Writtle College

Chelmsford, United Kingdom

Writtle College

Chelmsford, United Kingdom
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Strong J.,Writtle College
Educated Tastes: Food, Drink, and Connoisseur Culture | Year: 2011

The old adage "you are what you eat" has never seemed more true than in this era, when ethics, politics, and the environment figure so prominently in what we ingest and in what we think about it. Then there are connoisseurs, whose approaches to food address "good taste" and frequently require a language that encompasses cultural and social dimensions as well. From the highs (and lows) of connoisseurship to the frustrations and rewards of a mother encouraging her child to eat, the essays in this volume explore the complex and infinitely varied ways in which food matters to all of us. Educated Tastes is a collection of new essays that examine how taste is learned, developed, and represented. It spans such diverse topics as teaching wine tasting, food in Don Quixote, Soviet cookbooks, cruel foods, and the lambic beers of the Belgian Payottenland. A set of key themes connect these topics: the relationships between taste and place; how our knowledge of food shapes taste experiences; how gustatory discrimination functions as a marker of social difference; and the place of ethical, environmental, and political concerns in debates around the importance and meaning of taste. With essays that address, variously, the connections between food, drink, and music; the place of food in the development of Italian nationhood; and the role of morality in aesthetic judgment, Educated Tastes offers a fresh look at food in history, society, and culture. © 2011 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska. All rights reserved.

Vazquez Diosdado J.A.,University of Essex | Barker Z.E.,Writtle College | Hodges H.R.,Writtle College | Amory J.R.,Writtle College | And 3 more authors.
Animal Biotelemetry | Year: 2015

Background: Advances in bio-telemetry technology have made it possible to automatically monitor and classify behavioural activities in many animals, including domesticated species such as dairy cows. Automated behavioural classification has the potential to improve health and welfare monitoring processes as part of a Precision Livestock Farming approach. Recent studies have used accelerometers and pedometers to classify behavioural activities in dairy cows, but such approaches often cannot discriminate accurately between biologically important behaviours such as feeding, lying and standing or transition events between lying and standing. In this study we develop a decision-tree algorithm that uses tri-axial accelerometer data from a neck-mounted sensor to both classify biologically important behaviour in dairy cows and to detect transition events between lying and standing. Results: Data were collected from six dairy cows that were monitored continuously for 36 h. Direct visual observations of each cow were used to validate the algorithm. Results show that the decision-tree algorithm is able to accurately classify three types of biologically relevant behaviours: lying (77.42 % sensitivity, 98.63 % precision), standing (88.00 % sensitivity, 55.00 % precision), and feeding (98.78 % sensitivity, 93.10 % precision). Transitions between standing and lying were also detected accurately with an average sensitivity of 96.45 % and an average precision of 87.50 %. The sensitivity and precision of the decision-tree algorithm matches the performance of more computationally intensive algorithms such as hidden Markov models and support vector machines. Conclusions: Biologically important behavioural activities in housed dairy cows can be classified accurately using a simple decision-tree algorithm applied to data collected from a neck-mounted tri-axial accelerometer. The algorithm could form part of a real-time behavioural monitoring system in order to automatically detect dairy cow health and welfare status. © 2015 Vázquez Diosdado et al.

Micklewright D.,University of Essex | Parry D.,University of Essex | Robinson T.,University of Essex | Deacon G.,Writtle College | And 3 more authors.
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise | Year: 2015

Purpose: The objective of this study is to examine risk taking and risk perception associations with perceived exertion, pacing, and performance in athletes. Methods: Two experiments were conducted in which risk perception was assessed using the domain-specific risk taking (DOSPERT) scale in 20 novice cyclists (experiment 1) and 32 experienced ultramarathon runners (experiment 2). In experiment 1, participants predicted their pace and then performed a 5-km maximum effort cycling time trial on a calibrated Kingcycle mounted bicycle. Split times and perceived exertion were recorded every kilometer. In experiment 2, each participant predicted their split times before running a 100-km ultramarathon. Split times and perceived exertion were recorded at seven checkpoints. In both experiments, higher and lower risk perception groups were created using median split of DOSPERT scores. Results: In experiment 1, pace during the first kilometer was faster among lower risk perceivers compared with higher risk perceivers (t(18) = 2.0, P = 0.03) and faster among higher risk takers compared with lower risk takers (t(18) = 2.2, P = 0.02). Actual pace was slower than predicted pace during the first kilometer in both the higher risk perceivers (t(9) = j4.2, P = 0.001) and lower risk perceivers (t(9) = j1.8, P = 0.049). In experiment 2, pace during the first 36 km was faster among lower risk perceivers compared with higher risk perceivers (t(16) = 2.0, P = 0.03). Irrespective of risk perception group, actual pace was slower than predicted pace during the first 18 km (t(16) = 8.9, P G 0.001) and from 18 to 36 km (t(16) = 4.0, P G 0.001). In both experiments, there was no difference in performance between higher and lower risk perception groups. Conclusions: Initial pace is associated with an individual's perception of risk, with low perceptions of risk being associated with a faster starting pace. Large differences between predicted and actual pace suggest that the performance template lacks accuracy, perhaps indicating greater reliance on momentary pacing decisions rather than preplanned strategy. © 2014 by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Packham J.R.,University of Wolverhampton | Hobson P.R.,Writtle College | Norris C.,Writtle College
Arboricultural Journal | Year: 2013

