20,741 research outputs found

    Ecological successions throughout the desiccation of Tirez lagoon (Spain) as an astrobiological time-analog for wet-to-dry transitions on Mars

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    Tirez was a small and seasonal endorheic athalassohaline lagoon that was located in central Spain. In recent years, the lagoon has totally dried out, offering for the first time the opportunity to analyze its desiccation process as a “time-analog” to similar events occurred in paleolakes with varying salinity during the wet-to-dry transition on early Mars. On the martian cratered highlands, an early period of water ponding within enclosed basins evolved to a complete desiccation of the lakes, leading to deposition of evaporitic sequences during the Noachian and into the Late Hesperian. As Tirez also underwent a process of desiccation, here we describe (i) the microbial ecology of Tirez when the lagoon was still active 20 years ago, with prokaryotes adapted to extreme saline conditions; (ii) the composition of the microbial community in the dried lake sediments today, in many case groups that thrive in sediments of extreme environments; and (iii) the molecular and isotopic analysis of the lipid biomarkers that can be recovered from the sediments today. We discuss the implications of these results to better understanding the ecology of possible Martian microbial communities during the wet-to-dry transition at the end of the Hesperian, and how they may inform about research strategies to search for possible biomarkers in Mars after all the water was los

    Structural Characterization of Geopolymers with the Addition of Eggshell Ash

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    It is well known that geopolymers are a new group of binder materials of alumosilicate origin. Geopolymers are made by the reaction of precursor aluminosilicate materials with alkaline activator solutions. The current research relates to a low-cost and eco-friendly procedure, suitable of being implemented in two easy steps. The first step is the production of a solid phase based on fly ash (Obrenovac, Serbia) and eggshell ash as waste materials rich in calcium. The second step is alkali activating the solid phase using an alkaline activator (a mixture of NaOH and Na2SiO3) and procedures in proper laboratory conditions. Four samples with different eggshell ash content were synthesized. The concentration of used NaOH was 12 mol dm−3. The structural properties of all investigated samples were analyzed by XRD (X-ray diffraction), DRIFT (diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform), SEM (scanning electron microscopy) and UV/Vis spectroscopy analysis. XRD determined the amorphous halo with the presence of quartz as the crystal phase in all of the investigated samples. These results were confirmed by DRIFT analysis. The morphology of the samples was determined by SEM analysis. UV/Vis showed that the material could be a potential adsorbent

    Pollution-induced community tolerance in freshwater biofilms – from molecular mechanisms to loss of community functions

