Chinese gazetteers documented decline of Hainan gibbons for over 400 years

first_img Ancient Chinese archives track decline of rare apes Citation: Chinese gazetteers documented decline of Hainan gibbons for over 400 years (2015, August 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-08-chinese-gazetteers-documented-decline-hainan.html Credit: Zoological Society of London Explore further 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. (Phys.org)—A trio of researchers, two with the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London and the other with the University of Queensland in Australia, has found they were able to trace the decline of the Hainan gibbon over the course of 400 years, by reading commissioned historical records. In their paper, published on the open access site Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Samuel Turvey, Jennifer Crees and Martina Di Fonzo describe what they found in the literature, what they learned about the demise of the Hainan gibbon, and why they believe what they learned might help the monkey-looking apes make a comeback.center_img Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B © 2015 Phys.org More information: Historical data as a baseline for conservation: reconstructing long-term faunal extinction dynamics in Late Imperial–modern China, Published 5 August 2015.DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1299AbstractExtinction events typically represent extended processes of decline that cannot be reconstructed using short-term studies. Long-term archives are necessary to determine past baselines and the extent of human-caused biodiversity change, but the capacity of historical datasets to provide predictive power for conservation must be assessed within a robust analytical framework. Local Chinese gazetteers represent a more than 400-year country-level dataset containing abundant information on past environmental conditions and include extensive records of gibbons, which have a restricted present-day distribution but formerly occurred across much of China. Gibbons show pre-twentieth century range contraction, with significant fragmentation by the mid-eighteenth century and population loss escalating in the late nineteenth century. Isolated gibbon populations persisted for about 40 years before local extinction. Populations persisted for longer at higher elevations, and disappeared earlier from northern and eastern regions, with the biogeography of population loss consistent with the contagion model of range collapse in response to human demographic expansion spreading directionally across China. The long-term Chinese historical record can track extinction events and human interactions with the environment across much longer timescales than are usually addressed in ecology, contributing novel baselines for conservation and an increased understanding of extinction dynamics and species vulnerability or resilience to human pressures. The Hainan gibbon is under a very serious threat of extinction—currently there are only about 26 to 28 of them left, all living in their native China (on Hainan Island). There used to be many more, in fact, they used to dwell in over 20 of modern day China providences, and were described as very common.Charting the slow demise of a species, as the research trio note, is often difficult as it typically occurs over more yeas than a person can document. In this case, however, the researchers were aided by gazetteers working for Chinese bureaucracies over the past several hundred years. In addition to noting population and commerce activities, record-keeping was also done for natural resources, which included local animal sightings. Hainan gibbon sightings have been described in such logs for approximately 400 years, the team reports, giving them a way to track not just gibbon population declines, but the manner in which it occurred. They were able to see, for example, that as expected, gibbon populations declined as human populations rose. They were actually able to note declines by geographic area, and to correlate what they found with human population growth and land being converted from natural habitat to farming. Both, they say, clearly led to the current low numbers for the species.The team also reports that they were able to see serious fragmentation of gibbon populations starting around the mid-eighteenth century, with population losses moving faster into the latter parts of the nineteenth century. They also found that the apes managed to hold out longer in higher elevation areas, but disappeared faster in the north and eastern regions.On a more positive note, the team suggests that what they have learned might actually help prevent the disappearance of the Hainan gibbon altogether, because it could lead to a better conservation plan for those animals that still remain.last_img read more

