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This chapter investigates the effect of climate change (along with the host of other anthropogenic effects on the planet that now fall under the rubric of the Anthropocene) on the concept of extinction, particularly, human extinction. Whereas previous concepts of human extinction - from religious apocalyptic to Darwinian evolutionary discourses - were capable of imagining extinction as an event of grandeur and promise of something greater, extinction in the Anthropocene is figured as a moment of profound and abject loss, namely, the loss not just of humans but of particular configuration of capitalist comfort and consumerism. This chapter examines the history of this now dominant perception of extinction, via Enlightenment, Romantic and modernist thought.
This chapter outlines the emergence of climate fiction and its key modes. It pays particular attention to the extent to which climate fiction has worked within the established conventions of literary realism, meeting the many representational challenges mounted by climate change. While it considers the extent to which realism is able to render the abstract and intangible phenomenon of climate change visible, it argues that there is also a significant body of writing on the subject which turns to alternative forms and narrative strategies in the effort to represent climate change, and manages to overcome some of the limitations of realism. In other words, where climate fiction meets the challenges of representing climate change, it has the potential to provide a space in which to address the Anthropocene’s emotional, ethical, and practical concerns.
Establishing neurobiological markers of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is essential to aid in diagnosis and treatment development. Fear processing deficits are central to PTSD, and their neural signatures may be used as such markers.
Here, we conducted a meta-analysis of seven Pavlovian fear conditioning fMRI studies comparing 156 patients with PTSD and 148 trauma-exposed healthy controls (TEHC) using seed-based d-mapping, to contrast neural correlates of experimental phases, namely conditioning, extinction learning, and extinction recall.
Patients with PTSD, as compared to TEHCs, exhibited increased activation in the anterior hippocampus (extending to the amygdala) and medial prefrontal cortex during conditioning; in the anterior hippocampus-amygdala regions during extinction learning; and in the anterior hippocampus-amygdala and medial prefrontal areas during extinction recall. Yet, patients with PTSD have shown an overall decreased activation in the thalamus during all phases in this meta-analysis.
Findings from this metanalysis suggest that PTSD is characterized by increased activation in areas related to salience and threat, and lower activation in the thalamus, a key relay hub between subcortical areas. If replicated, these fear network alterations may serve as objective diagnostic markers for PTSD, and potential targets for novel treatment development, including pharmacological and brain stimulation interventions. Future longitudinal studies are needed to examine whether these observed network alteration in PTSD are the cause or the consequence of PTSD.
In response to the CITES ban on trade in elephant ivory, mammoth ivory began to be produced in post-Soviet Russia. We investigate how this substitute to elephant ivory has affected the poaching of elephants. We argue that the early success of the 1989 ivory ban at increasing the African elephant population was driven in part by increasing supply of mammoth ivory. The more recent increases in poaching appear to be driven by increasing demand and falling African institutional quality. We find that absent the 80 tonnes of Russian mammoth ivory exports per annum 2010–2012, elephant ivory prices would have doubled from their $ 100 per kilogram level and that the current poaching level of 34,000 elephants per year may have increased by as many as 55,000 elephants per year on a population of roughly half a million animals.
Extinctions are occurring at an unprecedented rate as a consequence of human activities. Vertebrates constitute the best-known group of animals, and thus the group for which there are more accurate estimates of extinctions. Among them, freshwater fishes are particularly threatened and many species are declining. Here we report the extinction of an endemic freshwater fish of Mexico, the Catarina pupfish Megupsilon aporus, the sole species of the genus Megupsilon. We present a synopsis of the discovery and description of the species, the threats to, and degradation of, its habitat, and the efforts to maintain the species in captivity before it became extinct in 2014. The loss of the Catarina pupfish has evolutionary and ecological implications, and highlights the crisis of freshwater fish extinctions. It is a warning of the likely fate of more than 200 freshwater fish species threatened with extinction in Mexico. To save these species, the country urgently needs a national strategy to articulate a bold conservation effort, with better policies on ecosystem management and water use.
