The University of Mauritius is a national University in Mauritius. It is the oldest and largest university in the country in terms of student enrollment and curriculum offered. The public university's main campus is located at Réduit, Moka. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who was accompanied by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, inaugurated the University on 24 March 1972. Wikipedia.
Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.4.3-4 | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2011
This project focuses on identification of epigenetic risk factors underlying the increased rates of type-2 diabetes (T2D) amongst South Asians in their home countries, migrants to Europe and other parts of the world. Known environmental and genetic factors explain only a small part of the increased risk of T2D among South Asians, who constitute the highest numbers of people with T2D worldwide. We hypothesise that epigenetic modification contributes to the increased T2D risk amongst South Asians. We will carry out an epigenome-wide scan of DNA methylation in whole blood, among T2D cases and controls from non-migrant (living in India or Pakistan) and migrant (living in the UK) South Asians. Further testing of top-ranking markers will be carried out in South Asian T2D cases and controls from UK, India, Mauritius, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka. We will use results to investigate the mechanisms underlying the epigenetic modifications identified, to develop a predictive panel of lifestyle, environmental, genetic and epigenetic markers increasing susceptibility to incident T2D in South Asians, and to quantify the contribution of these risk factors to T2D amongst South Asians in diverse regional settings. This research will improve understanding of epigenetic mechanisms underlying T2D, and may enable development of novel biomarkers and therapeutic strategies to reduce the burden of T2D amongst South Asians worldwide.
News Article | October 23, 2015
In a move that has outraged conservationists, the government of the Indian ocean nation of Mauritius is planning to kill off nearly 20,000 Mauritius fruit bats, a protected species that is found only on the island. Mauritian fruit growers are claiming that the bat is responsible for significant agricultural losses, but scientists say that’s dubious — and that the planned number of bats killed could imperil the entire species. It wouldn’t be the first time human actions have threatened a Mauritian animal. Over the past few centuries, several species have disappeared from the island, the most famous of these being the Dodo, which was hunted to extinction by the beginning of the 18th century. Since then, the Dodo has become a poster child for the conservation movement, and a grim warning to the world — and to the island of Mauritius, in particular — of the dangers of the unsustainable killing of wildlife. The Mauritius fruit bat, sometimes referred to as the Mauritius flying fox, is a fruit-eating bat with leathery wings and, of course, nocturnal habits. It makes an impressive figure, with its fox-like features, golden-brown fur and a wingspan that can exceed two feet. The species has faced many threats over the past few decades from hunting, habitat loss and the effects of cyclones, which can have devastating impacts on the island and its inhabitants. The species was considered critically endangered in the 1970s and 1980s, when it began a long recovery. It was listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2008 and downlisted to “vulnerable” in 2013 after showing some improvement. It’s still considered a protected species in Mauritius. In addition to its precarious conservation history, the bat has a complicated relationship with the people of Mauritius. Fruit growers on the island have argued for years that the bats are highly destructive to their crops and should be viewed as pests. In response, the government of Mauritius initiated a small-scale cull in 2006, which is believed to have only led to the deaths of a few thousand of the bats, at least partly thanks to its protected status, which prohibits shooting them after dark. And in 2009 the government began subsidizing the cost of protective nets that could be placed around trees in order to keep out fruit-eating animals. Despite these measures, fruit growers have reported continued damage to their produce — and on Oct. 6, at the Sixth Assembly of the Mauritian National Parliament, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security Mahen Kumar Seeruttun announced plans for another controlled cull, this time with aims to eliminate 18,000 bats. During his announcement, the minister cited reports from the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, which claim that bat-related damage “recorded for the year 2014 for litchi reaches as high as 73 percent in orchards whilst damage caused to mango is estimated up to 42 percent in backyards,” he said, according to a transcript of the meeting. “In view of the huge economic losses being incurred by fruit growers, bold and urgent action is required to reduce the bat population and hence reduce the damages caused to fruits,” Seeruttun said during the assembly. He said the government expects to cull about 20 percent of the fruit bat population starting this month, and with current government estimates placing the population at about 90,000 strong, this would amount to killing 18,000 bats. While the culling has not yet begun, according to Vincent Florens, an associate professor of ecology at the University of Mauritius, the proposal calls for the Mauritius Special Mobile Force, the government’s main security force, to