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Sperm capacitation includes the reorganization of plasma membrane components and the outstanding modification of the glycocalyx. The α-mannose presence and location during in vitro capacitation have been commonly described in human spermatozoa using Concanavalin A (Con A) lectin. However, it is still unclear to date how in vitro capacitation time affects the α-mannose residues and their topographic spatial distribution on sperm membrane. Here, we characterized the α-mannose density and specific membrane domain locations before and after in vitro capacitation (1–4 h) using high-resolution field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM). Results showed that α-mannose residues were present preferably on the acrosome domains for all physiological conditions. Uncapacitated sperm comparatively exhibits significant highest labeling densities of α-mannose residues. In addition, as in vitro capacitation takes place, significant and progressive decreasing of sugar residues was combined with their relocation mostly affecting acrosomal domain apical areas. Our findings reveal that combined approach using FE-SEM and gold nanoparticle topographical mapping offers new human sperm biomolecular and structural details during capacitation events.
Horizontal and vertical distribution of cephalopod paralarvae (PL) from the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS) in the Western Caribbean was studied during two oceanographic cruises in 2006 and 2007. A total of 1034 PL belonging to 12 families, 22 genera, 24 species, 5 morphotypes and a species complex were identified. Abralia redfieldi, Onychoteuthis banksii and Ornithoteuthis antillarum were the most abundant taxa. The taxonomic identification from these three species was corroborated with DNA barcoding (99.8–100% of similarity). Paralarvae of Octopus insularis were reported for the first time in the wild. Most PL occupied the Caribbean Surface Water mass in the 0–25 m depth stratum. Largest paralarval abundances were related to local oceanographic features favouring retention such as the Honduras Gyre and Cozumel eddy. No day-night differences were found in PL abundance, although Abralia redfieldi showed evidence of diel vertical migration. Distribution of PL in epipelagic waters of the MBRS was probably related to ontogenetic migration, hydrographic features of meso and subscale, and to the circulation regimes dominated by the Yucatan Current. The MBRS represents an important dispersion area for PL, potentially connecting a species-rich Caribbean community with the Gulf of Mexico and Florida waters.
Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas (GHG) produced and released by eructation to the atmosphere in large volumes by ruminants. Enteric CH4 contributes significantly to global GHG emissions arising from animal agriculture. It has been contended that tropical grasses produce higher emissions of enteric CH4 than temperate grasses, when they are fed to ruminants. A number of experiments have been performed in respiration chambers and head-boxes to assess the enteric CH4 mitigation potential of foliage and pods of tropical plants, as well as nitrates (NO3−) and vegetable oils in practical rations for cattle. On the basis of individual determinations of enteric CH4 carried out in respiration chambers, the average CH4 yield for cattle fed low-quality tropical grasses (>70% ration DM) was 17.0 g CH4/kg DM intake. Results showed that when foliage and ground pods of tropical trees and shrubs were incorporated in cattle rations, methane yield (g CH4/kg DM intake) was decreased by 10% to 25%, depending on plant species and level of intake of the ration. Incorporation of nitrates and vegetable oils in the ration decreased enteric CH4 yield by ∼6% to ∼20%, respectively. Condensed tannins, saponins and starch contained in foliages, pods and seeds of tropical trees and shrubs, as well as nitrates and vegetable oils, can be fed to cattle to mitigate enteric CH4 emissions under smallholder conditions. Strategies for enteric CH4 mitigation in cattle grazing low-quality tropical forages can effectively increase productivity while decreasing enteric CH4 emissions in absolute terms and per unit of product (e.g. meat, milk), thus reducing the contribution of ruminants to GHG emissions and therefore to climate change.
