ResearchPad - geomorphology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Selected wetland soil properties correlate to Rift Valley fever livestock mortalities reported in 2009-10 in central South Africa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15754 Outbreaks of Rift Valley fever have devastating impacts on ruminants, humans, as well as on regional and national economies. Although numerous studies on the impact and outbreak of Rift Valley fever exist, relatively little is known about the role of environmental factors, especially soil, on the aestivation of the virus. This study thus selected 22 sites for study in central South Africa, known to be the recurrent epicenter of widespread Rift Valley fever outbreaks in Southern Africa. Soils were described, sampled and analyzed in detail at each site. Of all the soil variables analyzed for, only eight (cation exchange capacity, exchangeable Ca2+, exchangeable K+, exchangeable Mg2+, soluble Ca2+, medium sand, As, and Br) were statistically identified to be potential indicators of sites with reported Rift Valley fever mortalities, as reported for the 2009–2010 Rift Valley fever outbreak. Four soil characteristics (exchangeable K+, exchangeable Mg2+, medium sand, and Br) were subsequently included in a discriminant function that could potentially be used to predict sites that had reported Rift Valley fever-associated mortalities in livestock. This study therefore constitutes an initial attempt to predict sites prone to Rift Valley fever livestock mortality from soil properties and thus serves as a basis for broader research on the interaction between soil, mosquitoes and Rift Valley fever virus. Future research should include other environmental components such as vegetation, climate, and water properties as well as correlating soil properties with floodwater Aedes spp. abundance and Rift Valley fever virus prevalence.

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<![CDATA[Vaccination and monitoring strategies for epidemic prevention and detection in the Channel Island fox (<i>Urocyon littoralis</i>)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15750 Disease transmission and epidemic prevention are top conservation concerns for wildlife managers, especially for small, isolated populations. Previous studies have shown that the course of an epidemic within a heterogeneous host population is strongly influenced by whether pathogens are introduced to regions of relatively high or low host densities. This raises the question of how disease monitoring and vaccination programs are influenced by spatial heterogeneity in host distributions. We addressed this question by modeling vaccination and monitoring strategies for the Channel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis), which has a history of substantial population decline due to introduced disease. We simulated various strategies to detect and prevent epidemics of rabies and canine distemper using a spatially explicit model, which was parameterized from field studies. Increasing sentinel monitoring frequency, and to a lesser degree, the number of monitored sentinels from 50 to 150 radio collared animals, reduced the time to epidemic detection and percentage of the fox population infected at the time of detection for both pathogens. Fox density at the location of pathogen introduction had little influence on the time to detection, but a large influence on how many foxes had become infected by the detection day, especially when sentinels were monitored relatively infrequently. The efficacy of different vaccination strategies was heavily influenced by local host density at the site of pathogen entry. Generally, creating a vaccine firewall far away from the site of pathogen entry was the least effective strategy. A firewall close to the site of pathogen entry was generally more effective than a random distribution of vaccinated animals when pathogens entered regions of high host density, but not when pathogens entered regions of low host density. These results highlight the importance of considering host densities at likely locations of pathogen invasion when designing disease management plans.

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<![CDATA[A tale of textiles: Genetic characterization of historical paper mulberry barkcloth from Oceania]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15748 Humans introduced paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) from Taiwan into the Pacific over 5000 years ago as a fiber source to make barkcloth textiles that were, and still are, important cultural artifacts throughout the Pacific. We have used B. papyrifera, a species closely associated to humans, as a proxy to understand the human settlement of the Pacific Islands. We report the first genetic analysis of paper mulberry textiles from historical and archaeological contexts (200 to 50 years before present) and compare our results with genetic data obtained from contemporary and herbarium paper mulberry samples. Following stringent ancient DNA protocols, we extracted DNA from 13 barkcloth textiles. We confirmed that the fiber source is paper mulberry in nine of the 13 textiles studied using the nuclear ITS-1 marker and by statistical estimates. We detected high genetic diversity in historical Pacific paper mulberry barkcloth with a set of ten microsatellites, showing new alleles and specific genetic patterns. These genetic signatures allow tracing connections to plants from the Asian homeland, Near and Remote Oceania, establishing links not observed previously (using the same genetic tools) in extant plants or herbaria samples. These results show that historic barkcloth textiles are cultural materials amenable to genetic analysis to reveal human history and that these artifacts may harbor evidence of greater genetic diversity in Pacific B. papyrifera in the past.

