21,993 research outputs found

    Legal culture and climate change adaptation : an agenda for research

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    While climate change adaptation research has increasingly focused on aspects of culture, a systematic treatment of the role of legal culture in how communities respond to climate risk has yet to be produced. This is despite the fact that law and legal authority are implicated in most, if not all, of the ways in which actors seek to reduce the risks posed to communities by climate change. Using a scoping review methodology, this article examines the intersection of climate change adaptation and legal culture in existing research. Overall, we find that the significance of legal culture for adaptation actions has been under-explored. Yet, it is also clear that a focus on legal culture holds significant promise for our understanding of climate change adaptation. We set out a research agenda for the field, highlighting the ways in which a focus on legal culture may enrich existing key themes within climate change adaptation research. This article is categorized under: Policy and Governance > Governing Climate Change in Communities, Cities, and Regions Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change > Institutions for Adaptation

    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 Wängberg (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 μg 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

    Food biodiversity: Quantifying the unquantifiable in human diets

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    Dietary diversity is an established public health principle, and its measurement is essential for studies of diet quality and food security. However, conventional between food group scores fail to capture the nutritional variability and ecosystem services delivered by dietary richness and dissimilarity within food groups, or the relative distribution (i.e., evenness or moderation) of e.g., species or varieties across whole diets. Summarizing food biodiversity in an all-encompassing index is problematic. Therefore, various diversity indices have been proposed in ecology, yet these require methodological adaption for integration in dietary assessments. In this narrative review, we summarize the key conceptual issues underlying the measurement of food biodiversity at an edible species level, assess the ecological diversity indices previously applied to food consumption and food supply data, discuss their relative suitability, and potential amendments for use in (quantitative) dietary intake studies. Ecological diversity indices are often used without justification through the lens of nutrition. To illustrate: (i) dietary species richness fails to account for the distribution of foods across the diet or their functional traits; (ii) evenness indices, such as the Gini-Simpson index, require widely accepted relative abundance units (e.g., kcal, g, cups) and evidence-based moderation weighting factors; and (iii) functional dissimilarity indices are constructed based on an arbitrary selection of distance measures, cutoff criteria, and number of phylogenetic, nutritional, and morphological traits. Disregard for these limitations can lead to counterintuitive results and ambiguous or incorrect conclusions about the food biodiversity within diets or food systems. To ensure comparability and robustness of future research, we advocate food biodiversity indices that: (i) satisfy key axioms; (ii) can be extended to account for disparity between edible species; and (iii) are used in combination, rather than in isolation

    „Ich war mutig“: Eine qualitative Studie zur Rekonstruktion kindlicher Perspektiven auf Erfahrungen im pferdegestützten Setting

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    Das vorliegende kumulative Dissertationsprojekt besteht aus fünf Fachbeiträgen und befasst sich mit pferdegestützten Interventionen aus der Perspektive von Kindern. Zunächst wird eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit dem Forschungsfeld tiergestützter Interventionen vorgenommen, da hier häufig Erklärungsansätze herangezogen werden, die wissenschaftlich nicht abgesichert sind. Diese Ansätze sollen in der eigenen Arbeit nicht reproduziert werden. Für die Erhebung des Forschungsstandes werden Studien herangezogen, welche sich mit der psychischen, sozialen und emotionalen Wirkung pferdegestützter Interventionen bei Kindern befassen. Das bearbeitete Forschungsdesiderat ergab sich aus der Betrachtung bestehender Studien, da die Kinderperspektive in diesem Zusammenhang bisher kaum wissenschaftlich betrachtet wurde. Um zu verstehen, was für Kinder an pferdegestützten Interventionen relevant ist, wird ein Forschungsdesign verwendet, welches die Kinder in den Forschungsprozess einbezieht, sodass sie ihre eigenen Relevanzen explizieren können. Somit wird eine neue Perspektive auf bestehende Forschungsergebnisse eröffnet, welche ein tieferes Verständnis für die Wirkweisen pferdegestützter Interventionen bietet und die Möglichkeit zur Evaluation der praktischen Durchführung beinhaltet. Die Ergebnisse beruhen auf der Befragung von 23 Kindern die wöchentlich an einer pferdegestützten Intervention teilnahmen. Die meisten der Kinder lebten zum Zeitpunkt des Interviews in Einrichtungen der Kinder- und Jugendhilfe und nicht bei ihren Familien und standen somit unter erhöhter psychosozialer Belastung. Wie Kinder pferdegestützte Förderung wahrnehmen, wird mit Hilfe von offenen Leitfadeninterviews und der Grounded Theory herausgearbeitet. Als zusätzliche Ausdrucksmöglichkeit der Kinder wurden Bilder, die sie vom pferdegestützten Setting malten, als ergänzendes Material genutzt und mittels Segmentanalyse ausgewertet. Am Ende der Arbeit ist festzuhalten, dass in pferdegestützten Interventionen, mit dem Ziel der Förderung von mentaler Gesundheit, reitpädagogische Fachkräfte Situationen mit Pferden konstruieren, die das interpersonale Vertrauen und das Selbstvertrauen von Kindern stärken, indem gezielt die Bewältigung von Herausforderungen mit dem Pferd unterstützend angeleitet wird. Insbesondere die zentrale Rolle der reitpädagogischen Fachkraft sowie relevante Wirkfaktoren werden vertieft betrachtet

