4 research outputs found

    neuroAIx-Framework: design of future neuroscience simulation systems exhibiting execution of the cortical microcircuit model 20× faster than biological real-time

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    IntroductionResearch in the field of computational neuroscience relies on highly capable simulation platforms. With real-time capabilities surpassed for established models like the cortical microcircuit, it is time to conceive next-generation systems: neuroscience simulators providing significant acceleration, even for larger networks with natural density, biologically plausible multi-compartment models and the modeling of long-term and structural plasticity.MethodsStressing the need for agility to adapt to new concepts or findings in the domain of neuroscience, we have developed the neuroAIx-Framework consisting of an empirical modeling tool, a virtual prototype, and a cluster of FPGA boards. This framework is designed to support and accelerate the continuous development of such platforms driven by new insights in neuroscience.ResultsBased on design space explorations using this framework, we devised and realized an FPGA cluster consisting of 35 NetFPGA SUME boards.DiscussionThis system functions as an evaluation platform for our framework. At the same time, it resulted in a fully deterministic neuroscience simulation system surpassing the state of the art in both performance and energy efficiency. It is capable of simulating the microcircuit with 20× acceleration compared to biological real-time and achieves an energy efficiency of 48nJ per synaptic event

    Complementing endozoochorous seed dispersal patterns by donkeys and goats in a semi-natural island ecosystem

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    Abstract Background Endozoochory is, in grazing systems, a substantial vector for seed dispersal. It can play an important role in vegetation dynamics, especially in colonization processes through seed input on the vegetation and on the soil seed bank. We investigated the endozoochorous seed input of donkeys and goats on a semi-natural island ecosystem in the Mediterranean. Through germination experiments, we assessed the viable seed content of the dung of these grazing animals to estimate their suitability and efficiency for seed dispersal of the vegetation types of the island. Results We show different dispersal patterns of donkeys and goats. Goats disperse a high number of diaspores from shrubs while donkeys disperse more diaspores of grasses. In addition, goats disperse plants of greater growth height and donkeys plants of shorter height. These dispersal patterns are in accordance with the vegetation types of which donkeys and goats disperse indicator species. Both, donkeys and goats, feed on and disperse species of the vegetation types, open grassland and temporarily wet grassland. In addition, goats feed on and disperse diagnostic species of the semi-open maquis and preforest formations. Conclusions Overall, our results show that donkeys and goats are complementing each other in their endozoochorous seed dispersal potential. This emphasizes the importance of both grazing animals for the vegetation dynamics of the semi-natural island ecosystem. Therefore, the adaption of the goat management to a traditional land management based on directed transhumance might maintain and enrich vegetation types

    National Park or Cultural Landscape Preservation? What the Soil Seed Bank Reveals for Plant Diversity Conservation

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    National parks play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity, mainly excluding human influence following the IUCN approach. However, in Europe, they are often characterized by a high percentage of traditional cultural landscape elements, which require active management. This calls into question whether the national park protection strategy is always appropriate. Here, we follow this question by taking the soil seed bank of various habitats of the Asinara National Park (Sardinia, Italy) as an example. Asinara is a suitable model region, as the island mainly consists of traditional cultural landscape elements, but the main conservation goals include afforestation plans and nature development promotion, which creates a trade-off between the conservation of forest vs. cultural landscapes. We investigated the soil seed bank, standing vegetation, and environmental factors in different cultural and natural habitats. Since the highest species richness and diversity were revealed for cultural vegetation units, they need to be of primary concern regarding the preservation of the island’s phytodiversity. Given the main objective of the conservation of biodiversity in the Asinara National Park, we conclude that a biosphere reserve with an adapted sustainable land-use management might be more suitable than a national park to account for both natural and cultural landscape preservation. This conclusion applies to many other European national parks