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<![CDATA[<i>Toxocara</i> species environmental contamination of public spaces in New York City]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14754 Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati are helminth worms that infect dogs and cats, respectively. Infected dogs and cats will defecate thousands of Toxocara eggs into the environment. Humans are incidental hosts and are exposed when consuming contaminated soils via the fecal-oral route. After leaving the gastrointestinal tract, the Toxocara larvae will enter the vasculature and can migrate to any major organ system, including lungs, ocular, and central nervous system. Symptoms can range from mild muscle aches to severe asthma, blindness, and encephalitis. Humans are not definitive hosts of the parasite and cannot transmit Toxocara eggs to the environment or other humans. There is a need for research on the sanitary impact of Toxocara for both humans and animals, especially in large urban cities such as New York City. Poverty is also associated with higher rates of toxocariasis, with more contamination in poorer neighborhoods where animal control, deworming of pets, and less sanitary conditions exist. This study aims to understand further the disparity of lower socioeconomic areas having higher rates of contaminated parks and playgrounds, comparing the five boroughs of New York City.

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<![CDATA[Development and evaluation of habitat suitability models for nesting white-headed woodpecker (<i>Dryobates albolarvatus</i>) in burned forest]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14713 Salvage logging in burned forests can negatively affect habitat for white-headed woodpeckers (Dryobates albolarvatus), a species of conservation concern, but also meets socioeconomic demands for timber and human safety. Habitat suitability index (HSI) models can inform forest management activities to help meet habitat conservation objectives. Informing post-fire forest management, however, involves model application at new locations as wildfires occur, requiring evaluation of predictive performance across locations. We developed HSI models for white-headed woodpeckers using nest sites from two burned-forest locations in Oregon, the Toolbox (2002) and Canyon Creek (2015) fires. We measured predictive performance by developing one model at each of the two locations and quantifying discrimination of nest from reference sites at two other wildfire locations where the model had not been developed (either Toolbox or Canyon Creek, and the Barry Point Fire [2011]). We developed and evaluated Maxent models based on remotely sensed environmental metrics to support habitat mapping, and weighted logistic regression (WLR) models that combined remotely sensed and field-collected metrics to inform management prescriptions. Both Maxent and WLR models developed either at Canyon Creek or Toolbox performed adequately to inform management when applied at the alternate Toolbox or Canyon Creek location, respectively (area under the receiver-operating-characteristic curve [AUC] range = 0.61–0.72) but poorly when applied at Barry Point (AUC = 0.53–0.57). The final HSI models fitted to Toolbox and Canyon Creek data quantified suitable nesting habitat as severely burned or open sites adjacent to lower severity and closed canopy sites, where foraging presumably occurs. We suggest these models are applicable at locations similar to development locations but not at locations resembling Barry Point, which were characterized by more (pre-fire) canopy openings, larger diameter trees, less ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), and more juniper (Juniperus occidentalis). Considering our results, we recommend caution when applying HSI models developed at individual wildfire locations to inform post-fire management at new locations without first evaluating predictive performance.

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<![CDATA[Assessing entomological risk factors for arboviral disease transmission in the French Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13872 The French overseas Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands, located in the South Pacific, has been affected by several dengue epidemics, but did not face Zika or chikungunya outbreaks, unlike other neighboring islands. The near-exclusive presence of the Aedes polynesiensis mosquito in the islands of Wallis and Futuna confirmed the role played by this mosquito as a vector of dengue fever. A local Ae. polynesiensis population was recently shown to be able to transmit the Zika virus under experimental conditions, but its susceptibility to the chikungunya virus was still unknown, and recent data on the presence of other potential arbovirus vectors were missing. Therefore, we investigated the entomological risk factors for the transmission of arboviral diseases in the Wallis and Futuna Islands. We reported the occurrence and distribution of different Aedes species, especially the abundant presence of Ae. polynesiensis across the territory and the spread of Ae. aegypti in the island of Wallis. Our results demonstrated the ability of local Ae. polynesiensis populations to transmit the chikungunya virus. These findings highlight the risk of arbovirus transmission in the Wallis and Futuna Islands and provide relevant data to guide prevention and vector control strategies in the territory.

