207 research outputs found

    Optimal allocation of conservation effort among subpopulations of a threatened species: How important is patch quality?

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    Money is often a limiting factor in conservation, and attempting to conserve endangered species can be costly. Consequently, a framework for optimizing fiscally constrained conservation decisions for a single species is needed. In this paper we find the optimal budget allocation among isolated subpopulations of a threatened species to minimize local extinction probability. We solve the problem using stochastic dynamic programming, derive a useful and simple alternative guideline for allocating funds, and test its performance using forward simulation. The model considers subpopulations that persist in habitat patches of differing quality, which in our model is reflected in different relationships between money invested and extinction risk. We discover that, in most eases, subpopulations that are less efficient to manage should receive more money than those that are more efficient to manage, due to higher investment needed to reduce extinction risk. Our simple investment guideline performs almost as well as the exact optimal strategy. We illustrate our approach with a case study of the management of the Sumatran tiger, Panthera tigris sumatrae, in Kerinei Seblat National Park (KSNP), Indonesia. We find that different budgets should be allocated to the separate tiger subpopulations in KSNP. The subpopulation that is not at risk of extinction does not require any management investment. Based on the combination of risks of extinction and habitat quality, the optimal allocation for these particular tiger subpopulations is an unusual case: subpopulations that occur in higher-quality habitat (more efficient to manage) should receive more funds than the remaining subpopulation that is in lower-quality habitat. Because the yearly budget allocated to the KSNP for tiger conservation is small, to guarantee the persistence of all the subpopulations that are currently under threat we need to prioritize those that are easier to save. When allocating resources among subpopulations of a threatened species, the combined effects of differences in habitat quality, cost of action, and current subpopulation probability of extinction need to be integrated. We provide a useful guideline for allocating resources among isolated subpopulations of any threatened species

    Cross hedging agricultural commodities

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    1 online resource (PDF, 12 pages)This archival publication may not reflect current scientific knowledge or recommendations. Current information available from the University of Minnesota Extension: https://www.extension.umn.edu

    Active adaptive conservation of threatened species in the face of uncertainty

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    Adaptive management has a long history in the natural resource management literature, but despite this, few practitioners have developed adaptive strategies to conserve threatened species. Active adaptive management provides a framework for valuing learning by measuring the degree to which it improves long-run management outcomes. The challenge of an active adaptive approach is to find the correct balance between gaining knowledge to improve management in the future and achieving the best short-term outcome based on current knowledge. We develop and analyze a framework for active adaptive management of a threatened species. Our case study concerns a novel facial tumor disease affecting the Australian threatened species Sarcophilus harrisii: the Tasmanian devil. We use stochastic dynamic programming with Bayesian updating to identify the management strategy that maximizes the Tasmanian devil population growth rate, taking into account improvements to management through learning to better understand disease latency and the relative effectiveness of three competing management options. Exactly which management action we choose each year is driven by the credibility of competing hypotheses about disease latency and by the population growth rate predicted by each hypothesis under the competing management actions. We discover that the optimal combination of management actions depends on the number of sites available and the time remaining to implement management. Our approach to active adaptive management provides a framework to identify the optimal amount of effort to invest in learning to achieve long-run conservation objectives

    The TREAT-NMD advisory committee for therapeutics (TACT): an innovative de-risking model to foster orphan drug development

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    Despite multiple publications on potential therapies for neuromuscular diseases (NMD) in cell and animal models only a handful reach clinical trials. The ability to prioritise drug development according to objective criteria is particularly critical in rare diseases with large unmet needs and a limited numbers of patients who can be enrolled into clinical trials. TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee for Therapeutics (TACT) was established to provide independent and objective guidance on the preclinical and development pathway of potential therapies (whether novel or repurposed) for NMD. We present our experience in the establishment and operation of the TACT. TACT provides a unique resource of recognized experts from multiple disciplines. The goal of each TACT review is to help the sponsor to position the candidate compound along a realistic and well-informed plan to clinical trials, and eventual registration. The reviews and subsequent recommendations are focused on generating meaningful and rigorous data that can enable clear go/no-go decisions and facilitate longer term funding or partnering opportunities. The review process thereby acts to comment on viability, de-risking the process of proceeding on a development programme. To date TACT has held 10 review meeting and reviewed 29 program applications in several rare neuromuscular diseases: Of the 29 programs reviewed, 19 were from industry and 10 were from academia; 15 were for novel compounds and 14 were for repurposed drugs; 16 were small molecules and 13 were biologics; 14 were preclinical stage applications and 15 were clinical stage applications. 3 had received Orphan drug designation from European Medicines Agency and 3 from Food and Drug Administration. A number of recurrent themes emerged over the course of the reviews and we found that applicants frequently require advice and education on issues concerned with preclinical standard operating procedures, interactions with regulatory agencies, formulation, repurposing, clinical trial design, manufacturing and ethics. Over the 5 years since its establishment TACT has amassed a body of experience that can be extrapolated to other groups of rare diseases to improve the community's chances of successfully bringing new rare disease drugs to registration and ultimately to marke

