227 research outputs found

    Small shrubby patches increase bird taxonomic and functional richness of wood-pastures

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    Wood-pastures are semi-natural systems that combine a grazed grassland with a tree layer. Shrubs are often controlled, mostly to improve grazing potential, resulting in a reduction of the available ecological niches. From a conservation perspective, it is thus important to identify management practices that counter this reduction. Our overall objective was to determine the value of small shrubby patches to increase the richness of wood-pasture bird communities. As study model we used Mediterranean oak wood-pastures in southern Portugal, locally known as montados. Birds and environmental variables were sampled in 50 m radius plots of wood-pasture with and without small shrubby patches (128‚Äď3748 m2, covering less than 0.5% of the study area), in winter (n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ54) and spring (n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ65). Species assemblages‚Äô composition changed between seasons, but in both seasons the assemblages in plots with and without patches were statistically different. Seven species were statistically associated to the presence of patches, in winter and spring, increasing the richness of the respective assemblages. A comparison of the functional composition of communities of patches and matrix revealed that patches increased richness of landscapes by boosting the presence of species with functional traits uncommon in the ecologically simplified matrix. Their presence is promoted by resources added by the patches (e.g. nesting sites, protection, food), but the ranges of individual birds in general extended well beyond the patches. This study demonstrated that the presence of few and small shrubby patches can significantly enrich the bird communities of wood-pastures, both taxonomically and functionally, indicating that promoting them is a cost-effective management measure for these valuable systems.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Niche differences may reduce susceptibility to competition between native and non‚Äźnative birds in oceanic islands

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    Aim Few bird extinctions on oceanic island have been attributed to competition with non-native species, even though it might be an overlooked driver of biodiversity loss. We evaluate the potential competition between native and non-native island bird species, identifying species and island characteristics that enhance it and may promote future extinctions. Location Seventy-three (>100 km2) oceanic islands worldwide. Methods We compiled a species list for each island and used single-trait meta-analyses to assess differences between native and non-native species. Then, we used single-trait beta regression models to identify species traits linked to potential competition. Finally, we used a trait-based approach to calculate the potential competition between native and non-native species on each island and identify island characteristics linked to potential competition. Results Native bird species tended to be smaller forest dwellers, that were either carnivore, frugivore or insectivore, and that foraged in flight, in the canopy or at mid-height. In contrast, non-native birds tended to be open habitat granivores, that were either ground or unspecialized foragers. Potential competition tended to be higher for native species with typical non-native traits and forest-dwelling unspecialized non-native species. Potential competition between native and non-native birds was consistently higher in islands that were larger, had more non-native birds or were drier. Main conclusions Niche differentiation of native and non-native species may explain the scarcity of reported competition-driven extinctions since non-natives clearly tend to favour and are better adapted to anthropogenic environments. However, the few non-native birds that occur in native ecosystems may be problematic. The loss of native ecosystems coupled with the introduction of species that might outcompete native species may enhance the relevance of competition in future island extinctions.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Contributions to the design of mobile applications for visitors of Botanical Gardens

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    Botanical Gardens are among the most visited touristic attractions, offering scientific, educational, cultural and leisure activities to preserve and enhance heritage and disseminating specialised knowledge on science and history. There are several mobile applications (apps) to support visitors of Botanical Gardens, which explore augmented reality technologies to enrich their experience. Our work aims to systematize a set of requirements that must be considered in the development of these apps. We have applied them in the development of an app for a Botanical Garden available for Android and iOS. Preliminary data analysis of the use of our app revealed some characteristics of the visitors and the preferred tours. Meanwhile we are evaluating our app by conducting a user study.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Colloidal nanomaterials for water quality improvement and monitoring

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    Water is the most important resource for all kind forms of live. It is a vital resource distributed unequally across different regions of the globe, with populations already living with water scarcity, a situation that is spreading due to the impact of climate change. The reversal of this tendency and the mitigation of its disastrous consequences is a global challenge posed to Humanity, with the scientific community assuming a major obligation for providing solutions based on scientific knowledge. This article reviews literature concerning the development of nanomaterials for water purification technologies, including collaborative scientific research carried out in our laboratory (nanoLAB@UA) framed by the general activities carried out at the CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials. Our research carried out in this specific context has been mainly focused on the synthesis and surface chemical modification of nanomaterials, typically of a colloidal nature, as well as on the evaluation of the relevant properties that arise from the envisaged applications of the materials. As such, the research reviewed here has been guided along three thematic lines: 1) magnetic nanosorbents for water treatment technologies, namely by using biocomposites and graphite-like nanoplatelets; 2) nanocomposites for photocatalysis (e.g., TiO2/Fe3O4 and POM supported graphene oxide photocatalysts; photoactive membranes) and 3) nanostructured substrates for contaminant detection using surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), namely polymers loaded with Ag/Au colloids and magneto-plasmonic nanostructures. This research is motivated by the firm believe that these nanomaterials have potential for contributing to the solution of environmental problems and, conversely, will not be part of the problem. Therefore, assessment of the impact of nanoengineered materials on eco-systems is important and research in this area has also been developed by collaborative projects involving experts in nanotoxicity. The above topics are reviewed here by presenting a brief conceptual framework together with illustrative case studies, in some cases with original research results, mainly focusing on the chemistry of the nanomaterials investigated for target applications. Finally, near-future developments in this research area are put in perspective, forecasting realistic solutions for the application of colloidal nanoparticles in water cleaning technologies.publishe