Simulation suggests nonwater based life could exist on Saturns moon Titan

first_img Explore further As scientists continue to search for life on other planets, more and more they are beginning to concede that if it does exist, it may not necessarily exist in the Goldilocks, or habitable zone. Such planets are all the “right” distance from their star, and hopefully, also have water. But recent evidence has suggested that some chemical reactions could lead to types of life forms where there is no water, which further suggests that it may exist outside of what is now considered the habitable zone. For life to come about in such places, researchers reason, there would likely need to be some sort of action going on—and that is why there has been so much focus on Titan; it is the only object in our solar system, besides Earth, that has both rainfall and erosion due to liquid movement. But the water it has is locked far underground and the moon is too cold to support an impact by water anyway. But, as the researchers with this new effort discovered after poring over data sent back by Huygens, the surface does have hydrogen cyanide in its sediment, brought down from the atmosphere by methane and ethane rain. It was those molecules that drove the design of the simulations—the team wanted to see if they could form the basis of reactions that could lead to the creation of polymers such as polyimine, which the team notes, are conducive to the formation of prebiotic reactions leading to a form of life. Their simulations showed that such reactions are possible and that the structures that came about were also able to absorb sunlight in the wavelengths present on the Titan surface.The researchers suggest their work, and that done by others indicates that a return to the planet by a new probe might be in order, one able to test for a different form of life, or at least its precursors. © 2016 Phys.org Life on other planets could be far more widespread, study finds An image of Titan’s surface, as taken by the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe as it plunged through the moon’s thick, orange-brown atmosphere on Jan. 14, 2005. Today, Cornell scientists have chemical evidence that suggests prebiotic conditions may exist there. Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona 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.center_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Phys.org)—A team of researchers at Cornell University has built and run a simulation that showed prebiotic reactions could possibly occur on the surface of one of Saturn’s moons, Titan, suggesting the possibility of life evolving in a place where it is too cold for water to be a factor. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes the simulation they created in response to the discovery (by the Huygens probe) that polymers such as polyimine might have already developed on the moon’s surface. Citation: Simulation suggests non-water based life could exist on Saturn’s moon Titan (2016, July 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-07-simulation-non-water-based-life-saturn.html More information: Polymorphism and electronic structure of polyimine and its potential significance for prebiotic chemistry on Titan, PNAS, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1606634113AbstractThe chemistry of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is believed to be central to the origin of life question. Contradictions between Cassini–Huygens mission measurements of the atmosphere and the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan suggest that HCN-based polymers may have formed on the surface from products of atmospheric chemistry. This makes Titan a valuable “natural laboratory” for exploring potential nonterrestrial forms of prebiotic chemistry. We have used theoretical calculations to investigate the chain conformations of polyimine (pI), a polymer identified as one major component of polymerized HCN in laboratory experiments. Thanks to its flexible backbone, the polymer can exist in several different polymorphs, which are relatively close in energy. The electronic and structural variability among them is extraordinary. The band gap changes over a 3-eV range when moving from a planar sheet-like structure to increasingly coiled conformations. The primary photon absorption is predicted to occur in a window of relative transparency in Titan’s atmosphere, indicating that pI could be photochemically active and drive chemistry on the surface. The thermodynamics for adding and removing HCN from pI under Titan conditions suggests that such dynamics is plausible, provided that catalysis or photochemistry is available to sufficiently lower reaction barriers. We speculate that the directionality of pI’s intermolecular and intramolecular =N–H…N hydrogen bonds may drive the formation of partially ordered structures, some of which may synergize with photon absorption and act catalytically. Future detailed studies on proposed mechanisms and the solubility and density of the polymers will aid in the design of future missions to Titan.Press releaselast_img read more

Bleached anemones found to stress fish living in them

first_imgA team of researchers with the University of Glasgow in Scotland and Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l’Environnement, French Polynesia, has found that orange-fin anemonefish (aka clownfish) living among bleached anemones exhibit signs of stress—namely a higher-than-normal metabolic rate. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes their study of the fish and what it shows about the impact of global warming. When anemones bleach, clownfish suffer 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. © 2018 Phys.org Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Prior research has shown that as ocean temperatures rise due to global warming, mass bleaching of anemones and corals in the tropics is occurring. Under normal conditions, algae living inside anemones cause the anemones to look green. But as the water warms, the algae die, leaving anemones to show their true white color. This does not cause the anemones to die, however, which means they remain in place, allowing fish that hide among them to continue as before. But the researchers wondered whether the lack of green was causing problems for the fish that are not readily apparent. To find out, they collected samples of anemones and clownfish and studied them in the lab.The study was straightforward: The researchers put green-colored anemones in one tank of water and bleached anemones in another. They added normal healthy clownfish to both tanks and left them to live together for two weeks. At that point, the fish were removed to a nearly sterile tank of water into which the researchers pumped oxygen, allowing them to measure how much of the oxygen the fish used. Because there was nothing to eat or see, the fish remained motionless, which allowed the researchers to take a measurement of their basal metabolism rate.The researchers report that the metabolism of the fish living with the bleached anemones ran higher than for those living in the still green anemones. This, they note, indicates that the fish are stressed, which likely means they are less able to live normally. And that, they further note, suggests they likely swim and eat less, and perhaps reproduce less. This, they conclude, is evidence of the destructive impact that global warming is having on the planet.center_img Credit: CC0 Public Domain More information: Tommy Norin et al. Anemone bleaching increases the metabolic demands of symbiont anemonefish, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0282AbstractIncreased ocean temperatures are causing mass bleaching of anemones and corals in the tropics worldwide. While such heat-induced loss of algal symbionts (zooxanthellae) directly affects anemones and corals physiologically, this damage may also cascade on to other animal symbionts. Metabolic rate is an integrative physiological trait shown to relate to various aspects of organismal performance, behaviour and locomotor capacity, and also shows plasticity during exposure to acute and chronic stressors. As climate warming is expected to affect the physiology, behaviour and life history of animals, including ectotherms such as fish, we measured if residing in bleached versus unbleached sea anemones (Heteractis magnifica) affected the standard (i.e. baseline) metabolic rate and behaviour (activity) of juvenile orange-fin anemonefish (Amphiprion chrysopterus). Metabolic rate was estimated from rates of oxygen uptake , and the standard metabolic rate of anemonefish from bleached anemones was significantly higher by 8.2% compared with that of fish residing in unbleached anemones, possibly due to increased stress levels. Activity levels did not differ between fish from bleached and unbleached anemones. As reflects the minimum cost of living, the increased metabolic demands may contribute to the negative impacts of bleaching on important anemonefish life history and fitness traits observed previously (e.g. reduced spawning frequency and lower fecundity). Explore further Citation: Bleached anemones found to stress fish living in them (2018, April 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-anemones-stress-fish.htmllast_img read more

