• Avian influenza infections in non-migratant land birds in Andean Peru

      Williams, Richard; Segovia-Hinostroza, Karen; Ghersi, Bruno M.; Gonzaga, Victor; Peterson, A. Townsend; Montgomery, Joel M.; Biodiversity Institute, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA; Departamento de Zoologı´a y Antropologıa Fısica, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, C/Jose Antonio Novais, 2 Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain; Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria de Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Av. Circunvalacion Cdra. 28 San Borja, Lima, Peru; United States Naval Medical Research Center Detachment, Unit 6, Av. Venezuela Cdra. 36, Callao 2, Lima, Peru (Wildlife Disease Association, 2012-06-13)
      As part of ongoing surveillance for avian influenza viruses (AIV) in Peruvian birds, in June 2008, we sampled 600 land birds of 177 species, using real-time reverse-transcription PCR. We addressed the assumption that AIV prevalence is low or nil among land birds, a hypothesis that was not supported by the results—rather, we found AIV infections at relatively high prevalences in birds of the orders Apodiformes (hummingbirds) and Passeriformes (songbirds). Surveillance programs for monitoring spread and identification of AIV should thus not focus solely on water birds.
    • Azara's owl monkeys in the Humid Chaco: Primatological long-term studies in Argentina.

      Juárez, Cecilia P.; Huck, Maren; Fernandez-Duque, Eduardo; Universidad Nacional de Formosa; Proyecto Mirikiná; University of Derby; Yale University (Sociedad Argentina para el Estudio de los Mamíferos (SAREM), 2017)
      The Owl Monkey Project started in 1996 as a multi-disciplinary program on the Azara's owl monkey of the Argentinian Chaco. The main goals of the project have been to investigate the evolution of the monogamous mating system and parental care of this species. The project has expanded and, for many years, we have also been exploring the potential relationship between demography, the spatial and temporal distribution of food resources, and the monogamous social organization of the species. Additionally, since 2007, we expanded our studies to include the examination of groups that inhabit two different natural habitat types in the humid Chaco of Formosa Province. In this chapter, we use data from 20 years of study, to elucidate factors underlying the demographic structure of different owl monkey groups inhabiting different types of habitats. The study was conducted in the Estancia Guaycolec (a private 25,000-ha cattle ranch) and in Río Pilcomayo National Park (a 52,000-ha protected area). In each study area, two sub-sets of owl monkey groups could be identified: those within the gallery forests (continuous habitat), and groups in forest patches. Our results confirm that the estimated densities for the private ranch are higher than in the National Park. In contrast, group size, birth rates and age structure were similar between sites. Group sizes, birth rates, and specific densities were larger for gallery forests than for forest patches at both study sites. Our studies contribute to the understanding of the evolution of social monogamy and male care, and also provides information on the demography and habitat use of a species that has been declared a Natural Monument in the Province of Formosa.
    • The Bacillus subtilis DnaD and DnaB Proteins Exhibit Different DNA Remodelling Activities

      Carneiro, Maria J.V.M.; Turner, Ian J.; Allen, Stephanie; Roberts, Clive J.; Soultanas, Panos; University of Nottingham (Elsevier, 2005-08-05)
      Primosomal protein cascades load the replicative helicase onto DNA. In Bacillus subtilis a putative primosomal cascade involving the DnaD-DnaB-DnaI proteins has been suggested to participate in both the DnaA and PriA-dependent loading of the replicative helicase DnaC onto the DNA. Recently we discovered that DnaD has a global remodelling DNA activity suggesting a more widespread role in bacterial nucleoid architecture. Here, we show that DnaB forms a “square-like” tetramer with a hole in the centre and suggest a model for its interaction with DNA. It has a global DNA remodelling activity that is different from that of DnaD. Whereas DnaD opens up supercoiled DNA, DnaB acts as a lateral compaction protein. The two competing activities can act together on a supercoiled plasmid forming two topologically distinct poles; one compacted with DnaB and the other open with DnaD. We propose that the primary roles of DnaB and DnaD are in bacterial nucleoid architecture control and modulation, and their effects on the initiation of DNA replication are a secondary role resulting from architectural perturbations of chromosomal DNA.
    • Bacterial biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relations are modified by environmental complexity

