• UBE2QL1 is disrupted by a constitutional translocation associated with renal tumor predisposition and is a novel candidate renal tumor suppressor gene

      Wake, NC; Ricketts, CJ; Morris, MR; Prigmore, E; Gribble, SM; Skytte, AB; Brown, M; Clarke, N; Banks, RE; Hodgson, S; et al. (Wiley, 2013-09-02)
      Investigation of rare familial forms of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has led to the identification of genes such as VHL and MET that are also implicated in the pathogenesis of sporadic RCC. In order to identify a novel candidate renal tumor suppressor gene, we characterized the breakpoints of a constitutional balanced translocation, t(5;19)(p15.3;q12), associated with familial RCC and found that a previously uncharacterized gene UBE2QL1 was disrupted by the chromosome 5 breakpoint. UBE2QL1 mRNA expression was downregulated in 78.6% of sporadic RCC and, although no intragenic mutations were detected, gene deletions and promoter region hypermethylation were detected in 17.3% and 20.3%, respectively, of sporadic RCC. Reexpression of UBE2QL1 in a deficient RCC cell line suppressed anchorage-independent growth. UBE2QL1 shows homology to the E2 class of ubiquitin conjugating enzymes and we found that (1) UBE2QL1 possesses an active-site cysteine (C88) that is monoubiquitinated in vivo, and (2) UBE2QL1 interacts with FBXW7 (an F box protein providing substrate recognition to the SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase) and facilitates the degradation of the known FBXW7 targets, CCNE1 and mTOR. These findings suggest UBE2QL1 as a novel candidate renal tumor suppressor gene. © 2013 The Authors. *Human Mutation published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    • UK landscape ecology: trends and perspectives from the first 25 years of ialeUK

      Young, Christopher; Bellamy, Chloe; Burton, Vanessa; Griffiths, Geoff; Metzger, Marc J; Neumann, Jessica; Porter, Jonathan; Millington, James DA (Springer Nature, 2019-12-03)
      Context The 25th anniversary of the founding of the UK chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (ialeUK) was marked in 2017. Objectives To assess trends in UK landscape ecology research over ialeUK’s first 25 years, to compare these trends to changes elsewhere in the world, and to consider how ialeUK can continue to support landscape ecology research and practice. Methods A database of conference abstracts was compiled and examined in combination with a questionnaire that surveyed existing and former active members of ialeUK. Results Across 1992–2017 we observe noticeable trends including the declining roles of statutory bodies, the development of the ecosystem services concept, and a decrease in use of empirical methods. Analysis of questionnaire results highlighted four key areas: Developing new researchers; Facilitating conferences for networking, learning and discussion; Linking policy with practice; and Driving the continued growth of landscape ecology as a discipline. Challenges were also noted, especially regarding the adoption of a wider understanding of landscape ecological principles in management. Conclusions Increases in qualitative research, decreases in studies explicitly examining connectivity/fragmentation and an absence of landscape genetics studies in the UK are seemingly distinct from US landscape ecology and elsewhere around the world, based on published accounts. ialeUK has had success in increasing the role of landscape ecology in policy and practice, but needs to continue to aim for improved collaboration with other landscape-related professional bodies and contributions to wider sustainability agendas.
    • Ulcerative colitis: Understanding its cellular pathology could provide insights into novel therapies

      Kaur, A; Goggolidou, P; Department of Biomedical Science and Physiology, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY UK. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-04-21)
      © 2020 The Author(s). Dynamic interactions between the gastrointestinal epithelium and the mucosal immune system normally contribute to ensuring intestinal homeostasis and optimal immunosurveillance, but destabilisation of these interactions in genetically predisposed individuals can lead to the development of chronic inflammatory diseases. Ulcerative colitis is one of the main types of inflammatory diseases that affect the bowel, but its pathogenesis has yet to be completely defined. Several genetic factors and other inflammation-related genes are implicated in mediating the inflammation and development of the disease. Some susceptibility loci associated with increased risk of ulcerative colitis are found to be implicated in mucosal barrier function. Different biomarkers that cause damage to the colonic mucosa can be detected in patients, including perinuclear ANCA, which is also useful in distinguishing ulcerative colitis from other colitides. The choice of treatment for ulcerative colitis depends on disease severity. Therapeutic strategies include anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) monoclonal antibodies used to block the production of TNF-α that mediates intestinal tract inflammation, an anti-adhesion drug that prevents lymphocyte infiltration from the blood into the inflamed gut, inhibitors of JAK1 and JAK3 that suppress the innate immune cell signalling and interferons α/β which stimulate the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, as well as faecal microbiota transplantation. Although further research is still required to fully dissect the pathophysiology of ulcerative colitis, understanding its cellular pathology and molecular mechanisms has already proven beneficial and it has got the potential to identify further novel, effective targets for therapy and reduce the burden of this chronic disease.
    • Ultra scale-down approaches to study the centrifugal harvest for viral vaccine production

