309 research outputs found

    Isotopic niche overlap between sympatric Australian snubfin and humpback dolphins

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    Ecological niche theory predicts the coexistence of closely related species is promoted by resource partitioning in space and time. Australian snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and humpback (Sousa sahulensis) dolphins live in sympatry throughout most of their range in northern Australian waters. We compared stable isotope ratios of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) in their skin to investigate resource partitioning between these ecologically similar species. Skin samples were collected from live Australian snubfin (n = 31) and humpback dolphins (n = 23) along the east coast of Queensland in 2014–2015. Both species had similar δ13C and δ15N values and high (>50%) isotopic niche space overlap, suggesting that they feed at similar trophic levels, have substantial dietary overlap, and rely on similar basal food resources. Despite similarities, snubfin dolphins were more likely to have a larger δ15N value than humpback dolphins, indicating they may forage on a wider diversity of prey. Humpback dolphins were more likely to have a larger δ13C range suggesting they may forage on a wider range of habitats. Overall, results suggest that subtle differences in habitat use and prey selection are likely the principal resource partitioning mechanisms enabling the coexistence of Australian snubfin and humpback dolphins

    Corrigendum: Abundance and Potential Biological Removal of Common Dolphins Subject to Fishery-Impacts in South Australian Waters

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    Conservation management of wildlife species should be underpinned by knowledge of their distribution and abundance, as well as impacts of human activities on their populations and habitats. Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) are subject to incidental capture in a range of Australia’s commercial fisheries including gill netting, purse seining and mid-water trawling. The impact these fishery interactions have on common dolphin populations is uncertain, as estimates of abundance are lacking, particularly for the segments of the populations at risk of bycatch and in greater need of protection. Here we used double-observer platform aerial surveys and mark-recapture distance sampling methods to estimate the abundance of common dolphins in 2011 over an area of 42,438 km2 in central South Australia, where incidental mortality of common dolphins due to fisheries bycatch is the highest. We also used the potential biological removal (PBR) method to estimate sustainable levels of human-caused mortality for this segment of the population. The estimated abundance of common dolphins was 21,733 (CV = 0.25; 95% CI = 13,809–34,203) in austral summer/autumn and 26,504 in winter/spring (CV = 0.19; 95% CI = 19,488–36,046). Annual PBR estimates, assuming a conservative maximum population growth rate of Rmax = 0.02 and a recovery factor of Fr = 0.5 for species of unknown conservation status, ranged from 95 (summer/autumn) to 120 dolphins (winter/spring), and from 189 (summer/autumn) to 239 dolphins (winter/spring) with an Rmax = 0.04. Our results indicate that common dolphins are an abundant dolphin species in waters over the central South Australian continental shelf (up to 100 m deep). Based on the 2011 abundance estimates of this species, the highest estimated bycatch of common dolphins (423 mortalities in 2004/05) in the southern Australian region exceeded the precautionary PBR estimates for this population segment. Recent bycatch levels appear to be below PBR estimates, but low observer coverage and underreporting of dolphin mortalities by fishers means that estimates of dolphin bycatch rates are not robust. The effects of cumulative human impacts on common dolphins are not well understood, and thus we recommend a precautionary management approach to manage common dolphin bycatch based on local abundance estimates

    The provision of solar energy to rural households through a fee-for-service system

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    This baseline report is part of an evaluation commissioned by the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It belongs to a series of impact evaluations of renewable energy and development programmes supported by the Netherlands, with a focus on the medium and long term effects of these programmes on end-users or final beneficiaries. A characteristic of these studies is the use of mixed methods, being quantitative research techniques, in combination with qualitative techniques, to get insight in the magnitude of effects. The purpose of the impact evaluations is to account for assistance provided and to draw lessons from the findings for improvement of policy and policy implementation. The results of these impact evaluations will be input to a policy evaluation of the “Promoting Renewable Energy Programme” (PREP) to be concluded in 2014