carry it out by shooting the bats. Officials from the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, including Seeruttun, did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Conservationists are concerned that the island has overestimated how many of the bats it still has and how much damage they are causing to fruit trees on the island. The National Parks and Conservation Service concluded that the island had 90,000 bats left by counting bats in different roosts at different times. But that is problematic because Mauritius fruit bats often switch roosts if they’re disturbed in the middle of the day, Florens said. This means that there’s a high possibility many of the bats were counted multiple times in different places, he said. A more accurate population estimate would be closer to 50,000, Florens said, meaning a cull of 18,000 bats would take out about 36 percent of the population. And this could be disastrous for the species. The “implementation of a cull will very likely result in an up-listing of the species from Vulnerable to Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, which will damage the reputation of Mauritius as a world leader on conservation,” IUCN said in a recent statement. The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation has also publicly opposed the cull, noting in a statement: “Currently the evidence we have does not support a cull.” The foundation also drew attention to several other ethical issues associated with the cull in its statement. For one thing, it noted, culls by shooting can result in bats being wounded and taking several days to die. Additionally, many Mauritius fruit bats are pregnant or raising babies during this time of year. This means that many babies could die if their mothers are killed — and it also means that a disproportionate number of female bats could be killed, as they’re likely to be slower and easier targets than the males this time of year, said Ryszard Oleksy, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bristol who’s currently involved in researching the bat’s impact on fruit trees in Mauritius. Oleksy said his research also indicates that culling the bats would be of little benefit to Mauritian fruit growers. Preliminary results indicate that bats are responsible for about 11 percent of damaged fruit on large mango trees and less than 3 percent of the damage on small trees, he said. Similarly, Oleksy said his research has so far suggested that bats account for less than 10 percent of the damage observed on litchi trees. He found that other animals, such as birds and rats, are also responsible for a significant amount of the damage caused to fruit trees. And Florens, the University of Mauritius professor, also noted that inefficient harvesting techniques, which allow a hefty amount of fruit to go bad before it’s collected, also account for a great deal of wasted fruit on the island, far more so than any damage caused by bats. The reasons for the discrepancy between Oleksy’s research and the government’s estimates of bat-caused damage are unclear. But Oleksy suggests that part of the reason bats get a disproportionate amount of the blame is because they feed at night and fruit growers are unable to observe them and make accurate estimates of how much fruit they’re destroying. And the bat’s creepy reputation probably doesn’t help, either. “I think generally bats never had a good reputation among humans,” Oleksy said. “They come out at night, we don’t see them clearly as we do birds, and we’re not used to them because they just fly at night.” However much the bats may be disliked among the general populace, though, losing them could be catastrophic to the local ecology, Florens said. The bats are important because they help disseminate the seeds of native plants. A better alternative to culling the bats would be to continue encouraging fruit growers to protect their trees with nets, Florens said. According to Oleksy, one of the reasons this tactic has been unsuccessful in the past is because the nets are not being used properly. Many people only cover the trees’ lower branches or simply drape their nets over the tops of the trees, a strategy that still allows fruit-eating animals to get close enough to nibble at the fruit. A better practice would be to hang the nets on frames that place enough distance between the trees and the netting to keep the fruit safe. And Florens also suggested encouraging more efficient harvesting practices that don’t allow so much fruit to go to waste, thus cutting down on the fruit growers’ economic losses even more. That said, Oleksy believes it’s unlikely the cull can be stopped at this point, since it’s already been announced. Both he and Florens said they expect the culling could begin any day now — and according to Oleksy it’s even more likely now, thanks to a new bill allowing for stricter control and management of the island’s biodiversity. Still, with outcry building, the bats are likely to receive greater international attention if the cull is, in fact, initiated. There’s even been talk of a boycott against Mauritian-grown fruit, Oleksy said. “People can punish this kind of decision and boycott the fruit, because [nobody] wants to buy fruit from an industry which is so destructive to the environment,” Oleksy said. “That’s one thing which I think is our last resort.” More of the planet was protected than ever before in 2015. Few noticed because it was underwater Indonesian fires are pouring huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere The electricity innovation so controversial that it’s now before the Supreme Court For more, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter here.
