253 research outputs found

    Evaluation of different types of enrichment - their usage and effect on home cage behavior in female mice

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    Numerous studies ascertained positive effects of enriched environments on the well-being of laboratory animals including behavioral, physiological and neurochemical parameters. Conversely, such conclusions imply impaired animal welfare and health in barren husbandry conditions. Moreover, inappropriate housing of laboratory animals may deteriorate the quality of scientific data. Recommendations for housing laboratory animals stipulate that cages should be enriched to mitigate adverse effects of barren housing. In this context, it is not only unclear what exactly is meant by enrichment, but also how the animals themselves interact with the various items on offer. Focal animal observation of female C57BL/6J mice either housed in conventional (CON) or enriched (ENR) conditions served to analyze the impact of enriching housing on welfare related behavior patterns including stereotypical, maintenance, active social, and inactive behaviors. CON conditions resembled current usual housing of laboratory mice, whereas ENR mice received varying enrichment items including foraging, housing and structural elements, and a running disc. Active and inactive use of these elements was quantitatively assessed. CON mice showed significantly more inactive and stereotypical behavior than ENR mice. ENR mice frequently engaged with all enrichment elements, whereby riddles to obtain food reward and the running disc preferably served for active interactions. Offering a second level resulted in high active and inactive interactions. Structural elements fixed at the cagetop were least attractive for the mice. Overall, the presented data underline the positive welfare benefits of enrichment and that mice clearly differentiate between distinct enrichment types, demonstrating that the perspective of the animals themselves should also be taken into account when specifying laboratory housing conditions. This is particularly important, as the ensuring of animal welfare is an essential prerequisite for reliable, reproducible, and scientifically meaningful results

    Short Message Discussions: On The Conversational Nature Of Microblogging In A Large Consultancy Organisation

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    With the rise of Twitter Microblogging as a phenomenon has gained widespread popularity. As with other social software (e.g. Wikis), organisations have begun experimenting with the application of Microblogging for facilitating internal communication and group processes. However, research on the topic is still in its infancy. In this paper we explore how Yammer, a Twitter-like platform, has been adopted within Capgemini, a large, globally operating consultancy business. In contrast to existing findings on Twitter usage and other Enterprise Microblogging (EMB) cases, we find that EMB in our case is a predominantly conversational medium, where people interact with each other explicitly. Rather than using the platform to inform others about themselves (Twitter) or, about their immediate task/team context as has been described in other EMB cases, the Yammer users in this case are expressing views, discussing opinion and responding to each other. We discuss these results in light of the particular organisational context of the case and the emergent nature of communication technologies. We further demonstrate how the interactive and conversational nature of short message communications has led us to investigate the classification of Microblogging according to the context of its use. We conclude that the appropriation of Enterprise Microblogging is shaped largely by the characteristics of the organisational context in which it is used and propose a model that supports this

    Tweet Talking - Exploring The Nature Of Microblogging at Capgemini Yammer

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    Microblogging has gained widespread popularity with the emergence of Twitter. While Twitter has shaped public perceptions of Microblogging, organisations have begun experimenting with Microblogging ‘behind the firewall’, for facilitating communication and group processes. However, research is still in its infancy. In this paper we explore how Yammer has been adopted within Capgemini, a large, globally operating consultancy business. In contrast to existing findings on Twitter usage, we find that Enterprise Microblogging (EMB) in our case is a predominantly conversational medium, where people interact and discuss, rather than only inform others about themselves (Twitter) or about their immediate task/team context, as has also been described in other EMB cases. We discuss our results in light of the particular organisational context of Capgemini and the general open nature of communication technologies. We conclude that appropriation of Enterprise Microblogging happens largely in accordance with the organisational context in which it is set. Microblogging is a diverse phenomenon, which is not sufficiently defined via the underlying technology characteristics

    Trimmatostroma commonii, a new lichenicolous hyphomycete inhabiting Graphidaceae hosts

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    The new lichenicolous hyphomycete Trimmatostroma commonii is described from Réunion, the USA (Florida) and Vietnam. It strongly resembles the generic type T. salicis, from which it is distinguished by much looser conidiomatal tufts, less septate conidia and the lichenicolous habitat, growing over species of Graphidaceae in the tropics

    Diversity of lichen-associated filamentous fungi preserved in European Paleogene amber

