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Helminth species of Neotropical bats are poorly known. In Mexico, few studies have been conducted on helminths of bats, especially in regions such as the Yucatan Peninsula where Chiroptera is the mammalian order with the greatest number of species. In this study, we characterized morphologically and molecularly the helminth species of bats and explored their infection levels and parasite–host interactions in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. One hundred and sixty-three bats (representing 21 species) were captured between 2017 and 2022 in 15 sites throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. Conventional morphological techniques and molecular tools were used with the 28S gene to identify the collected helminths. Host–parasite network analyses were carried out to explore interactions by focusing on the level of host species. Helminths were found in 44 (26.9%) bats of 12 species. Twenty helminth taxa were recorded (7 trematodes, 3 cestodes and 10 nematodes), including 4 new host records for the Americas. Prevalence and mean intensity of infection values ranged from 7.1 to 100% and from 1 to 56, respectively. Molecular analyses confirmed the identity of some helminths at species and genus levels; however, some sequences did not correspond to any of the species available on GenBank. The parasite–host network suggests that most of the helminths recorded in bats were host-specific. The highest helminth richness was found in insectivorous bats. This study increases our knowledge of helminths parasitizing Neotropical bats, adding new records and nucleotide sequences.
The results of the first molecular phylogenetic study of Pseudephebe are presented; a three-locus phylogeny. The genus is confirmed as monophyletic within the alectorioid clade of Parmeliaceae. Two major clades were recovered, which can be assigned to the two traditional taxa, P. minuscula and P. pubescens, with modifications of the species delimitation, especially the variable P. minuscula. These species are cryptic and cannot be confidently distinguished morphologically due to phenotypic convergence. Therefore, the use of P. pubescens aggr. is recommended for samples not molecularly analyzed. Contrary to previous studies, specimens of both species might have indistinct pseudocyphellae and also contain lichen substances; norstictic acid was detected in c. 60% of specimens tested. An SSU 1516 Group I intron is usually present in P. minuscula but always absent in P. pubescens. The species-level nomenclature is summarized and sequenced reference specimens (RefSpec) for both Pseudephebe species are selected. Sequences from Bryoria mariensis established that this name was a synonym of P. minuscula.
There is heated debate over the wisdom and effect of secrecy in international negotiations. This debate has become central to the process of foreign investment arbitration because parties to disputes nearly always can choose to hide arbitral outcomes from public view. Working with a new database of disputes at the world's largest investor-state arbitral institution, the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, the authors examine the incentives of firms and governments to keep the details of their disputes secret. The authors argue that secrecy in the context of investment arbitration works like a flexibility-enhancing device, similar to the way escape clauses function in the context of international trade. To attract and preserve investment, governments make contractual and treaty-based promises to submit to binding arbitration in the event of a dispute. They may prefer secrecy in cases when they are under strong political pressure to adopt policies that violate international legal norms designed to protect investor interests. Investors favor secrecy when managing politically sensitive disputes over assets they will continue to own and manage in host countries long after the particular dispute has passed. Although governments prefer secrecy to help facilitate politically difficult bargaining, secrecy diminishes one of the central purposes of arbitration: to allow governments to signal publicly their general commitment to investor-friendly policies. Understanding the incentives for keeping the details of dispute resolution secret may help future scholars explain more accurately the observed patterns of wins and losses from investor-state arbitration as well as patterns of investment.
Bryoria araucana sp. nov. is described from Chile on the basis of morphological, chemical and molecular data. It has a grey to dark greyish brown pendent thallus with the base usually black, branching angles mainly obtuse, terminal branches with few lateral branchlets acutely inserted, fumarprotocetraric acid, and often protocetraric and confumarprotocetraric acids. It is morphologically similar to the Northern Hemisphere B. trichodes, but lacks soralia and has inconspicuous concolorous or slightly darker pseudocyphellae. Bryoria glabra is also reported for the first time from the Southern Hemisphere. New phylogenetic data based on ITS, mtSSU and MCM7 analyses suggest that Bryoria sect. Bryoria is polyphyletic and needs revision.
In order to confirm and investigate the extent of reported mismatches between chemotypes and molecular sequence data in Bryoria fuscescens s. lat., we examined 15 morphologically similar thalli from each of three Pinus forest sites in the Sistema Central of central Spain. Three thalli were rejected due to infections by Phacopsis huuskonenii (not previously published from Spain). The remaining 42 thalli represented nine ITS rDNA haplotypes and four chemotypes (by TLC): fumarprotocetraric and protocetraric acids; norstictic and connorstictic acids; psoromic acid; and fumarprotocetraric, protocetraric and psoromic acids. The molecular phylogenetic tree was characterized by extremely short branch lengths, often only with a single mutational difference, and a single haplotype could have different chemical products. In some cases, adjacent specimens represented different chemotypes, and three thalli appeared to be mixed individuals. Consistency of both molecular and chemical data within individual specimens was demonstrated by examining four different parts of each thallus, which showed only a difference in the location of psoromic acid in some. This is the first population-level study of this taxon, and so it is premature to propose taxonomic changes at this time. Further populations in different parts of the geographical range of this widespread complex now need to be analyzed, and more sensitive chemical analyses conducted, in order to understand the basis of the variability and determine the appropriate taxonomic treatment.
