Hexbyte Glen Cove Image: Hubble spots squabbling galactic siblings thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Image: Hubble spots squabbling galactic siblings

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton

A dramatic triplet of galaxies takes center stage in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, which captures a three-way gravitational tug-of-war between interacting galaxies. This system—known as Arp 195—is featured in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, a list which showcases some of the weirder and more wonderful galaxies in the universe.

Observing time with Hubble is extremely valuable, so astronomers don’t want to waste a second. The schedule for Hubble observations is calculated using a which allows the spacecraft to occasionally gather bonus snapshots of data between longer observations.

This image of the clashing triplet of in Arp 195 is one such snapshot.

Extra observations such as these do more than provide spectacular images—they also help to identify promising targets to follow up with using telescopes such as the upcoming NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.



Citation:
Image: Hubble spots squabbling galactic siblings (2021, July 31)
retrieved 31 July 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-image-hubble-squabbling-galactic-siblings.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Hexbyte Glen Cove UN warns hunger is expected to rise in 23 global hotspots thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove UN warns hunger is expected to rise in 23 global hotspots

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by Edith M. Lederer

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Hunger is expected to rise in 23 global hotspots in the next three months with the highest alerts for “catastrophic” situations in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region, southern Madagascar, Yemen, South Sudan and northern Nigeria, two U.N. agencies warned Friday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program said in a new report on “Hunger Hotspots” between August and November that “acute insecurity is likely to further deteriorate.”

They put Ethiopia at the top of the list, saying the number of people facing starvation and death is expected to rise to 401,000—the highest number since the 2011 famine in Somalia—if humanitarian aid isn’t provided quickly.

In southern Madagascar, which has been hit by the worst drought in the past 40 years, pests affecting staple crops, and rising —14,000 people are expected to be pushed into “catastrophic” acute food insecurity marked by starvation and death by September. And that number is expected to double by the end of the year with 28,000 people needing urgent help, the two agencies said.

In a report in May, 16 organizations including FAO and WFP said at least 155 million people faced acute hunger in 2020, including 133,000 who needed urgent food to prevent widespread death from starvation, a 20 million increase from 2019.

“Acute hunger is increasing not only in scale but also severity,” FAO and WFP said in Friday’s report. “Overall, over 41 million people worldwide are now at risk of falling into famine or famine-like conditions, unless they receive immediate life and livelihood-saving assistance.”

The two Rome-based agencies called for urgent humanitarian action to save lives in the 23 hotspots, saying help is especially critical in the five highest alert places to prevent famine and death.

“These deteriorating trends are mostly driven by conflict dynamics, as well as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said. “These include food price spikes, movement restrictions that limit market and pastoralists activities alike, rising inflation, decreased purchasing power, and an early and prolonged lean season” for crops.

FAO and WFP said South Sudan, Yemen and Nigeria remain at the highest alert level, joined for the first time by Ethiopia because of Tigray and southern Madagascar.

In South Sudan, they said, “famine was most likely happening in parts of Pibor county between October and November 2020, and was expected to continue in the absence of sustained and timely humanitarian assistance” while two other areas remain at risk of famine.

“In Yemen, the risk of more people facing famine-like conditions may have been contained, but gains remain extremely fragile,” the U.N. agencies said. “In Nigeria, populations in conflict-affected areas in the northeast may be at risk of reaching catastrophic food insecurity levels.”

Nine other countries also have high numbers of people facing “critical food insecurity” coupled with worsening drivers of hunger—Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo, Haiti, Honduras, Sudan and Syria, the report said.

Six countries have been added to the hotspot list since the agencies’ March report—Chad, Colombia, North Korea, Myanmar, Kenya and Nicaragua, it said. Three other countries also facing acute food insecurity are Somalia, Guatemala and Niger, while Venezuela wasn’t included due to lack of recent data, it said.

In Afghanistan, FAO and WFP said 3.5 million people are expected to face the second-highest level of food insecurity, characterized by acute malnutrition and deaths, from June to November. They said the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces as early as August could lead to escalating violence, additional displaced people and difficulties in distributing humanitarian assistance.

In reclusive North Korea, which is under tough U.N. sanctions, the agencies said “concerns are mounting over the food security situation … due to strained access and the potential impact of trade limitations, which may lead to food gaps.” While data is “extremely limited,” they said recent figures from the country’s Central Bureau o Stations and an FAO analysis “highlight a worrying cereal deficit.”



© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Hexbyte Glen Cove World's first commercial re-programmable satellite blasts into space thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove World’s first commercial re-programmable satellite blasts into space

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

The world’s first commercial fully re-programmable satellite lifted off from French Guiana on Friday on board an Ariane 5 rocket, ushering in a new era of more flexible communications.

Unlike conventional models that are designed and “hard-wired” on Earth and cannot be repurposed once in orbit, the Eutelsat Quantum allows users to tailor the communications to their needs—almost in .

The satellite will be placed in orbit some 36 minutes after the launch.

Because it can be reprogrammed while orbiting in a fixed position 35,000 kilometers (22,000 miles) above the Earth, the Quantum can respond to changing demands for and secure communications during its 15-year lifetime, according to the European Space Agency.

The 3.5 ton Quantum model has eight communications beams, each of which can be modified to change its area of coverage and also the power of the telecommunications signal it emits.

Using software made available to the customer, these changes can be made “in a matter of minutes”, according to Eutelsat.

This means the satellite can be used to provide mobile coverage for moving objects such as aircraft or oceangoing vessels, or to provide coverage after a natural disaster or for one-off events.

And at a time of growing concern over digital security—as well as the possible weaponising of space—Quantum is able to pinpoint the origin of signals emitted with or without malicious intent and take action to remedy the interference.

The Quantum will cover a large geographical area from West Africa to Asia for 15 years.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
World’s first commercial re-programmable satellite blasts into space (2021, July 30)
retrieved 31 July 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-world-commercial-re-programmable-satellite-blasts.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apa

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Hexbyte Glen Cove First academic research paper co-published on Instagram shows legacy of one of Algeria's most influential modern artists thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove First academic research paper co-published on Instagram shows legacy of one of Algeria’s most influential modern artists

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The first research to be simultaneously co-published in an academic journal and on Instagram shows the lasting legacy of one of Algeria’s most influential modern artists.

The painter Mohammed Racim is generally known for his depictions of historical scenes produced in the colonial era. Such work has been used to illustrate book covers, tourist brochures and postage stamps, and has generally been seen as backward-looking and artistically conservative.

Using Instagram has allowed Professor William Gallois, from the University of Exeter, to publish almost 200 high-quality colour images with his academic article to illustrate the meaning and aesthetic value of Racim’s work.

The research is published in the American Historical Review, where there is a QR code to the Instagram account showing the images and article together.

Because much of Racim’s work was treated as having no intrinsic value, little effort was made to record and analyse its presence in the world. Professor Gallois hopes his research will counter this loss of cultural memory.

The rare pictures shown as part of the article are from Professor Gallois’ own archive of 10,000 photographs, postcards, advertisements, cigarette papers and other forms of ephemera, collected over the past decade.

Professor Gallois said: “Instagram is a great platform to show an unlimited number of high quality images, reach people across the world and potentially younger audiences too. There are already a huge number of people consuming research via Twitter, but Instagram is a place where I believe more productive and positive discussions can take place.

“The editors of the American Historical Review deserve credit for their willingness to innovate; they have been really good partners on this endeavour. I am enthused about the use of Instagram as a resource. The medium has given me the ability to present this research in the way I really wanted. I think Instagram will become a significant place for academic discussion to happen in the future.”

There are an increasing number of accounts on Instagram which catalogue, archive and critique images made by both indigenous and colonial groups during periods of imperial rule in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia—work previously ignored, erased or misunderstood—which have tens of thousands of engaged followers.

Mohammed Racim, who lived from 1896 to 1975, was the son and nephew of two of its most significant makers of Islamic art. His brother Omar was jailed from 1913 until 1921 for the seditious distribution and production of Islamist literature.

During the early part of his career Racim lived in Paris, working as an artist for the publisher Éditions Piazza. At this time he began to create his own works on canvas, illuminated miniatures in a style dominant in the Persianate and Ottoman worlds, which were admired by painters and patrons in France and north Africa. The pictures depict Algiers as a pre-colonial urban idyll, as well as historic characters such as the Barberousse brothers who had successfully defended the city against European invaders.

On his return to Algiers in 1932 Racim would go on to exhibit a small number of other miniatures, whilst working primarily as a teacher of the traditional arts. These thirty or so miniatures have been in more or less constant circulation since, serving as illustrations for book covers, tourist brochures, postage stamps and other icons of everyday design.

Professor Gallois’ research shows how the un-modern form of Racim’s work also effectively neutered any potential for the paintings to be seen as politically defiant.

