Driven by technical advances and favorable regulatory measures (albeit only in some countries), the deployment of electricity generation at very small scales, or micro-generation, is shaping a new segment of the electricity system which has been called “Residential Energy Sector” or “Micro-Generation Sector”. Known as “self-production” or “self-consumption” years ago, the main objective of on-site, or demand-side, microgeneration is to provide electricity services to homes and businesses from their own plants. While the concept of avoided cost has been used in the past, a dynamic model which takes into account the different influencing factors has not been previously developed. This paper closes this gap in the literature. It proposes a dynamic, easily replicable model which contains the main factors which influence the avoided costs and facilitates the analysis of the investment decisions taken by residential prosumers. The results show that, compared to other variables, the evolution of retail prices is the most relevant factor affecting the avoided cost, suggesting that their gradual increase could lead to the substitution of plants before the end of their useful life. However, the importance of retail prices and their unknown evolution gives investment decisions on residential plants an inherent uncertain character. Therefore, a higher retail price can encourage the investment by reducing the recovery period. If the accumulated avoided cost equals the initial investment earlier, this reduces both the uncertainty (the period is shorter) and the psychological impact of a strong initial expense. Although regulatory factors (e.g., the existence of subsidies and the conditions of grid exchange) do not have a large economic impact, those factors contribute to the change in the psychological framework which future prosumers will face. In particular, they partly offset the detrimental impact of the initial upfront costs on the decision to invest, even if the revenues and other advantages offset such initial amount of investment.
Understanding how Mediterranean forests respond to the increasing frequency of extreme droughts and forest densification is crucial for effective land management in the present context of climate change and land abandonment. We study the responses of Iberian holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) woodlands to recent extreme droughts during 2000-2019 along broad gradients of climate aridity and forest structure. To this purpose, we apply large-scale remote-sensing using MODIS EVI as a primary production proxy in 5274 Q. ilex sites distributed within a 100,000 km2 region in eastern Spain. These woodlands were extensively affected by two extreme drought events in 2005 and 2012. Resistance, assessed as the capacity of the ecosystems to maintain primary production during drought, was significantly lower for semi-arid than for sub-humid and dry-transition conditions. Holm oak woodlands located in semi-arid areas of the region showed also poorer resilience to drought, characterized by low capacity to fully recover to their pre-drought production levels. Further, drought intensity and both pre- and post-drought hydric conditions controlled the variations of resistance, recovery and resilience between the two analyzed extreme drought events. Drought effects were particularly negative for dense Q. ilex stands under semi-arid climate conditions, where strong competition for scarce water resources reduced drought resistance. The observed drought vulnerability of semi-arid holm oak woodlands may affect the long-term stability of these dry forests. Adaptive management strategies, such as selective forest thinning, may be useful for improving drought responses in these more vulnerable semi-arid woodlands. Conversely, natural rewilding may more appropriately guide management actions for more humid areas, where densely developed Q. ilex woodlands show in general a high ability to maintain ecosystem primary production during drought.
We study the upscaling and prediction of ensemble dispersion in two‐dimensional heterogeneous porous media with focus on transverse dispersion. To this end, we study the stochastic dynamics of the motion of advective particles that move along the streamlines of the heterogeneous flow field. While longitudinal dispersion may evolve super‐linearly with time, transverse dispersion is characterized by ultraslow diffusion, that is, the transverse displacement variance grows asymptotically with the logarithm of time. This remarkable behavior is linked to the solenoidal character of the flow field, which needs to be accounted for in stochastic models for the two‐dimensional particle motion. Here we derive an upscaled model based on the statistical characterization of the motion of solute particles. To this end, we analyze particle velocities and orientations through equidistant sampling along the particle trajectories obtained from direct numerical simulations. This sampling strategy respects the flow structure, which is organized on a characteristic length scale. Perturbation theory shows that the longitudinal particle motion is determined by the variability of travel times, while the transverse motion is governed by the fluctuations of the space increments. The latter turns out to be strongly anti‐correlated with a correlation structure that leads to ultraslow diffusion. Based on this analysis, we derive a stochastic model that combines a correlated Gaussian noise for the transverse motion with a spatial Markov model for the particle speeds. The model results are contrasted with detailed numerical simulations in two‐dimensional heterogeneous porous media of different heterogeneity variance.
