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Lancaster, United Kingdom

Graham R.I.,Lancaster University | Graham R.I.,Harper Adams University College | Tummala Y.,Lancaster University | Rhodes G.,UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology | And 4 more authors.
Insects | Year: 2015

Many pathogens and parasites are present in host individuals and populations without any obvious signs of disease. This is particularly true for baculoviruses infecting lepidopteran hosts, where studies have shown that covert persistent viral infections are almost ubiquitous in many species. To date, the infection intensity of covert viruses has rarely been quantified. In this study, we investigated the dynamics of a covert baculovirus infection within the lepidopteran crop pest Spodoptera exempta. A real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) procedure using a 5' nuclease hydrolysis (TaqMan) probe was developed for specific detection and quantification of Spodoptera exempta nucleopolyhedrovirus (SpexNPV). The qPCR assay indicated that covert baculovirus dynamics varied considerably over the course of the host life-cycle, with infection load peaking in early larval instars and being lowest in adults and final-instar larvae. Adult dissections indicated that, contrary to expectation, viral load aggregation was highest in the head, wings and legs, and lowest in the thorax and abdomen. The data presented here have broad implications relating to our understanding of transmission patterns of baculoviruses and the role of covert infections in host-pathogen dynamics. © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Recent advances in geophysical methods have been increasingly exploited as inverse modeling tools in groundwater hydrology. In particular, several attempts to constrain the hydrogeophysical inverse problem to reduce inversion errors have been made using time-lapse geophysical measurements through both coupled and uncoupled (also known as sequential) inversion approaches. Despite the appeal and popularity of coupled inversion approaches, their superiority over uncoupled methods has not been proved conclusively; the goal of this work is to provide an objective comparison between the two approaches within a specific inversion modeling framework based on the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF). Using EnKF and a model of Lagrangian transport, we compare the performance of a fully coupled and uncoupled inversion method for the reconstruction of heterogeneous saturated hydraulic conductivity fields through the assimilation of ERT-monitored tracer test data. The two inversion approaches are tested in a number of different scenarios, including isotropic and anisotropic synthetic aquifers, where we change the geostatistical parameters used to generate the prior ensemble of hydraulic conductivity fields. Our results show that the coupled approach outperforms the uncoupled when the prior statistics are close to the ones used to generate the true field. Otherwise, the coupled approach is heavily affected by "filter inbreeding" (an undesired effect of variance underestimation typical of EnKF), while the uncoupled approach is more robust, being able to correct biased prior information, thanks to its capability of capturing the solute travel times even in presence of inversion artifacts such as the violation of mass balance. Furthermore, the coupled approach is more computationally intensive than the uncoupled, due to the much larger number of forward runs required by the electrical model. Overall, we conclude that the relative merit of the coupled versus the uncoupled approach cannot be assumed a priori and should be assessed case by case. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Halsall C.J.,Lancaster UniversityLancaster | Graf C.,Lancaster UniversityLancaster | Cai M.,Polar Research Institute of China | He J.,Polar Research Institute of China | Jones K.,Lancaster UniversityLancaster
Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans | Year: 2015

Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OC pesticides), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are reported in surficial sediments sampled along cruise transects from the Bering Sea to the central Arctic Ocean. OCs and PCBs all had significantly higher concentrations in the relatively shallow water (<500 m depth) of the Bering-Chukchi shelf areas (e.g., ΣPCB 286±265 pg g-1 dw) compared to the deeper water regions (>500 m) of the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean (e.g., Canada Basin ΣPCB 149±102 pg g-1 dw). Concentrations were similar to, or slightly lower than, studies from the 1990s, indicating a lack of a declining trend. PBDEs (excluding BDE-209) displayed very low concentrations (e.g., range of median values, 3.5-6.6 pg/g dw). In the shelf areas, the sediments comprised similar proportions of silt and clay, whereas the deep basin sediments were dominated by clay, with a lower total organic carbon (TOC) content. While significant positive correlations were observed between persistent organic pollutant (POP) concentrations and TOC (Pearson correlation, r=0.66-0.75, p <0.05), the lack of strong correlations, combined with differing chemical profiles between the sediments and technical formulations (and/or marine surface waters), indicate substantial chemical processing during transfer to the benthic environment. Marked differences in sedimentation rates between the shallow and deeper water regions are apparent (the ∼5 cm-depth grab samples collected here representing ∼100 years of accumulation for the shelf sediments and ∼1000 years for the deeper ocean regions), which may bias any comparisons. Nonetheless, the sediments of the shallower coastal arctic seas appear to serve as significant repositories for POPs deposited from surface waters. © 2015. The Authors.

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