Università Ca' Foscari Venezia
Recent publications
Purpose Tyro is a deep hypersaline anoxic basin (DHAB) located at the seafloor of the Eastern Mediterranean sea. Tyro hosts a stratified eukaryotic microbiome moving from seawater to the brine, but no reports are available on its prokaryotic community. We provide the first snapshot of the bacterial community structure in Tyro brine, seawater-brine interface, and the overlaying deep seawater. Methods In this study, we combined the use of molecular analyses, i.e., DNA fingerprinting and 16S rRNA pyrosequencing for the description of the bacterial community structure and taxonomy. PiCRUST2 was used to infer information on the prokaryotes functional diversity. A culture-dependent approach was applied to enrich bacteria of interest for marine biotechnology. Results Bacterial communities sharply clustered moving from the seawater to the Tyro brine, in agreement with the abrupt increase of salinity values. Moreover, specific taxonomic groups inhabited the seawater-brine interface compared to the overlaying seawater and their identification revealed converging taxonomy with other DHABs in the Eastern Mediterranean sea. Functional traits inferred from the prokaryote taxonomy in the upper interface and the overlaying seawater indicated metabolic pathways for the synthesis of osmoprotectants, likely involved in bacterial adaptation to the steep increasing salinity. Metabolic traits related to methane and methylated compounds and to hydrocarbon degradation were also revealed in the upper interface of Tyro. The overall capability of the Tyro microbiome for hydrocarbon metabolism was confirmed by the isolation of hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria in the sediments. Conclusions Our results suggest that Tyro seawater-brine interface hosts a specific microbiome adapted to the polyextreme condition typical of DHABs with potential metabolic features that could be further explored for the characterization of the metabolic network connecting the brine with the deep seawater through the chemocline. Moreover, Tyro could be a reservoir of culturable microbes endowed with functionalities of interest for biotechnological applications like hydrocarbon bioremediation.
A new species, Blitum venetum Iamonico, Argenti, Sciuto & Wolf is described from the Dolomites Massif (North-Eastern Italy) on the basis of molecular analyses (nuclear ITS and plastid trnL-F regions) and morphological investigation. The new species is similar to B. bonus-henricus and B. californicum, but it differs from these taxa by characters of leaves (width, pubescence, and margins), inflorescence (presence of bracts), perianth segments (colour), and seeds (diameter, colour, and seed testa ornamentation). Moreover, in phylogenetic reconstructions B. venetum results as clearly separated from the other species of the genus; this finding was further strengthened by the nucleotide divergences calculated between the sequence of the type specimen and other Blitum taxa, which are comparable with the interspecific divergences calculated inside this genus.
Cultural layers are deposits resulting from settlement and human activity on natural soil in the past. Materials from past domestic activities that become buried into the soil can be used to reconstruct human impact in a specific area in the past. For instance, humans have used fire for millennia, and charcoal in soils and sediments is applied as evidence of anthropic activity. In this context, assessing the abundance and degradation level of charcoal fragments can clarify anthropic activities in cultural deposits. In European towns, cultural layers with similar characteristics, have been defined as urban “Dark Earth” (UDE) but their age, formation and composition often differ significantly across sites. This study examined three archaeological sites in Verona, Italy, where UDE layers with similar characteristics have been identified. The primary aim of this research is to understand the anthropogenic influence on the development of UDE layers, by characterizing their geochemistry and the carbonaceous materials. To pursue this goal, we provide a micromorphological description of the sites, evaluate UDE features and the abundance of charred material and characterize the amorphous/crystalline degree through µ-Raman spectroscopy. Bulk material was described in terms of amounts of total organic carbon (TOC), recalcitrant organic carbon (ROC), total inorganic carbon (TIC), and trace element concentration. Radiocarbon dating of charred and humin fractions was performed to clarify the dynamics underlying UDE origin. We investigate the relationship between the different variables analyzed in the UDE layers at each site. Results show that a diverse array of human activities including metal tool and/or ceramic manufacturing were related to the formation of UDE layers. The investigation of carbonaceous fractions highlight differences in soil organic carbon and charred material, both of which are correlated with human influence.
