2,164 research outputs found

    On the stability of the dorsal pattern of European cave salamanders (genus Hydromantes)

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    Photographic identification is an emerging method for recognising wild animals. This harmless methodology allows researchers to identify \u201cnaturally marked\u201d individuals and therefore study their specific ecology and behaviour. However, before incurring potential data loss, it is recommended to test the methodology on the target species and evaluate the pros and cons. We assessed the reliability of photographic identification in adult Hydromantes salamanders from three species. Specifically, we assessed whether the dorsal pattern of adult salamanders changed over time, thus evaluating its potential use as a reliable marking methodology. We used capture-mark-recapture and controlled conditions (i.e. individuals kept in fauna boxes) to evaluate potential changes in the dorsal pattern of Hydromantes through time. We did not observe any change in the dorsal pattern in the three species during the study period. Photographic identification might be a useful marking technique for these endangered species. However, these animals are usually found in environments generally lacking light and thus, researchers must be careful in setting up proper light conditions to produce suitable pictures for individual identification of Hydromantes

    Environmental suitability models predict population density, performance and body condition for microendemic salamanders

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    Species can show strong variation of local abundance across their ranges. Recent analyses suggested that variation in abundance can be related to environmental suitability, as the highest abundances are often observed in populations living in the most suitable areas. However, there is limited information on the mechanisms through which variation in environmental suitability determines abundance. We analysed populations of the microendemic salamander Hydromantes flavus, and tested several hypotheses on potential relationships linking environmental suitability to population parameters. For multiple populations across the whole species range, we assessed suitability using species distribution models, and measured density, activity level, food intake and body condition index. In high-suitability sites, the density of salamanders was up to 30-times higher than in the least suitable ones. Variation in activity levels and population performance can explain such variation of abundance. In high-suitability sites, salamanders were active close to the surface, and showed a low frequency of empty stomachs. Furthermore, when taking into account seasonal variation, body condition was better in the most suitable sites. Our results show that the strong relationship between environmental suitability and population abundance can be mediated by the variation of parameters strongly linked to individual performance and fitness

    Batracobdella leeches, environmental features and Hydromantes salamanders

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    Leeches can parasitize many vertebrate taxa. In amphibians, leech parasitism often has potential detrimental effects including population decline. Most of studies on the host-parasite interactions involving leeches and amphibians focus on freshwater environments, while they are very scarce for terrestrial amphibians. In this work, we studied the relationship between the leech Batracobdella algira and the European terrestrial salamanders of the genus Hydromantes, identifying environmental features related to the presence of the leeches and their possible effects on the hosts. We performed observation throughout Sardinia (Italy), covering the distribution area of all Hydromantes species endemic to this island. From September 2015 to May 2017, we conducted >150 surveys in 26 underground environments, collecting data on 2629 salamanders and 131 leeches. Water hardness was the only environmental feature correlated with the presence of B. algira, linking this leech to active karstic systems. Leeches were more frequently parasitizing salamanders with large body size. Body Condition Index was not significantly different between parasitized and non-parasitized salamanders. Our study shows the importance of abiotic environmental features for host-parasite interactions, and poses new questions on complex interspecific interactions between this ectoparasite and amphibians

    Point-occurrence self-similarity in crackling-noise systems and in other complex systems

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    It has been recently found that a number of systems displaying crackling noise also show a remarkable behavior regarding the temporal occurrence of successive events versus their size: a scaling law for the probability distributions of waiting times as a function of a minimum size is fulfilled, signaling the existence on those systems of self-similarity in time-size. This property is also present in some non-crackling systems. Here, the uncommon character of the scaling law is illustrated with simple marked renewal processes, built by definition with no correlations. Whereas processes with a finite mean waiting time do not fulfill a scaling law in general and tend towards a Poisson process in the limit of very high sizes, processes without a finite mean tend to another class of distributions, characterized by double power-law waiting-time densities. This is somehow reminiscent of the generalized central limit theorem. A model with short-range correlations is not able to escape from the attraction of those limit distributions. A discussion on open problems in the modeling of these properties is provided.Comment: Submitted to J. Stat. Mech. for the proceedings of UPON 2008 (Lyon), topic: crackling nois

