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See detailAdult—Juvenile interactions and temporal niche partitioning between life-stages in a tropical amphibian
Székely, Diana ULiege; Cogălniceanu, Dan; Székely, Paul et al

in PLoS ONE (2020), 15(9), 0238949

Divergence in ecological niche offers organisms the opportunity of exploiting different food and habitat resources, scaling down competition and predation both among species, and within different age or ... [more ▼]

Divergence in ecological niche offers organisms the opportunity of exploiting different food and habitat resources, scaling down competition and predation both among species, and within different age or size-classes of the same species. In harsh environments, where abiotic factors determine a clustering of resources during short timespans, competition and predation between organisms is likely to be enhanced. This is the case in tropical dry forests, where amphibians have limited opportunities to feed, their activity being restricted to the short rainy season. One way to maximize resource exploitation while avoiding predation risk is by adopting different diel activity patterns. We tested this hypothesis by comparing activity patterns in adults and recently metamorphosed juveniles of Pacific horned frogs (Ceratophrys stolzmanni) during field surveys and in an experimental study. Field surveys showed that the adults are strictly nocturnal, whereas freshly metamorphosed juveniles can be found active above ground at all hours, with a peak activity during daytime. The average body condition index of juveniles found active during the night was higher than that of juveniles found active during the day, suggesting that the weaker individuals may be constrained to being active during the day. On the other hand, in a laboratory experiment, juveniles that were visually exposed to adults moved less than those in the absence of adults. Both field and experimental observations indicate a temporal niche divergence between life stages. The results of the experiment offer support to the hypothesis that the juveniles in this species display an inverse activity pattern compared to adults, which can reduce competitive interactions and predation pressure from the larger conspecifics. [less ▲]

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See detailVarietal susceptibility of maize to larger grain borer, Prostephanus truncatus (Horn) (Coleoptera; Bostrichidae), based on grain physicochemical parameters
Ngom, Déthié; Fauconnier, Marie-Laure ULiege; Malumba Kamba, Paul ULiege et al

in PLoS ONE (2020)

Maize (Zea mays L) is one of main nutrients sources for humans and animals worldwide. In Africa, storage of maize ensures food resources availability throughout the year. However, it often suffers losses ... [more ▼]

Maize (Zea mays L) is one of main nutrients sources for humans and animals worldwide. In Africa, storage of maize ensures food resources availability throughout the year. However, it often suffers losses exceeding 20% due to insects such as the larger grain borer, Prostephanus truncatus (Horn) (Coleoptera; Bostrichidae), major pest of stored maize in the tropical countries. This study aims to select resistant varieties to reduce maize storage losses and explain the physicochemical parameters role in grains susceptibility. In the first study, maize grains were artificially infested under no-choice method with insects. Susceptibility parameters such as weight loss, grain damage, number of emerged insects, median development time and susceptibility index varied significantly through maize varieties. Dobie susceptibility index (SI) was assessed as a major indicator of resistance. The most resistant varieties were Early-Thaï, DMR-ES and Tzee-Yellow. Conversely, Synth-9243, Obatampa and Synth-C varieties were susceptible. SWAN, Across-Pool and Tzee-White were classified as moderately resistant varieties. The insect reproductive potential was significantly different in the nine maize varieties and Early-Thaï, DMR-ES and Tzee-Yellow varieties were the least favourable host. To assess the relationship between grains physicochemical characteristics and varietal susceptibility, moisture, total phenolics, palmitic acid, proteins, amylose, density and grain hardness were evaluated according to standardized methods. Palmitic acid, SI, insects emerged and grain damage were significantly and positively correlated with each other, and negatively correlated with grains hardness, phenolics and amylose contents. Maize susceptibility index was significantly and negatively correlated to amylose, and phenolics contents and positively correlated to palmitic acid content. This study identified three resistant maize varieties to P. tuncatus and revealed that the major factors involved in this resistance were hardness, phenolic and amylose contents of grains. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of near-death experiences using text mining analyses: a preliminary study
Charland-Verville, Vanessa ULiege; Ribeiro de Paula, Demetrius; Martial, Charlotte ULiege et al

in PLoS ONE (2020)