Credible implementation of climate change policy, consistent with the 2°C limit, requires a large proportion of current fossil fuel reserves to remain unused. This issue, named the Carbon Bubble, is usually presented as a required asset write‐off, with implications for investors. We embed the Carbon Bubble in a macroeconomic model exhibiting a financial accelerator: if investors are leveraged, the Carbon Bubble may precipitate a fire‐sale of assets across the economy, and generate a large and persistent fall in output and investment, impairing the economy's ability to invest in the zero carbon assets it needs to produce output in the post‐climate transition world. We find a role for macroeconomic policy protecting investors' balance sheets in mitigating the macroeconomic effects of the Carbon Bubble, and enhancing welfare. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
The photocatalytic approach is known to be one of the most promising advanced oxidation processes for the tertiary treatment of polluted water. In this paper, β-NaYF4/TiO2 composite films have been synthetized through a novel sol–gel/spin-coating approach using a mixture of β-diketonate complexes of Na and Y, and Yb3+, Tm3+, Gd3+, Eu3+ as doping ions, together with the TiO2 P25 nanoparticles. The herein pioneering approach represents an easy, straightforward and industrially appealing method for the fabrication of doped β-NaYF4/TiO2 composites. The effect of the doped β-NaYF4 phase on the photocatalytic activity of TiO2 for the degradation of methylene blue (MB) has been deeply investigated. In particular, the upconverting TiO2/β-NaYF4: 20%Yb, 2% Gd, x% Tm (x = 0.5 and 1%) and the downshifting TiO2/β-NaYF4: 10% Eu composite films have been tested on MB degradation both under UV and visible light irradiation. An improvement up to 42.4% in the degradation of MB has been observed for the TiO2/β-NaYF4: 10% Eu system after 240 min of UV irradiation.
In European and many African, Middle Eastern and southern Asian populations, lactase persistence (LP) is the most strongly selected monogenic trait to have evolved over the past 10,000 years1. Although the selection of LP and the consumption of prehistoric milk must be linked, considerable uncertainty remains concerning their spatiotemporal configuration and specific interactions2,3. Here we provide detailed distributions of milk exploitation across Europe over the past 9,000 years using around 7,000 pottery fat residues from more than 550 archaeological sites. European milk use was widespread from the Neolithic period onwards but varied spatially and temporally in intensity. Notably, LP selection varying with levels of prehistoric milk exploitation is no better at explaining LP allele frequency trajectories than uniform selection since the Neolithic period. In the UK Biobank4,5 cohort of 500,000 contemporary Europeans, LP genotype was only weakly associated with milk consumption and did not show consistent associations with improved fitness or health indicators. This suggests that other reasons for the beneficial effects of LP should be considered for its rapid frequency increase. We propose that lactase non-persistent individuals consumed milk when it became available but, under conditions of famine and/or increased pathogen exposure, this was disadvantageous, driving LP selection in prehistoric Europe. Comparison of model likelihoods indicates that population fluctuations, settlement density and wild animal exploitation—proxies for these drivers—provide better explanations of LP selection than the extent of milk exploitation. These findings offer new perspectives on prehistoric milk exploitation and LP evolution. Examination of archaeological pottery residues and modern genes suggest that environmental conditions, subsistence economics and pathogen exposure may explain selection for lactase persistence better than prehistoric consumption of milk.
Within-species variation is a key component of biodiversity and linking it to climatic gradients may significantly improve our understanding of ecological processes. High variability can be expected in plant traits, but it is unclear to which extent it varies across populations under different climatic conditions. Here, we investigated seed trait variability and its environmental dependency across a latitudinal gradient of two widely distributed dune-engineering species ( Thinopyrum junceum and Calamagrostis arenaria ). Seed germination responses against temperature and seed mass were compared within and among six populations exposed to a gradient of temperature and precipitation regimes (Spiekeroog, DE; Bordeaux, FR; Valencia, ES; Cagliari, IT, Rome, IT; Venice, IT). Seed germination showed opposite trends in response to temperature experienced during emergence in both species: with some expectation, in populations exposed to severe winters, seed germination was warm-cued, whereas in populations from warm sites with dry summer, seed germination was cold-cued. In C. arenaria , variability in seed germination responses disappeared once the seed coat was incised. Seed mass from sites with low precipitation was smaller than that from sites with higher precipitation and was better explained by rainfall continentality than by aridity in summer. Within-population variability in seed germination accounted for 5 to 54%, while for seed mass it was lower than 40%. Seed trait variability can be considerable both within- and among-populations even at broad spatial scale. The variability may be hardly predictable since it only partially correlated with the analyzed climatic variables, and with expectation based on the climatic features of the seed site of origin. Considering seed traits variability in the analysis of ecological processes at both within- and among-population levels may help elucidate unclear patterns of species dynamics, thereby contributing to plan adequate measures to counteract biodiversity loss.
