Awareness of drug use in rural communities and small towns has been growing, but we know relatively little about the challenges injection drug users (IDUs) living in such places face in accessing harm reduction services. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 115 IDUs in urban and non-urban areas of Atlantic Canada. In many instances, geographic distance to a needle exchange program (NEP) meant that individuals living outside of urban areas and who were not provided services through an NEP's outreach program were at a disadvantage in terms of an array of supports offered through many NEPs. These include access to free clean injecting equipment, and such ancillary services as clothing, food, referrals, information and social support. The integration of the services and approaches provided by NEPs into mainstream health services in non-urban places is one possible model for improving such access.
Knowledge of the range and chronology of historic trade and long-distance transport of natural resources is essential for determining the impacts of past human activities on marine environments. However, the specific biological sources of imported fauna are often difficult to identify, in particular if species have a wide spatial distribution and lack clear osteological or isotopic differentiation between populations. Here, we report that ancient fish-bone remains, despite being porous, brittle, and light, provide an excellent source of endogenous DNA (15-46%) of sufficient quality for whole-genome reconstruction. By comparing ancient sequence data to that of modern specimens, we determine the biological origin of 15 Viking Age (800-1066 CE) and subsequent medieval (1066-1280 CE) Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) specimens from excavation sites in Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Archaeological context indicates that one of these sites was a fishing settlement for the procurement of local catches, whereas the other localities were centers of trade. Fish from the trade sites show a mixed ancestry and are statistically differentiated from local fish populations. Moreover, Viking Age samples from Haithabu, Germany, are traced back to the North East Arctic Atlantic cod population that has supported the Lofoten fisheries of Norway for centuries. Our results resolve a long-standing controversial hypothesis and indicate that the marine resources of the North Atlantic Ocean were used to sustain an international demand for protein as far back as the Viking Age.
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Mar 24;112(12):3669-73 PMID 25755263
The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is a system of ocean currents that has an essential role in Earth's climate, redistributing heat and influencing the carbon cycle1, 2. The AMOC has been shown to be weakening in recent years 1 ; this decline may reflect decadal-scale variability in convection in the Labrador Sea, but short observational datasets preclude a longer-term perspective on the modern state and variability of Labrador Sea convection and the AMOC1, 3-5. Here we provide several lines of palaeo-oceanographic evidence that Labrador Sea deep convection and the AMOC have been anomalously weak over the past 150 years or so (since the end of the Little Ice Age, LIA, approximately AD 1850) compared with the preceding 1,500 years. Our palaeoclimate reconstructions indicate that the transition occurred either as a predominantly abrupt shift towards the end of the LIA, or as a more gradual, continued decline over the past 150 years; this ambiguity probably arises from non-AMOC influences on the various proxies or from the different sensitivities of these proxies to individual components of the AMOC. We suggest that enhanced freshwater fluxes from the Arctic and Nordic seas towards the end of the LIA-sourced from melting glaciers and thickened sea ice that developed earlier in the LIA-weakened Labrador Sea convection and the AMOC. The lack of a subsequent recovery may have resulted from hysteresis or from twentieth-century melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet 6 . Our results suggest that recent decadal variability in Labrador Sea convection and the AMOC has occurred during an atypical, weak background state. Future work should aim to constrain the roles of internal climate variability and early anthropogenic forcing in the AMOC weakening described here.
This work focuses on the occurrence of 236U in seawater along Danish coasts, which is the sole water-exchange region between the North Sea-Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea. Seawater collected in 2013 and 2014 were analyzed for 236U (as well as 238U and 137Cs). Our results indicate that 236U concentrations in Danish seawater are distributed within a relatively narrow range of (3.6-8.2) × 107 atom/L and, to a certain extent, independent of salinity. 236U/238U atomic ratios in Danish seawater are more than 4 times higher than the estimated global fallout value of 1× 10-9. The levels of 236U/238U atomic ratios obtained are comparable to those reported for the open North Sea and much higher than several other open oceans worldwide. This indicates that besides the global fallout input, the discharges from the two major European nuclear reprocessing plants are dominating sources of 236U in Danish seawater. However, unexpectedly high 236U/238U ratios as well as high 236U concentrations were observed at low-salinity locations of the Baltic Sea. While this feature might be interpreted as a clue for another significant 236U input in the Baltic Sea, it may also be caused by the complexity of water currents or slow turnover rate.