      Langenheder, Silke; Bulling, Mark T.; Solan, Martin; Prosser, James I.; Bell, Thomas (2013-05-24)
      Background: With the recognition that environmental change resulting from anthropogenic activities is causing a global decline in biodiversity, much attention has been devoted to understanding how changes in biodiversity may alter levels of ecosystem functioning. Although environmental complexity has long been recognised as a major driving force in evolutionary processes, it has only recently been incorporated into biodiversity-ecosystem functioning investigations. Environmental complexity is expected to strengthen the positive effect of species richness on ecosystem functioning, mainly because it leads to stronger complementarity effects, such as resource partitioning and facilitative interactions among species when the number of available resource increases. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we implemented an experiment to test the combined effect of species richness and environmental complexity, more specifically, resource richness on ecosystem functioning over time. We show, using all possible combinations of species within a bacterial community consisting of six species, and all possible combinations of three substrates, that diversity-functioning (metabolic activity) relationships change over time from linear to saturated. This was probably caused by a combination of limited complementarity effects and negative interactions among competing species as the experiment progressed. Even though species richness and resource richness both enhanced ecosystem functioning, they did so independently from each other. Instead there were complex interactions between particular species and substrate combinations. Conclusions/Significance: Our study shows clearly that both species richness and environmental complexity increase ecosystem functioning. The finding that there was no direct interaction between these two factors, but that instead rather complex interactions between combinations of certain species and resources underlie positive biodiversity ecosystem functioning relationships, suggests that detailed knowledge of how individual species interact with complex natural environments will be required in order to make reliable predictions about how altered levels of biodiversity will most likely affect ecosystem functioning
    • Baseline coral disease surveys within three marine parks in Sabah, Borneo

      Sweet, Michael J.; Wood, Elizabeth; Miller, Jennifer; Bythell, John C.; University of Derby; School of Biology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; School of Biology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Marine Conservation Society, Ross-On-Wye, UK; School of Biology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (PeerJ Inc., 2015-11-03)
      Two of the most significant threats to coral reefs worldwide are bleaching and disease. However, there has been a scarcity of research on coral disease in South-East Asia, despite the high biodiversity and the strong dependence of local communities on the reefs in the region. This study provides baseline data on coral disease frequencies within three national parks in Sabah, Borneo, which exhibit different levels of human impacts and management histories. High mean coral cover (55%) and variable disease frequency (mean 0.25 diseased colonies m−2) were found across the three sites. Highest disease frequency (0.44 diseased colonies per m 2) was seen at the site closest to coastal population centres. Bleaching and pigmentation responses were actually higher at Sipadan, the more remote, offshore site, whereas none of the other coral diseases detected in the other two parks were detected in Sipadan. Results of this study offer a baseline dataset of disease in these parks and indicate the need for continued monitoring, and suggest that coral colonies in parks under higher anthropogenic stressors and with lower coral cover may be more susceptible to contracting disease.
    • Baseline reef health surveys at Bangka Island (North Sulawesi, Indonesia) reveal new threats