Background Investigating the context of trauma and acute care surgery, the article aims at understanding the factors that can enhance some ethical aspects, namely the importance of patient consent, the perceptiveness of the ethical role of the trauma leader, and the perceived importance of ethics as an educational subject. Methods The article employs an international questionnaire promoted by the World Society of Emergency Surgery. Results Through the analysis of 402 fully filled questionnaires by surgeons from 72 different countries, the three main ethical topics are investigated through the lens of gender, membership of an academic or non-academic institution, an official trauma team, and a diverse group. In general terms, results highlight greater attention paid by surgeons belonging to academic institutions, official trauma teams, and diverse groups. Conclusions Our results underline that some organizational factors (e.g., the fact that the team belongs to a university context or is more diverse) might lead to the development of a higher sensibility on ethical matters. Embracing cultural diversity forces trauma teams to deal with different mindsets. Organizations should, therefore, consider those elements in defining their organizational procedures. Level of evidence Trauma and acute care teams work under tremendous pressure and complex circumstances, with their members needing to make ethical decisions quickly. The international survey allowed to shed light on how team assembly decisions might represent an opportunity to coordinate team member actions and increase performance.
The demand for cocoa has increased over the past years following the growth of cocoa-based products linked to the rise in living standard in highly populated countries. Cacao industry is therefore currently facing the dilemma of producing more cacao while ensuring its sustainability. Cacao monocrops and agroforestry systems (AFS) are two contrasting ways to produce cocoa, yet their impact on yields, contribution to farmer livelihood, cocoa quality remains understudied. Therefore, we reviewed existing literature comparing (1) monocrop cacao farming systems with (2) simple or (3) complex AFS. We found 19 comparisons of the cocoa yields in monocrops and simple AFS and 20 comparisons of monocrop and complex AFS. Three main research findings derive from this work. First, in about one third of cases, cacao trees yield more (or equally) in AFS than in monocrops. However, when considering only simple AFS, cacao trees yield more or equal to cacao monocrop in 52% of the cases. Second, cocoa AFS yields an average of 14% less than cacao monocrop. Yet, on average simple AFS yielded 2% less than cacao monocrops. Finally, there are too little elements to draw conclusions about the nexus between cocoa quality and cacao tree cultivation system.
The study of the development of human bipedalism can provide a unique perspective on the evolution of morphology and behavior across species. To generate new knowledge of these mechanisms, we analyze changes in both internal and external morphology of the growing human talus in a sample of modern human juveniles using an innovative approach. The sample consists of high‐resolution microCT scans of 70 modern juvenile tali, aged between 8 postnatal weeks and 10 years old, from a broad chronological range from Middle/Late Neolithic, that is, between 4800 and 4500 BCE, to the 20th century. We applied geometric morphometric and whole‐bone trabecular analysis (bone volume fraction, degree of anisotropy, trabecular number, thickness, and spacing) to all specimens to identify changes in the external and internal morphology during growth. Morphometric maps were also generated. During the first year of life, the talus has an immature and globular shape, with a dense, compact, and rather isotropic trabecular architecture, with numerous trabeculae packed closely together. This pattern changes while children acquire a more mature gait, and the talus tends to have a lower bone volume fraction, a higher anisotropy, and a more mature shape. The changes in talar internal and external morphologies reflect the different loading patterns experienced during growth, gradually shifting from an “unspecialized” morphology to a more complex one, following the development of bipedal gait. Our research shows that talar plasticity, even though genetically driven, may show mechanical influences and contribute to tracking the main locomotor milestones.
The marginal ice zone is the dynamic interface between the open ocean and consolidated inner pack ice. Surface gravity waves regulate marginal ice zone extent and properties, and, hence, atmosphere-ocean fluxes and ice advance/retreat. Over the past decade, seminal experimental campaigns have generated much needed measurements of wave evolution in the marginal ice zone, which, notwithstanding the prominent knowledge gaps that remain, are underpinning major advances in understanding the region’s role in the climate system. Here, we report three-dimensional imaging of waves from a moving vessel and simultaneous imaging of floe sizes, with the potential to enhance the marginal ice zone database substantially. The images give the direction–frequency wave spectrum, which we combine with concurrent measurements of wind speeds and reanalysis products to reveal the complex multi-component wind-plus-swell nature of a cyclone-driven wave field, and quantify evolution of large-amplitude waves in sea ice. Unprecedented 3D imaging of waves and sea ice floes from a moving icebreaker in the Antarctic marginal ice zone during a polar cyclone reveals a complex wind-plus-swell sea state, where contrasting ice-driven attenuation and wind forcing coexist.
