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Loose farrowing pens have been considered as alternatives to crates to enhance sow welfare. A major concern with pen systems is often higher piglet pre-weaning mortality, especially due to crushing by the sow. An optimal management of light and mat surface temperature may promote greater piglet use of the creep, which has been associated with reduced piglet crushing. A total of 108 sows and their piglets were studied in sow welfare and piglet protection pens on a commercial piggery, across two replicates. Sows were randomly assigned to pens arranged within two creep treatments (bright creep: 300 lx v. dark creep: 4 lx), considering mat temperature as a covariate. Twelve sows and their litters in each treatment (24 in total) had their behaviour continuously recorded for 72-h postpartum (pp), and four focal piglets per litter were weighed on the first and third days pp. In situ behaviour observations were performed daily (from 0800 to 1700 h) on all sows and their litters, every 15 min over 72-h pp to record piglet time spent in the creep, latency to enter the creep for the first time, latency for the litter to remain in the creep for at least 10 min, and piglet and sow use of pen areas immediately in front of (A2) and farthest from the creep (A3). Piglets with access to bright creeps spent on average 7.2% more time (P<0.01) in the creeps than piglets in pens with Dark creeps. In addition, for each degree increase in mat temperature, piglets spent on average 2.1% more time (P<0.01) in the creep. Piglets in pens with bright creeps spent less time in A2 (P=0.04) and the least time in A3 (P=0.01). Light or mat temperature did not affect sow use of pen areas or piglet weight gain. Piglets with bright creeps tended (P=0.06) to take longer to enter the creep for the first time after birth, but the latency for 30.0% of the litter to remain clustered for 10 min tended (P=0.08) to be shorter in bright compared to dark creeps. Overall, piglet use of the creep increased with warm mat temperatures and brightness, which should be further investigated as potential strategies to promote piglet safety and reduce crushing in pen farrowing systems.
The six LIGO detections of merging black holes (BHs) allowed to infer slow spin values for the two pre-merging BHs. The three cases where the spins of the BHs can be determined in high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) show that those BHs have high spin values. We discuss here scenarios explaining these differences in spin properties in these two classes of object.
Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars are stripped stellar cores that form through strong stellar wind or binary mass transfer. It is proposed that binary evolution plays a vital role in the formation of WR stars in low metallicity environments due to the metallicity dependance of stellar winds. However observations indicate a similar binary fraction of WR stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) compared to the Milky Way. There are twelve WR stars in the SMC and five of them are members of binary systems. One of them (SMC AB8) harbors a WO type star. In this work we explore possible formation channels of this binary. We use the MESA code to compute large grids of binary evolution models, and then use least square fitting to compare our models with the observations. In order to reproduce the key properties of SMC AB8, we require efficient semiconvection to produce a sufficiently large convective core, as well as a longer He-burning lifetime. We also need a high mass loss rate during the WN stage to assist the removal of the outer envelope. In this way, we can reproduce the observed properties of AB8, except for the surface carbon to oxygen ratio, which requires further investigation.
Good progress in crop husbandry and science requires that impacts of field-scale interventions can be measured, analysed and interpreted easily and with confidence. The term ‘agronōmics’ describes the arena for research created by field-scale digital technologies where these technologies can enable effective commercially relevant experimentation. Ongoing trials with ‘precision-farm research networks’, along with new statistical methods (and associated software), show that robust conclusions can be drawn from digital field-scale comparisons, but they also show significant scope for improvement in the validity, accuracy and precision of digital measurements, especially those determining crop yields.
A range of precision farming technologies are used commercially for variable rate applications of nitrogen (N) for cereals, yet these usually adjust N rates from a pre-set value, rather than predicting economically optimal N requirements on an absolute basis. This paper reports chessboard experiments set up to examine variation in N requirements, and to develop and test systems for its prediction, and to assess its predictability. Results showed very substantial variability in fertiliser N requirements within fields, typically >150 kg ha−1, and large variation in optimal yields, typically >2 t ha−1. Despite this, calculated increases in yield and gross margin with N requirements perfectly matched across fields were surprisingly modest (compared to the uniform average rate). Implications are discussed, including the causes of the large remaining variation in grain yield, after N limitations were removed.
