Research station on skis withstands Antarctic ice and snow

first_img Copyright 2013 Phys.org Citation: Research station on skis withstands Antarctic ice and snow (2013, February 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-02-station-antarctic-ice.html Russia celebrates 50 years at Antarctic Seven blue modules contain living spaces and laboratories. In consideration of the residents’ psychological needs, a central red module, intended for use as a social space, contains communal dining areas, a hydroponic garden, and climbing wall. Colors were even chosen on the advice of a color psychologist. Construction of Halley VI began in Capetown, South Africa. The first modules were shipped to Antarctica at the end of 2007. Halley VI delivered its first scientific data in 2012. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Credit: BAS Halley Research Station, devoted primarily to work in atmospheric science, was established by British Antarctic Survey in 1956. Halley researchers also perform glaciology and geology studies. Notably, scientists first recorded ozone layer depletion in the stratosphere above the Antarctic here.Antarctic conditions have caused problems for Halley research bases. Accumulated snow, measured at more than three feet per year, crushed buildings in the first four bases. Movement of the ice shelf toward the ocean at an annual rate of a quarter of a mile means that research stations are at risk of falling into the ocean when ice separates from the mainland. These factors give buildings that cannot be moved a lifespan of only ten years. Halley VI, commissioned in 2006, consists of eight connected modules, each of which sits atop hydraulic legs. The legs allow the individual modules to be raised above the snow. Additionally, placement of the modules at a right angle to the prevailing wind encourages snow to blow underneath the station. Skis positioned beneath the legs allow inland towing of each module, thereby minimizing its proximity to the ocean. Antarctica Halley VI Halley V had extensible steel legs, allowing operators to maintain the buildings above the snow’s surface. The legs, though raised every year, were eventually trapped in 75 feet of ice. Because the station was rendered immobile, it was carried along with the ice and was therefore at risk of plummeting into the ocean when the ice caved.In June 2004, the British Antarctic Survey and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) launched a competition to design a new research station. In addition to being able to cope with moving ice and heavy snow accumulation, this new station would have to provide psychological comfort to the station’s residents—around 70 in summer and around 16 in winter—who are at great risk of stress and depression related to the harsh Antarctic weather and permanent lack of sunlight in winter. Credit: James Goby/BAS (Phys.org)—The world’s first completely transportable research station officially opened in Antarctica on February 5. The Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, designed by Hugh Broughton Architects, utilizes a modular design that incorporates hydraulic legs fitted with skis. This design allows Halley VI to survive in conditions that have destroyed its five predecessors. The Halley VI modules at the Halley VI site. Credit: British Antarctic Surveylast_img read more