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been classified as one of the most attractive nanotechnologies, thanks to their potential or already implemented applications; therefore, biological methods for their synthesis have been widely investigated. This study explores the synthesis of AuNPs using the extract of Anemopsis californica, and determinates the effect of the solvent used (water, methanol, and isopropanol) to obtain the AuNPs. Biogenic nanoparticles were analysed through UV-Vis spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM, HRTEM, and SAED). Significant differences in polydispersity and morphology of AuNPs among the different methods used were found; the aqueous extract and the extract based on methanol formed nanotriangles and polyhedral nanoparticles; the shape of the nanoparticles is predominantly polyhedral when isopropanol is used as the solvent. The as obtained nanoparticles were placed on glass slides to perform Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) experiments, an amplification of the methylene blue Raman signal was observed when triangular nanoparticles cover the biogenic SERS substrate.
In the past decades, Europe has been the site of multiple drug policy innovations and cannabis policy experimentation. Most of the policy reforms in this area are taking place at the national and subnational levels. They have not resulted from agreements or harmonization initiatives at the EU level, but rather from bottom-up adoption of cannabis policies and practices that deviate from punitive approaches. Cannabis regulation has been only marginally debated by European institutions and is not discussed in depth in any EU document. On the one hand, the diversity of European drug policies is a positive development: it serves as a policy laboratory and reflects adaptations to local contexts in light of drug market-related challenges. On the other hand, a greater EU consensus would be helpful for policy coordination and international engagement.
Human activities are altering ecosystems and threatening the well-being of wildlife. The study of the stressful effects of human disturbances on animal distribution, physiology and behaviour can provide fundamental insights for wildlife conservation. Here, we assess how two declining birds, the European Roller Coracias garrulus and the European Scops Owl Otus scops, cope with alteration by human activities in farming habitats of the south of Spain. We studied nest distribution, quantified nestling physiology (corticosterone levels in plasma and feathers and body weight close to fledgling) and parental behaviour (feeding rates) of both species along a human alteration gradient. Rollers and Scops Owls used the same type of habitat and their spatial distribution was not determined by individual quality. In Rollers, nestlings raised in scrubland areas had high stress-induced corticosterone levels, possibly due to high predation risk in this habitat. In addition, Rollers and Scops Owls showed opposite relationships with farming activity and human disturbance. Nestling Rollers showed the highest corticosterone levels in feathers, weight and parental feeding rates in areas with intense farming activity. These results suggest that despite the disturbance produced by farming activities, inducing a higher stress in these areas, cultivated areas may, simultaneously, provide parents with a higher abundance of prey which would trigger increased feeding rates and, hence, higher nestling weights. Furthermore, nestling Scops Owls showed the highest stress-induced corticosterone levels in areas close to roads, suggesting that they would be affected by human disturbance due to infrastructures that disturb also at night when Scops Owls are active. Therefore, susceptibility to human disturbance may vary between species, probably due to variation in the daily pattern of human activities and the species’ activity rhythm, buffering or exacerbating the effects, which should be considered in future studies on human alterations and birds.
This research communication addresses the hypothesis that in dual-purpose goats, exposure to 1 h of extra-light given from 16 to 17 h after dawn (pulse of light) in winter stimulates milk yield. One group of goats was maintained under natural short photoperiod (natural day; ND (n = 7)). Another group of lactating females was submitted to an artificial long-day photoperiod consisting of 16 h light and 8 h darkness (long days; LD (n = 7)). A third group of females received one single hour of extra-light 16 h after the fixed dawn (pulse of light; PL (n = 6)). Goats from LD and PL yielded 30% more milk than goats from ND. Mean percentages of fat, protein and lactose contents in milk did not differ between the 3 groups at any stage of lactation, but these components in grams/day were higher in goats from PL than in the others two groups within the first 45 d of lactation. In conclusion, dual-purpose lactating goats that started their lactation during natural short days, the daily exposition to a 1-h pulse of light is sufficient to stimulate milk yield compared to females maintained under natural short photoperiod.
