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1.
Malar J ; 20(1): 208, 2021 Apr 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33931091

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In malaria elimination settings, available metrics for malaria surveillance have been insufficient to measure the performance of passive case detection adequately. An indicator for malaria suspected cases with malaria test (MSCT) is proposed to measure the rate of testing on persons presenting to health facilities who satisfy the definition of a suspected malaria case. This metric does not rely on prior knowledge of fever prevalence, seasonality, or external denominators, and can be used to compare detection rates in suspected cases within and between countries, including across settings with different levels of transmission. METHODS: To compute the MSCT, an operational definition for suspected malaria cases was established, including clinical and epidemiological criteria. In general, suspected cases included: (1) persons with fever detected in areas with active malaria transmission; (2) persons with fever identified in areas with no active transmission and travel history to, or residence in areas with active transmission (either national or international); and (3) persons presenting with fever, chills and sweating from any area. Data was collected from 9 countries: Belize, Colombia (in areas with active transmission), Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama (September-March 2020). A sample of eligible medical records for 2018 was selected from a sample of health facilities in each country. An algorithm was constructed to assess if a malaria test was ordered or performed for cases that met the suspected case definition. RESULTS: A sample of 5873 suspected malaria cases was obtained from 239 health facilities. Except for Nicaragua and Colombia, malaria tests were requested in less than 10% of all cases. More cases were tested in areas with active transmission than areas without cases. Travel history was not systematically recorded in any country. CONCLUSIONS: A statistically comparable, replicable, and standardized metric was proposed to measure suspected malaria cases with a test (microscopy or rapid diagnostic test) that enables assessing the performance of passive case detection. Cross-country findings have important implications for malaria and infectious disease surveillance, which should be promptly addressed as countries progress towards malaria elimination. Local and easy-to-implement tools could be implemented to assess and improve passive case detection.

2.
Conserv Biol ; 2021 Apr 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33909928

ABSTRACT

By 2004, Belize was exhibiting classic fishing down of the food web. Groupers (Serranidae) and snappers (Lutjanidae) were scarce and fisheries turned to parrotfishes (Scarinae), leading to a 41% decline in their biomass. Several policies were enacted in 2009-2010, including a moratorium on fishing parrotfish and a new marine park with no-take areas. Using a 20-year time series on reef fish and benthos, we evaluated the impact of these policies approximately 10 years after their implementation. Establishment of the Southwater Caye Marine Reserve led to a recovery of snapper at 2 out of 3 sites, but there was no evidence of recovery outside the reserve. Snapper populations in an older reserve continued to increase, implying that at least 9 years is required for their recovery. Despite concerns over the feasibility of banning parrotfish harvest once it has become a dominant fin fishery, parrotfishes returned and exceeded biomass levels prior to the fishery. The majority of these changes involved an increase in parrotfish density; species composition and adult body size generally exhibited little change. Recovery occurred equally well in reserves and areas open to other forms of fishing, implying strong compliance. Temporal trends in parrotfish grazing intensity were strongly negatively associated with the cover of macroalgae, which by 2018 had fallen to the lowest levels observed since measurements began in 1998. Coral populations remained resilient and continued to exhibit periods of net recovery after disturbance. We found that a moratorium on parrotfish harvesting is feasible and appears to help constrain macroalgae, which can otherwise impede coral resilience.

3.
J Proteome Res ; 2021 Apr 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33840197

ABSTRACT

Bats are increasingly studied as model systems for longevity and as natural hosts for some virulent viruses. Yet the ability to characterize immune mechanisms of viral tolerance and to quantify infection dynamics in wild bats is often limited by small sample volumes and few species-specific reagents. Here, we demonstrate how proteomics can overcome these limitations by using data-independent acquisition-based shotgun proteomics to survey the serum proteome of 17 vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) from Belize. Using just 2 µL of sample and relatively short separations of undepleted serum digests, we identified 361 proteins across 5 orders of magnitude. Levels of immunological proteins in vampire bat serum were then compared to human plasma via published databases. Of particular interest were antiviral and antibacterial components, circulating 20S proteasome complex and proteins involved in redox activity. Lastly, we used known virus proteomes to putatively identify Rh186 from Macacine herpesvirus 3 and ORF1a from Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, indicating that mass spectrometry-based techniques show promise for pathogen detection. Overall, these results can be used to design targeted mass-spectrometry assays to quantify immunological markers and detect pathogens. More broadly, our findings also highlight the application of proteomics in advancing wildlife immunology and pathogen surveillance.