Very short-lived substances have recently been proposed as replacements for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), in turn being used in place of ozone-depleting substances, in refrigerant applications. In this respect, hydro-fluoro-olefins (HFOs) are attracting particular interest because, due to their reduced global warming potential, they are supposed to be environmentally friendlier. Notwithstanding this feature, they represent a new class of compounds whose spectroscopic properties and reactivity need to be characterized to allow their atmospheric monitoring and to understand their environmental fate. In the present work, the structural, vibrational, and ro-vibrational properties of trifluorothene (HFO-1123, F2C = CHF) are studied by state-of-the-art quantum chemical calculations. The equilibrium molecular structure has an expected error within 2 mÅ and 0.2° for bond lengths and angles, respectively. This represents the first step toward the computation of highly accurate rotational constants for both the ground and first excited fundamental vibrational levels, which reproduce the available experimental data well within 0.1%. Centrifugal distortion parameters and vibrational-rotational coupling terms are computed as well and used to solve some conflicting experimental results. Simulation of the vibrational transition frequencies and intensities beyond the double harmonic approximation and up to three quanta of vibrational excitation provides insights into the couplings ruling the vibrational dynamics and guides the characterization of the gas-phase infrared spectrum experimentally recorded in the range of 200-5000 cm-1. The full characterization of the IR features is completed with the experimental determination of the absorption cross sections over the 400-5000 cm-1 region from which the radiative forcing and global warming potential of HFO-1123 are derived.
Risk management has reduced vulnerability to floods and droughts globally1,2, yet their impacts are still increasing³. An improved understanding of the causes of changing impacts is therefore needed, but has been hampered by a lack of empirical data4,5. On the basis of a global dataset of 45 pairs of events that occurred within the same area, we show that risk management generally reduces the impacts of floods and droughts but faces difficulties in reducing the impacts of unprecedented events of a magnitude not previously experienced. If the second event was much more hazardous than the first, its impact was almost always higher. This is because management was not designed to deal with such extreme events: for example, they exceeded the design levels of levees and reservoirs. In two success stories, the impact of the second, more hazardous, event was lower, as a result of improved risk management governance and high investment in integrated management. The observed difficulty of managing unprecedented events is alarming, given that more extreme hydrological events are projected owing to climate change³.
The series is the expression of the Center for Research on Teaching of Languages, which in Edizioni Ca’ Foscari also has a magazine, Linguistics Education - Language Education, EL.LE, and a necklace, Intercultural Communication, COMINT, dedicated to this important but overlooked aspect of language mastery. In the series, the volumes of which are approved by three blind referees before publication, are three types of search space: a. studies on the epistemologic nature of the science that studies language education, in the wider meaning that includes Italian mother tongue, second and foreign, modern languages and classical ones; b. operational studies on methods, strategies, language teaching methodologies; c. quantitative and qualitative surveys on particular aspects of language teaching in the various training areas. The collection hosts studies of scholars working both at Ca’ Foscari University and in other institutions.
The series is the expression of the Center for Research on Teaching of Languages, which in Edizioni Ca’ Foscari also has a magazine, Linguistics Education - Language Education, EL.LE, and a necklace, Intercultural Communication, COMINT, dedicated to this important but overlooked aspect of language mastery. In the series, the volumes of which are approved by three blind referees before publication, are three types of search space: a. studies on the epistemologic nature of the science that studies language education, in the wider meaning that includes Italian mother tongue, second and foreign, modern languages and classical ones; b. operational studies on methods, strategies, language teaching methodologies; c. quantitative and qualitative surveys on particular aspects of language teaching in the various training areas. The collection hosts studies of scholars working both at Ca’ Foscari University and in other institutions.
The series is the expression of the Center for Research on Teaching of Languages, which in Edizioni Ca’ Foscari also has a magazine, Linguistics Education - Language Education, EL.LE, and a necklace, Intercultural Communication, COMINT, dedicated to this important but overlooked aspect of language mastery. In the series, the volumes of which are approved by three blind referees before publication, are three types of search space: a. studies on the epistemologic nature of the science that studies language education, in the wider meaning that includes Italian mother tongue, second and foreign, modern languages and classical ones; b. operational studies on methods, strategies, language teaching methodologies; c. quantitative and qualitative surveys on particular aspects of language teaching in the various training areas. The collection hosts studies of scholars working both at Ca’ Foscari University and in other institutions.
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Sinem Aslan
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics
Giovanni Fasano
  • Department of Management
Monica Camuffo
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics
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