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  • Glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) have recently become one of the primary natural hazards in the Himalayas. There is therefore an urgent need to assess GLOF hazards in the region. Cirenmaco, a moraine-dammed lake located in the upstream portion of Zhangzangbo valley, Central Himalayas, has received public attention after its damaging 1981 outburst flood. Here, by combining remote sensing methods, bathymetric survey and 2D hydraulic modeling, we assessed the hazard posed by Cirenmaco in its current status. Inter-annual variation of Cirenmaco lake area indicates a rapid lake expansion from 0.10±0.08km2 in 1988 to 0.39±0.04km2 in 2013. Bathymetric survey shows the maximum water depth of the lake in 2012 was 115±2m and the lake volume was calculated to be 1.8×107m3. Field geomorphic analysis shows that Cirenmaco glacial lake is prone to GLOFs as mass movements and ice and snow avalanches can impact the lake and the melting of the dead ice in the moraine can lower the dam level. HEC-RAS 2D model was then used to simulate moraine dam failure of the Cirenmaco and assess GLOF impacts downstream. Reconstruction of Cirenmaco 1981 GLOF shows that HEC-RAS can produce reasonable flood extent and water depth, thus demonstrate its ability to effectively model complex GLOFs. GLOF modeling results presented can be used as a basis for the implementation of disaster prevention and mitigation measures. As a case study, this work shows how we can integrate different methods to GLOF hazard assessment.
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  • Intracellular α-amylase was a special glycoside hydrolase in the cytoplasm. We cloned and expressed an intracellular α-amylase, Amy, from Paenibacillus sp. SSG-1. The recombinant enzyme was purified by metal-affinity chromatography, exhibited a molecular mass of 71.7 kDa. Amy exhibited unexpectedly sequence similarity and evolutionary relationships with alpha-glucanotransferase. The docked results of Amy with maltose showed it had similar catalytic residues with α-amylase and glucanotransferase. The substrate specificity experiment showed that Amy could hydrolyze typical substrates into glucose and maltose. It was noteworthy that Amy showed the catalytic capacity of cyclomaltodextrinase and pullulanase. Meanwhile, Amy could transfer sugar molecules and form maltotetraose upon the hydrolysis of substrates. These results indicated that Amy was a novel intracellular α-amylase with distinct catalytic ability characteristics of hydrolyzing glycogen/cyclodextrin/pullulan and transglycosylation. We deduced that Amy may play an important role in utilizing maltooligosaccharides that released from extracellular α-glucan or storage α-glucan (glycogen) in Paenibacillus sp. SSG-1.
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  • Inspired by the early fieldwork of G. Haynes with large sized predators in wilderness areas, the following paper presents data on bone damage patterns in a sample of guanacos killed by one of the largest predators in South America, the puma (Puma concolor, Felidae, Carnivora). We describe the bone modification pattern on the carcasses, including skeletal part representation, bone fractures, and tooth marks. Also, tooth mark modifications on bones collected from a puma enclosure at a local zoo were analyzed. Our results indicate a light modification of guanaco carcass by puma; bone damages located mainly in the upper portions of rear and forelimbs, rib cage, and scapular and pelvic girdles; and the presence of a low percentage of fractured bones. Scores, pits, and punctures are the best represented tooth marks. On average, punctures are 3.5–5 mm in diameter, although larger tooth impressions are observed. The light consumption of guanaco by the puma would provide a potential source for scavenging by other carnivores and humans.
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  • This paper studies stochastic convergence of per capita CO2 emissions in 28 OECD countries for the 1901–2009 period. The analysis is carried out at two aggregation levels: first for the whole set of countries (joint analysis) and then separately for developed and developing states (group analysis). A powerful time series methodology - adapted to a nonlinear framework that allows for quadratic trends with possibly smooth transition between regimes - is applied. This approach provides more robust conclusions in convergence path analysis, enabling (a) robust detection of the presence, and if so, the number of changes in the level and/or slope of the trend of the series; (b) inferences on stationarity of relative per capita CO2 emissions, conditionally on the presence of breaks and smooth transitions between regimes; and (c) estimation of change locations in the convergence paths. Finally, as stochastic convergence is attained when both stationarity around a trend and β-convergence simultaneously hold, the linear approach proposed by Tomljanovich and Vogelsang (2002) is extended in order to allow for more general, quadratic models. Overall, joint analysis finds some evidence of stochastic convergence in per capita CO2 emissions. Some dispersion in terms of β-convergence is detected by the group analysis, particularly among developed countries. This is in accordance with per capita GDP not being the sole determinant of convergence in emissions, with factors like search for more efficient technologies, fossil fuel substitution, innovation, and possibly industry outsourcing, also having a crucial role.
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  • Temporal lobe networks are associated with multiple cognitive domains. Despite an upsurge of interest in connectional neuroanatomy, the terminations of the main fibre tracts in the human brain are yet to be mapped. This information is essential given that neurological, neuroanatomical and computational accounts expect neural functions to be strongly shaped by the pattern of white-matter connections. This paper uses a probabilistic tractography approach to identify the main cortical areas that contribute to the major temporal lobe tracts. In order to associate the tract terminations to known functional domains of the temporal lobe, eight automated meta-analyses were performed using the Neurosynth database. Overlaps between the functional regions highlighted by the meta-analyses and the termination maps were identified in order to investigate the functional importance of the tracts of the temporal lobe. The termination maps are made available in the Supplementary Materials of this article for use by researchers in the field.