The continual rise of anthropogenic disturbance of ecosystems has been associated with an increasing incidence of emerging diseases. The largest amount of data on emerging diseases relates to bacterial and viral pathogens, but there is a lack of parasite data, especially from wildlife. Monitoring wildlife parasitic diseases should be considered a priority, especially in high biodiversity regions with strong anthropogenic impacts, like Mexico, where the wildlife/livestock/human interface is associated with increased risk of disease transmission. Mexico belongs to the top-ten megadiverse countries and is located between two biogeographic regions. This situation makes Mexico a favourable region for the spillover of animal pathogens to human beings, causing pandemics, such as the one recently caused by influenza virus A (H1N1). The current state of knowledge of Mexican wildlife parasites is scarce and focuses mainly in Neotropical fauna. Moreover, this knowledge is heterogeneous for different parasite groups, especially concerning their pathologic effects and epidemiology. The goals of this review are to compile information on Mexican wildlife parasites and to identify knowledge gaps in order to stimulate research on pending epidemiological, public health, ecological and pathological areas, and to encourage the creation of more specialized groups from the perspective of the One-Health concept.
In this paper we give a new flavour to what Peter Jagers and his co-authors call `the path to extinction'. In a neutral population of constant size N, assume that each individual at time 0 carries a distinct type, or allele. Consider the joint dynamics of these N alleles, for example the dynamics of their respective frequencies and more plainly the nonincreasing process counting the number of alleles remaining by time t. Call this process the extinction process. We show that in the Moran model, the extinction process is distributed as the process counting (in backward time) the number of common ancestors to the whole population, also known as the block counting process of the N-Kingman coalescent. Stimulated by this result, we investigate whether it extends (i) to an identity between the frequencies of blocks in the Kingman coalescent and the frequencies of alleles in the extinction process, both evaluated at jump times, and (ii) to the general case of Λ-Fleming‒Viot processes.
Exemplar models are a popular class of models used to describe language change. Here we study how limiting the memory capacity of an individual in these models affects the system's behaviour. In particular, we demonstrate the effect this change has on the extinction of categories. Previous work in exemplar dynamics has not addressed this question. In order to investigate this, we will inspect a simplified exemplar model. We will prove for the simplified model that all the sound categories but one will always become extinct, whether memory storage is limited or not. However, computer simulations show that changing the number of stored memories alters how fast categories become extinct.
Human activity has eliminated many of the natural lowland ecosystems of the Middle and Lower Yellow River Valley, and has modified the rest, making it difficult to understand what species are native to the region. As a step towards the reconstruction of these lost environments, this paper employs zooarchaeological and other evidence to identify the native mammals of the region. We provide basic ecological information about these animals and discuss controversial or difficult cases in more depth. Our goal is not only to study China's environmental history, but also to make clear that conventional understandings of species ranges are based on the distributions of animals in the modern period, when many had already been eliminated from large areas by human activity.
Extinction is the complete loss of a species, but the accuracy of that status depends on the overall information about the species. Dracaena umbraculifera was described in 1797 from a cultivated plant attributed to Mauritius, but repeated surveys failed to relocate it and it was categorized as Extinct on the IUCN Red List. However, several individuals labelled as D. umbraculifera grow in botanical gardens, suggesting that the species’ IUCN status may be inaccurate. The goal of this study was to understand (1) where D. umbraculifera originated, (2) which species are its close relatives, (3) whether it is extinct, and (4) the identity of the botanical garden accessions and whether they have conservation value. We sequenced a cpDNA region of Dracaena from Mauritius, botanical garden accessions labelled as D. umbraculifera, and individuals confirmed to be D. umbraculifera based on morphology, one of which is a living plant in a private garden. We included GenBank accessions of Dracaena from Madagascar and other locations and reconstructed the phylogeny using Bayesian and parsimony approaches. Phylogenies indicated that D. umbraculifera is more closely related to Dracaena reflexa from Madagascar than to Mauritian Dracaena. As anecdotal information indicated that the living D. umbraculifera originated from Madagascar, we conducted field expeditions there and located five wild populations; the species’ IUCN status should therefore be Critically Endangered because < 50 wild individuals remain. Although the identity of many botanical garden samples remains unresolved, this study highlights the importance of living collections for facilitating new discoveries and the importance of documenting and conserving the flora of Madagascar.
