Image: Lauri Orho
The presence of the carp, a freshwater invasive species spread worldwide, is alarmingly reducing the populations of diving ducks and waterbirds, according to a study published in the journal Biological Conservation by the researchers Alberto Maceda Veiga, from the Biodiversity Research Institute of the University of Barcelona (IRBio) and Raquel López and Andy J. Green, from the Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC). This is the first study which clearly shows the ecological impact of the carp on water birds in Mediterranean shallow lakes, and it warns about the dramatic effect of this invasive species on other species such as the white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) and the red-crested pochard (Aythya farina), classified as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (UICN).
Among the Top 100 of the most threatening alien exotic species worldwide
The carp (Cyprinius carpio) is considered one of the most threatening alien exotic species worldwide according to the UICN. This species, from the European and Asian continents, is included in the Spanish Catalog of Exotic Invasive Species and can live in a wide range of habitats, even the most degraded ones. Quite valued in sport fishing and aquaculture, the carp causes well-known ecological impacts in several countries but there is a lack of studies on the effects on some organisms such as water birds. The authors of the scientific study have studied the natural reserves in the lakes of Medina (Cadiz) and Zoñar (Cordoba) in Andalusia. These shallow depths are quite emblematic in the south of the Iberian Peninsula and are areas where many water birds hibernate –one of the reasons why the Board of Andalusia tried to eradicate the carp.
Ricercatori dell’Igg-Cnr, in collaborazione con Università di Barcellona, di Lisbona e Università della California a Irvine dimostrano il nesso tra siccità e aumento delle superfici coinvolte dagli incendi boschivi e prevedono per i prossimi anni un incremento, soprattutto nelle zone a Nord dell’Europa mediterranea. I risultati sono pubblicati su Scientific Reports
Nei prossimi decenni il rischio di incendi boschivi in area Mediterranea potrebbe aumentare a causa di condizioni climatiche più aride. È quanto conclude un articolo pubblicato sulla rivista Scientific Reports, nel quale un team che coinvolge l’Istituto di geoscienze e georisorse del Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche (Igg-Cnr) e le Università di Barcellona, di Lisbona e della California a Irvine ha sviluppato dei modelli matematici in grado di prevedere pericolosità ed estensione degli incendi boschivi. “In base all’analisi dei dati cerchiamo di determinare relazioni empiriche ma strette fra variazioni delle condizioni di siccità e aree bruciate”, spiega Antonello Provenzale, direttore dell’Igg-Cnr. “Sebbene la maggior parte degli incendi sia innescata da attività umane, dolose e non, abbiamo constatato che le condizioni climatiche influenzano la propagazione e quindi l’estensione dell’incendio”. Le variabili prese in considerazione sono l’area bruciata, Burned area (Ba), e la siccità quantificata tramite Spei (Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index, http://spei.csic.es/), un indice che misura la differenza fra precipitazione ed evapotraspirazione (perdita d’acqua dal suolo). “Studiando le variazioni annuali di Spei e Ba, analizziamo le anomalie, ovvero quanto, in un certo anno, i valori di Spei e Ba deviano rispetto alla loro media”, prosegue Provenzale. “In generale, i dati mostrano che le anomalie di area bruciata seguono in modo pressoché lineare le anomalie dello Spei, vale a dire, se l’anomalia di Spei nel senso dell’aridità in un certo anno raddoppia rispetto all’anno precedente, anche l’area bruciata tenderà ad essere il doppio di quella dell’anno precedente”.
New key systems allows car owners to enter and start their vehicle without ever touching a key. But the technology is not entirely safe. That is why two ICT experts from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) at the University of Luxembourg partnered up with Honda R&D Europe to address security vulnerabilities. Prof. Thomas Engel and Dr Florian Adamsky signed a 30.000 euro grant agreement with the automotive giant in the Spring of 2017 to collaborate on secure key systems. Much like contactless payments, the new key technology lets individuals unlock their cars just by getting close to it. Conversely, walking away from a vehicle locks it. The only security measure is thus the limited range of key systems that is about 10 meters. Car thieves can buy off-the-shelf products from the black market to amplify the key signal. This enables them to unlock and start the car and drive away while its owner is just a few meters away. It is such a clean theft that no traces are effectively left behind, making a claim with insurance difficult to nearly impossible.
Postdoctoral fellow Anne-Sofie Helvik at NTNU’s Department of Social Medicine and Nursing says that nursing homes must first and foremost focus on high quality care rather than on medication. Photo: Frøy Katrine Myrhol
For the first time ever, researchers have looked at the long-term use of psychiatric medication in Norwegian nursing homes. Psychiatric drugs are a collective term for medicines used to treat mental disorders, such as antipsychotics, anxiolytics (anxiety suppressants), antidepressants and sleeping pills. The researchers followed approximately 1000 residents in different Norwegian municipalities for a period of six years. Experienced nurses who were specially trained for the study collected information about each of the patients during the period. Residents, nurses and family members all agreed to residents’ participation in the research study. Data collection in the study took place from 2004-2010. Nurses obtained information from residents' medical records and through interviews with residents' relatives via questionnaire. The information was also given to residents and relatives afterwards. The study revealed that the use of medications for mental illness was high, regardless of whether residents had dementia or not. Those who had symptoms such as aggressive behaviour, irritability and hallucinations were more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medication.