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29 Sep 2022 at 01:47
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Bibliography on: Corvids (crows, jays, etc)


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 29 Sep 2022 at 01:47 Created: 

Corvids (crows, jays, etc)

Wikipedia: Corvidae (crows, jays, etc) is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers. In common English, they are known as the crow family, or, more technically, corvids. Over 120 species are described. The genus Corvus, including the jackdaws, crows, rooks, and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family. Corvids display remarkable intelligence for animals of their size and are among the most intelligent birds thus far studied. Specifically, members of the family have demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests (European magpies) and tool-making ability (crows, rooks), skills which until recently were thought to be possessed only by humans and a few other higher mammals. Their total brain-to-body mass ratio is equal to that of great apes and cetaceans, and only slightly lower than in humans. They are medium to large in size, with strong feet and bills, rictal bristles, and a single moult each year (most passerines moult twice). Corvids are found worldwide except for the tip of South America and the polar ice caps. The majority of the species are found in tropical South and Central America, southern Asia and Eurasia, with fewer than 10 species each in Africa and Australasia. The genus Corvus has re-entered Australia in relatively recent geological prehistory, with five species and one subspecies there. Several species of raven have reached oceanic islands, and some of these species are now highly threatened with extinction or have already gone extinct.

Created with PubMed® Query: (corvus[TIAB] OR corvid[TIAB] OR OR corvids[TIAB] OR corvidae[TIAB] OR crow[TIAB] OR crows[TIAB] OR raven[TIAB] OR ravens[TIAB] OR jay[TIAB] OR jays[TIAB] OR magpie[TIAB] OR magpies[TIAB] OR jackdaw[TIAB] OR jackdaws[TIAB]) NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2022-09-28

Ngo KM, Hosaka T, S Numata (2022)

Attitudes and preferences of wildlife and their relationship with childhood nature experience amongst residents in a tropical urban city.

Urban ecosystems [Epub ahead of print].

How people relate to biodiversity and whether they are supportive of conservation programs and policies has implications on global and local biodiversity conservation efforts. Nature experiences in childhood has been shown to be strongly correlated to positive attitudes towards nature and wildlife in adulthood. In this study, we examined wildlife experience, attitudes and willingness to coexist with 26 vertebrates and invertebrates amongst residents in a highly urbanized tropical city, Singapore. A total of 1004 respondents were surveyed and their childhood nature experience and various socioeconomic variables were obtained. The animals were grouped by their likeability and preferred habitat from the respondents' answers. Three main groups of animals were discerned - unfavorable animals, mammals, and favorable animals. Singapore residents generally had high direct experiences of animals that are common in urban settings, for both favorable and unfavorable animals, such as butterflies, dragonflies, crows and bees, but low direct experiences of forest-dependent wildlife. Animals that were well-liked and acceptable near homes include the common urban ones and some forest-dependent ones, while animals that were disliked included stinging insects (bees and hornets) and reptiles (snakes and water monitors). Structured equation modelling showed that both childhood nature experience and wildlife experience had strong effects on wildlife likeability and habitat preference. The apparent mismatch between greening policies and people's willingness to coexist with wildlife may be problematic as urban development further encroaches on forest habitats, and this study highlights the importance of preserving forest habitats so that young children and adults have opportunities to be exposed to them.

Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11252-022-01280-1.

RevDate: 2022-09-23

Nakayama DK (2022)

Thurgood Marshall, Hero of American Medicine.

One of the heroes in American history, Associate Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) sought legal remedies against racial discrimination in education and health care. As director of the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) of NAACP from 1940 to 1961, his success in integrating law schools in Texas led to the first black medical student admitted to a state medical school in the South. Representing doctors and dentists needing a facility to perform surgery, the LDF brought cases before the courts in North Carolina that moved the country toward justice in health care. His ultimate legal victory came in 1954, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the decision that declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. In 1964, the LDF under Jack Greenberg, Marshall's successor as director, won Simkins v. Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, a decision that held that hospitals accepting federal funds had to admit black patients. The two decisions laid the judicial foundation for the laws and administrative acts that changed America's racial history, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Social Security Act Amendments of 1965 that established Medicare and Medicaid. His achievements came during the hottest period of the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Well past the middle of the twentieth century, black Americans were denied access to the full resources of American medicine, locked in a "separate-but-equal" system woefully inadequate in every respect. In abolishing segregation, Marshall initiated the long overdue remedy of the unjust legacies of slavery and Jim Crow.

RevDate: 2022-09-23

Wang CW, Chen YL, Mao SJT, et al (2022)

Pathogenicity of Avian Polyomaviruses and Prospect of Vaccine Development.

Viruses, 14(9): pii:v14092079.

Polyomaviruses are nonenveloped icosahedral viruses with a double-stranded circular DNA containing approximately 5000 bp and 5-6 open reading frames. In contrast to mammalian polyomaviruses (MPVs), avian polyomaviruses (APVs) exhibit high lethality and multipathogenicity, causing severe infections in birds without oncogenicity. APVs are classified into 10 major species: Adélie penguin polyomavirus, budgerigar fledgling disease virus, butcherbird polyomavirus, canary polyomavirus, cormorant polyomavirus, crow polyomavirus, Erythrura gouldiae polyomavirus, finch polyomavirus, goose hemorrhagic polyomavirus, and Hungarian finch polyomavirus under the genus Gammapolyomavirus. This paper briefly reviews the genomic structure and pathogenicity of the 10 species of APV and some of their differences in terms of virulence from MPVs. Each gene's genomic size, number of amino acid residues encoding each gene, and key biologic functions are discussed. The rationale for APV classification from the Polyomavirdae family and phylogenetic analyses among the 10 APVs are also discussed. The clinical symptoms in birds caused by APV infection are summarized. Finally, the strategies for developing an effective vaccine containing essential epitopes for preventing virus infection in birds are discussed. We hope that more effective and safe vaccines with diverse protection will be developed in the future to solve or alleviate the problems of viral infection.

RevDate: 2022-09-23

Chen Y, Li L, Zhu X, et al (2022)

Urban Low-Rise Residential Areas Provide Preferred Song Post Sites for a Resident Songbird.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 12(18): pii:ani12182436.

Urbanization is expanding rapidly worldwide, and brings additional selection pressure on animals. The song differences between urban and rural songbirds have been widely verified, but the effects of urban morphological variation on long-settled urban birds have been poorly explored. Here, we investigated the distribution and song differences of a common resident songbird-the oriental magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis) between three urban morphology types (i.e., urban park, low-rise residential area, and high-rise residential area). The results indicated that the population density in low-rise residential areas was significantly higher than in urban parks, while it was the lowest in high-rise residential areas. Males in low-rise residential areas had greater song length, syllable numbers, frequency bandwidth, and song diversity than those in urban parks. The song differences were mainly related to habitat types, independent of singing height and perch type. Our findings suggest that low-rise residential areas may provide preferred song post sites for the oriental magpie-robin, which is well-adapted to the low-rise building morphology, but rejects the emerging high-rise buildings. Future studies are needed to assess the effects of urban morphological variation on more resident animals to determine which urban morphologies are conducive to enhancing biodiversity and encouraging animals to settle in urban areas.

RevDate: 2022-09-23

Zhozhikashvili N, Zakharov I, Ismatullina V, et al (2022)

Parietal Alpha Oscillations: Cognitive Load and Mental Toughness.

Brain sciences, 12(9): pii:brainsci12091135.

Cognitive effort is intrinsically linked to task difficulty, intelligence, and mental toughness. Intelligence reflects an individual's cognitive aptitude, whereas mental toughness (MT) reflects an individual's resilience in pursuing success. Research shows that parietal alpha oscillations are associated with changes in task difficulty. Critically, it remains unclear whether parietal alpha oscillations are modulated by intelligence and MT as a personality trait. We examined event-related (de)synchronization (ERD/ERS) of alpha oscillations associated with encoding, retention, and recognition in the Sternberg task in relation to intelligence and mental toughness. Eighty participants completed the Sternberg task with 3, 4, 5 and 6 digits, Raven Standard Progressive Matrices test and an MT questionnaire. A positive dependence on difficulty was observed for all studied oscillatory effects (t = -8.497, p < 0.001; t = 2.806, p < 0.005; t = -2.103, p < 0.05). The influence of Raven intelligence was observed for encoding-related alpha ERD (t = -2.02, p = 0.049). The influence of MT was observed only for difficult conditions in recognition-related alpha ERD (t = -3.282, p < 0.005). Findings indicate that the modulation of alpha rhythm related to encoding, retention and recognition may be interpreted as correlates of cognitive effort modulation. Specifically, results suggest that effort related to encoding depends on intelligence, whereas recognition-related effort level depends on mental toughness.

RevDate: 2022-09-23

Bălănean DM, Negrea C, Bota E, et al (2022)

Optimizing the Development of Space-Temporal Orientation in Physical Education and Sports Lessons for Students Aged 8-11 Years.

Children (Basel, Switzerland), 9(9): pii:children9091299.

The purpose of this research was to analyze how we can improve the space-temporal orientation ability with the help of physical exercises in physical education and sports lessons. In total,148 children between the ages of 8 and 11 participated in this study (M = 9.70; SD = 0.79). They were subjected to three tests, which measured general intelligence (Raven Progressive Matrices) and space-temporal orientation skills (Piaget-Head test and Bender-Santucci test). The tests were carried out both in the pre-test and in the post-test period. In the case of participants in the experimental group, a specific program was applied for a period of 12 weeks. The results showed that general intelligence level was identified as a predictor of spatial-temporal orientation (beta = 0.17, t = 2.08, p = 0.03) but only for the Piaget-Head test. Similarly, no differences between children's age groups were identified in any of the spatial-temporal orientation test scores. However, children in the "+9" age category had higher scores on the intelligence test compared to younger children (77.31 vs. 35.70). In conclusion, the intervention program had a positive effect on spatial orientation skills.

RevDate: 2022-09-23

Józsa K, Amukune S, Zentai G, et al (2022)

School Readiness Test and Intelligence in Preschool as Predictors of Middle School Success: Result of an Eight-Year Longitudinal Study.

Journal of Intelligence, 10(3): pii:jintelligence10030066.

Research has shown that the development of cognitive and social skills in preschool predicts school readiness in kindergarten. However, most longitudinal studies are short-term, tracking children's development only through the early elementary school years. This study aims to investigate the long-term impact of preschool predictors, intelligence, and mothers' education on grade six school performance. This study presents the results of an eight-year-long longitudinal study. The sample includes 202 Hungarian children (89 boys) from a disadvantaged region of southeastern Hungary. The independent variables were the preschool measures: DIFER (Diagnostic System for Assessing Development), a widely used, standardized school readiness test that measures cognitive and social skills; the Raven intelligence test; and socioeconomic status. The dependent variables in grade six were: National Standardized tests in math and reading (NABC, National Assessment of Basic Competencies) and school grades (GPA). Cronbach's alpha reliability of each test is above 0.76. Correlations and a series of multiple regressions were used for analysis. All three independent variables have significant predictive power for school performance in sixth grade. DIFER skills were the best predictors for reading achievement, intelligence for math achievement, and GPA was best predicted by mothers' education. The results show that developing preschool skills, mothers' education and IQ in preschool are essential to long-term learning success.

RevDate: 2022-09-22

Annadhasan M, Kumar AV, Venkatakrishnarao D, et al (2020)

Mechanophotonics: precise selection, assembly and disassembly of polymer optical microcavities via mechanical manipulation for spectral engineering.

Nanoscale advances, 2(12):5584-5590 pii:d0na00560f.

The advancement of nanoscience and technology relies on the development and utility of innovative techniques. Precise manipulation of photonic microcavities is one of the fundamental challenges in nanophotonics. This challenge impedes the construction of optoelectronic and photonic microcircuits. As a proof-of-principle, we demonstrate here that an atomic force microscopy cantilever and confocal microscopy can be used together to mechanically micromanipulate polymer-based whispering gallery mode microcavities or microresonators into well-ordered geometries. The micromanipulation technique efficiently assembles or disassembles resonators and also produces well-ordered dimer, trimer, tetramer, and pentamer assemblies of resonators in linear and bent geometries. Interestingly, an intricate L-shaped coupled-resonator optical waveguide (CROW) comprising a pentamer assembly effectively transduces light through a 90° bend angle. The presented new research direction, which combines mechanical manipulation and nanophotonics, is also expected to open up a plethora of opportunities in nano and microstructure-based research areas including nanoelectronics and nanobiology.

RevDate: 2022-09-21

Lisa P, Coraline D, Cécile B, et al (2022)

Unruly octopuses are the rule: Octopus vulgaris use multiple and individually variable strategies in an episodic-like memory task.

The Journal of experimental biology pii:276671 [Epub ahead of print].

Episodic-like memory has mainly been studied through experimental tasks in which subjects have to remember what they ate, where and when or in which context. Seemingly quite common in mammals and corvids, episodic-like memory abilities have also been demonstrated in the common cuttlefish, a cephalopod mollusc. To explore if this ability is common to all cephalopods or if it has emerged to face specific ecological constraints, we conducted an episodic-like memory task with seven Octopus vulgaris. Only one individual learnt the replenishing rates during the training and subsequently showed episodic-like memory abilities, whereas the other individuals favoured simpler foraging strategies, such as avoidance of familiarity and alternation, use of win-stay strategy and risk-sensitivity. A high variability in the use of these strategies was observed between and within individuals throughout the training. Since octopuses seem to live under lighter environmental pressure than cuttlefish, they may not need to rely on episodic-like memory abilities to optimize foraging as cuttlefish do. These results highlight the differences in the use of complex cognitive abilities between cuttlefish and octopuses, which might be linked with different environmental and predatory constraints.

RevDate: 2022-09-20

Loth A, Güntürkün O, von Fersen L, et al (2022)

Through the looking glass: how do marked dolphins use mirrors and what does it mean?.

Animal cognition [Epub ahead of print].

Mirror-guided self-inspection is seen as a cognitive hallmark purportedly indicating the existence of self-recognition. Only a few species of great apes have been reported to pass a standard mark test for mirror self-recognition in which animals attempt to touch a mark. In addition, evidence for passing the mark test was also reported for Asian elephants, two species of corvids, and a species of cleaner fish. Mirror self-recognition has also been claimed for bottlenose dolphins, using exposure of marked areas to a mirror as evidence. However, what counts as self-directed behaviour to see the mark and what does not has been debated. To avoid this problem, we marked the areas around both eyes of the animals at the same time, one with visible and the other with transparent dye to control for haptic cues. This allowed the animal to see the mark easily and us to investigate what side was exposed to the mirror as an indicator for mark observation. We found that the animals actively chose to inspect their visibly marked side while they did not show an increased interest in a marked conspecific in the pool. These results demonstrate that dolphins use the mirror to inspect their marks and, therefore, likely recognise a distinction between self and others.

RevDate: 2022-09-21

Walsemann KM, Pearson J, E Abbruzzi (2022)

Education in the Jim Crow South and Black-White inequities in allostatic load among older adults.

SSM - population health, 19:101224.

In the U.S., Black adults consistently have higher allostatic load - an indicator of physiological dysregulation - than White adults. Education is considered a likely mechanism given racial differences in attainment, but evidence is mixed. This may be due, in part, to data limitations that have made it difficult for scholars to account for the structurally rooted systemic racism that shaped the U.S. education system and led to large racial inequities in school term length and school attendance among older adults who grew up in the Jim Crow South. Our study addresses this limitation by linking historical data on Black and White segregated school systems in the U.S. South from 1919 to 1954 to the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to determine if a new measure of educational attainment that accounts for structural racism that led to differences in the number of school days attended by Black and White students across years and states better explains Black-White inequities in allostatic load among older adults who attended school during Jim Crow. We restrict our sample to HRS respondents racialized as White or Black, who resided in the South when they were school-aged, completed primary/secondary school between 1919 and 1954, and provided a measure of allostatic load (n = 1932). We find that our new measure of schooling - duration in school - reduced the Black-White inequity in allostatic load more so than self-reported years of schooling whether we measured allostatic load continuously (34% vs 16%) or categorically (45% vs 20%). Our findings highlight the importance of identifying and using historically informed measures of schooling that account for structurally rooted systemic racism when trying to understand how education shapes the health of individuals racialized as Black in the United States.

RevDate: 2022-09-20

Ashton BJ, Thornton A, Speechley EM, et al (2022)

Does trappability and self-selection influence cognitive performance?.

Royal Society open science, 9(9):220473.

Recent research has highlighted how trappability and self-selection-the processes by which individuals with particular traits may be more likely to be caught or to participate in experiments-may be sources of bias in studies of animal behaviour and cognition. It is crucial to determine whether such biases exist, and if they do, what effect they have on results. In this study, we investigated if trappability (quantified through 'ringing status'-whether or not a bird had been trapped for ringing) and self-selection are sources of bias in a series of associative learning experiments spanning 5 years in the Western Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen dorsalis). We found no evidence of self-selection, with no biases in task participation associated with sex, age, group size or ringing status. In addition, we found that there was no effect of trappability on cognitive performance. These findings give us confidence in the results generated in the animal cognition literature and add to a growing body of literature seeking to determine potential sources of bias in studies of animal behaviour, and how they influence the generalizability and reproducibility of findings.

RevDate: 2022-09-19

Ge X, Ren J, Li S, et al (2022)

Prediction of the impact of benzo[a]pyrene on shallow groundwater during natural infiltration of reclaimed water-receiving rivers: A case study of Liangshui, China.

Journal of environmental management, 323:116070 pii:S0301-4797(22)01643-7 [Epub ahead of print].