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    Exposure to herbicides poses a threat to aquatic biofilms by affecting their community structure, physiology and function. These changes render biofilms to become more tolerant, but on the downside community tolerance has ecologic costs. A concept that addresses induced community tolerance to a pollutant (PICT) was introduced by Blanck and WĂ€ngberg (1988). The basic principle of the concept is that microbial communities undergo pollution-induced succession when exposed to a pollutant over a long period of time, which changes communities structurally and functionally and enhancing tolerance to the pollutant exposure. However, the mechanisms of tolerance and the ecologic consequences were hardly studied up to date. This thesis addresses the structural and functional changes in biofilm communities and applies modern molecular methods to unravel molecular tolerance mechanisms. Two different freshwater biofilm communities were cultivated for a period of five weeks, with one of the communities being contaminated with 4 ÎŒg L-1 diuron. Subsequently, the communities were characterized for structural and functional differences, especially focusing on their crucial role of photosynthesis. The community structure of the autotrophs was assessed using HPLC-based pigment analysis and their functional alterations were investigated using Imaging-PAM fluorometry to study photosynthesis and community oxygen profiling to determine net primary production. Then, the molecular fingerprints of the communities were measured with meta-transcriptomics (RNA-Seq) and GC-based community metabolomics approaches and analyzed with respect to changes in their molecular functions. The communities were acute exposed to diuron for one hour in a dose-response design, to reveal a potential PICT and uncover related adaptation to diuron exposure. The combination of apical and molecular methods in a dose-response design enabled the linkage of functional effects of diuron exposure and underlying molecular mechanisms based on a sensitivity analysis. Chronic exposure to diuron impaired freshwater biofilms in their biomass accrual. The contaminated communities particularly lost autotrophic biomass, reflected by the decrease in specific chlorophyll a content. This loss was associated with a change in the molecular fingerprint of the communities, which substantiates structural and physiological changes. The decline in autotrophic biomass could be due to a primary loss of sensitive autotrophic organisms caused by the selection of better adapted species in the course of chronic exposure. Related to this hypothesis, an increase in diuron tolerance has been detected in the contaminated communities and molecular mechanisms facilitating tolerance have been found. It was shown that genes of the photosystem, reductive-pentose phosphate cycle and arginine metabolism were differentially expressed among the communities and that an increased amount of potential antioxidant degradation products was found in the contaminated communities. This led to the hypothesis that contaminated communities may have adapted to oxidative stress, making them less sensitive to diuron exposure. Moreover, the photosynthetic light harvesting complex was altered and the photoprotective xanthophyll cycle was increased in the contaminated communities. Despite these adaptation strategies, the loss of autotrophic biomass has been shown to impair primary production. This impairment persisted even under repeated short-term exposure, so that the tolerance mechanisms cannot safeguard primary production as a key function in aquatic systems.:1. The effect of chemicals on organisms and their functions .............................. 1 1.1 Welcome to the anthropocene .......................................................................... 1 1.2 From cellular stress responses to ecosystem resilience ................................... 3 1.2.1 The individual pursuit for homeostasis ....................................................... 3 1.2.2 Stability from diversity ................................................................................. 5 1.3 Community ecotoxicology - a step forward in monitoring the effects of chemical pollution? ................................................................................................................. 6 1.4 Functional ecotoxicological assessment of microbial communities ................... 9 1.5 Molecular tools – the key to a mechanistic understanding of stressor effects from a functional perspective in microbial communities? ...................................... 12 2. Aims and Hypothesis ......................................................................................... 14 2.1 Research question .......................................................................................... 14 2.2 Hypothesis and outline .................................................................................... 15 2.3 Experimental approach & concept .................................................................. 16 2.3.1 Aquatic freshwater biofilms as model community ..................................... 16 2.3.2 Diuron as model herbicide ........................................................................ 17 2.3.3 Experimental design ................................................................................. 18 3. Structural and physiological changes in microbial communities after chronic exposure - PICT and altered functional capacity ................................................. 21 3.1 Introduction ..................................................................................................... 21 3.2 Methods .......................................................................................................... 23 3.2.1 Biofilm cultivation ...................................................................................... 23 3.2.2 Dry weight and autotrophic index ............................................................. 23 3.2.4 Pigment analysis of periphyton ................................................................. 23 3.2.4.1 In-vivo pigment analysis for community characterization ....................... 24 3.2.4.2 In-vivo pigment analysis based on Imaging-PAM fluorometry ............... 24 3.2.4.3 In-vivo pigment fluorescence for tolerance detection ............................. 26 3.2.4.4 Ex-vivo pigment analysis by high-pressure liquid-chromatography ....... 27 3.2.5 Community oxygen metabolism measurements ....................................... 28 3.3 Results and discussion ................................................................................... 29 3.3.1 Comparison of the structural community parameters ............................... 29 3.3.2 Photosynthetic activity and primary production of the communities after selection phase ................................................................................................. 33 3.3.3 Acquisition of photosynthetic tolerance .................................................... 34 3.3.4 Primary production at exposure conditions ............................................... 36 3.3.5 Tolerance detection in primary production ................................................ 37 3.4 Summary and Conclusion ........................................................................... 40 4. Community gene expression analysis by meta-transcriptomics ................... 41 4.1 Introduction to meta-transcriptomics ............................................................... 41 4.2. Methods ......................................................................................................... 43 4.2.1 Sampling and RNA extraction................................................................... 43 4.2.2 RNA sequencing analysis ......................................................................... 44 4.2.3 Data assembly and processing................................................................. 45 4.2.4 Prioritization of contigs and annotation ..................................................... 47 4.2.5 Sensitivity analysis of biological processes .............................................. 48 4.3 Results and discussion ................................................................................... 48 4.3.1 Characterization of the meta-transcriptomic fingerprints .......................... 49 4.3.2 Insights into community stress response mechanisms using trend analysis (DRomic’s) ......................................................................................................... 51 4.3.3 Response pattern in the isoform PS genes .............................................. 63 4.5 Summary and conclusion ................................................................................ 65 5. Community metabolome analysis ..................................................................... 66 5.1 Introduction to community metabolomics ........................................................ 66 5.2 Methods .......................................................................................................... 68 5.2.1 Sampling, metabolite extraction and derivatisation................................... 68 5.2.2 GC-TOF-MS analysis ............................................................................... 69 5.2.3 Data processing and statistical analysis ................................................... 69 5.3 Results and discussion ................................................................................... 70 5.3.1 Characterization of the metabolic fingerprints .......................................... 70 5.3.2 Difference in the metabolic fingerprints .................................................... 71 5.3.3 Differential metabolic responses of the communities to short-term exposure of diuron ............................................................................................................ 73 5.4 Summary and conclusion ................................................................................ 78 6. Synthesis ............................................................................................................. 79 6.1 Approaches and challenges for linking molecular data to functional measurements ...................................................................................................... 79 6.2 Methods .......................................................................................................... 83 6.2.1 Summary on the data ............................................................................... 83 6.2.2 Aggregation of molecular data to index values (TELI and MELI) .............. 83 6.2.3 Functional annotation of contigs and metabolites using KEGG ................ 83 6.3 Results and discussion ................................................................................... 85 6.3.1 Results of aggregation techniques ........................................................... 85 6.3.2 Sensitivity analysis of the different molecular approaches and endpoints 86 6.3.3 Mechanistic view of the molecular stress responses based on KEGG functions ............................................................................................................ 89 6.4 Consolidation of the results – holistic interpretation and discussion ............... 93 6.4.1 Adaptation to chronic diuron exposure - from molecular changes to community effects.............................................................................................. 93 6.4.2 Assessment of the ecological costs of Pollution-induced community tolerance based on primary production ............................................................. 94 6.5 Outlook ............................................................................................................ 9