A song from the Arctic arrives in the capital

first_imgIndia’s induction into the Arctic Council as an observer nation was celebrated with a performance by Inuit ‘throat singers’ from north Canada here recently.Canadian singers Kathy Kettler and Kendra Tagoona, who perform contemporary and traditional Inuit music in the styles of throat singing, were in the city to exhibit the traditional art form native to Arctic regions.The event was organised by the Canadian High Commission here.‘Bringing in artists from the Arctic region of Canada to India is significant in the wake of India recently assuming the status of Observer nation in the Arctic Council that consolidates Indian-Canadian ties,’ said Jim Nickel, Acting High Commissioner for Canada in India. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Legends say this art form of ‘throat singing’ was traditionally used to sing babies to sleep or in games women played during the long winter nights while the men were away hunting.Inuits are the indigenous people of Canada residing in the northern part of the world’s second largest country (geographically) which remains snow-clad throughout the year and it was here that ‘Inuit Throat Singing’ originated.Kathy Kettler and Kendra Tagoona work individually and together to preserve and share Inuit culture from Northern Canada. Both the singer say they retain strong connections to their heritage and culture through their Inuit elders. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixKnown to natives as ‘katajjaq’, throat singing is a women’s traditional style of fun-filled singing from the hinterlands of the arctic region.‘India and Canada have ties since 1947 and the countries have time and again lent support to each other at various fronts. One out of 30 people in Canada is an Indian and Canada is also a diverse nation like India. The performance is an endeavour to exhibit the cultural diversity that exists in Canada,’ Nickel said.last_img read more

Dont miss the magic

first_imgIn a bid to spread awareness about magical performances and give it a grand entry into the city, Delhi Tourism in association with Government of NCT of Delhi organises the 4th International Magic Festival at Dilli Haat, Janak Puri, INA and Pitampura. This three-day long festival that opens today aims to attract people and popularise the long standing tradition of magical arts in the country.International and Indian magicians from diverse backgrounds will present their legerdemain skills to ensnare the audience. The programs are designed in a way that grasp the interest level of all age groups, with grand and interactive gala shows (by both national and international magicians) being the main attraction. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The venue will be an open host to ancient (Majma) and modern forms of street magic (like that by David Blaine). In addition to all these performances across all the three Dilli Haats by Delhi Tourism; Dilli Haat, Janak Puri will be showcasing an exhibition on history of Indian magic and its forms.People will be given an opportunity to learn about the early days of magic in India through an informative presentation. A short workshop for people on creating magic from day to day objects like pens, paper, coins and handkerchief will also be hosted. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixMalkinn (Malaysia), Jorinee (Malaysia), Mamada (Bangkok) and Steven Cambian (United States) are few of the masters of magic, who are set to give an international twist with their performances. The festival will also be displaying few of the rarely seen fire and levitation acts by Kharbanda Brothers. Brij Mohan from Bihar will be adding laughter to his magic shows to tickle your funny bone. Drawing competition of children will also be hosted at Dilli Haat Janak Puri and Pitampura. Where: Dilli Haat, Janak Puri, INA and Pitampura When: 26 – 28 September Timing: 5 pm to 9 pmlast_img read more