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See detailIntroducing neuromodulation in deep neural networks to learn adaptive behaviours
Vecoven, Nicolas ULiege; Ernst, Damien ULiege; Wehenkel, Antoine ULiege et al

in PLoS ONE (2020)

Animals excel at adapting their intentions, attention, and actions to the environment, making them remarkably efficient at interacting with a rich, unpredictable and ever-changing external world, a ... [more ▼]

Animals excel at adapting their intentions, attention, and actions to the environment, making them remarkably efficient at interacting with a rich, unpredictable and ever-changing external world, a property that intelligent machines currently lack. Such an adaptation property relies heavily on cellular neuromodulation, the biological mechanism that dynamically controls intrinsic properties of neurons and their response to external stimuli in a context-dependent manner. In this paper, we take inspiration from cellular neuromodulation to construct a new deep neural network architecture that is specifically designed to learn adaptive behaviours. The network adaptation capabilities are tested on navigation benchmarks in a meta-reinforcement learning context and compared with state-of-the-art approaches. Results show that neuromodulation is capable of adapting an agent to different tasks and that neuromodulation-based approaches provide a promising way of improving adaptation of artificial systems. [less ▲]

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See detailREG-O3 chimeric peptide combining growth hormone and somatostatin sequences improves joint function and prevents cartilage degradation in rat model of traumatic knee osteoarthritis.
Montjean, Rodrick; Escaich, Sonia; Paolini, Raffaello et al

in PLoS ONE (2020), 15(4), 0231240

OBJECTIVE: REG-O3 is a 24-aminoacid chimeric peptide combining a sequence derived from growth hormone (GH) and an analog of somatostatin (SST), molecules displaying cartilage repair and anti-inflammatory ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: REG-O3 is a 24-aminoacid chimeric peptide combining a sequence derived from growth hormone (GH) and an analog of somatostatin (SST), molecules displaying cartilage repair and anti-inflammatory properties, respectively. This study aimed to investigate the disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD) potential of REG-O3 by analyzing its effect on pain, joint function and structure, upon injection into osteoarthritic rat knee joint. DESIGN: Osteoarthritis was induced in the right knee of mature male Lewis rats (n = 12/group) by surgical transection of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACLT) combined with partial medial meniscectomy (pMMx). Treatments were administered intra-articularly from fourteen days after surgery through three consecutive injections one week apart. The effect of REG-O3, solubilized in a liposomal solution and injected at either 5, 25 or 50 μg/50 μL, was compared to liposomal (LIP), dexamethasone and hyaluronic acid (HA) solutions. The study endpoints were the pain/function measured once a week throughout the entire study, and the joint structure evaluated eight weeks after surgery using OARSI score. RESULTS: ACLT/pMMx surgery induced a significant modification of weight bearing in all groups. When compared to liposomal solution, REG-O3 was able to significantly improve weight bearing as efficiently as dexamethasone and HA. REG-O3 (25 μg) was also able to significantly decrease OARSI histological global score as well as degeneration of both cartilage and matrix while the other treatments did not. CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence of a remarkable protecting effect of REG-O3 on pain/knee joint function and cartilage/matrix degradation in ACLT/pMMx model of rat osteoarthritis. REG-O3 thus displays an interesting profile as a DMOAD. [less ▲]

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See detailTemperate freshwater soundscapes: A cacophony of undescribed biological sounds now threatened by anthropogenic noise
Rountree, Rodney; Juanes, Francis; Bolgan, Marta ULiege

in PLoS ONE (2020)

The soundscape composition of temperate freshwater habitats is poorly understood. Our goal was to document the occurrence of biological and anthropogenic sounds in freshwater habitats over a large (46,000 ... [more ▼]