    Corporate Social Responsibility: the institutionalization of ESG

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    Understanding the impact of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on firm performance as it relates to industries reliant on technological innovation is a complex and perpetually evolving challenge. To thoroughly investigate this topic, this dissertation will adopt an economics-based structure to address three primary hypotheses. This structure allows for each hypothesis to essentially be a standalone empirical paper, unified by an overall analysis of the nature of impact that ESG has on firm performance. The first hypothesis explores the evolution of CSR to the modern quantified iteration of ESG has led to the institutionalization and standardization of the CSR concept. The second hypothesis fills gaps in existing literature testing the relationship between firm performance and ESG by finding that the relationship is significantly positive in long-term, strategic metrics (ROA and ROIC) and that there is no correlation in short-term metrics (ROE and ROS). Finally, the third hypothesis states that if a firm has a long-term strategic ESG plan, as proxied by the publication of CSR reports, then it is more resilience to damage from controversies. This is supported by the finding that pro-ESG firms consistently fared better than their counterparts in both financial and ESG performance, even in the event of a controversy. However, firms with consistent reporting are also held to a higher standard than their nonreporting peers, suggesting a higher risk and higher reward dynamic. These findings support the theory of good management, in that long-term strategic planning is both immediately economically beneficial and serves as a means of risk management and social impact mitigation. Overall, this contributes to the literature by fillings gaps in the nature of impact that ESG has on firm performance, particularly from a management perspective

    First report on metagenomics and their predictive functional analysis of fermented bamboo shoot food of Tripura, North East India

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    Moiya pansung, mileye amileye, moiya koshak, and midukeye are naturally fermented bamboo shoot foods of Tripura. The present study aimed to reveal the whole microbial community structure of naturally fermented moiya pangsung, mileye amileye, moiya koshak, and midukeye along with the prediction of microbial functional profiles by shotgun metagenomic sequence analysis. The metataxonomic profile of moiya pangsung, mileye amileye, moiya koshak, and midukeye samples showed different domains, viz., bacteria (97.70%) followed by the virus (0.76%), unclassified (0.09%), eukaryotes (1.46%) and archaea (0.05%). Overall, 49 phyla, 409 families, 841 genera, and 1,799 species were found in all the fermented bamboo shoot samples collected from different places of Tripura. Firmicutes was the most abundant phylum (89.28%) followed by Proteobacteria (5.13%), Bacteroidetes (4.38%), Actinobacteria (1.02%), and Fusobacteria (0.17%). Lactiplantibacillus plantarum was the most abundant species in moiya pangsung, mileye amileye, moiya koshak, and midukeye followed by Lactococcus lactis, Levilactobacillus brevis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Weissella paramesenteroides, Leuconostoc kimchii, Pediococcus pentosaceus, Leuconostoc gasicomitatum, and Lacticaseibacillus casei. A few phyla of fungus were found, viz., Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, and Glomeromycota, where Ascomycota was present in high abundance. Functional analysis of moiya pangsung, mileye amileye, moiya koshak, and midukeye metagenome revealed the genes for the synthesis and metabolism of a wide range of bioactive compounds including, various essential amino acids, and conjugated amino acids. The abundance profile and predictive analysis of fermented bamboo shoots revealed a huge plethora of essential microorganisms and KEGG analysis revealed genes for amino acid metabolism, pectin degradation, lipid metabolism, and many other essential pathways that can be essential for the improvement of nutritional and sensory qualities of the fermented bamboo shoot products