    Too Close for Comfort? Isotopic Niche Segregation in New Zealand’s Odontocetes

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    Species occurring in sympatry and relying on similar and limited resources may partition resource use to avoid overlap and interspecific competition. Aotearoa, New Zealand hosts an extraordinarily rich marine megafauna, including 50% of the world’s cetacean species. In this study, we used carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes as ecological tracers to investigate isotopic niche overlap between 21 odontocete (toothed whale) species inhabiting neritic, mesopelagic, and bathypelagic waters. Results showed a clear niche separation for the bathypelagic Gray’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon grayi) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), but high isotopic niche overlap and potential interspecific competition for neritic and mesopelagic species. For these species, competition could be reduced via temporal or finer-scale spatial segregation or differences in foraging behaviour. This study represents the first insights into the coexistence of odontocetes in a biodiverse hotspot. The data presented here provide a critical baseline to a system already ongoing ecosystem change via ocean warming and subsequent effects on prey abundance and distributions

    Quantum Phase Transition and Transport

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    The exchange scattering at magnetic adsorbates on superconductors gives rise to Yu-Shiba-Rusinov (YSR) bound states. Depending on the strength of the exchange coupling, the magnetic moment perturbs the Cooper pair condensate only weakly, resulting in a free-spin ground state, or binds a quasiparticle in its vicinity, leading to a (partially) screened spin state. Here, we use the flexibility of Fe-porphin (FeP) molecules adsorbed on a Pb(111) surface to reversibly and continuously tune between these distinct ground states. We find that the FeP moment is screened in the pristine adsorption state. Approaching the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope, we exert a sufficiently strong attractive force to tune the molecule through the quantum phase transition into the free-spin state. We ascertain and characterize the transition by investigating the transport processes as function of tip-molecule distance, exciting the YSR states by single-electron tunneling as well as (multiple) Andreev reflections

    Photon-assisted tunneling at the atomic scale: Probing resonant Andreev reflections from Yu-Shiba-Rusinov states

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    Tunneling across superconducting junctions proceeds by a rich variety of processes, which transfer single electrons, Cooper pairs, or even larger numbers of electrons by multiple Andreev reflections. Photon-assisted tunneling combined with the venerable Tien-Gordon model has long been a powerful tool to identify tunneling processes between superconductors. Here, we probe superconducting tunnel junctions including an impurity-induced Yu-Shiba-Rusinov (YSR) state by exposing a scanning tunneling microscope with a superconducting tip to microwave radiation. We find that a simple Tien-Gordon description describes tunneling of single electrons and Cooper pairs into the bare substrate, but breaks down for tunneling via YSR states by resonant Andreev reflections. We develop an improved theoretical description which is in excellent agreement with the data. Our results establish photon-assisted tunneling as a powerful tool to analyze tunneling processes at the atomic scale which should be particularly informative for unconventional and topological superconductors

    Diode effect in Josephson junctions with a single magnetic atom

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    Current flow in electronic devices can be asymmetric with bias direction, a phenomenon underlying the utility of diodes1 and known as non-reciprocal charge transport2. The promise of dissipationless electronics has recently stimulated the quest for superconducting diodes, and non-reciprocal superconducting devices have been realized in various non-centrosymmetric systems3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. Here we investigate the ultimate limits of miniaturization by creating atomic-scale Pb–Pb Josephson junctions in a scanning tunnelling microscope. Pristine junctions stabilized by a single Pb atom exhibit hysteretic behaviour, confirming the high quality of the junctions, but no asymmetry between the bias directions. Non-reciprocal supercurrents emerge when inserting a single magnetic atom into the junction, with the preferred direction depending on the atomic species. Aided by theoretical modelling, we trace the non-reciprocity to quasiparticle currents flowing by means of electron–hole asymmetric Yu–Shiba–Rusinov states inside the superconducting energy gap and identify a new mechanism for diode behaviour in Josephson junctions. Our results open new avenues for creating atomic-scale Josephson diodes and tuning their properties through single-atom manipulation
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