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A meticulous re-creation of a three-decade-old study of birds on a mountainside in Peru has given scientists a rare chance to prove how the changing climate is pushing species out of the places they are best adapted to.
Surveys of more than 400 species of birds in 1985 and then in 2017 have found that populations of almost all had declined, as many as eight had disappeared completely, and nearly all had moved to higher elevations in what scientists call “an escalator to extinction.”
“Once you move up as far as you can go, there’s nowhere else left,” said John W. Fitzpatrick, a study author and director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. “On this particular mountain, some ridgetop bird populations were literally wiped out.”
It’s not certain whether the birds shifted ranges because of temperature changes, or indirect impacts, such as shifts in the ranges of insects or seeds that they feed on.
These findings, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, confirm what biologists had long suspected, but had few opportunities to confirm. The existence of a 1985 survey of birds on the same mountain gave scientists a rare and useful baseline.
Past research has documented habitats of birds and other species moving up in elevation or latitude in response to warming temperatures. But Mark Urban, director of the Center of Biological Risk at the University of Connecticut, who was not involved in the study said it was the first to prove what climate change models predicted: that rising temperatures will lead to local extinctions.
“A study like this where you have historical data you can go back to and compare is very rare,” said Urban. “As long as the species can disperse, you will see species marching up the mountain, until that escalator becomes a stairway to heaven.”
In 1985, Fitzpatrick established a basecamp alongside a river running down a mountain slope in southeastern Peru, aiming to catalog the habitat ranges of tropical bird species that lived there. His team spent several weeks trekking up and down the Cerro de Pantiacolla, using fine nets called mist nets to catch and release birds, and keeping detailed journals of birds they caught, spotted or heard chirping in the forests.
Two years ago, Fitzpatrick passed his journals, photos and other records to Benjamin Freeman, a postdoctoral fellow at the Biodiversity Research Centre at the University of British Columbia. Freeman, who has been researching tropical birds for more than a decade, set out to recreate the journey in August and September of 2017. Using old photos of mountain views, his team located the same basecamp.
Freeman largely recreated Fitzpatrick’s path and methodology to see what had happened in the intervening years, a period when average mean temperatures on the mountain rose 0.76 degrees Fahrenheit (0.42 degrees Celsius). Because the mountain lies at the edge of a national park, the area hadn’t been disturbed.
In addition to unfurling 40-foot (12-meter) mist nets on the slopes, Freeman’s team placed 20 microphone boxes on the mountain to record the chirps of birds that might not easily be seen.
“We found that the bird communities were moving up the slope to reach the climate conditions to which they were originally adapted,” said Freeman, the lead author of the study. Near the top of the mountain the bird species moved higher by 321 feet (98 meters), on average.
“We think temperature is the master-switch in explaining why species live where they do on mountain slopes,” said Freeman. “A huge majority of species in our study were doing the same thing.”
Birds adapted to live within narrow temperature bands — in regions without wide seasonal variations — may be particularly vulnerable to climate change, Fitzpatrick said.
“We should expect that what’s happening on this mountaintop is happening more generally in the Andes, and other tropical mountain ranges,” he said. (VOA)
Married Hindu women are recognised by a red streak of vermillion in the middle of their foreheads. This is traditionally called 'sindoor', which is derived from the Sanskrit word sindura, meaning 'red lead.'. Sindoor is traditionally powdered turmeric and lime, sometimes red saffron, or red sandalwood. It is also called vermilion, or Kumkum.
Sindoor is traditionally powdered turmeric and lime, sometimes red saffron, or red sandalwood. It is also called vermilion, or Kumkum. Image source: Photo by Gayathri Malhotra on Unsplash
The origin of the practise of wearing sindoor is ambiguous, but historical records from the Harappan civilisation show that women wore sindoor as a sign of being married. Today's generation considers the wearing of sindoor an outdated and patriarchal ritual. However, there is still a large population of women who uphold the ritual of adorning their foreheads with vermilion every day.
Sindoor implies the longevity of a woman's marriage to her husband in the Hindu tradition. The longer the streak, the longer her husband's life is believed to be. Women wear it for the first time on their wedding day, when the husband applies it during the ceremony. As long as he remains alive, the red streak that fills the woman's maang, or hair partition, symbolises her fruitful married life.