Nathan Draluck, Managing Editor of the American Historical Review, said: “This was an exciting challenge, because we had to think about the best way—in the confines of a print journal—to best direct readers to William’s fascinating and, frankly, cool Instagram page—which is itself the actual “article.”

Alex Lichtenstein, Editor of the American Historical Review, said: “When William came to me with the idea of presenting his research on Mohammed Racim in the form of an Instagram post, I confess I was sceptical. But I have been keen to experiment, so we went with it. Peer review and production posed some challenges, but in the end I think the result is rigorous, fascinating, and widely accessible. Moreover, the content matches the form—that is, William uses the life of Racim to ask probing questions about the nature of history and representation. He asks us to contemplate “learning to read a text whose significance was not seen in the moment in which it was made”—I like to think the same can be said of using a popular social media platform to present historical scholarship.”

The first research to be simultaneously co-published in an and on Instagram shows the lasting legacy of one of Algeria’s most influential modern artists.

The painter Mohammed Racim is generally known for his depictions of historical scenes produced in the colonial era. Such work has been used to illustrate book covers, tourist brochures and postage stamps, and has generally been seen as backward-looking and artistically conservative.

Using Instagram has allowed Professor William Gallois, from the University of Exeter, to publish almost 200 high-quality colour images with his academic article to illustrate the meaning and aesthetic value of Racim’s work.

The research is published in the American Historical Review, where there is a QR code to the Instagram account showing the images and article together.

Because much of Racim’s work was treated as having no intrinsic value, little effort was made to record and analyse its presence in the world. Professor Gallois hopes his research will counter this loss of cultural memory.

The rare pictures shown as part of the article are from Professor Gallois’ own archive of 10,000 photographs, postcards, advertisements, cigarette papers and other forms of ephemera, collected over the past decade.

Professor Gallois said: “Instagram is a great platform to show an unlimited number of high quality images, reach people across the world and potentially younger audiences too. There are already a huge number of people consuming research via Twitter, but Instagram is a place where I believe more productive and positive discussions can take place.

“The editors of the American Historical Review deserve credit for their willingness to innovate; they have been really good partners on this endeavour. I am enthused about the use of Instagram as a resource. The medium has given me the ability to present this research in the way I really wanted. I think Instagram will become a significant place for academic discussion to happen in the future.”

There are an increasing number of accounts on Instagram which catalogue, archive and critique images made by both indigenous and colonial groups during periods of imperial rule in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia—work previously ignored, erased or misunderstood—which have tens of thousands of engaged followers.

Mohammed Racim, who lived from 1896 to 1975, was the son and nephew of two of its most significant makers of Islamic art. His brother Omar was jailed from 1913 until 1921 for the seditious distribution and production of Islamist literature.

During the early part of his career Racim lived in Paris, working as an artist for the publisher Éditions Piazza. At this time he began to create his own works on canvas, illuminated miniatures in a style dominant in the Persianate and Ottoman worlds, which were admired by painters and patrons in France and north Africa. The pictures depict Algiers as a pre-colonial urban idyll, as well as historic characters such as the Barberousse brothers who had successfully defended the city against European invaders.

On his return to Algiers in 1932 Racim would go on to exhibit a small number of other miniatures, whilst working primarily as a teacher of the traditional arts. These thirty or so miniatures have been in more or less constant circulation since, serving as illustrations for book covers, tourist brochures, postage stamps and other icons of everyday design.

Professor Gallois’ research shows how the un-modern form of Racim’s work also effectively neutered any potential for the paintings to be seen as politically defiant.

Nathan Draluck, Managing Editor of the American Historical Review, said: “This was an exciting challenge, because we had to think about the best way—in the confines of a print journal—to best direct readers to William’s fascinating and, frankly, cool Instagram page—which is itself the actual “article.”

Alex Lichtenstein, Editor of the American Historical Review, said: “When William came to me with the idea of presenting his research on Mohammed Racim in the form of an Instagram post, I confess I was sceptical. But I have been keen to experiment, so we went with it. Peer review and production posed some challenges, but in the end I think the result is rigorous, fascinating, and widely accessible. Moreover, the content matches the form—that is, Wil

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Researchers propose a method of magnetizing a material without applying an external magnetic field thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Researchers propose a method of magnetizing a material without applying an external magnetic field

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The study shows that the phenomenon can be produced by means of adiabatic compression, without any exchange of heat with the environment. Credit: Geek3/Wikimedia Commons – commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:VFPt_bar-magnet-forces.svg

Magnetizing a material without applying an external magnetic field is proposed by researchers at São Paulo State University (UNESP), Brazil, in an article published in the journal Scientific Reports, where they detail the experimental approach used to achieve this goal.