Barely a month goes by without some more bad news about global climate change. The bad news about the impacts of torqueing the climate system is easy enough to understand. Humans are adding increasingly larger amounts of warming gases to the atmosphere, and the climate is now responding. Ice sheets are melting – some irrevocably, it seems – the seas are rising, and weather patterns are changing. Given the size and rate of the human thumb on the climate, the impacts are, for the most part, harmful. The climate is a complex system whose interactions are not understood perfectly. By pushing around a complex system, humans are setting themselves up for unpredictable and possibly horrible outcomes. And since that system is important – nothing less than the planet's life support system – we shouldn't do that lightly.
In recent years, though, a string of bad news has also appeared on the political front. Despite more than two decades of diplomacy and national policy discussions about climate change, there's almost no evidence that emissions – the root cause of the problem – have responded. Global emissions from the energy sector are higher than ever before and not set to reverse any time soon. Sure, a few jurisdictions – notably in Europe – have made cuts, but those have come often at huge cost and concern only a small fraction of the global total. Growth elsewhere, especially in the emerging economies, has been overwhelming.
It is easy to despair. The science around global climate change seems to suggest that the problem is getting worse quickly – with harms that are, on balance, worse than previously thought. And the experts on political systems are finally realizing that solving this problem will be a lot harder than anyone thought.
Why do some decision makers prefer big multilateral agreements while others prefer cooperation in small clubs? Does enforcement encourage or deter institutional cooperation? We use experiments drawn from behavioral economics and cognitive psychology—along with a substantive survey focused on international trade—to illustrate how two behavioral traits (patience and strategic reasoning) of individuals who play key roles in negotiating and ratifying an international treaty shape their preferences for how treaties are designed and whether they are ratified. Patient subjects were more likely to prefer treaties with larger numbers of countries (and larger long-term benefits), as were subjects with the skill to anticipate how others will respond over multiple iterations of strategic games. The presence of an enforcement mechanism increased subjects' willingness to ratify treaties; however, strategic reasoning had double the effect of adding enforcement to a trade agreement: more strategic subjects were particularly likely to favor ratifying the agreement. We report these results for a sample of 509 university students and also show how similar patterns are revealed in a unique sample of ninety-two actual US policy elites. Under some conditions certain types of university student convenience samples can be useful for revealing elite-dominated policy preferences—different types of people in the same situation may prefer to approach decision-making tasks and reason through trade-offs in materially different ways.
It has been postulated that aging is the consequence of an accelerated accumulation of somatic DNA mutations and that subsequent errors in the primary structure of proteins ultimately reach levels sufficient to affect organismal functions. The technical limitations of detecting somatic changes and the lack of insight about the minimum level of erroneous proteins to cause an error catastrophe hampered any firm conclusions on these theories. In this study, we sequenced the whole genome of DNA in whole blood of two pairs of monozygotic (MZ) twins, 40 and 100 years old, by two independent next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms (Illumina and Complete Genomics). Potentially discordant single-base substitutions supported by both platforms were validated extensively by Sanger, Roche 454, and Ion Torrent sequencing. We demonstrate that the genomes of the two twin pairs are germ-line identical between co-twins, and that the genomes of the 100-year-old MZ twins are discerned by eight confirmed somatic single-base substitutions, five of which are within introns. Putative somatic variation between the 40-year-old twins was not confirmed in the validation phase. We conclude from this systematic effort that by using two independent NGS platforms, somatic single nucleotide substitutions can be detected, and that a century of life did not result in a large number of detectable somatic mutations in blood. The low number of somatic variants observed by using two NGS platforms might provide a framework for detecting disease-related somatic variants in phenotypically discordant MZ twins.
Experimental evidence in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics is transforming the way political science scholars think about how humans make decisions in areas of high complexity, uncertainty, and risk. Nearly all those studies utilize convenience samples of university students, but in the real world political elites actually make most pivotal political decisions such as threatening war or changing the course of economic policy. Highly experienced elites are more likely to exhibit the attributes of rational decision-making; and over the last fifteen years a wealth of studies suggest that such elites are likely to be more skilled in strategic bargaining than samples with less germane experience. However, elites are also more likely to suffer overconfidence, which degrades decision-making skills. We illustrate implications for political science with a case study of crisis bargaining between the US and North Korea. Variations in the experience of US elite decision-makers between 2002 and 2006 plausibly explain the large shift in US crisis signaling better than other rival hypotheses such as “Iraq fatigue.” Beyond crisis bargaining other major political science theories might benefit from attention to the attributes of individual decision-makers.