    The stem cell organisation, and the proliferative and gene expression profile of Barrett's epithelium, replicates pyloric-type gastric glands

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    Objective: Barrett's oesophagus shows appearances described as ‚Äėintestinal metaplasia‚Äô, in structures called ‚Äėcrypts‚Äô but do not typically display crypt architecture. Here, we investigate their relationship to gastric glands. Methods: Cell proliferation and migration within Barrett's glands was assessed by Ki67 and iododeoxyuridine (IdU) labelling. Expression of mucin core proteins (MUC), trefoil family factor (TFF) peptides and LGR5 mRNA was determined by immunohistochemistry or by in situ hybridisation, and clonality was elucidated using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations combined with mucin histochemistry. Results: Proliferation predominantly occurs in the middle of Barrett's glands, diminishing towards the surface and the base: IdU dynamics demonstrate bidirectional migration, similar to gastric glands. Distribution of MUC5AC, TFF1, MUC6 and TFF2 in Barrett's mirrors pyloric glands and is preserved in Barrett's dysplasia. MUC2-positive goblet cells are localised above the neck in Barrett's glands, and TFF3 is concentrated in the same region. LGR5 mRNA is detected in the middle of Barrett's glands suggesting a stem cell niche in this locale, similar to that in the gastric pylorus, and distinct from gastric intestinal metaplasia. Gastric and intestinal cell lineages within Barrett's glands are clonal, indicating derivation from a single stem cell. Conclusions: Barrett's shows the proliferative and stem cell architecture, and pattern of gene expression of pyloric gastric glands, maintained by stem cells showing gastric and intestinal differentiation: neutral drift may suggest that intestinal differentiation advances with time, a concept critical for the understanding of the origin and development of Barrett's oesophagus

    Improving policy efficiency and effectiveness to save more species: A case study of the megadiverse country Australia

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    Native flora and fauna species continue to decline in the megadiverse, wealthy, economically and politically stable nation of Australia despite current efforts in policy and management. Ongoing research is examining these declines, their causes and the adequacy of current policy, but strategies for improving the outcomes for threatened species have attracted less attention. We discuss several key aspects of Australia's national threatened species management approach that potentially hinder the efficiency and effectiveness of management: the threatened species listing process is lengthy and biased; recovery plan development is resource intensive, restricted to a subset of species and often not effective; funding for threatened species management is not allocated efficiently or transparently; and management is not designed to incorporate uncertainties and adapt to changing future threats. Based on these issues we recommend four changes to current process: rationalize listing and assessment processes; develop approaches to prioritize species-based and threat-based responses cost-effectively; estimate funds required to recover species and secure longer term funding; and accommodate uncertainties and new threats into the current planning framework. Cost-effective prioritization for species and threats identifies which actions are likely to achieve the greatest benefits to species per unit cost, thereby managing more species and threats with available funds. These improvements can be made without legislative reform, additional funding or socio-economic shifts. If implemented, we believe more Australian threatened species will benefit from current efforts. Many of the challenges facing Australia are analogous to issues in other countries including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and these recommendations could assist in improving threatened species management. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

    An aggravated trajectory of depression and anxiety co-morbid with hepatitis C: : A 21 to 62 month follow-up study in 61 South Australian outpatients