Baider C.,Mauritius Herbarium |
Florens F.B.V.,University of Mauritius
Biological Invasions | Year: 2011
Invasive alien species constitute a major threat to biodiversity and cases of extinction caused by invasive alien animals are abundant. However, while invasive alien plants also harm native biota there exists a lack of cases demonstrating their ability to cause extinction of native plant species. Different alien species (vertebrates, invertebrates, pathogens etc.) commonly deliver different simultaneous impacts like predation, disease or competition. In such situations, assessing the contribution of plant invasion in causing decline of a given plant population in its natural habitat can be difficult, yet is desirable to avoid or minimize wastage of managers' resources. Using native angiosperms in lowland wet forests of Mauritius, we first compared native seedling diversity in forest areas that have been weeded of invasive alien plants about a decade previously, with adjacent similar but non-weeded areas. Then, using the weeded area, we compared results of native plant surveys carried out around the time that invasive alien plants were controlled, with the same community about a decade latter. Species richness and abundance of seedlings were higher in the weeded areas compared to the adjacent non weeded forest. We also found that several species that were presumed extinct or critically threatened with extinction had recovered dramatically as a consequence of the sole removal of invasive alien plants. This shows that the threat posed by invasive alien plants can be overwhelmingly important in driving native plant population declines in tropical forests and that imminent plant extinctions can be averted by timely control of alien plants. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Bhagooli R.,University of Mauritius
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2013
Inhibition of Calvin-Benson cycle (CBC) activity by thermal stress has been hypothesized to cause photoinhibition of photosystem II (PSII) in zooxanthellae of reef-building corals and consequently lead to bleaching. This study tests whether the interruption of CBC by glycolaldehyde (GA) leads to photoinhibition and subsequent coral bleaching in Stylophora pistillata. When S. pistillata was incubated with GA, the O2 evolution rate declined in a dose-dependent manner and the extent of photoinhibition, reflected by a decreased maximum quantum yield of PSII (F v/F m), was enhanced. The effect of GA on photoinhibition was similar to that of chloramphenicol (CAP), an inhibitor of protein synthesis in chloroplasts. When S. pistillata was incubated in weak light following a high-light-induced photoinhibitory treatment, the recovery of PSII from photoinhibition was suppressed in a similar manner to both GA- and CAP-treated samples. After incubation in moderate light at 26°C, S. pistillata showed a bleaching response only in presence of GA. These results suggest that coral bleaching-like responses are caused by interruption of the CBC activity in S. pistillata and are associated with accelerated photoinhibition through suppression of the protein synthesis-dependent repair of PSII but not to an increase in photodamage to PSII. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Jaunky V.C.,University of Mauritius
Energy Policy | Year: 2011
The paper attempts to test the Environment Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis for 36 high-income countries for the period 1980-2005. The test is based on the suggestion of Narayan and Narayan (2010). Various panel data unit root and co-integration tests are applied. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and GDP series are integrated of order one and co-integrated, especially after controlling for cross-sectional dependence. Additionally, the Blundell-Bond system generalised methods of moments (GMM) is employed to conduct a panel causality test in a vector error-correction mechanism (VECM) setting. Unidirectional causality running from real per capita GDP to per capita CO2 emissions is uncovered in both the short-run and the long-run. The empirical analysis based on individual countries provides evidence of an EKC for Greece, Malta, Oman, Portugal and the United Kingdom. However, it can be observed that for the whole panel, a 1% increase in GDP generates an increase of 0.68% in CO2 emissions in the short-run and 0.22% in the long-run. The lower long-run income elasticity does not provide evidence of an EKC, but does indicate that, over time, CO2 emissions are stabilising in the rich countries. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Foolmaun R.K.,University of Mauritius |
Ramjeeawon T.,University of Mauritius
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2013
Purpose: Improper disposal of used polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles constitute an eyesore to the environmental landscape and is a threat to the flourishing tourism industry in Mauritius. It is therefore imperative to determine a suitable disposal method of used PET bottles which not only has the least environmental load but at the same time has minimum harmful impacts on peoples employed in waste disposal companies. In this respect, the present study investigated and compared the environmental and social impacts of four selected disposal alternatives of used PET bottles. Methods: Environmental impacts of the four disposal alternatives, namely: 100 % landfilling, 75 % incineration with energy recovery and 25 % landfilling, 40 % flake production (partial recycling) and 60 % landfilling and 75 % flake production and 25 % landfilling, were determined using ISO standardized life cycle assessment (ISO 14040:2006) and with the support of SimaPro 7.1 software. Social life cycle assessments were performed based on the UNEP/SETAC Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of products. Three stakeholder categories (worker, society and local community) and eight sub-category indicators (child labour, fair salary, forced labour, health and safety, social benefit/social security, discrimination, contribution to economic development and community engagement) were identified to be relevant to the study. A new method for aggregating and analysing the social inventory data is proposed and used to draw conclusions. Results and discussion: Environmental life cycle assessment results indicated that highest environmental impacts occurred when used PET bottles were disposed by 100 % landfilling while disposal by 75 % flake production and 25 % landfilling gave the least environmental load. Social life cycle assessment results indicated that least social impacts occurred with 75 % flake production and 25 % landfilling. Thus both E-LCA and S-LCA rated 75 % flake production and 25 % landfilling to be the best disposal option. Conclusions: Two dimensions of sustainability (environmental and social) when investigated using the Life Cycle Management tool, favoured scenario 4 (75 % % flake production and 25 % landfilling) which is a partial recycling disposal route. One hundred percent landfilling was found out to be the worst scenario. The next step will be to explore the third pillar of sustainability, economic, and devise a method to integrate the three dimensions with a view to determine the sustainable disposal option of used PET bottles in Mauritius. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.