4.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(4): e25728, 2021 04 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33852413

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented stress on economies, food systems, and health care resources in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Existing surveillance provides a proxy of the COVID-19 caseload and mortalities; however, these measures make it difficult to identify the dynamics of the pandemic and places where outbreaks are likely to occur. Moreover, existing surveillance techniques have failed to measure the dynamics of the pandemic. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to provide additional surveillance metrics for COVID-19 transmission to track changes in the speed, acceleration, jerk, and persistence in the transmission of the pandemic more accurately than existing metrics. METHODS: Through a longitudinal trend analysis, we extracted COVID-19 data over 45 days from public health registries. We used an empirical difference equation to monitor the daily number of cases in the LAC as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shift variables based on a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. COVID-19 transmission rates were tracked for the LAC between September 30 and October 6, 2020, and between October 7 and 13, 2020. RESULTS: The LAC saw a reduction in the speed, acceleration, and jerk for the week of October 13, 2020, compared to the week of October 6, 2020, accompanied by reductions in new cases and the 7-day moving average. For the week of October 6, 2020, Belize reported the highest acceleration and jerk, at 1.7 and 1.8, respectively, which is particularly concerning, given its high mortality rate. The Bahamas also had a high acceleration at 1.5. In total, 11 countries had a positive acceleration during the week of October 6, 2020, whereas only 6 countries had a positive acceleration for the week of October 13, 2020. The TAC displayed an overall positive trend, with a speed of 10.40, acceleration of 0.27, and jerk of -0.31, all of which decreased in the subsequent week to 9.04, -0.81, and -0.03, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Metrics such as new cases, cumulative cases, deaths, and 7-day moving averages provide a static view of the pandemic but fail to identify where and the speed at which SARS-CoV-2 infects new individuals, the rate of acceleration or deceleration of the pandemic, and weekly comparison of the rate of acceleration of the pandemic indicate impending explosive growth or control of the pandemic. Enhanced surveillance will inform policymakers and leaders in the LAC about COVID-19 outbreaks.


Subject(s)
/epidemiology , Public Health Surveillance , Caribbean Region/epidemiology , Humans , Latin America/epidemiology , Longitudinal Studies
5.
Biology (Basel) ; 10(3)2021 Mar 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33802717

ABSTRACT

The giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is a vulnerable species from Central and South America, and is considered possibly extinct in Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Uruguay. Due to the species' conservation and reproductive importance, this research aimed to characterize the morphology, histochemical, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural feature of the giant anteater prostate gland. For this, we collected 11 giant anteater prostate glands and performed macroscopic, morphological, histochemical, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural analysis. Nine prostate glands from an adult subject and two from young subjects were studied. Grossly, the adult giant anteater prostate gland is divided in two distinct zones; the central zones (composed mainly of ducts) and the peripheral zones (of acini formed by secretory cells). The secretory cells showed positive periodic acid-Schiff staining. Furthermore, the immunohistochemical characterization revealed a similar human prostate pattern, with p63 staining basal cells, uroplakin III (UPIII) superficial cells of prostatic urethra, androgen receptor (AR) expressing nucleus of secretory and stromal cells, and prostatic specific antigen (PSA) staining prostatic epithelial cells. Overall, our research provided an in-depth morphological description of the giant anteater's prostate gland, providing valuable information for futures studies focused on giant anteater conservation.

