11 research outputs found

    Protecting and restoring Europe's waters:an analysis of the future development needs of the Water Framework Directive

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    The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a pioneering piece of legislation that aims to protect and enhance aquatic ecosystems and promote sustainable water use across Europe. There is growing concern that the objective of good status, or higher, in all EU waters by 2027 is a long way from being achieved in many countries. Through questionnaire analysis of almost 100 experts, we provide recommendations to enhance WFD monitoring and assessment systems, improve programmes of measures and further integrate with other sectoral policies. Our analysis highlights that there is great potential to enhance assessment schemes through strategic design of monitoring networks and innovation, such as earth observation. New diagnostic tools that use existing WFD monitoring data, but incorporate novel statistical and trait-based approaches could be used more widely to diagnose the cause of deterioration under conditions of multiple pressures and deliver a hierarchy of solutions for more evidence-driven decisions in river basin management. There is also a growing recognition that measures undertaken in river basin management should deliver multiple benefits across sectors, such as reduced flood risk, and there needs to be robust demonstration studies that evaluate these. Continued efforts in ‘mainstreaming’ water policy into other policy sectors is clearly needed to deliver wider success with WFD goals, particularly with agricultural policy. Other key policy areas where a need for stronger integration with water policy was recognised included urban planning (waste water treatment), flooding, climate and energy (hydropower). Having a deadline for attaining the policy objective of good status is important, but even more essential is to have a permanent framework for river basin management that addresses the delays in implementation of measures. This requires a long-term perspective, far beyond the current deadline of 2027

    Neutrino Mass and μ→e+γ\mu \rightarrow e + \gamma from a Mini-Seesaw

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    The recently proposed "mini-seesaw mechanism" combines naturally suppressed Dirac and Majorana masses to achieve light Standard Model neutrinos via a low-scale seesaw. A key feature of this approach is the presence of multiple light (order GeV) sterile-neutrinos that mix with the Standard Model. In this work we study the bounds on these light sterile-neutrinos from processes like \mu ---> e + \gamma, invisible Z-decays, and neutrinoless double beta-decay. We show that viable parameter space exists and that, interestingly, key observables can lie just below current experimental sensitivities. In particular, a motivated region of parameter space predicts a value of BR(\mu ---> e + \gamma) within the range to be probed by MEG.Comment: 1+26 pages, 7 figures. v2 JHEP version (typo's fixed, minor change to presentation, results unchanged

    Policy-driven monitoring and evaluation : Does it support adaptive management of socio-ecological systems?

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    Inadequate Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is often thought to hinder adaptive management of socio-ecological systems. A key influence on environmental management practices are environmental policies: however, their consequences for M&E practices have not been well-examined. We examine three policy areas - the Water Framework Directive, the Natura 2000 Directives, and the Agri-Environment Schemes of the Common Agricultural Policy - whose statutory requirements influence how the environment is managed and monitored across Europe. We use a comparative approach to examine what is monitored, how monitoring is carried out, and how results are used to update management, based on publicly available documentation across nine regional and national cases. The requirements and guidelines of these policies have provided significant impetus for monitoring: however, we find this policy-driven M&E usually does not match the ideals of what is needed to inform adaptive management. There is a tendency to focus on understanding state and trends rather than tracking the effect of interventions; a focus on specific biotic and abiotic indicators at the expense of understanding system functions and processes, especially social components; and limited attention to how context affects systems, though this is sometimes considered via secondary data. The resulting data are sometimes publicly-accessible, but it is rarely clear if and how these influence decisions at any level, whether this be in the original policy itself or at the level of measures such as site management plans. Adjustments to policy-driven M&E could better enable learning for adaptive management, by reconsidering what supports a balanced understanding of socio-ecological systems and decision-making. Useful strategies include making more use of secondary data, and more transparency in data-sharing and decision-making. Several countries and policy areas already offer useful examples. Such changes are essential given the influence of policy, and the urgency of enabling adaptive management to safeguard socio-ecological systems. Highlights • Policy strongly influences Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) of socio-ecological systems. • We examine M&E of 3 major European policies in 9 regional and national cases. • Policy-driven M&E is imperfect versus ideals of M&E to support adaptive management. • Attention needed to systems, social issues, sharing data, and sharing intended uses. • Examples from across Europe and different policies offer ideas for improvement

    NASH limits anti-tumour surveillance in immunotherapy-treated HCC.