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    BACKGROUND: This study aimed to explore the course of depression and anxiety in chronic hepatitis C patients. METHODS: ¬† Data were combined from two studies: (1) Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) scores in 395 consecutive Australian outpatients from 2006 to 2010 formed the baseline measurement; and (2) Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) scores in a survey of a sub-sample of these patients in 2011 formed the follow-up measurement. After converting DASS to HADS scores, changes in symptom scores and rates of case-ness (‚Č•8), and predictors of follow-up symptoms were assessed. RESULTS: ¬† Follow-up data were available for 61 patients (70.5% male) whose age ranged from 24.5 to 74.6 years (M=45.6). The time to follow-up ranged from 20.7 to 61.9 months (M=43.8). Baseline rates of depression (32.8%) and anxiety (44.3%) increased to 62.3% and 67.2%, respectively. These findings were confirmed, independent of the conversion, by comparing baseline HADS and follow-up DASS scores with British community norms. Baseline anxiety and younger age predicted depression, while baseline anxiety, high school non-completion, and single relationship status predicted anxiety. CONCLUSION: ¬†This study demonstrated a worsening trajectory of depression and anxiety. Further controlled and prospective research in a larger sample is required to confirm these findings

    The Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment: Exploring Fundamental Symmetries of the Universe

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    The preponderance of matter over antimatter in the early Universe, the dynamics of the supernova bursts that produced the heavy elements necessary for life and whether protons eventually decay --- these mysteries at the forefront of particle physics and astrophysics are key to understanding the early evolution of our Universe, its current state and its eventual fate. The Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) represents an extensively developed plan for a world-class experiment dedicated to addressing these questions. LBNE is conceived around three central components: (1) a new, high-intensity neutrino source generated from a megawatt-class proton accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, (2) a near neutrino detector just downstream of the source, and (3) a massive liquid argon time-projection chamber deployed as a far detector deep underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. This facility, located at the site of the former Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota, is approximately 1,300 km from the neutrino source at Fermilab -- a distance (baseline) that delivers optimal sensitivity to neutrino charge-parity symmetry violation and mass ordering effects. This ambitious yet cost-effective design incorporates scalability and flexibility and can accommodate a variety of upgrades and contributions. With its exceptional combination of experimental configuration, technical capabilities, and potential for transformative discoveries, LBNE promises to be a vital facility for the field of particle physics worldwide, providing physicists from around the globe with opportunities to collaborate in a twenty to thirty year program of exciting science. In this document we provide a comprehensive overview of LBNE's scientific objectives, its place in the landscape of neutrino physics worldwide, the technologies it will incorporate and the capabilities it will possess.Comment: Major update of previous version. This is the reference document for LBNE science program and current status. Chapters 1, 3, and 9 provide a comprehensive overview of LBNE's scientific objectives, its place in the landscape of neutrino physics worldwide, the technologies it will incorporate and the capabilities it will possess. 288 pages, 116 figure

    Introducing the H2020 AQUACROSS project: Knowledge, assessment, and management for AQUAtic biodiversity and ecosystem services aCROSS EU policies

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    The AQUACROSS project was an unprecedented effort to unify policy concepts, knowledge, and management of freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems to support the cost-effective achievement of the targets set by the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. AQUACROSS aimed to support EU efforts to enhance the resilience and stop the loss of biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems as well as to ensure the ongoing and future provision of aquatic ecosystem services. The project focused on advancing the knowledge base and application of Ecosystem-Based Management. Through elaboration of eight diverse case studies in freshwater and marine and estuarine aquatic ecosystem across Europe covering a range of environmental management problems including, eutrophication, sustainable fisheries as well as invasive alien species AQUACROSS demonstrated the application of a common framework to establish cost-effective measures and integrated Ecosystem-Based Management practices. AQUACROSS analysed the EU policy framework (i.e. goals, concepts, time frames) for aquatic ecosystems and built on knowledge stemming from different sources (i.e. WISE, BISE, Member State reporting within different policy processes, modelling) to develop innovative management tools, concepts, and business models (i.e. indicators, maps, ecosystem assessments, participatory approaches, mechanisms for promoting the delivery of ecosystem services) for aquatic ecosystems at various scales of space and time and relevant to different ecosystem types

    Teaching Population Health: A Competency Map Approach to Education

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    A 2012 Institute of Medicine report is the latest in the growing number of calls to incorporate a population health approach in health professionals’ training. Over the last decade, Duke University, particularly its Department of Community and Family Medicine, has been heavily involved with community partners in Durham, North Carolina to improve the local community’s health. Based on these initiatives, a group of interprofessional faculty began tackling the need to fill the curriculum gap to train future health professionals in public health practice, community engagement, critical thinking, and team skills to improve population health effectively in Durham and elsewhere
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