The soundscape composition of temperate freshwater habitats is poorly understood. Our goal was to document the occurrence of biological and anthropogenic sounds in freshwater habitats over a large (46,000 km2) area along the geographic corridors of five major river systems in North America (Connecticut, Kennebec, Merrimack, Presumpscot, and Saco). The underwater soundscape was sampled in 19 lakes, 17 ponds, 20 rivers and 20 streams, brooks and creeks that were grouped into broad categories (brook/creek, pond/ lake, and river). Over 7,000 sounds were measured from 2,750 minutes of recording in 173 locations over a five-week period in the spring of 2008. Sounds were classified into major anthropophony (airplane, boat, traffic, train and other noise) and biophony (fish air movement, also known as air passage, other fish, insect-like, bird, and other biological) categories. The three most significant findings in this study are: 1) freshwater habitats in the New England region of North America contain a diverse array of unidentified biological sounds; 2) fish air movement sounds constitute a previously unrecognized important component of the freshwater soundscape, occurring at more locations (39%) and in equal abundance than other fish sounds; and 3) anthropogenic noises dominate the soundscape accounting for 92% of the soundscape by relative percent time. The high potential for negative impacts of the anthropophony on freshwater soundscapes is suggested by the spectral and temporal overlap of the anthropophony with the biophony, the higher received sound levels of the anthropophony relative to the biophony, and observations of a significant decline in the occurrence, number, percent time, and diversity of the biophony among locations with higher ambient received levels. Our poor understanding of the biophony of freshwater ecosystems, together with an apparent high temporal exposure to anthropogenic noise across all habitats, suggest a critical need for studies aimed at identification of biophonic sound sources and assessment of potential threats from anthropogenic noises. [less ▲]

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See detailBiocidal activity of polylactic acid-based nano-formulated abamectin on Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and the aphid predator Adalia bipunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)
Sun, Changjiao ULiege; Yu, Manli; Zeng, Zhanghua et al

in PLoS ONE (2020)

Abamectin is a common biocide used to control agricultural insect pests. However, the water insolubility of abamectin may result in extra organic solvent introduced in the environment. To solve this issue ... [more ▼]

Abamectin is a common biocide used to control agricultural insect pests. However, the water insolubility of abamectin may result in extra organic solvent introduced in the environment. To solve this issue, it is desirable to develop nanoformulations to encapsulate abamectin with environment-friendly polymers. In this study, two polylactic acid based abamectin nanoformulations were prepared. The average particle sizes, measured by dynamic light scattering and transmission electron microscope, were 240 nm and 150 nm, respectively. The insecticidal activity of these nano-formulated abamectin was examined in the laboratory on the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera: Aphididae). The acute toxicity of nano-formulated abamectin on non-target aphid predator Adalia bipunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) was also evaluated by topical, residual and oral exposure. The two nano-formulated abamectin had comparable insecticidal effect with commercial abamectin formulation against the pea aphid. Taking median lethal concentration (LC50) as the toxicological endpoint, nanoformulations had higher contact toxicity and lower oral toxicity to first-instar larvae of the predator A. bipunctata. These results are expected to contribute to the application of solvent-free nano-formulated pesticides that comply with the integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailLong-term exposure to daily ethanol injections in DBA/2J and Swiss mice: Lessons for the interpretation of ethanol sensitization
Didone, Vincent ULiege; Van Ingelgom, Théo ULiege; Tirelli, Ezio ULiege et al

in PLoS ONE (2019), 14(11)

Most mice ethanol sensitization studies focused on neurobiology at the expense of its behavioral characterization. Furthermore, relatively short ethanol exposures (10 to 20 injections) were used in these ... [more ▼]