      Melinek, Beatrice J; Dessoy, Sandrine; Wright, Bernice; Bracewell, Dan G; Mukhopadhyay, Tarit K (Wiley, 2018-01-08)
      Large scale continuous cell‐line cultures promise greater reproducibility and efficacy for the production of influenza vaccines, and adenovirus for gene therapy. This paper seeks to use an existing validated ultra scale‐down tool, which is designed to mimic the commercial scale process environment using only milliliters of material, to provide some initial insight into the performance of the harvest step for these processes. The performance of industrial scale centrifugation and subsequent downstream process units is significantly affected by shear. The properties of these cells, in particular their shear sensitivity, may be changed considerably by production of a viral product, but literature on this is limited to date. In addition, the scale‐down tool used here has not previously been applied to the clarification of virus production processes. The results indicate that virus infected cells do not actually show any increase in sensitivity to shear, and may indeed become less shear sensitive, in a similar manner to that previously observed in old or dead cell cultures. Clarification may be most significantly dependent on the virus release mechanism, with the budding influenza virus producing a much greater decrease in clarification than the lytic, non‐enveloped adenovirus. A good match was also demonstrated to the industrial scale performance in terms of clarification, protein release, and impurity profile.
    • Under pressure

      Fullen, Michael A.; Addison, Ken (Philip Allan Updates, 2009)
      How heavy is the weight of air above your head? At first, this seems a ridiculous question. However, gases do actually have a weight and since the atmosphere consists of a mixture of gases (mainly nitrogen and oxygen), air has a weight. This weight is also described as pressure. In fact, the atmosphere is exerting about 5 tonnes of pressure on your head. A cubic metre of air typically weighs about 1.2 kilograms (kg) at sea-level. Thus, the weight of air in a car or a large tea chest is about 1 kg, which is approximately the weight of a large bag of sugar. Fortunately, we do not experience this weight or pressure because our internal pressure acts as a counter-balance. However, we do feel rapid changes in pressure. For instance, if you dive into a swimming pool, the sudden increase in pressure is expressed particularly by compression on the head, especially the eardrums. This is because water is about 1000 times denser than air. Furthermore, we also sense changes in pressure during air travel. Aircraft are normally pressurized to the equivalent pressure at about 2000 metres. Therefore, on ascent and descent we can experience changes in pressure, this is usually noticeable by a slight discomfort in your eardrums, with the drums tending to ‘pop’. Large animals have difficulty in adjusting rapidly to pressure changes. For instance, there have been reports of cows exploding when hit by tornadoes (extremely violent whirlwinds). The inner core or ‘vortex’ of tornadoes is the lowest pressure system on Earth. When these extremely low-pressure systems hit cattle, they cannot rapidly adjust their internal pressure and they can therefore explode. For the same reason, people in tornado-vulnerable areas (such as ‘tornado alley’ in the central USA) are advised to open windows in advance of possible tornadoes, as this diminishes the chances of the house exploding when hit by a tornado (i.e. very low pressure outside and relatively high pressure inside). Evangelista Torricelli was one of the first scientists to experiment with pressure. In 1644, Torricelli inverted a tube of mercury into a vessel containing mercury (a liquid metal). In the upper part of the tube a vacuum was created when the mercury fell. This meant Torricelli was able to show that air pressure was capable of supporting a column of mercury. When the air pressure rose, the height of mercury increased. When the air pressure decreased, the height of the mercury decreased. To illustrate air pressure to yourself, simply place a drinking glass under the water level in a bowl. Raise the inverted full glass above the surface of the water, keeping the rim below the water level. Air pressure keeps the water in the glass, even though it is above water level.
    • Undergraduate women empowering women in computational chemistry: three perspectives