Urban green infrastructure (UGI) can provide key ecosystem services (ES) for human well-being. For this purpose, it is critical to ascertain which characteristics regulate the provision of ES by UGI. In this study, eight ES (water supply, water regulation, waste regulation, nutrient regulation, soil formation, carbon sequestration, air temperature regulation and air humidity regulation) of thirty UGI sites of Zaragoza (Spain), were evaluated using proxy indicators derived from analyzed soil samples, and in-situ measured air temperature and humidity. A principal component analysis was performed to group different ES, and to study the dispersion of different types of UGI along the distinct ES. Additionally, relationships, between the evaluated ES and predictors; flatness, imperviousness, regularity, naturalness and functioning of the UGI sites were studied through linear and quadratic regressions. Large UGI sites such as riparian zones, meanders and natural forests showed relatively high values of ES in contrast with more artificial sites. Moreover, the study showed that water supply, water regulation, soil formation, carbon sequestration and air temperature regulation were significantly and positively related to ecological naturalness and functioning, while imperviousness was the main predictor explaining the reduction of five ES. Our findings provide evidence for the existence of important interactions between predictor variables and ES in UGI. It also showed that the provision of urban ES can be improved expanding the variety and type of green infrastructure sites, decreasing impervious area, and increasing the naturalness and functioning of UGI.
Despite only being its 3rd edition, the QUANTUM MATTER international conference & expo (QUANTUMatter) has already become a reference event for communities involved in the study of quantum materials, quantum information and quantum technologies at large. This article reports on this meeting, which took place in Madrid, in June 2023, with 420 participants and keynote speakers from all areas of quantum technologies and quantum materials.
Optimizing agroecosystems and crops for micronutrient uptake while reducing issues with inorganic contaminants (metal(loid)s) is a challenging task. One promising approach is to use arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and investigate the physiological, molecular and epigenetic changes that occur in their presence and that lead to changes in plant metal(loid) concentration (biofortification of micronutrients or mitigation of contaminants). Moreover, it is important to understand these mechanisms in the context of the soil microbiome, particularly those interactions of AMF with other soil microbes that can further shape crop nutrition. To address these challenges, a two‐pronged approach is recommended: exploring molecular mechanisms and investigating microbiome management and engineering. Combining both approaches can lead to benefits in human health by balancing nutrition and contamination caused by metal(loid)s in the agro‐ecosystem.
Storm surges associated with tropical cyclones endanger atolls through groundwater flooding, wherein groundwater is discharged from the land surface at elevated sea levels. Atolls are characterised by a ‘dual‐aquifer’ configuration, where recent Holocene sediments unconformably overlie highly permeable Pleistocene limestone creating an interface called a ‘Thurber discontinuity.’ This study aimed to quantitatively analyse how the dual‐aquifer configuration of atolls controls the temporal dynamics of groundwater flooding caused by storm surges. To this end, we ran surface‐subsurface coupled synthetic numerical simulations using the HydroGeoSphere code and compared 12 scenarios with different Thurber discontinuity elevations and hydraulic conductivities of the Pleistocene aquifer ( K P ). The results showed that the shallower the Thurber discontinuity and the higher the K P , the higher the maximum water depth in the freshwater swamp on the atoll during the storm surge and the longer the flooding duration. Despite the effects of the different dual‐aquifer configurations, the initial water table elevation and salinity distribution were almost identical in all simulation cases. These findings suggest that accurate information on the dual‐aquifer configuration is necessary to evaluate the potential risk of groundwater flooding in atolls accompanying storm surges. Furthermore, the results indicate that groundwater flooding caused by storm surges substantially contributes to cyclone‐driven flooding on atolls, and hence, it should not be neglected in flood predictions to avoid underestimation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Hyperglycemia has been linked to worsening outcomes after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Nevertheless, the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of SAH have been scarcely evaluated so far. The role of hyperglycemia was assessed in an experimental model of SAH by T 2 weighted, dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (T 2 W and DCE-MRI), [ ¹⁸ F]BR-351 PET imaging and immunohistochemistry. Measures included the volume of bleeding, the extent of cerebral infarction and brain edema, blood brain barrier disruption (BBBd), neutrophil infiltration and matrix metalloprotease (MMP) activation. The neurofunctional outcome, neurodegeneration and myelinization were also investigated. The induction of hyperglycemia increased mortality, the size of the ischemic lesion, brain edema, neurodegeneration and worsened neurological outcome during the first 3 days after SAH in rats. In addition, these results show for the first time the exacerbating effect of hyperglycemia on in vivo MMP activation, Intercellular Adhesion Molecule 1 (ICAM-1) expression and neutrophil infiltration together with increased BBBd, bleeding volume and fibrinogen accumulation at days 1 and 3 after SAH. Notably, these data provide valuable insight into the detrimental effect of hyperglycemia on early BBB damage mediated by neutrophil infiltration and MMP activation that could explain the worse prognosis in SAH.
