853 research outputs found

    Global assessment of nitrogen deposition effects on terrestrial plant diversity : a synthesis

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    Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition is it recognized threat to plant diversity ill temperate and northern parts of Europe and North America. This paper assesses evidence from field experiments for N deposition effects and thresholds for terrestrial plant diversity protection across a latitudinal range of main categories of ecosystems. from arctic and boreal systems to tropical forests. Current thinking on the mechanisms of N deposition effects on plant diversity, the global distribution of G200 ecoregions, and current and future (2030) estimates of atmospheric N-deposition rates are then used to identify the risks to plant diversity in all major ecosystem types now and in the future. This synthesis paper clearly shows that N accumulation is the main driver of changes to species composition across the whole range of different ecosystem types by driving the competitive interactions that lead to composition change and/or making conditions unfavorable for some species. Other effects such its direct toxicity of nitrogen gases and aerosols long-term negative effects of increased ammonium and ammonia availability, soil-mediated effects of acidification, and secondary stress and disturbance are more ecosystem, and site-specific and often play a supporting role. N deposition effects in mediterranean ecosystems have now been identified, leading to a first estimate of an effect threshold. Importantly, ecosystems thought of as not N limited, such as tropical and subtropical systems, may be more vulnerable in the regeneration phase. in situations where heterogeneity in N availability is reduced by atmospheric N deposition, on sandy soils, or in montane areas. Critical loads are effect thresholds for N deposition. and the critical load concept has helped European governments make progress toward reducing N loads on sensitive ecosystems. More needs to be done in Europe and North America. especially for the more sensitive ecosystem types. including several ecosystems of high conservation importance. The results of this assessment Show that the Vulnerable regions outside Europe and North America which have not received enough attention are ecoregions in eastern and Southern Asia (China, India), an important part of the mediterranean ecoregion (California, southern Europe). and in the coming decades several subtropical and tropical parts of Latin America and Africa. Reductions in plant diversity by increased atmospheric N deposition may be more widespread than first thought, and more targeted Studies are required in low background areas, especially in the G200 ecoregions

    Measurement of the Neutron Lifetime by Counting Trapped Protons in a Cold Neutron Beam

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    A measurement of the neutron lifetime τn\tau_{n} performed by the absolute counting of in-beam neutrons and their decay protons has been completed. Protons confined in a quasi-Penning trap were accelerated onto a silicon detector held at a high potential and counted with nearly unit efficiency. The neutrons were counted by a device with an efficiency inversely proportional to neutron velocity, which cancels the dwell time of the neutron beam in the trap. The result is τn=(886.6±1.2[stat]±3.2[sys])\tau_{n} = (886.6\pm1.2{\rm [stat]}\pm3.2{\rm [sys]}) s, which is the most precise measurement of the lifetime using an in-beam method. The systematic uncertainty is dominated by neutron counting, in particular the mass of the deposit and the 6^{6}Li({\it{n,t}}) cross section. The measurement technique and apparatus, data analysis, and investigation of systematic uncertainties are discussed in detail.Comment: 71 pages, 20 figures, 9 tables; submitted to PR

    Environmental and Organismal Predictors of Intraspecific Variation in the Stoichiometry of a Neotropical Freshwater Fish