      Evans, Rebecca; Perchik, Madison; Magee, Caroline; Cafiero, Mauricio (Wiley, 2020-06-25)
      The undergraduate computational chemistry research group headed by Mauricio Cafiero at Rhodes College has a history of including, promoting, and supporting women in this predominantly male field. Alums of this research group from 2004 to 2019 include nine M.Ds, two science researchers, two Ph.D.s, one secondary teacher, two pharmacists, a physical therapist, two nurses, six current medical school students, and five current science graduate students. They have produced 18 peer‐reviewed publications with female undergraduate first authors and over 100 conference presentations, including 9 international conference presentations. While Professor Cafiero does all he can to support these students, he attributes the continuous success of the group in recruiting, retaining, and supporting these women to the students themselves. The students' success and visibility on campus helps to recruit new students. The heavy presence of women in this group provides a strong support system for women who may otherwise feel isolated in a male‐dominated field; and these support groups provide models and support for women to overcome common obstacles that women in science face. We will profile three recent graduates who will discuss how the above points affected them during their time in the research group and discuss their experience in the context of some literature on women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
    • Understanding business model canvas for smart cities: A theoretical review

      Renukappa, Suresh; Suresh, Subashini; Shetty, Nisha (British Academy of Management Conference, 2020-09-02)
      Cities form a major progress in the advancement of a country’s economy. Cities are defied with increasing population growth and need to implement smart solutions to become more buoyant to economic, environmental, and social challenges posed by ongoing urbanization. Developing a smart city in a developing economy becomes a challenge with the other forefront challenges. The high amount of initial financial investments needed for consolidation of different departments and sectors and lack of a systemic approach may have a negative impact on industry growth. Cities benefit from a transparent overview of best practice solutions to become smarter and from identifying best-suited solution providers. Companies that make cities smarter benefit from becoming more visible to cities around the globe with their newly developed or proven solutions. Business models help accelerate the adoption of smart technologies. This paper conducts a theoretical review on the concept of business model canvas for smart cities. It studies the economics of smart cities globally. Case studies of smart cities around the globe are discussed with the conduction of business model canvas for different services. The case studies are reviewed to understand the importance and challenges of the application of business model canvas for different services in smart cities. Smart cities will eventually deliver true convergence of lifestyle and technology and improve the overall quality of life for citizens.
    • Understanding Knowledge Sharing in the Jordanian Construction Industry

      Mohammed, Arif; AlZubi, M; Gupta, A. (Emerald, 2015-07-13)
      Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a model to understand and facilitate more knowledge sharing (KS) among construction companies in Jordan. Sixteen cultural variables that affect KS were identified through self-administered questionnaires. Design/methodology/approach – Factor analysis was used to find possible relationships between the cultural variables for grouping purposes and to eliminate the cultural variables that do not affect KS. The results of factor analysis were further refined using a brainstorming session and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) was used to prioritise the factors obtained through the factor analysis. Findings – Trust, management and communication were identified as the three most important factors, whilst communication was acknowledged as the least important factor. Originality/value – This research uses factor analysis and AHP to study the influence of cultural factors on KS. It develops a hierarchy of factors that affect effective KS within the Jordanian context. The paper investigated KS in-depth and highlighted the components that constitute KS in an organisation. Based on extensive literature review, this study found the relative importance of different factors that affect KS. The emphasis on trust was found to be more critical than the presence of a computer-based system. In addition, this is the first paper of this type to look at KS in the context of the Jordanian construction industry.
    • Understanding metal concentration and speciation in motorway runoff

      Zakharova, Julia; Pouran, Hamid; Bridgeman, John; Wheatley, Andrew; Arif, Mohammed (Taylor & Francis, 2020-11-12)
      Although highway runoff has historically been extensively studied, the increasing complexity of stormwater management means that there are still significant gaps regarding the reduction of soluble metals. The work reported in this paper addresses these challenges by analysing the presence and behaviour of iron, copper and zinc in runoff from junction 24 of the M1 motorway in the UK (peak traffic flow: 30,000 vehicles per hour) and comparing it with other urban sources of metals found in the same catchment (a local brook and sewage treatment works). The sampling site included an interceptor and a treatment lagoon and the event monitoring indicated a trend by which the metals did not change their concentration or particulate soluble proportion immediately, hence showing that pre- and post-storm conditions are important factors when analysing the solubility of metals and their behaviour. The data provided further evidence of the important influence of storm characteristics on metal concentrations in highway runoff, in particular the effects of an antecedent dry weather period (ADWP). In addition, this study also helped us to better understand how the release of sodium the application of de-icer for road maintenance in winter affects the availability of zinc.
    • Understanding off-site readiness in Indian construction organisations

      Arif, Mohammed; Rana, Muhammad; Kaushik, Amit; Goulding, Jack (Emerald, 2020-03-27)
      Purpose This paper presents a bespoke model for understanding off-site construction (OSC) readiness among Indian construction organisations. This model presents 17 variables for discussion, the results from which help support OSC strategic decision making. Design/Methodology/Approach Factor analysis was used to investigate the relationship between variables in order to group them into factors. After identifying 26 different variables, these were reduced to 17 using factor analysis and categorised into four groups. Descriptive statistical analysis and factor analysis using SPSS was used to develop a hierarchy of factors that affect OSC readiness in India. These findings were reinforced by five domain experts to support the results. Findings Minimising on-site duration, ensuring cost and time certainty and transportation issues were identified as the three most important factors. Whereas, lack of guidance and scepticism were among the lowest factors affecting the Indian OSC sector. Practical Implications The proffered off-site construction readiness model offers OSC practitioners an ability to assess the OSC readiness of construction organisations in India. This includes the evaluation and benchmarking of processes in both strategic and operational phases; including highlighting areas of concern and scope for further development (to achieve optimal advantage of OSC methods). Originality/Value Originality rests with the use of factor analysis and descriptive statistical analysis to study the influence of different construction-related factors and variables on the OSC sector in India. This impact readiness model is context-specific to the Indian OSC sector – providing a unique insight into the causal factors and dependencies that can affect the adoption and uptake of modern methods of construction in India. Limitations This research is specifically focused on OSC within the Indian construction sector. As such, data collection, propagation and analysis should be constrained to the population context regarding inference, generalisability and repeatability.
    • Understanding the Construction Client

      Boyd, David; Chinyio, Ezekiel A. (John Wiley, 2006)
      This book breaks new ground by creating a framework to understand clients' actions and needs. Most construction management books focus on improving the construction process; this one focuses on a better engagement with the client. It challenges conceptions of both the construction industry and clients' businesses so that a more effective process and greater client satisfaction can be achieved. The book suggests that 'buildings are not about building but about changing and developing the client'. The technical, organisational and psychological aspects of this are described and analysed in detail so that current experience can be explained and better practice determined. The book offers well-researched information about clients in a number of sectors - developers, supermarkets, NHS, government, airports and housing associations - which will help you understand what these client's business or service needs are and how construction fits into this. It demonstrates how to develop an appreciation of the client's perspective with a toolkit for ensuring successful client engagement. This makes Understanding the Construction Client a user-friendly and practical guide, as well as significant text for academia. (Blackwell Publishing)
    • Uptake of caesium and strontium radioisotopes by natural zeolites from Mongolia.

      Dyer, Alan; Chimedtsogzol, Anaad; Campbell, Linda; Williams, Craig D. (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2006)
      Mongolian clinoptilolite-rich tuffs were examined for their ability to take up 137-Cs and 90-Sr/90-Y in the presence of competing cations (Na+, K+, Cs+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Sr2+), as nitrate salts, in the concentration range 10−1–10−3 M. Experiments were carried out by the batch technique and expressed as distribution coefficients. Clear differences were seen in Sr and Cs uptakes and those for Sr did not follow the trends expected from simple ion exchange theory. Results are discussed in relationship to the Si/Al framework compositions and cation contents of the zeolites, and suggestions made for the anomalies observed. It is concluded that the presence of some cations, potentially present in aqueous nuclear wastes, cause effects which can affect the use of clinoptilolite in the treatment of these wastes.
    • The UPTAKE study: implications for the future of COVID-19 vaccination trial recruitment in UK and beyond

      Sethi, Sonika; Kumar, Aditi; Mandal, Anandadeep; Shaikh, Mohammed; Hall, Claire A; Kirk, Jeremy MW; Moss, Paul; Brookes, Matthew J; Basu, Supratik (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-04-20)
      Background Developing a safe and effective vaccine will be the principal way of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. However, current COVID-19 vaccination trials are not adequately representing a diverse participant population in terms of age, ethnicity and comorbidities. Achieving the representative recruitment targets that are adequately powered to the study remains one of the greatest challenges in clinical trial management. To ensure accuracy and generalisability of the safety and efficacy conclusions generated by clinical trials, it is crucial to recruit patient cohorts as representative as possible of the future target population. Missing these targets can lead to reduced validity of the study results and can often slow down drug development leading to costly delays. Objective This study explores the key factors related to perceptions and participation in vaccination trials. Methods This study involved an anonymous cross-sectional online survey circulated across the UK. Statistical analysis was done in six phases. Multi-nominal logistic models examined demographic and geographic factors that may impact vaccine uptake. Results The survey had 4884 participants of which 9.44% were Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME). Overall, 2020 (41.4%) respondents were interested in participating in vaccine trials; 27.6% of the respondents were not interested and 31.1% were unsure. The most interested groups were male (OR = 1.29), graduates (OR = 1.28), the 40–49 and 50–59 age groups (OR = 1.88 and OR = 1.46 respectively) and those with no health issues (OR = 1.06). The least interested groups were BAME (OR = 0.43), those from villages and small towns (OR = 0.66 and 0.54 respectively) and those aged 70 and above (OR = 1.11). Conclusions In order to have a vaccination that is generalisable to the entire population, greater work needs to be done in engaging a diverse cohort of participants. Public health campaigns need to be targeted in improving trial recruitment rates for the elderly, BAME community and the less educated rural population.
    • Urban gully assessment in São Luis City (Maranhão State), Brazil, using penetrometer data and soil properties