    The place where curses are manufactured : four poets of the Vietnam War

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    The Vietnam War was unique among American wars. To pinpoint its uniqueness, it was necessary to look for a non-American voice that would enable me to articulate its distinctiveness and explore the American character as observed by an Asian. Takeshi Kaiko proved to be most helpful. From his novel, Into a Black Sun, I was able to establish a working pair of 'bookends' from which to approach the poetry of Walter McDonald, Bruce Weigl, Basil T. Paquet and Steve Mason. Chapter One is devoted to those seemingly mismatched 'bookends,' Walt Whitman and General William C. Westmoreland, and their respective anthropocentric and technocentric visions of progress and the peculiarly American concept of the "open road" as they manifest themselves in Vietnam. In Chapter, Two, I analyze the war poems of Walter McDonald. As a pilot, writing primarily about flying, his poetry manifests General Westmoreland's technocentric vision of the 'road' as determined by and manifest through technology. Chapter Three focuses on the poems of Bruce Weigl. The poems analyzed portray the literal and metaphorical descent from the technocentric, 'numbed' distance of aerial warfare to the world of ground warfare, and the initiation of a 'fucking new guy,' who discovers the contours of the self's interior through a set of experiences that lead from from aerial insertion into the jungle to the degradation of burning human feces. Chapter Four, devoted to the thirteen poems of Basil T. Paquet, focuses on the continuation of the descent begun in Chapter Two. In his capacity as a medic, Paquet's entire body of poems details his quotidian tasks which entail tending the maimed, the mortally wounded and the dead. The final chapter deals with Steve Mason's JohnnY's Song, and his depiction of the plight of Vietnam veterans back in "The World" who are still trapped inside the interior landscape of their individual "ghettoes" of the soul created by their war-time experiences

    Assessing the Effects of Instream Large Wood on Floodplain Aquifer Recharge and Storage at Indian Creek, Kittitas County, Washington, USA

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    Numerous stream restoration projects in the Yakima River Basin in Washington have placed large wood (LW) into tributary channels. One intended effect is to divert water onto floodplains to increase groundwater (GW) recharge and seasonal storage in shallow alluvial aquifers during spring high flows with the intention of releasing GW into streams during the drier summer months. Large wood was emplaced in the Indian Creek tributary of the Teanaway River in Kittitas County, Washington beginning in 2016. Potential changes in the groundwater recharge in the adjacent floodplain before and after the LW installation were investigated through stratigraphic analysis, stream-flow modeling, and GW levels in six piezometers installed in 2014 and 2018. Stratigraphic descriptions of the stream banks reveal a ubiquitous silt/clay dominant layer (60-90 cm thick) at a depth of 1 meter or less, overlying a sand and gravel layer (15-50 cm thick), a clay/silt layer (~30 cm thick), and another sand and gravel layer. These relatively continuous clay layers extend at least 2.2 km upstream from the mouth of Indian Creek on both sides of the channel. Similar clay units have been mapped in the region as glacial drift or lacustrine deposits. The measured stream flow and GW levels in the monitoring wells before and after the LW emplacement show no detectable effect of the LW on seasonal or longer-term GW levels. Data loggers show that GW levels return to baseflow within days of monthly precipitation exceeding 70 mm, suggesting GW flow within the permeable sand and gravel layers beneath or between the clay/silt layers. Available data show that the highest spring GW elevations precede peak stream discharge, indicating that the peak streamflow is not a significant source of GW recharge. A 1-dimensional hydraulic model run with and without channel obstructions at spring monthly average discharge and peak discharge suggests that the water surface elevation may increase ~10-50 cm within and upstream of LW. This assessment of stratigraphy coupled with GW data and stream-flow model can provide insight into the effectiveness of GW recharge from LW restoration projects in similar settings within the region
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