    Chiral active fluids: Odd viscosity, active turbulence, and directed flows of hydrodynamic microrotors

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    While the number of publications on rotating active matter has rapidly increased in recent years, studies on purely hydrodynamically interacting rotors on the microscale are still rare, especially from the perspective of particle based hydrodynamic simulations. The work presented here targets to fill this gap. By means of high-performance computer simulations, performed in a highly parallelised fashion on graphics processing units, the dynamics of ensembles of up to 70,000 rotating colloids immersed in an explicit mesoscopic solvent consisting out of up to 30 million fluid particles, are investigated. Some of the results presented in this thesis have been worked out in collaboration with experimentalists, such that the theoretical considerations developed in this thesis are supported by experiments, and vice versa. The studied system, modelled in order to resemble the essential physics of the experimentally realisable system, consists out of rotating magnetic colloidal particles, i.e., (micro-)rotors, rotating in sync to an externally applied magnetic field, where the rotors solely interact via hydrodynamic and steric interactions. Overall, the agreement between simulations and experiments is very good, proving that hydrodynamic interactions play a key role in this and related systems. While already an isolated rotating colloid is driven out of equilibrium, only collections of two or more rotors have experimentally shown to be able to convert the rotational energy input into translational dynamics in an orbital rotating fashion. The rotating colloids inject circular flows into the fluid, such that detailed balance is broken, and it is not a priori known whether equilibrium properties of colloids can be extended to isolated rotating colloids. A joint theoretical and experimental analysis of isolated, pairs, and small groups of hydrodynamically interacting rotors is given in chapter 2. While the translational dynamics of isolated rotors effectively resemble the dynamics of non-rotating colloids, the orbital rotation of pairs of rotors can be described with leading order hydrodynamics and a two-dimensional analogy of Faxén’s law is derived. In chapter 3, a homogeneously distributed ensemble of rotors (bulk) as a realisation of a chiral active fluid is studied and it is explicitly shown computationally and experimentally that it carries odd viscosity. The mutual orbital translation of rotors and an increase of the effective solvent viscosity with rotor density lead to a non-monotonous behaviour of the average translational velocity. Meanwhile, the rotor suspension bears a finite osmotic compressibility resulting from the long-ranged nature of hydrody- namic interactions such that rotational and odd stresses are transmitted through the solvent also at small and intermediate rotor densities. Consequently, density inhomogeneities predicted for chiral active fluids with odd viscosity can be found and allow for an explicit measurement of odd viscosity in simulations and experiments. At intermediate densities, the collective dynamics shows the emergence of multi-scale vortices and chaotic motion which is identified as active turbulence with a self-similar power-law decay in the energy spectrum, showing that the injected energy on the rotor scale is transported to larger scales, similar to the inverse energy cascade of clas- sical two-dimensional turbulence. While either odd viscosity or active turbulence have been reported in chiral active matter previously, the system studied here shows that the emergence of both simultaneously is possible resulting from the osmotic compressibility and hydrodynamic mediation of odd and active stresses. The collective dynamics of colloids rotating out of phase, i.e., where a constant torque instead of a constant angular velocity is applied, is shown to be qualitatively very similar. However, at smaller densities, local density inhomogeneities imply position dependent angular velocities of the rotors resulting from inter-rotor friction. While the friction of a quasi-2D layer of active colloids with the substrate is often not easily modifiable in experiments, the incorporation of substrate friction into the simulation models typically implies a considerable increase in computational effort. In chapter 4, a very efficient way of incorporating the friction with a substrate into a two-dimensional multiparticle collision dynamics solvent is introduced, allowing for an explicit investigation of the influences of substrate on active dynamics. For the rotor fluid, it is explicitly shown that the influence of the substrate friction results in a cutoff of the hydrodynamic interaction length, such that the maximum size of the formed vortices is controlled by the substrate friction, also resulting in a cutoff in the energy spectrum, because energy is taken out of the system at the respective length. These findings are in agreement with the experiments. Since active particles in confinement are known to organise in states of collective dynamics, ensembles of rotationally actuated colloids are studied in circular confinement and in the presence of periodic obstacle lattices in chapters 5 and 6, respectively. The results show that the chaotic active turbulent transport of rotors in suspension can be enhanced and guided resulting from edge flows generated at the boundaries, as has recently been reported for a related chiral active system. The consequent collective rotor dynamics can be regarded as a superposition of active turbulent and imposed flows, leading to on average stationary flows. In contrast to the bulk dynamics, the imposed flows inject additional energy into the system on the long length scales, and the same scaling behaviour of the energy spectrum as in bulk is only obtained if the energy injection scales, due to the mutual generation of rotor translational dynamics throughout the system and the edge flows, are well separated. The combination of edge flow and entropic layering at the boundaries leads to oscillating hydrodynamic stresses and consequently to an oscillating vorticity profile. In the presence of odd viscosity, this consequently leads to non-trivial steady-state density modulations at the boundary, resulting from a balance of osmotic pressure and odd stresses. Relevant for the efficient dispersion and mixing of inert particles on the mesoscale by means of active turbulent mixing powered by rotors, a study of the dynamics of a binary mixture consisting out of rotors and passive particles is presented in chapter 7. Because the rotors are not self-propelled, but the translational dynamics is induced by the surrounding rotors, the passive particles, which do not inject further energy into the system, are transported according to the same mechanism as the rotors. The collective dynamics thus resembles the pure rotor bulk dynamics at the respective density of only rotors. However, since no odd stresses act between the passive particles, only mutual rotor interactions lead to odd stresses leading to the accumulation of rotors in the regions of positive vorticity. This density increase is associated with a pressure increase, which balances the odd stresses acting on the rotors. However, the passive particles are only subject to the accumulation induced pressure increase such that these particles are transported into the areas of low rotor concentration, i.e., the regions of negative vorticity. Under conditions of sustained vortex flow, this results in segregation of both particle types. Since local symmetry breaking can convert injected rotational into translational energy, microswimmers can be constructed out of rotor materials when a suitable breaking of symmetry is kept in the vicinity of a rotor. One hypothetical realisation, i.e., a coupled rotor pair consisting out of two rotors of opposite angular velocity and of fixed distance, termed a birotor, are studied in chapter 8. The birotor pumps the fluid into one direction and consequently translates into the opposite direction, and creates a flow field reminiscent of a source doublet, or sliplet flow field. Fixed in space the birotor might be an interesting realisation of a microfluidic pump. The trans- lational dynamics of a birotor can be mapped onto the active Brownian particle model for single swimmers. However, due to the hydrodynamic interactions among the rotors, the birotor ensemble dynamics do not show the emergence of stable motility induced clustering. The reason for this is the flow created by birotor in small aggregates which effectively pushes further arriving birotors away from small aggregates, which eventually are all dispersed by thermal fluctuations