6.
J Exp Biol ; 224(8)2021 Apr 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33688059

ABSTRACT

Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is toxic and can act as a selective pressure on aquatic organisms, facilitating a wide range of adaptations for life in sulphidic environments. Mangrove rivulus (Kryptolebias marmoratus) inhabit mangrove swamps and have developed high tolerance to environmental H2S. They are hermaphroditic and can self-fertilize, producing distinct isogenic lineages with different sensitivity to H2S. Here, we tested the hypothesis that observed differences in responses to H2S are the result of differences in mitochondrial functions. For this purpose, we performed two experimental series, testing (1) the overall mitochondrial oxidizing capacities and (2) the kinetics of apparent H2S mitochondrial oxidation and inhibition in two distinct lineages of mangrove rivulus, originally collected from Belize and Honduras. We used permeabilized livers from both lineages, measured mitochondrial oxidation, and monitored changes during gradual increases of sulphide. Ultimately, we determined that each lineage has a distinct strategy for coping with elevated H2S, indicating divergences in mitochondrial function and metabolism. The Honduras lineage has higher anaerobic capacity substantiated by higher lactate dehydrogenase activity and higher apparent H2S oxidation rates, likely enabling them to tolerate H2S by escaping aquatic H2S in a terrestrial environment. However, Belize fish have increased cytochrome c oxidase and citrate synthase activities as well as increased succinate contribution to mitochondrial respiration, allowing them to tolerate higher levels of aquatic H2S without inhibition of mitochondrial oxygen consumption. Our study reveals distinct physiological strategies in genetic lineages of a single species, indicating possible genetic and/or functional adaptations to sulphidic environments at the mitochondrial level.

7.
PLoS One ; 16(3): e0247536, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33647057

ABSTRACT

Population assessments of wide-ranging, cryptic, terrestrial mammals rely on camera trap surveys. While camera trapping is a powerful method of detecting presence, it is difficult distinguishing rarity from low detection rate. The margay (Leopardus wiedii) is an example of a species considered rare based on its low detection rates across its range. Although margays have a wide distribution, detection rates with camera traps are universally low; consequently, the species is listed as Near Threatened. Our 12-year camera trap study of margays in protected broadleaf forest in Belize suggests that while margays have low detection rate, they do not seem to be rare, rather that they are difficult to detect with camera traps. We detected a maximum of 187 individuals, all with few or no recaptures over the years (mean = 2.0 captures/individual ± SD 2.1), with two-thirds of individuals detected only once. The few individuals that were recaptured across years exhibited long tenures up to 9 years and were at least 10 years old at their final detection. We detected multiple individuals of both sexes at the same locations during the same survey, suggesting overlapping ranges with non-exclusive territories, providing further evidence of a high-density population. By studying the sparse annual datasets across multiple years, we found evidence of an abundant margay population in the forest of the Cockscomb Basin, which might have been deemed low density and rare, if studied in the short term. We encourage more long-term camera trap studies to assess population status of semi-arboreal carnivore species that have hitherto been considered rare based on low detection rates.

8.
PLoS One ; 16(3): e0248169, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33760835

ABSTRACT

Inequality is present to varying degrees in all human societies, pre-modern and contemporary. For archaeological contexts, variation in house size reflects differences in labor investments and serves as a robust means to assess wealth across populations small and large. The Gini coefficient, which measures the degree of concentration in the distribution of units within a population, has been employed as a standardized metric to evaluate the extent of inequality. Here, we employ Gini coefficients to assess wealth inequality at four nested socio-spatial scales-the micro-region, the polity, the district, and the neighborhood-at two medium size, peripheral Classic Maya polities located in southern Belize. We then compare our findings to Gini coefficients for other Classic Maya polities in the Maya heartland and to contemporaneous polities across Mesoamerica. We see the patterning of wealth inequality across the polities as a consequence of variable access to networks of exchange. Different forms of governance played a role in the degree of wealth inequality in Mesoamerica. More autocratic Classic Maya polities, where principals exercised degrees of control over exclusionary exchange networks, maintained high degrees of wealth inequality compared to most other Mesoamerican states, which generally are characterized by more collective forms of governance. We examine how household wealth inequality was reproduced at peripheral Classic Maya polities, and illustrate that economic inequity trickled down to local socio-spatial units in this prehispanic context.