Increasing evidence demonstrate that the electron transfer chain plays a critical role in controlling the effector functions of macrophages. In this work, we have generated a Ndufs4 −/− murine macrophage cell lines. The Ndufs4 gene, which encodes a supernumerary subunit of complex I, is a mutational hotspot in Leigh syndrome patients. Ndufs4 −/− macrophages showed decreased complex I activity, altered complex I assembly, and lower levels of maximal respiration and ATP production. These mitochondrial respiration alterations were associated with a shift towards a pro-inflammatory cytokine profile after lipopolysaccharide challenge and improved ability to phagocytose Gram-negative bacteria.
As the world faces an array of global challenges, including population growth, climate change, and the need for clean energy, the role of legumes in addressing these issues becomes increasingly significant. The Research Topic, “Legumes for Global Food Security, Volume II” aims to explore the diverse contributions of legumes in promoting sustainable agriculture and enhancing global food security. Legumes play a crucial role in delivering vital services to societies worldwide. One of their primary contributions lies in their capacity to provide a wide range of food crops that serve as essential sources of plant-based proteins, addressing the challenge of food security for a rapidly growing population. Furthermore, grain legumes possess remarkable nutritional properties and act as cost-effective food choices, playing a pivotal role in achieving global food and feed security amid the growing world population. The significance of legumes extends beyond their role as a food source. Through rhizobial symbiosis, legumes have the unique ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, enriching agroecosystems and boosting subsequent crop productivity by enhancing water and nutrient capture and recycling. Moreover, they play a key role in mitigating climate change, offering an alternative to synthetic nitrogenous fertilizers, which is energy-intensive to produce and release greenhouse gases upon breakdown. Furthermore, legumes contribute to the reduction of fossil fuel usage by providing biofuel feedstocks and industrial resources. Given the challenges posed by increasing climatic stresses, legumes’ genetic diversity equips them to thrive in various environments, rendering them resilient and ideal for sustainable intensification on small-scale and resource-constrained farms. Moreover, they play a vital role as biocontrol agents, effectively combating pests and diseases that could otherwise cause significant agricultural losses. This Research Topic aims to explore the multifaceted contributions of legumes in the development of robust and efficient agro-ecosystems, thereby enhancing global food security. Here we summarize some of the highlights derived from the 22 articles published in this Research Topic, dividing them in four main topics, in order to better understand how research on legumes and related crops is contributing to crop improvement, adaptation, and nutrient management, ultimately aiming to address food security challenges and support sustainable agriculture.
1. Plastic pollution is an emerging environmental risk, as it may negatively impact many species. 2. However, much remains to be studied in terrestrial invertebrates, since the information in which this pollutant interacts with insects and soil fauna in natural environments is still limited. 3. Here, we present records of two ant species,Lasius grandis (Forel, 1909) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)and Monomorium sp. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), found entangled in synthetic fibres at the summit broom shrubland and canary pine forest in the island of La Palma (Spain), respectively. 4. To our knowledge, this is one of the first reports of ants and other insects being entangled in plastics.5. Despite our small sample size, this interaction could be more widespread. 6. Among other effects, ants could be transporting small plastic fragments to differentsoil horizons, but a greater knowledge of ants and other soil invertebrates interacting with plastics would help to improve our understanding of the relationship of this emerging pollutant with soil fauna in ecosystems with different degrees of human use.