The quality of groundwater along rivers is greatly affected by long-term infiltration from surface water, especially reclaimed water-receiving rivers. To predict the degree of influence of contaminated river water on groundwater quality, the spatiotemporal distribution and migration evolution prediction of benzo[a]pyrene (B(a)P) was monitored and simulated by Hydrus-coupled Groundwater Modeling Systems (GMS) model in terms of reclaimed water-receiving Liangshui River. The prediction results indicated the goodness-of-fit of this coupled model, according to the model efficiency (E: 0.78-0.93), the mean absolute error (MAE: 0.01-0.32 m) and the root-mean-square error (RMSE: 0.06-0.35 m). The vertical infiltration rate of B(a)P in the vadose zone was 0.102 m-1, which was only 0.73% that of water. B(a)P penetrated the 16 m depth vadose zone for 63 years owing to the attenuation function of adsorption and biodegradation, with contribution ratios of 78.4% and 19.3%, respectively. However, once B(a)P intersects with groundwater, the migration of B(a)P is dominated by horizontal migration due to downward movement along the groundwater flow direction. The migration rate of B(a)P in groundwater was 6.65 m/y in the horizontal direction, which was 2.42 and 16.22 times higher than the dispersion rate in the longitudinal and vertical directions, respectively. The spatiotemporal distribution indicated that the B(a)P concentration decreased with the crow-fly distance from river with attenuation rate constants of 1.19 × 10-4, 3.05 × 10-4, and 3.67 × 10-3 m-1 over horizontal, longitudinal, and vertical direction, respectively, which were negatively correlated with migration rate. However, the B(a)P content increased over the extension of infiltration time with an accumulation rate of 7.3 × 10-2 d-1. The migration and accumulation of B(a)P induced potential health risks to groundwater-based drinking water safety, which resulted in the groundwater safety utilization range decreasing from 450 m, 283 m, and 20.1 m-583 m, 338 m, and 28.2 m far from the river over the horizontal, longitudinal, and vertical directions, respectively, 20 years later. This study provides a numerical modeling solution for the viable spatiotemporal evolution of B(a)P in groundwater and an effective decision-making tool for the safe utilization of groundwater as drinking water.

RevDate: 2022-09-17

Zelentsova EA, Yanshole LV, Tsentalovich YP, et al (2022)

The Application of Quantitative Metabolomics for the Taxonomic Differentiation of Birds.

Biology, 11(7):.

In the current pilot study, we propose the use of quantitative metabolomics to reconstruct the phylogeny of vertebrates, namely birds. We determined the concentrations of the 67 most abundant metabolites in the eye lenses of the following 14 species from 6 orders of the class Aves (Birds): the Black kite (Milvus migrans), Eurasian magpie (Pica pica), Northern raven (Corvus corax), Eurasian coot (Fulica atra), Godlewski's bunting (Emberiza godlewskii), Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus), Great tit (Parus major), Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes), Hooded crow (Corvus cornix), House sparrow (Passer domesticus), Rock dove (Columba livia), Rook (Corvus frugilegus), Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) and Ural owl (Strix uralensis). Further analysis shows that the statistical approaches generally used in metabolomics can be applied for differentiation between species, and the most fruitful results were obtained with hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA). We observed the grouping of conspecific samples independently of the sampling place and date. The HCA tree structure supports the key role of genomics in the formation of the lens metabolome, but it also indicates the influence of the species lifestyle. A combination of genomics-based and metabolomics-based phylogeny could potentially resolve arising issues and yield a more reliable tree of life.

RevDate: 2022-09-10
CmpDate: 2022-09-08

Sarker S, M Sutherland (2022)

Molecular characterisation of a novel pathogenic avipoxvirus from an Australian little crow (Corvus bennetti) directly from the clinical sample.

Scientific reports, 12(1):15053.

Avipoxviruses are thought to be restricted to avian hosts and considered significant pathogens that may impact the conservation of many birds. However, reports of avipoxvirus-like viruses from reptiles suggest that cross-species transmission, within birds and other species, may be possible. The vast majority of avipoxviruses in wild birds remain uncharacterised and their genetic variability is unclear. Here, cutaneous pox lesions were used to recover a novel full-length crowpox virus genome from an Australian little crow (Corvus bennetti), followed by the detection of immature and intracellular mature virions using electron microscopy. The CRPV genome was 328,768 bp in length and contained 403 predicted open-reading frames. While 356 of the ORFs of CRPV genome had the greatest similarity with other avipoxviruses gene products, a further 47 ORFs were novel. Subsequent phylogenetic analyses showed that the CRPV was most closely related to other avipoxviruses isolated from passerine and marine bird species and demonstrated the highest sequence similarity with an albatrosspox virus (84.4%). Considering the sequence similarity observed between CRPV and other avipoxviruses and phylogenetic position, this study concluded that the CRPV to be a distinct available candidate of avipoxviruses.

RevDate: 2022-09-11

Tubío-Fungueiriño M, Alemany-Navarro M, Alonso P, et al (2022)

Neuropsychological performance and predictors of pharmacological treatment response in obsessive compulsive disorder.

Journal of affective disorders, 317:52-58 pii:S0165-0327(22)00919-3 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by the presence of executive dysfunctions. As organizational strategies may play an important role as a possible endophenotype of the disorder, we decided to investigate non-verbal memory and organizational abilities in OCD. We also investigated how organization and non-verbal memory differ between responder and non-responder patients to pharmacological treatment, to test whether cognitive functions can predict the response to pharmacological treatment.

METHODS: In Study 1, executive and clinical functioning measures were applied to 162 OCD and 95 controls. In Study 2, clinical, intelligence and executive functioning measures were applied to 72 OCD responders and 63 OCD non-responder patients.

RESULTS: OCD patients and controls from Study 1 differed in copy organization (p < 0.01) and delayed recall (p = 0.048). In Study 2, the OCD responders displayed better copy organization (p = 0.013) and lower depressive, anxious and OCD symptoms (p < 0.01 in the three cases). Scores in the following instruments were found to predict the response to pharmacological treatment: HDRS, Y-BOCS, Raven progressive matrices, and Direct digit subtest from the Wechsler's scale (p < 0.01 in all four cases).

LIMITATIONS: In Study 1, the imbalance of the sample can be considered a limitation, whilst in Study 2, some of the levels of pharmacological resistance were not represented.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, non-verbal memory and organization was affected in OCD. Responder patients also displayed better executive functioning and fluid intelligence. Organizational ability is a predictor of pharmacological response to SSRI monotherapy in a predictive model controlling for anxious symptoms.

RevDate: 2022-09-01
CmpDate: 2022-08-30

Johnson SD, Buchweitz JP, AF Lehner (2022)

Single oral or intravenous administration of voriconazole achieved recommended therapeutic minimum inhibitory concentrations against Aspergillus in the common raven (Corvus corax).

American journal of veterinary research, 83(10): pii:ajvr.22.03.0055.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the pharmacokinetics of voriconazole after single IV or orally administered boluses in common ravens (Corvus corax).

ANIMALS: 8 healthy common ravens.

PROCEDURES: Voriconazole (5 mg/mL, 10 mg/kg IV) was administered to 8 birds, and then plasma voriconazole concentrations were measured at various time points by high-pressure liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry. Starting 6 months later in a randomized 3-treatment 3-period regimen, birds received a single oral dose of voriconazole suspension (10 mg/mL; 6, 12, and 24 mg/kg PO). The study period was May 2015 to March 2016.

RESULTS: Voriconazole (10 mg/kg IV) achieved an initial plasma concentration of 6.31 µg/mL when measured over 21 hours. After oral administration of voriconazole at 6, 12, and 24 mg/kg, the relative bioavailability was 67.5%, 209%, and 183%, respectively. For the 6-mg/kg dose, the maximum plasma concentration was reached at 30 minutes after administration and remained in the therapeutic range of 0.5 to 1 µg/mL for approximately 15 hours. The 12- and 24-mg/kg doses resulted in concentrations in a potentially toxic range.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Voriconazole was well tolerated. All 4 doses resulted in plasma concentrations of voriconazole > 0.5 µg/mL, which is the minimum inhibitory concentration recommended for pathogenic species of Aspergillus fungi known to affect birds. A single dose of voriconazole administered as 10 mg/kg IV or 6 mg/kg PO resulted in recommended target plasma concentrations. Administration of voriconazole 6 mg/kg PO 2 to 3 times daily may be adequate for treatment without exceeding the toxic range.

RevDate: 2022-08-30
CmpDate: 2022-08-29

Kumra S, Joshi S, F Sahin (2022)

GR-ConvNet v2: A Real-Time Multi-Grasp Detection Network for Robotic Grasping.

Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 22(16):.

We propose a dual-module robotic system to tackle the problem of generating and performing antipodal robotic grasps for unknown objects from the n-channel image of the scene. We present an improved version of the Generative Residual Convolutional Neural Network (GR-ConvNet v2) model that can generate robust antipodal grasps from n-channel image input at real-time speeds (20 ms). We evaluated the proposed model architecture on three standard datasets and achieved a new state-of-the-art accuracy of 98.8%, 95.1%, and 97.4% on Cornell, Jacquard and Graspnet grasping datasets, respectively. Empirical results show that our model significantly outperformed the prior work with a stricter IoU-based grasp detection metric. We conducted a suite of tests in simulation and the real world on a diverse set of previously unseen objects with adversarial geometry and household items. We demonstrate the adaptability of our approach by directly transferring the trained model to a 7 DoF robotic manipulator with a grasp success rate of 95.4% and 93.0% on novel household and adversarial objects, respectively. Furthermore, we validate the generalization capability of our pixel-wise grasp prediction model by validating it on complex Ravens-10 benchmark tasks, some of which require closed-loop visual feedback for multi-step sequencing.

RevDate: 2022-08-30

Mgwatyu Y, Cornelissen S, van Heusden P, et al (2022)

Establishing MinION Sequencing and Genome Assembly Procedures for the Analysis of the Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) Genome.

Plants (Basel, Switzerland), 11(16):.

While plant genome analysis is gaining speed worldwide, few plant genomes have been sequenced and analyzed on the African continent. Yet, this information holds the potential to transform diverse industries as it unlocks medicinally and industrially relevant biosynthesis pathways for bioprospecting. Considering that South Africa is home to the highly diverse Cape Floristic Region, local establishment of methods for plant genome analysis is essential. Long-read sequencing is becoming standard procedure for plant genome research, as these reads can span repetitive regions of the DNA, substantially facilitating reassembly of a contiguous genome. With the MinION, Oxford Nanopore offers a cost-efficient sequencing method to generate long reads; however, DNA purification protocols must be adapted for each plant species to generate ultra-pure DNA, essential for these analyses. Here, we describe a cost-effective procedure for the extraction and purification of plant DNA and evaluate diverse genome assembly approaches for the reconstruction of the genome of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), an endemic South African medicinal plant widely used for tea production. We discuss the pros and cons of nine tested assembly programs, specifically Redbean and NextDenovo, which generated the most contiguous assemblies, and Flye, which produced an assembly closest to the predicted genome size.

RevDate: 2022-08-30

Jain V, Bugnyar T, Cunningham SJ, et al (2022)

The spatial and temporal exploitation of anthropogenic food sources by common ravens (Corvus corax) in the Alps.

Movement ecology, 10(1):35.

BACKGROUND: Anthropogenic food sources (AFSs) are widespread in human-transformed landscapes and the current scale at which they occur drives ecological change at the individual, population, and community levels. AFSs are exploited extensively by common ravens, Corvus corax. Understanding how raven populations use AFSs can provide insight into their ecological responses to AFSs.

METHODS: We equipped 81 ravens in the Austrian Alps with GPS-transmitters over a period of 2.75 years. Using these tracking data, we investigated how cohort differences (i.e., age, sex, and origin) and seasonal changes influence raven movement patterns (i.e., occurrence distribution and maximum daily displacement) and AFS-use (i.e., number of AFSs visited and probability of being present at any AFS) at 45 extensively exploited sites.

RESULTS: We found that proxies for experience and dominance, inferred by age (i.e., juvenile versus adult) and origin (i.e., wild-caught versus captive-bred-released) cohorts, influenced movement patterns and the number of AFSs visited. However, all individuals were equally likely to be present at AFSs, highlighting the importance of AFSs for non-breeders in the study population. Seasonal changes in environmental conditions that affect energetic demands, the availability of natural and anthropogenic food, and foraging competition, influenced individuals' occurrence distributions and AFS-use. We found that under harsher conditions in autumn and winter, individuals ranged wider and depended on AFSs to a larger degree. However, contrary to expectation, they were less likely to be present at AFSs in these seasons compared to spring and summer, suggesting a trade-off between time spent moving and exploiting resources. We attribute the small ranging movements exhibited by non-breeders in spring and summer to the presence of highly territorial and socially dominant breeders. As breeders mostly stay and forage within their territories during these seasons, competition at AFSs decrease, thereby increasing the likelihood of individuals being present at any AFS.

CONCLUSIONS: We emphasize that movement and AFS-use differ according to cohort differences and the seasonality of the environment. Our results highlight that predictable AFSs affect foraging strategies among non-breeding ravens. The extent of AFS-exploitation among non-breeding ravens in our study emphasize the potential of AFSs in shaping raven movement and resource-use.

RevDate: 2022-08-24
CmpDate: 2022-08-24

Mohammed MA, Al-Khateeb B, Yousif M, et al (2022)

Novel Crow Swarm Optimization Algorithm and Selection Approach for Optimal Deep Learning COVID-19 Diagnostic Model.

Computational intelligence and neuroscience, 2022:1307944.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, computerized COVID-19 diagnosis studies are proliferating. The diversity of COVID-19 models raises the questions of which COVID-19 diagnostic model should be selected and which decision-makers of healthcare organizations should consider performance criteria. Because of this, a selection scheme is necessary to address all the above issues. This study proposes an integrated method for selecting the optimal deep learning model based on a novel crow swarm optimization algorithm for COVID-19 diagnosis. The crow swarm optimization is employed to find an optimal set of coefficients using a designed fitness function for evaluating the performance of the deep learning models. The crow swarm optimization is modified to obtain a good selected coefficient distribution by considering the best average fitness. We have utilized two datasets: the first dataset includes 746 computed tomography images, 349 of them are of confirmed COVID-19 cases and the other 397 are of healthy individuals, and the second dataset are composed of unimproved computed tomography images of the lung for 632 positive cases of COVID-19 with 15 trained and pretrained deep learning models with nine evaluation metrics are used to evaluate the developed methodology. Among the pretrained CNN and deep models using the first dataset, ResNet50 has an accuracy of 91.46% and a F1-score of 90.49%. For the first dataset, the ResNet50 algorithm is the optimal deep learning model selected as the ideal identification approach for COVID-19 with the closeness overall fitness value of 5715.988 for COVID-19 computed tomography lung images case considered differential advancement. In contrast, the VGG16 algorithm is the optimal deep learning model is selected as the ideal identification approach for COVID-19 with the closeness overall fitness value of 5758.791 for the second dataset. Overall, InceptionV3 had the lowest performance for both datasets. The proposed evaluation methodology is a helpful tool to assist healthcare managers in selecting and evaluating the optimal COVID-19 diagnosis models based on deep learning.

RevDate: 2022-08-24
CmpDate: 2022-08-17

Paltrow LM (2022)

Roe v Wade and the New Jane Crow: Reproductive Rights in the Age of Mass Incarceration.

American journal of public health, 112(9):1313-1317.

RevDate: 2022-08-12

Forbes SL, Samson C, CJ Watson (2022)

Seasonal impact of scavenger guilds as taphonomic agents in central and northern Ontario, Canada.

Journal of forensic sciences [Epub ahead of print].

The process of human decomposition is driven by biological decomposers, mainly bacteria, vertebrates, and invertebrate scavengers. When vertebrate scavengers have access to a body, they can considerably accelerate decomposition through consumption of soft tissue and dispersal of skeletal elements. Presently, there are limited data available on vertebrate scavenging activity in Canada, particularly in densely populated provinces such as Ontario. This study aimed to determine which vertebrate species belong to the scavenger guilds in central and northern Ontario, and the impact of season and habitat on these taphonomic agents. Seasonal trials were conducted in summer, fall, and spring of 2020/2021 with pig carcasses placed in open (grassland) and closed (forest) sites. Vertebrate scavenger activity was recorded continuously using cellular and non-cellular trail cameras. Photographs were analyzed to identify species, quantify feeding intensity, and document scavenging behavior. We identified four mammalian scavengers, namely coyote, red fox, fisher, and pine marten, and three avian scavengers, namely bald eagle, turkey vulture, and American crows/northern ravens (grouped as corvids) across the trials. Season impacted scavenger presence with feeding and loss of soft tissue occurring more quickly in the summer, followed by spring and fall. None of the scavengers demonstrated a clear preference for the open versus closed sites. Our findings have identified the most prevalent vertebrate scavengers in central and northern Ontario and their taphonomic impact on soft and hard tissues. It is important to consider these agents and their ability to degrade and disperse remains during the search and recovery of human remains.

RevDate: 2022-09-08
CmpDate: 2022-09-08

Peacock D, Croxford A, Iannella A, et al (2022)

Using genetic analysis to determine the distribution, prevalence and diversity of Eimeria species in pest rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in Australia.

Parasitology international, 91:102642.

To genetically assess the Australian distribution and frequency of Eimeria species in wild rabbits, with a primary focus on Eimeria intestinalis and Eimeria flavescens as possible additional agents of rabbit biocontrol, the distal colon and faecal samples from wild rabbits sourced from 26 Australian locations with mean annual rainfalls of between 252 mm and 925 mm were analysed using amplicon sequencing of the ITS1 region. Contrary to previous microscopy studies which had only detected E. flavescens on mainland Australia at Wellstead in south-west Western Australia, we detected this species at all 23 effectively sampled sites. The more pathogenic E. intestinalis was only found at 52.2% of sites. Three unique Eimeria genotypes were detected that did not align to the 11 published sequences using a pairwise-match threshold of 90%, and may represent unsequenced known species or novel species. One genotype we termed E. Au19SH and was detected at 20 sites, E. Au19CO was detected at eight sites, and E. Au19CN was detected in one rabbit at Crows Nest (Qld). Site diversity ranged from only five Eimeria species at Boboyan (ACT) to 13 unique sequences at Cargo (NSW). Eimeria diversity in individual rabbits ranged from 11 unique sequences in a rabbit at Wellstead (WA) and a rabbit at Cargo (NSW), to one in 17 rabbits and zero in six rabbits. The three rabbit age classes averaged 4.3 Eimeria species per rabbit. No relationship was found between the number of Eimeria species detected and mean annual rainfall. As Eimeria species were found to be fairly ubiquitous at most sites they appear to be an unlikely additional candidate to assist the control of pest rabbits in Australia.

