Wednesday February 21, 2018

Urbanisation is affecting Genetic makeup of Species that are crucial to the Ecosystem Health and Success: Study

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The Only Sustainable growth is degrowth. Pixabay
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Washington, January 4, 2017: Urbanisation is affecting the genetic makeup of species that are crucial to the ecosystem health and success, says a study.

The findings open new opportunities for advancing our understanding of the role of humans in Earth’s evolution, said lead author Marina Alberti from University of Washington.

 “By explicitly linking urban development to heritable traits that affect ecosystem function, we can begin to map the implications of human-induced trait changes for ecological and human well being,” Alberti noted.

Rapid urbanisation poses new challenges for species, some of which will adapt or relocate while others go extinct, the researchers said.

With this study, they sought to learn whether signs of human-caused change could be detected across species in urban ecosystems worldwide, and to what extent humans and our cities and societies might be speeding up these changes.

They analysed 1,600 observations of phenotypic change — alterations to species’ observable traits such as size, development or behaviour — across multiple regions and ecosystems worldwide.

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They also assessed the relative impact of several human-caused “urban disturbances,” including the acidification and pollution of lake habitats, the relocation of animals, heat and effluents associated with a power plant, long-term harvesting of certain medicinal plants — even the apparent effects of global warming on the reproductive patterns of birds.

“We found a clear urban signal of phenotypic change — and greater phenotypic change in urbanising systems compared to natural and non-urban anthropogenic, or human-created systems,” Alberti said.

“The significance of these changes is that they affect the functioning of ecosystems,” Alberti said.

“They may inhibit the ability of seeds to disperse, cause exposure to infectious diseases, or even change the migratory patterns of some species,” Alberti noted.

The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC