Nantwich, United Kingdom
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Maddock S.T.,Natural History Museum in London | Maddock S.T.,University College London | Maddock S.T.,Bangor University | Maddock S.T.,Reaseheath College | And 7 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2017

Genetic analyses of Australasian organisms have resulted in the identification of extensive cryptic diversity across the continent. The venomous elapid snakes are among the best-studied organismal groups in this region, but many knowledge gaps persist: for instance, despite their iconic status, the species-level diversity among Australo-Papuan blacksnakes (Pseudechis) has remained poorly understood due to the existence of a group of cryptic species within the P. australis species complex, collectively termed “pygmy mulga snakes”. Using two mitochondrial and three nuclear loci we assess species boundaries within the genus using Bayesian species delimitation methods and reconstruct their phylogenetic history using multispecies coalescent approaches. Our analyses support the recognition of 10 species, including all of the currently described pygmy mulga snakes and one undescribed species from the Northern Territory of Australia. Phylogenetic relationships within the genus are broadly consistent with previous work, with the recognition of three major groups, the viviparous red-bellied black snake P. porphyriacus forming the sister species to two clades consisting of ovoviviparous species. © 2016


Maddock S.T.,Natural History Museum in London | Maddock S.T.,University College London | Maddock S.T.,Reaseheath College | Briscoe A.G.,Natural History Museum in London | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) sequences are being generated with increasing speed due to the advances of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology and associated analytical tools. However, detailed comparisons to explore the utility of alternative NGS approaches applied to the same taxa have not been undertaken. We compared a 'traditional' Sanger sequencing method with two NGS approaches (shotgun sequencing and non-indexed, multiplex amplicon sequencing) on four different sequencing platforms (Illumina's HiSeq and MiSeq, Roche's 454 GS FLX, and Life Technologies' Ion Torrent) to produce seven (near-) complete mitogenomes from six species that form a small radiation of caecilian amphibians from the Seychelles. The fastest, most accurate method of obtaining mitogenome sequences that we tested was direct sequencing of genomic DNA (shotgun sequencing) using the MiSeq platform. Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood analyses using seven different partitioning strategies were unable to resolve compellingly all phylogenetic relationships among the Seychelles caecilian species, indicating the need for additional data in this case. © 2016 Maddock et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Agarwal I.,Villanova University | Agarwal I.,Indian Institute of Science | Mirza Z.A.,Tata Institute of Fundamental Research | Pal S.,Bombay Natural History Society | And 4 more authors.
Zootaxa | Year: 2016

A new species of Cyrtodactylus (Geckoella) from the C. collegalensis complex is described based on a series of specimens from western and central India. Morphological and molecular data support the distinctiveness of the new form, which can be diagnosed from other Cyrtodactylus (including other Geckoella) species by its small body size (snout to vent length to 56 mm), the absence of precloacal and femoral pores, no enlarged preanal or femoral scales, and a dorsal scalation consisting wholly of small, granular scales. The new species is most closely related to C. collegalensis, C. speciosus and C. yakhuna, from which it differs by the presence of a patch of enlarged roughly hexagonal scales on the canthus rostralis and beneath the angle of jaw, its relatively long limbs and narrow body, and a dorsal colour pattern of 4-6 pairs of dark spots. Copyright © 2016 Magnolia Press.