The study was part of the Ph.D. research pursued by Lucas Squillante under the supervision of Mariano de Souza, a professor at UNESP’s Department of Physics in Rio Claro. Contributions were also made by Isys Mello, another Ph.D. candidate supervised by Souza, and Antonio Seridonio, a professor at UNESP’s Department of Physics and Chemistry in Ilha Solteira. The group was supported by FAPESP.

“Very briefly put, magnetization occurs when a salt is compressed adiabatically, without exchanging heat with the ,” Souza told. “Compression raises the temperature of the salt and at the same time rearranges its particles’ spins. As a result, the total of the system remains constant and the system remains magnetized at the end of the process.”

To help understand the phenomenon, it is worth recalling the basics of spin and entropy.

Spin is a quantum property that makes (quarks, electrons, photons, etc.), compound particles (protons, neutrons, mesons, etc.) and even atoms and molecules behave like tiny magnets, pointing north or south—up spin and down spin—when submitted to a .

“Paramagnetic materials like aluminum, which is a metal, are magnetized only when an is applied. Ferromagnetic materials, including iron, may display finite magnetization even in the absence of an applied magnetic field because they have magnetic domains,” Souza explained.

Entropy is basically a measure of accessible configurations or states of the system. The greater the number of accessible states, the greater the entropy. Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann (1844-1906), using a statistical approach, associated the entropy of a system, which is a macroscopic magnitude, with the number of possible microscopic configurations that constitute its macrostate. “In the case of a paramagnetic material, entropy embodies a distribution of probabilities that describes the number of up spins or down spins in the particles it contains,” Souza said.

In the recently published study, a paramagnetic salt was compressed in a single direction. “Application of uniaxial stress reduces the volume of the salt. Because the process is conducted without any exchange of heat with the environment, compression produces an adiabatic rise in the temperature of the material. A rise in temperature means a rise in entropy. To keep total entropy in the system constant, there must be a component of local reduction in entropy that offsets the rise in temperature. As a result, the spins tend to align, leading to magnetization of the system,” Souza said.

The total entropy of the system remains constant, and adiabatic compression results in magnetization. “Experimentally, adiabatic compression is achieved when the sample is compressed for less time than is required for thermal relaxation—the typical time taken by the system to exchange heat with the environment,” Souza said.

The researchers also propose that the adiabatic rise in temperature could be used to investigate other interacting systems, such as Bose-Einstein condensates in magnetic insulators, and dipolar spin-ice systems.



More information:
Lucas Squillante et al, Elastocaloric-effect-induced adiabatic magnetization in paramagnetic salts due to the mutual interactions, Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-88778-4

Citation:
Researchers propose a method of magnetizing a material without applying an external magnetic field (2021, July 29)
retrieved 30 July 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-method-magnetizing-material-external-magnetic.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Ecologist uses statistics to reveal importance of climate change in controlling deep-sea biodiversity thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Ecologist uses statistics to reveal importance of climate change in controlling deep-sea biodiversity

Hexbyte Glen Cove

An example of deep-sea soft sediment ecosystem. Credit: NOAA OER and Ocean Exploration Trust; A. Thurber camera loan / Lisa Levin.

Which is more important for the richness of deep-sea animals, temperature or food? Dr. Moriaki Yasuhara from the School of Biological Sciences, the Research Division for Ecology & Biodiversity, and The Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong (HKU), in collaborating with Hideyuki DOI from University of Hyogo and Masayuki USHIO from Kyoto University, have used long-term fossil datasets and a novel statistical method to detect causality and found that the answer is climate control of deep-sea biodiversity.

Deep-sea covers more than 90 percent of the ocean. So, understanding biodiversity drivers in deep-sea is critically important to project future changes in the function of Earth’s ocean system. Recently, two main factors of the deep-sea biodiversity control have been actively debated, which are food supply via marine snow (sinking particulate organic carbon originated from surface primary production) that is the main food source for deep-sea animals (given no sunlight penetration and yielding no phytoplankton production in deep sea); and climate-driven deep-sea change. These two hypotheses of marine-snow or temperature control of deep-sea biodiversity are difficult to fully test by traditional modeling frameworks, because the environment-diversity relationship that facilitates deep-sea biodiversity can be complex.