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<![CDATA[Examination of the ocean as a source for atmospheric microplastics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13804 Global plastic litter pollution has been increasing alongside demand since plastic products gained commercial popularity in the 1930’s. Current plastic pollutant research has generally assumed that once plastics enter the ocean they are there to stay, retained permanently within the ocean currents, biota or sediment until eventual deposition on the sea floor or become washed up onto the beach. In contrast to this, we suggest it appears that some plastic particles could be leaving the sea and entering the atmosphere along with sea salt, bacteria, virus’ and algae. This occurs via the process of bubble burst ejection and wave action, for example from strong wind or sea state turbulence. In this manuscript we review evidence from the existing literature which is relevant to this theory and follow this with a pilot study which analyses microplastics (MP) in sea spray. Here we show first evidence of MP particles, analysed by μRaman, in marine boundary layer air samples on the French Atlantic coast during both onshore (average of 2.9MP/m3) and offshore (average of 9.6MP/m3) winds. Notably, during sampling, the convergence of sea breeze meant our samples were dominated by sea spray, increasing our capacity to sample MPs if they were released from the sea. Our results indicate a potential for MPs to be released from the marine environment into the atmosphere by sea-spray giving a globally extrapolated figure of 136000 ton/yr blowing on shore.

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<![CDATA[Land use change affects water erosion in the Nepal Himalayas]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N98261953-1324-4322-aaeb-9737bf3bbcea

Soil erosion is a global environmental threat, and Land Use Land Cover Changes (LUCC) have significant impacts on it. Nepal, being a mountainous country, has significant soil erosion issues. To examine the effects of LUCC on water erosion, we studied the LUCC in Sarada, Rapti and Thuli Bheri river basins of Nepal during the 1995–2015 period using the Remote Sensing. We calculated the average annual soil loss using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation and Geographical Information System. Our results suggest that an increase in the agricultural lands at the expense of bare lands and forests escalated the soil erosion through the years; rates being 5.35, 5.47 and 6.03 t/ha/year in 1995, 2007 and 2015, respectively. Of the different land uses, agricultural land experienced the most erosion, whereas the forests experienced the least erosion. Agricultural lands, particularly those on the steeper slopes, were severely degraded and needed urgent soil and water conservation measures. Our study confirms that the long term LUCC has considerable impacts on soil loss, and these results can be implemented in similar river basins in other parts of the country.

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<![CDATA[Communication is key: Mother-offspring signaling can affect behavioral responses and offspring survival in feral horses (Equus caballus)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nfc9766a8-2564-4088-9a49-707302d05531

Acoustic signaling plays an important role in mother-offspring recognition and subsequent bond-formation. It remains unclear, however, if mothers and offspring use acoustic signaling in the same ways and for the same reasons throughout the juvenile stage, particularly after mutual recognition has been adequately established. Moreover, despite its critical role in mother-offspring bond formation, research explicitly linking mother-infant communication strategies to offspring survival are lacking. We examined the communicative patterns of mothers and offspring in the feral horse (Equus caballus) to better understand 1) the nature of mother-offspring communication throughout the first year of development; 2) the function(s) of mother- vs. offspring-initiated communication and; 3) the importance of mare and foal communication to offspring survival. We found that 1) mares and foals differ in when and how they initiate communication; 2) the outcomes of mare- vs. foal-initiated communication events consistently differ; and 3) the communicative patterns between mares and their foals can be important for offspring survival to one year of age. Moreover, given the importance of maternal activity to offspring behavior and subsequent survival, we submit that our data are uniquely positioned to address the long-debated question: do the behaviors exhibited during the juvenile stage (by both mothers and their young) confer delayed or immediate benefits to offspring? In summary, we aimed to better understand 1) the dynamics of mother-offspring communication, 2) whether mother-offspring communicative patterns were important to offspring survival, and 3) the implications of our research regarding the function of the mammalian juvenile stage. Our results demonstrate that we have achieved those aims.

