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    22859 research outputs found

    The Iron Curtain and Referee Bias in International Football

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    Using the assignment of referees to European international association football matches played between 2002 and 2016, we ask whether judgments were biased according to the legacy of the Cold War. We find that referees from post-communist states favored teams from non-communist states, but there was no evidence of favoritism in the other direction. This out-group bias of referees born behind the Iron Curtain was statistically significant for relatively less important and more subjective decisions, namely the awarding of yellow cards for foul play. The bias was particularly large among referees from the former Soviet Union. It has also diminished over time, perhaps due to increased professionalism in European refereeing, or because memories of the Cold War era have diminished among active referees

    Interactive effects of multiple stressors with significant wave height exposure on farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) welfare along an inshore-offshore gradient

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    Fish farming is the fastest growing food production sector worldwide and now accounts for most human fish consumption. Expansion of finfish aquaculture to exposed offshore marine environments is appealing where additional sheltered areas are unavailable. While more energetic environments may reduce waste accumulation and parasite exposure, effects on fish health and wellbeing are largely speculative. The multiple stressors faced by fish on offshore farms may interact synergistically and increase their cumulative impact. We used 20 months of health and welfare data from eight Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) sea pen farms in Scotland along a wave exposure gradient to assess the effects of, and interactions between, environmental variables and management treatments on fish mortality and parasite loads. While farms showed high variability in mortality rate and sea lice infections, multi-level Bayesian modelling indicated that wave exposure primarily modulated effects of other variables. Higher exposure farms showed steeper increases in mortality with time and with extreme temperatures. Similarly, sea lice infections tended to increase with time, with higher exposure farms seeing steeper increases at higher Amoebic Gill Disease (AGD) scores and at high temperatures. The effect of AGD was greater at slow water speeds. Treatments against parasites were more frequent at low exposure farms, leading to uncertainty in their impact on welfare across farms. The support for interactive effects of wave exposure with other variables rather than strong direct effects suggests an accumulation of chronic and acute stressors. Expansion of aquaculture to more energetic offshore environments may have negative impacts on fish health in some circumstances, requiring adaptation of practices. In particular, the stronger increase in mortality over time may have implications for cycle length in different environments, and the more dramatic impacts of the warmest temperatures at high exposure farms call for consideration of the change in water temperature both inshore and offshore

    Dietary LC-PUFA and environmental salinity modulate the fatty acid biosynthesis capacity of the euryhaline teleost thicklip grey mullet (Chelon labrosus)

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    The capacity to biosynthesise long-chain (≥C20) polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) depends upon the complement and function of key enzymes commonly known as fatty acyl desaturases and elongases. The presence of a Δ5/Δ6 desaturase enabling the biosynthesis of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3, DHA) through the “Sprecher pathway” has been reported in Chelon labrosus. Research in other teleosts have demonstrated that LC-PUFA biosynthesis can be modulated by diet and ambient salinity. The present study aimed to assess the combined effects of partial dietary replacement of fish oil (FO) by vegetable oil (VO) and reduced ambient salinity (35 ppt vs 20 ppt) on the fatty acid composition of muscle, enterocytes and hepatocytes of C. labrosus juveniles. Moreover, the enzymatic activity over radiolabelled [1-14C] 18:3n-3 (α-linolenic acid, ALA) and [1-14C] 20:5n-3 (eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA) to biosynthesise n-3 LC-PUFA in hepatocytes and enterocytes, and the gene regulation of the C. labrosus fatty acid desaturase-2 (fads2) and elongation of very long chain fatty acids protein 5 (elovl5) in liver and intestine was also investigated. Recovery of radiolabelled products including stearidonic acid (18:4n-3, SDA), 20:5n-3, tetracosahexaenoic acid (24:6n-3, THA) and 22:6n-3 in all treatments except FO35-fish, provided compelling evidence that a complete pathway enabling the biosynthesis of EPA and DHA from ALA is present and active in C. labrosus. Low salinity conditions upregulated fads2 in hepatocytes and elovl5 in both cell types, regardless of dietary composition. Interestingly, FO20-fish showed the highest amount of n-3 LC-PUFA in muscle, while no differences in VO-fish reared at both salinities were found. These results demonstrate a compensatory capacity of C. labrosus to biosynthesise n-3 LC-PUFA under reduced dietary supply, and emphasise the potential of low salinity conditions to stimulate this pathway in euryhaline fish