Most mice ethanol sensitization studies focused on neurobiology at the expense of its behavioral characterization. Furthermore, relatively short ethanol exposures (10 to 20 injections) were used in these studies. The first aim of the present study is to better characterize the development and expression of ethanol sensitization after an extended exposure of 45 daily injections. In some previous studies, mice were classified as “respondent” and “resistant” to ethanol sensitization. The second aim of the present study is to test the long-term reliability of such categorizations and the consequences of their use on the interpretation of the ethanol sensitization results. Swiss and DBA/2J female mice received 45 consecutive daily ethanol administrations (respectively 2.5 and 2.0 g/kg) and their locomotor activity was daily recorded to test the development of ethanol sensitization. At the end of the procedure, a challenge test assessed the inter-group ethanol sensitization. The results of the present study show that ethanol sensitization continues to develop beyond 20 days to reach maximal levels after about 25 injections in DBA/2J mice and 40 injections in Swiss mice, although the core phase of the development of ethanol sensitization occurred in both strains during the first 20 days. Remarkably, ethanol sensitization after such a long daily ethanol treatment resulted in both an upward shift of the magnitude of ethanol stimulant effects and a prolongation of these effects in time (up to 30 minutes). Mice classified as “resistant to ethanol sensitization” according to previous studies developed very significant levels of ethanol sensitization when tested after 45 ethanol injections and are best described as showing a delayed development of ethanol sensitization. Furthermore, mice classified as respondent or resistant to ethanol sensitization also differ in their acute response to ethanol, such that it is difficult to ascertain whether these classifications are specifically related to the sensitization process. [less ▲]

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See detailTypological analysis of public-private partnerships in the veterinary domain
Galière, Margot; Peyre, Marisa; Munoz, Facundo et al

in PLoS ONE (2019)

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are defined as a collaborative approach in which the public and private sector share resources, responsibilities and risks to achieve common objectives and mutual ... [more ▼]

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are defined as a collaborative approach in which the public and private sector share resources, responsibilities and risks to achieve common objectives and mutual benefits in a sustainable manner. PPPs are identified as a key solution to reinforce Veterinary Services. However only limited information is available on the scope, added value and enabling factors of PPPs in this sector. The aims of this study were to develop a typology of PPPs in the veterinary field and to identify key success factors and obstacles to their implementation. A structured questionnaire was sent to all 181 World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Member Countries and to 47 private contacts. 36 different variables characterizing PPP initiatives were collected. 97 examples of PPPs were retrieved from 76 countries. Dimensionality reduction techniques were combined with clustering and discrimination methods to establish a typology of PPPs and to derive a set of simple rules to classify new instances of PPPs. Three clusters were identified, separated according to two main variables: the type of private partners and the type of interaction. Cluster 1, transactional PPPs, represented the traditional understanding of PPPs by Veterinary Services, initiated and funded by the public sector, giving service delivery accreditation to mostly private veterinarians; cluster 2, collaborative PPPs, included partnerships between producer associations and public Veterinary Services, driven by trade interests; cluster 3, transformational PPPs, represented joint programs initiated and funded by private companies and initially driven by business development objectives. Specific success factors and key obstacles affecting the performances and sustainability of these initiatives were identified for each cluster. This study represents the first practical attempt to develop a meaningful typology of PPPs in the field of animal health and to identify fundamental obstacles currently inhibiting the development of PPPs, and suggests ways to support national Veterinary Services in overcoming these obstacles. [less ▲]

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See detailImproving 3D photogrammetry models through spectral imaging: Tooth enamel as a case study
Mathys, Aurore ULiege; Semal, Patrick; Brecko, Jonathan et al

in PLoS ONE (2019)

Reflective or translucent materials are a challenge to digitize in 3D. Results are better with a matt coating although objects from museum collections are often too fragile or too valuable to be treated ... [more ▼]

Reflective or translucent materials are a challenge to digitize in 3D. Results are better with a matt coating although objects from museum collections are often too fragile or too valuable to be treated in this way. It is therefore essential that alternative solutions are found. This study analyzed spectral photogrammetry as a possible solution. Spectral photogrammetry is an emerging technique which uses images at different wavelengths to create 3D models. Tooth enamel is a challenging material to digitize. Six sets of teeth were photographed at different wavelengths. The results showed that the quality of the models enamels parts improved when taken with ultraviolet wavelengths whilst models were less accurate when photogrammetry was performed with the red and infrared spectrum. This can be explained by the optical properties of enamel. This study demonstrates that knowing the optical properties of a material beforehand could help future photogrammetric digitization of challenging materials. [less ▲]