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<![CDATA[Bund removal to re-establish tidal flow, remove aquatic weeds and restore coastal wetland services—North Queensland, Australia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Neac5db12-b809-4a22-afa7-0c243544d6ab

The shallow tidal and freshwater coastal wetlands adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon provide a vital nursery and feeding complex that supports the life cycles of marine and freshwater fish, important native vegetation and vital bird habitat. Urban and agricultural development threaten these wetlands, with many of the coastal wetlands becoming lost or changed due to the construction of artificial barriers (e.g. bunds, roads, culverts and floodgates). Infestation by weeds has become a major issue within many of the wetlands modified (bunded) for ponded pasture growth last century. A range of expensive chemical and mechanical control methods have been used in an attempt to restore some of these coastal wetlands, with limited success. This study describes an alternative approach to those methods, investigating the impact of tidal reinstatement after bund removal on weed infestation, associated changes in water quality, and fish biodiversity, in the Boolgooroo lagoon region of the Mungalla wetlands, East of Ingham in North Queensland. High resolution remote sensing, electrofishing and in-water logging was used to track changes over time– 1 year before and 4 years after removal of an earth bund. With tides only penetrating the wetland a few times yearly, gross changes towards a more natural system occurred within a relatively short timeframe, leading to a major reduction in infestation of olive hymenachne, water hyacinth and salvina, reappearance of native vegetation, improvements in water quality, and a tripling of fish diversity. Weed abundance and water quality does appear to oscillate however, dependent on summer rainfall, as changes in hydraulic pressure stops or allows tidal ingress (fresh/saline cycling). With an estimated 30% of coastal wetlands bunded in the Great Barrier Reef region, a passive remediation method such as reintroduction of tidal flow by removal of an earth bund or levee could provide a more cost effective and sustainable means of controlling freshwater weeds and improving coastal water quality into the future.

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<![CDATA[How “simple” methodological decisions affect interpretation of population structure based on reduced representation library DNA sequencing: A case study using the lake whitefish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3bb2bc39-24d6-4fe3-98ed-f97dea058c57

Reduced representation (RRL) sequencing approaches (e.g., RADSeq, genotyping by sequencing) require decisions about how much to invest in genome coverage and sequencing depth, as well as choices of values for adjustable bioinformatics parameters. To empirically explore the importance of these “simple” methodological decisions, we generated two independent sequencing libraries for the same 142 individual lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) using a nextRAD RRL approach: (1) a larger number of loci at low sequencing depth based on a 9mer (library A); and (2) fewer loci at higher sequencing depth based on a 10mer (library B). The fish were selected from populations with different levels of expected genetic subdivision. Each library was analyzed using the STACKS pipeline followed by three types of population structure assessment (FST, DAPC and ADMIXTURE) with iterative increases in the stringency of sequencing depth and missing data requirements, as well as more specific a priori population maps. Library B was always able to resolve strong population differentiation in all three types of assessment regardless of the selected parameters, largely due to retention of more loci in analyses. In contrast, library A produced more variable results; increasing the minimum sequencing depth threshold (-m) resulted in a reduced number of retained loci, and therefore lost resolution at high -m values for FST and ADMIXTURE, but not DAPC. When detecting fine population differentiation, the population map influenced the number of loci and missing data, which generated artefacts in all downstream analyses tested. Similarly, when examining fine scale population subdivision, library B was robust to changing parameters but library A lost resolution depending on the parameter set. We used library B to examine actual subdivision in our study populations. All three types of analysis found complete subdivision among populations in Lake Huron, ON and Dore Lake, SK, Canada using 10,640 SNP loci. Weak population subdivision was detected in Lake Huron with fish from sites in the north-west, Search Bay, North Point and Hammond Bay, showing slight differentiation. Overall, we show that apparently simple decisions about library construction and bioinformatics parameters can have important impacts on the interpretation of population subdivision. Although potentially more costly on a per-locus basis, early investment in striking a balance between the number of loci and sequencing effort is well worth the reduced genomic coverage for population genetics studies. More conservative stringency settings on STACKS parameters lead to a final dataset that was more consistent and robust when examining both weak and strong population differentiation. Overall, we recommend that researchers approach “simple” methodological decisions with caution, especially when working on non-model species for the first time.