      Fratangeli, Francesca; Dondi, Nicolò; Segre Reinach, Marco; Serra, Clara; Sweet, Michael J.; Ponti, Massimo; University of Derby; Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali, University of Bologna, Ravenna, Italy; Reef Check Italia onlus, Ancona, Italy; Reef Check Italia onlus, Ancona, Italy; et al. (PeerJ Inc., 2016-10-25)
      Worldwide coral reef decline appears to be accompanied by an increase in the spread of hard coral diseases. However, whether this is the result of increased direct and indirect human disturbances and/or an increase in natural stresses remains poorly understood. The provision of baseline surveys for monitoring coral health status lays the foundations to assess the effects of any such anthropogenic and/or natural effects on reefs. Therefore, the objectives of this present study were to provide a coral health baseline in a poorly studied area, and to investigate possible correlations between coral health and the level of anthropogenic and natural disturbances. During the survey period, we recorded 20 different types of coral diseases and other compromised health statuses. The most abundant were cases of coral bleaching, followed by skeletal deformations caused by pyrgomatid barnacles, damage caused by fish bites, general pigmentation response and galls caused by cryptochirid crabs. Instances of colonies affected by skeletal eroding bands, and sedimentation damage increased in correlation to the level of bio-chemical disturbance and/or proximity to villages. Moreover, galls caused by cryptochirid crabs appeared more abundant at sites affected by blast fishing and close to a newly opened metal mine. Interestingly, in the investigated area the percentage of corals showing signs of ‘common’ diseases such as black band disease, brown band disease, white syndrome and skeletal eroding band disease were relatively low. Nevertheless, the relatively high occurrence of less common signs of compromised coral-related reef health, including the aggressive overgrowth by sponges, deserves further investigation. Although diseases appear relatively low at the current time, this area may be at the tipping point and an increase in activities such as mining may irredeemably compromise reef health.
    • The behavior, ecology, and social evolution of New World monkey

      Fernández-Duque, Eduardo; Di Fiore, Anthony; Huck, Maren; Department of Anthropology , University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia; German Primate Centre, Department Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology; Department of Anthropology, University of Texas (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
      Compared with other primates, New World monkeys display relatively limited ecological variability. New World monkey anatomy and social systems, however, are extremely diverse. Several unique morphological features (e.g., claws, prehensile tails) and uncommon patterns of social organization (e.g., paternal care, cooperative breeding, female dispersal) have evolved in some platyrrhine species. Social organization and mating patterns include typical harem- like structures where mating is largely polygynous, and large multimale, multifemale groups with promiscuous mating and fi ssion- fusion societies. In addition, some species are socially monogamous and polyandrous. Even closely related species may exhibit strikingly different social organizations, as the example of the squirrel monkeys demonstrates (Mitchell et al. 1991; Boinski et al. 2005b). New World monkey behavior varies within species as well as between them. While the behavior of many species is known from only one study site, intriguing patterns of intraspecific variation are beginning to emerge from observations of populations that sometimes live in close proximity. For example, spider monkeys are often described as showing sex- segregated ranging behavior. Several studies show that males range farther, travel faster, and use larger areas than females, who tend to restrict their habitual ranging to smaller core areas within a group’s large territory (Symington 1988; Chapman 1990; Shimooka 2005). In at least one well- studied population in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador, however, males and females both travel over the entire community home range, and different females within the community show little evidence of occupying distinct core areas (Spehar et al. 2010). Similarly, in most well- studied populations of spider monkeys, females disperse and the resident males within a group are presumed to be close relatives—a suggestion corroborated by genetic data for one local population of spider monkeys in Yasuní. Still, in a different local population, males are not closely related to one another, an unexpected pattern if signifi cant male philopatry were common (Di Fiore 2009; Di Fiore et al. 2009). While the causes of this local variation in group genetic structure are not clear, it may be signifi cant that the groups examined likely had different histories of contact with humans. For longlived animals who occupy relatively small social groups, the loss of even a handful of individuals to hunting, or to any other demographic disturbance, can have a dramatic impact on a group’s genetic structure. Intragroup social relationships, in turn, are likely to be infl uenced by patterns of intragroup relatedness and by the relative availability of social partners of different age or sex class (chapter 21, this volume). Thus, historical and demographic contingencies are likely to create conditions where considerable local, intrapopulation variation in social systems exists. Slight changes in ecological conditions may also contribute to variation in the behavior of individuals living in a single population over time. For example, some authors have hypothesized that howler monkey populations may undergo dramatic fluctuations in size and composition in response to several ecological factors, including resource abundance, parasite and predation pressure, and climate (Milton 1982; Crockett & Eisenberg 1986; Crockett 1996; Milton 1996; Rudran & Fernandez- Duque 2003). This variability, not only among populations, but also within populations across time highlights the need for long- term studies. In sum, our understanding of the behavior of New World monkeys has increased dramatically over the past 25 years. This understanding highlights how their behavior varies within populations over time and among populations or species across space. As our knowledge of platyrrhine behavior continues to unfold and is enriched via additional long- term studies, a central challenge will be to explain how these variations arise. It will be important to entertain adaptive explanations while acknowledging that some differences may emerge via stochastic changes in demography (Struhsaker 2008) or nongenetic, relatively short- term, nonadaptive responses to sudden ecological change.
    • Beneficial long-term antidiabetic actions of N- and C-terminally modified analogues of apelin-13 in diet-induced obese diabetic mice.

