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ABSTRACT: Microscopic turgor-operated gas valves on leaf surfaces-stomata-facilitate gas exchange between the plant and the atmosphere, and respond to multiple environmental and endogenous cues. Collectively, stomatal activities affect everything from the productivity of forests, grasslands and crops to biophysical feedbacks between land surface vegetation and climate. In 1976, plant physiologist Paul Jarvis reported an empirical model describing stomatal responses to key environmental and plant conditions that predicted the flux of water vapour from leaves into the surrounding atmosphere. Subsequent theoretical advances, building on this earlier approach, established the current paradigm for capturing the physiological behaviour of stomata that became incorporated into sophisticated models of land carbon cycling. However, these models struggle to accurately predict observed trends in the physiological responses of Northern Hemisphere forests to recent atmospheric CO2 increases, highlighting the need for improved representation of the role of stomata in regulating forest-climate interactions. Bridging this gap between observations and theory as atmospheric CO2 rises and climate change accelerates creates challenging opportunities for the next generation of physiologists to advance planetary ecology and climate science. This commentary was written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 04/2015; 370(1666). DOI:10.1098/rstb.2014.0311
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ABSTRACT: The Mongolian gerbil, Meriones unguiculatus, has been widely employed as a model for studies of the inner ear. In spite of its established use for auditory research, no robust protocols to induce ototoxic hair cell damage have been developed for this species. In this paper, we demonstrate the development of an aminoglycoside-induced model of hair cell loss, using kanamycin potentiated by the loop diuretic furosemide. Interestingly, we show that the gerbil is relatively insensitive to gentamicin compared to kanamycin, and that bumetanide is ineffective in potentiating the ototoxicity of the drug. We also examine the pathology of the spiral ganglion after chronic, long-term hair cell damage. Remarkably, there is little or no neuronal loss following the ototoxic insult, even at 8 months post-damage. This is similar to the situation often seen in the human, where functioning neurons can persist even decades after hair cell loss, contrasting with the rapid, secondary degeneration found in rats, mice and other small mammals. We propose that the combination of these factors makes the gerbil a good model for ototoxic damage by induced hair cell loss. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.Hearing research 03/2015; 325. DOI:10.1016/j.heares.2015.03.002
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ABSTRACT: Creationism is a religiously motivated worldview in denial of biological evolution that has been very resistant to change. We performed a textual analysis by examining creationist and pro-evolutionary texts for aspects of "experiential thinking", a cognitive process different from scientific thought. We observed characteristics of experiential thinking as follows: testimonials (present in 100% of sampled creationist texts), such as quotations, were a major form of proof. Confirmation bias (100% of sampled texts) was represented by ignoring or dismissing information that would contradict the creationist hypothesis. Scientifically irrelevant or flawed information was re-interpreted as relevant for the falsification of evolution (75-90% of sampled texts). Evolutionary theory was associated to moral issues by demonizing scientists and linking evolutionary theory to atrocities (63-93% of sampled texts). Pro-evolutionary rebuttals of creationist claims also contained testimonials (93% of sampled texts) and referred to moral implications (80% of sampled texts) but displayed lower prevalences of stereotypical thinking (47% of sampled texts), confirmation bias (27% of sampled texts) and pseudodiagnostics (7% of sampled texts). The aspects of experiential thinking could also be interpreted as argumentative fallacies. Testimonials lead, for instance, to ad hominem and appeals to authorities. Confirmation bias and simplification of data give rise to hasty generalizations and false dilemmas. Moral issues lead to guilt by association and appeals to consequences. Experiential thinking and fallacies can contribute to false beliefs and the persistence of the claims. We propose that science educators would benefit from the systematic analysis of experiential thinking patterns and fallacies in creationist texts and pro-evolutionary rebuttals in order to concentrate on scientific misconceptions instead of the scientifically irrelevant aspects of the creationist-evolutionist debate.PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0118314. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0118314
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