RevDate: 2022-08-09

Kersten Y, Friedrich-Müller B, A Nieder (2022)

A brain atlas of the carrion crow (Corvus corone).

The Journal of comparative neurology [Epub ahead of print].

Corvidae, passerine songbirds such as jays, crows, and ravens known as corvids, have become model systems for the study of avian cognition. The superior cognitive capabilities of corvids mainly emerge from a disproportionally large telencephalon found in these species. However, a systematic mapping of the neuroanatomy of the corvid brain, and the telencephalon in particular, is lacking so far. Here, we present a brain atlas of the carrion crow, Corvus corone, with special emphasis on the telencephalic pallium. We applied four staining techniques to brain slices (Nissl, myelin, combination of Nissl and myelin, and tyrosine hydroxylase targeting catecholaminergic neurons). This allowed us to identify brain nuclei throughout the brain and delineate the known pallial subdivisions termed hyperpallium, entopallium, mesopallium, nidopallium, arcopallium, and hippocampal complex. The extent of these subdivisions and brain nuclei are described according to stereotaxic coordinates. In addition, 3D depictions of pallial regions were reconstructed from these slices. While the overall organization of the carrion crow's brain matches other songbird brains, the relative proportions and expansions of associative pallial areas differ considerably in agreement with enhanced cognitive skills found in corvids. The presented global organization of the crow brain in stereotaxic coordinates will help to guide future neurobiological studies in corvids.

RevDate: 2022-08-02
CmpDate: 2022-08-02

Das Gupta S, Barua B, Fournié G, et al (2022)

Village and farm-level risk factors for avian influenza infection on backyard chicken farms in Bangladesh.

Scientific reports, 12(1):13009.

A cross-sectional study was conducted with 144 small-scale poultry farmers across 42 Bangladeshi villages to explore risk factors associated with avian influenza H5 and H9 seropositivity on backyard chicken farms. Using mixed-effects logistic regression with village as random effect, we identified crow abundance in garbage dumping places and presence of migratory wild birds within villages to be associated with higher odds of H5 and H9 seropositivity. At farm-level, garbage around poultry houses was also associated with higher odds of H5 and H9 seropositivity. In addition, specific trading practices (such as, purchase of chickens from live bird markets (LBM) and neighboring farms to raise them on their own farms, frequency of visits to LBM, purchase of poultry at LBM for consumption) and contact of backyard chickens with other animals (such as, feeding of different poultry species together, using pond water as drinking source for poultry, access of feral and wild animals to poultry houses) were associated with higher odds of H5 or H9 seropositivity. Resource-constrained small-scale poultry farmers should be able to address risk factors identified in this study without requiring large investments into poultry management, thereby reducing the likelihood of avian influenza virus transmission and ultimately occurrence of avian influenza outbreaks.

RevDate: 2022-07-28

Cai Y, Yang C, Wang S, et al (2022)

The Neural Mechanism Underlying Visual Working Memory Training and Its Limited Transfer Effect.

Journal of cognitive neuroscience pii:112479 [Epub ahead of print].

Visual working memory (VWM) training has been shown to improve performance in trained tasks with limited transfer to untrained tasks. The neural mechanism underlying this limited transfer remains unknown. In the present study, this issue was addressed by combining model-fitting methods with EEG recordings. Participants were trained on a color delay estimation task for 12 consecutive 1-hr sessions, and the transfer effect was evaluated with an orientation change detection task. The EEG responses during both tasks were collected in a pretraining test, a posttraining test conducted 1 day after training, and a follow-up test conducted 3 months after training. According to our model-fitting results, training significantly improved the capacity but not the precision of color working memory (WM), and this capacity improvement did not transfer to the orientation change detection task, spatial 2-back task, symmetry span task, or Raven reasoning test. The EEG results revealed that training resulted in a specific and sustained increase in parietal theta power suppression in the color WM task, which reflected individual color WM capacity. In contrast, the increase in parietal-temporal alpha power, which reflected individual orientation WM capacity, did not change with training. Together, these findings suggest that the simultaneous change of stimulus type and task structure would modulate the cognitive and neural substrates of WM tasks and introduce additional constraints for the transfer of WM training.

RevDate: 2022-07-28

Korkmaz M, Sapmaz-Yurtsever S, Kaçar-Başaran S, et al (2022)

Bender-Gestalt II Test: Psychometric Properties with Global Scoring System on a Turkish Standardization Sample.

Child neuropsychology : a journal on normal and abnormal development in childhood and adolescence [Epub ahead of print].

The present study aims to standardize the Bender-Gestalt II Test by exploring its psychometric properties on a Turkish sample between the ages of 4 and 17 years and to obtain its normative values. The standardization sample consisted of 2691 students aged 4.0-17.11 years/months from low, middle, and high socioeconomic statuses, attending preschool, primary, and high school education. The participants were administered the Bender-Gestalt II Test and other tests, including the Gesell Developmental Schedules test, Colored Progressive Matrices Test, Goodenough Draw-a-Man Test, Test of Nonverbal Intelligence, Raven Standard Progressive Matrices Test, and Visual-Aural Digit Span Test-Revised Form, according to their age groups. The results revealed the absolute agreement values of the Copy items to be between .87 and .98. Thereafter, we calculated the test-retest reliability coefficients of the Copy scores to range from .74 to .67 by age groups, while the split-half reliability coefficients for each age group were between .62 and .87. The results of the exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses suggested its single-factor structure for all age groups. The Copy scores showed significant correlations and predicted the criterion characteristics, which include general cognitive ability, mental development/fine motor skills, short-term memory, and attention. Overall, the present study confirmed that the Bender-Gestalt II Test is a valid, reliable, and standardized measure to evaluate the visual-motor integration ability of those aged 4.0-17.11 years/months.

RevDate: 2022-09-13
CmpDate: 2022-09-13

Naka A, Hinenoya A, Awasthi SP, et al (2022)

Isolation and characterization of Escherichia albertii from wild and safeguarded animals in Okayama Prefecture and its prefectural borders, Japan.

The Journal of veterinary medical science, 84(9):1299-1306.

Escherichia albertii has recently been recognized as a zoonotic enteropathogen associated with food poisoning. The reservoirs and transmission routes of this bacterium to humans are still unclear. In this study, we performed a survey of E. albertii in fecal specimens of wild and safeguarded animals in Okayama Prefecture and its prefectural borders, Japan to understand its reservoir in the environment. Forty-two E. albertii were isolated from 10 and 31 droppings of 59 crows and 125 starlings, respectively. Fifty-two E. albertii were isolated from 906 mammal droppings, and out of 52 isolates, origin of 33, 6 and 1 isolates were from martens, foxes, and rabbit, respectively, however, origin of 12 isolates remained unknown. Three E. albertii were isolated from two and one feces of 159 dogs and 76 cats, respectively. Pulsed-filed gel electrophoresis analysis grouped 97 E. albertii strains into 66 pulsotypes including 36 and 30 pulsotypes of isolates from mammals and birds, respectively. E. albertii strains isolated in this study were genetically diverse. Although clonal relationship was not observed between mammal and bird isolates, there were intra- and inter-species relationship in mammalian isolates. All E. albertii strains were positive for eae and Eacdt virulence genes. Furthermore, 20 and 7 strains also carried Eccdt-I and stx2f genes, respectively. Taken together, the results indicate that genetically diverse and potentially virulent E. albertii are distributed among various wild and safeguarded animals in Okayama Prefecture, and the animals could also be reservoirs of E. albertii.

RevDate: 2022-07-31
CmpDate: 2022-07-28

Bhuiyan R, Abdullah J, Hashim N, et al (2022)

Deep Dilated Convolutional Neural Network for Crowd Density Image Classification with Dataset Augmentation for Hajj Pilgrimage.

Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 22(14):.

Almost two million Muslim pilgrims from all around the globe visit Mecca each year to conduct Hajj. Each year, the number of pilgrims grows, creating worries about how to handle such large crowds and avoid unpleasant accidents or crowd congestion catastrophes. In this paper, we introduced deep Hajj crowd dilated convolutional neural network (DHCDCNNet) for crowd density analysis. This research also presents augmentation technique to create additional dataset based on the hajj pilgrimage scenario. We utilized a single framework to extract both high-level and low-level features. For creating additional dataset we divide the process of images augmentation into two routes. In the first route, we utilized magnitude extraction followed by the polar magnitude. In the second route, we performed morphological operation followed by transforming the image into skeleton. This paper presented a solution to the challenge of measuring crowd density using a surveillance camera pointed at a distance. An FCNN-based technique for crowd analysis is included in the proposed methodology, particularly for classifying crowd density. There are several obstacles in video analysis when there are a large number of pilgrims moving around the tawaf area, with densities of between 7 and 8 per square meter. The proposed DHCDCNNet method has achieved accuracy of 97%, 89% and 100% for the JHU-CROWD dataset, the UCSD dataset and the proposed Hajj-Crowd dataset, respectively. The proposed Hajj-Crowd dataset, the UCSD dataset, and the JHU-CROW dataset all had accuracy of 98%, 97% and 97%, respectively, using the VGGNet approach. Using the ResNet50 approach, the proposed Hajj-Crowd dataset, the UCSD dataset, and the JHU-CROW dataset all had an accuracy of 99%, 91% and 97%, respectively.

RevDate: 2022-07-31

Jokimäki J, Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki ML, J Suhonen (2022)

Long-Term Winter Population Trends of Corvids in Relation to Urbanization and Climate at Northern Latitudes.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 12(14):.

Corvids (crows, magpies, jays) live in a close association with humans, and therefore knowledge about their population status and changes will be an essential part of monitoring the quality of urban environments. Wintering bird populations can track habitat and climate changes more rapidly than breeding populations. We conducted a long-term (1991-2020) winter census of corvid species in 31 human settlements along a 920 km latitudinal gradient in Finland. We observed a total of five corvid species: the Eurasian Magpie (occurring in 114 surveys out of 122; total abundance 990 ind.), the Hooded Crow (in 96 surveys; 666 ind.), the Eurasian Jackdaw (in 51 surveys; 808 ind.), the Eurasian Jay (in 5 surveys; 6 ind.) and the Rook (in 1 survey; 1 ind.). Only the numbers of the Eurasian Jackdaw differed between the study winters, being greater at the end of the study period (2019/2020) than during the earlier winters (1991/1992 and 1999/2000). The average growth rate (λ) of the Eurasian Jackdaw increased during the study period, whereas no changes were observed in the cases of the Hooded Crow or the Eurasian Magpie. The growth rate of the Eurasian Jackdaw was greater than that observed in the Finnish bird-monitoring work, probably because our data came only from the core area of each human settlement. Even though the number of buildings and their cover increased in the study plots, and the winter temperature differed between winters, the average growth rate (λ) of corvid species did not significantly correlate with these variables. These results suggest that urban settlements are stable wintering environments for the generalist corvids. The between-species interactions were all positive, but non-significant. Despite the total number of winter-feeding sites being greater during the winter of 1991/1992 than during the winter of 2019/2020, the changes in the numbers of feeding stations did not correlate with the growth rates of any corvid species. We assume that the Eurasian Jackdaw has benefitted from the decreased persecution, and probably also from large-scale climate warming that our study design was unable to take in to account. Our results indicated that wintering corvid populations succeed well in the human settlements in Finland. We recommend conducting long-term corvid research, also during breeding season, to understand more detailed causes of the population changes of corvids along an urban gradient. Without year-round long-term monitoring data, the conservation and management recommendations related to the corvid species in urban habitats may be misleading.

RevDate: 2022-08-22
CmpDate: 2022-07-25

Ali KA, Mori BA, Prager SM, et al (2022)

Seed choice in ground beetles is driven by surface-derived hydrocarbons.

Communications biology, 5(1):724.

Ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) are among the most prevalent biological agents in temperate agroecosystems. Numerous species function as omnivorous predators, feeding on both pests and weed seeds, yet the sensory ecology of seed perception in omnivorous carabids remains poorly understood. Here, we explore the sensory mechanisms of seed detection and discrimination in four species of omnivorous carabids: Poecilus corvus, Pterostichus melanarius, Harpalus amputatus, and Amara littoralis. Sensory manipulations and multiple-choice seed feeding bioassays showed olfactory perception of seed volatiles as the primary mechanism used by omnivorous carabids to detect and distinguish among seeds of Brassica napus, Sinapis arvensis, and Thlaspi arvense (Brassicaceae). Seed preferences differed among carabid species tested, but the choice of desirable seed species was generally guided by the olfactory perception of long chain hydrocarbons derived from the seed coat surface. These olfactory seed cues were essential for seed detection and discrimination processes to unfold. Disabling the olfactory appendages (antennae and palps) of carabid beetles by ablation left them unable to make accurate seed choices compared to intact beetles.

RevDate: 2022-07-29

Ręk P, RD Magrath (2022)

Reality and illusion: the assessment of angular separation of multi-modal signallers in a duetting bird.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 289(1978):20220680.

The spatial distribution of cooperating individuals plays a strategic role in territorial interactions of many group-living animals, and can indicate group cohesion. Vocalizations are commonly used to judge the distribution of signallers, but the spatial resolution of sounds is poor. Many species therefore accompany calls with movement; however, little is known about the role of audio-visual perception in natural interactions. We studied the effect of angular separation on the efficacy of multimodal duets in the Australian magpie-lark, Grallina cyanoleuca. We tested specifically whether conspicuous wing movements, which typically accompany duets, affect responses to auditory angular separation. Multimodal playbacks of duets using robotic models and speakers showed that birds relied primarily on acoustic cues when visual and auditory angular separations were congruent, but used both modalities to judge separation between the signallers when modalities were spatially incongruent. The visual component modified the effect of acoustic separation: robotic models that were apart weakened the response when speakers were together, while models that were together strengthened responses when speakers were apart. Our results show that responses are stronger when signallers are together, and suggest that males were are able to bind information cross-modally on the senders' spatial location, which is consistent with a multisensory illusion.

RevDate: 2022-08-09

Ram B, R Thakur (2022)

Epidemiology and Economic Burden of Continuing Challenge of Infectious Diseases in India: Analysis of Socio-Demographic Differentials.

Frontiers in public health, 10:901276.

Unlike other low- and middle-income countries, infectious diseases are still predominant, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are emerging without replacing the burden of infectious diseases in India, where it is imposing a double burden of diseases on households in the country. This study aimed to analyse the socio-economic and demographic differentials in the magnitude of economic burden and coping strategies associated with health expenditure on infectious diseases in India. National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) data on "Key Indicators of Social Consumption in India: Health, (2017-18)" have been employed in this study. The findings of the study revealed that more than 33% of the individuals are still suffering from infectious diseases out of the total ailing population in India. Based on the various socio-economic and demographic covariates, infectious diseases are highly prevalent among individuals with marginalized characteristics, such as individuals residing in rural areas, females, 0-14 age groups, Muslims, illiterates, scheduled tribes (STs), and scheduled castes (SCs), large family households, and economically poor people in the country. The per capita out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditure on infectious diseases is INR 7.28 and INR 29.38 in inpatient and outpatient care, respectively. Whereas, monthly per patient OOP expenditure on infectious diseases by infection-affected populations is INR 881.56 and INR 1,156.34 in inpatient and outpatient care in India. The study found that people residing in rural areas, SCs followed by other backward classes (OBCs), illiterates, poor, and very poor are more dependent on borrowings, sale of assets, and other distressed sources of financing. However, under National Health Policy 2017, many initiatives, such as "Ayushman Bharat," PM-JAY, and National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) in 2021, have been launched by the government of India in the recent years. These initiatives are holistically launched for ensuring better health facilities, but it is early to make any prediction regarding its outcomes; hopefully, the time will define it over the passing of a few more years. Finally, the study proposed the need for proper implementations of policy initiatives, awareness against unhygienic conditions and contamination of illnesses, immunisations/vaccination campaigns, subsidized medical facilities, and the country's expansion of quality primary health-care facilities.

RevDate: 2022-08-24

Mack C, N Uomini (2022)

Modulation of behavioural laterality in wild New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides): Vocalization, age and function.

Laterality [Epub ahead of print].

The New Caledonian crow (Corvus moneduloides) is known for displaying a unique set of tool-related behaviours, with the bird's bill acting as an individually consistently lateralized effector. However, we still fail to understand how such laterality develops, is modulated or even if its expression is consistent across other behavioural categories. Creating the first ethogram for this species allowed us to examine laterality and vocalisations in a population of wild, free-flying New Caledonian crows using detailed analyses of close-up video footage. We revealed the existence of an overall strong left-sided bias during object manipulation only and which was driven by the adult crows of our focal population, the stabilization of individual preferences occurring during the birds' juvenile years. Individually, at least one crow showed consistent side biases to the right and left within different behavioural categories. Our findings highlight previously unknown variability in behavioural laterality in this species, thus advocating for further investigation. Specifically, we argue that a better understanding of the New Caledonian crow's biology and ecology is required if one wishes to pursue the promising comparative road that laterality could be connected to the evolution of tool-making.

RevDate: 2022-07-17
CmpDate: 2022-07-15

Krishnamoorthy S, Liu Y, K Liu (2022)

A novel oppositional binary crow search algorithm with optimal machine learning based postpartum hemorrhage prediction model.

BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 22(1):560.

Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is an obstetric emergency instigated by excessive blood loss which occurs frequently after the delivery. The PPH can result in volume depletion, hypovolemic shock, and anemia. This is particular condition is considered a major cause of maternal deaths around the globe. Presently, physicians utilize visual examination for calculating blood and fluid loss during delivery. Since the classical methods depend on expert knowledge and are inaccurate, automated machine learning based PPH diagnosis models are essential. In regard to this aspect, this study introduces an efficient oppositional binary crow search algorithm (OBCSA) with an optimal stacked auto encoder (OSAE) model, called OBCSA-OSAE for PPH prediction. The goal of the proposed OBCSA-OSAE technique is to detect and classify the presence or absence of PPH. The OBCSA-OSAE technique involves the design of OBCSA based feature selection (FS) methods to elect an optimum feature subset. Additionally, the OSAE based classification model is developed to include an effective parameter adjustment process utilizing Equilibrium Optimizer (EO). The performance validation of the OBCSA-OSAE technique is performed using the benchmark dataset. The experimental values pointed out the benefits of the OBCSA-OSAE approach in recent methods.

RevDate: 2022-08-27
CmpDate: 2022-07-12

Shrader-Frechette K (2022)

Does Hazardous-Waste Testing Follow Technical Guidance, Thus Help Protect Environmental Justice and Health?.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(13):.

Does representative hazardous-waste-site testing tend to follow or to violate government technical guidance? This is an important question, because following such guidance promotes reliable risk analysis, adequate remediation, and environmental-justice and -health protection. Yet only government documents typically address this question, usually only when it is too late, when citizens have already exhibited health harm, allegedly from living or working near current/former hazardous-waste sites. Because no systematic, representative, scientific analyses have answered the preceding question, this article begins to investigate it by posing a narrower part of the question: Does representative US testing of volatile-organic-compound (VOC) waste sites tend to follow or to violate government technical requirements? The article (i) outlines US/state-government technical guidance for VOC testing; (ii) develops criteria for discovering representative US cases of VOC testing; (iii) uses the dominant US Environmental Protection Agency method to assess whether these representative cases follow such guidance; (iv) employs the results of (iii) to begin to answer the preceding question; then (v) discusses the degree to which, if any, these results suggest threats to environmental health or justice. Our initial, but representative, results show that almost all US VOC-waste-site testing (that we investigated) violates government technical requirements and systematically underestimates risks, and this may help justify less expensive, potentially health-threatening cleanups, mostly in environmental justice communities. We outline needed future research and suggest two strategies to promote following government technical guidance for hazardous-waste testing.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Domjanović J, Matetic A, Baković Kramarić D, et al (2022)

Association of the novel CROW-65 risk score and mortality in hospitalized kidney transplant recipients with COVID-19 : A retrospective observational study.

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Kidney transplant recipients (KTR) are a group of patients with heterogeneous risks for adverse outcomes with COVID-19, but risk stratification tools in this patient group are lacking.

METHODS AND PARTICIPANTS: This retrospective observational, hypothesis-generating study included 49 hospitalized adult KTR patients with COVID-19 at the University Hospital of Split (August 2020 to October 2021) and evaluated the performance of novel risk score CROW-65 (age, Charlson Comorbidity Index [CCI] lactate dehydrogenase to white blood cell [LDH:WBC] ratio, and respiratory rate oxygenation [ROX index]). The primary outcome of the study was 30-day postdischarge all-cause mortality.

RESULTS: A total of 8 fatal events (16.3%) occurred during the study follow-up. When comparing CROW-65 by survival status, it was significantly increased in patients with fatal event (P < 0.001). Using the Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, the CROW-65 risk score showed statistically significant association with mortality (HR 1.11, 95% CI 1.01-1.23, P = 0.027), while receiving operator characteristics (ROC) showed significant discrimination of all-cause mortality with an AUC of 0.85 (95% CI 0.72-0.94, P < 0.001), and satisfactory calibration (χ2 4.91, P = 0.555 and Harrell's C 0.835). Finally, survival Kaplan-Meier analysis confirmed significantly higher cumulative incidence of mortality with increasing risk score tertiles and curve separation after 13 days (P = 0.009).

CONCLUSION: A novel risk score CROW-65 showed significant association with all-cause mortality in KTR yielding important hypothesis-generating findings. Further powered studies should reassess the performance of CROW-65 risk score in this population, including predictability, calibration and discrimination.

RevDate: 2022-09-15

Malkinski M, J Mandziuk (2022)

Multi-Label Contrastive Learning for Abstract Visual Reasoning.

IEEE transactions on neural networks and learning systems, PP: [Epub ahead of print].

For a long time, the ability to solve abstract reasoning tasks was considered one of the hallmarks of human intelligence. Recent advances in the application of deep learning (DL) methods led to surpassing human abstract reasoning performance, specifically in the most popular type of such problems-Raven's progressive matrices (RPMs). While the efficacy of DL systems is indeed impressive, the way they approach the RPMs is very different from that of humans. State-of-the-art systems solving RPMs rely on massive pattern-based training and sometimes on exploiting biases in the dataset, whereas humans concentrate on the identification of the rules/concepts underlying the RPM to be solved. Motivated by this cognitive difference, this work aims at combining DL with the human way of solving RPMs. Specifically, we cast the problem of solving RPMs into a multilabel classification framework where each RPM is viewed as a multilabel data point, with labels determined by the set of abstract rules underlying the RPM. For efficient training of the system, we present a generalization of the noise contrastive estimation algorithm to the case of multilabel samples and a new sparse rule encoding scheme for RPMs. The proposed approach is evaluated on the two most popular benchmark datasets I-RAVEN and procedurally generated matrices (PGM) and on both of them demonstrate an advantage over the state-of-the-art results.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Kang KH, Nam KB, Kim JS, et al (2022)

Nest characteristics and composition of the colonial nesting Azure-winged magpie Cyanopica cyanus in South Korea.

PeerJ, 10:e13637.

Bird nests are crucial for reproductive success since they serve as structures to hold the eggs and nestlings safely. Therefore, the structural characteristics of bird nests have optimally evolved to maximize reproductive success, which are known to be affected by various factors. We gathered information on the nest characteristics such as nest structure and constituent materials in the colonial breeding Azure-winged magpie (Cyanopica cyanus) and investigated the relationship between ecologically relevant factors and the size and mass of the nests. The Azure-winged magpie nest can be deconstructed into an outer nest and an inner cup, and the type and mass of materials used for the construction of each part varies. Compared to the inner cup, the outer nest, which constitutes the overall shape of the nest, is composed of relatively harder materials, such as branches and soil. In contrast, the inner cup, which is the part where birds directly incubate eggs and raise nestlings, is composed of more flexible and softer materials, such as fiber and moss. We found that there was no relationship between nest characteristics and ecologically relevant factors. However, as the breeding season progressed, the volume of the inner cup decreased with increasing ambient temperatures. Our results show that Azure-winged magpies use differing materials for structurally distinct parts of the nests during construction. The results also indirectly suggest that the choice regarding the amount of insulating materials relative to changing temperatures during the breeding season may be one of the more significant adaptive strategies in the nest-building behaviors of Azure-winged magpies.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-07-06

Khosrozadeh M, Ghadimi S, Kazemzadeh Gharghabi M, et al (2022)

The Correlation between Children's Intelligence Quotient and Their Behavior in Dental Setting: A Cross-Sectional Study.

BioMed research international, 2022:2299215.

Children with high intelligence quotient (IQ) are more capable of managing adverse situations. These children may show more cooperation to receive dental treatments. This study assessed the effect of intelligence quotient (IQ) of 5-10-year-old children on their cooperation during dental treatments. Eighty children without previous dental history and in need of pulpotomy and stainless steel crowns in one tooth were selected. A written consent was obtained from the parents, and after the children's IQ was measured by Raven intelligence test, the treatments were performed and their cooperation level was determined using Frankl's behavior rating scale with rating 1 to rating 4 (definitely negative, negative, positive, and definitely positive). In this cross-sectional study, the relationship between IQ and cooperation level was analyzed by one-way ANOVA test while the effect of age and gender on IQ and cooperation level was studied by ordinal regression test. Out of the total samples, 5% had definitely negative, 16.2% had negative, 56.3% had positive, and 22.5% had definitely positive level of cooperation according to Frankl criteria. There was a significant and positive correlation between IQ and level of cooperation (r = 0.87, p < 0.001). According to the results of the linear regression analysis, to examine the effect of age, sex, and IQ variables on cooperation, children's age (p value = 0.003) had a positive effect on their cooperation, but gender had no effect on predicting IQ and cooperation level (p value = 0.557). Regarding significant relationship between IQ scores and cooperation level, dentists can predict cooperation in pediatric patients to deliver better treatments and increase patients' satisfaction.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Nguyen TN, Chen N, Cosgrove EJ, et al (2022)

Dynamics of reduced genetic diversity in increasingly fragmented populations of Florida scrub jays,Aphelocoma coerulescens.

Evolutionary applications, 15(6):1018-1027.

Understanding the genomic consequences of population decline is important for predicting species' vulnerability to intensifying global change. Empirical information about genomic changes in populations in the early stages of decline, especially for those still experiencing immigration, remains scarce. We used 7834 autosomal SNPs and demographic data for 288 Florida scrub jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens; FSJ) sampled in 2000 and 2008 to compare levels of genetic diversity, inbreeding, relatedness, and lengths of runs of homozygosity (ROH) between two subpopulations within dispersal distance of one another but have experienced contrasting demographic trajectories. At Archbold Biological Station (ABS), the FSJ population has been stable because of consistent habitat protection and management, while at nearby Placid Lakes Estates (PLE), the population declined precipitously due to suburban development. By the onset of our sampling in 2000, birds in PLE were already less heterozygous, more inbred, and on average more related than birds in ABS. No significant changes occurred in heterozygosity or inbreeding across the 8-year sampling interval, but average relatedness among individuals decreased in PLE, thus by 2008 average relatedness did not differ between sites. PLE harbored a similar proportion of short ROH but a greater proportion of long ROH than ABS, suggesting one continuous population of shared demographic history in the past, which is now experiencing more recent inbreeding. These results broadly uphold the predictions of simple population genetic models based on inferred effective population sizes and rates of immigration. Our study highlights how, in just a few generations, formerly continuous populations can diverge in heterozygosity and levels of inbreeding with severe local population decline despite ongoing gene flow.

RevDate: 2022-07-06
CmpDate: 2022-07-06

Giangaspero A, D'Onghia V, Puccini A, et al (2022)

When there is no communication between urban planners and public health operators: urban Dermanyssus gallinae infestations in humans.

Igiene e sanita pubblica, 79(2):62-69.

At the international level, it is necessary to apply urban health strategies that can integrate concrete actions to protect and promote health in urban and architectural planning. In cities, the "urban fauna" mostly consists of synanthropic birds (sparrows, starlings, swallows, martins, jackdaws, crows, hawks, gulls, pigeons) that have adapted to a continuous relationship with humans. These animals enrich the ecological network of biodiversity but also pose health problems. The most successful avian colonizers are pigeons (Columba livia), which proliferate due to the abundance of food available to them and the absence of predators. Pigeons may harbor several organisms that are pathogenic for humans, and among these the role of Dermanyssus gallinae should not be underestimated. In the absence of their preferred pigeon host, these mites will move from the nest to windowsills and window frames from which they attack humans. The Authors show that modern architectural design features in towns can favor the establishment and proliferation of pigeons, contributing to the public health risk for dermanyssosis or other diseases related to these birds. They describe an outbreak of dermanyssosis due to incorrect or unsuitable structural interventions, and highlight the need of re-thinking urban architectural choices in order to safeguard public health.

RevDate: 2022-08-22
CmpDate: 2022-07-07

Zorrilla F, EJ Kerkhoven (2022)

Reconstruction of Genome-Scale Metabolic Model for Hansenula polymorpha Using RAVEN.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2513:271-290.

Genome-scale metabolic models (GEMs) provide a useful framework for modeling the metabolism of microorganisms. While the applications of GEMs are wide and far reaching, the reconstruction and continuous curation of such models can be perceived as a tedious and time-consuming task. Using RAVEN, a MATLAB-based toolbox designed to facilitate the reconstruction analysis of metabolic networks, this protocol practically demonstrates how researchers can create their own GEMs using a homology-based approach. To provide a complete example, a draft GEM for the industrially relevant yeast Hansenula polymorpha is reconstructed.

RevDate: 2022-07-06
CmpDate: 2022-07-06

Seervai RNH, Wiggins CJ, T Rosen (2022)

"The Raven Himself Is Hoarse:" Candida dubliniensis fungemia manifesting as an eschar.

Skinmed, 20(3):213-214.

A 65-year-old man with diabetes, end-stage renal disease on hemodialysis, coronary artery disease, and a prosthetic aortic valve. He presented to the emergency department with hypothermia (96.6°F), several weeks of anorexia and chills, and bilateral lower extremity tissue necrosis with erythema and edema (Figure 1A). He had a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line 8 weeks prior placed at another hospital for treatment of cellulitis. Laboratory results revealed anemia, azotemia, and leukocytosis (19,200 WBCs/mm3), and he was admitted for sepsis of unknown etiology. (SKINmed. 2022;20:213-214).

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Gallego-Abenza M, Boucherie PH, T Bugnyar (2022)

Early social environment affects attention to social cues in juvenile common ravens, Corvus corax.

Royal Society open science, 9(6):220132.

Social competence, i.e. defined as the ability to adjust the expression of social behaviour to the available social information, is known to be influenced by early-life conditions. Brood size might be one of the factors determining such early conditions, particularly in species with extended parental care. We here tested in ravens whether growing up in families of different sizes affects the chicks' responsiveness to social information. We experimentally manipulated the brood size of 13 captive raven families, creating either small or large families. Simulating dispersal, juveniles were separated from their parents and temporarily housed in one of two captive non-breeder groups. After five weeks of socialization, each raven was individually tested in a playback setting with food-associated calls from three social categories: sibling, familiar unrelated raven they were housed with, and unfamiliar unrelated raven from the other non-breeder aviary. We found that individuals reared in small families were more attentive than birds from large families, in particular towards the familiar unrelated peer. These results indicate that variation in family size during upbringing can affect how juvenile ravens value social information. Whether the observed attention patterns translate into behavioural preferences under daily life conditions remains to be tested in future studies.

RevDate: 2022-09-13
CmpDate: 2022-09-13

Baciadonna L, Jerwood GM, Farrar BG, et al (2022)

Investigation of mirror-self recognition in ravens (Corvus corax).

Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983), 136(3):194-198.

Large-brained birds, such as corvids and parrots, tend to fail tests for self-recognition (mirror self-recognition [MSR]), but the limited positive evidence for MSR in these species has been questioned due to methodological limitations. In the present study, we aimed to investigate MSR in ravens by performing three mirror tests: a mirror exposure test, a mirror preference test, and a mark test. Across all three tests, the ravens' behavior was not consistent with MSR. Three out of six ravens infrequently interacted with the mirror and the nonmirror surfaces. Two birds explored the mirror and occasionally displayed contingent behaviors. Finally, the ravens made very few social displays toward the mirror, suggesting that at this stage they did not treat their reflection as a conspecific. These findings, along with the current evidence available, raise further questions on the validity of relying on one test to establish self-recognition and call for the development of methods beyond mirror tests to explore self-recognition in nonhuman animals. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2022-06-30

Zhang Y, Peng S, Ren Y, et al (2022)

First report of Pseudomonas palleroniana causing potato soft rot in China.

Plant disease [Epub ahead of print].

Slimy potato (Solanum tuberosum) tubers with a foul-smelling odor were obtained from a potato field during harvest in Huize county (25.94°N; 103.40°E), Yunnan province, China in August 2021. The incidence of symptomatic potato tubers was approximately 5% while no symptoms were observed on potato stems. To isolate the causal agent, potato tubers were surface-disinfected and infected tissues were mashed in a 15 ml sterile centrifuge tube with 2 ml sterile distilled water. After a series of dilutions, a volume of 200 μl bacterial suspension from each dilution was spread on nutrient agar (NA) medium and incubated at 28 °C for 48 h. Single colonies randomly selected from NA plates were then picked and separately subcultured in nutrient broth (NB) medium. Pure cultures were acquired by successive streaking on NA medium. The colonies with irregular shapes were white and opaque (Fig. S1A). Among all the isolates, strain Q1 exhibited pectinolytic activity on inoculated potato tubers using a pin prick method with an inoculum concentration of 108 CFU/ml while no symptoms appeared for the control group using sterile water (Fig. S1B). However, no obvious pits were observed for strain Q1 when tested on crystal violet pectin (CVP) medium. To further identify the strain Q1, total DNA was extracted using the TaKaRa MiniBEST Bacteria Genomic DNA Extraction Kit. PCR amplification of 16S rDNA of strain Q1 was performed using the universal PCR primer pair 27F/1492R and followed by Sanger sequencing. The BLASTn analysis of the sequence (NCBI accession number ON631256) based on NCBI rRNA/ITS databases revealed 100% query coverage and 99.78% identity to the 16S rDNA sequences of type strain Pseudomonas tolaasii ATCC 33618 and Pseudomonas palleroniana CFBP 4389, respectively. Whole-genome sequencing of strain Q1 was then performed using the Illumina and Nanopore sequencing platform. A single contig (NCBI accession number CP092411) with a length of approx. 6.2 MB was obtained by de novo assembly using Raven (v1.5.1) (Vaser and Šikić 2021) and Pilon (v1.24) (Walker et al. 2014). The completeness and redundancy of this assembly was evaluated by BUSCO (v5.2.2) (Manni et al. 2021), and a score of 100% completeness indicated a high quality of the assembly. The genome sequence of strain Q1 was uploaded to the Type Strain Genome Server (TYGS) for a whole genome-based taxonomic analysis (Meier-Kolthoff and Göker 2019). The distance-based phylogeny revealed that strain Q1 is well clustered together with Pseudomonas palleroniana (Fig. S1C). Furthermore, a digital DNA-DNA hybridization (dDDH) value (86.9%) between strain Q1 and P. palleroniana was above the species boundary (≥70%), indicating that strain Q1 should be classified as P. palleroniana. In addition, P. palleroniana was re-isolated from potato tubers inoculated using a pin prick method with an inoculum concentration of 108 CFU/ml and was identified by morphological similarities and 16s rDNA sequencing described above, thus fulfilling Koch's postulates. Furthermore, aerial stem rot symptoms were observed after 3-5 days post inoculation of strain Q1 with a concentration of 108 CFU/ml on stems of young potato plants using a pin prick method (Fig. S1D). Notably, a couple of Pseudomonas spp. have been reported to cause soft rot in carrot (Godfrey and Marshall 2002) and melon (Zhang et al. 2016). To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. palleroniana causing soft rot on potato tuber in China.