The research, published inBiology Letters, used long-term fossil records from sediment cores and recently developed statistical method that can detect causality in a complex system instead of simple correlation (degree of linear relationship between two variables) to address this issue of marine-snow or temperature control of deep-sea biodiversity. The research team used benthic foraminifera (small shelled protist) as indication for the deep-sea fossil biodiversity time series and applied Convergent Cross Mapping (CCM) for the causality detection, and the results detected causality of temperature on deep-sea biodiversity but not of marine snow, which is supporting evidence that climate change affected long-term changes in deep-sea biodiversity. This temperature-diversity relationship detected indicates that ongoing and future human-induced climate change may affect deep-sea ecosystems via changes in global deep-water circulation rather than those in surface primary production. However, their study is based on a relatively limited number of data, and further comprehensive studies with better spatial and temporal coverage are needed to confirm the generality of this conclusion.

In addition, this study is the first application of the causal inference method, CCM, to deep-sea long-term fossil time series from sediment cores. The researchers successfully showed that this framework of using CCM on diversity time series can apply not only to relatively short ecological-biological time series, but also long paleontological-paleoclimatological time series broadly.

“It’s a long term debate, which of temperature or is the main driver of deep-sea . Our new causality analysis result is the strong support for the temperature hypothesis,” co-lead author Moriaki Yasuhara concluded.



More information:
Hideyuki Doi et al, Causal analysis of the temperature impact on deep-sea biodiversity, Biology Letters (2021). DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2020.0666

Citation:
Ecologist uses statistics to reveal importance of climate change in controlling deep-sea biodiversity (2021, July 29)
retrieved 30 July 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-ecologist-statistics-reveal-importance-climate.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Dead, shriveled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia: We need your help to find out why thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Dead, shriveled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia: We need your help to find out why

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Green tree frog. Credit: Jodi Rowley, Author provided

Over the past few weeks, we’ve received a flurry of emails from concerned people who’ve seen sick and dead frogs across eastern Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

One person wrote: “About a month ago, I noticed the Green Tree Frogs living around our home showing signs of lethargy & ill health. I was devastated to find about 7 of them dead.”

Another wrote: “We previously had a very healthy population of and a couple of months ago I noticed a that had turned brown. I then noticed more of them and have found numerous dead frogs around our property.”

And another said she’d seen so many dead frogs on her daily runs she had to “seriously wonder how many more are there.”

So what’s going on? The short answer is: we don’t really know. How many frogs have died and why is a mystery, and we’re relying on people across Australia to help us solve it.

Why are frogs important?

Frogs are an integral part of healthy Australian ecosystems. While they are usually small and unseen, they’re an important thread in the food web, and a kind of environmental glue that keeps ecosystems functioning. Healthy frog populations are usually a good indication of a healthy environment.

The stony creek frog is one of the species hit by this mysterious outbreak. Credit: Jodi Rowley, Author provided

They eat vast amounts of invertebrates, including , and they’re a fundamental food source for a wide variety of other wildlife, including birds, mammals and reptiles. Tadpoles fill our creeks and dams, helping keep algae and mosquito larvae under control while they too become food for fish and other wildlife.

But many of Australia’s frog populations are imperiled from multiple, compounding threats, such as habitat loss and modification, climate change, invasive plants, animals and diseases.

Although we’re fortunate to have at least 242 native frog species in Australia, 35 are considered threatened with extinction. At least four are considered extinct: the southern and northern gastric-brooding frogs (Rheobatrachus silus and Rheobatrachus vitellinus), the sharp-snouted day frog (Taudactylus acutirostris) and the southern day frog (Taudactylus diurnus).

A truly unusual outbreak

In most circumstances, it’s rare to see a dead frog. Most frogs are secretive in nature and, when they die, they decompose rapidly. So the growing reports of dead and dying frogs from across eastern Australia over the last few months are surprising, to say the least.

While the first cold snap of each year can be accompanied by a few localized frog deaths, this outbreak has affected more animals over a greater range than previously encountered.

This is truly an unusual amphibian mass mortality event.

The stony creek frog is one of the species hit by this mysterious outbreak. Credit: Jodi Rowley, Author provided

In this outbreak, frogs appear to be either darker or lighter than normal, slow, out in the daytime (they’re usually nocturnal), and are thin. Some frogs have red bellies, red feet, and excessive sloughed skin.