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    A diversity of filamentous microfungi was discovered from thallus surfaces of epiphytic lichens preserved in Bitterfeld and Baltic amber. We report seven distinct morphologies of dematiaceous hyphomycetes, some of which closely resemble species of the extant genera Sporidesmium, Taeniolella s. lat. and Taeniolina. Both the placement of the fungi on their substrates and the exquisite preservation of delicate structures indicate that the fungi were fully developed before they were engulfed by fresh resin. The lichens probably grew on the trunks of resin producing trees and became embedded in resin flows together with their fungal associates. The findings demonstrate that a wide range of presumably specialised fungi have lived on living and decomposing lichen thalli at least since the Paleogene. The findings add an interesting new component to the as yet poorly known mycota of the ancient European amber forests.Peer reviewe

    Effect of practical layered dielectric loads on SAR patterns from dual concentric conductor microstrip antennas

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    Radiation patterns of 2 and 4cm square Dual Concentric Conductor (DCC) microstrip antennas were studied theoretically with Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) analysis and compared with experimental measurements of power deposition (SAR) in layered lossy dielectric loads. Single and array configurations were investigated with 915 MHz excitation applied across either one, two or four sides, or four corners of the square apertures. FDTD simulations were carried out for realistic models of a muscle tissue load coupled to the DCC antennas with a 5 mm thick bolus of either distilled water or low loss Silicone Oil. This study characterizes the effect on SAR of adding three additional thin dielectric layers which are necessary for clinical use of the applicator. These layers consist of a 0.1 mm thick dielectric coating on the array surface to provide electrical isolation of DCC apertures, and 0.15 mm thick plastic layers above and below the bolus to contain the liquid. Experimental measurements of SAR in a plane 1 cm deep in muscle phantom agree well with theoretical FDTD simulations in the multi-layered tissue models. These studies reveal significant changes in SAR for applicator configurations involving low dielectric constant (Er) layers on either side of a high Er water bolus layer. Prominent changes include a broadening and centring of the SAR under each aperture as well as increased SAR penetration in muscle. No significant differences are noted between the simple and complete load configurations for the low Er Silicone Oil bolus. Both theoretical and measured data demonstrate relatively uniform SAR distributions with50% of maximum SAR extending to the perimeter of single and multi-aperture array configurations of DCC applicators when using a thin 5 mm water or Silicone Oil bolus

    Effects of more natural housing conditions on the muscular and skeletal characteristics of female C57BL/6J mice

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    Background Enrichment of home cages in laboratory experiments offers clear advantages, but has been criticized in some respects. First, there is a lack of definition, which makes methodological uniformity difficult. Second, there is concern that the enrichment of home cages may increase the variance of results in experiments. Here, the influence of more natural housing conditions on physiological parameters of female C57BL/6J mice was investigated from an animal welfare point of view. For this purpose, the animals were kept in three different housing conditions: conventional cage housing, enriched housing and the semi naturalistic environment. The focus was on musculoskeletal changes after long-term environmental enrichment. Results The housing conditions had a long-term effect on the body weight of the test animals. The more complex and natural the home cage, the heavier the animals. This was associated with increased adipose deposits in the animals. There were no significant changes in muscle and bone characteristics except for single clues (femur diameter, bone resorption marker CTX-1). Additionally, the animals in the semi naturalistic environment (SNE) were found to have the fewest bone anomalies. Housing in the SNE appears to have the least effect on stress hormone concentrations. The lowest oxygen uptake was observed in enriched cage housing. Conclusions Despite increasing values, observed body weights were in the normal and strain-typical range. Overall, musculoskeletal parameters were slightly improved and age-related effects appear to have been attenuated. The variances in the results were not increased by more natural housing. This confirms the suitability of the applied housing conditions to ensure and increase animal welfare in laboratory experiments

    Bored at home?—A systematic review on the effect of environmental enrichment on the welfare of laboratory rats and mice

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    Boredom is an emotional state that occurs when an individual has nothing to do, is not interested in the surrounding, and feels dreary and in a monotony. While this condition is usually defined for humans, it may very well describe the lives of many laboratory animals housed in small, barren cages. To make the cages less monotonous, environmental enrichment is often proposed. Although housing in a stimulating environment is still used predominantly as a luxury good and for treatment in preclinical research, enrichment is increasingly recognized to improve animal welfare. To gain insight into how stimulating environments influence the welfare of laboratory rodents, we conducted a systematic review of studies that analyzed the effect of enriched environment on behavioral parameters of animal well–being. Remarkably, a considerable number of these parameters can be associated with symptoms of boredom. Our findings show that a stimulating living environment is essential for the development of natural behavior and animal welfare of laboratory rats and mice alike, regardless of age and sex. Conversely, confinement and under-stimulation has potentially detrimental effects on the mental and physical health of laboratory rodents. We show that boredom in experimental animals is measurable and does not have to be accepted as inevitable