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See detailThe dark side of the black caiman: Shedding light on species dietary ecology and movement in Agami Pond, French Guiana
Caut, Stephane; Francois, Vincent; Bacques, Matthieu et al

in PLoS ONE (2019), 14(6), 0217239

The black caiman is one of the largest neotropical top predators, which means that it could play a structuring role within swamp ecosystems. However, because of the difficulties inherent to studying black ... [more ▼]

The black caiman is one of the largest neotropical top predators, which means that it could play a structuring role within swamp ecosystems. However, because of the difficulties inherent to studying black caimans, data are sorely lacking on many aspects of their general biology, natural history, and ecology, especially in French Guiana. We conducted a detailed study of the Agami Pond black caiman population using a multidisciplinary approach. The aim was to better understand the species’ dietary ecology and movements in the pond, and thus its functional role in pond system. We gathered natural history data, tracked caiman movements using satellite transmitters, and characterized feeding ecology via stable isotope analysis. Our study was carried out over three sampling periods and spanned both wet and dry seasons, which differ in their hydrological and ecological conditions. Our results show that black caiman abundance and age demographics differed between seasons in Agami Pond. In the dry season, Agami Pond is one of the only areas within the marsh to hold water. It thus contains large quantities of different fish species, which form the basis of the black caiman’s diet. Caiman body size, a proxy for age class, was around 1.5 meters. During the wet season, which corresponds to the breeding period for migratory birds (e.g., Agami herons), adult black caimans are present in Agami Pond. Adults were most abundant in the inundated forest. There, most individuals measured up to 2 meters. They also exhibited a particular “predatory” behavior near bird nests, preying on fallen chicks and adults. Juveniles and subadults were present during both seasons in the pond’s open waters. These behavioral observations were backed up by stable isotope analysis, which revealed ontogenetic variation in the caiman’s isotopic values. This isotopic variation reflected variation in diet that likely reduced intraspecific competition between adults and young. The telemetry and microchip data show that different age classes had different movement patterns and that seasonal variation in the pond may influence caiman prey availability and reproductive behavior. The new information gathered should help predict this species’ responses to potential ecosystem disturbance (e.g., water pollution, habitat destruction) and inform the development of an effective conservation plan that involves locals and wildlife officials. [less ▲]

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See detailAnxiety-like features and spatial memory problems as a consequence of hippocampal SV2A expression.
Serrano Navacerrada, Maria Elisa ULiege; Bartholomé, Odile ULiege; Van den Ackerveken, Priscillia et al

in PLoS ONE (2019)

The Synaptic Vesicle Protein 2A (SV2A) is a transmembrane protein whose presence is reduced both in animal models and in patients with chronic epilepsy. Besides its implication in the epileptic process ... [more ▼]

The Synaptic Vesicle Protein 2A (SV2A) is a transmembrane protein whose presence is reduced both in animal models and in patients with chronic epilepsy. Besides its implication in the epileptic process, the behavioural consequences of the changes in its expression remain unclear. The purpose of our research is to better understand the possible role(s) of this protein through the phenotype of cKO (Grik4 Cre+/-, SV2A lox/lox) mice, male and female, which present a specific decrease of SV2A expression levels in the hippocampal glutamatergic neurons but without any epileptic seizures. In this study, we compare the cKO mice with cHZ (Grik4 Cre+/-, SV2A lox/+) and WT (Grik4 Cre+/+, SV2A lox/lox) mice through a battery of tests, used to evaluate different features: the anxiety-related features (Elevated Plus Maze), the locomotor activity (Activity Chambers), the contextual fear-related memory (Contextual Fear Conditioning), and the spatial memory (Barnes Maze). Our results showed statistically significant differences in the habituation to a new environment, an increase in the anxiety levels and spatial memory deficit in the cHZ and cKO groups, compared to the WT group. No statistically significant differences due to the genotype appeared in the spontaneous locomotor activity or the fear-linked memory. However, sexual differences were observed in this last feature. These results highlight not only an important role of the SV2A protein in the cognitive and anxiety problems typically encountered in epileptic patients, but also a possible role in the symptomatology of other neurodegenerative diseases, such as the Alzheimer’s disease. [less ▲]