While dark adapted, two Apollo-Soyuz astronauts saw eighty-two light flash events during a complete 51 degrees orbit which passed near the north magnetic pole and through the South Atlantic Anomaly. The frequency of events at the polar parts of the orbit is 25 times that noted in equatorial latitudes and no increased frequency was noted in the South Atlantic Anomaly at the 225-km altitude. The expected flux of heavy particles at the northern and southern points is 1-2 min-1 per eye, and the efficiency for seeing HZE particles which were below the Cerenkov threshold is 50%.
An indirect ELISA was developed as a possible tool for surveillance of the seroprevalence of Salmonella spp. in harp seals. This species is hunted for human consumption and thus transmission of disease to humans cannot be excluded. To cover a broad spectrum of serogroups, a mixture of the lipopolysaccharides (LPS) of S. typhimurium and S. choleraesuis was used as the antigen in this pilot study. Chicken anti-harp-seal immunoglobulin horseradish peroxidase conjugate served as the immunoconjugate. Sera from four captive harp seals, which were Salmonella culture-negative and had no clinical or historical evidence of salmonellosis, were used as negative controls. After immunization with an inactivated S. typhimurium vaccine, further sera from these seals were used as positive controls, as no serum from naturally infected animals was available. Serum samples from 93 harp seals caught in the Greenland sea in 1999 were examined, and anti-Salmonella antibodies were found in the samples from two individuals (seroprevalence 2.2%). Although Salmonella has been isolated from other pinniped species, this is the first documentation of Salmonella-seropositive harp seals. This study contributes to the evaluation of the importance of salmonellosis in arctic marine mammals and thus to the prevention of potential outbreaks of this important zoonosis.
Arctic climate change from the Paleocene epoch to the present is reconstructed with the objective of assessing its recent and future impacts on the ecology of the North Atlantic. A recurring theme in Earth's paleoclimate record is the importance of the Arctic atmosphere, ocean, and cryosphere in regulating global climate on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. A second recurring theme in this record is the importance of freshwater export from the Arctic in regulating global- to basin-scale ocean circulation patterns and climate. Since the 1970s, historically unprecedented changes have been observed in the Arctic as climate warming has increased precipitation, river discharge, and glacial as well as sea-ice melting. In addition, modal shifts in the atmosphere have altered Arctic Ocean circulation patterns and the export of freshwater into the North Atlantic. The combination of these processes has resulted in variable patterns of freshwater export from the Arctic Ocean and the emergence of salinity anomalies that have periodically freshened waters in the North Atlantic. Since the early 1990s, changes in Arctic Ocean circulation patterns and freshwater export have been associated with two types of ecological responses in the North Atlantic. The first of these responses has been an ongoing series of biogeographic range expansions by boreal plankton, including renewal of the trans-Arctic exchanges of Pacific species with the Atlantic. The second response was a dramatic regime shift in the shelf ecosystems of the Northwest Atlantic that occurred during the early 1990s. This regime shift resulted from freshening and stratification of the shelf waters, which in turn could be linked to changes in the abundances and seasonal cycles of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and higher trophic-level consumer populations. It is predicted that the recently observed ecological responses to Arctic climate change in the North Atlantic will continue into the near future if current trends in sea ice, freshwater export, and surface ocean salinity continue. It is more difficult to predict ecological responses to abrupt climate change in the more distant future as tipping points in the Earth's climate system are exceeded.