RevDate: 2022-06-30

Anonymous (2022)

Expression of Concern: Optimized lung tumor diagnosis system using enhanced version of crow search algorithm, Zernike moments, and support vector machine.

Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2022-08-02
CmpDate: 2022-08-02

Kuroha Y, Takahashi T, Arai Y, et al (2022)

[Neuropsychological and regional cerebral blood flow of posterior parietal area features in patients with Parkinson's disease with mild cognitive impairment].

Rinsho shinkeigaku = Clinical neurology, 62(7):532-540.

This study aimed to clarify associations between neuropsychological scales and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) of on ‍123I-IMP-SPECT in patients with Parkinson's disease with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI). Forty-two participants (mean age, 65.5 ± 8.9 years; mean disease duration, 11.1 ±5.7 years) were evaluated using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, third edition (WAIS-III), Wechsler Memory Scale, revised (WMS-R), Stroop test, Category word fluency, Auditory verbal learning test, Raven colored progressive matrices, Trail Making Test-B, and Clock drawing test. Participants were classified into PD-MCI and PD non-demented (PD-ND) using ten of these scales or its subtests. The rCBF of the posterior cingulate gyrus, precuneus, and parietal lobes was evaluated by ‍123I-IMP-SPECT using the easy Z-‍score imaging system (eZIS analysis). Extent was the extent index of voxels showing z-score > 2, and Severity was mean z-score in those regions on eZIS analysis. Cingulate island sign score (CIScore) was the ratio of integrated z-scores of the posterior cingulate gyrus to those of the posterior cortex.Twenty-three participants were diagnosed with PD-MCI (55%). The rCBF indices were significantly increased in the PD-MCI group compared to the PD-ND group (Extent: P = 0.047; CIScore: P = 0.006). These indices were significantly correlated with WAIS-III Processing Speed (Extent: P = 0.041, R = -0.317; Severity: P = 0.047, R = -0.309), Stroop effect (Extent: P = 0.003, R = 0.443; Severity: P = 0.004, R = 0.437), WMS-R Visual memory (Extent: P = 0.019, R = -0.361; Severity: P = 0.014, R = -0.375), and Delayed memory score (Extent: P = 0.005, R = -0.423; Severity: P = 0.044, R = -0.312). The rCBF indices showed no correlations with the number of impaired cognitive domains. Collectively, decreased posterior parietal area rCBF and lower scores on selective neuropsychological scales might be helpful to detect a transition period from PD-MCI to PD-D.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Kizilkaya MC, Kilic SS, Bozkurt MA, et al (2022)

Breast cancer awareness among Afghan refugee women in Turkey.

EClinicalMedicine, 49:101459.

Background Refugees and asylum-seekers have lower levels of cancer awareness and this contributes to low rates of screening and more advanced cancers at diagnosis, compared to non-refugee populations, due largely to reduced access to medical information and care. The global Afghan refugee population is rapidly increasing with the ongoing Afghan political crisis. The present study investigates breast cancer (BC) awareness among Afghan refugee women.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of Afghan refugee women residing in Turkey was performed in September 2021. A validated BC patient awareness assessment, the Breast Cancer Awareness Measure (BCAM), was used to assess participants' knowledge of seven domains of BC: symptoms, self-examination, ability to notice breast changes, age-related risk of BC, urgency of addressing changes in the breast, BC risk factors, and BC screening. BCAM was translated into patients' native language and administered verbally by a physician with the assistance of an official interpreter. Routine statistical methods were employed for data analysis.

Findings: A total of 430 patients were recruited to the study. The response rate was 97·7% (420 patients). The median participant age was 35 years (range: 18 to 68 years). The majority of participants (84%) had no formal education. Most participants (96%) were married, and most (95%) were not employed. Awareness of warning signs of BC was low: only seven to 18% of participants recognized 11 common warning signs of BC. Participant use of breast self-exam (BSE) was low, with 82% of participants stating they rarely or never complete BSE. Zero of 420 patients reported ever seeing a physician for a change in their breasts. Awareness of risk factors for BC was also low: only 15% of participants recognized increasing age as a risk factor for BC, and other risk factors were only recognized by four to 39% of participants.

Interpretation: BC awareness among Afghan refugee women is critically low. There is an urgent need to target this population for practical interventions to increase BC awareness, in addition to screening and earlier diagnosis. Evidence-based interventions include educational sessions in patients' native language and use of BSE and clinical breast examination for screening.

Funding: American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) - Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology (ARRO) Global Health Scholar Grant, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Jay Harris Junior Faculty Research Grant.

RevDate: 2022-08-24
CmpDate: 2022-08-23

Malvandi H, MH Shamabadi (2022)

Use of Feathers from Birds that Collided with Vehicles to Monitor Heavy Metal Contamination in Western Khorasan Razavi, Iran.

Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology, 109(3):495-501.

In the present study, lead, zinc and copper concentrations in the feathers of Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Eurasian magpie (Pica pica), Common buzzard (Buteo buteo), Crested lark (Galerida cristata), Eurasian hoopoe (Upupa epops), Little owl (Athene noctua), Long-eared owl (Asio otus), Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) and Long-legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus) from Sabzevar and Neghab, Khorasan Razavi of Iran were measured. Almost all of the specimens were obtained from birds that had collided with vehicles or were unable to fly. There were no significant differences in metal concentrations between adult and juvenile, diurnal and nocturnal raptors and species with different diets. Elemental concentrations were lower than toxicity threshold values, so exposure to these elements does not appear to pose a health risk to the studied species. It should be noted that this study was the first study of metals in Galerida cristata, Asio otus and Buteo rufinus.

RevDate: 2022-09-06

Singh MP, Prinja S, Rajsekar K, et al (2022)

Cost of Surgical Care at Public Sector District Hospitals in India: Implications for Universal Health Coverage and Publicly Financed Health Insurance Schemes.

PharmacoEconomics - open, 6(5):745-756.

BACKGROUND: In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), provisioning for surgical care is a public health priority. Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri-Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) is India's largest national insurance scheme providing free surgical and medical care. In this paper, we present the costs of surgical health benefit packages (HBPs) for secondary care in public district hospitals.

METHODS: The costs were estimated using mixed (top-down and bottom-up) micro-costing methods. In phase II of the Costing of Health Services in India (CHSI) study, data were collected from a sample of 27 district hospitals from nine states of India. The district hospitals were selected using stratified random sampling based on the district's composite development score. We estimated unit costs for individual services-outpatient (OP) visit, per bed-day in inpatient (IP) and intensive care unit (ICU) stays, and surgical procedures. Together, this was used to estimate the cost of 250 AB PM-JAY HBPs.

RESULTS: At the current level of utilization, the mean cost per OP consultation varied from US$4.10 to US$2.60 among different surgical specialities. The mean unit cost per IP bed-day ranged from US$13.40 to US$35.60. For the ICU, the mean unit cost per bed-day was US$74. Further, the unit cost of HBPs varied from US$564 for bone tumour excision to US$49 for lid tear repair.

CONCLUSIONS: Data on the cost of delivering surgical care at the level of district hospitals is of critical value for evidence-based policymaking, price-setting for surgical care and planning to strengthen the availability of high quality and cost-effective surgical care in district hospitals.

RevDate: 2022-08-30
CmpDate: 2022-08-30

Hallett J, Feng D, McCormick AKHG, et al (2022)

Improving Chronic Illness Self-Management with the Apsáalooke Nation: The Báa nnilah Project, a cluster randomized trial protocol.

Contemporary clinical trials, 119:106835.

Chronic illness (CI) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality for Indigenous people. In Montana, Indigenous communities disproportionately experience CI, a legacy of settler colonialism. For over two decades, Messengers for Health, an Apsáalooke (Crow Indian) non-profit, and Montana State University have partnered to improve community health using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach. We developed Báa nnilah, an intervention utilizing community strengths, to improve CI self-management. This manuscript describes the protocol for a cluster randomized trial with two arms: an intervention group and a wait list control group, who both participated in the Báa nnilah program. Enrollment occurred through family/clan networks and community outreach and attended to limitations of existing CI self-management interventions by using an approach and content that were culturally consonant. Participants received program materials, attended seven gatherings focused on improving CI management, and received and shared health information through storytelling based on a conceptual framework from the Apsáalooke culture and incorporating CI self-management strategies. Participant support occurred within partnership dyads during and between gatherings, from community mentors, and by program staff. The study used mixed methods to evaluate the intervention, with qualitative measures including the Short Form Health Survey (SF-12), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Patient Activation Measure (PAM), and a suite of PROMIS measures, various physical tests and qualitative survey responses, semi-structured interviews, and outcomes shared by participants with program staff. We hypothesized that Báa nnilah would significantly improve participant health outcome measures across multiple dimensions with quality of life (QoL) as the primary outcome. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03036189. Registered on 30 January 2017. (From https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03036189).

RevDate: 2022-07-27
CmpDate: 2022-07-27

Buniyaadi A, Prabhat A, Bhardwaj SK, et al (2022)

Night melatonin levels affect cognition in diurnal animals: Molecular insights from a corvid exposed to an illuminated night environment.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 308:119618.

This study investigated the role of nocturnal melatonin secretion in the cognitive performance of diurnal animals. An initial experiment measured the cognitive performance in Indian house crows treated for 11 days with 12 h light at 1.426 W/m2 (∼150 lux) coupled with 12 h of 0.058 W/m2 (∼6-lux) dim light at night (dLAN) or with absolute darkness (0 lux dark night, LD). dLAN treatment significantly decreased midnight melatonin levels and negatively impacted cognitive performance. Subsequently, the role of exogenous melatonin (50 μg; administered intraperitoneally half an hour before the night began) was assessed on the regulation of cognitive performance in two separate experimental cohorts of crows kept under dLAN; LD controls received vehicle. Exogenous melatonin restored its mid-night levels under dLAN at par with those under LD controls, and improved the cognitive performance, as measured in the innovative problem-solving, and spatial and pattern learning-memory efficiency tests in dLAN-treated crows. There were concurrent molecular changes in the cognition-associated brain areas, namely the hippocampus, nidopallium caudolaterale and midbrain. In particular, the expression levels of genes involved in neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity (bdnf, dcx, egr1, creb), and dopamine synthesis and signalling (th, drd1, drd2, darpp32, taar1) were restored to LD control levels in crows treated with illuminated nights and received melatonin. These results demonstrate that the maintenance of nocturnal melatonin levels is crucial for an optimal higher-order brain function in diurnal animals in the face of an environmental threat, such as light pollution.

RevDate: 2022-06-17

Zhang Y, Zhang Z, Zhao L, et al (2022)

Azure-winged Magpies would rather avoid losses than strive for benefits based on reciprocal altruism.

Animal cognition [Epub ahead of print].

It is no doubt that the reciprocal altruism of humans is unparalleled in the animal world. However, how strong altruistic behavior in the non-human animal is still very controversial. Almost all previous researches allowed only one individual in the dyad for action or dyad to accomplish tasks and obtain rewards simultaneously. Here, we designed current study based on the prisoner's dilemma to investigate reciprocal altruism under interactions of Azure-winged Magpies (Cyanopica cyanus), which is direct reciprocity of allowing subjects obtain rewards, respectively. The results suggest that Azure-winged Magpies failed to show continuously altruistic behavior due to the empiricism that stemmed from interactions, that is, avoiding losses. Meanwhile, the resource exchange game paradigm, which is designed in our study, is worthwhile to study the evolution of cooperation in more species in the future.

RevDate: 2022-06-15

McCullough JM, Oliveros C, Benz BW, et al (2022)

Wallacean and Melanesian Islands Promote Higher Rates of Diversification within the Global Passerine radiation Corvides.

Systematic biology pii:6608712 [Epub ahead of print].

The complex island archipelagoes of Wallacea and Melanesia have provided empirical data behind integral theories in evolutionary biology, including allopatric speciation and island biogeography. Yet, questions regarding the relative impact of the layered biogeographic barriers, such as deep-water trenches and isolated island systems, on faunal diversification remain underexplored. One such barrier is Wallace's Line, a significant biogeographic boundary that largely separates Australian and Asian biodiversity. To assess the relative roles of biogeographic barriers-specifically isolated island systems and Wallace's Line-we investigated the tempo and mode of diversification in a diverse avian radiation, Corvides (Crows and Jays, Birds-of-paradise, Vangas, and allies). We combined a genus-level dataset of thousands of ultraconserved elements (UCEs) and a species-level, 12-gene Sanger sequence matrix to produce a well-resolved supermatrix tree that we leveraged to explore the group's historical biogeography and effects of biogeographic barriers on their macroevolutionary dynamics. The tree is well-resolved and differs substantially from what has been used extensively for past comparative analyses within this group. We confirmed that Corvides, and its major constituent clades, arose in Australia and that a burst of dispersals west across Wallace's Line occurred after the uplift of Wallacea during the mid-Miocene. We found that dispersal across this biogeographic barrier were generally rare, though westward dispersals were two times more frequent than eastward dispersals. Wallacea's central position between Sundaland and Sahul no doubt acted as a bridge for island-hopping dispersal out of Australia, across Wallace's Line, to colonize the rest of Earth. In addition, we found that the complex island archipelagoes east of Wallace's Line harbor the highest rates of net diversification and are a substantial source of colonists to continental systems on both sides of this biogeographic barrier. Our results support emerging evidence that island systems, particularly the geologically complex archipelagoes of the Indo-pacific, are drivers of species diversification.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Lean FZX, Vitores AG, Reid SM, et al (2022)

Gross pathology of high pathogenicity avian influenza virus H5N1 2021-2022 epizootic in naturally infected birds in the United Kingdom.

One health (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 14:100392.

High pathogenicity avian influenza virus (HPAIV) clade has re-emerged in the United Kingdom in 2021-2022 winter season, with over 90 cases of HPAIV detected among poultry and captive birds in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Globally, HPAIV H5N1 has also had a wide geographical dispersion, causing outbreaks in Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa, impacting on socioeconomic and wildlife conservation. It is important to raise awareness of the gross pathological features of HPAIV and subsequently aid disease investigation through definition of pathological indicators following natural infection. In this study, we report on the gross pathology of HPAI H5N1 in poultry species (chicken, turkey, pheasant, guineafowl, duck, goose), and captive or wild birds (mute swan, tufted duck, jackdaw, peahen, white-tailed eagle) that tested positive between October 2021 and February 2022. Pancreatic and splenic necrosis were the common pathological findings in both Galliformes and Anseriformes. In addition to the more severe lesions documented in Galliformes, we also noted increased detection of pathological changes in a broader range of Anseriformes particularly in domestic ducks, in contrast to those reported in previous seasons with other H5Nx HPAIV subtypes. A continual effort to characterise the pathological impact of the disease is necessary to update on the presentation of HPAIV for both domestic/captive and wild birds whilst guiding early presumptive diagnosis.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Gallup AC, Schild AB, Ühlein MA, et al (2022)

No Evidence for Contagious Yawning in Juvenile Ravens (Corvus corax): An Observational Study.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 12(11):.

The overt and reflexive matching of behaviors among conspecifics has been observed in a growing number of social vertebrates, including avian species. In general, behavioral contagion-such as the spread of yawning-may serve important functions in group synchronization and vigilance behavior. Here, we performed an exploratory study to investigate yawn contagion among 10 captive juvenile ravens (Corvus corax), across two groups. Using observational methods, we also examined the contagiousness of three other distinct behaviors: stretching, scratching, and shaking. A total of 44 20 min observations were made across both groups, including 28 in the morning and 16 in the afternoon. The time and occurrence of all the behaviors from each bird were coded, and the temporal pattern of each behavior across both groups was then analyzed to assess the degree of social contagion. Overall, we found no evidence for contagious yawning, stretching, scratching, or shaking. However, yawns were relatively infrequent per observation (0.052 ± 0.076 yawns/bird) and thus experimental methods should be used to support this finding.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Li K, Walczak-Kozłowska T, Lipowski M, et al (2022)

The effect of the Baduanjin exercise on COVID-19-related anxiety, psychological well-being and lower back pain of college students during the pandemic.

BMC sports science, medicine & rehabilitation, 14(1):102.

BACKGROUND: This study aimed to examine the effect of Baduanjin exercise on COVID-19-related anxiety, psychological well-being, and the lower back pain of college students during the coronavirus pandemic in China.

SETTING: The study was carried out in a temporary experimental center of four universities in Wenzhou city in Zhejiang Province, China.

POPULATION: 387 participants who were college students were allocated to two groups: the Baduanjin exercise group(BEG, n = 195); and the Control group(CG,n = 192).

METHODS: In this randomized controlled trial,387 participants who were college students were randomly allocated in a 1:1 ratio to 12-week Baduanjin exercise group (BEG, n = 195)and 12-week Control group(CG,n = 192).CAS(Coronavirus Anxiety Scale), PWBS(Psychological Well-being Scale),NMQ(Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire), was used to assess COVID-19-related anxiety, psychological well-being, and lower back pain at second times (before and after the intervention). The paired t-test and an independent t-test (with a 95% confidence interval) was used to compare the outcome variables of the two groups.

RESULTS: Within-group comparison, there was no significant difference in the control group before and after the intervention. In contrast, the Baduanjin group had a significant improvement before and after the intervention. Between-group comparison, the Baduanjin group had a significant difference from the control group. The intervention effect on the Baduanjin exercise group was remarkably better than that of the control group (p < 0.05). Participants in the Baduanjin group significantly improved the corvid-19-related anxiety score decreased from (5.22 ± 0.45 to 5.07 ± 0.27, p < 0.05). The total psychological well-being score increased from (70.11 ± 8.65 to 84.12 ± 7.38,p < 0.05) and the prevalence of low back pain decreased from (22.45 ± 1.67 to 18.35 ± 1.05, p < 0.05) among college students.