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  • Soluble receptor for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE), a natural inhibitor of RAGE, is considered to be a putative therapeutic molecule for a variety of diseases and a biomarker for certain conditions. To further study the function of sRAGE, recombinant rat sRAGE (rrsRAGE) was expressed and produced in a eukaryotic system. The open reading frame of rat sRAGE was cloned downstream of the methanol-inducible alcohol oxidase promoter of pPICZαA vector, and Pichia pastoris strain X-33 was used as the host strain. The expression of rrsRAGE was achieved by fermentation in a 15-L bioreactor and the resulting fermentation broth was subjected to purification on a cation exchange chromatography column. The purification of rrsRAGE reached 95% after size exclusion chromatography(SEC). The bioactivity of the purified protein was confirmed in a SH-SY5Y cell proliferation assay. The biological function of the purified rrsRAGE protein rat CCl4-induced model was then examined. Treatment with rrsRAGE resulted in significantly lower liver fibrosis and lower serum level of ALT, suggesting that sRAGE prevent liver from injury and fibrosis. In conclusion, we achieved high-efficiency production of bioactive rrsRAGE in Pichia pastoris.
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  • Digital elevation models (DEMs) built from repeated topographic surveys permit producing DEM of Difference (DoD) that enables assessment of elevation variations and estimation of volumetric changes through time. In the framework of sediment transport studies, DEM differencing enables quantitative and spatially-distributed representation of erosion and deposition within the analyzed time window, at both the channel reach and the catchment scale. In this study, two high-resolution Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) derived from airborne LiDAR data (2m resolution) acquired in 2005 and 2011 were used to characterize the topographic variations caused by sediment erosion, transport and deposition in two adjacent mountain basins (Gadria and Strimm, Vinschgau - Venosta valley, Eastern Alps, Italy). These catchments were chosen for their contrasting morphology and because they feature different types and intensity of sediment transfer processes. A method based on fuzzy logic, which takes into account spatially variable DTMs uncertainty, was used to derive the DoD of the study area. Volumes of erosion and deposition calculated from the DoD were then compared with post-event field surveys to test the consistency of two independent estimates. Results show an overall agreement between the estimates, with differences due to the intrinsic approximations of the two approaches. The consistency of DoD with post-event estimates encourages the integration of these two methods, whose combined application may permit to overcome the intrinsic limitations of the two estimations. The comparison between 2005 and 2011 DTMs allowed to investigate the relationships between topographic changes and geomorphometric parameters expressing the role of topography on sediment erosion and deposition (i.e., slope and contributing area) and describing the morphology influenced by debris flows and fluvial processes (i.e., curvature). Erosion and deposition relations in the slope-area space display substantial differences between the Gadria and the Strimm basins. While in the former erosion and deposition clusters are reasonably well discriminated, in the latter, characterized by a complex stepped structure, we observe substantial overlapping. Erosion mostly occurred in areas that show persistency of concavity or transformation from convex and flat to concave surfaces, whereas deposition prevailingly took place on convex morphologies. Less expected correspondences between curvature and topographic changes can be explained by the variable sediment transport processes, which are often characterized by alternation of erosion and deposition between different events and even during the same event.
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  • Whereas past research has examined the use of emotion regulation strategies in terms of individual differences or responses to experimental manipulations, this research takes a naturalistic and repeated-measures approach to examine suppression use in specific situations. Using an experience sampling design, we find evidence across two samples (total N=215) that (1) there was substantial within-person variation in suppression use, (2) the situational use of suppression was explained by situational differences in extraversion and social hierarchy, and (3) when used in contexts in which people felt they were low in social hierarchy, the negative relationship between suppression and well-being was attenuated. These findings suggest there are contexts in which suppression use may not be maladaptive, and demonstrate the benefits of studying emotion processes in real-life.
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  • Intermediate filament proteins are structural components of the cellular cytoskeleton with cell-type specific expression and function. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is a type III intermediate filament protein and is up-regulated in glia of the nervous system in response to injury and during neurodegenerative diseases. In the retina, GFAP levels are dramatically increased in Müller glia and are thought to play a role in the extensive structural changes resulting in Müller cell hypertrophy and glial scar formation. In spite of similar changes to the morphology of Xenopus Müller cells following injury, we found that Xenopus lack a gfap gene. Other type III intermediate filament proteins were, however, significantly induced following rod photoreceptor ablation and retinal ganglion cell axotomy. The recently available X. tropicalis and X. laevis genomes indicate a small deletion most likely resulted in the loss of the gfap gene during anuran evolution. Lastly, a survey of representative species from all three extant amphibian orders including the Anura (frogs, toads), Caudata (salamanders, newts), and Gymnophiona (caecilians) suggests that deletion of the gfap locus occurred in the ancestor of all Anura after its divergence from the Caudata ancestor around 290 million years ago. Our results demonstrate that extensive changes in Müller cell morphology following retinal injury do not require GFAP in Xenopus, and other type III intermediate filament proteins may be involved in the gliotic response.
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