      Parthsarathy, Vadivel; Hogg, Christopher; Flatt, Peter R.; O'Harte, Finbarr P. M. (Wiley, 2017-07-20)
      AimsThis study investigated the chronic effects of twice daily administration of stable apelin analogues, apelin-13 amide and (pGlu)apelin-13 amide, on metabolic parameters in glucose intolerant and insulin resistant diet-induced obese (DIO) mice fed a high-fat diet for 150 days.Study Design & MethodsGroups of mice received twice daily (09:00 and 17:00 h) injections of saline vehicle, apelin-13 amide, (pGlu)apelin-13 amide or exendin-4(1–39) for 28 days (all at 25 nmol/kg). Energy intake, body weight, non-fasting blood glucose, plasma insulin, glucose tolerance, metabolic response to feeding and insulin sensitivity together with pancreatic hormone content and biochemical parameters such as lipids and total GLP-1 were monitored. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) analysis and indirect calorimetry were also performed.ResultsAdministration of apelin-13 amide, (pGlu)apelin-13 amide or exendin-4 significantly decreased bodyweight, food intake, blood glucose and increased plasma insulin compared with high-fat fed saline treated controls (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001), Additionally, all peptide treated groups exhibited improved glucose tolerance (oral and ip), metabolic responses to feeding and associated insulin secretion. (pGlu)apelin-13 amide also significantly improved HbA1c and insulin sensitivity after 28 days. Both (pGlu)apelin-13 amide and exendin-4 increased bone mineral content and decreased respiratory exchange ratio (RER), whereas only (pGlu)apelin-13 amide increased energy expenditure. All treatment groups displayed reduced circulating triglycerides and increased GLP-1 concentrations, although only (pGlu)apelin-13 amide significantly reduced LDL-cholesterol, total body fat, and increased pancreatic insulin content.ConclusionThese data indicate the therapeutic potential of stable apelin-13 analogues with effects equivalent to or better than exendin-4.
    • Bioavailability of iodine in the UK-Peak District environment and its human bioaccessibility: an assessment of the causes of historical goitre in this area

      Mehra, Aradhana; Saikat, Sohel Quaderi; Carter, Joy E.; University of Derby (Springer, 2014-02)
      Iodine is an essential micronutrient for human health. Its deficiency causes a number of functional and developmental abnormalities such as goitre. The limestone region of Derbyshire, UK was goitre-endemic until it declined from the 1930s and the reason for this has escaped a conclusive explanation. The present study investigates the cause(s) of goitre in the UK-Peak District area through an assessment of iodine in terms of its environmental mobility, bioavailability, uptake into the food chain and human bioaccessibility. The goitre-endemic limestone area is compared with the background millstone grit area of the UK-Peak District. The findings of this study show that 'total' environmental iodine is not linked to goitre in the limestone area, but the governing factors include iodine mobility, bioavailability and bioaccessibility. Compared with the millstone grit area, higher soil pH and calcium content of the limestone area restrict iodine mobility in this area, also soil organic carbon in the limestone area is influential in binding the iodine to the soil. Higher calcium content in the limestone area is an important factor in terms of strongly fixing the iodine to the soil. Higher iodine bioaccessibility in the millstone grit than the limestone area suggests that its oral bioaccessibility is restricted in the limestone area. Iodine taken up by plant roots is transported freely into the aerial plant parts in the millstone grit area unlike the limestone area, thus providing higher iodine into the human food chain in the millstone grit area through grazing animals unlike the goitre-prevalent limestone area.
    • Biological Activity and Antidiabetic Potential of C-Terminal Octapeptide Fragments of the Gut-Derived Hormone Xenin