Mahomoodally M.F.,University of Mauritius
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine | Year: 2013
The use of medicinal plants as a fundamental component of the African traditional healthcare system is perhaps the oldest and the most assorted of all therapeutic systems. In many parts of rural Africa, traditional healers prescribing medicinal plants are the most easily accessible and affordable health resource available to the local community and at times the only therapy that subsists. Nonetheless, there is still a paucity of updated comprehensive compilation of promising medicinal plants from the African continent. The major focus of the present review is to provide an updated overview of 10 promising medicinal plants from the African biodiversity which have short- as well as long-term potential to be developed as future phytopharmaceuticals to treat and/or manage panoply of infectious and chronic conditions. In this endeavour, key scientific databases have been probed to investigate trends in the rapidly increasing number of scientific publications on African traditional medicinal plants. Within the framework of enhancing the significance of traditional African medicinal plants, aspects such as traditional use, phytochemical profile, in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies and also future challenges pertaining to the use of these plants have been explored. © 2013 M. Fawzi Mahomoodally.
Elahee M.K.,University of Mauritius
Utilities Policy | Year: 2011
Small-island states face a unique challenge. Their natural beauty, an asset as a tourist attraction, hides the fact that they have fragile ecosystems, vulnerable to climate change. They often rely on imported fossil fuel, even if they may have a potential for renewable energy. High population density may be an additional burden. A new paradigm for their development is necessary. The case of Mauritius as a sustainable island (Maurice Ile Durable or MID) is analyzed with focus on energy, considering intrinsically-related engineering, economic, environmental and ethico-socio-political dimensions. A holistic action plan is proposed for a transition towards a sustainable future. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Sultan R.,University of Mauritius
International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy | Year: 2012
While electricity from fossil fuels is among a major source of greenhouse gases and global warming, it is also a key resource in the industrial sector geared towards exports and economic growth. This study attempts to examine the export-GDP nexus and electricity-GDP nexus in addition to a supplementary hypothesis between exports and electricity in Mauritius for the period of 1970-2009. An augmented neo-classical aggregate production model is used. The ARDL bounds test and the Johansen cointegration test confirm the existence of a long-run relationship between these variables. The multivariate Granger-causality analysis indicates that electricity and exports Granger-cause economic growth in the long-run. Electricity remains a significant causal variable in the short-run and is also found to lead exports. The empirical findings suggest that conserving electricity as a climate policy may not be conducive for exports and economic growth. The use of renewable sources for electricity may be the right option.
Mudhoo A.,University of Mauritius |
Kumar S.,Indian National Environmental Engineering Research Institute
International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2013
Heavy metals affect the biochemical reactions that take place during anaerobic digestion processes of organic matter. In this review, the different effects observed in anaerobic digestion processes and during the production of biomethane and biohydrogen from several substrates contaminated with and/or inheriting heavy metals from the substrates themselves were discussed. It has been found that heavy metals exert important roles in biochemical reactions. Heavy metals like copper, nickel, zinc, cadmium, chromium and lead have been overwhelmingly reported to be inhibitory and under certain conditions toxic in biochemical reactions depending on their concentrations. Heavy metals like iron may also exhibit stimulatory effects, but these effects have been scantily observed. This review also concludes that the severity of heavy metal inhibition depends upon factors like metal concentration in a soluble, ionic form in the solution, type of metal species, and amount and distribution of biomass in the digester or chain of biochemical reactions which constitute the anaerobic digestion process. A majority of studies have demonstrated that the toxic effect of heavy metals like chromium, cadmium and nickel is attributable to a disruption of enzyme function and structure by binding of the metal ions with thiol and other groups on protein molecules or by replacing naturally occurring metals in enzyme prosthetic groups. This review has not found published data on the effects of heavy metals on the hydrolysis stage of anaerobic digestion process chemistry, and hence further studies are required to depict any changes. © 2013 Islamic Azad University (IAU).