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Meeting the complex demands of conservation requires a multi-skilled workforce operating in a sector that is respected and supported. Although professionalization of conservation is widely seen as desirable, there is no consistent understanding of what that entails. Here, we review whether and how eight elements of professionalization observed in other sectors are applicable to conservation: (1) a defined and respected occupation; (2) official recognition; (3) knowledge, learning, competences and standards; (4) paid employment; (5) codes of conduct and ethics; (6) individual commitment; (7) organizational capacity; and (8) professional associations. Despite significant achievements in many of these areas, overall progress is patchy, and conventional concepts of professionalization are not always a good fit for conservation. Reasons for this include the multidisciplinary nature of conservation work, the disproportionate influence of elite groups on the development and direction of the profession, and under-representation of field practitioners and of Indigenous peoples and local communities with professional-equivalent skills. We propose a more inclusive approach to professionalization that reflects the full range of practitioners in the sector and the need for increased recognition in countries and regions of high biodiversity. We offer a new definition that characterizes conservation professionals as practitioners who act as essential links between conservation action and conservation knowledge and policy, and provide seven recommendations for building a more effective, inclusive and representative profession.
To assess the mental health of pregnant women, with reference to anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Ireland during the third wave of the pandemic between February and March 2021. Psychiatric, social and obstetric information was collected from pregnant women in a Dublin maternity hospital, alongside self-reported measures of mental health status.
Of 392 women responding, 23.7% had anxiety, scoring >9 for GAD-7 (7-item generalised anxiety disorder), 20.4% had depression, scoring >9 for PHQ-9 (9-item depression screening tool: Patient health questionnaire) and 10.3% had obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), scoring >13 for Yale–Brown obsessive-compulsive scale symptom checklist (Y-BOCS). Amongst self-reported OCD symptoms, there was a preponderance for obsessions rather than compulsions. Of 392 women, 36.2% described their mental health as worse during the pandemic, most frequently describing symptoms of anxiety and sleep disturbance. When analysed against test scores, self-reported worsening of mental health was significantly associated with higher scores on the GAD-7, PHQ-9 and Y-BOCS scales. The three scores were positively interrelated. Poor mental health scores were associated with self-reported strain in relationship with the baby’s father, and current or previous history of mental illness.
This study found high levels of depression, anxiety and OC symptoms amongst pregnant women during COVID-19. This highlights the vulnerability of this group to mental illness and the importance of enhanced screening and support during pandemics.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Sense of place describes both affective and cognitive — emotional and intellectual — connections to place. Affective outcomes, tied to arts and humanities education, can facilitate these connections. But little research explores environmental science, arts and humanities (eSAH) curricula on place relationships. Additionally, most research on the sense of place focuses on repeated visits to a place over time, rather than short-term experiences like a field trip. Finally, digital technology is a growing trend across science education, but little research investigates its use in field-based contexts. Our research begins to address these gaps. This article describes an eSAH field trip for middle and high school learners. Using a conventional content analysis, we present pilot data from two high school field trips. Our findings illuminate a framework for understanding active and passive place relationships in the context of short-term interdisciplinary field learning experiences.
Early Archaic human skeletal remains found in a burial context in Lapa do
Santo in east-central Brazil provide a rare glimpse into the lives of
hunter-gatherer communities in South America, including their rituals for
dealing with the dead. These included the reduction of the body by means of
mutilation, defleshing, tooth removal, exposure to fire and possibly
cannibalism, followed by the secondary burial of the remains according to
strict rules. In a later period, pits were filled with disarticulated bones
of a single individual without signs of body manipulation, demonstrating
that the region was inhabited by dynamic groups in constant transformation
over a period of centuries.
Tourism development is one of the main contemporary drivers of habitat loss and fragmentation within the Caribbean Islands biodiversity hotspot. In Saint Lucia, construction of a hotel and golf course within coastal dry forest is directly threatening the largest known subpopulation of the Endangered White-breasted Thrasher Ramphocinclus brachyurus. Understanding how the species is responding to ongoing landscape change and identifying priority sites for conservation are imperative for planning its long-term conservation. In this study, a four year White-breasted Thrasher monitoring dataset (2006–2009) and landscape-scale environmental variables were used to: a) identify, characterise and map spatio-temporal patterns of White-breasted Thrasher encounter rate (an abundance proxy) within and outside the tourist development site; b) determine landscape-scale environmental variables that influence such patterns, and c) produce an island-wide predictive map of potentially suitable habitat. Observed patterns in encounter rates within and outside the development site were consistent with thrashers being displaced from cleared areas of forest and crowding into intact forest patches to the north and west of the golf course. A year after the period of the most extensive habitat clearance, White-breasted Thrasher numbers declined markedly leading to a 55% reduction in encounter rate within the development site over the four years of the study. The habitat suitability model predicted that a range of sites outside of the known geographic range of the thrasher are potentially suitable, some of which merit further surveys for potentially undetected populations. Given these findings, it is vital that patches of suitable dry forest adjacent to the tourist development are protected and contiguous natural habitat inside the tourist development is preserved.