      Martin, Christine M.; Parthsarathy, Vadivel; Hasib, Annie; NG, Ming T.; McClean, Stephen; Flatt, Peter R.; Gault, Victor A.; Irwin, Nigel (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2016-03-31)
      Xenin is a peptide that is co-secreted with the incretin hormone, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), from intestinal K-cells in response to feeding. Studies demonstrate that xenin has appetite suppressive effects and modulates glucose-induced insulin secretion. The present study was undertaken to determine the bioactivity and antidiabetic properties of two C-terminal fragment xenin peptides, namely xenin 18-25 and xenin 18-25 Gln. In BRIN-BD11 cells, both xenin fragment peptides concentration-dependently stimulated insulin secretion, with similar efficacy as the parent peptide. Neither fragment peptide had any effect on acute feeding behaviour at elevated doses of 500 nmol/kg bw. When administered together with glucose to normal mice at 25 nmol/kg bw, the overall insulin secretory effect was significantly enhanced in both xenin 18-25 and xenin 18-25 Gln treated mice, with better moderation of blood glucose levels. Twice daily administration of xenin 18-25 or xenin 18-25 Gln for 21 days in high fat fed mice did not affect energy intake, body weight, circulating blood glucose or body fat stores. However, circulating plasma insulin concentrations had a tendency to be elevated, particularly in xenin 18-25 Gln mice. Both treatment regimens significantly improved insulin sensitivity by the end of the treatment period. In addition, sustained treatment with xenin 18-25 Gln significantly reduced the overall glycaemic excursion and augmented the insulinotropic response to an exogenous glucose challenge on day 21. In harmony with this, GIP-mediated glucose-lowering and insulin-releasing effects were substantially improved by twice daily xenin 18-25 Gln treatment. Overall, these data provide evidence that C-terminal octapeptide fragments of xenin, such as xenin 18-25 Gln, have potential therapeutic utility for type 2 diabetes.
    • Blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) muscle protein hydrolysate with in vitro and in vivo antidiabetic properties

      Harnedy, Pàdraigín A.; Parthsarathy, Vadivel; McLaughlin, Chris M.; O'Keeffe, Martina B.; Allsopp, Philip J.; McSorley, Emeir M.; O'Harte, Finbarr P. M.; Fitzgerald, Richard J. (Elsevier, 2017-10-29)
      A blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) protein hydrolysate generated using Alcalase 2.4L and Flavourzyme 500L and its simulated gastrointestinal digestion (SGID) sample was assessed for antidiabetic potential in vitro and in vivo. In addition to inhibiting dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DPP–IV), the hydrolysates mediated insulin and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) release from BRIN-BD11 and GLUTag cells, respectively. No significant difference was observed in insulinotropic and DPP-IV inhibitory activity following SGID, while GLP-1 secretion increased significantly (p < 0.01). SGID resulted in a significant increase in membrane potential, intracellular calcium and cyclic AMP concentration (p < 0.001) versus a glucose control, indicating that insulin secretion may be mediated by the KATP channel-dependent and the protein kinase A pathways. Additionally, acute (90–120min) and persistent (4h) glucose-lowering effects of the blue whiting hydrolysate were observed in normal healthy mice. These results demonstrate that the blue whiting protein hydrolysate had significant metabolic effects relevant to glucose control in vivo.
    • Bridging the gap: 40Ar/39Ar dating of volcanic eruptions from the ‘Age of Discovery’