News Article | December 10, 2016
Site: www.PR.com

On Thursday 1st December, the staff and Farm Manager from North Shropshire College’s (NSC) Walford Campus hosted an Agriculture Forum. Oswestry, United Kingdom, December 10, 2016 --( Karen Roberts, Assistant Principal and Head of Curriculum commented, "We wanted to bring together the key people in our community who have a vested interest in Walford. Our key stakeholders included governors, farmers, suppliers, past and current students, College staff, the Principal of Reaseheath and industry specialists." The forum has been set up for a dialogue to take place between the College and stakeholders about their needs in terms of training, skills and understanding for their current staff and their future staff, our students. Karen goes on to say, "We want input from sector specific champions who know what they are looking for in new recruits but also what training they may require moving forward for their current staff. It’s vitally important to us that we develop our curriculum to meet the needs of employers and their input is invaluable." The first forum meeting was attended by over 40 people and the event was extremely successful. Current students studying Agriculture were able to ask industry specialists useful questions about what they were looking for in a new member of staff and what entry level into employment was realistic for them at this stage. There were some fantastic offers from delegates to students and tutors to visit their work place and undertake practical tasks or be given a talk. Meredydd David, Principal of Reaseheath College presented at the event and was keen to explain the benefits to Walford of the current federation model, moving towards merger next year. Meredydd spoke about farming being in his blood as a result of being brought up on a farm and his passion for investing and developing farming facilities in the future. The Farm Manager Richard Aldis also presented to the group along with Karen Roberts and Curriculum Area Manager, Anna Jones. Richard gave everyone an overview of the farm and its output and how it is evolving and developing. He was able to give some past Walford students a tour of the farm following the forum which was a great bonus for some who hadn’t been on site for some years. The forum will be repeated termly to ensure ideas are being implemented and that the curriculum is shaped in a way that meets the needs of the students, local employers and Walford Farm. For more information about the Agriculture Forum and how to get involved, contact organiser, Corrina Cadman on 01939 262176 or email c.cadman@nsc.ac.uk For more information about courses at NSC, visit the website via www.nsc.ac.uk or call the Admissions Team on 01691 688080. Oswestry, United Kingdom, December 10, 2016 --( PR.com )-- The Forum is the first of its kind and its focus is to include key stakeholders from the Agricultural Sector in the development of the curriculum, short courses and apprenticeships that meet the needs of employers.Karen Roberts, Assistant Principal and Head of Curriculum commented, "We wanted to bring together the key people in our community who have a vested interest in Walford. Our key stakeholders included governors, farmers, suppliers, past and current students, College staff, the Principal of Reaseheath and industry specialists."The forum has been set up for a dialogue to take place between the College and stakeholders about their needs in terms of training, skills and understanding for their current staff and their future staff, our students. Karen goes on to say, "We want input from sector specific champions who know what they are looking for in new recruits but also what training they may require moving forward for their current staff. It’s vitally important to us that we develop our curriculum to meet the needs of employers and their input is invaluable."The first forum meeting was attended by over 40 people and the event was extremely successful. Current students studying Agriculture were able to ask industry specialists useful questions about what they were looking for in a new member of staff and what entry level into employment was realistic for them at this stage. There were some fantastic offers from delegates to students and tutors to visit their work place and undertake practical tasks or be given a talk.Meredydd David, Principal of Reaseheath College presented at the event and was keen to explain the benefits to Walford of the current federation model, moving towards merger next year. Meredydd spoke about farming being in his blood as a result of being brought up on a farm and his passion for investing and developing farming facilities in the future.The Farm Manager Richard Aldis also presented to the group along with Karen Roberts and Curriculum Area Manager, Anna Jones. Richard gave everyone an overview of the farm and its output and how it is evolving and developing. He was able to give some past Walford students a tour of the farm following the forum which was a great bonus for some who hadn’t been on site for some years.The forum will be repeated termly to ensure ideas are being implemented and that the curriculum is shaped in a way that meets the needs of the students, local employers and Walford Farm.For more information about the Agriculture Forum and how to get involved, contact organiser, Corrina Cadman on 01939 262176 or email c.cadman@nsc.ac.ukFor more information about courses at NSC, visit the website via www.nsc.ac.uk or call the Admissions Team on 01691 688080. Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from North Shropshire College


Charlton G.L.,Harper Adams University College | Charlton G.L.,Reaseheath College | Rutter S.,Harper Adams University College | East M.,Reaseheath College | Sinclair L.A.,Harper Adams University College
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2013

Several factors influence whether dairy cattle prefer to be indoors or at pasture, including weather conditions and milk yield, but it is unclear how motivated cows are for access to pasture. One way to measure motivation is to require the animal to work (e.g., walk different distances) for access to a resource. This study investigated whether pasture access located 60, 140, or 260m from the indoor housing would affect the proportion of time dairy cows spent at pasture. Thirty-two Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were used during the study, which took place in the United Kingdom from May to July 2010. The experiment consisted of four 18-d experimental periods, with 8 cows in each period, which were further divided into 2 groups of 4 cows. Following a training period, the cows were randomly allocated to distances of 60, 140, or 260m to pasture over three 4-d measurement periods. A video camera was used to record time spent indoors and outdoors 24h/d, and manual behavior observations (0700 to 2200h) took place 6 times during each period to record how the cows spent their time in each location. The video data showed that cows spent, on average, 57.8% (±3.44) of their time outside (either at pasture or on the track). One-sample t-tests revealed that this value was different from 0% (t=16.80), 50% (t=2.26), and 100% (t=-12.28). Analysis of the percentage time spent outside revealed that distance did not influence nighttime pasture use (2100 to 0430h; F2,8=0.16; 81.0% vs. 81.0% vs. 76.7%, for 60m vs. 140m vs. 260m, respectively). In contrast, during the day (0700 to 2100h; from behavior observations), time spent at pasture declined as distance increased; that is, cows spent more time at pasture when they had to walk 60m (F2,80=10.09) than when they had to walk 140 or 260m (45.3% vs. 27.4% vs. 21.2%, respectively). Time spent at pasture decreased on rainy days (y=-1.0672x + 59.646, R2=0.09, n=48d), but the indoor temperature-humidity index (THI), the outdoor THI, and body condition score did not influence time spent outside. Under the climatic conditions of the current study in the United Kingdom, cows had a partial preference for pasture, which was influenced by distance to pasture during daytime but not at night. This shows that dairy cows were more motivated to access pasture at night compared with during the day. © 2013 American Dairy Science Association.