In late 2011 the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries reported an increase in confirmed laboratory diagnoses of salmonellosis in dairy herds. To identify risk factors for herd-level outbreaks of salmonellosis we conducted a case-control study of New Zealand dairy herds in 2011–2012. In a multivariable analysis, use of continuous feed troughs [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 6·2, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2·0–20], use of pelletized magnesium supplements (aOR 10, 95% CI 3·3–33) and use of palm kernel meal as a supplementary feed (aOR 8·7, 95% CI 2·5–30) were positively associated with a herd-level outbreak of salmonellosis between 1 July 2011 and 31 January 2012. We conclude that supplementary feeds used on dairy farms (regardless of type) need to be stored and handled appropriately to reduce the likelihood of bacterial contamination, particularly from birds and rodents. Magnesium supplementation in the pelletized form played a role in triggering outbreaks of acute salmonellosis in New Zealand dairy herds in 2011–2012.
Accurate and complete reporting of study methods, results and interpretation are essential components for any scientific process, allowing end-users to evaluate the internal and external validity of a study. When animals are used in research, excellence in reporting is expected as a matter of continued ethical acceptability of animal use in the sciences. Our primary objective was to assess completeness of reporting for a series of studies relevant to mitigation of pain in neonatal piglets undergoing routine management procedures. Our second objective was to illustrate how authors can report the items in the Reporting guidElines For randomized controLled trials for livEstoCk and food safety (REFLECT) statement using examples from the animal welfare science literature. A total of 52 studies from 40 articles were evaluated using a modified REFLECT statement. No single study reported all REFLECT checklist items. Seven studies reported specific objectives with testable hypotheses. Six studies identified primary or secondary outcomes. Randomization and blinding were considered to be partially reported in 21 and 18 studies, respectively. No studies reported the rationale for sample sizes. Several studies failed to report key design features such as units for measurement, means, standard deviations, standard errors for continuous outcomes or comparative characteristics for categorical outcomes expressed as either rates or proportions. In the discipline of animal welfare science, authors, reviewers and editors are encouraged to use available reporting guidelines to ensure that scientific methods and results are adequately described and free of misrepresentations and inaccuracies. Complete and accurate reporting increases the ability to apply the results of studies to the decision-making process and prevent wastage of financial and animal resources.
The early climate of Mars (Noachian Period, the first ~20% of its history) is thought to differ significantly from that of its more recent history (Amazonian Period, the last ~66%) which is characterized by hyperarid, hypothermal conditions that result in mean annual air temperatures (MAAT) well below 0°C, a global cryosphere, minimal melting on the ground surface, and a horizontally stratified hydrologic system. We explore the nature of the fluvial and lacustrine environments in the Mars-like hyperarid, hypothermal McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV), where the MAAT is well below 0°C (~ -14 to -30°C) in order to assess whether the Late Noachian geologic record can be explained by a climate characterized by “cold and icy” conditions. We find that the MDV hydrological system and cycle provide important insights into the potential configuration of a “cold and icy” early Mars climate in which MDV-like ephemeral streams and rivers, and both closed-basin and open-basin lakes could form. We review a series of MDV fluvial and lacustrine features to guide investigators in the analysis of the geomorphology of early Mars and we outline a new model for the nature and evolution of a “cold and icy” Late Noachian climate based on these observations. We conclude that a cold and icy Late Noachian Mars with MAAT below freezing, but peak seasonal and peak daily temperatures above 0°C, could plausibly account for the array of Noachian-aged fluvial and lacustrine features observed on Mars. Our assessment also provides insight into the potential effects of punctuated warming on a cold and icy early Mars, in which impact crater formation or massive volcanic eruptions cause temperatures in the melting range for decadal to centennial timescales. We outline a set of outstanding questions and tests concerning the nature and evolution of these features on Mars.