    Care4Value: medición del valor en salud en Unidades de Cuidados Continuos Integrados

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    Objetivo: Desenvolver uma plataforma digital para a otimiza√ß√£o do processo de coleta de dados de escalas cl√≠nicas e monitoramento desses dados com vista √† medi√ß√£o do valor em sa√ļde. M√©todos: Por meio de uma metodologia de investiga√ß√£o-a√ß√£o, o desenvolvimento da plataforma incluiu abordagens qualitativas e quantitativas, em tr√™s fases: grupos focais com uma equipe multidisciplinar de investigadores e profi ssionais de sa√ļde da UCCI do estudo-piloto; an√°lise dos dados cl√≠nicos em formato de pr√©-teste de uma amostra de 21 usu√°rios da UCCI para categorizar diferentes graus de complexidade; e, an√°lise de informa√ß√£o fi nanceira, aos custos operacionais da UCCI, relativa ao momento de perman√™ncia dos mesmos 21 usu√°rios. O desenvolvimento iterativo e incremental da plataforma permitiu coletar feedback dos usu√°rios como forma de melhoria. Resultados: A plataforma inclui 3 m√≥dulos: aplicativo m√≥vel; dashboard; e m√≥dulo de importa√ß√£o. A plataforma centraliza os dados coletados e disponibiliza-os por meio de um dashboard. Os dados s√£o coletados por aplicativo m√≥vel e/ou por um m√≥dulo de importa√ß√£o que consome dados de sistemas cl√≠nicos existentes. Conclus√£o: O aplicativo m√≥vel est√° apto a ser utilizado por profi ssionais de sa√ļde e cuidadores, e o dashboard apresenta informa√ß√Ķes de acompanhamento cl√≠nico dos usu√°rios e monitoramento dos seus ganhos em sa√ļde.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Marketing motivations influencing food choice in 16 countries: segmentation and cluster analysis.

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    Food behaviour is governed by different kinds of motivations, some of individual nature and others related with the external food environment. This study investigated the eating motivations in sixteen countries with respect to commercial and marketing influences on food choices. The questionnaire survey was developed between September 2017 and June 2018, via online tools, targeting a convenience sample of residents in sixteen countries (Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and the United States of America). The number of valid responses received was 11,919 participants. The data were treated using SPSS software, and the main statistical techniques used included exploratory factor analysis, evaluation of internal reliability through Cronbach’s alpha, cluster analysis (hierarchical and k-means) and logistic regression. The results obtained showed two groups of people: low motivated and notably motivated consumers. The results showed high asymmetries between countries, with highest percentage of highly motivated consumers in Egypt and the lowest percentage of highly motivated in Portugal. It was further observed that consumers more influenced by commercial and marketing aspects (the notably motivated) tend to be women, young, single, less educated, less likely to be professionally active, and those who live mostly in rural or suburban areas. Less exercise and overweight are also factors associated with greater propensity for commercial and marketing motivations. Furthermore, health problems such as shellfish or gluten intolerance, hypertension and high cholesterol confer less propensity to be in the segment of the notably motivated consumers. In conclusion, this work highlighted the role of geographic, sociodemographic and lifestyle factors as food choice determinants.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    A comprehensive assessment of the transcriptome of cork oak (Quercus suber) through EST sequencing

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    Background: Cork oak (Quercus suber) is one of the rare trees with the ability to produce cork, a material widely used to make wine bottle stoppers, flooring and insulation materials, among many other uses. The molecular mechanisms of cork formation are still poorly understood, in great part due to the difficulty in studying a species with a long life-cycle and for which there is scarce molecular/genomic information. Cork oak forests are of great ecological importance and represent a major economic and social resource in Southern Europe and Northern Africa. However, global warming is threatening the cork oak forests by imposing thermal, hydric and many types of novel biotic stresses. Despite the economic and social value of the Q. suber species, few genomic resources have been developed, useful for biotechnological applications and improved forest management. Results: We generated in excess of 7 million sequence reads, by pyrosequencing 21 normalized cDNA libraries derived from multiple Q. suber tissues and organs, developmental stages and physiological conditions. We deployed a stringent sequence processing and assembly pipeline that resulted in the identification of ~159,000 unigenes. These were annotated according to their similarity to known plant genes, to known Interpro domains, GO classes and E.C. numbers. The phylogenetic extent of this ESTs set was investigated, and we found that cork oak revealed a significant new gene space that is not covered by other model species or EST sequencing projects. The raw data, as well as the full annotated assembly, are now available to the community in a dedicated web portal at http://www.corkoakdb.org. Conclusions: This genomic resource represents the first trancriptome study in a cork producing species. It can be explored to develop new tools and approaches to understand stress responses and developmental processes in forest trees, as well as the molecular cascades underlying cork differentiation and disease response.Peer Reviewe
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