Balurghat to get Passport Seva Kendra courtesy Arpita Ghosh

first_imgBALURGHAT: Following Trinamool leader and Balurghat MP Arpita Ghosh’s initiative, Ministry of External Affairs will introduce a new Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) in Balurghat shortly. It has been decided that the PSK will start functioning through the Post Office in Balurghat. It was a long-standing demand of the Balurghat residents.Notably, the city people had urged Ghosh to raise the issue in Parliament and to talk to External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, so that the demand could be materialised. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIn a recent letter to Ghosh, Swaraj had delivered the news of introducing the service in Balurghat.Meanwhile, a similar service has already been introduced in the neighbouring Raiganj and Malda.PSKs are extended arms of Passport Offices and they can cover the tasks of receiving application from the applicant for the issuance of passport and related services. It has been a part of e-governance for the betterment of public services, while MEA had launched Passport Seva Project in 2010, with best in class amenities throughout the country in PPP mode.Ghosh said: “I received information from MEA that Balurghat will soon get a Passport Seva Kendra, thus getting a long-pending demand from the locals, fulfilled. I had raised the issue in Parliament too and talked to the concerned minister for introducing a PSK in my Parliamentary constituency.”last_img read more

One killed 17 injured in two road accidents

first_imgKolkata: One person was killed and seventeen others injured in two separate road accidents in two districts. The first incident took place at Belpahari block in Jhragram on Tuesday morning. The deceased has been identified as Md Basir (26). He was a resident of Madhubani district in Bihar. The victim along with some others were going to Jhargram from Bihar in a bus which overturned. The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained by the district police. Around 10 other passengers received injuries in the accident. They were taken to a local hospital for treatment. In a separate incident, seven persons, who were travelling in a matador, received injuries when the vehicle overturned on Kachkal-Rajarhat road in North 24-Parganas on Tuesday afternoon. Two of the injured passengers are stated serious.last_img read more

Mismatch of needs and job demands may cause burnout

first_imgBurnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion from work, which results in lack of motivation, low efficiency, and helpless feeling. Its health effects include anxiety, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, insomnia, and depression. The results showed that a mismatch between job characteristics and either implicit motive can cause burnout. Employees can get burned out when they have too much or not enough scope for power or affiliation compared to their individual needs. “We found that the frustration of unconscious effective needs, caused by a lack of opportunities for motive-driven behaviour, is detrimental to psychological and physical well-being,” said leading author, Veronika Brandstatter, Professor at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. “The same is true for goal-striving that doesn’t match a well-developed implicit motive for power or affiliation, because then excessive effort is necessary to achieve that goal. Both forms of mismatch act as ‘hidden stressors’ and can cause burnout,” Brandstatter added.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfFurther, the unconscious needs of employees – their so-called “implicit motives” – play an important role in the development of burnout. The researchers focus on two important motives: the power motive, that is, the need to take responsibility for others, maintain discipline, and engage in arguments or negotiation, in order to feel strong and self-efficacious. Secondly, the affiliation motive, the need for positive personal relations, in order to feel trust, warmth, and belonging.  Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveFor the study, the team analysed 97 Swiss men and women, between the age group 22 and 62. The greater the mismatch between someone’s affiliation motive and the scope for personal relations at the job, the higher was the risk of burnout, the researchers said. Likewise, adverse physical symptoms, such as headache, chest pain, faintness, and shortness of breath, became more common with increasing mismatch between an employee’s power motive and the scope for power in his or her job. Interventions that prevent or repair such mismatches could increase well-being at work and reduce the risk of burnout, the team suggested.last_img read more

Mamata asks people to eradicate the menace of open defecation

first_imgKolkata: On the occasion of World Toilet Day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday asked people to eradicate the menace of open defecation. Banerjee said 11 districts of the state have become open defecation free (ODF). “On #WorldToiletDay today, let us pledge to eradicate the menace of open defecation. Our states flagship programme, #MissionNirmalBangla, has been very successful,” Banerjee wrote on her Twitter handle this morning. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeShe said “As of May, 2018, 11 districts, 33,261 villages, 2,621 gram panchayats and 255 blocks in the state have become #ODF.” The Mission Nirmal Bangla initiated by West Bengal government endeavours to achieve the larger objective of reduction in child mortality and morbidity, overall mortality and morbidity by reducing chances of water-borne and fecal- borne diseases due to prevalence of open defecation. World Toilet Day is an official United Nations international observance day on November 19 to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.last_img read more

Mamata remembers brave soldiers hails Tashkent Agreement

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday remembered the soldiers who laid down their lives during the India-Pakistan war in 1965, following which the Tashkent Agreement was signed on this day. “On this day in 1966, Tashkent Agreement was signed by Lal Bahadur Shastri and Ayub Khan, ending the war between Pakistan and India. Homage to all the soldiers who laid down their lives for the country. Jai Hind,” Banerjee tweeted. The 1965 armed conflict between India and Pakistan was formally brought to an end by signing this agreement at Tashkent on January 10, 1966.last_img