Surveys and excavations in 1980–1 confirmed Peak Camp as a Neolithic enclosure on a flat promontory of the Cotswold escarpment overlooking the Severn Valley just 1 km south of Crickley Hill. Although heavily eroded by quarrying the site can be reconstructed as having two concentric arcs of boundary earthworks forming an oval plan which was probably open to the north where a steep natural slope defined the edge of the site. A section through the outer boundary showed four main phases of ditch construction, at least one causewayed. An extensive series of radiocarbon dates shows construction began in the late 37th century cal bc and probably continued through successive remodellings into the 33rd century cal bc or beyond. An internal ditch or elongated pit situated in the area between the inner and outer boundary earthworks had a similar history. Where sampled, the ditch and internal feature were rich in material culture, including a substantial assemblage of plain bowl pottery; flint implements and working waste; animal remains dominated by cattle but including also the remains of a cat; human foot bones; slight traces of cereal production; a fragment of a Group VI axe; part of a sandstone disc; and a highly unusual shale arc pendant of continental type. It is suggested that the ditch fills represent selectively redeposited midden material from within the site that started to accumulate in the late 5th or early 4th millennium cal bc. The construction and use of Peak Camp is contemporary with activity on Crickley Hill, and the two sites probably formed components of a single complex. Its use was also contemporary with the deposition of burials at local long barrows in the Cotswold-Severn tradition which are linked by common ceramic traditions and the selective deposition of human body parts.
In the first seven months of 2008, eighteen Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris), four Sowerby's beaked whales (Mesoplodon bidens), five unidentified beaked whales and twenty-nine long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) were reported stranded in the UK and Ireland. Decomposition of those animals investigated puts the predicted time of death at mid-January. Concerns that an unusual mortality event had taken place prompted further investigations. Most carcasses were too decomposed for necropsy. A summary of findings is presented here. Although the initial stranding of five Cuvier's beaked whales in Scotland shared some similarities with atypical mass stranding events linked in time and space to mid-frequency naval sonars, there were two important differences with the remaining strandings during this period. First, the geographical range of the event was very wide and second, the strandings occurred over a prolonged period of several months. Both of these factors could be related to the fact that the mortalities occurred offshore and the carcasses drifted ashore. The cause(s) of this high number of strandings of mixed offshore cetacean species during this period remain undetermined.
Patterns of habitat selection by American mink Mustela vison within foraging areas located on the shore, were studied in a coastal environment of Scotland from November to March in 1983/84, 1984/85 and 1994/95. The abundance of prey in the intertidal zone was modelled in relation to abiotic environmental characteristics. Four factors were found to be important predictors of prey abundance: the position within the tidal zone, the abundance and size of rockpools, the nature of the substratum and the presence of fresh water streams. The model was used to predict prey abundance in different areas of the shore. We then investigated whether mink were choosing areas with higher prey abundance at different tidal levels and within, as opposed to between, core areas (areas with a relatively high density of fixes, encompassing usually one or more dens). Only when foraging at low or mid-tide and within core areas were mink found to behave selectively. They showed no significant preference for areas rich in prey when foraging at high tide and between core areas. Mink were also found to avoid areas with fresh water streams and to prefer foraging in the mid-tide zone. The findings are discussed in relation to prey abundance and competition with the otter Lutra lutra.
Immunoglobulins of human heavy chain subgroup III
have a binding site for Staphylococcal protein
A on the heavy chain variable domain (VH),
in addition to the well-known binding site on the Fc portion
of the antibody. Thermodynamic characterization of this
binding event and localization of the Fv-binding site on
a domain of protein A is described. Isothermal titration
calorimetry (ITC) was used to characterize the interaction
between protein A or fragments of protein A and variants
of the hu4D5 antibody Fab fragment. Analysis of binding
isotherms obtained for titration of hu4D5 Fab with intact
protein A suggests that 3–4 of the five immunoglobulin
binding domains of full length protein A can bind simultaneously
to Fab with a Ka of 5.5 ± 0.5
× 105 M−1. A synthetic
single immunoglobulin binding domain, Z-domain, does not
bind appreciably to hu4D5 Fab, but both the E and D domains
are functional for hu4D5 Fab binding. Thermodynamic parameters
for titration of the E-domain with hu4D5 Fab are n
= 1.0 ± 0.1, Ka = 2.0 ±
0.3 × 105 M−1, and ΔH
= −7.1 ± 0.4 kcal mol−1.
Similar binding thermodynamics are obtained for titration
of the isolated VH domain with E-domain
indicating that the E-domain binding site on Fab resides
within VH. E-domain binding to an IgG1
Fc yields a higher affinity interaction with thermodynamic
parameters n = 2.2 ± 0.1, Ka
> 1.0 × 107 M−1, and
ΔH = −24.6 ± 0.6 kcal mol−1.
Fc does not compete with Fab for binding to E-domain indicating
that the two antibody fragments bind to different sites.
Amide 1H and 15N resonances that
undergo large changes in NMR chemical shift upon Fv binding
map to a surface defined by helix-2 and helix-3 of E-domain,
distinct from the Fc-binding site observed in the crystal
structure of the B-domain/Fc complex. The Fv-binding region
contains negatively charged residues and a small hydrophobic
patch which complements the basic surface of the region
of the VH domain implicated previously
in protein A binding.
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