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<![CDATA[A δ2H Isoscape of blackberry as an example application for determining the geographic origins of plant materials in New Zealand]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nea2d9f77-f900-4107-8de8-5a146688a563

In this investigation, two previously reported precipitation δ2H isoscapes for New Zealand were used to develop a δ2H isoscape for blackberry (Rubus sp.) leaf. These isoscapes were calibrated using the measured δ2H values of 120 authentic blackberry leaf samples collected from across the country. A regression model based on environmental variables available for New Zealand was also determined to predict δ2H values measured from blackberry leaves without initially modelling the precipitation δ2H values. The three models were compared for their accuracy and precision when assigning 10 samples of blackberry leaves for their geographic location based on their measured δ2H values. One of the models based on a precipitation isoscape was similar in accuracy and precision of assignment to the model determined from the environmental variables and provides an approach for determining valid isoscapes for future plant materials.

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<![CDATA[Biogeography of the endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodiniaceae) community associated with the brooding coral Favia gravida in the Atlantic Ocean]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8c1937d5eed0c484b4d1a6

Zooxanthellate corals live in symbiosis with phototrophic dinoflagellates of the family Symbiodiniaceae, enabling the host coral to dwell in shallow, nutrient-poor marine waters. The South Atlantic Ocean is characterized by low coral diversity with high levels of endemism. However, little is known about coral–dinoflagellate associations in the region. This study examined the diversity of Symbiodiniaceae associated with the scleractinian coral Favia gravida across its distributional range using the ITS-2 marker. This brooding coral endemic to the South Atlantic can be found across a wide range of latitudes and longitudes, including the Mid-Atlantic islands. Even though it occurs primarily in shallower environments, F. gravida is among the few coral species that live in habitats with extreme environmental conditions (high irradiance, temperature, and turbidity) such as very shallow tide pools. In the present study, we show that F. gravida exhibits some degree of flexibility in its symbiotic association with zooxanthellae across its range. F. gravida associates predominantly with Cladocopium C3 (ITS2 type Symbiodinium C3) but also with Symbiodinium A3, Symbiodinium linucheae (ITS2 type A4), Cladocopium C1, Cladocopium C130, and Fugacium F3. Symbiont diversity varied across biogeographic regions (Symbiodinium A3 and S. linucheae were found in the Tropical Eastern Atlantic, Cladocopium C1 in the Mid-Atlantic, and other subtypes in the Southwestern Atlantic) and was affected by local environmental conditions. In addition, Symbiodiniaceae diversity was highest in a southwestern Atlantic oceanic island (Rocas Atoll). Understanding the relationship between corals and their algal symbionts is critical in determining the factors that control the ecological niches of zooxanthellate corals and their symbionts, and identifying host-symbiont pairs that may be more resistant to environmental changes.

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<![CDATA[A mass sacrifice of children and camelids at the Huanchaquito-Las Llamas site, Moche Valley, Peru]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897756d5eed0c4847d2a4c

Here we report the results of excavation and interdisciplinary study of the largest child and camelid sacrifice known from the New World. Stratigraphy, associated artifacts, and radiocarbon dating indicate that it was a single mass killing of more than 140 children and over 200 camelids directed by the Chimú state, c. AD 1450. Preliminary DNA analysis indicates that both boys and girls were chosen for sacrifice. Variability in forms of cranial modification (head shaping) and stable isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen suggest that the children were a heterogeneous sample drawn from multiple regions and ethnic groups throughout the Chimú state. The Huanchaquito-Las Llamas mass sacrifice opens a new window on a previously unknown sacrificial ritual from fifteenth century northern coastal Peru. While the motivation for such a massive sacrifice is a subject for further research, there is archaeological evidence that it was associated with a climatic event (heavy rainfall and flooding) that could have impacted the economic, political and ideological stability of one of the most powerful states in the New World during the fifteenth century A.D.