CONCLUSION: During the pandemic, the Baduanjin exercise contributes to the reduction of the perceived anxiety related to COVID-19, decreases the prevalence of the lower back pain, and improves the psychological well-being of college students.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov, NCT04432038. Registered on June 16, 2020.

RevDate: 2022-06-23
CmpDate: 2022-06-09

Balbino M, Jandre C, de Miranda D, et al (2022)

Predictions of Academic Performance of Children and Adolescents with ADHD Using the SHAP Approach.

Studies in health technology and informatics, 290:655-659.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neuro-developmental disorder characterized by inattention and/or impulsivity-hyperactivity symptoms. Through Machine Learning methods and the SHAP approach, this work aims to discover which features have the most significant impact on the students' performance with ADHD in arithmetic, writing and reading. The SHAP allowed us to deepen the model's understanding and identify the most relevant features for academic performance. The experiments indicated that the Raven_Z IQ test score is the factor with the most significant impact on academic performance in all disciplines. Then, the mother's schooling, being from a private school, and the student's social class were the most frequently highlighted features. In all disciplines, the student having ADHD emerged as an important feature with a negative impact but less relevance than the previous features.

RevDate: 2022-08-07
CmpDate: 2022-07-26

Sasaki Y, Nozawa-Takeda T, Yonemitsu K, et al (2022)

Characterization of Campylobacter jejuni in large-billed crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) in Tochigi prefecture, Japan.

The Journal of veterinary medical science, 84(7):1029-1033.

As free-living crows are a potential source of Campylobacter infections in broilers and cattle, we characterized Campylobacter spp. isolated from crows using multilocus sequence typing and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. We obtained 82 samples from 27 birds captured at seven different times using a trap set in Tochigi prefecture, Japan. Campylobacter jejuni was isolated from 55 (67.1%) of the 82 samples and classified into 29 sequence types, of which 21 were novel. Tetracycline and streptomycin resistance rates were 18.2% and 3.6%, respectively. These results show that most types of C. jejuni infecting crows differ from those isolated from humans, broilers, and cattle. Thus, the importance of free-living crows as reservoirs of Campylobacter infections in broilers and cattle may be limited.

RevDate: 2022-08-12
CmpDate: 2022-08-12

Cheikh F, Benhassine NE, S Sbaa (2022)

Fetal phonocardiogram signals denoising using improved complete ensemble (EMD) with adaptive noise and optimal thresholding of wavelet coefficients.

Biomedizinische Technik. Biomedical engineering, 67(4):237-247 pii:bmt-2022-0006.

Although fetal phonocardiogram (fPCG) signals have become a good indicator for discovered heart disease, they may be contaminated by various noises that reduce the signals quality and the final diagnosis decision. Moreover, the noise may cause the risk of the data to misunderstand the heart signal and to misinterpret it. The main objective of this paper is to effectively remove noise from the fPCG signal to make it clinically feasible. So, we proposed a novel noise reduction method based on Improved Complete Ensemble Empirical Mode Decomposition with Adaptive Noise (ICEEMDAN), wavelet threshold and Crow Search Algorithm (CSA). This noise reduction method, named ICEEMDAN-DWT-CSA, has three major advantages. They were, (i) A better suppress of mode mixing and a minimized number of IMFs, (ii) A choice of wavelet corresponding to the study signal proven by the literature and (iii) Selection of the optimal threshold value. Firstly, the noisy fPCG signal is decomposed into Intrinsic Mode Functions (IMFs) by the (ICEEMDAN). Each noisy IMFs were decomposed by the Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT). Then, the optimal threshold value using the (CSA) technique is selected and the thresholding function is carried out in the detail's coefficients. Secondly, each denoised (IMFs) is reconstructed by applying the Inverse Discrete Wavelet Transform (IDWT). Finally, all these denoised (IMFs) are combined to get the denoised fPCG signal. The performance of the proposed method has been evaluated by Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR), Mean Square Error (MSE) and the Correlation Coefficient (COR). The experiment gave a better result than some standard methods.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Chu KK, Zhou ZJ, Wang Q, et al (2022)

Characterization of Deltacoronavirus in Black-Headed Gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) in South China Indicating Frequent Interspecies Transmission of the Virus in Birds.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:895741.

Deltacoronavirus (DCoV) is a genus of coronavirus (CoV) commonly found in avian and swine, but some DCoVs are capable of infecting humans, which causes the concern about interspecies transmission of DCoVs. Thus, monitoring the existence of DCoVs in animals near communities is of great importance for epidemic prevention. Black-headed gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) are common migratory birds inhabiting in most urban and rural wetlands of Yunnan Province, China, which is a typical habitat for black-headed gulls to overwinter. Whether Yunnan black-headed gulls carry CoV has never been determined. In this study, we identified three strains of DCoVs in fecal samples of Yunnan black-headed gulls by reverse-transcriptional PCR and sequenced their whole genomes. Genomic analysis revealed that these three strains shared genomic identity of more than 99%, thus named DCoV HNU4-1, HNU4-2, and HNU4-3; their NSP12 showed high similarity of amino acid sequence to the homologs of falcon coronavirus UAE-HKU27 (HKU27), houbara coronavirus UAE-HKU28 (HKU28), and pigeon coronavirus UAE-HKU29 (HKU29). Since both HKU28 and HKU29 were found in Dubai, there might be cross-border transmission of these avian DCoVs through specific routes. Further coevolutionary analysis supported this speculation that HNU4 (or its ancestors) in black-headed gulls originated from HKU28 (or its homologous strain) in houbara, which was interspecies transmission between two different avian orders. In addition, interspecies transmission of DCoV, from houbara to falcon, pigeon and white-eye, from sparrow to common-magpie, and quail and mammal including porcine and Asian leopard cat, from munia to magpie-robin, was predicted. This is the first report of black-headed gull DCoV in Asia which was highly homolog to other avian DCoVs, and the very "active" host-switching events in DCoV were predicted, which provides important reference for the study of spread and transmission of DCoVs.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Aaziz R, Laroucau K, Gobbo F, et al (2022)

Occurrence of Chlamydiae in Corvids in Northeast Italy.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 12(10):.

Chlamydiaceae occurrence has been largely evaluated in wildlife, showing that wild birds are efficient reservoirs for avian chlamydiosis. In this study, DNA extracted from cloacal swabs of 108 corvids from Northeast Italy was screened for Chlamydiaceae by 23S real-time (rt)PCR. The positive samples were characterised by specific rtPCRs for Chlamydia psittaci, Chlamydia abortus, Chlamydia gallinacea, Chlamydia avium, Chlamydia pecorum and Chlamydia suis. Cloacal shedding of Chlamydiaceae was detected in 12 out of 108 (11.1%, 5.9%-18.6% 95% CI) corvids sampled. Molecular characterisation at the species level was possible in 8/12 samples, showing C. psittaci positivity in only one sample from a hooded crow and C. abortus positivity in seven samples, two from Eurasian magpies and five from hooded crows. Genotyping of the C. psittaci-positive sample was undertaken via PCR/high-resolution melting, clustering it in group III_pigeon, corresponding to the B genotype based on former ompA analysis. For C. abortus genotyping, multilocus sequence typing was successfully performed on the two samples with high DNA load from Eurasian magpies, highlighting 100% identity with the recently reported Polish avian C. abortus genotype 1V strain 15-58d44. To confirm the intermediate characteristics between C. psittaci and C. abortus, both samples, as well as two samples from hooded crows, showed the chlamydial plasmid inherent in most C. psittaci and avian C. abortus, but not in ruminant C. abortus strains. The plasmid sequences were highly similar (≥99%) to those of the Polish avian C. abortus genotype 1V strain 15-58d44. To our knowledge, this is the first report of avian C. abortus strains in Italy, specifically genotype 1V, confirming that they are actively circulating in corvids in the Italian region tested.

RevDate: 2022-06-07
CmpDate: 2022-05-31

Vermeylen MK, Knowles TG, HW Barron (2022)

The influence of Lake Okeechobee discharges on Karenia brevis blooms and the effects on wildlife along the central west coast of Florida.

Harmful algae, 115:102237.

Blooms of the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis (K. brevis) are a common occurrence in the Gulf of Mexico, especially along Florida's coast. The blooms produce brevetoxins, potent neurotoxins that are associated with mortalities of marine wildlife. In recent years, K. brevis blooms seem to have become more frequent and intense. The cause of these suspected increases is highly debated, with one suggested explanation being anthropogenic eutrophication. Patient records from the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel Island, Florida, USA, and K. brevis cell count samples from the west coast of Florida were used to assess trends in red tides and affected wildlife. Flow data from the Okeechobee waterway was used to investigate if discharges from Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee Estuary, where eutrophication is present, influence red tides along Florida's central west coast. Overall, K. brevis blooms show trends of increasing intensity and duration along Florida's coast between 1954 and 2020 (latest data available). This means the amount of wildlife affected will likely increase in the future, as a linear relationship was found between the number of admissions to CROW and K. brevis densities. Furthermore, water discharges from the Okeechobee waterway (including Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee Estuary) into the Gulf of Mexico were significantly correlated with K. brevis densities, which suggests that anthropogenic pollution might play a role in the observed increases. Clear correlations were found between K. brevis densities and brevetoxicosis patient numbers admitted, and this was strongest with overall admissions lagging 23 days behind cell counts. This further confirms brevetoxins as the likely cause of their morbidity and supports previous research on brevetoxin retention in the environment. Different species groups had significant correlations with K. brevis cell counts, double-crested cormorants showing the strongest link, and there were significant differences between these groups in lag times. The differences are likely due to their distinct foraging behaviours or susceptibilities to brevetoxins. These findings can help predict future trends in red tides and can guide further research on the effects of discharges on K. brevis blooms.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Ashton BJ, Thornton A, Cauchoix M, et al (2022)

Long-term repeatability of cognitive performance.

Royal Society open science, 9(5):220069.

Measures of cognitive performance, derived from psychometric tasks, have yielded important insights into the factors governing cognitive variation. However, concerns remain over the robustness of these measures, which may be susceptible to non-cognitive factors such as motivation and persistence. Efforts to quantify short-term repeatability of cognitive performance have gone some way to address this, but crucially the long-term repeatability of cognitive performance has been largely overlooked. Quantifying the long-term repeatability of cognitive performance provides the opportunity to determine the stability of cognitive phenotypes and the potential for selection to act on them. To this end, we quantified long-term repeatability of cognitive performance in wild Australian magpies over a three-year period. Cognitive performance was repeatable in two out of four cognitive tasks-associative learning and reversal-learning performance was repeatable, but spatial memory and inhibitory control performance, although trending toward significance, was not. Measures of general cognitive performance, obtained from principal components analyses carried out on each cognitive test battery, were highly repeatable. Together, these findings provide evidence that at least some cognitive phenotypes are stable, which in turn has important implications for our understanding of cognitive evolution.

RevDate: 2022-07-19
CmpDate: 2022-07-07

Kilian L, Shahid F, Zhao JS, et al (2022)

Bioinspired morphing wings: mechanical design and wind tunnel experiments.

Bioinspiration & biomimetics, 17(4):.

Bioinspired morphing wings are part of a novel research direction offering greatly increased adaptability for use in unmanned aerial vehicles. Recent models published in the literature often rely on simplifications of the bird wing apparatus and fail to preserve many of the macroscopic morphological features. Therefore, a more holistic design approach could uncover further benefits of truly bioinspired bird wing models. With this issue in mind, a prototype inspired by crow wings (Corvusgenus) is developed, which is capable of planform wing morphing. The prototype imitates the feather structure of real birds and replicates the folding motion with a carbon fiber reinforced polymer skeleton with one controllable degree of freedom. The mechanism supplies a smooth airfoil lifting surface through a continuous morphing motion between a fully extended and a folded state. When extended, it has an elliptic planform and emarginated slots between primary remiges. In the folded state, the wingspan is reduced by 50% with a 40% reduction in surface area and the aspect ratio decreases from 2.9 to 1.2. Experimental data from a subsonic wind tunnel investigation is presented for flow velocities ranging from 5 to 20 m s-1, corresponding to Reynolds numbers between 0.7 × 105-2.8 × 105. The wing is analyzed in the three static states (folded, intermediate, and extended) through aerodynamic coefficients and flow visualizations along the surface. The bioinspired design enables the wing to capture several phenomena found on real bird wings. Through its morphing capabilities and intrinsic softness, the wing can sustain large angles of attack with greatly delayed stall and maintain optimal performance at different velocities.

RevDate: 2022-08-15
CmpDate: 2022-05-26

Farine DR (2022)

Collective behaviour: Jackdaws vote to leave with their voice.

Current biology : CB, 32(10):R467-R469.

Making a decision as a group requires not only choosing where to go but also when to go. A new study provides experimental evidence that, in jackdaws, vocalisations facilitate synchronous early morning departures from communal roosts.

RevDate: 2022-08-15
CmpDate: 2022-05-26

Dibnah AJ, Herbert-Read JE, Boogert NJ, et al (2022)

Vocally mediated consensus decisions govern mass departures from jackdaw roosts.

Current biology : CB, 32(10):R455-R456.

In the early morning, large groups of up to hundreds or even thousands of roosting birds, sometimes comprising the entire roost population, often take off together in sudden mass departures. These departures commonly occur in low-light conditions and structurally complex habitats where access to visual cues is likely to be restricted. Roosting birds are often highly vocal, leading us to hypothesise that vocalisations, which can propagate over large distances, could provide a means of enabling individuals to agree on when to depart - that is to establish a consensus1 - and thus coordinate the timing of mass movements. Investigations of the role of acoustic signals in coordinating collective decisions have been limited to honeybees2 and relatively small vertebrate groups (<50 individuals)3-5 and have rarely included experimental validation2,3. Here, by combining field recordings with a large-scale experimental manipulation, we show that jackdaws (Corvus monedula) use vocalisations to coordinate mass departures from winter roosts. This provides empirical evidence for vocally-mediated consensus decision-making in large vertebrate groups.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Moyer RA, Beck CJ, Van Atter N, et al (2022)

Advocacy services for survivors of intimate partner violence: Pivots and lessons learned during the COVID-19 quarantine in Tacoma, Washington.

Family court review, 60(2):288-302.

The Crystal Judson Family Justice Center (CJFJC), like many advocacy programs for survivors of intimate partner violence, transformed its structure and operating procedures amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States was in Washington State, where CJFJC is located, and Governor Jay Inslee acted quickly with a strict stay-at-home order. This paper describes the pre-pandemic, in-person service model used at CJFJC and then the transition to a fully online service model utilizing phone, email and online procedures and platforms. The rapid transition posed many opportunities to learn how to provide services during public pandemics, and how to provide services virtually. We conclude with detailed lessons learned from the experiences of filing domestic violence protection orders online, Zoom court hearings, innovation surrounding community partnerships, and information technology development.

RevDate: 2022-05-31
CmpDate: 2022-05-23

Gill J (2022)

Finding healing where it hurts.

Med (New York, N.Y.), 3(2):80-82.

In 2021, Cell Press together with Cell Signaling Technology held the second installment of the Rising Black Scientist Award (RBSA) Essay Contest meant to support talented and motivated young Black scientists on their journey. Charleese Williams and Elle Lett won the 2021 RBSA undergraduate and post-graduate scholars, respectively (https://www.cell.com/cell/issue?pii=S0092-8674(21)X0003-7). In recognition of the excellence of this year's submissions, we at Med are honored to also highlight the unique story of Jay Gill, which strongly resonates with the journal's mission to improve global health.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Borukhson D, Lorenz-Spreen P, M Ragni (2022)

When Does an Individual Accept Misinformation? An Extended Investigation Through Cognitive Modeling.

Computational brain & behavior, 5(2):244-260.

A new phenomenon is the spread and acceptance of misinformation and disinformation on an individual user level, facilitated by social media such as Twitter. So far, state-of-the-art socio-psychological theories and cognitive models focus on explaining how the accuracy of fake news is judged on average, with little consideration of the individual. In this paper, a breadth of core models are comparatively assessed on their predictive accuracy for the individual decision maker, i.e., how well can models predict an individual's decision before the decision is made. To conduct this analysis, it requires the raw responses of each individual and the implementation and adaption of theories to predict the individual's response. Building on methods formerly applied on smaller and more limited datasets, we used three previously collected large datasets with a total of 3794 participants and searched for, analyzed and refined existing classical and heuristic modeling approaches. The results suggest that classical reasoning, sentiment analysis models and heuristic approaches can best predict the "Accept" or "Reject" response of a person, headed by a model put together from research by Jay Van Bavel, while other models such as an implementation of "motivated reasoning" performed worse. Further, hybrid models that combine pairs of individual models achieve a significant increase in performance, pointing to an adaptive toolbox.

RevDate: 2022-09-19
CmpDate: 2022-07-18

Aydin F, Saticioglu IB, Ay H, et al (2022)

Description of the two novel species of the genus Helicobacter: Helicobacter anatolicus sp. nov., and Helicobacter kayseriensis sp. nov., isolated from feces of urban wild birds.

Systematic and applied microbiology, 45(4):126326.