The iconic green tree frog (Litoria caeulea) seems hardest hit in this event, with the often apple-green and plump frogs turning brown and shriveled.

This frog is widespread and generally rather common. In fact, it’s the ninth most commonly recorded frog in the national citizen science project, FrogID. But it has disappeared from parts of its former range.

Other species reported as being among the sick and dying include Peron’s tree frog (Litoria peronii), the Stony Creek frog (Litoria lesueuri), and green stream frog (Litoria phyllochroa). These are all relatively common and widespread species, which is likely why they have been found in and around our gardens.

We simply don’t know the true impacts of this event on Australia’s frog species, particularly those that are rare, cryptic or living in remote places. Well over 100 species of frog live within the geographic range of this outbreak. Dozens of these are considered threatened, including the booroolong Frog (Litoria booroolongensis) and the giant barred frog (Mixophyes iteratus).

So what might be going on?

Amphibians are susceptible to environmental toxins and a wide range of parasitic, bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens. Frogs globally have been battling it out with a pandemic of their own for decades—a potentially often called amphibian chytrid fungus.

The giant barred frog is a threatened species that lives in the geographic range of this outbreak. Credit: Jodi Rowley, Author provided

This fungus attacks the skin, which frogs use to breathe, drink, and control electrolytes important for the heart to function. It’s also responsible for causing population declines in more than 500 amphibian species around the world, and 50 extinctions.

For example, in Australia the bright yellow and black southern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) is just hanging on in the wild, thanks only to intensive management and captive breeding.

Curiously, some other frog species appear more tolerant to the amphibian chytrid fungus than others. Many now common frogs seem able to live with the fungus, such as the near-ubiquitous Australian common eastern froglet (Crinia signifera).

But if frogs have had this fungus affecting them for decades, why are we seeing so many dead frogs now?

Well, disease is the outcome of a battle between a pathogen (in this case a fungus), a host (in this case the frog) and the environment. The fungus doesn’t do well in warm, dry conditions. So during summer, frogs are more likely to have the upper hand.

In winter, the tables turn. As the frog’s immune system slows, the fungus may be able to take hold.

Of course, the amphibian chytrid fungus is just one possible culprit. Other less well-known diseases affect frogs.

The teeny tiny southern corroborree frogs have been hit hard by the chytrid fungus. Credit: Jodi Rowley, Author provided

To date, the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health has confirmed the presence of the amphibian chytrid in a very small number of sick frogs they’ve examined from the recent outbreak. However, other diseases—such as ranavirus, myxosporean parasites and trypanosome parasites—have also been responsible for native frog mass mortality events in Australia.

It’s also possible a novel or exotic pathogen could be behind this. So the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health is working with the Australian Museum, government biosecurity and environment agencies as part of the investigation.

Here’s how you can help

While we suspect a combination of the and the chilly temperatures, we simply don’t know what factors may be contributing to the outbreak.

We also aren’t sure how widespread it is, what impact it will have on our frog populations, or how long it will last.

While the temperatures stay low, we suspect our frogs will continue to succumb. If we don’t investigate quickly, we will lose the opportunity to achieve a diagnosis and understand what has transpired.

We need your help to solve this mystery.

Please send any reports of sick or dead frogs (and if possible, photos) to us, via the national citizen science project FrogID, or email calls@frogid.net.au.



This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Citation:
Dead, shriveled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia: We need your help to find out why (2021, July 29)
retrieved 29 July 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-dead-shriveled-frogs-unexpectedly-eastern.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Hexbyte Glen Cove New research helps explain diversity of life and paradox of sex thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove New research helps explain diversity of life and paradox of sex

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

There are huge differences in species numbers among the major branches of the tree of life. Some groups of organisms have many species, while others have few. For example, animals, plants and fungi each have over 100,000 known species, but most others—such as many algal and bacterial groups—have 10,000 or less.

A new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, tested whether and might help explain this mysterious pattern.

“We wanted to understand the diversity of life,” said paper co-author John Wiens, a professor in the University of Arizona Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “Why are most living things , plants and fungi?”

Wiens worked with a visiting scientist in his lab, Lian Chen from Nanjing Forestry University in China. They estimated rates of proliferation in 17 major groups that spanned all , including bacteria, protists, fungi, plants and animals. The hard part was to estimate how many species in each group were multicellular versus unicellular and how many reproduced sexually versus asexually. For five years, Chen sifted through more than 1,100 scientific papers and characterized the reproductive modes and cellularity of more than 1.5 million species.