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    The elemental composition of animals, or their organismal stoichiometry, is thought to constrain their contribution to nutrient recycling, their interactions with other animals, and their demographic rates. Factors that affect organismal stoichiometry are generally poorly understood, but likely reflect elemental investments in morphological features and life history traits, acting in concert with the environmental availability of elements. We assessed the relative contribution of organismal traits and environmental variability to the stoichiometry of an insectivorous Neotropical stream fish, Rivulus hartii. We characterized the influence of body size, life history phenotype, stage of maturity, and environmental variability on organismal stoichiometry in 6 streams that differ in a broad suite of environmental variables. The elemental composition of R. hartii was variable, and overlapped with the wide range of elemental composition documented across freshwater fish taxa. Average %P composition was ∼3.2%(±0.6), average %N∼10.7%(±0.9), and average %C∼41.7%(±3.1). Streams were the strongest predictor of organismal stoichiometry, and explained up to 18% of the overall variance. This effect appeared to be largely explained by variability in quality of basal resources such as epilithon N∶P and benthic organic matter C∶N, along with variability in invertebrate standing stocks, an important food source for R. hartii. Organismal traits were weak predictors of organismal stoichiometry in this species, explaining when combined up to 7% of the overall variance in stoichiometry. Body size was significantly and positively correlated with %P, and negatively with N∶P, and C∶P, and life history phenotype was significantly correlated with %C, %P, C∶P and C∶N. Our study suggests that spatial variability in elemental availability is more strongly correlated with organismal stoichiometry than organismal traits, and suggests that the stoichiometry of carnivores may not be completely buffered from environmental variability. We discuss the relevance of these findings to ecological stoichiometry theory

    High Levels of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 in Blood and Semen of Seropositive Men in Sub-Saharan Africa

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    High levels of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication, as reflected in HIV-1 RNA concentrations in blood and semen, probably contribute to both rapid disease progression and enhanced sexual transmission. Semen and blood were collected from 49 Malawian and 61 US and Swiss (US/Swiss) HIV-1.seropositive men with similar CD4 cell counts and no urethritis or exposure to antiretroviral drugs. Median seminal plasma and blood plasma HIV-1 RNA concentrations were > 3-fold (P = .034) and 5-fold (P = .0003) higher, respectively, in the Malawian men. Similar differences were observed in subsets of the Malawian and US/Swiss study groups matched individually for CD4 cell count (P = .035 and P <.002, respectively). These observations may help explain the high rates of HIV-1 sexual transmission and accelerated HIV-1 disease progression in sub-Saharan Afric

    Phenotypic Type 2 Diabetes in Obese Youth: Insulin Sensitivity and Secretion in Islet Cell Antibody–Negative Versus –Positive Patients

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    OBJECTIVE— Some obese youth with a clinical diagnosis of type 2 diabetes have evidence of islet cell autoimmunity with positive autoantibodies. In this study, we investigated the differences in insulin sensitivity and secretion between autoantibody-negative (Ab−) and -positive (Ab+) youth with clinically diagnosed type 2 diabetes in comparison with control subjects

    Characteristics associated with quality of life among people with drug-resistant epilepsy

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    Quality of Life (QoL) is the preferred outcome in non-pharmacological trials, but there is little UK population evidence of QoL in epilepsy. In advance of evaluating an epilepsy self-management course we aimed to describe, among UK participants, what clinical and psycho-social characteristics are associated with QoL. We recruited 404 adults attending specialist clinics, with at least two seizures in the prior year and measured their self-reported seizure frequency, co-morbidity, psychological distress, social characteristics, including self-mastery and stigma, and epilepsy-specific QoL (QOLIE-31-P). Mean age was 42 years, 54% were female, and 75% white. Median time since diagnosis was 18 years, and 69% experienced ≥10 seizures in the prior year. Nearly half (46%) reported additional medical or psychiatric conditions, 54% reported current anxiety and 28% reported current depression symptoms at borderline or case level, with 63% reporting felt stigma. While a maximum QOLIE-31-P score is 100, participants’ mean score was 66, with a wide range (25–99). In order of large to small magnitude: depression, low self-mastery, anxiety, felt stigma, a history of medical and psychiatric comorbidity, low self-reported medication adherence, and greater seizure frequency were associated with low QOLIE-31-P scores. Despite specialist care, UK people with epilepsy and persistent seizures experience low QoL. If QoL is the main outcome in epilepsy trials, developing and evaluating ways to reduce psychological and social disadvantage are likely to be of primary importance. Educational courses may not change QoL, but be one component supporting self-management for people with long-term conditions, like epilepsy