposed SHoC-hypotension PoCUS protocol comprising a stepwise clinical-indication based approach of Core, Supplementary and Additional PoCUS views.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) provides invaluable information during resuscitation efforts in cardiac arrest by determining presence/absence of cardiac activity and identifying reversible causes such as pericardial tamponade. There is no agreed guideline on how to safely and effectively incorporate PoCUS into the advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) algorithm. We consider that a consensus-based priority checklist using a “4 F’s” approach (Fluid; Form; Function; Filling), would provide a better algorithm during ACLS. Methods: The ultrasound subcommittee of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) drafted a checklist incorporating PoCUS into the ACLS algorithm. This was further developed using the input of 24 international experts associated with five professional organizations led by the International Federation of Emergency Medicine. A modified Delphi tool was developed to reach an international consensus on how to integrate ultrasound into cardiac arrest algorithms for emergency department patients. Results: Consensus was reached following 3 rounds. The agreed protocol focuses on the timing of PoCUS as well as the specific clinical questions. Core cardiac windows performed during the rhythm check pause in chest compressions are the sub-xiphoid and parasternal cardiac views. Either view should be used to detect pericardial fluid, as well as examining ventricular form (e.g. right heart strain) and function, (e.g. asystole versus organized cardiac activity). Supplementary views include lung views (for absent lung sliding in pneumothorax and for pleural fluid), and IVC views for filling. Additional ultrasound applications are for endotracheal tube confirmation, proximal leg veins for DVT, or for sources of blood loss (AAA, peritoneal/pelvic fluid). Conclusion: The authors hope that this process will lead to a consensus-based SHoC-cardiac arrest guideline on incorporating PoCUS into the ACLS algorithm.
The Sahel in West Africa is a major wintering area for many western Palearctic migrants. The breeding populations of many of these have declined over the past 50 years. However, there have been few intensive field studies on migrant ecology in the Sahel and these were generally within a very restricted area. Consequently our knowledge of the distribution of species within this extensive area and the habitat associations of these species is limited. Understanding these habitat associations is essential for the effective conservation management of populations. We brought together a group of experts and consulted a wider group by email to assess the main Sahelian habitat types used by 68 African-Eurasian migrant bird species. Those species that showed strongest declines during 1970–1990 were associated with more open habitats than those newly declining during 1990–2000, when declining species were associated with habitats with more shrubs and trees. Populations of species that winter in the Sahel are generally stable or increasing now as rainfall has increased and is now near the long-term average for the Sahel. Those which use the Sahel only as a staging area are, in many cases, in rapid decline at present.
Next-generation 454 sequencing techniques were used to re-examine diversity of mitochondrial cytochrome b lineages of avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum) in Hawaii. We document a minimum of 23 variant lineages of the parasite based on single nucleotide transitional changes, in addition to the previously reported single lineage (GRW4). A new, publicly available portal (Integroomer) was developed for initial parsing of 454 datasets. Mean variant prevalence and frequency was higher in low elevation Hawaii Amakihi (Hemignathus virens) with Avipoxvirus-like lesions (P = 0·001), suggesting that the variants may be biologically distinct. By contrast, variant prevalence and frequency did not differ significantly among mid-elevation Apapane (Himatione sanguinea) with or without lesions (P = 0·691). The low frequency and the lack of detection of variants independent of GRW4 suggest that multiple independent introductions of P. relictum to Hawaii are unlikely. Multiple variants may have been introduced in heteroplasmy with GRW4 or exist within the tandem repeat structure of the mitochondrial genome. The discovery of multiple mitochondrial lineages of P. relictum in Hawaii provides a measure of genetic diversity within a geographically isolated population of this parasite and suggests the origins and evolution of parasite diversity may be more complicated than previously recognized.
The degree of transport and retention of 14CH4 in soil is being investigated in a series of laboratory experiments in preparation for field scale trials at the University of Nottingham. The experimental programme focusses on the behaviour and fate of 14CH4 injected into subsoil and its subsequent incorporation into vegetation under field conditions. Due to restrictions on the use of radioactive tracers in the field, 13CH4 is being used as a surrogate gas which can be handled conveniently in the laboratory and field and which can be measured with high precision using gas chromatography with isotope ratio mass spectrometry. The laboratory data indicate significant differences between the diffusion and oxidation rates of 13CH4 in re-packed and undisturbed soil columns, with both rates appearing to be significantly lower in undisturbed soils. Data from both laboratory and field experiments will be used to inform the development of a model of 14CH4 migration and its fate in the biosphere above a geological disposal facility.
Parvicapsula minibicornis is a myxozoan parasite implicated in mortalities of both juvenile and pre-spawning adult salmon in the Pacific Northwest of North America. Disease severity and presentation varies between salmon species and geographical localities. To better characterize population structure of the parasite, we sought genetic markers in the P. minibicornis ribosomal RNA gene. We compared samples from California with the type specimen from British Columbia, identified sequence variations, and then sequenced 197 samples from fish, river water and the parasite's polychaete worm host. Although DNA sequences of the parasite were >98·9% similar, there was enough variation to define 15 genotypes. All genotypes were detected in fish samples, although not in all species. A single genotype only was found in sockeye and pink salmon in the Fraser River Basin, but was not detected in sockeye from the adjacent Columbia River Basin. All coho salmon, irrespective of river basin, were infected with a unique mix of 2 genotypes. These data indicated that the P. minibicornis population exhibited strong signals of structuring by both geography and salmonid host species. Particular genotypes may correlate with disease differences seen in salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest.