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Lewis M.C.,University of Bristol | Inman C.F.,University of Bristol | Patel D.,University of Bristol | Schmidt B.,University of Aberdeen | And 7 more authors.
Pediatric Allergy and Immunology | Year: 2012

Background: In mammals, early-life environmental variations appear to affect microbial colonization and therefore competent immune development, and exposure to farm environments in infants has been inversely correlated with allergy development. Modelling these effects using manipulation of neonatal rodents is difficult due to their dependency on the mother, but the relatively independent piglet is increasingly identified as a valuable translational model for humans. This study was designed to correlate immune regulation in piglets with early-life environment. Methods: Piglets were nursed by their mother on a commercial farm, while isolator-reared siblings were formula fed. Fluorescence immunohistology was used to quantify T-reg and effector T-cell populations in the intestinal lamina propria and the systemic response to food proteins was quantified by capture ELISA. Results: There was more CD4 + and CD4 +CD25 + effector T-cell staining in the intestinal mucosa of the isolator-reared piglets compared with their farm-reared counterparts. In contrast, these isolator-reared piglets had a significantly reduced CD4 +CD25 +Foxp3 + regulatory T-cell population compared to farm-reared littermates, resulting in a significantly higher T-reg-to-effector ratio in the farm animals. Consistent with these findings, isolator-reared piglets had an increased serum IgG anti-soya response to novel dietary soya protein relative to farm-reared piglets. Conclusion: Here, we provide the first direct evidence, derived from intervention, that components of the early-life environment present on farms profoundly affects both local development of regulatory components of the mucosal immune system and immune responses to food proteins at weaning. We propose that neonatal piglets provide a tractable model which allows maternal and treatment effects to be statistically separated. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Johnston A.,British Trust for Ornithology | Ausden M.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | Dodd A.M.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | Bradbury R.B.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | And 21 more authors.
Nature Climate Change | Year: 2013

The dynamic nature and diversity of species' responses to climate change poses significant difficulties for developing robust, long-term conservation strategies. One key question is whether existing protected area networks will remain effective in a changing climate. To test this, we developed statistical models that link climate to the abundance of internationally important bird populations in northwestern Europe. Spatial climate-abundance models were able to predict 56% of the variation in recent 30-year population trends. Using these models, future climate change resulting in 4.0C global warming was projected to cause declines of at least 25% for more than half of the internationally important populations considered. Nonetheless, most EU Special Protection Areas in the UK were projected to retain species in sufficient abundances to maintain their legal status, and generally sites that are important now were projected to be important in the future. The biological and legal resilience of this network of protected areas is derived from the capacity for turnover in the important species at each site as species' distributions and abundances alter in response to climate. Current protected areas are therefore predicted to remain important for future conservation in a changing climate. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Tidd A.N.,CEFAS | Hutton T.,CSIRO | Kell L.T.,ICCAT Secretariat | Padda G.,Defra
ICES Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2011

A profitable fishery attracts additional effort (vessels enter), eventually leading to overcapacity and less profit. Similarly, fishing vessels exit depending on their economic viability (or reduced expectations of future benefits) or encouraged by schemes such as decommissioning grants and/or when there is consolidation of fishing effort within a tradable rights-based quota system (e.g. individual transferable quotas). The strategic decision-making behaviour of fishers in entering or exiting the English North Sea beam trawl fishery is analysed using a discrete choice model by integrating data on vessel characteristics with available cost data, decommissioning grant information, and other factors that potentially influence anticipated benefits or future risks. It is then possible to predict whether operators choose to enter, stay, exit, or decommission. Important factors affecting investment include vessel age and size, future revenues, operating costs (e.g. fuel), stock status of the main target species, and the impact of management measures (e.g. total allowable catches) and total fleet size (a proxy for congestion). Based on the results, the predicted marginal effects of each factor are presented and the impact of each is discussed in the context of policies developed to align fleet capacity with fishing opportunities. © [2011] Crown copyright.

News Article
Site: www.reuters.com

The London Eye is seen behind branches on a foggy morning in central London April 9, 2015. The UK Supreme Court earlier this year ordered the government to submit the new plans for fighting the harmful pollutant by late December. Under the British government's plan, "Clean Air Zones" will be introduced in areas of Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton where pollution is most serious by 2020, the department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) said. Vehicles such as old buses, taxis, coaches and lorries have to pay a charge to enter these zones but private passenger cars will not be charged. "Under government plans no private cars will be charged in these cities and newer vehicles that meet the latest emission standards will not need to pay," Defra added in a statement. Plans have already been announced to improve air quality in London by 2025, such as introducing an ultra-low emissions zone and retro-fitting buses and new taxis. However, environmental law firm ClientEarth, which originally brought the case against the government for breaching the EU's Air Quality Directive, said the plan falls far short of the action necessary to comply with the Supreme Court ruling. "The government's latest plan for clean air zones doesn’t tackle all pollution from passenger cars, one of the biggest sources of poor air quality, and fails to take action in dozens of other cities where people are breathing illegal levels of pollution," said ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews. ClientEarth added that it will make a legal challenge to force the government to take faster action to achieve legal pollution limits. Nitrogen oxides reduce air quality and member states have been flouting EU limits on a range of pollutants associated with more than 400,000 premature deaths per year, according to European Commission data. The Commission has begun 21 infringement proceedings against nations in breach of existing rules and has proposed more stringent legislation in the face of resistance from some governments.

It is no secret that Japan continues to send whaling expeditions to Antarctica despite international criticism. As reported by Tech Times, Japan on Thursday confirmed the killing of more than 300 minke whales — 200 of which were pregnant. Ships from Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research returned from an almost four month-long hunting mission under the guise of scientific research. The expeditions, however, are considered defiance of the International Court of Justice ruling which declared that whaling in Antarctica is illegal. Japan's decision to send whaling expeditions has received criticism from different countries. Greg Hunt, Environment Minister in Australia, said the country condemns the act. "We do not accept in any way, shape or form the concept of killing whales for so-called 'scientific research,'" said Hunt. United Kingdom's ministry for environment Defra also expressed its disappointment with Japan's decision. "This undermines the global ban on commercial whaling which the UK strongly supports," the ministry said. But why does Japan do it, anyway? Japan has not ignored the IC Justice ruling, but that doesn't mean it completely followed it either. In November 2015, the country said its "scientific" whaling program will only take 333 minke whales. BBC news reported that the whale meat from the expedition "ends up on the plate." And yet other reports say that Japanese consumers are not really clamoring for it. A Wired report said that the consumption of whale meat in Japan stands at 4,000 to 5,000 tons every year. Consider the fact that Japan consumes about 600 million tons of seafood annually, indicating that meat from the sea mammals occupy "small" place on the country's dinner plate. The nation's whaling program is also quite miniscule. The American Cetacean Society said that the global population of minke whales is currently at more than 1 million. Japan has taken 3,600 minke whales since the launch of its scientific research program. Some experts believe that the 333 minke whales that Japan takes every year is not likely to impact the population of the sea mammals. The Japanese aren't the only ones hunting whales. Norwegian whalers are also hunting minke whales, and their quota is a whopping 1,000 every year. The same goes for Icelandic whalers. According to a paper [pdf] by Keiko Hirata, a political scientist from California State University Northridge, there are two factors as to why Japan's is still pushing through its whaling missions: cultural and political. First, the Japanese do not see minke whales as charismatic sea mammals in need of protection from consumption. Hirata said that in Japanese, the symbol for whale — which is pronounced as kujira — includes within it a component that means fish. "Most Japanese lack any special love of whales and disagree with Western animal rights activists who insist on whales' rights," said Hirata, adding that most of them consider it hypocritical that Westerners kill kangaroos and baby cattle while saying that it is morally wrong to kill whales. Second, maintaining Japan's whaling efforts is an act of maintaining political turf. The expeditions are overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, and Hirata said if the program is ended, the officials will be out of work. Hirata concluded that Japan is not likely to change its stance in the near future. As of today, minke whales are not endangered. In December 2015, Australia and other countries have challenged Japan over its whaling program, threatening to pursue legal action.

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