    Diagnosis as a new beginning not an end: A participatory photovoice study on navigating an autism diagnosis in adulthood

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    Autistic people diagnosed in adulthood often report that the experience can be life-changing, but there are issues with the diagnostic pathway. Few studies consider the views of people currently seeking diagnosis or contextualise the experience of diagnosis around developing an autistic identity. In this qualitative participatory study, we explored experiences of navigating an autism diagnosis in adulthood in the UK. We recruited six women (aged 21-46) who were seeking diagnosis, who worked with the academic researchers across four sessions to develop the study, share their experiences and analyse the themes. In one session, they completed a semi-structured interview alongside photovoice, a community-based action method, to explain and reflect on their experiences. We used reflexive thematic analysis to identify patterns, with four key themes identified: 1) "everything shattered", 2) "being seen", 3) "understanding not judgement, please" and 4_) "here's a leaflet, off you go". The themes reflected a desire for change and improved support for both diagnosis and developing autistic identity. Following photovoice methodology, together we identified actions to improve adult diagnosis, including involving autistic people in making improvements to the diagnostic criteria, for key professional and community groups to listen more to autistic people, and for diagnostic support services to be flexible and appreciative of wider neurodivergence and intersectionality

    Evidence of interspecific plasmid uptake by pathogenic strains of Klebsiella isolated from microplastic pollution on public beaches

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    Microplastic beads are becoming a common feature on beaches, and there is increasing evidence that such microplastics can become colonised by potential human pathogens. However, whether the concentrations and pathogenicity of these pathogens pose a public health risk are still unclear. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine realistic environmental concentrations of potential pathogens colonising microplastic beads, and quantify the expression of virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs). Microplastic beads were collected from beaches and a culture-dependent approach was used to determine the concentrations of seven target bacteria (Campylobacter spp.; E. coli; intestinal enterococci; Klebsiella spp.; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Salmonella spp.; Vibrio spp.). All seven target bacteria were detected without the need for a pre-enrichment step; urban sites had higher bacterial concentrations, whilst polymer type had no influence on bacterial concentrations. Klebsiella was the most abundant target bacteria and possessed virulence and ARGs, some of which were present on plasmids from other species, and showed pathogenicity in a Galleria melonella infection model. Our findings demonstrate how pathogen colonised microplastic beads can pose a heightened public health risk at the beach, and highlights the urgency for improved monitoring and enforcement of regulations on the release of microplastics into the environment

    Freeze-thaw cycles drove chemical weathering and enriched sulfates in the Burns formation at Meridiani, Mars

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    Sulfate-rich sedimentary rocks explored by the Opportunity rover during its 14-year surface mission at Meridiani Planum provide an invaluable window into the thousands of sulfate deposits detected on Mars via remote sensing. Existing models explaining the formation of martian sulfates can be generally described as either bottom-up, groundwater-driven playa settings or top-down icy chemical weathering environments. Here, we propose a hybrid model involving both bottom-up and top-down processes driven by freeze-thaw cycles. Freezing leads to cryo-concentration of acidic fluids from precipitations at the surface, facilitating rapid chemical weathering despite low temperatures. Cryosuction causes the upwards migration of vadose water and even groundwater with dissolved ions, resulting in the accumulation of ions in near-surface environments. Evaporation precipitates salts but leaching separates chlorides from sulfates during the thawing period. Freeze-thaw cycles, therefore, can enrich sulfates at the surface. While freeze-thaw is more commonly understood as a mechanism of physical weathering, we suggest it is a fundamental aspect of chemical weathering on Mars

    Toxigenic Vibrio cholerae can cycle between environmental plastic waste and floodwater: Implications for environmental management of cholera

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    Globally, there has been a significant rise in cholera cases and deaths, with an increase in the number of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) reporting outbreaks. In parallel, plastic pollution in LMICs is increasing, and has become a major constituent of urban dump sites. The surfaces of environmental plastic pollution can provide a habitat for complex microbial biofilm communities; this so-called 'plastisphere' can also include human pathogens. Under conditions simulating a peri-urban environmental waste pile, we determine whether toxigenic Vibrio cholerae (O1 classical; O1 El Tor; O139) can colonise and persist on plastic following a simulated flooding event. Toxigenic V. cholerae colonized and persisted on plastic and organic waste for at least 14 days before subsequent transfer to either fresh or brackish floodwater, where they can further persist at concentrations sufficient to cause human infection. Taken together, this study suggests that plastics in the environment can act as significant reservoirs for V. cholerae, whilst subsequent transfer to floodwaters demonstrates the potential for the wider dissemination of cholera. Further understanding of how diseases interact with plastic waste will be central for combating infection, educating communities, and diminishing the public health risk of plastics in the environment