The identification of threats to migratory species of conservation concern and the relevance of protected areas for them is often biased towards breeding areas. The European Roller Coracias garrulus is a long-distance migrant experiencing a pronounced decline throughout its breeding range, which has been attributed to the degradation of open agricultural habitats. However, its conservation status in non-breeding areas in Africa remains unstudied. Land cover change is a major threat affecting migratory birds in their wintering grounds, therefore identifying important areas for their protection at this stage is a priority. Here we used occurrence data during the wintering season and ecological niche models to identify key land cover and areas used by Rollers in Africa. First, we used 33 filtered locations from six satellite-tracked birds breeding in Spain to describe suitable wintering areas for the Spanish population (westernmost part of the Eurasian breeding range). We also used 1,167 occurrence data in southern Africa from open-access databases and bird atlases to characterise the overall wintering range of the species. The Spanish population occupied a relatively small area in the north-western part of southern Africa, and a narrow range of land covers. Open grassland, less steep areas and those with sparse tree cover are correlated with suitability. In all, 18.06% of suitable wintering areas for the Spanish population overlapped with protected areas. The overall population of Rollers occupied a wider area and range of land cover. Tree cover was the most important variable affecting suitability, with areas without tree cover being the least suitable. We found that 9.58% of suitable wintering areas for the overall population overlapped with protected areas. Our results suggest that Rollers from different origins (breeding populations) use separate, but overlapping, wintering areas and may have different habitat requirements, and therefore, population-specific conservation strategies in these areas might be needed to fully protect the species.
Thousands of new asteroids are discovered every year and the rate of discovery is by far larger than the determination rate of their physical properties. In 2015 a group of researchers and students of several Mexican institutions have established an observational program to study asteroids photometrically. The program, named Mexican Asteroid Photometry Campaign, is aiming to derive rotation periods of asteroids based on optical photometric observations. Since then four campaigns have been carried out. The results obtained throughout these campaigns, as well as future work, are presented.
Teaching undergraduate students, mentoring graduate students, and generating publishable research are distinct tasks for many political scientists. This article highlights lessons for merging these activities through experiences from an initiative that sparked a series of collaborative-research projects focused on opinions about crime and punishment in the United States. This article describes three collaborative projects conducted between 2015 and 2017 to demonstrate how to merge undergraduate teaching, graduate training, and producing research. By participating in these projects, students learned about social-scientific research through hands-on experiences designing experiments, collecting and analyzing original data, and reporting empirical findings to a public audience. This approach is an effective way to engage students and generate research that can advance professional goals.
The toxicity of water–ethanol extracts of garlic (Allium sativum), ginger (Zingiber officinale), basil (Ocimum basilicum), bitter chaparro (Castela tortuousa), onion (Allium cepa) and papaya (Carica papaya) against adults, eggs and oncomiracidia of Neobenedenia spp. parasites was examined. Parasites were exposed to continuous immersion and treated as follows: extracts were tested at three dilutions: 1:10, 1:50 and 1:100 made with filtered seawater (35 g l–1); ethanol (70%) was evaluated at the same dilutions of 1:10 (7% ethanol), 1:50 (1.4% ethanol) and 1:100 (0.07% ethanol) and a seawater (35 g l–1) control. The antiparasitic effect was measured on: (1) adult survival, egg production and time to detachment from the culture vessel; (2) egg development and cumulative egg hatching; and (3) oncomiracidia survival. All three dilutions of ginger and dilutions 1:100 and 1:50 of basil extract reduced adult survival in vitro, time to detachment from the surface of the culture vessel, egg production and oncomiracidia survival. Bitter chaparro extract reduced adult egg production and oncomiracidia survival. Hatching success was significantly reduced (P < 0.05) in basil extract (1:100) to 86.6% compared to the seawater control (100%). Dilutions 1:10 of ginger and basil exhibited the highest impact on the biological parameters of Neobenedenia sp. Our study demonstrates that water–ethanol extracts of ginger, basil and bitter chaparro are toxic against Neobenedenia sp. life stages.