Many plant species comprising the present-day Arctic flora are thought to have originated in the high mountains of North America and Eurasia, migrated northwards as global temperatures fell during the late Tertiary period, and thereafter attained a circumarctic distribution. However, supporting evidence for this hypothesis that provides a temporal framework for the origin, spread and initial attainment of a circumarctic distribution by an arctic plant is currently lacking. Here we examined the origin and initial formation of a circumarctic distribution of the arctic mountain sorrel (Oxyria digyna) by conducting a phylogeographic analysis of plastid and nuclear gene DNA variation. We provide evidence for an origin of this species in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of southwestern China, followed by migration into Russia c. 11 million yr ago (Ma), eastwards into North America by c. 4 Ma, and westwards into Western Europe by c. 1.96 Ma. Thereafter, the species attained a circumarctic distribution by colonizing Greenland from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Following the arrival of the species in North America and Europe, population sizes appear to have increased and then stabilized there over the last 1 million yr. However, in Greenland a marked reduction followed by an expansion in population size is indicated to have occurred during the Pleistocene.
The two North Atlantic eel species, the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and the American eel (Anguilla rostrata), spawn in partial sympatry in the Sargasso Sea, providing ample opportunity to interbreed. In this study, we used a RAD (Restriction site Associated DNA) sequencing approach to identify species-specific diagnostic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and design a low-density array that combined with screening of a diagnostic mitochondrial DNA marker. Eels from Iceland (N=159) and from the neighboring Faroe Islands (N=29) were genotyped, along with 94 larvae (49 European and 45 American eel) collected in the Sargasso Sea. Our SNP survey showed that the majority of Icelandic eels are pure European eels but there is also an important contribution of individuals of admixed ancestry (10.7%). Although most of the hybrids were identified as F1 hybrids from European eel female × American eel male crosses, backcrosses were also detected, including a first-generation backcross (F1 hybrid × pure European eel) and three individuals identified as second-generation backcrosses originating from American eel × F1 hybrid backcrosses interbreeding with pure European eels. In comparison, no hybrids were observed in the Faroe Islands, the closest bodies of land to Iceland. It is possible that hybrids show an intermediate migratory behaviour between the two parental species that ultimately brings hybrid larvae to the shores of Iceland, situated roughly halfway between the Sargasso Sea and Europe. Only two hybrids were observed among Sargasso Sea larvae, both backcrosses, but no F1 hybrids, that points to temporal variation in the occurrence of hybridization.
Elucidating barriers to gene flow is important for understanding the dynamics of speciation. Here we investigate pre- and post-zygotic mechanisms acting between the two hybridizing species of Atlantic eels: Anguilla anguilla and A. rostrata. Temporally varying hybridization was examined by analyzing 85 species-diagnostic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; FST ?0.95) in eel larvae sampled in the spawning region in the Sargasso Sea in 2007 (N=92) and 2014 (N=460). We further investigated whether genotypes at these SNPs were nonrandomly distributed in post-F1 hybrids, indicating selection. Finally, we sequenced the mitochondrial ATP6 and nuclear ATP5c1 genes in 19 hybrids, identified using SNP and restriction site associated DNA (RAD) sequencing data, to test a previously proposed hypothesis of cytonuclear incompatibility leading to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthase dysfunction and selection against hybrids. No F1 hybrids but only later backcrosses were observed in the Sargasso Sea in 2007 and 2014. This suggests that interbreeding between the two species only occurs in some years, possibly controlled by environmental conditions at the spawning grounds, or that interbreeding has diminished through time as a result of a declining number of spawners. Moreover, potential selection was found at the nuclear and the cytonuclear levels. Nonetheless, one glass eel individual showed a mismatch, involving an American ATP6 haplotype and European ATP5c1 alleles. This contradicted the presence of cytonuclear incompatibility but may be explained by that (1) cytonuclear incompatibility is incomplete, (2) selection acts at a later life stage or (3) other genes are important for protein function. In total, the study demonstrates the utility of genomic data when examining pre- and post-zyotic barriers in natural hybrids.
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