Veteran trees not only have an intrinsic interest in themselves; they also provide information about climatic conditions and masting over periods equal to many human generations. This paper endeavours to highlight existing records of veteran populations of Fagus sylvatica L. in Europe, especially in Sweden, and also provides fresh information regarding trees in Germany and the Carpathian Mountains of the Ukraine.For reasons of space it is not possible to list all the very many papers dealing with the influence of climatic warming on forest trees, but it is clear from those quoted here that common beech is particularly influenced by it. In general the effect has been to move the areas favourable to the species northwards in the lowlands and upwards in mountainous regions. This is very much the case in Britain where the Forest Authority no longer approves of beech planting in southern and eastern England. The use of sweet chestnut Castanea sativa as its replacement in broad-leaved forests is likely to result in ecosystems markedly different from those which evolved under beech. Sweet chestnut is predicted to increase in growth and productivity in the east of England as beech retreats north and west.The English Beech Mast Survey was initiated in 1980; its recorders have in consequence observed the storm damage to beech stands, particularly in the south, during that time. The remarkable response by beech to lava flows on the presently dormant volcano of Etna, Sicily, is both described and illustrated. In many cases lava that engulfed the trees had destroyed the main trunks, but left scorched bases from which the trees had coppiced successfully. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis and Aboricultural Association.

Zhou W.,Oxford Brookes University | Georgakis P.,University of Wolverhampton | Heesom D.,University of Wolverhampton | Feng X.,Writtle College
Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering | Year: 2012

Construction planning plays a fundamental role in construction project management that requires teamwork among planners from a diverse range of disciplines and in geographically dispersed working situations. Model-based four-dimensional (4D) computer-aided design (CAD) groupware, though considered a possible approach to supporting collaborative planning, is still short of effective collaborative mechanisms for teamwork because of methodological, technological, and social challenges. Targeting this problem, this paper proposes a model-based groupware solution to enable a group of multidisciplinary planners to perform real-time collaborative 4D planning across the Internet. In light of the interactive definition method, and its computer-supported collaborative work (CSCW) design analysis, this paper discusses the realization of interactive collaborative mechanisms from software architecture, application mode, and data exchange protocol. These mechanisms have been integrated into a groupware solution, which was validated by a planning team in a geographically dispersed condition. Analysis of the validation results revealed that the proposed solution is feasible for real-time collaborative 4D planning to gain a robust construction plan through collaborative teamwork. The realization of this solution triggers further consideration about its enhancement for wider groupware applications. © 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Norris C.,Writtle College | Norris C.,Center for Econics and Ecosystem Management | Hobson P.,Writtle College | Hobson P.,Center for Econics and Ecosystem Management | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2012

1.Resilient and functional landscapes are essential for climate change adaptation. Thermodynamic theory has been applied increasingly to ecological studies to understand ecosystem resilience and integrity. Resilient ecosystems have complex structure and greater levels of biomass and functional diversity, which act to enhance the degradation of solar energy. Forests that exhibit these characteristics express thermodynamic efficiency through a greater capacitance effect that promotes cooler surface temperatures under extreme weather conditions. 2.With forest disturbance, complex structures and functional linkages are simplified, reducing the capacity of the system to degrade energy. Such changes can lead to dysfunctional ecosystem states, impaired provision of ecosystem services and a weakened resilience. 3.This study has applied indicators based on thermodynamic theory to a chronosequence of forest ecosystems in the UK, Germany and Ukraine. Surface temperatures were measured to test thermodynamic theories relating to energy degradation and temperature moderation. Grime's CSR model was applied to plant data to compare functional complexity in vegetation between stands. 4.Old-growth woodlands are shown to attenuate surface temperature more effectively than native species plantations. Consistently lower temperatures were observed in European old-growth forests with high proportions of biomass when compared to managed stands of similar species composition, suggesting a greater efficiency of energy degradation in complex forest ecosystems, particularly at higher temperatures. 5.Analysis of plant species data using Grime's CSR model indicated that old-growth forests ordinate towards competitive and stress-tolerant communities in contrast to intensively managed forests, which had a greater proportion of generalist and ruderal species. High CSR functional scores were associated with moderated temperature extremes. 6.Synthesis and applications. Our results suggest an important thermodynamic basis for conservation in the context of climate change. Conservation practice and management policy, which is based on preserving ecosystem complexity and function, can aid in mitigating the effects of extreme temperatures, enhancing vital services such as climate regulation, primary production and water retention. Old-growth forests have a significant climate mitigation role alongside other recognised ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society.

Mirzaee M.,Landseer Ltd. | Bishop C.F.H.,Writtle College
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

The strawberry (Fragaria ananassa) is one of the most popular crops with increasing consumption. During the strawberry supply chain, temperature management plays the main role in preventing spoilage. However, one of the main problems in the strawberry supply chain is temperature fluctuation, which can cause condensation inside the packaging and increase the potential for fungal disease infection. Frequently the biggest problem happens when the cool chain is stopped in "the last mile" from retail outlet to the consumer's refrigerator. During this period of time temperature fluctuation and condensation occur respectively. This study presents an investigation to evaluate the temperature fluctuation and applicable ways to reduce this damage when the cool chain is cut. The work was based on two main areas of "packaging" and "arrangement" during handling. Comparison of different types of packaging included absorbing pads and different punnet designs with or without vents at the base. Also different types of arrangements of punnets during handling were assessed to find a way to reduce damage caused by temperature fluctuations. The results showed that better air movement can help to decrease the damage caused by condensation, to prevent fungal diseases during postharvest life. Suggestions from this work of changing the packaging and handling systems of strawberries could help to improve the postharvest life of strawberries.

Zeunert J.,Writtle College
Landscape Journal | Year: 2013

This paper presents a critical examination of core assumptions of Restoration Ecology (RE) and Urban Restoration Ecology (URE) with a focus on reinstatement of native/indigenous vegetation in urban areas. RE's widely utilized and imposed land use approach reconstructs questionable historic interpretations of natural landscapes. RE misappropriates various terms and ideologies central to its paradigm, thereby excluding non- native biodiversity. Despite decades of theory, research, and practice, RE suffers a noteworthy risk of failure. RE applies rural conservation practices to urban environments, which often presents difficulties in terms of scale and suitability for fauna. RE is optimistic or mis-representative regarding economics, maintenance, and risk in urban environments. This paper briefly discusses an alternative focus, which includes a broader concept of restoration. More substantially, this paper explores multifunctional landscape techniques that: respond to novel states in urban environments; that address present and future needs and scenarios; deliver tailored ecosystem services; and provide resources and productivity specifically relevant to urban contexts. © 2013 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.

Tully L.J.,Royal Veterinary College | Murphy A.M.,Writtle College | Smith R.K.W.,Royal Veterinary College | Hulin-Curtis S.L.,University of Bristol | And 2 more authors.
Equine Veterinary Journal | Year: 2014

Reasons for performing the study: To explore whether genetic susceptibility is a potential risk factor for superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendinopathy in Thoroughbred (TB) racehorses. Objectives: To identify informative single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that capture genetic diversity across a range of candidate genes and to investigate, in a case-control study, their association with SDF tendinopathy in UK National Hunt TB racehorses in training. Study design: Case-control candidate gene association study. Methods: This study used in silico gene assembly and DNA sequencing to screen candidate genes for SNPs. Seven candidate genes were selected using a hypothesis-driven approach: tenascin-C(TNC), collagen, type 1, α 1 (COL1A1), collagen, type 5, α 1 (COL5A1), matrix metalloproteinase type 3 (MMP3), matrix metalloproteinase type 13 (MMP13), fibromodulin (FMOD) and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP). The SNPs were validated in DNA isolated from 48 TB racehorses and used to genotype 270 racehorses with SDF tendinopathy and 270 yard-matched controls. Genotyping of cases and controls was performed using SNaPshot™. Results: Racehorses heterozygous for the TNCBIEC2-696469 polymorphism were less likely to have SDF tendinopathy than racehorses homozygous for the wild-type allele (odds ratio [OR] 0.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.36-0.85, P = 0.01). This finding remained significant after adjustment for age and racing background (OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.36-0.92, P = 0.03). Racehorses homozygous for the novel COL5A1COL5A1_01 variant allele were nearly 3 times more likely to have SDF tendinopathy than those homozygous for the wild-type allele (OR 2.82, 95% CI 1.25-6.35, P = 0.01); this association remained significant after adjustment for age and racing background (OR 2.77, 95% CI 1.18-6.53, P = 0.03). Conclusions: Results suggest that sequence variants in TNC and COL5A1 genes are associated with SDF tendinopathy in TB racehorses. In future genetic markers may be used to identify horses at risk of SDF tendinopathy. © 2013 EVJ Ltd.

Students embarking on a bioscience degree course, such as Animal Science, often do not have sufficient experience in mathematics. However, mathematics forms an essential and integral part of any bioscience degree and is essential to enhance employability. This paper presents the findings of a project looking at the effect of mathematics tutorials on a cohort of first year animal science and management students. The results of a questionnaire, focus group discussions and academic performance analysis indicate that small group tutorials enhance students' confidence in maths and improve students' academic performance. Furthermore, student feedback on the tutorial programme provides a deeper insight into student experiences and the value students assign to the tutorials. © 2014 van Veggel and Amory.

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