Piglets reared in swine production in the USA undergo painful procedures that include castration, tail docking, teeth clipping, and identification with ear notching or tagging. These procedures are usually performed without pain mitigation. The objective of this project was to develop recommendations for pain mitigation in 1- to 28-day-old piglets undergoing these procedures. The National Pork Board funded project to develop recommendations for pain mitigation in piglets. Recommendation development followed a defined multi-step process that included an evidence summary and estimates of the efficacies of interventions. The results of a systematic review of the interventions were reported in a companion paper. This manuscript describes the recommendation development process and the final recommendations. Recommendations were developed for three interventions (CO2/O2 general anesthesia, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and lidocaine) for use during castration. The ability to make strong recommendations was limited by low-quality evidence and strong certainty about variation in stakeholder values and preferences. The panel strongly recommended against the use of a CO2/O2 general anesthesia mixture, weakly recommended for the use of NSAIDs and weakly recommended against the use of lidocaine for pain mitigation during castration of 1- to 28-day-old piglets.
To compare the behaviour of sows and the physiological indices of their offspring in stall and group-housing systems, 28 sows were randomly distributed into two systems with 16 sows in stalls, and the other 12 sows were divided into three groups with four sows per pen. The area per sow in stalls and groups was 1.2 and 2.5 m2, respectively. Back fat depth of the sow was measured. Salivary cortisol concentration of the sows, colostrum composition and piglets’ serum biochemical indicators were evaluated. The behaviour of the sows, including agonistic behaviour, non-agonistic social behaviour, stereotypical behaviour and other behaviours at weeks 2, 9 and 14 of pregnancy were analysed. The results showed no differences in the back fat depth of sows. Colostrum protein, triglyceride, triiodothyronine, thyroxine and prolactin concentrations in the whey also demonstrated no significant differences between the two housing systems. Salivary cortisol concentration was significantly higher in the sows housed in groups than the sows in stalls. The concentrations of serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were significantly higher in the offspring of sows housed in groups (P=0.006 and 0.005, respectively). The GLM procedure for repeated measures analysis showed the frequency of drinking, and non-agonistic social behaviour was significantly higher in the sows housed in groups than the sows in stalls; yet the frequency of agonistic and sham chewing demonstrated the opposite direction. The duration of standing was significantly longer in the sows housed in groups, but the sitting and stereotypical behaviour duration were significantly shorter compared with the sows in stalls. These results indicated that group housing has no obvious influence on the colostrum composition of sows; however, it was better for sows to express their non-agonistic social behaviour and reduce the frequency of agonistic behaviour and stereotypical behaviour. Meanwhile, group housing during gestation significantly increased serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol of offspring.
The fertilizer-nitrogen (N) requirement for wheat grown in the UK varies from field to field. Differences in the soil type, climate and cropping history result in differences in (i) the crops’ demands for N, (ii) the supply of N from the soil (SNS) and (iii) the recovery of the fertilizer by the crops. These three components generally form the basis of systems for N recommendation. Three field experiments were set out to investigate the variation of the N requirement for wheat within fields and to explore the importance of variation in the crops’ demands for N, SNS and fertilizer recovery in explaining the differences in the economic optima for N. The N optima were found to vary by >100 kg N/ha at two of the sites. At the other site, the yield response to N was small. Yields at the optimum rate of N varied spatially by c. 4 t/ha at each site. Soil N supply, which was estimated by the unfertilized crops’ harvested N, varied spatially by 120, 75 and 60 kg/ha in the three experiments. Fertilizer recovery varied spatially from 30% to >100% at each of the sites. There were clear relationships between the SNS and the N optima at all the three sites. The expected relationship between the crop's demand for N and N optima was evident at only one of the three sites. There was no consistent relationship between the N recovery and the N optima. A consistent relationship emerged, however, between the optimal yield and SNS; areas with a greater yield potential tending to also supply more N from the soil. This moderated the expected effect of the SNS and the crop's demand for N on the N optima.