The researchers found that both multicellularity and sexual reproduction helped explain the rapid proliferation of animal, plant and fungal species. The rapid proliferation of these three groups explains why they now include more than 90% of Earth’s known species.

Wiens and Chen also found that the rapid proliferation of sexual species may help explain the “paradox of sex,” or why so many species reproduce sexually, despite the disadvantages of sexual reproduction.

“For sexual species, only half the individuals are directly producing offspring. In an asexual species, every individual is directly producing offspring,” Wiens said. “Sexual reproduction is not as efficient. Another disadvantage of sexual reproduction is that you do need two individuals to make something happen, and those two individuals have to be the right sexes. Asexual species, on the other hand, only need one individual to reproduce.”

Chen and Wiens found a straightforward answer to the paradox of sex. The reason there are so many sexual species is because sexual species actually proliferate more rapidly than asexual species. This had not been shown across all of life before.

They also found that another explanation for the large number of sexual species is that sexual reproduction and multicellularity are strongly associated across the tree of life, and that multicellularity helps drive the large number of sexual species.

“Multicellularity is actually more important than sexual production. We did a that showed it is probably at least twice as important for explaining these patterns of diversity as sexual reproduction,” Wiens said.

While this study alone can’t pinpoint exactly why multicellularity is so important, researchers have previously suggested that it has to do with the variety of cell types within a multicellular organism.

“If you’re a single cell, there’s not much variety there,” Wiens said. “But multicellularity allows for different tissues or cell types and allows for diversity. But how exactly it leads to more rapid proliferation will need more study.”

Chen and Wiens also tested how their conclusions might change if most living species on Earth were species of bacteria that are still unknown to science.

“Most bacteria are unicellular and asexual. But because bacteria are much older than plants, animals and fungi, they have not proliferated as rapidly, even if there are billions of bacterial species,” Wiens said. “Therefore, multicellularity and sexual reproduction still explain the rapid proliferation of animals, plants and fungi.”

Future work will be needed to understand how multicellularity and sexual drive biodiversity. Wiens is also interested in how some groups are both multicellular and reproduce sexually yet don’t proliferate rapidly.

“We have some ideas,” he said. “One example is rhodophytes, the red algae. These are mostly marine, and we know from animals that marine groups don’t seem to proliferate as rapidly.”



More information:
Lian Chen et al, Multicellularity and sex helped shape the Tree of Life, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2021.1265

Citation:
New research helps explain diversity of life and paradox of sex (2021, July 29)

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Scientists use radiography to understand the evolution of liquid and solid microjets thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Scientists use radiography to understand the evolution of liquid and solid microjets

Hexbyte Glen Cove

This representative dynamic image shows the base sample, emerging jet, no-groove control region and static calibration foils. Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have experimentally tested the predictions of a 2020 study that computationally investigated the effect of melting on shock driven metal microjets. That earlier work predicted that melting the base material does not necessarily lead to a substantial increase in jet mass.

The LLNL team confirmed the predictions of microjet behavior with liquid and solid tin microjet experiments. The work, led by LLNL scientist David Bober, is featured in the Journal of Applied Physics and was chosen as an editor’s pick.

Bober said microjets are important to study because they are examples of broader jetting and ejecta processes that occur throughout shock physics, meaning anything from explosives to asteroid impact.

Bober said the team was motivated by a set of simulations performed by LLNL design physicist Kyle Mackay, who is also a co-author of the present study. The work lead by Mackay can be found here and summarized here.

“Mackay’s simulations showed a very surprising trend and we basically wanted to see if it was real,” Bober said. “Specifically, that work predicted that melting the base material might not always lead to a dramatic increase in the mass of material ejected from a surface feature, which goes against the of how these things are supposed to work.”

The research was conducted by cutting a small groove in the top of a tin plate. The team then hit the bottom side with a fast-moving projectile. That caused a fluid-like jet of tin to be thrown forward from the groove and into the path of an intense X-ray beam.

“We used those X-rays and an array of high-speed cameras to take a series of pictures of the flying tin jet, which then let us calculate things like the jet’s mass and velocity,” Bober said. “For the ability to do all that, we are indebted to many colleagues, especially those at the Dynamic Compression Sector at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.”

Bober said he is excited to explain how the results occur in nature and in simulations. The team has recently collected follow-up data measuring the local phase of the jets and also plan future shots to explore the material parameters they think might be most important to the phenomena.