Field-based research is fundamental to improving our understanding of how human impact on biological systems can be recognized, mitigated, or averted. However, the role of empirical field-based research has lost weight in recent decades relative to other analyzes. Nevertheless, important analytical instruments that help set national and global priorities for biodiversity conservation can be severely handicapped by the scarcity of sound observational data, collected through fieldwork. We argue that an apparent decline in field-based research is the result of bottom-up pressures, including those associated with the publishing and the academic reward systems, while a second set of factors act top-down, driven by current societal needs and priorities. We urge researchers, research funders and scientific journals to commit to conducting, funding and disseminating relevant fieldwork research, respectively
This study assessed the projected near-surface wind speed (SWS) changes and variability over the Iberian Peninsula for the 21st century. Here, we compared Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 global climate models (GCMs) with a higher spatial resolution regional climate model (RCM; ∼20 km), known as WRF-CESM2, which was created by a dynamic downscaling of the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Our analysis found that the GCMs tended to overestimate observed SWS for 1985-2014, while the higher spatial resolution of the WRF-CESM2 did not improve the accuracy and underestimated the SWS magnitude. GCMs project a decline of SWS under high shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) greenhouse concentrations, such as SSP370 and SSP585, while an interdecadal oscillation appears in SSP126 and SSP245 for the end of the century. The WRF-CESM2 under SSP585 predicts the opposite increasing SWS. Our results suggest that 21st-century projections of SWS are uncertain even for regionalized products and should be taken with caution. K E Y W O R D S CMIP6, GCM versus WRF-RCM, Iberian Peninsula, projection, surface wind speed This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
As near-surface wind speed plays a role in regulating surface evaporation and thus the hydrological cycle, it is crucial to explore its spatio-temporal characteristics. However, in-situ measurements are scarce over the Tibetan Plateau, limiting the understanding of wind speed climate across this high-elevation region. This study explores the climatology of near-surface wind speed over the Tibetan Plateau by using for the first time homogenized observations together with reanalysis products and regional climate model simulations. Measuring stations across the center and the west of the plateau are at higher elevations and display higher mean and standard deviation, confirming that wind speed increases with increasing altitude. By exploring wind characteristics with a focus on seasonal cycle through cluster analysis, three regions of distinct wind regimes can be identified: (1) the central Tibetan Plateau, characterized by high elevation; (2) the eastern and the peripheral areas of the plateau; and (3) the Qaidam basin, a topographic depression strongly influenced by the blocking effect of the surrounding mountainous terrain. Notably, the ERA5 reanalysis, with its improvements in horizontal, vertical, and temporal spacing, model physics and data assimilation, demonstrates closer agreement to the measured wind conditions than its predecessor ERA-Interim. It successfully reproduces the three identified wind regimes. However, the newest ERA5-Land product does not show improvements compared to ERA5, most likely because they share most of the parametrizations. Furthermore, the two dynamical downscalings of ERA5 analyzed here fail to capture the observed wind statistics and exhibit notable biases and discrepancies also when investigating the diurnal variations. Consequently, these high-resolution downscaling products do not show add value in reproducing the observed climatology of wind speed compared to ERA5 over the Tibetan Plateau.
The Muslim expansion in the Mediterranean basin was one the most relevant and rapid cultural changes in human history. This expansion reached the Iberian Peninsula with the replacement of the Visigothic Kingdom by the Muslim Umayyad Caliphate and the Muslim Emirate of Córdoba during the 8th century CE. In this study we made a compilation of western Mediterranean pollen records to gain insight about past climate conditions when this expansion took place. The pollen stack results, together with other paleohydrological records, archaeological data and historical sources, indicate that the statistically significant strongest droughts between the mid-5th and mid-10th centuries CE (450–950 CE) occurred at 545–570, 695–725, 755–770 and 900–935 CE, which could have contributed to the instability of the Visigothic and Muslim reigns in the Iberian Peninsula. Our study supports the great sensitivity of the agriculture-based economy and socio-political unrest of Early Medieval kingdoms to climatic variations.