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    Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can have viral or non-viral causes1-5. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is an important driver of HCC. Immunotherapy has been approved for treating HCC, but biomarker-based stratification of patients for optimal response to therapy is an unmet need6,7. Here we report the progressive accumulation of exhausted, unconventionally activated CD8+PD1+ T cells in NASH-affected livers. In preclinical models of NASH-induced HCC, therapeutic immunotherapy targeted at programmed death-1 (PD1) expanded activated CD8+PD1+ T cells within tumours but did not lead to tumour regression, which indicates that tumour immune surveillance was impaired. When given prophylactically, anti-PD1 treatment led to an increase in the incidence of NASH-HCC and in the number and size of tumour nodules, which correlated with increased hepatic CD8+PD1+CXCR6+, TOX+, and TNF+ T cells. The increase in HCC triggered by anti-PD1 treatment was prevented by depletion of CD8+ T cells or TNF neutralization, suggesting that CD8+ T cells help to induce NASH-HCC, rather than invigorating or executing immune surveillance. We found similar phenotypic and functional profiles in hepatic CD8+PD1+ T cells from humans with NAFLD or NASH. A meta-analysis of three randomized phase III clinical trials that tested inhibitors of PDL1 (programmed death-ligand 1) or PD1 in more than 1,600 patients with advanced HCC revealed that immune therapy did not improve survival in patients with non-viral HCC. In two additional cohorts, patients with NASH-driven HCC who received anti-PD1 or anti-PDL1 treatment showed reduced overall survival compared to patients with other aetiologies. Collectively, these data show that non-viral HCC, and particularly NASH-HCC, might be less responsive to immunotherapy, probably owing to NASH-related aberrant T cell activation causing tissue damage that leads to impaired immune surveillance. Our data provide a rationale for stratification of patients with HCC according to underlying aetiology in studies of immunotherapy as a primary or adjuvant treatment

    Consequences of predator-prey interactions in boreal streams:scaling up from processes to large-scale patterns

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    Abstract In this thesis I studied lotic trout predation and its ecological effects, and investigated invertebrate predator-prey interactions under natural and anthropogenically modified flow conditions. Given the growing concern about the reliability of extrapolations from small-scale studies to larger spatio-temporal scales, results of mechanistic small-scale experiments were scaled up by linking them to large-scale field surveys. An intensive survey assessed changes in diel feeding periodicity, prey selection and daily ration of juvenile brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) over the course of the open water period. This survey provides the first field estimates of juvenile brown trout daily rations and indicates crepuscular feeding peaks. Trout selectively preyed on medium- to large-sized prey, shifting towards epibenthic feeding with increasing availability of suitable prey. In a small-scale field experiment, trout displayed clear size-related predation concentrating on invertebrate predators and cased caddisflies, a pattern that scaled up successfully in large-scale surveys. Further, predation effects on large-sized prey were also repeated in a meta-analysis on lotic salmonid predation. While dense blackfly populations in lake-outlet streams are common, mass outbreaks of blackflies in short-term regulated rivers are poorly studied. In our studies the principal invertebrate predator of vernal benthic communities, the caseless caddisfly Rhyacophila, displayed significant preference for blackflies and was almost unable to capture any other prey, thus resulting in passive selection for larval blackflies. Rhyacophila larvae displayed highest capture success in intermediate current velocities, whereas further increases in current velocities decreased capture success. Short-term regulation releases increased both predator and prey drift but, unlike for Rhyacophila, magnitude of drift was unrelated to substrate for blackflies. Indeed, field observations indicated that blackflies rarely face detrimental effects of short-term regulation due to their fast growing rates and early emergence. Moss was the most preferred habitat of Rhyacophila and provided the best buffer against sudden increases in current velocities. These results suggest that several factors maintain spring-time outbreaks of blackfly populations in short-term regulated rivers: exaptation of the dominant blackfly species to prevailing conditions, degradation of the key habitat of the predator, and recurring annual drift losses and diminished capture success of Rhyacophila during short-term regulation releases

    Environmental characteristics and anthropogenic impact jointly modify aquatic macrophyte species diversity

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    Abstract Species richness and spatial variation in community composition (i.e., beta diversity) are key measures of biodiversity. They are largely determined by natural factors, but also increasingly affected by anthropogenic factors. Thus, there is a need for a clear understanding of the human impact on species richness and beta diversity, the underlying mechanisms, and whether human-induced changes can override natural patterns. Here, we dissect the patterns of species richness, community composition and beta diversity in relation to different environmental factors as well as human impact in one framework: aquatic macrophytes in 66 boreal lakes in Eastern Finland. The lakes had been classified as having high, good or moderate status (according to ecological classification of surface waters in Finland) reflecting multifaceted human impact. We used generalized least square models to study the association between different environmental variables (Secchi depth, irregularity of the shoreline, total phosphorus, pH, alkalinity, conductivity) and species richness. We tested the null hypothesis that the observed community composition can be explained by random distribution of species. We used multivariate distance matrix regression to test the effect of each environmental variable on community composition, and distance-based test for homogeneity of multivariate dispersion to test whether lakes classified as high, good or moderate status have different beta diversity. We showed that environmental drivers of species richness and community composition were largely similar, although dependent on the particular life-form group studied. The most important ones were characteristics of water quality (pH, alkalinity, conductivity) and irregularity of the shoreline. Differences in community composition were related to environmental variables independently of species richness. Species richness was higher in lakes with higher levels of human impact. Lakes with different levels of human impact had different community composition. Between-lake beta diversity did not differ in high, good or moderate status groups. However, the variation in environmental variables shaping community composition was larger in lakes with moderate status compared to other lakes. Hence, beta diversity in lakes with moderate status was smaller than what could be expected on the basis of these environmental characteristics. This could be interpreted as homogenization