Carbon-based forest conservation requires the establishment of ‘reference emission levels’ against which to measure a country or region's progress in reducing their carbon emissions. In East Africa, landscape-scale estimates of carbon fluxes are uncertain and factors such as deforestation poorly resolved due to a lack of data. In this study, trends in vegetation cover and carbon for East Africa were quantified using moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) land cover grids from 2002 to 2008 (500-m spatial resolution), in combination with a regional carbon look-up table. The inclusion of data on rainfall and the distribution of protected areas helped to gauge impacts on vegetation burning (assessed using 1-km spatial resolution MODIS active fire data) and biome trends. Between 2002 and 2008, the spatial extents of forests, woodlands and scrublands decreased considerably and East Africa experienced a net carbon loss of 494 megatonnes (Mt). Most countries in the area were sources of carbon emissions, except for Tanzania and Malawi, where the areal increase of savannah and woodlands counterbalanced carbon emissions from deforestation. Both Malawi and Tanzania contain large areas of planted forest. Vegetation burning was correlated with rainfall (forest only) and differed depending on land management. Freely available global earth observation products have provided ways to achieve rapid assessment and monitoring of carbon change hotspots at the landscape scale.
Ecological regions aggregate habitats with similar biophysical characteristics within well-defined boundaries, providing spatially consistent platforms for monitoring, managing and forecasting the health of interrelated ecosystems. A major obstacle to the implementation of this approach is imprecise and inconsistent boundary placement. For globally important mountain regions such as the Eastern Arc (Tanzania and Kenya), where qualitative definitions of biophysical affinity are well established, rule-based methods for landform classification provide a straightforward solution to ambiguities in region extent. The method presented in this paper encompasses the majority of both contemporary and estimated preclearance forest cover within strict topographical limits. Many of the species here tentatively considered ‘near-endemic’ could be reclassified as strictly endemic according to the derived boundaries. LandScan and census data show population density inside the ecoregion to be higher than in rural lowlands, and lowland settlement to be most probable within 30 km. This definition should help to align landscape scale conservation strategies in the Eastern Arc and promote new research in areas of predicted, but as yet undocumented, biological importance. Similar methods could work well in other regions where mountain extent is poorly resolved. Spatial data accompany the online version of this article.
The McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV), classified as a hyperarid, cold-polar desert, have long been considered an important terrestrial analog for Mars because of their cold and dry climate and their suite of landforms that closely resemble those occurring on the surface of Mars at several different scales, despite significant differences in current atmospheric pressure. The MDV have been subdivided on the basis of summertime measurements of atmospheric temperature, soil moisture, and relative humidity, into three microclimate zones (Marchant and Head,2007): a coastal thaw zone, an inland mixed zone, and a stable upland zone. Minor differences in these climate parameters lead to large differences in the distribution and morphology of features at the macroscale (e.g., slopes and gullies); mesoscale (e.g., polygons, viscous-flow features, and debris-covered glaciers); and microscale (e.g., rock-weathering processes/features, including wind erosion, salt weathering, and surface pitting). Equilibrium landforms form in balance with environmental conditions within fixed microclimate zones. For example, sublimation polygons indicate the presence of extensive near-surface ice in the MDV and identification of similar landforms on Mars appears to provide a basis for detecting the location of current and past shallow ice. The modes of occurrence of the limited and unusual biota in the MDV provide terrestrial laboratories for the study of possible environments for life on Mars. The range of microenvironments in the MDV are hypersensitive to climate variability, and their stability and change provide important indications of climate history and potential stress on the biota.