9.
Am J Hum Biol ; : e23596, 2021 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33720476

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) may be involved in the etiology of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). We examined the associations of LTL with MetS and its components among Mesoamerican children and their adult parents, in a region where MetS prevalence is high. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 151 children aged 7-12 years and 346 parents from the capitals of Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Chiapas State, Mexico. We quantified LTL by qPCR on DNA extracted from whole blood. In children, we created an age- and sex-standardized metabolic risk score using waist circumference (WC), the homeostasis model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), blood pressure, serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and serum triglycerides. In adults, MetS was defined according to the National Cholesterol Education Program's Adult Treatment Panel III definition. We estimated mean differences in metabolic risk score and prevalence ratios of MetS across quartiles of LTL using multivariable-adjusted linear and Poisson regression models, respectively. RESULTS: In children, every 1 LTL z-score was related to an adjusted 0.05 units lower (95% CI: -0.09, -0.02, P = 0.005) MetS risk score, through WC, HOMA-IR, and HDL. Among adults, LTL was not associated with MetS prevalence; however, every 1 LTL z-score was associated with an adjusted 34% lower prevalence of high fasting glucose (95% CI: 3%, 55%, p = .03). CONCLUSIONS: Among Mesoamerican children, LTL is associated with an improved metabolic profile; among adults, LTL is inversely associated with the prevalence of high fasting glucose.

10.
Zootaxa ; 4916(1): zootaxa.4916.1.1, 2021 Jan 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33756683

ABSTRACT

The genus Zagrammosoma Ashmead (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) is revised. Twenty-six species are recognized, of which 23 have been molecularly verified in a phylogenetic context using 28S, ITS2, and COI. Zagrammosoma is recovered as monophyletic, worldwide in distribution, and morphologically distinct from Cirrospilus Westwood. Zagrammosoma interlineatum Girault stat. rev. is elevated from synonymy. The following synonymies are proposed: Zagrammosoma mirum Girault under Zagrammosoma flavolineatum Crawford n. syn., Zagrammosoma dulanense Cao Zhu under Zagrammosoma talitzkii Boucek n. syn. The following species are described as new: Zagrammosoma calvini Perry n. sp. (Argentina, Chile), Zagrammosoma deliae Perry n. sp. (Peru), Zagrammosoma fisheri Perry n. sp. (USA), Zagrammosoma galapagoense Perry n. sp. (Ecuador: Galapagos Islands), Zagrammosoma headricki Perry n. sp. (Mexico, USA), Zagrammosoma metallicum Perry n. sp. (USA), Zagrammosoma occidentale Perry n. sp. (Mexico, USA), Zagrammosoma triangulum Perry n. sp. (USA), Zagrammosoma trifurcatum Perry n. sp. (Belize, USA), Zagrammosoma villosum Perry n. sp. (Nearctic, Neotropical), Zagrammosoma yanegai Perry n. sp. (Thailand). The following new combination is proposed: Cirrospilus variegatus (Masi) n. comb, from Zagrammosoma. Descriptions, distribution maps, host associations, and a key to all known species are provided.


Subject(s)
Phylogeny , Wasps/classification , Animal Distribution , Animals
11.
Conserv Biol ; 2021 Feb 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33538362