      Guerra, Antonio J. T.; Sathler, R.; Mendes, S.P.; Silva, S.L.S.; Guerra, T.T.; Araujo, I.H.M.; Lima, F.S.; Fullen, Michael A.; Booth, Colin A.; Mendonca, J.K.S.; et al. (International Association of Geomorphologists, 2006)
      This paper investigates soil erosion assessment in São Luis City, reporting an ongoing programme of field measurements (penetrometer measurements and gully monitoring), topsoil sampling and laboratory analyses. From the database, it is evident that the urban sector of São Luis is very prone to gully erosion, especially where land use promotes land degradation. This research work is part of the larger European Union Project ‘BORASSUS’, which investigates soil erosion assessment and rehabilitation in 10 different countries, including Brazil. In our case, we are the only country investigating urban gully erosion. Therefore, this paper presents some preliminary results, both in terms of penetrometer measurements and soil properties, and we make some initial conclusions regarding the four studied gullies, which are situated in São Luis City, Maranhão Island (2º19’9”- 2º51’S; 44º1’16”-44º19”37” W). In order to achieve the research objectives, we have carried out both field and laboratory work, so that penetrometer data could be related to laboratory data. On each one, we selected different parts, around each gully, to take three penetrometer measurements, to calculate the site mean. On completion, we calculated the mean for the whole gully, taking into account the mean for each site. We collected topsoil (0-10 cm) samples to determine selected soil properties in the laboratory (particle size distribution, particle density, bulk density and porosity), using EMBRAPA (1997) protocols. Although most penetrometer studies are related to agricultural situations, for this study we have used penetrometry to assist our understanding of gully evolution and behaviour. The whole study area shows a high sand content and low silt and clay contents; textures being sandy loams. In 60% of analysed soil samples, the silt content is higher than the clay content, confirming the higher detachability and transportability of fine sand and silt. Penetrometer measurements are related to soil compaction, due to people walking on tracks around the gullies. Those values showed direct association with parameters related to vegetation cover. We can conclude that this area presents high sensitivity to erosion, expressed by high bulk density values, high fine sand and silt contents, low clay content and low porosity.
    • Urban landscape ecology and its evaluation : a review

      Young, Christopher; Jarvis, Peter; Hooper, Ian; Trueman, Ian C. (New York : Nova Science, 2009)
      Urban landscapes exhibit combinations of environmental features that are rarely encountered in non-urban settings resulting in habitat types, habitat associations and vegetation communities not found elsewhere. As a result urban areas are often surprisingly diverse, containing much in the way of interest for landscape ecologists. The intricate mix of the seminatural and anthropogenic that urban areas provide has traditionally been overlooked in Landscape Ecology compared to non-urban and natural / semi-natural landscapes. Landscapescale studies that claim to be comprehensive rarely extend the necessary detail into the urban environment and when they do they use such large units of assessment that they obscure anything but the most obvious distinctions. Where work has been done it has largely focused on specific habitat types, such as open space or tree cover, rather than the whole spatial context of the urban environment. Increasingly important in applied landscape research are studies of small and transient patches of natural greenspace, biodiversity-rich islands and important constituents of the socio-cultural landscape alongside the intensively managed and remnant semi-natural parts of the wider urban environment. This ties in to the wider considerations of habitat fragmentation, landscape connectivity and integrated landscape management that is now vital in ensuring the continued existence of biodiversity in the urban area and beyond. As consultative requirements are passed on to many statutory bodies the necessity to have quality data at landscape scales but with significant and relevant localised detail is an area which is likely to significantly engage landscape ecologists in the foreseeable future
    • Urban Pollution and Stone Weathering in the Black Country