One of the most certain ways to determine star formation rate in galaxies is based on far infrared (FIR) measurements. To decide the origin of the observed FIR emission, subtracting the Galactic foreground is a crucial step. We utilized Herschel photometric data to determine the hydrogen column densities in three galactic latitude regions, at b = 27°, 50° and −80°. We applied a pixel-by-pixel fit to the spectral energy distribution (SED) for the images aquired from parallel PACS-SPIRE observations in all three sky areas. We determined the column densities with resolutions 45” and 6’, and compared the results with values estimated from the IRAS dust maps. Column densities at 27° and 50° galactic latitudes determined from the Herschel data are in a good agreement with the literature values. However, at the highest galactic latitude we found that the column densities from the Herschel data exceed those derived from the IRAS dust map.
Characterizing the properties and the evolution of the first stars and galaxies is a challenging task for traditional galaxy surveys since they are sensitivity limited and can only detect the brightest light sources. Three-dimensional intensity mapping (IM) of transition lines can be a valuable alternative to study the high redshift Universe given that this technique avoids sensitivity limitation problems by measuring the overall emission of a line, with a low resolution, without resolving its sources. While 21cm line IM surveys probe neutral hydrogen gas and can, therefore, be used to probe the state of the IGM and the evolution of the ionization field during the Epoch of Reionization (EoR). IM surveys of other lines, such as CO, CII, Ly-alpha or H-alpha, can be used to probe the galaxies which emitted most of the ionizing radiation responsible for the EoR. These lines will trace the different ISM gas phases, the excitation state of this gas, its metallicity, etc. This study addresses IM of multiple transition lines and how it can be used to probe the EoR and to constrain the redshift evolution of galaxy properties.
Some of the species that are believed to have the highest probability of extinction are also amongst the most poorly known, and this makes it extremely difficult to decide how to spend scarce resources. Assessments of conservation status made on the basis of loss or degradation of habitat and lack of records may provide compelling indications of a decline in geographical range and population size, but they do not help identify where conservation action might be best targeted. Methods for assessing the probability of extinction and for modelling species’ distributions exist, but their data requirements often exceed the information that is available for some of the most urgent conservation cases. Here we use all available information (localities, expert information, climate and landcover) about a high-priority Vietnamese bird species (Edwards's pheasant Lophura edwardsi) to assess objectively the probability of its persistence, and where surveys or other conservation action should be targeted. It is clear that the species is on the threshold of extinction and there is an urgent need to survey Bach Ma National Park (including the extension) and to consider surveying Ke Go Nature Reserve. This approach has potential to help identify where conservation action should be targeted for other Critically Endangered species for which there is an extreme scarcity of information.
The Pyrenean brown bear Ursus arctos population in the mountains between France and Spain is one of the smallest and most threatened populations of large carnivores in Europe. We assessed trends in brown bear habitat use in the Pyrenees and investigated the underlying environmental and anthropogenic drivers. Using detection/non-detection data collected during 2008–2014 through non-invasive methods, we developed dynamic occupancy models, accounting for local colonization and extinction processes. We found two non-connected core areas of occupancy, one in the west and the other in the centre of the Pyrenees, with a significant decrease in habitat use overall during 2008–2014. We also found a negative correlation between human density and bear occupancy, in agreement with previous studies on brown bear habitat suitability. Our results confirm the Critically Endangered status of the Pyrenean population of brown bears.