Researchers suggest modern gourds would not have survived without domestication

first_img © 2015 Phys.org More information: L. Kistler et al. Gourds and squashes (Cucurbita spp.) adapted to megafaunal extinction and ecological anachronism through domestication, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1516109112AbstractThe genus Cucurbita (squashes, pumpkins, gourds) contains numerous domesticated lineages with ancient New World origins. It was broadly distributed in the past but has declined to the point that several of the crops’ progenitor species are scarce or unknown in the wild. We hypothesize that Holocene ecological shifts and megafaunal extinctions severely impacted wild Cucurbita, whereas their domestic counterparts adapted to changing conditions via symbiosis with human cultivators. First, we used high-throughput sequencing to analyze complete plastid genomes of 91 total Cucurbita samples, comprising ancient (n = 19), modern wild (n = 30), and modern domestic (n = 42) taxa. This analysis demonstrates independent domestication in eastern North America, evidence of a previously unknown pathway to domestication in northeastern Mexico, and broad archaeological distributions of taxa currently unknown in the wild. Further, sequence similarity between distant wild populations suggests recent fragmentation. Collectively, these results point to wild-type declines coinciding with widespread domestication. Second, we hypothesize that the disappearance of large herbivores struck a critical ecological blow against wild Cucurbita, and we take initial steps to consider this hypothesis through cross-mammal analyses of bitter taste receptor gene repertoires. Directly, megafauna consumed Cucurbita fruits and dispersed their seeds; wild Cucurbita were likely left without mutualistic dispersal partners in the Holocene because they are unpalatable to smaller surviving mammals with more bitter taste receptor genes. Indirectly, megafauna maintained mosaic-like landscapes ideal for Cucurbita, and vegetative changes following the megafaunal extinctions likely crowded out their disturbed-ground niche. Thus, anthropogenic landscapes provided favorable growth habitats and willing dispersal partners in the wake of ecological upheaval. Cucurbita seeds were found in mastadon dung. Credit: Lee Newsom, Penn State Cucurbita pepo gourds. Credit: Public Domain Explore further Prior evidence has shown that plants of the genus Cucurbita, which includes pumpkins, gourds and squashes, flourished during the Holocene in areas where large mammals such as giant sloths, mastodons and mammoths roamed—the huge mammals not only trampled and grazed in such areas, clearing land that the plants needed to survive, but also dispersed their seeds via their dung—thus there’s was a mutually positive relationship. But then things changed, the climate grew warmer and humans arrived with their advanced hunting skills—over time, the large mammals ceased to exist. The squash and gourds soon found it much more difficult to survive in overgrown vegetation and had little to no means of seed dispersal, which, the researchers suggest, means they would have all gone extinct had humans not begun to domesticate some varieties.To come to these conclusions, the researchers studied gourd and other seeds found in preserved large mammal dung (going back 30,000 years), which revealed a wide variety of lost species. They also tested the degree of bitterness in ancient gourd skin and then compared what they found with the results of a genome study they conducted looking at bitterness sensitivity in 46 modern animals–they found that the ancient varieties were so bitter that they would have been toxic to very small mammals and unpalatable to those somewhat larger, leaving just the largest mammals able to consume Cucurbita. The evidence indicates that most Cucurbita species began to decline approximately 10,000 years ago, and that most of them eventually went extinct. Those that we favor today only survived because humans began using them first as containers and floatation devices for fishing nets, then later, as a food source, presumably as domestication led to sweeter varieties. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Citation: Researchers suggest modern gourds would not have survived without domestication (2015, November 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-11-modern-gourds-survived-domestication.html (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with members from several institutions in the U.K. and U.S. has found evidence that suggests that modern gourds would have gone extinct long ago if humans had not domesticated them. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their study of the history of gourds in the New World and why they needed domestication to survive. Researchers try to understand consequences of declining populations of large-bodied mammalslast_img read more

Delhi to host Indian Languages Festival

first_imgThe theme of the third edition of this annual festival is Jodti Zubanein, Judti Zubanein, and will deliberate on connections between languages and the connections languages make. ‘This year’s theme goes beyond the literary and cultural connections across languages and encompasses the connections between divergent media of expression, like literature, cinema, music, between various ideologies and between languages and dialects,’ said Satyanand Nirupam, festival’s creative director. Acclaimed personalities from diverse fields like Gulzar, Jerry Pinto, Ketan Mehta, and Mahesh Bhatt will be holding discussions on various subjects about literature, Bollywood, music and literature.They will cover issues ranging from Dalit and women writing, alternative voices from literature, cinema, radio, publishing, gender violence, aspirations, dreams and voices of the marginalised.Sessions titled Language into Language, Civil Society and its Activism among other will also take place.last_img read more

Teach toddlers emotions to help them behave better

first_imgHelping your toddler understand and express emotions may reduce behavioural problems later on, says a new study.“Our findings offer promise for a practical, cost-effective parenting strategy to support at-risk toddlers’ social and emotional development and reduce behavioural problems,” said lead investigator of the study Holly Brophy-Herb, professor at Michigan State University in the US.The research, part of a larger study funded by a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, involved 89 toddlers (ages 18 months to about two years) from low-income families.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Mothers were asked to look at a wordless picture book with their toddlers. The book included many emotional undertones as illustrations depicted a girl who lost and found a pet.Brophy-Herb and her fellow researchers focused on mothers’ “emotion bridging” with the child. That involves mothers not only labelling the emotion (for example, sad) but also putting it into context and tying it back to the child’s life.During a follow-up visit with the families, about seven months later, the researchers found fewer behavioural problems in the higher-risk children. This might be because emotion bridging acts as a tool through which toddlers can begin to learn about their emotions and gradually learn simple words to express emotions, needs and wishes, instead of acting out physically, Brophy-Herb said.The findings appeared in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrics.last_img read more