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See detailOptimization of black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) artificial reproduction
Hoc, Bertrand ULiege; Noël, Grégoire ULiege; Carpentier, Joachim et al

in PLoS ONE (2019), 14(4), 0216160

The black soldier fly (BSF), Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera:Stratiomyidae), is an endemic fly species from the tropical, subtropical and warm temperate zones of America. This saprophagous species relies ... [more ▼]

The black soldier fly (BSF), Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera:Stratiomyidae), is an endemic fly species from the tropical, subtropical and warm temperate zones of America. This saprophagous species relies on its environment where it finds the decomposing matter for the larvae to grow. The polyphagous diet and the macronutrient quality (mainly lipids and proteins) of these larvae make them excellent candidates for various applications such as waste and organic material management, incorporation in animal feed or alternative energy source. Although rearing development in temperate regions requires artificial processes to continuously produce high quality eggs and larvae, few studies have been conducted on the mating and oviposition processes governing H. illucens reproduction. Research conducted in semi-artificial rearing conditions showed that the number of mating varied according to the season. It has been speculated that this behavior could be due to differences in the intensity of sunlight caused by the change of seasons. This study aims at evaluating the influence of sex-ratio, density and nychthemeral cycle on H. illucens reproduction. In order to tackle this issue, an artificial set up for oviposition to collect eggs has been developed. This egg collection system aims at centralize oviposition and simplify eggs collection. Two populations with opposite sex-ratio (male-dominant and female-dominant) were selected. Their respective eggs productions have been evaluated for five breeding densities. Eggs weights varied significantly between the densities for each opposite sex-ratio population and female dominant population produced most eggs weight from 6500 individuals /m³. Finally, four nychthemeral cycles (2, 6, 12 and 18h of daily light) were simulated to evaluate the impact of light duration on reproduction. Early oviposition peak and a decrease oviposition period when H. illucens are show when exposed to increasing light duration. These experiments enable improvement of the understanding on artificial reproduction of H. illucens. [less ▲]

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See detailDo topography and fruit presence influence occurrence and intensity of crop-raiding by forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis)?
Ngama, Steeve ULiege; Bindelle, Jérôme ULiege; Poulsen, John R. et al

in PLoS ONE (2019), 14(3), 16

Crop damage by forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) and the resulting human-elephant conflict are issues of great concern for both the conservation of the species and the protection of rural ... [more ▼]

Crop damage by forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) and the resulting human-elephant conflict are issues of great concern for both the conservation of the species and the protection of rural livelihoods in Central Africa. Addressing these problems requires identifying the factors that facilitate or impede crop-raiding by forest elephants. Yet to date, the environmental or anthropogenic factors that influence the occurrence and intensity of cropraiding by forest elephants are largely unknown. We used a multivariate approach to investigate conditions under which forest elephants raid some fields and not others in the buffer zone of Monts de Cristal National Park (MCNP), Gabon. We first interviewed 121 farmers from 11 villages situated within 10 km of MCNP regarding the occurrence of elephant cropraiding of their fields. We then collected data on 39 explanatory variables to characterize the agricultural fields. Of these, the most important predictors of elephant raid occurrence of crop damage were presence of fruit trees, elephant deterrents (scarecrows, fire, wire string fences and empty barrels), and field topography. We secondly assessed the effect of stage of crop growth, presence of fruit trees, field topography and presence of elephant deterrents on crop-raiding occurrence and intensity by counting raids and measuring areas of crop damage every week in 17 plantations over 19 weeks in the most elephant-impacted zone of the study area. We found that fruit presence and stage of crop growth led to more intense damage to crops, whereas local deterrents did not inhibit raiding events and crop damage by elephants. We report a tradeoff between non-timber forest products (NTFP) services and crop-raiding by elephants. We show for the first time that steep topography impedes elephant damage to crops with no raids recorded in fields with surrounding slopes greater than 25%. We discuss whether farming on steep fields could be used as a strategy for mitigating crop-raiding to favor human-elephant coexistence and enhance elephant conservation. [less ▲]