Charlton G.L.,Harper Adams University College | Charlton G.L.,Reaseheath College | Rutter S.M.,Harper Adams University College | East M.,Reaseheath College | Sinclair L.A.,Harper Adams University College
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2011

Grazing is considered a normal behavior for dairy cattle, although they may not be able to meet their nutritional requirements from grazing alone, and so to sustain higher yields requires access to a total mixed ration (TMR). The study aim was to provide dairy cows with access to TMR indoors and on pasture to establish influence on behavior and preference for each location. The study took place from August to November, 2009, using 36 late-lactation Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. The cows were allocated to 1 of 3 26-d study periods (n = 12. ×. 3). Within each period the cows were further divided into a control (n = 6) or treatment (n = 6) group using a crossover design, where the cows were changed between the control and treatment group after 13 d. Treatment cows had access to TMR indoors and on pasture, whereas control cows only had access to TMR indoors. Following a.m. and p.m. milkings the cows were taken to a point equidistant between indoors and pasture and given the choice of going to pasture (1.5 ha) or to a freestall barn. Between milkings the cows had free access between the locations. Initial choice was recorded and a video camera was used to record time spent in each location. Behavior observations were recorded to establish how the cows spent their time during the day. To determine what factors influenced preference, weather conditions, milk yield, body condition score, and lameness were recorded. Initially, the cows chose indoors following milking (96.4. ±. 0.80%). Overall, the cows expressed a partial preference for pasture (71.1. ±. 1.82%), which was different from 100, 50, and 0%. Study period influenced preference with cows spending less time on pasture as the season progressed (86.7 vs. 68.3 vs. 58.3% for study periods 1, 2, and 3, respectively). Providing the cows with TMR outdoors did not affect pasture use, but resulted in an increase in TMR intake of 2.2. ±. 0.41 kg of dry matter/d. The cows spent more time on pasture as the temperature-humidity index indoors (55.6. ±. 0.92) and outdoors (54.6. ±. 0.82) increased, but rainfall and milk yield did not influence preference. Cows with lameness score >1.5 spent more time indoors (35.4. ±. 4.52 vs. 25.2. ±. 2.64% for cows with >1.5 vs. ≤1.5 lameness score, respectively). In conclusion, the cows expressed a partial preference for pasture, which was not influenced by providing TMR on pasture. © 2011 American Dairy Science Association.


Charlton G.L.,Harper Adams University College | Charlton G.L.,Reaseheath College | Rutter S.M.,Harper Adams University College | East M.,Reaseheath College | Sinclair L.A.,Reaseheath College
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2011

Cattle are grazing animals so it is generally assumed that pasture is a welfare friendly system as it is natural and allows the expression of normal behaviour, which may be restricted indoors. However, high yielding dairy cows may not be able to fulfil their nutritional demands from grass alone resulting in them becoming hungry, compromising their welfare. As indoor housing and pasture may both have positive and negative effects on the welfare of dairy cattle a study was conducted to determine the preference of high genetic merit Holstein dairy cows (n = 32) in mid to late lactation to be indoors or on pasture and to establish the factors that influenced their decision. Twice a day, after milking, cows were taken to a choice point equidistant (48. m) from indoor housing and pasture, where cows chose whether to go indoors or to pasture. After their initial choice, cows could then move between indoors and pasture until the next milking. Indoors, a total mixed ration (TMR) was available ad libitum. At pasture, sward dry matter (DM) was maintained between 1800 and 3000. kg DM/ha. Decision at the choice point and time spent in each location were recorded. To determine what influenced the cow's decision, behaviour, weather conditions, milk yield, lameness, body condition score (BCS) and liveweight were recorded. From the choice point cows chose to go indoors almost twice as often as to pasture (66.2 ± 5.02% vs. 33.8 ± 5.02%, respectively) which was significantly different from 100% (P< 0.001), 50% (P = 0.004) and 0% (P< 0.001), and spent more time indoors compared to pasture (91.9 ± 2.33% vs. 8.1 ± 2.33%, respectively) which was significantly different from 100% (P = 0.001), 50% (P< 0.001) and 0% (P< 0.001). Milk yield affected preference (P = 0.005) with high yielding cows (>26.9. kg/day; n = 12) spending more time indoors than low yielding dairy cows (≤26.9. kg/day; n = 12), and there was a tendency for cows with a higher BCS (>2.7; n = 12) to spend more time at pasture (P = 0.058). Of the weather conditions rainfall influenced preference (P = 0.015) with cows spending more time indoors on days when it rained. Indoor and outdoor temperature-humidity index (THI), lameness and liveweight had no effect on preference. The results indicate that the cows in this study had a partial preference to be indoors which is likely to be influenced by the TMR, allowing high yielding cows to meet their nutritional demands. However, this partial preference does not mean that pasture is not important for the welfare of dairy cows. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


News Article | November 24, 2016
Site: www.PR.com

North Shropshire College (NSC) is pleased to announce the arrival of a new Interim Principal, Peter McCann who joins the College with a wealth of experience in the FE sector. Oswestry, United Kingdom, November 24, 2016 --( Peter also has proven success with employers and at his last College, he personally led an employer engagement strategy which significantly increased volumes of young adults taking up Apprenticeships from 400 in 2012 to 2250 in 2015/16. He was Chair of both the Leeds City Region LEP Skills Network and West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges. He has also represented the sector on the board of the Education Training Forum (ETF) from its inception. Chair of Governors, Gillian Richards commented, "Our College has been through an extremely challenging period, and the Board, SLT, staff and key stakeholders are committed to continuing on our journey of improvement and we feel Peter will be the catalyst we need to bring about further change and growth ensuring the longevity of NSC and leading us through to the proposed merger with Reaseheath College who we are currently federated with." New leader Peter McCann comments, "I am honoured and proud to be joining North Shropshire College and I look forward to working with the staff and our partners at Reaseheath to ensure that we provide the creative and responsive technical training, skills development and progression our students, community and employers deserve." It is a very busy time at College, the autumn term has delivered successful open events and taster days thus far, an extremely positive start for student recruitment for September 2017. In addition, from January 2017, the College has a more extensive range of courses and qualifications available to apprentices, school leavers and adult learners. The new brochure will be available at the end of November. Courses can be viewed on-line via the College website or you can reserve a copy via 01691 688000. For more information about NSC, visit the website at: www.nsc.ac.uk or call 01691 688000. Oswestry, United Kingdom, November 24, 2016 --( PR.com )-- Most notably, he took on a College with a grade 4 Ofsted rating and delivered a "Good" Ofsted outcome within 18 months. During this inspection, all curriculum areas were graded "Good" and Leadership and Management was graded "Outstanding," this was the most rapid improvement in one inspection within the FE sector.Peter also has proven success with employers and at his last College, he personally led an employer engagement strategy which significantly increased volumes of young adults taking up Apprenticeships from 400 in 2012 to 2250 in 2015/16. He was Chair of both the Leeds City Region LEP Skills Network and West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges. He has also represented the sector on the board of the Education Training Forum (ETF) from its inception.Chair of Governors, Gillian Richards commented, "Our College has been through an extremely challenging period, and the Board, SLT, staff and key stakeholders are committed to continuing on our journey of improvement and we feel Peter will be the catalyst we need to bring about further change and growth ensuring the longevity of NSC and leading us through to the proposed merger with Reaseheath College who we are currently federated with."New leader Peter McCann comments, "I am honoured and proud to be joining North Shropshire College and I look forward to working with the staff and our partners at Reaseheath to ensure that we provide the creative and responsive technical training, skills development and progression our students, community and employers deserve."It is a very busy time at College, the autumn term has delivered successful open events and taster days thus far, an extremely positive start for student recruitment for September 2017. In addition, from January 2017, the College has a more extensive range of courses and qualifications available to apprentices, school leavers and adult learners. The new brochure will be available at the end of November. Courses can be viewed on-line via the College website or you can reserve a copy via 01691 688000.For more information about NSC, visit the website at: www.nsc.ac.uk or call 01691 688000. Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from North Shropshire College

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