Surveys of pulsating stars in the inner Galaxy have been very limited, but recent large-scale surveys are rapidly bringing us new samples of various kinds of variable stars and new insights into stellar populations therein. Because of the severe interstellar extinction along the Galactic disc, the stellar populations in the inner Galaxy are more easily observed in the infrared, but even in the infrared the interstellar extinction may cause a serious problem in revealing their accurate characteristics. Here we review recent discoveries of Cepheids and Miras, two kinds of luminous pulsating stars with period–luminosity relation, in the inner Galaxy.
Using the data from APOGEE, WISE, and GLIMPSE, we explored the variation of the near-infrared (NIR) and mid-infrared (MIR) interstellar extinction laws of the Milky Way. We derived the IR extinction laws towards a number of different sightlines, including 24 bins along Galactic latitude (b) and 592 plates observed by APOGEE. Our results indicate that E(J-H)/E(J-K) show only subtle variation along b, Galactic longitude (l), or the depth of E(J-K). This suggests that the NIR extinction law can be considered as universal. Similarly, E(K-W1, W2, W3, [3.6], [4.5], [5.8], [8.0])/E(J-K) also show only small variation along b, l, or the extinction depth. The MIR extinction curve is flat, indicating that the MIR extinction law is likely universal.
We study the evolution of cooperation in an interacting particle system with two types. The model we investigate is an extension of a two-type biased voter model. One type (called defector) has a (positive) bias α with respect to the other type (called cooperator). However, a cooperator helps a neighbor (either defector or cooperator) to reproduce at rate γ. We prove that the one-dimensional nearest-neighbor interacting dynamical system exhibits a phase transition at α = γ. A special choice of interaction kernels yield that for α > γ cooperators always die out, but if γ > α, cooperation is the winning strategy.
One of the ways to obtain a detailed 3D ISM map is by gathering interstellar (IS) absorption data toward widely distributed background target stars at known distances (line-of-sight/LOS data). The radial and angular evolution of the LOS measurements allow the inference of the ISM spatial distribution. For a better spatial resolution, one needs a large number of the LOS data. It requires building fast tools to measure IS absorption. One of the tools is a global analysis that fit two different diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) simultaneously. We derived the equivalent width (EW) ratio of the two DIBs recorded in each spectrum of target stars. The ratio variability can be used to study IS environmental conditions or to detect DIB family.
We analyse the asymptotic behaviour of a biological system described by a stochastic competition model with
resources (chemostat model), in which the species mortality rates are influenced by the fractional Brownian motion of the extrinsic noise environment. By constructing a Lyapunov functional, the persistence and extinction criteria are derived in the mean square sense. Some examples are given to illustrate the effectiveness of the theoretical result.
Based on seven measured sections from Svalbard, the marine strata of the Permian Kapp Starostin Formation are arranged into seven transgressive–regressive sequences (TR1–TR7) of c. 4–5 Ma average duration, each bound by a maximum regressive surface. Facies, including heterozoan-dominated limestones, spiculitic cherts, sandstones, siltstones and shales, record deposition within inner, middle and outer shelf areas. The lowermost sequence, TR1, comprises most of the basal Vøringen Member, which records a transgression across the Gipshuken Formation following a hiatus of unknown duration. Temperate to cold, storm-dominated facies established in inner to middle shelf areas between the latest Artinskian and Kungurian. Prolonged deepening during sequences TR2 and TR3 was succeeded by a long-term shallowing-upward trend that lasted until the latest Permian (TR4–TR7). A major depocentre existed in central and western Spitsbergen while to the north, Dickson Land remained a shallow platform, leading to a shallow homoclinal ramp in NE Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. The Middle Permian extinction (late Capitanian) is recorded near the base of TR6 in deeper parts of the basin only; elsewhere this sequence is not recorded. Likewise the youngest sequence, TR7, extending to the upper formational contact of latest Permian age, is found only in the basin depocentre. Comparison with age-equivalent strata in the Sverdrup Basin of Canada reveals a remarkably similar depositional history, with, for example, two (third-order) sea-level cycles recorded in the Late Permian of both regions, in keeping with the global record. Sequence stratigraphy may therefore be a powerful correlative tool for onshore and offshore Permian deposits across NW Pangaea.