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See detailTemperature preference of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) juveniles induces spontaneous sex reversal
Nivelle, Renaud ULiege; Gennotte, Vincent ULiege; Muller, Marc ULiege et al

in PLoS ONE (2019)

Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) is an African freshwater fish that displays a genetic sex determination system (XX|XY) where high temperatures (above 32°C to 36.5°C) induce masculinization. In Nile ... [more ▼]

Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) is an African freshwater fish that displays a genetic sex determination system (XX|XY) where high temperatures (above 32°C to 36.5°C) induce masculinization. In Nile tilapia, the thermosensitive period was reported from 10 to 30 days post fertilization. In their natural environment, juveniles may encounter high temperatures that are above the optimal temperature for growth (27–30°C). The relevance of the thermal sex reversal mechanism in a natural context remains unclear. The main objective of our study is to determine whether sexually undifferentiated juveniles spontaneously prefer higher, unfavorable temperatures and whether this choice skews the sex ratio toward males. Five full-sib progenies (from 100% XX crosses) were subjected to (1) a horizontal three-compartment thermal step gradient (thermal continuum 28°C– 32°C– 36.5°C) during the thermosensitive period, (2) a control continuum (28°C– 28°C– 28°C) and (3) a thermal control tank (36.5°C). During the first days of the treatment, up to an average of 20% of the population preferred the masculinizing compartment of the thermal continuum (36.5°C) compared to the control continuum. During the second part of the treatment, juveniles preferred the lower, nonmasculinizing 32°C temperature. This short exposure to higher temperatures was sufficient to significantly skew the sex ratio toward males, compared to congeners raised at 28°C (from 5.0 ± 6.7% to 15.6 ± 16.5% of males). The proportion of males was significantly different in the thermal continuum, thermal control tank and control continuum, and it was positively correlated among populations. Our study shows for the first time that Nile tilapia juveniles can choose a masculinizing temperature during a short period of time. This preference is sufficient to induce sex reversal to males within a population. For the first time, behavior is reported as a potential player in the sex determination mechanism of this species. [less ▲]

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See detailLow field magnetic resonance imaging of the equine distal interphalangeal joint: comparison between weight-bearing conditions
Evrard, Laurence ULiege; Audigié, Fabrice; Bertoni, Lélia et al

in PLoS ONE (2019)

This descriptive study aimed to compare the magnetic resonance appearance of the distal interphalangeal joint articular cartilage between standing weight-bearing and non-weightbearing conditions. Ten ... [more ▼]

This descriptive study aimed to compare the magnetic resonance appearance of the distal interphalangeal joint articular cartilage between standing weight-bearing and non-weightbearing conditions. Ten forefeet of live horses were scanned in a standing low-field magnetic resonance system (0.27 T). After euthanasia for reasons unrelated to the study, the non-weight-bearing isolated feet were scanned in a vertical positioning reproducing limb orientation in live horses. The same acquisition settings as during the weight-bearing examination were used. Thickness and cross-sectional area of the distal interphalangeal articular cartilage and joint space were measured on tridimensional T1-weighted gradient echo high resolution frontal and sagittal images at predetermined landmarks in both conditions and were compared using a linear mixed-effects model. Frontal images were randomized and submitted to 9 blinded readers with 3 different experience levels for identification of weightbearing versus non-weight-bearing acquisitions based on cartilage appearance. Weightbearing limbs had significantly thinner distal interphalangeal cartilage (p = 0.0001) than nonweight-bearing limbs. This change was greater in the distal phalanx cartilage than that of the middle phalanx. Blinded readers correctly identified 83% (range 65 to 95%) of the images as weight-bearing or non-weight-bearing acquisitions, with significantly different results observed among the different readers (p < 0.001) and groups (p < 0.001). These results indicate that distal interphalangeal articular cartilage and particularly cartilage of the distal phalanx thins when weight-bearing compared to the non-weight-bearing standing postmortem conditions and suggest that cartilage abnormalities may be more difficult to identify on weight-bearing standing magnetic resonance imaging. [less ▲]

