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Durban, South Africa

The University of KwaZulu-Natal or UKZN is a university with five campuses all located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. It was formed on 1 January 2004 after the merger between the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville. Wikipedia.

Schiestl F.P.,University of Zurich | Johnson S.D.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2013

Because most plants rely on animals for pollination, insights from animal sensory ecology and behavior are essential for understanding the evolution of flowers. In this review, we compare and contrast three main types of pollinator responses to floral signals - receiver bias, 'adaptive' innate preferences, and associative learning - and discuss how they can shape selection on floral signals. We show that pollinator-mediated selection on floral signals can be strong and that the molecular bases of floral signal variation are often surprisingly simple. These new empirical and conceptual insights into pollinator-mediated evolution provide a framework for understanding patterns of both convergent (pollination syndromes) and advergent (floral mimicry) floral signal evolution. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Biccard B.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Anesthesia and Analgesia | Year: 2015

The Revised Cardiac Risk Index (RCRI) was incorporated into the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) recommendations for the preoperative evaluation of the cardiac patient for noncardiac surgery. The purpose of this review was to analyze studies on cardiovascular clinical risk prediction that had used the previous "standard best" model, the RCRI, as a comparator. This review aims to determine whether modification of the current risk factors or adoption of other risk factors or other risk indices would improve upon the discrimination of cardiac risk prediction when compared with the RCRI. This is necessary because recent risk prediction models have shown better discrimination for major adverse cardiac events, and the pre-eminence of the RCRI is now in question. There is now a need for a new "best standard"cardiovascular risk prediction model to supersede the RCRI. This is desirable because it would: (1) allow for a global standard of cardiovascular risk assessment; (2) provide a standard comparator in all risk prediction research; (3) result in comparable data collection; and (4) allow for individual patient data meta-analyses. This should lead to continued progress in cardiovascular clinical risk prediction. A review of the current evidence suggests that to improve the preoperative clinical risk stratification for adverse cardiac events, a new risk stratification model be built that maintains the clinical risk factors identified in the RCRI, with the following modifications: (1) additional glomerular filtration rate cut points (as opposed to a single creatinine cut point); (2) age; (3) a history of peripheral vascular disease; (4) functional capacity; and (5) a specific surgical procedural category. One would expect a substantial improvement in the discrimination of the RCRI with this approach. Although most noncardiac surgeries will benefit from a standard "generic" cardiovascular risk prediction model, there are data to suggest that patients with human immunodeficiency virus disease who are undergoing vascular surgery may benefit from specific cardiovascular risk prediction models. Copyright © 2015 International Anesthesia Research Society. Source

Johnson S.D.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

The flora of southern Africa has exceptional species richness and endemism, making it an ideal system for studying the patterns and processes of evolutionary diversification. Using a wealth of recent case studies, I examine the evidence for pollinator-driven diversification in this flora. Pollination systems, which represent available niches for ecological diversification, are characterized in southern Africa by a high level of ecological and evolutionary specialization on the part of plants, and, in some cases, by pollinators as well. These systems are asymmetric, with entire plant guilds commonly specialized for a particular pollinator species or functional type, resulting in obvious convergent floral evolution among guild members. Identified modes of plant lineage diversification involving adaptation to pollinators in these guilds include (i) shifts between pollination systems, (ii) divergent use of the same pollinator, (iii) coevolution, (iv) trait tracking, and (v) floral mimicry of different model species. Microevolutionary studies confirm that pollinator shifts can be precipitated when a plant species encounters a novel pollinator fauna on its range margin, and macroevolutionary studies confirm frequent pollinator shifts associated with lineage diversification. As Darwin first noted, evolutionary specialization for particular pollinators, when resulting in ecological dependency, may increase the risk of plant extinction. I thus also consider the evidence that disturbance provokes pollination failure in some southern African plants with specialized pollination systems. © 2010 The Royal Society. Source

Lovegrove B.G.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Biological Reviews | Year: 2012

The evolution of endothermy in birds and mammals was one of the most important events in the evolution of the vertebrates. Past tests of hypotheses on the evolution of endothermy in mammals have relied largely on analyses of the relationship between basal and maximum metabolic rate, and artificial selection experiments. I argue that components of existing hypotheses, as well as new hypotheses, can be tested using an alternative macrophysiological modeling approach by examining the development of endothermy during the Cenozoic. Recent mammals display a 10°C range in body temperature which is sufficiently large to identify the selective forces that have driven the development of endothermy from a plesiomorphic (ancestral) Cretaceous or Jurassic condition. A model is presented (the Plesiomorphic-Apomorphic Endothermy Model, PAE Model) which proposes that heterothermy, i.e. bouts of normothermy (constant body temperature) interspersed with adaptive heterothermy (e.g. daily torpor and/or hibernation), was the ancestral condition from which apomorphic (derived), rigid homeothermy evolved. All terrestrial mammal lineages are examined for existing data to test the model, as well as for missing data that could be used to test the model. With the exception of Scandentia and Dermoptera, about which little is known, all mammalian orders that include small-sized mammals (<500 g), have species which are heterothermic and display characteristics of endothermy which fall somewhere along a plesiomorphic-apomorphic continuum. Orders which do not have heterothermic representatives (Cetartiodactyla, Perissodactyla, Pholidota, and Lagomorpha) are comprised of medium- to large-sized mammals that have either lost the capacity for heterothermy, or in which heterothermy has yet to be measured. Mammalian heterothermy seems to be plesiomorphic and probably evolved once in the mammalian lineage. Several categories of endothermy are identified (protoendothermy, plesioendothermy, apoendothermy, basoendothermy, mesoendothermy, supraendothermy, and reversed mesoendothermy) to describe the evolution of endothermy during the Cenozoic. The PAE Model should facilitate the testing of hypotheses using a range of macrophysiological methods (e.g. the comparative method and the reconstruction of ancestral states). © 2011 The Author. Biological Reviews © 2011 Cambridge Philosophical Society. Source

Patel R.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Journal of Peasant Studies | Year: 2013

To combat climate change and hunger, a number of governments, foundations and aid agencies have called for a 'New Green Revolution'. Such calls obfuscate the dynamics of the Green Revolution. Using Arrighi's analysis of capital accumulation cycles, it is possible to trace a Long Green Revolution that spans the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Such an analysis illuminates commonalities in past and present Green Revolutions, including their bases in class struggles and crises of accumulation, modes of governance - particularly in the links between governments and philanthropic institutions - and the institutions through which truths about agricultural change were produced and became known. Such an analysis also suggests processes of continuity between the original Green Revolution and features of twenty-first-century agricultural change, while providing a historical grounding in international financial capital's structural changes to help explain some of the novel features that accompany the New Green Revolution, such as 'land grabs', patents on life, and nutritionism. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source

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