We present results from ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and seismic surveys for the Mullins Valley debris-covered glacier (Mullins Glacier), Antarctica, that yield local ice-thickness estimates of 80–110 m in upper Mullins Valley and 150 m in upper Beacon Valley. Englacial debris in upper Mullins Glacier occurs as scattered cobbles and as discrete layers. One extensive englacial debris layer, which appears as a coherent reflector dipping 40–45° up-valley, intersects the ground surface within an ∼8 m high ice-cored ridge, the largest of several ridges that mark the glacier surface. Field excavations reveal that this englacial interface consists of multiple debris bands that can be directly correlated with ridge microtopography. Englacial debris layers most probably originate as concentrated rockfall in ice accumulation zones and/or as surface lags that form as dirty ice sublimes during periods of negative mass balance. A similar pattern of surface ridges on Friedman Glacier (∼2.5 km west of Mullins Glacier) suggests regional environmental changes are involved in ridge formation. These observations carry implications for evaluating debris entrainment and surface ridge formation mechanisms in cold-based, debris-covered glaciers and provide a glaciological framework for evaluating and interpreting paleoclimate records from Mullins Glacier.
Thermal contraction crack polygons modify the generation, transport, and storage of water in Wright Valley gullies. Water generation is contributed to by trapping of windblown snow in polygon troughs. Water transport is modified by changes to the ice-cement table and active layer topography caused by polygon trough formation. Water storage is modified by sediment grain-size distribution within polygons in gully distal hyporheic zones. Patterned ground morphological variation can serve as an indicator of fluvial modification, ranging from nearly unmodified composite-wedge polygons to polygons forming in association with gully channels. Thermal contraction crack polygons may also constrain the gully formation sequence, suggesting the continuous presence of permafrost beneath the Wright Valley gullies during the entire period of gully emplacement. This analysis provides a framework for understanding the relationships between polygons and gullies observed on Mars. If comparable stratigraphic relationships can be documented, the presence of an analogous impermeable ice-cemented layer beneath the gullies can be inferred, suggesting an atmospheric source for Martian gully-carving fluids.
Pollen, spore, macrofossil and stable isotope (C and N) analyses from a 266-cm sediment core collected from a swamp on the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania, are used to reconstruct vegetation and environmental history. An estimated time scale based on five14C ages records approximately 38,000 yr. This palaeorecord is the first from this biodiversity hotspot and importantly extends through the last glacial maximum (LGM). The altitudinal transition from montane to upper montane forest shifted from 1700–1800 m (38,00014C yr BP) to 1800–1900 m (35,000–29,00014C yr BP). From 29,000 to 10,00014C yr BP, it shifted from 1850–1950 m across the LGM to 1750–1800 m (during 10,000–350014C yr BP), and to present-day elevations at 2000 m during the last 350014C yr BP. The relative ecosystem stability across the LGM may be explained by the Indian Ocean's influence in maintaining continuous moist forest cover during a period of East African regional climate aridity. During the late Holocene, presence of abundant coprophilous fungi and algal blooms demonstrates increasing human impact.Neurospora spores indicate frequent fires, coinciding with clear signals of decline inPodocarpus and Psychotria trees that possibly represent selective logging.
Several debris-covered glaciers occupy tributaries of upper Beacon Valley, Antarctica. Understanding their flow dynamics and ice thickness is important for palaeoclimate studies and for understanding the origins of ancient ice elsewhere in the McMurdo Dry Valleys region. We present the results of several shallow seismic surveys in Mullins Valley, where the largest of these debris-covered glaciers is located. Our results suggest that beneath a thin sublimation till and near-surface horizon of dirty glacier ice, lies relatively pure glacier ice (P-wave velocity ~3700–3800 m s-1), with total thickness estimates of ~90–95 m towards the valley head, and ~40–65 m near the entrance to Beacon Valley, ~2.5 km downglacier. P-wave velocities decrease downvalley, suggesting that the material properties of the ice change with increasing distance from the ice-accumulation zone. These new data are used to calibrate an ice thickness profile for the active portion of the Mullins Valley debris-covered glacier (upper ~3.5 km) and to shed light on the origin and spatial distribution of enclosed debris.