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See detailResting-state functional connectivity and cortical thickness characterization of a patient with Charles Bonnet syndrome
Martial, Charlotte ULiege; Larroque, Stephen Karl ULiege; Cavaliere, Carlo et al

in PLoS ONE (2019)

Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a rare condition characterized by visual impairment associated with complex visual hallucinations in elderly people. Although studies suggested that visual hallucinations ... [more ▼]

Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a rare condition characterized by visual impairment associated with complex visual hallucinations in elderly people. Although studies suggested that visual hallucinations may be caused by brain damage in the visual system in CBS patients, alterations in specific brain regions in the occipital cortex have not been studied. Functional connectivity during resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI; without hallucinations) in CBS patients, has never been explored. We aimed to investigate brain structural and functional changes in a patient with CBS, as compared with late blind (LB) and normally sighted subjects. We employed voxel-based morphometry and cortical thickness analyses to investigate alterations in grey matter characteristics, and rs-fMRI to study changes in functional brain connectivity. Decreased grey matter volume was observed in the middle occipital gyrus and in the cuneus in the CBS patient and in the middle occipital gyrus and in the lingual gyrus within LB subjects, compared to their respective control groups. Reductions in cortical thickness in associative and multimodal cortices were observed in the CBS patient when comparing with LB subjects. The precuneus exhibited increased functional connectivity with the secondary visual cortex in the CBS patient compared to the controls. In contrast, LB patients showed decreased functional connectivity compared to sighted controls between the DMN and the temporo-occipital fusiform gyrus, a region known to support hallucinations. Our findings suggest a reorganization of the functional connectivity between regions involved in self-awareness and in visual and salience processing in CBS that may contribute to the appearance of visual hallucinations. [less ▲]

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See detailAdverse prognosis of glioblastoma contacting the subventricular zone: Biological correlates
Berendsen, S.; van Bodegraven, E.; Seute, T. et al

in PLoS ONE (2019), 14(10), 0222717

INTRODUCTION: The subventricular zone (SVZ) in the brain is associated with gliomagenesis and resistance to treatment in glioblastoma. In this study, we investigate the prognostic role and biological ... [more ▼]

INTRODUCTION: The subventricular zone (SVZ) in the brain is associated with gliomagenesis and resistance to treatment in glioblastoma. In this study, we investigate the prognostic role and biological characteristics of subventricular zone (SVZ) involvement in glioblastoma. METHODS: We analyzed T1-weighted, gadolinium-enhanced MR images of a retrospective cohort of 647 primary glioblastoma patients diagnosed between 2005-2013, and performed a multivariable Cox regression analysis to adjust the prognostic effect of SVZ involvement for clinical patient- and tumor-related factors. Protein expression patterns of a.o. markers of neural stem cellness (CD133 and GFAP-δ) and (epithelial-) mesenchymal transition (NF-κB, C/EBP-β and STAT3) were determined with immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays containing 220 of the tumors. Molecular classification and mRNA expression-based gene set enrichment analyses, miRNA expression and SNP copy number analyses were performed on fresh frozen tissue obtained from 76 tumors. Confirmatory analyses were performed on glioblastoma TCGA/TCIA data. RESULTS: Involvement of the SVZ was a significant adverse prognostic factor in glioblastoma, independent of age, KPS, surgery type and postoperative treatment. Tumor volume and postoperative complications did not explain this prognostic effect. SVZ contact was associated with increased nuclear expression of the (epithelial-) mesenchymal transition markers C/EBP-β and phospho-STAT3. SVZ contact was not associated with molecular subtype, distinct gene expression patterns, or markers of stem cellness. Our main findings were confirmed in a cohort of 229 TCGA/TCIA glioblastomas. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, involvement of the SVZ is an independent prognostic factor in glioblastoma, and associates with increased expression of key markers of (epithelial-) mesenchymal transformation, but does not correlate with stem cellness, molecular subtype, or specific (mi)RNA expression patterns. [less ▲]

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