• Elemental ratios link environmental change and human health

      Paseka, Rachel E.; Bratt, Anika R.; MacNeill, Keeley L.; Burian, Alfred; See, Craig R.; University of Derby (Frontiers, 2019-10-10)
      Humans have fundamentally altered the cycling of multiple elements on a global scale. These changes impact the structure and function of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, with many implications for human health. Most prior studies linking biogeochemical changes to human health have evaluated the effects of single elements in isolation. However, the relative availability of multiple elements often determines the biological impact of shifts in the concentration of a single element. The balance of multiple elements is the focus of ecological stoichiometry, which highlights the importance of elemental ratios in biological function across all systems and scales of organization. Consequently, ecological stoichiometry is a promising framework to inform research on the links between global changes to elemental cycles and human health. We synthesize evidence that elemental ratios link global change with human health through biological processes occurring at two scales: in the environment (natural ecosystems and food systems) and within the human body. Elemental ratios in the environment impact the key ecosystem processes of productivity and biodiversity, both of which contribute to the production of food, toxins, allergens, and parasites. Elemental ratios in diet impact processes within the human body, including the function and interactions of the immune system, parasites, and the non-pathogenic microbiome. Collectively, these stoichiometric effects contribute to a wide range of non-infectious and infectious diseases. By describing stoichiometric mechanisms linking global change, ecological processes, and human health, we hope to inspire future empirical and theoretical research on this theme.
    • A novel investigation of a blister-like syndrome in aquarium echinopora lamellosa

      Smith, David; Leary, Peter; Bendall, Mark; Flach, Edmund; Jones, Rachel; Sweet, Michael J.; University of Derby (2014-05-14)
      This study investigates potential causes of a novel blister-like syndrome in the plating coral Echinopora lamellosa. Visual inspections of this novel coral syndrome showed no obvious signs of macroparasites and the blisters themselves manifested as fluid-filled sacs on the surface of the coral, which rose from the coenosarc between the coral polyps. Histological analysis of the blisters showed that there was no associated necrosis with the epidermal or gastrodermal tissues. The only difference between blistered areas and apparently healthy tissues was the presence of proliferated growth (possible mucosal cell hyperplasia) directly at the blister interface (area between where the edge of the blister joined apparently healthy tissue).No bacterial aggregates were identified in any histological samples, nor any sign of tissue necrosis identified. We conclude, that the blister formations are not apparently caused by a specific microbial infection, but instead may be the result of irritation following growth anomalies of the epidermis. However, future work should be conducted to search for other potential casual agents, including viruses