    Enduring pathogenicity of African strains of Salmonella on plastics and glass in simulated peri-urban environmental waste piles

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    In low- and middle-income countries, plastic has become a major constituent of landfills and urban dump sites. Environmental plastic pollution can also provide a novel surface for the formation of microbial biofilm, which often includes pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Here, under conditions simulating a peri-urban waste pile typical of an African informal settlement, we aimed to determine if pathogenic Salmonella spp. can retain their virulence following a prolonged period of desiccation on the surfaces of environmental plastic and glass. We show that clinically (and environmentally) relevant strains of Salmonella including S. Enteritidis, S. Typhimurium and S. Typhi can persist on plastic and glass for at least 28-days and that temperature (which increases with the depth of an urban waste pile) is a key determinant of this survival. All three strains of Salmonella retained their pathogenicity (determined by using a Galleria mellonella model of infection) following their recovery from the plastisphere indicating that plastics in the environment can act as reservoirs for human pathogens and could facilitate their persistence for extended periods of time. Pathogens colonising environmental plastic waste therefore pose a heightened public health risk, particularly in areas where people are frequently exposed to plastic pollution

    Sustainable products and audit fees: empirical evidence from western European countries

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    Purpose –The present study examines whether firms that appear to exhibit high sustainable outputs are more likely to pay higher audit fees than firms without such outputs. Design/methodology/approach–The sustainability outputs are measured using a sustainable product portfolio consisting of four products: clean energy products (CEP), eco-design products (EDP), environmental products (EP) and sustainable building projects (SBP). The audit fee variable is measured by the natural logarithm of the total amount of audit fees. The study tests two models of the association between these outputs and audit fees; Model 1 tests this association in the absence of the moderating variable (sustainability committee) and Model 2 tests the association in the presence of the moderating variable. Findings– An analysis of data on 261 European firms from the Refinitiv Eikon database from 2010 to 2019, shows that high sustainability outputs are significantly and positively associated with audit fees. More importantly, this association is moderated by the presence of a board-level sustainability committee, suggesting that this type of committee reflects a factor considered by auditors in their audit risk assessment practices. The findings indicate that in Model 1, one (EP) out of four variables has a significant and positive association with audit fees, while in Model 2 and in the presence of sustainability committee, two variables (EP and EDP) have a significant and negative association with audit fees. However, the robust analysis shows that three variables (EP, EDP and SBP) have significant and negative associations with audit fees. Practical implications –The study findings have important implications for policy makers, auditors and firms’ managers. For policy makers, the findings provide support for the argument that sustainable attitudes incentive firms to manage sustainable product profiles more effectively. As such, policy makers should incentivise firms to establish a sustainability committee and regulate its role and responsibilities. Auditors should coordinate with the sustainability committee to facilitate audit efforts and reduce audit fees. Social implications Understanding the relationship between sustainable products and audit fees will allow firms to improve their portfolio of sustainable products. In addition, other social implications of this study relate to improving relationships with society by establishing a sustainability committee that is responsible to communicate with that society. Originality/value–The results support the argument that firms should manage sustainable product portfolios more effectively. In addition, the results of the study highlight the importance of a new variable as a moderator, the sustainability committee, which has not been examined before

    Super-Networks Shaping International Agreements: Comparing the Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons Arenas

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    While research on transnational advocacy networks (TANs) is well established in international relations, knowledge gaps remain concerning TAN collaboration across policy fields. To address this gap, this article highlights how super-networks (networks above individual TANs) emerge across issue areas and explores the tactics utilized to achieve their objectives and shape international agreements. We develop an analytical framework that emphasizes the important interplay between political opportunity structures, mobilizing structures, and tactics in understanding how super-networks operate. We apply this framework via a comparative case study approach, analyzing the Inter-Constituency Alliance, whose advocacy brought about the inclusion of human rights language in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, whose activities based on humanitarian principles resulted in the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Contributing new knowledge to TANs research, we identify that super-networks utilize multilevel advocacy activities that draw upon a package approach tactic. Via the package approach, super-networks synthesize multiple voices from different issue areas into one key message grounded in humanitarian framing, thereby enhancing their moral leverage and legitimacy, making it more difficult for states to neglect their concerns


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