“The team still does have work ahead of them to understand what exactly is going on in the experiments,” Bober said. “I hope we are on the path to improving ejecta models by detailing the physics that happens around the melt transition.”



More information:
David B. Bober et al, Understanding the evolution of liquid and solid microjets from grooved Sn and Cu samples using radiography, Journal of Applied Physics (2021). DOI: 10.1063/5.0056245

Citation:
Scientists use radiography to understand the evolution of liquid and solid microjets (2021, July 29)
retrieved 29 July 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-scientists-radiography-evolution-liquid-solid.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Improving soil health starts with farmer-researcher collaboration thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Improving soil health starts with farmer-researcher collaboration

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Ask a farmer, a scientist, and a conservation professional to define soil health, and you might come up with three rather different answers. That mismatch may be at the root of lower-than-ideal adoption of soil conservation practices, according to a new study from the University of Illinois and The Ohio State University.

“We all use the term ‘ health,’ but upon further discussion, it’s often clear different groups don’t really have the same working definition or interpretation of the term. When we keep talking past one another, assuming we know what the other person means, that’s a potential barrier to greater adoption of good soil management practices,” says Jordon Wade, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Crop Sciences at U of I, and lead author on the study. Wade conducted the research as a doctoral student at OSU.

Importantly, the study also finds farmers care far more about soil health than scientists and conservation professionals think.

“Many academics think farmers don’t value soil health, but our results clearly show it’s a major priority for them. We end up spending so much time trying to convince farmers that soil health is important, but they’re already there,” Wade says. “We need to move on and start recognizing farmers as our colleagues and our equals in what we’re trying to achieve.”

Wade and his colleagues sent paper and digital surveys to hundreds of Midwestern farmers, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) employees, and agricultural researchers, evaluating their conceptualizations and prioritization of soil health and common soil tests. The researchers employed a mental models approach, a type of survey method that tests assumptions about causal relationships among various concepts or factors.

In addition to finding farmers prioritized soil health at a higher level (8.5 out of 10) than academics and NRCS professionals expected (4.9 and 5.7, respectively), the survey revealed surprising agreement about how the groups conceptualized soil health.

“Famers, NRCS personnel, and agricultural researchers all agreed that soil health positively affected crop productivity and farm profitability,” says Margaret Beetstra, co-author on the study and John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “And all groups reported bidirectional linkages, or feedback loops, between soil health and soil fertility, biological functioning, and soil physical functioning. This was an unexpectedly high degree of agreement across groups, which broadly refuted our hypothesis that farmers and academics conceptualize soil health differently.”

The researchers noted slight differences in soil health conceptualization within groups, however, meaning there isn’t necessarily one right way for groups to communicate about the topic.

“If I, as a researcher, am talking about improving soil health, I might be thinking about how this could reduce inputs, but an NRCS conservationist might not be,” Wade says. “This means that our takeaways from a conversation about soil health could be quite different.”

When asked about how they used and valued various soil tests, farmers and academics tended to be more similar than NRCS professionals, who, according to the survey, rely more heavily on in-field measurements (e.g., “by feel” or how the ground works up with a tractor) than standard agronomic soil tests (e.g., pH, organic matter, extractable nutrients). All groups said they value soil health tests that incorporate measurements of soil microbial activity, but the survey revealed farmers just aren’t using them.

“Our finding that farmers find soil health tests valuable, but often don’t use them suggests some kind of barrier exists, such as availability or cost of these tests,” Wade says.

The study suggests communication and research strategies around soil health could focus less on whether or not soil health is important and more on the perceived benefits and how to measure them. “With more stakeholders pushing in a similar direction, the hope is that we keep improving soil health across the Midwest,” Wade says.

Andrew Margenot, study co-author and Wade’s current faculty advisor at U of I, works closely with Illinois farmers on soil health and fertility issues. He says, “Many farmers in Illinois with whom we worked have noted potential links between soil health and water quality for a given practice, and also, importantly, how some practices may yield benefits on soil health but not necessarily water quality. Given the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy goals of decreased nutrient export to surface waters, this study reinforces that we researchers should be more explicit in articulating—and working with farmers to quantify –how practices that improve may also bolster .”

The article, “Soil health conceptualization differs across key stakeholder groups in the Midwest,” is published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation.



More information:
J. Wade et al, Soil health conceptualization differs across key stakeholder groups in the Midwest, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (2021). DOI: 10.2489/jswc.2021.02158

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