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<![CDATA[Iron influence on dissolved color in lakes of the Upper Great Lakes States]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9b9d5eed0c48452a0ba

Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), a major component of the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) pool in many lakes, is an important controlling factor in lake ecosystem functioning. Absorption coefficients at 440 nm (a440, m-1), a common measure of CDOM, exhibited strong associations with dissolved iron (Fediss) and DOC in 280 lakes of the Upper Great Lakes States (UGLS: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan), as has been found in Scandinavia and elsewhere. Linear regressions between the three variables on UGLS lake data typically yielded R2 values of 0.6–0.9, suggesting that some underlying common processes influence organic matter and Fediss. Statistical and experimental evidence, however, supports only a minor role for iron contributions to a440 in UGLS lakes. Although both DOC and Fediss were significant variables in linear and log-log regressions on a440, DOC was the stronger predictor; adding Fediss to the linear a440-DOC model improved the R2 only from 0.90 to 0.93. Furthermore, experimental additions of FeIII to colored lake waters had only small effects on a440 (average increase of 0.242 m-1 per 100 μg/L of added FeIII). For 136 visibly stained waters (with a440 > 3.0 m-1), where allochthonous DOM predominates, DOM accounted for 92.3 ± 5.0% of the measured a440 values, and Fediss accounted for the remainder. In 75% of the lakes, Fediss accounted for < 10% of a440, but contributions of 15–30% were observed for 7 river-influenced lakes. Contributions of Fediss in UGLS lakes to specific UV absorbance at 254 nm (SUVA254) generally were also low. Although Fediss accounted for 5–10% of measured SUVA254 in a few samples, on average, 98.1% of the SUVA254 signal was attributable to DOM and only 1.9% to Fediss. DOC predictions from measured a440 were nearly identical to those from a440 corrected to remove Fediss contributions. Overall, variations in Fediss in most UGLS lakes have very small effects on CDOM optical properties, such as a440 and SUVA254, and negligible effects on the accuracy of DOC estimated from a440, data for which can be obtained at broad regional scales by remote sensing methods.

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<![CDATA[Serological evidence of infection with dengue and Zika viruses in horses on French Pacific Islands]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dccdd5eed0c484dec265

New Caledonia and French Polynesia are areas in which arboviruses circulate extensively. A large serological survey among horses from New Caledonia and French Polynesia was carried out to investigate the seroprevalence of flaviviruses in the horse population. Here, 293 equine sera samples were screened for flaviviruses using a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA). The positive sera were then confirmed using a flavivirus-specific microsphere immunoassay (MIA) and seroneutralization tests. This serosurvey showed that 16.6% (27/163) and 30.8% (40/130) of horses were positive for cELISA tests in New Caledonia and French Polynesia, respectively, but the MIA technique, targeting only flaviviruses causing neuro-invasive infections in humans and horses (i.e. West Nile virus [WNV], Japanese encephalitis virus [JEV] and tick-borne encephalitis virus [TBEV]), showed negative results for more than 85% (57/67) of the cELISA-positive animals. Seroneutralization tests with the main flaviviruses circulating in the South Pacific revealed that 6.1% (10/163; confidence interval [95% CI] 3.0%-11.0%) of sera in New Caledonia and 7.7% (10/130; 95% CI 3.8%-13.7%) in French Polynesia were positive for dengue virus serotype 1 (DENV1) and 4.3% (7/163; 95% CI 1.7%-8.6%) in New Caledonia and 15.4% (20/130, 95% CI 9.7%-22.8%) in French Polynesia were found positive for Zika virus (ZIKV). Seroprevalence of the JEV and WNV flaviviruses on the 293 samples from both island groups were comparatively much lower (less than 2%). This seroprevalence study in the horse population shows that horses can be infected with dengue and Zika viruses and that these infections lead to seroconversions in horses. The consequences of these infections in horses and their role in ZIKV and DENV epidemiological cycles are two issues that deserve further investigation.

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<![CDATA[Incorporating environmental costs of ecosystem service loss in political decision making: A synthesis of monetary values for Germany]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca3ad5eed0c48452a911