Neglected diseases caused by kinetoplastid parasites are a health burden in tropical and subtropical countries. The need to create safe and effective medicines to improve treatment remains a priority. Microbial natural products are a source of chemical diversity that provides a valuable approach for identifying new drug candidates. We recently reported the discovery and bioassay-guided isolation of a novel family of macrolides with antiplasmodial activity. The novel family of four potent antimalarial macrolides, strasseriolides A-D, was isolated from cultures of Strasseria geniculata CF-247251, a fungal strain obtained from plant tissues. In the present study, we analyze these strasseriolides for activity against kinetoplastid protozoan parasites, namely, Trypanosoma brucei brucei , Leishmania donovani and Trypanosoma cruzi . Compounds exhibited mostly low activities against T . b . brucei , yet notable growth inhibition and selectivity were observed for strasseriolides C and D in the clinically relevant intracellular T . cruzi and L . donovani amastigotes with EC 50 values in the low micromolar range. Compound C is fast-acting and active against both intracellular and trypomastigote forms of T . cruzi . While cell cycle defects were not identified, prominent morphological changes were visualized by differential interference contrast microscopy and smaller and rounded parasites were visualized upon exposure to strasseriolide C. Moreover, compound C lowers parasitaemia in vivo in acute models of infection of Chagas disease. Hence, strasseriolide C is a novel natural product active against different forms of T . cruzi in vitro and in vivo . The study provides an avenue for blocking infection of new cells, a strategy that could additionally contribute to avoid treatment failure.
Nonoxidative propane dehydrogenation (PDH) produces on-site propylene for value-added chemicals. While commercial, its modest selectivity and catalyst deactivation hamper the process efficiency and limit operation to lower temperatures. We demonstrate PDH in a microwave (MW)–heated reactor over PtSn/SiO 2 catalyst pellets loaded in a SiC monolith acting as MW susceptor and a heat distributor while ensuring comparable conditions with conventional reactors. Time-on-stream experiments show active and stable operation at 500°C without hydrogen addition. Upon increasing temperature or feed partial pressure at high space velocity, catalysts under MWs show resistance in coking and sintering, high activity, and selectivity, starkly contrasting conventional reactors whose catalyst undergoes deactivation. Mechanistic differences in coke formation are exposed. Gas-solid temperature gradients are computationally investigated, and nanoscale temperature inhomogeneities are proposed to rationalize the different performances of the heating modes. The approach highlights the great potential of electrification of endothermic catalytic reactions.
T‐cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T‐ALL) arises from the malignant transformation of T‐cell progenitors at various differentiation stages. Given that patients who relapse have a dismal prognosis, there is an urgent need to identify the molecular alterations that are present in such patients and promote leukemogenesis to implement personalized therapies with higher efficacy and fewer adverse effects. In the present manuscript, we identified the JAK3 Q988P mutation in a T‐ALL patient who did not achieve a durable response after the conventional treatment and whose tumor cells at relapse presented constitutive activation of the JAK/STAT pathway. Although JAK3 Q988P has been previously identified in T‐ALL patients from different studies, the functional consequences exerted by this mutation remain unexplored. Through the combination of different hematopoietic cellular models, we functionally characterize JAK3 Q988P as an oncogenic mutation that contributes to leukemogenesis. Notably, JAK3 Q988P not only promotes constitutive activation of the JAK/STAT pathway in the absence of cytokines and growth factors, as is the case for other JAK3 mutations that have been functionally characterized as oncogenic, but also functions independently of JAK1 and IL2RG, resulting in high oncogenic potential as well as resistance to ruxolitinib. Our results indicate that ruxolitinib may not be efficient for future patients bearing the JAK3 Q988P mutation who instead may obtain greater benefits from treatments involving other pharmacological inhibitors such as tofacitinib.
Experiments under controlled conditions have established that ecosystem functioning is generally positively related to levels of biodiversity, but it is unclear how widespread these effects are in real-world settings and whether they can be harnessed for ecosystem restoration. We used remote-sensing data from the first decade of a long-term, field-scale tropical restoration experiment initiated in 2002 to test how the diversity of planted trees affected recovery of a 500-ha area of selectively logged forest measured using multiple sources of satellite data. Replanting using species-rich mixtures of tree seedlings with higher phylogenetic and functional diversity accelerated restoration of remotely sensed estimates of aboveground biomass, canopy cover, and leaf area index. Our results are consistent with a positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in the lowland dipterocarp rainforests of SE Asia and demonstrate that using diverse mixtures of species can enhance their initial recovery after logging.
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