When the finger used to apply the sindoor touches the pituitary gland every time, it arouses affection in a woman for her husband. Image credit: Photo by Amish Thakkar on Unsplash
The components of the red powder are believed to improve the sexual energy of the woman. When the finger used to apply the sindoor touches the pituitary gland every time, it arouses affection in a woman for her husband. The mixture that she wears on her head controls her blood pressure and activates her sexual drive.
These days, feminists do not take very lightly to the practice of wearing sindoor, as they view it as a sign of patriarchal dominance. They do not like being branded as 'belonging to a man'. They prefer to wear it as a style statement because it enhances beauty. Fashion designers have recently commissioned models to sport sindoor on the runway. New age feminists are making bids to allow widows and single women to adorn their foreheads with the vermilion streak.
Keywords: Sindoor, Marriage, Symbol, Women, Patriarchy
Actress Urvashi Rautela has recently announced the name of her next film which is titled 'Dil Hai Gray'. It's a Hindi remake of Tamil film 'Thiruttu Payale 2'. Urvashi Rautela will be seen alongside Vineet Kumar Singh and Akshay Oberoi.
Urvashi shares: "I am excited to announce the title of my next film 'Dil Hai Gray' on the auspicious day of Vijaya Dashami. The film is very close to my heart and it was lovely working with director Susi Ganeshan sir, producer M Ramesh Reddy sir, and my co-stars Vineet Kumar Singh and Akshay Oberoi. "
"The film has created a massive response in the south industry and I am very positive about the story that it will be also be loved by the audience here. I hope my fans would bless us with their love and support. Super excited to watch my film on the big screen after a long time," she concludes. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: urvashi rautela, movies, bollywood, south, remake, film
China's CoronaVac and Sinopharm Covid vaccines may be waning in immunity levels, several studies have shown. CoronaVac and Sinopharm -- both inactivated vaccines, which use killed SARS-CoV-2 virus -- account for almost 50 per cent of the 7.3 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered globally. China administered about 2.4 billion doses of the vaccines to its citizens, but almost one billion doses have gone to 110 other countries, particularly the less wealthy nations, Nature reported.
However, many countries, including Seychelles and Indonesia, which used the vaccines reported Covid-19 surges earlier this year, sparking a debate about their waning protection and the need for boosters. "These are not bad vaccines. They're just vaccines that haven't been optimised yet," Gagandeep Kang, a virologist at the Christian Medical College in India's Vellore, who advises SAGE, was quoted as saying. After receiving a second dose of CoronaVac, only 60 per cent had high levels of neutralising antibodies one month, compared to with 86 per cent of those who had received two shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, revealed a study of 185 health-care workers in Thailand, not yet peer-reviewed.
China's CoronaVac and Sinopharm Covid vaccines may be waning in immunity levels, several studies have shown. | Photo by Steven Cornfield on Unsplash
After three months, the antibody prevalence dropped to just 12 per cent in the same group, Opass Putcharoen, an infectious-diseases specialist at the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases Clinical Center in Bangkok, was quoted as saying. However, "waning of antibodies isn't necessarily the same as waning of immune protection", noted Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong.
CoronaVac induces a significantly lower antibody response compared with Pfizer-BioNTech's mRNA jab one month after two doses, however, the T-cell response was comparable, showed a study from Hong Kong, also not peer-reviewed. Vaccines made using other technologies have seen a similar trend of waning antibodies and protection against infection, but more-robust protection against severe disease and death. But researchers say that because the Chinese inactivated vaccines start at a lower base of neutralising antibodies, the protection they offer could drop faster than those with a stronger head start, the Nature report said.
However, a drop in protection can prove deadly for the elderly. An analysis of about one million people, hospitalised with Covid-19 in Brazil, showed that CoronaVac offered up to 60 per cent protection against severe disease up to the age of 79. But in people over 80, CoronaVac was only 30 per cent effective at preventing severe disease and 45 per cent effective against death. As a result, several countries, including Chile, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and China, are giving booster jabs of mRNA or viral-vector vaccine to people who received the CoronaVac or Sinopharm vaccines, the report said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: antibodies, waning, coronavac, protection, vaccines