A total of 26 Gram-negative, motile, gently curved, and rod-shaped isolates were recovered, during a study to determine the faeco-prevalence of Helicobacter spp. in urban wild birds. Pairwise comparisons of the 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that these isolates belonged to the genus Helicobacter and phylogenetic analysis based on the 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that the isolates were separated into two divergent groups. The first group consisted of 20 urease-positive isolates sharing the highest 16S rRNA gene sequence identity levels of 98.5-98.6% to H. mustelae ATCC 43772T, while the second group contained six urease-negative isolates with the sequence identity level of 98.5% to the type strain of H. pametensis ATCC 51478T. Five isolates were chosen and subjected to comparative whole-genome analysis. The phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA, gyrA and atpA gene sequences showed that Helicobacter isolates formed two separate phylogenetic clades, differentiating the isolates from the other Helicobacter species. Digital DNA-DNA hybridization (dDDH) and average nucleotide identity (ANI) analyses between strains faydin-H8T, faydin-H23T and their close neighbors H. anseris MIT 04-9362T and H. pametensis ATCC 51478T, respectively, confirmed that both strains represent novel species in the genus Helicobacter. The DNA G+C contents of the strains faydin-H8T and faydin-H23T are 32.0% and 37.6%, respectively. The results obtained for the characterization of the wild bird isolates indicate that they represent two novel species, for which the names Helicobacter anatolicus sp. nov., and Helicobacter kayseriensis sp. nov., are proposed, with faydin-H8T(=LMG 32237T = DSM 112312T) and faydin-H23T(=LMG 32236T = CECT 30508T) as respective type strains.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Kövér L, Paládi P, Benmazouz I, et al (2022)

Is the Hitchcock Story Really True? Public Opinion on Hooded Crows in Cities as Input to Management.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 12(9):.

In recent years, the Hooded crow (Corvus cornix) has become one of the most successful wild bird species in urban environments across Europe. Hooded crows can cause several problems in cities, including trash scattering, noise disturbance, and aggressive behavior toward humans or pets, and they can be potential vectors of pathogens. To find effective solutions, the public has to be involved in the decision-making process in urban planning management, managed by the city administration. In this study, we surveyed the attitude of people in Hungary towards crows and crow management by collecting information using an online questionnaire containing 65 questions published in 14 Facebook groups. We found that many people were familiar with corvid species and had personal experience with them. In most cases, these experiences were not negative, so the crows were not or only rarely perceived to cause problems to people, such as aggressive behavior, damage to cars or stealing something. Most respondents recognized that the presence of large numbers of hooded crows is a problem to be solved and acknowledged that they do not know how to resolve it. The majority of people expressed their interest in raising public awareness of crows but not in their management actions, which they believe should be implemented by experts. Most respondents preferred passive, harmless methods. More direct methods such as egg/chick removal from the nest, control by trapping, poisoned baits or firearms, or oral contraceptives were the least acceptable. These results express the difficulty in identifying a control method for managing hooded crow populations that is both acceptable to most people and effective at the same time. This study demonstrates the importance of involving public opinion in wildlife management and providing more information to citizens to reduce human-crow conflicts.

RevDate: 2022-08-15
CmpDate: 2022-06-09

Wang ZY, Pergande MR, Ragsdale CW, et al (2022)

Steroid hormones of the octopus self-destruct system.

Current biology : CB, 32(11):2572-2579.e4.

Among all invertebrates, soft-bodied cephalopods have the largest central nervous systems and the greatest brain-to-body mass ratios, yet unlike other big-brained animals, cephalopods are unusually short lived.1-5 Primates and corvids survive for many decades, but shallow-water octopuses, such as the California two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides), typically live for only 1 year.6,7 Lifespan and reproduction are controlled by the principal neuroendocrine center of the octopus: the optic glands, which are functional analogs to the vertebrate pituitary gland.8-10 After mating, females steadfastly brood their eggs, begin fasting, and undergo rapid physiological decline, featuring repeated self-injury and leading to death.11 Removal of the optic glands completely reverses this life history trajectory,10 but the signaling factors underlying this major life transition are unknown. Here, we characterize the major secretions and steroidogenic pathways of the female optic gland using mass spectrometry techniques. We find that at least three pathways are mobilized to increase synthesis of select sterol hormones after reproduction. One pathway generates pregnane steroids, known in other animals to support reproduction.12-16 Two other pathways produce 7-dehydrocholesterol and bile acid intermediates, neither of which were previously known to be involved in semelparity. Our results provide insight into invertebrate cholesterol pathways and confirm a remarkable unity of steroid hormone biology in life history processes across Bilateria.

RevDate: 2022-05-13

DeRaad DA, McCormack JE, Chen N, et al (2022)

Combining Species Delimitation, Species Trees, and Tests for Gene Flow Clarifies Complex Speciation in Scrub-Jays.

Systematic biology pii:6585345 [Epub ahead of print].

Complex speciation, involving rapid divergence and multiple bouts of post-divergence gene flow, can obfuscate phylogenetic relationships and species limits. In North America, cases of complex speciation are common, due at least in part to the cyclical Pleistocene glacial history of the continent. Scrub-jays in the genus Aphelocoma provide a useful case study in complex speciation because their range throughout North America is structured by phylogeographic barriers with multiple cases of secondary contact between divergent lineages. Here, we show that a comprehensive approach to genomic reconstruction of evolutionary history, i.e., synthesizing results from species delimitation, species tree reconstruction, demographic model testing, and tests for gene flow, is capable of clarifying evolutionary history despite complex speciation. We find concordant evidence across all statistical approaches for the distinctiveness of an endemic southern Mexico lineage (A. w. sumichrasti), culminating in support for the species status of this lineage under any commonly applied species concept. We also find novel genomic evidence for the species status of a Texas endemic lineage A. w. texana, for which equivocal species delimitation results were clarified by demographic modeling and spatially explicit models of gene flow. Finally, we find that complex signatures of both ancient and modern gene flow between the non-sister California Scrub-Jay (A. californica) and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay (A. woodhouseii), result in discordant gene trees throughout the species' genomes despite clear support for their overall isolation and species status. In sum, we find that a multi-faceted approach to genomic analysis can increase our understanding of complex speciation histories, even in well-studied groups. Given the emerging recognition that complex speciation is relatively commonplace, the comprehensive framework that we demonstrate for interrogation of species limits and evolutionary history using genomic data can provide a necessary roadmap for disentangling the impacts of gene flow and incomplete lineage sorting to better understand the systematics of other groups with similarly complex evolutionary histories.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-05-17

Trivedi M, Saxena A, Shroff Z, et al (2022)

Experiences and challenges in accessing hospitalization in a government-funded health insurance scheme: Evidence from early implementation of Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PM-JAY) in India.

PloS one, 17(5):e0266798.

INTRODUCTION: Government-sponsored health insurance schemes can play an important role in improving the reach of healthcare services. Launched in 2018 in India, Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PM-JAY) is one of the world's largest government-sponsored health insurance schemes. The objective of this study is to understand beneficiaries' experience of availing healthcare services at the empaneled hospitals in PM-JAY. This study examines the responsiveness of PM-JAY by measuring the prompt attention in service delivery, and access to information by the beneficiaries; financial burden experienced by the beneficiaries; and beneficiary's satisfaction with the experience of hospitalization under PMJAY and its determinants.

METHODS: The study was conducted during March-August 2019. Data were obtained through a survey conducted with 200 PM-JAY beneficiaries (or their caregivers) in the Indian states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The study population comprised of patients who received healthcare services at 14 study hospitals in April 2019. Prompt attention was measured in the form of a) effectiveness of helpdesk, and b) time taken at different stages of hospitalization and discharge events. Access to information by the beneficiaries was measured using the frequency and purpose of text messages and phone calls from the scheme authorities to the beneficiaries. The financial burden was measured in terms of the incidence and magnitude of out-of-pocket payments made by the beneficiaries separate from the cashless payment provided to hospitals by PMJAY. Beneficiaries' satisfaction was measured on a five-point Likert scale.

RESULTS: Socio-economically weaker sections of the society are availing healthcare services under PM-JAY. In Gujarat, the majority of the beneficiaries were made aware of the scheme by the government official channels. In Madhya Pradesh, the majority of the beneficiaries got to know about the scheme from informal sources. For most of the elements of prompt attention, access to information, and beneficiaries' satisfaction, hospitals in Gujarat performed significantly better than the hospitals in Madhya Pradesh. Similarly, for most of the elements of prompt attention, access to information, and beneficiaries' satisfaction, public hospitals performed significantly better than private hospitals. Incidence and magnitude of out-of-pocket payments were significantly higher in Madhya Pradesh as compared to Gujarat, and in private hospitals as compared to the public hospitals.

CONCLUSION: There is a need to focus on Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) activities for PM-JAY, especially in Madhya Pradesh. Capacity-building efforts need to be prioritized for private hospitals as compared to public hospitals, and for Madhya Pradesh as compared to Gujarat. There is a need to focus on enhancing the responsiveness of the scheme, and timely exchange of information with beneficiaries. There is also an urgent need for measures aimed at reducing the out-of-pocket payments made by the beneficiaries.

RevDate: 2022-08-27
CmpDate: 2022-08-09

Brynychová K, Sládeček M, Pešková L, et al (2022)

Aggressiveness in a subtropical shorebird's nest defense is adjusted to the predator species and shared by conspecifics.

Aggressive behavior, 48(5):475-486.

Aggression is an important component of an animal's defense when protecting offspring from predators. Ground nesting birds use a variety of defense strategies. However, their choice according to situation context is poorly known, especially in nonpasserines and in the subtropics and tropics. The ability to distinguish between differently dangerous predator species and the opportunity to share defense with conspecifics are potentially important but little-studied aspects of nest defense strategy. We experimentally studied the nest defense of Red-Wattled Lapwing in an individually marked population in a desert area near Dubai, UAE. We used three stuffed models representing 1) a predator dangerous both to adults and to nests (a cat), 2) a nest predator (a raven), and 3) a harmless reference model (a moorhen). We confirmed that the lapwings distinguished between predator species (being most aggressive toward the cat, and least aggressive toward the moorhen) and adjusted their defense strategy accordingly. In addition, conspecific visitors play a variety of roles in parents' defense strategy. They can strengthen the parental reaction, or they can assist in distracting a predator. The visitors included not only nesting neighbors but also nonbreeding floaters. Both parents participated in nest defense to a similar extent, regardless of incubation stage and ambient temperature. This study provides new insight into the complexity of the defensive patterns in ground-nesting birds inhabiting a hot environment. Comparative experimental research on a range of environments, with various bird species and predator models, can help us to understand the drivers of these defensive behavioral patterns.

RevDate: 2022-05-10
CmpDate: 2022-05-10

Hopf C, Bunting E, Clark A, et al (2022)

Survival and Release of 5 American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) Naturally Infected With West Nile Virus.

Journal of avian medicine and surgery, 36(1):85-91.

West Nile virus (WNV) has had a significant effect on avian populations in the United States since being first identified in 1999. Avian species in WNV endemic areas do not suffer the same level of mortality that has been reported in birds within the United States since the virus was first identified in North America. Because of their unique susceptibility, American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) are often used to monitor the spread and severity of WNV in North America. American crows with WNV infections are received and treated at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA) on a regular basis during the summer and fall and have historically had a 100% mortality rate. This report describes WNV-positive American crows that were treated, recovered from the infection, and were subsequently released. The 5 American crows in this case series were tested, when possible, by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and plaque reduction neutralization on admission and monitored with both PCR and plaque reduction neutralization throughout their rehabilitation process. Four of the 5 birds had a negative PCR test before release, and 1 bird had a "suspect" positive PCR test result before release. One of the crows was confirmed to have survived for at least 2.5 years after release. Viral shedding was documented up to 93 days after initial hospitalization, which is longer than any previous report of WNV shedding in an American crow.

RevDate: 2022-09-22

Jalil-Masir H, Fattahi R, Ghanbari-Adivi E, et al (2022)

An inclusive multiple model for predicting total sediment transport rate in the presence of coastal vegetation cover based on optimized kernel extreme learning models.

Environmental science and pollution research international, 29(44):67180-67213.

Predicting sediment transport rate (STR) in the presence of flexible vegetation is a critical task for modelers. Sediment transport modeling methods in the coastal region is equally challenging due to the nonlinearity of the STR-vegetation interaction. In the present study, the kernel extreme learning model (KELM) was integrated with the seagull optimization algorithm (SEOA), the crow optimization algorithm (COA), the firefly algorithm (FFA), and particle swarm optimization (PSO) to estimate the STR in the presence of vegetation cover. The rigidity index, D50/wave height, Newton number, drag coefficient, and cover density were used as inputs to the models. The root mean square error (RMSE), the mean absolute error (MAE), and percentage of bias (PBIAS) were used to evaluate the capability of models. This study applied the novel ensemble model, and the inclusive multiple model (IMM), to assemble the outputs of the KELM models. In addition, the innovations of this study were the introduction of a new IMM model, and the use of new hybrid KELM models for predicting STR and investigating the effects of various parameters on the STR. At the testing level, the MAE of the IMM model was 22, 60, 68, 73, and 76% lower than those of the KELM-SEOA, KELM-COA, KELM-PSO, and KELM models, respectively. The IMM had a PBIAS of 5, whereas the KELM-SEOA, KELM-COA, KELM-PSOA, and KELM had PBIAS of 9, 12, 14, 18, and 21%, respectively. The results indicated that the increasing drag coefficient and D50/wave height had decreased the STR. From the findings, it was revealed that the IMM and KELM-SEOA had higher predictive ability for STR. Since the sediment is one of the most important sources of environmental pollution, therefore, this study is useful for monitoring and controlling environmental pollution.

RevDate: 2022-08-03
CmpDate: 2022-08-03

Blazkova B, Ambroz A, Milcova A, et al (2022)

A possible link between cognitive development in 5 years old children and prenatal oxidative stress.

Neuro endocrinology letters, 43(1):27-38.

BACKGROUND: To study the impact of oxidative damage associated with particulate matter< 2.5 µm (PM2.5) during prenatal period on the cognitive development in five years old children.

METHODS: Two cohorts of children aged five years, born in the years 2013 and 2014, were studied for their cognitive development in the polluted district Karvina and the control district Ceske Budejovice. Exposure to PM2.5 in the ambient air was measured for each mother during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Oxidative damage was determined from the level of biomarkers at delivery in mothers´ and newborns´ urine as 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2´-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG) and in plasma as 15-F2t-isoprostane levels (15-F2t-IsoP). The Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test (BG test) and the Raven Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM test) were used as psychological cognitive tests.

RESULTS: Average concentrations of PM2.5 ± SD in the 3rd trimester of mothers´ pregnancies were 37.7 ± 14.7 µg/m3 and 17.1 ± 4.8 µg/m3 in Karvina and Ceske Budejovice, respectively (p < 0.001). The maternal level of 15-F2t-IsoP in plasma at the time of delivery was significantly associated with the results of the RCPM test (p < 0.05) and the BG test (p < 0.05) in five years old children.

CONCLUSIONS: Lipid peroxidation in maternal plasma at the time of delivery has an adverse effect on the results of psychological cognitive tests in five years old children.

RevDate: 2022-08-22
CmpDate: 2022-05-19

Pavia M, Val A, Carrera L, et al (2022)

Fossil birds from Cooper's D aid in reconstructing the Early Pleistocene paleoenvironment in the Cradle of Humankind (Gauteng, South Africa).

Journal of human evolution, 167:103185.

Several large-bodied hominin and nonhuman primates have coexisted in the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa during the Early Pleistocene. Previous paleoenvironmental studies regarding the Plio-Pleistocene of South Africa have focused heavily on mammal assemblages. Here, we conducted a comprehensive taxonomic analysis of the fossil bird remains from Cooper's D, the most fossiliferous locality of the hominin-bearing Cooper's Cave complex in South Africa. Our taxonomic evaluation of 505 remains reveals the presence of 23 bird taxa, two of which are extinct and already reported from the nearby fossil locality of Kromdraai. The taxonomically diverse bird assemblage is dominated by Francolinus sp. and other species associated with open grassland habitats, followed by rock-dwelling species, including Tyto cf. alba and the extinct Corvus bragai, and by woodland species such as Agapornis sp., Accipiter melanoleucos, and the extinct Glaucidium ireneae. The occurrence of these taxa and their respective proportions in the assemblage, in terms of both numbers of bones and individuals, point to the presence of extensive open grassland and/or savannah with rocky outcrops and woodland. These findings corroborate previous analyses of mammals from Cooper's D, with the exception of aquatic species, which are rare in the bird assemblage. Comparison with older deposits from Kromdraai confirms the definitive establishment of open habitats in the Cradle of Humankind during the Early Pleistocene following a transition from woodier habitats during the Late Pliocene. This study constitutes a further step in investigating the fossil bird diversity in the Cradle of Humankind during the Plio-Pleistocene. Our results add to the larger body of work using avian fossils for paleoenvironmental reconstructions in Africa and support the utility of birds as paleoenvironmental proxies. Similar future studies will refine our understanding of the paleoenvironments and landscape transformation during the Plio-Pleistocene, a critical timeframe for hominin evolution in southern Africa.

RevDate: 2022-05-15

Peona V, Kutschera VE, Blom MPK, et al (2022)

Satellite DNA evolution in Corvoidea inferred from short and long reads.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Satellite DNA (satDNA) is a fast-evolving portion of eukaryotic genomes. The homogeneous and repetitive nature of such satDNA causes problems during the assembly of genomes, and therefore it is still difficult to study it in detail in nonmodel organisms as well as across broad evolutionary timescales. Here, we combined the use of short- and long-read data to explore the diversity and evolution of satDNA between individuals of the same species and between genera of birds spanning ~40 millions of years of bird evolution using birds-of-paradise (Paradisaeidae) and crow (Corvus) species. These avian species highlighted the presence of a GC-rich Corvoidea satellitome composed of 61 satellite families and provided a set of candidate satDNA monomers for being centromeric on the basis of length, abundance, homogeneity and transcription. Surprisingly, we found that the satDNA of crow species rapidly diverged between closely related species while the satDNA appeared more similar between birds-of-paradise species belonging to different genera.

RevDate: 2022-04-27

Ocañas AR, Danoff-Burg JA, Mulroe K, et al (2022)

Addressing the raven food subsidy challenge by engaging restaurants to close their dumpsters.

Zoo biology [Epub ahead of print].

Ravens have benefitted from resource subsidies provided by humans so much that their population has increased by over 800% in the western Mojave desert over the last 50 years. Our food waste is an especially large subsidy. Raven predation is one of the greatest threats to desert tortoise survival in the California desert. We sought to create and evaluate a behavioral change program among restaurants in Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms, California in the western Mojave with elevated raven populations. Half of the 60 restaurants in these two communities received an intervention encouraging them to close their dumpsters while the other half served as controls with no intervention. Treatment restaurants received two in-person visits to discuss the manifold importance of dumpster closure and laminated information signs to display and extend communication to staff. We surveyed all dumpsters for open/closed status five times before the intervention and five times again 3 months after the intervention. We found a significant increase in closure rates among treatment restaurants due to the interventions, with an average of 9.5% increase toward maximum possible lid closure. Restaurants achieving 80%+ closure received "Gold Star Awards" to further stimulate community-wide behavior change by publicly recognizing and encouraging desired behaviors. We summarize dumpster closure rates from similar interventions in nearby Joshua Tree and across the Coachella Valley to illustrate how local social norms may influence behavior.

RevDate: 2022-04-27

Rezaei MH, MH Yavari (2022)

CROW-based Fano structures for all optical switching devices.

Applied optics, 61(11):3156-3164.

In this paper, an improved optical Fano switch based on coupled resonator optical waveguides (CROWs) is presented. The new topological design is employed to achieve steeper and highly asymmetric Fano resonances (FRs). Physically, in the proposed structures, due to the increase in the effective refractive index at the center of the CROW, a confined mode arises in the continuum background according to the variational theorem and leads to FR. The results show that in CROW-based Fano switches, the Fano spectrum is improved by tuning the number of nanocavities. The ratio between the slope ratio and linewidth shows an improvement of 55.25% from single to CROW5. As an important application of FR, an ultra-compact device with a CROW-based Fano structure is demonstrated. The results of the numerical finite difference time domain simulation agree well with the theoretical coupled mode theory.

RevDate: 2022-05-20
CmpDate: 2022-05-20

Al-Fakih AM, Algamal ZY, MK Qasim (2022)

An improved opposition-based crow search algorithm for biodegradable material classification.

SAR and QSAR in environmental research, 33(5):403-415.

The development of a reliable quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) classification model with a small number of molecular descriptors is a crucial step in chemometrics. In this study, an improvement of crow search algorithm (CSA) is proposed by adapting the opposite-based learning (OBL) approach, which is named as OBL-CSA, to improve the exploration and exploitation capability of the CSA in quantitative structure-biodegradation relationship (QSBR) modelling of classifying the biodegradable materials. The results reveal that the performance of OBL-CSA not only manifest in improving the classification performance, but also in reduced computational time required to complete the process when compared to the standard CSA and other four optimization algorithms tested, which are the particle swarm algorithm (PSO), black hole algorithm (BHA), grey wolf algorithm (GWA), and whale optimization algorithm (WOA). In conclusion, the OBL-CSA could be a valuable resource in the classification of biodegradable materials.

RevDate: 2022-08-03
CmpDate: 2022-07-15

Kalaivani K, Uma Maheswari N, R Venkatesh (2022)

Heart disease diagnosis using optimized features of hybridized ALCSOGA algorithm and LSTM classifier.

Network (Bristol, England), 33(1-2):95-123.

Cardiac disease is the predominant cause of global death mainly due to its hidden symptoms and late diagnosis. Hence, early detection is important to improve quality of life. Though traditional researches attempted to predict heart disease, most of them lacked with respect to accuracy. To solve this, the present study proposes a hybridized Ant Lion Crow Search Optimization Genetic Algorithm (ALCSOGA) to perform effective feature selection. This hybrid optimization encompasses Ant Lion, Crow Search and Genetic Algorithm. Ant lion algorithm determines the elite position. While, the Crow Search Algorithm utilizes the phenomenon of position and memory of each crow for evaluating the objective function. Both these algorithms are fed into Genetic Algorithm to improve the performance of feature selection process. Then, Stochastic Learning rate optimized Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) is proposed to classify the extracted optimized features. Finally, comparative analysis is performed in terms of accuracy, recall, F1-score, and precision. Moreover, statistical analysis is performed with respect to Sum of Squares (SS), degree of freedom (df), F Critical (F crit), F Statistics (F), p, and Mean Square (MS) value. Analytical results revealed the efficiency of proposed system over conventional methods and thereby confirming its efficiency for predicting heart disease.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-04-26

Johnsson RD, Connelly F, Gaviraghi Mussoi J, et al (2022)

Sleep loss impairs cognitive performance and alters song output in Australian magpies.

Scientific reports, 12(1):6645.

Sleep maintains optimal brain functioning to facilitate behavioural flexibility while awake. Owing to a historical bias towards research on mammals, we know comparatively little about the role of sleep in facilitating the cognitive abilities of birds. We investigated how sleep deprivation over the full-night (12 h) or half-night (6 h) affects cognitive performance in adult Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen), relative to that after a night of undisturbed sleep. Each condition was preceded and followed by a baseline and recovery night of sleep, respectively. Prior to each treatment, birds were trained on an associative learning task; on the day after experimental treatment (recovery day), birds were tested on a reversal learning task. To glean whether sleep loss affected song output, we also conducted impromptu song recordings for three days. Ultimately, sleep-deprived magpies were slower to attempt the reversal learning task, less likely to perform and complete the task, and those that did the test performed worse than better-rested birds. We also found that sleep-deprived magpies sang longer yet fewer songs, shifted crepuscular singing to mid-day, and during the post-recovery day, song frequency bandwidth narrowed. These results collectively indicate that sleep loss impairs motivation and cognitive performance, and alters song output, in a social adult songbird.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Stegariu VI, Abalasei BA, M Stoica (2022)

A Study on the Correlation between Intelligence and Body Schema in Children Who Practice Chess at School.

Children (Basel, Switzerland), 9(4):.

The role of intelligence in chess is crucial because the game involves a situation of adversity between two players whose goal is to checkmate the opponent's king. Due to the complex nature of the game and the huge amount of information needed to become a professional chess player, the ability to receive, analyze, sort and use abstract notions is essential. A total of 67 children from the third grade were selected and tested twice, initially and finally, to establish the level of body schema and intelligence. The Raven test was used to numerically quantify their intelligence and the Goodenough test was conducted for the body schema. We used the paired samples T-test to highlight the statistical difference between the results and performed a simple linear regression to see if the level of intelligence is a predictor of the body schema. There is a linear relationship between intelligence and body schema, and we can use the first one to predict the evolution of the second. In conclusion, body schema can be educated through chess lessons, and this will lead to better psychomotor development.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Smirni P, D Smirni (2022)

Current and Potential Cognitive Development in Healthy Children: A New Approach to Raven Coloured Progressive Matrices.

Children (Basel, Switzerland), 9(4):.

In clinical practice and research, Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices (RCPMs) continue to be used according to a single procedure that aims to evaluate a single overall score of the current general intelligence level. This study aimed to examine potential cognitive development in a sample of 450 typically developing children, aged from 6 to 10 years, by administering RCPMs according to the standard procedure followed immediately by a standardized interview on incorrect items. In addition, the study aimed to analyze how performance differed across age groups. The results analysis was examined on the basis of three different factors in which the items were grouped in previous factorial studies. The results found that performance improved markedly and significantly after the interview; however, the improvement was not homogeneous in the three factors across age groups or within each age group. The age groups showed a different development potential in relation to the nature of the task: the younger ones showed a greater increase on items requiring figure completion, and the older ones showed a greater increase on analogical reasoning items. Finally, the children who showed the greatest improvement were those with the best performance in standard RCPM administration. The procedure described in the present research could represent a useful tool in clinical practice and in the research for a broader cognitive assessment focused on potential cognitive development, as well as on real cognitive development, and to favor the planning of more adequate rehabilitation and educational treatments.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-04-25

Garcia-Porta J, Sol D, Pennell M, et al (2022)

Niche expansion and adaptive divergence in the global radiation of crows and ravens.

Nature communications, 13(1):2086.

The processes that allow some lineages to diversify rapidly at a global scale remain poorly understood. Although earlier studies emphasized the importance of dispersal, global expansions expose populations to novel environments and may also require adaptation and diversification across new niches. In this study, we investigated the contributions of these processes to the global radiation of crows and ravens (genus Corvus). Combining a new phylogeny with comprehensive phenotypic and climatic data, we show that Corvus experienced a massive expansion of the climatic niche that was coupled with a substantial increase in the rates of species and phenotypic diversification. The initiation of these processes coincided with the evolution of traits that promoted dispersal and niche expansion. Our findings suggest that rapid global radiations may be better understood as processes in which high dispersal abilities synergise with traits that, like cognition, facilitate persistence in new environments.

RevDate: 2022-06-01
CmpDate: 2022-04-19

Amor N, Noman MT, Petru M, et al (2022)

Comfort evaluation of ZnO coated fabrics by artificial neural network assisted with golden eagle optimizer model.

Scientific reports, 12(1):6350.

This paper introduces a novel technique to evaluate comfort properties of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) coated woven fabrics. The proposed technique combines artificial neural network (ANN) and golden eagle optimizer (GEO) to ameliorate the training process of ANN. Neural networks are state-of-the-art machine learning models used for optimal state prediction of complex problems. Recent studies showed that the use of metaheuristic algorithms improve the prediction accuracy of ANN. GEO is the most advanced methaheurstic algorithm inspired by golden eagles and their intelligence for hunting by tuning their speed according to spiral trajectory. From application point of view, this study is a very first attempt where GEO is applied along with ANN to improve the training process of ANN for any textiles and composites application. Furthermore, the proposed algorithm ANN with GEO (ANN-GEO) was applied to map out the complex input-output conditions for optimal results. Coated amount of ZnO NPs, fabric mass and fabric thickness were selected as input variables and comfort properties were evaluated as output results. The obtained results reveal that ANN-GEO model provides high performance accuracy than standard ANN model, ANN models trained with latest metaheuristic algorithms including particle swarm optimizer and crow search optimizer, and conventional multiple linear regression.

RevDate: 2022-06-29
CmpDate: 2022-04-15

Anonymous (2022)

First Rounders: Jay Keasling.

Nature biotechnology, 40(4):475.

RevDate: 2022-07-31
CmpDate: 2022-06-24

Sianta SA, KM Kay (2022)

Phylogenomic analysis does not support a classic but controversial hypothesis of progenitor-derivative origins for the serpentine endemic Clarkia franciscana.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 76(6):1246-1259.

Budding speciation involves isolation of marginal populations at the periphery of a species range and is thought to be a prominent mode of speciation in organisms with low dispersal and/or strong local adaptation among populations. Budding speciation is typically evidenced by abutting, asymmetric ranges of ecologically divergent sister species and low genetic diversity in putative budded species. Yet these indirect patterns may be unreliable, instead caused by postspeciation processes such as range or demographic shifts. Nested phylogenetic relationships provide the most conclusive evidence of budding speciation. A putative case of budding speciation in the serpentine endemic Clarkia franciscana and two closely related widespread congeners was studied by Harlan Lewis, Peter Raven, Leslie Gottlieb, and others over a 20-year period, yet the origin of C. franciscana remains controversial. Here, we reinvestigate this system with phylogenomic analyses to determine whether C. franciscana is a recently derived budded species, phylogenetically nested within one of the other two putative progenitor species. In contrast to the hypothesized pattern of relatedness among the three Clarkia species, we find no evidence for recent budding speciation. Instead, the data suggest the three species diverged simultaneously. We urge caution in using contemporary range patterns to infer geographic modes of speciation.

RevDate: 2022-04-05

Sofologi M, Pliogou V, Bonti E, et al (2021)

An Investigation of Working Memory Profile and Fluid Intelligence in Children With Neurodevelopmental Difficulties.

Frontiers in psychology, 12:773732.

The present study aims to evaluate the distinct patterns of working memory (WM) capacity of children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), High-functioning children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and children with Down syndrome (DS). More specifically, the current study investigates the complex relationship of fluid intelligence and WM between 39 children with DLD, 20 H igh-functioning children with ASD, and 15 children with DS. All children were evaluated in different measures of Phonological Working Memory, Visual-spatial Working Memory whereas Fluid Intelligence was measured with Raven Progressive Matrices. The result analysis revealed a significant difference among the three groups, both among each function separately and the correlations among them, as well. The results revealed that the DLD groups and High-functioning ASD group exhibited a common picture or an overlap of performances in all Phonological and Visuo-spatial working memory measures, except Backward Digit Recall task. As for the DS group research findings revealed different and unique working memory patterns in comparison to DLD group and High-functioning ASD. Their differences have been studied and further conclusions have been drawn about the different patterns of working memory among the three clinical groups. The implications of these findings are discussed in light of support for learning. The common profile that characterize the two developmental conditions and the distinct pattern of working memory performance in DS group underlies the need for further research in the field.

RevDate: 2022-04-06

Holtmann B, Buskas J, Steele M, et al (2022)

Author Correction: Dominance relationships and coalitionary aggression against conspecifics in female carrion crows.

Scientific reports, 12(1):5537 pii:10.1038/s41598-022-09406-3.

RevDate: 2022-04-21
CmpDate: 2022-04-18

Ditz HM, Fechner J, A Nieder (2022)

Cell-type specific pallial circuits shape categorical tuning responses in the crow telencephalon.

Communications biology, 5(1):269.

The nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL), an integration centre in the telencephalon of birds, plays a crucial role in representing and maintaining abstract categories and concepts. However, the computational principles allowing pallial microcircuits consisting of excitatory and inhibitory neurons to shape the tuning to abstract categories remain elusive. Here we identified the major pallial cell types, putative excitatory projection cells and inhibitory interneurons, by characterizing the waveforms of action potentials recorded in crows performing a cognitively demanding numerical categorization task. Both cell types showed clear differences in their capacity to encode categorical information. Nearby and functionally coupled putative projection neurons generally exhibited similar tuning, whereas putative interneurons showed mainly opposite tuning. The results favour feedforward mechanisms for the shaping of categorical tuning in microcircuits of the NCL. Our findings help to decipher the workings of pallial microcircuits in birds during complex cognition and to compare them vis-a-vis neocortical processes in mammals.

RevDate: 2022-03-29

Verma AK, Kumar M, Murugkar HV, et al (2022)

Experimental Infection and In-Contact Transmission of H9N2 Avian Influenza Virus in Crows.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 11(3):.

This study aimed to investigate the potential of H9N2 avian influenza virus to cause disease and intra-species transmission in house crows (Corvus splendens). A group of six crows were intranasally inoculated with 106.0 EID50 of H9N2 virus (A/chicken/India/07OR17/2021), and 24 h post-inoculation six naïve crows were co-housed with infected crows. Crows were observed for 14 days for any overt signs of illness. Oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs were collected up to 14 days to assess virus excretion. No apparent clinical signs were observed in either infected or in-contact crows. Virus excretion was observed only in infected birds up to 9 days post-infection (dpi) through both oropharyngeal and cloacal routes. All six infected crows seroconverted to H9N2 virus at 14 dpi, whereas all in-contact crows remained negative to H9N2 virus antibodies. No virus could be isolated from tissues viz., lung, liver, kidney, pancreas, small intestine and large intestine. Although crows became infected with the H9N2 virus, transmission of the virus was inefficient to the in-contact group. However, virus excretion through oral and cloacal swabs from infected crows suggests a potential threat for inter-species transmission, including humans. Crows, being a common synanthrope species, might have some role in influenza virus transmission to poultry and humans, which needs to be explored further.

RevDate: 2022-04-01
CmpDate: 2022-03-28

Valkiūnas G, Duc M, TA Iezhova (2022)

Increase of avian Plasmodium circumflexum prevalence, but not of other malaria parasites and related haemosporidians in northern Europe during the past 40 years.

Malaria journal, 21(1):105.

BACKGROUND: Malaria is a health problem not only in human and veterinary medicine, but also in wildlife. Several theoretical studies have suggested that avian malaria transmission might be increasing in Europe. However, there are few direct empirical observations. Research on the distribution of avian haemosporidian parasites was initiated around the Curonian Lagoon, Europe in 1976 and continues since. This has provided an opportunity to compare the prevalence and diversity of avian malaria parasites (genus Plasmodium) and related haemosporidians (genera Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon) in the same bird species using similar methodology but examined in two groups 40 years apart. This study aimed to describe and discuss the available data on this subject.

METHODS: Prevalence and diversity of haemosporidians was compared in two passeriform bird groups, which consisted of the same species that were sampled on the coast of the Curonian Lagoon (Russia, Lithuania) during the same season (September) in 1978-1983 (bird Group 1) and 2020 (bird Group 2). Blood films of the European robin, Coal tit, Great tit, Eurasian wren, and Eurasian jay were screened by microscopic examination. Parasites were identified using morphological characters of blood stages. PCR-based methods were applied to determine genetic lineages of the parasites found in birds of Group 2.

RESULTS: No difference was discernible in the prevalence or diversity of haemosporidian parasites belonging to Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon, Plasmodium (Haemamoeba) and Plasmodium (Novyella) between birds of Groups 1 and 2. This indicates a similar rate of transmission and relatively stable epidemiological situation in regard of these infections during the past 40 years. The prevalence of only one malaria parasite species, Plasmodium (Giovannolaia) circumflexum, increased remarkably, but only in Coal tit, Great tit, and Eurasian wren, with no significant prevalence change in European robin and Eurasian jay.

CONCLUSION: Plasmodium circumflexum is spreading and seems to be a new invasive avian malaria pathogen in countries with cold climates. The exceptionally high prevalence of P. circumflexum in birds breeding in relatively close-nests suggests an important role of the nesting biology related to bird-vector interaction in this pathogen transmission. The epidemiological situation seems to be relatively stable in regard of other studied avian hosts and haemosporidian parasites in northern Europe.


RJR Experience and Expertise


Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.


Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.


Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.


Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.


While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.


Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.


Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.


Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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This is a must read book for anyone with an interest in invasion biology. The full title of the book lays out the author's premise — The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation. Not only is species movement not bad for ecosystems, it is the way that ecosystems respond to perturbation — it is the way ecosystems heal. Even if you are one of those who is absolutely convinced that invasive species are actually "a blight, pollution, an epidemic, or a cancer on nature", you should read this book to clarify your own thinking. True scientific understanding never comes from just interacting with those with whom you already agree. R. Robbins

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

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RJR Picks from Around the Web (updated 11 MAY 2018 )