      Preece, Katie; Mark, Darren F.; Barclay, Jenni; Cohen, Benjamin E.; Chamberlain, Katy J.; Jowitt, Claire; Vye-Brown, Charlotte; Brown, Richard J.; Hamilton, Scott; Isotope Geoscience Unit, Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, East Kilbride; et al. (Geological Society of America, 2018-11-09)
      Many volcanoes worldwide still have poorly resolved eruption histories, with the date of the last eruption often undetermined. One such example is Ascension Island, where the timing of the last eruption, and consequently, the activity status of the volcano, is unclear. Here, we use the 40Ar/39Ar dating technique to resolve ages of the three youngest lava flows on the island, which are hawaiites and mugearite with 1.5 – 1.9 wt% K2O. In dating these lavas, we provide the first evidence of Holocene volcanic activity on Ascension (0.51 ± 0.18 ka; 0.55 ± 0.12 ka; 1.64 ± 0.37 ka), determining that it should be classed as an active volcanic system. In addition, we demonstrate that the 40Ar/39Ar method can reproducibly date mafic lava flows younger than 1 ka, decreasing the gap between recorded history and geological dating. These results offer new prospects for determining patterns of late-Holocene volcanic activity; critical for accurate volcanic hazard assessment.
    • Captive rearing of the deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula from the Red Sea demonstrates remarkable physiological plasticity

      Roik, Anna; Röthig, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Müller, Paul J.; Voolstra, Christian R.; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; et al. (2015-01-20)
      The presence of the cosmopolitan deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula has recently been documented in the Red Sea, occurring in warm (>20 ◦C), oxygen- and nutrient-limited habitats. We collected colonies of this species from the central Red Sea that successfully resided in aquaria for more than one year. During this period the corals were exposed to increased oxygen levels and nutrition ad libitum unlike in their natural habitat. Specimens of long-term reared E. fistula colonies were incubated for 24 h and calcification (G) as well as respiration rates (R) were measured. In comparison to on-board measurements of G and R rates on freshly collected specimens, we found that G was increased while R was decreased. E. fistula shows extensive tissue growth and polyp proliferation in aquaculture and can be kept at conditions that notably differ from its natural habitat. Its ability to cope with rapid and prolonged changes in regard to prevailing environmental conditions indicates a wide physiological plasticity. This may explain in part the cosmopolitan distribution of this species and emphasizes its value as a deep-sea coral model to study mechanisms of acclimation and adaptation.
    • The cause of late Cenozoic mass extinction in the western Atlantic: insights from sclerochronology

      Johnson, Andrew L. A.; Valentine, Annemarie; Leng, Melanie J.; Surge, Donna; Williams, Mark; University of Derby (The Palaeontological Association, 2014-12)
      Heavy late Cenozoic extinction amongst marine molluscs in the western Atlantic has traditionally been interpreted as a consequence of climatic deterioration. However, the pattern of extinction was not the same in the eastern Atlantic, where conditions also became colder. A fall in primary productivity, suggested by a decline in phosphate deposition, may be the real explanation for western Atlantic extinctions. Evidence in support comes from isotopic- and increment-based (sclerochronological) indications of growth rate in Pliocene scallops. A western Atlantic genus that has survived to the present (Placopecten) had the same moderate growth rate in the Pliocene as now, while two genera that became extinct (Carolinapecten and Chesapecten) had growth rates as fast as any known amongst living scallops. Such rapid growth implies abundant food. Selective extinction of a fast-growing species has also been documented amongst Pliocene oysters in the Caribbean region and attributed to a decline in primary productivity. The likely cause of this is the development of the Central American Isthmus and the consequent reorganization of oceanic circulation in the Gulf of Mexico and wider North Atlantic.
    • A century of Shope Papillomavirus in museum rabbit specimens