    Winter mortality of a passerine bird increases following hotter summers and during winters with higher maximum temperatures

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    Climate change may influence animal population dynamics through reproduction and mortality. However, attributing changes in mortality to specific climate variables is challenging because the exact time of death is usually unknown in the wild. Here, we investigated climate effects on adult mortality in Australian superb fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus). Over a 27-year period, mortality outside the breeding season nearly doubled. This nonbreeding season mortality increased with lower minimum (night-time) and higher maximum (day-time) winter temperatures and with higher summer heat wave intensity. Fine-scale analysis showed that higher mortality in a given week was associated with higher maxima 2 weeks prior and lower minima in the current fortnight, indicating costs of temperature drops. Increases in summer heat waves and in winter maximum temperatures collectively explained 62.6% of the increase in mortality over the study period. Our results suggest that warming climate in both summer and winter can adversely affect survival, with potentially substantial population consequences

    Biological impacts of marine heatwaves

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    Climatic extremes are becoming increasingly common against a background trend of global warming. In the oceans, marine heatwaves (MHWs)—discrete periods of anomalously warm water—have intensified and become more frequent over the past century, impacting the integrity of marine ecosystems globally. We review and synthesize current understanding of MHW impacts at the individual, population, and community levels. We then examine how these impacts affect broader ecosystem services and discuss the current state of research on biological impacts of MHWs. Finally, we explore current and emergent approaches to predicting the occurrence and impacts of future events, along with adaptation and management approaches. With further increases in intensity and frequency projected for coming decades, MHWs are emerging as pervasive stressors to marine ecosystems globally. A deeper mechanistic understanding of their biological impacts is needed to better predict and adapt to increased MHW activity in the Anthropocene

    Central-provincial Politics and Industrial Policy-making in the Electric Power Sector in China

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    In addition to the studies that provide meaningful insights into the complexity of technical and economic issues, increasing studies have focused on the political process of market transition in network industries such as the electric power sector. This dissertation studies the central–provincial interactions in industrial policy-making and implementation, and attempts to evaluate the roles of Chinese provinces in the market reform process of the electric power sector. Market reforms of this sector are used as an illustrative case because the new round of market reforms had achieved some significant breakthroughs in areas such as pricing reform and wholesale market trading. Other policy measures, such as the liberalization of the distribution market and cross-regional market-building, are still at a nascent stage and have only scored moderate progress. It is important to investigate why some policy areas make greater progress in market reforms than others. It is also interesting to examine the impacts of Chinese central-provincial politics on producing the different market reform outcomes. Guangdong and Xinjiang are two provinces being analyzed in this dissertation. The progress of market reforms in these two provinces showed similarities although the provinces are very different in terms of local conditions such as the stages of their economic development and energy structures. The actual reform can be understood as the outcomes of certain modes of interactions between the central and provincial actors in the context of their particular capabilities and preferences in different policy areas. This dissertation argues that market reform is more successful in policy areas where the central and provincial authorities are able to engage mainly in integrative negotiations than in areas where they engage mainly in distributive negotiations
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