Germany faces on-going degradation and biodiversity loss. As a consequence, goods and services provided by biodiversity for human well-being, so-called ecosystem services, are being lost. The associated economic costs and benefits are often unknown. To fill this gap, we conducted a literature review and developed a database of monetary values for the changes in ecosystem services that result from ecosystem change in Germany. In total, 109 monetary valuation studies of regulating and cultural ecosystem services were identified, with the majority focusing on forests and wetlands. In collaboration with valuation experts and the German Federal Environment Agency—Umweltbundesamt (UBA), we defined a set of criteria that economic valuation studies should meet in order to qualify for being used in decision making on national policies. Only 6 out of 109 valuation studies (5.5%) fulfilled the quality criteria for informing such decisions. Overall, monetary information on regulating and cultural ecosystem services is scattered and scarce compared to information on provisioning services, which is accounted for in detail in national statistics. This imbalance in information likely contributes to the distortion in land-use policies, giving preference to maximizing provisioning services in agricultural production and forestry, while neglecting the societal relevance of regulating and cultural services. Decision makers have to rely on only a few cost estimates that are scientifically robust, while being pragmatic to include also vague estimates in cases where data is lacking. The transferability of the monetary values included in our database depends on the biophysical and socio-economic site conditions as well as the decision context of the intended application. Case specific adjustments following guidance for benefit transfer are recommended. Given the lack of applicable studies, we call for more decision-relevant economic assessments. Even in cases where monetary estimates are available, we suggest decision makers to consider also other benefit information available to capture the multiple values ecosystems provide to humans.

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<![CDATA[Hidden fungal diversity from the Neotropics: Geastrum hirsutum, G. schweinitzii (Basidiomycota, Geastrales) and their allies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cc2d5eed0c484c81713

Taxonomy of Geastrum species in the neotropics has been subject to divergent opinions among specialists. In our study, type collections were reassessed and compared with recent collections in order to delimit species in Geastrum, sect. Myceliostroma, subsect. Epigaea. A thorough review of morphologic features combined with barcode and phylogenetic analyses (ITS and LSU nrDNA) revealed six new species (G. neoamericanum, G. rubellum, G. brunneocapillatum, G. baculicrystallum, G. rubropusillum and G. courtecuissei). In additon, the presence of hairs on the exoperidium, a commonly used feature to diagnose Geastrum species, proved to be ineffective because it is a derived character within subsect. Epigaea.

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<![CDATA[Ecosystem services changes between 2000 and 2015 in the Loess Plateau, China: A response to ecological restoration]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d655d5eed0c484031bf4

The Loess Plateau of China is one of the most severe soil and water loss areas in the world. Since 1999, the Grain to Green Program (GTGP) has been implemented in the region. This study aimed to analyze spatial and temporal variations of ecosystem services from 2000 to 2015 to assess the effects of the GTGP, including carbon sequestration, water regulation, soil conservation and sand fixation. During the study period, the area of forest land and grassland significantly expanded, while the area of farmland decreased sharply. Ecosystem services showed an overall improvement with localized deterioration. Carbon sequestration, water regulation and soil conservation increased substantially. Sand fixation showed a decreasing trend mainly because of decreased wind speeds. There were synergies between carbon sequestration and water regulation, and tradeoffs between soil conservation and sand fixation. It was concluded that ecological projects have contributed significantly to the rehabilitation of the fragile ecosystems of this region. To make these projects more successful and sustainable, long-term management procedures are necessary to maintain and consolidate the improvements.

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<![CDATA[High spatio-temporal variability in Acroporidae settlement to inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52e4d5eed0c4842bd212

Recovery of coral reefs after disturbance relies heavily on replenishment through successful larval settlement and their subsequent survival. As part of an integrated study to determine the potential effects of water quality changes on the resilience of inshore coral communities, scleractinian coral settlement was monitored between 2006 and 2012 at 12 reefs within the inshore Great Barrier Reef. Settlement patterns were only analysed for the family Acroporidae, which represented the majority (84%) of settled larvae. Settlement of Acroporidae to terracotta tiles averaged 0.11 cm-2, representing 34 ± 31.01 (mean ± SD) spat per tile, indicating an abundant supply of competent larvae to the study reefs. Settlement was highly variable among reefs and between years. Differences in settlement among locations partly corresponded to the local cover of adult Acroporidae, while substantial reductions in Acroporidae cover caused by tropical cyclones and floods resulted in a clear reduction in settlement. Much of the observed variability remained unexplained, although likely included variability in both connectivity to, and the fecundity of, adult Acroporidae. The responsiveness of settlement patterns to the decline in Acroporidae cover across all four regions indicates the importance of supply and connectivity, and the vulnerability towards region-wide disturbance. High spatial and temporal variability, in addition to the resource-intensive nature of sampling with settlement tiles, highlights the logistical difficulty of determining coral settlement over large spatial and temporal scales.

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