      Duch, Clara Esucdero; Williams, Richard; Timm, Robert M; Perez-Tris, Javier; Benitez, Laura; Department of Microbiology III, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid,; Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Natural Sciences, Saint Louis University, Madrid,; Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Natural History Museum, University of Kansas (Public Library of Science, 2015-07-06)
      Sylvilagus floridanus Papillomavirus (SfPV) causes growth of large horn-like tumors on rabbits. SfPV was described in cottontail rabbits (probably Sylvilagus floridanus) from Kansa and Iowa by Richard Shope in 1933, and detected in S. audubonii in 2011. It is known almost exclusively from the US Midwest. We explored the University of Kansas Natural History Museum for historical museum specimens infected with SfPV, using molecular techniques, to assess if additional wild species host SfPV, and whether SfPV occurs throughout the host range, or just in the Midwest. Secondary aims were to detect distinct strains, and evidence for strain spatio-temporal specificity. We found 20 of 1395 rabbits in the KU collection SfPV symptomatic. Three of 17 lagomorph species (S. nuttallii, and the two known hosts) were symptomatic, while Brachylagus, Lepus and eight additional Sylvilagus species were not. 13 symptomatic individuals were positive by molecular testing, including the first S. nuttallii detection. Prevalence of symptomatic individuals was significantly higher in Sylvilagus (1.8%) than Lepus. Half of these specimens came from Kansas, though new molecular detections were obtained from Jalisco—Mexico’s first—and Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas, USA. We document the oldest lab-confirmed case (Kansas, 1915), predating Shope’s first case. SfPV amplification was possible from 63.2% of symptomatic museum specimens. Using multiple methodologies, rolling circle amplification and, multiple isothermal displacement amplification in addition to PCR, greatly improved detection rates. Short sequences were obtained from six individuals for two genes. L1 gene sequences were identical to all previously detected sequences; E7 gene sequences, were more variable, yielding five distinct SfPV1 strains that differing by less than 2% from strains circulating in the Midwest and Mexico, between 1915 and 2005. Our results do not clarify whether strains are host species specific, though they are consistent with SfPV specificity to genus Sylvilagus.
    • Cetacean frustration: the representation of whales and dolphins in picture books for young children

      Beaumont, Ellen S.; Mudd, Phillipa; Turner, Ian J.; Barnes, Kate M.; University of Derby (Springer, 2016-09-03)
      To enable children to develop towards becoming part of the solution to environmental problems, it is essential that they are given the opportunity to become familiar with the natural world from early childhood. Familiarity is required to develop understanding of, care for and, ultimately, action in terms of protecting the natural world. As adult-led reading of picture books is a common form of indirect exposure to the natural world for young children, this study examines the biological accuracy of the representation of whales and dolphins in the images and text of picture books. Of the total of 116 books examined, 74 (63.8 %) had errors in the representation of cetaceans in the images and/or text. Errors were identified in both fictional (mean = 8.0 errors/book, SD = 11.1, n = 55) and nonfictional (mean = 2.3 errors/book, SD = 4.9, n = 61) books. The potential impact of the errors is discussed, and suggestions are made as to how the impact could be reduced and how the biological accuracy of picture books could be improved.
    • Changing place: palm oil and sense of place in Borneo

      Lindsay, Ellie; Convery, Ian; Ramsey, Andrew; Simmons, Eunice; University of Cumbria (2012)
      The conservation of tropical ecosystems is complex and contested, not least in terms of cultural and political perspectives between developed and developing nations (Bawa & Seidler, 1998; Colchester, 2000; Brosius & Hitchner, 2010). In Sabah, on the island of Borneo, Malaysia much of the forest has recently been converted to oil palm plantations. The plantations cover vast areas and leave relatively little space for native flora and fauna. Whilst efforts are underway to enhance biodiversity within the plantations, there is no clear consensus as to how this might best be achieved and this has led in part to divisions opening up amongst stakeholders (Othman & Ameer, 2009). A range of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working within Sabah endeavour to conserve threatened biodiversity; at the Governmental level there are significant drivers for development and economic stability; while the plantation owners are trying to improve their yields and increase their global market. There is also increasing consumer pressure in Europe and North America linked to concerns about the survival of iconic rainforest species such as orang-utans. This paper considers these issues within a context of globalisation and profound economic and social change within Malaysia.
    • Characterisation of the bacterial and fungal communities associated with different lesion sizes of Dark Spot Syndrome occurring in the Coral Stephanocoenia intersepta