    Unrelated bone marrow transplantation in Thalassemia. The experience of the Italian Bone Marrow transplant Group (GITMO)

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    BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is a widely accepted therapeutic approach in homozygous beta-thalassemia. However, the majority of patients do not have a genotypically identical donor within the family. This prompted us to conduct a pilot study to investigate the feasibility of matched unrelated bone marrow transplantation in thalassemia. The major drawback was the high risk of immunologic and transplant-related complications, mainly graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) and graft failure. DESIGN AND METHODS: Our aim was to reduce this risk through careful selection of donor/recipient pairs. HLA haplotypes that show a high linkage disequilibrium among their class I, class II and class III alleles are considered extended or ancestral haplotypes. RESULTS: These haplotypes are conserved and can be shared by apparently unrelated individuals. Our study shows that matching for these haplotypes significantly improves the outcome of unrelated bone marrow transplantation in thalassemia. In fact, results were comparable to those obtained in transplants using HLA-identifical family donors. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: Better results were obtained in patients with lesser iron overload and when the donor shared an identity for the DPB1 alleles

    High-Precision 4D Tracking with Large Pixels using Thin Resistive Silicon Detectors

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    The basic principle of operation of silicon sensors with resistive read-out is built-in charge sharing. Resistive Silicon Detectors (RSD, also known as AC-LGAD), exploiting the signals seen on the electrodes surrounding the impact point, achieve excellent space and time resolutions even with very large pixels. In this paper, a TCT system using a 1064 nm picosecond laser is used to characterize sensors from the second RSD production at the Fondazione Bruno Kessler. The paper first introduces the parametrization of the errors in the determination of the position and time coordinates in RSD, then outlines the reconstruction method, and finally presents the results. Three different pixel sizes are used in the analysis: 200 x 340, 450 x 450, and 1300 x 1300 microns^2. At gain = 30, the 450 x 450 microns^2 pixel achieves a time jitter of 20 ps and a spatial resolution of 15 microns concurrently, while the 1300 x 1300 microns^2 pixel achieves 30 ps and 30 micron, respectively. The implementation of cross-shaped electrodes improves considerably the response uniformity over the pixel surface.Comment: 28 pages, 23 figures submitted to NIM

    Data Descriptor: Field-recorded data on the diet of six species of European Hydromantes cave salamanders

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    The availability of data on the feeding habits of species of conservation value may be of great importance to develop analyses for both scientific and management purposes. Stomach flushing is a harmless technique that allowed us to collect extensive data on the feeding habits of six Hydromantes species. Here, we present two datasets originating from a three-year study performed in multiple seasons (spring and autumn) on 19 different populations of cave salamanders. The first dataset contains data of the stomach content of 1,250 salamanders, where 6,010 items were recognized; the second one reports the size of the intact prey items found in the stomachs. These datasets integrate considerably data already available on the diet of the European plethodontid salamanders, being also of potential use for large scale meta-analyses on amphibian diet

    Constraints on the χ_(c1) versus χ_(c2) polarizations in proton-proton collisions at √s = 8 TeV

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    The polarizations of promptly produced χ_(c1) and χ_(c2) mesons are studied using data collected by the CMS experiment at the LHC, in proton-proton collisions at √s=8  TeV. The χ_c states are reconstructed via their radiative decays χ_c → J/ψγ, with the photons being measured through conversions to e⁺e⁻, which allows the two states to be well resolved. The polarizations are measured in the helicity frame, through the analysis of the χ_(c2) to χ_(c1) yield ratio as a function of the polar or azimuthal angle of the positive muon emitted in the J/ψ → μ⁺μ⁻ decay, in three bins of J/ψ transverse momentum. While no differences are seen between the two states in terms of azimuthal decay angle distributions, they are observed to have significantly different polar anisotropies. The measurement favors a scenario where at least one of the two states is strongly polarized along the helicity quantization axis, in agreement with nonrelativistic quantum chromodynamics predictions. This is the first measurement of significantly polarized quarkonia produced at high transverse momentum
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