      Searle, David E.; Mitchell, David J. (Science Publishers Inc., 2003)
    • Urban small sites – landscape ecology and contribution to urban greenspace

      Williams, D.; Young, Christopher; Hooper, Ian; Jarvis, Peter (Edinburgh: IALE(UK), 2009)
      Urban areas are highly modified and complex landscapes, within which green spaces are seen as valuable for human well being as well as wildlife. Most studies evaluate the significance of the upper end of this spatial scale (>10ha), and ignore the smaller patches (<1ha). Despite this omission it is likely that small patches of greenspace constitute a significant absolute area and a dynamic and potentially useful green resource, the value of which has not been systematically assessed at either the landscape or the patch scale. Using a combination of OS Mastermap data and field visits, a GIS was generated of a transect line in urban Wolverhampton. The primary conclusion reached from this study was that small sites that are not audited for practical reasons can provide as much in terms of variety and quality as sites above recommended thresholds without detracting from meaningfulness or deliverability
    • Use of 'Limited Life Geotextiles' (LLGs) for Basal Reinforcement of Embankments Built on Soft Clay

      Sarsby, Robert W. (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2007)
      Polymeric technical fabrics have long working lives and are sometimes used in practical situations where a geosynthetic is only needed to be fully functional for a relatively short period of time, e.g. a separator layer beneath a temporary access road. This article concerns the use of ‘Limited Life Geotextiles’ (LLGs), i.e. high specification geotextiles, which are designed on the basis of having a limited working life, as basal reinforcement for an embankment built on soft clay. A method is given for defining the allowable progressive loss of tensile strength of the foregoing basal LLG as a result of improvement of the shear strength of the foundation soil due to consolidation. It is shown that the derived relation between required reinforcement strength and consolidation time (the Time-Strength-Envelope) can be represented by a simple exponential equation. Vegetable fibres are natural candidates for use in the manufacture of LLGs since they are a renewable resource and their degradation with time is accounted for in the design of the LLG. Combinations of vegetable fibres growing in tropical regions which are capable of satisfying the Time-Strength-Envelopes for several embankment slopes are presented. (Elsevier)
    • Use of environmental DNA analysis to detect the presence of water vole

      Halford, Carl M; Jones, Karl J; Hill, David J; Schmerer, Wera Margarete (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, 2018-03)
      The UK water vole population has fallen dramatically in recent years. Accurate and reliable methods of detecting the presence or absence of water vole at specific locations are critical to conservation efforts. Traditional survey methods can, in some cases, be invasive, inaccurate or difficult to carry out. This study aimed to develop a novel method based on identification of environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect the presence of water vole via analysis of water samples. The results demonstrate that the technique offers an accurate method of detection. However, this study was based on a relatively small sample and certain limitations of the technique have been identified, which will be explored with further research. Nevertheless, used and interpreted correctly, the technique can provide reliable evidence of presence or absence.
    • Use of farmers' indicators to evaluate the sustainability of cropping systems on sloping land in Yunnan Province, China.

      Subedi, Madhu; Hocking, Trevor J.; Fullen, Michael A.; McCrea, Alison R.; Milne, E.; Wu, Bozhi; Mitchell, David J. (Elsevier, 2009)
      Diversity in the biophysical and socio-economic attributes of agricultural systems makes them uniquely niche based. Farmers are expert in local biophysical and socio-economic situations and can contribute in developing pragmatic indicators of agro-environmental development. During evaluation of an agricultural research project in Yunnan, China, local farmers were capable of evaluating the effects of modified technologies on existing cropping systems and discussed their attitudes to the interventions using their own indicators. Farmers' response can be grouped into seven major aspects: i) effects on income, ii) effects on production resources, iii) effects on crop management, iv) existing local knowledge about the technology, v) availability of inputs, vi) access to information, and vii) socio-economic conditions of farming households. Farmers concluded that environmental conditions in the experimental catchment in comparison to an adjacent untreated catchment were better in terms of soil and water losses, vegetation cover and natural resources, infrastructures and catchment management, use of environmentally-friendly technologies, and crop productivity. Success in soil and water conservation programmes depends on the efforts of the farmers and other local users and their greater involvement helps to identify more pragmatic indicators. Furthermore, it increases ownership of the programme, enhances interactions with the project scientists, increases farmers' awareness of agro-environmental problems and their possible consequences. These development will enable scientists to develop better targeted interventions and increase the likelihood of adoption of tested technologies by local communities. The use of paired adjacent catchments improved evaluation activities and is proposed as good practice for future catchment improvement programmes.