      Sweet, Michael J.; Burn, Deborah; Croquer, Aldo; Leary, Peter; Bereswill, Stefan (2013-09-24)
      The number and prevalence of coral diseases/syndromes are increasing worldwide. Dark Spot Syndrome (DSS) afflicts numerous coral species and is widespread throughout the Caribbean, yet there are no known causal agents. In this study we aimed to characterise the microbial communities (bacteria and fungi) associated with DSS lesions affecting the coral Stephanocoenia intersepta using nonculture molecular techniques. Bacterial diversity of healthy tissues (H), those in advance of the lesion interface (apparently healthy AH), and three sizes of disease lesions (small, medium, and large) varied significantly (ANOSIM R = 0.052 p,0.001), apart from the medium and large lesions, which were similar in their community profile. Four bacteria fitted into the pattern expected from potential pathogens; namely absent from H, increasing in abundance within AH, and dominant in the lesions themselves. These included ribotypes related to Corynebacterium (KC190237), Acinetobacter (KC190251), Parvularculaceae (KC19027), and Oscillatoria (KC190271). Furthermore, two Vibrio species, a genus including many proposed coral pathogens, dominated the disease lesion and were absent from H and AH tissues, making them candidates as potential pathogens for DSS. In contrast, other members of bacteria from the same genus, such as V. harveyii were present throughout all sample types, supporting previous studies where potential coral pathogens exist in healthy tissues. Fungal diversity varied significantly as well, however the main difference between diseased and healthy tissues was the dominance of one ribotype, closely related to the plant pathogen, Rhytisma acerinum, a known causal agent of tar spot on tree leaves. As the corals’ symbiotic algae have been shown to turn to a darker pigmented state in DSS (giving rise to the syndromes name), the two most likely pathogens are R. acerinum and the bacterium Oscillatoria, which has been identified as the causal agent of the colouration in Black Band Disease, another widespread coral disease.
    • Characterisation of the environmental impact of the Rodalquilar Mine, Spain by ground-based reflectance spectroscopy

      Ferrier, Graham; Hudson-Edwards, K.; Pope, Richard J. J.; University of Hull; Birkbeck University; University of Derby (Elsevier Ltd., 2008-05)
      This study has investigated the utility of using field-based reflectance spectroscopy to characterise the distribution and nature of the dispersion of tailings material from the Rodalquilar mine, Spain. Field spectral measurements covering the visible to shortwave infrared wavelengths (0.35 to 2.5 m) and laboratory analyses were performed on samples collected along the length of the main river within the Rodalquilar valley. The nature and degree of contamination at locations within the river channel were calculated by a range of spectrometric analyses. The resulting mineral maps identified that tailings material with significant amounts of hematite with minor jarosite, ferrihydrite and goethite, and clays, primarily alunite and kaolinite, with minor smectite and illite, had been dispersed along the length of the river. These results have been used to improve understanding of the erosion and remediation history of the Rodalquilar mine. This study has shown the potential of field-based reflectance spectroscopy, integrated with ground positioning and digital mapping systems, as a real-time mapping methodology enabling immediate, accurate characterisation of the nature and scale of tailings material dispersion.
    • Characterising the vulnerability of fishing households to climate and environmental change: Insights from Ghana

      Koomson, Daniel; Davies-Vollum, K. Siân; Raha, Debadayita; University of Derby (Elseiver, 2020-07-27)
      Rural coastal communities in the global south are mostly natural resource-dependent and their livelihoods are therefore vulnerable to the impacts of climate and environmental changes. Efforts to improve their adaptive capacity often prove mal-adaptive due to misunderstanding the dynamics of the unique socioeconomic factors that shape their vulnerability. By integrating theories from climate change vulnerability and the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, this study draws upon household survey data from a fishing community in Ghana to assess the vulnerability of fishing households to climate change and explore how their vulnerability is differentiated within the community. The findings suggest that household incomes in the last decade have reduced significantly, attributable to an interaction of both climatic and non-climatic factors. Analysis of the characteristics of three vulnerability groups derived by quantile clustering showed that the most vulnerable household group is not necessarily women or poorer households as expected. Rather, it is dynamic and includes all gender and economic class categories in varying proportions depending on the success or failure of the fishing season. The findings suggest furthermore that the factors that significantly differentiates vulnerability between households differ, depending on whether households are categorised by economic class, gender of household-head or vulnerability group. Consequently, the study highlights the importance of looking beyond existing social categorizations like gender and economic classes when identifying and prioritizing households for climate change adaptive capacity building.