ABSTRACT

Developing-world shark fisheries are typically not assessed or actively managed for sustainability; one fundamental obstacle is the lack of species and size-composition catch data. We tested and implemented a new and potentially widely applicable approach for collecting these data: mandatory submission of low-value secondary fins (anal fins) from landed sharks by fishers and use of the fins to reconstruct catch species and size. Visual and low-cost genetic identification were used to determine species composition, and linear regression was applied to total length and anal fin base length for catch-size reconstruction. We tested the feasibility of this approach in Belize, first in a local proof-of-concept study and then scaling it up to the national level for the 2017-2018 shark-fishing season (1,786 fins analyzed). Sixteen species occurred in this fishery. The most common were the Caribbean reef (Carcharhinus perezi), blacktip (C. limbatus), sharpnose (Atlantic [Rhizoprionodon terraenovae] and Caribbean [R. porosus] considered as a group), and bonnethead (Sphyrna cf. tiburo). Sharpnose and bonnethead sharks were landed primarily above size at maturity, whereas Caribbean reef and blacktip sharks were primarily landed below size at maturity. Our approach proved effective in obtaining critical data for managing the shark fishery, and we suggest the tools developed as part of this program could be exported to other nations in this region and applied almost immediately if there were means to communicate with fishers and incentivize them to provide anal fins. Outside the tropical Western Atlantic, we recommend further investigation of the feasibility of sampling of secondary fins, including considerations of time, effort, and cost of species identification from these fins, what secondary fin type to use, and the means with which to communicate with fishers and incentivize participation. This program could be a model for collecting urgently needed data for developing-world shark fisheries globally. Article impact statement: Shark fins collected from fishers yield data critical to shark fisheries management in developing nations.

12.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis ; 15(2): e0009061, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33630829

ABSTRACT

Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus vector dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses. With both species expanding their global distributions at alarming rates, developing effective surveillance equipment is a continuing priority for public health researchers. Sound traps have been shown, in limited testing, to be highly species-specific when emitting a frequency corresponding to a female mosquito wingbeat. Determining male mosquito capture rates in sound traps based on lure frequencies in endemic settings is the next step for informed deployment of these surveillance tools. We field-evaluated Male Aedes Sound Traps (MASTs) set to either 450 Hz, 500 Hz, 550 Hz or 600 Hz for sampling Aedes aegypti and/or Aedes albopictus and compared catch rates to BG-Sentinel traps within Pacific (Madang, Papua New Guinea) and Latin American (Molas, Mexico and Orange Walk Town, Belize) locations. MASTs set to 450-550 Hz consistently caught male Ae. aegypti at rates comparable to BG-Sentinel traps in all locations. A peak in male Ae. albopictus captures in MASTs set at 550 Hz was observed, with the lowest mean abundance recorded in MASTs set to 450 Hz. While significantly higher abundances of male Culex were sampled in MASTs emitting lower relative frequencies in Molas, overall male Culex were captured in significantly lower abundances in the MASTs, relative to BG-Sentinel traps within all locations. Finally, significant differences in rates at which male Aedes and Culex were positively detected in trap-types per weekly collections were broadly consistent with trends in abundance data per trap-type. MASTs at 550 Hz effectively captured both male Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus while greatly reducing bycatch, especially male Culex, in locations where dengue transmission has occurred. This high species-specificity of the MAST not only reduces staff-time required to sort samples, but can also be exploited to develop an accurate smart-trap system-both outcomes potentially reducing public health program expenses.

13.
J Zoo Wildl Med ; 51(4): 856-867, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33480566

ABSTRACT

Dental and oral diseases are prevalent in many mammalian species including wild felids. Determining the dental and oral health status of captive animal populations can help establish preventive and therapeutic strategies, leading to improved welfare and conservation efforts. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of periodontal disease, endodontic disease, tooth resorption, and other clinically relevant dental and maxillofacial abnormalities in a population of captive jaguars (Panthera onca) using clinical, radiographic, and histopathological findings. Fifteen jaguars, ranging from young adult to geriatric, kept at a private zoo in Belize, Central America, had a detailed oral examination under general anesthesia between January 2015 and March 2019. Periodontitis was present in 3.8% (16/423) of examined teeth and 53.8% (7/13) of jaguars that underwent periodontal probing. Endodontic disease secondary to dentoalveolar trauma was found in 21.0% (89/423) of teeth in 73.3% (11/15) of animals. Tooth resorption, which has not been previously documented in jaguars, affected 1.4% (6/423) of teeth in 13.3% (2/15) of jaguars. Other abnormalities included metallic foreign material (gunshot) identified radiographically in 33.3% (5/15) of jaguars and nontraumatizing malocclusion in 9.1% (1/11) of jaguars that had occlusion evaluated. Much of the oral pathology identified in captive jaguars is suspected to arise from capture and/or captivity-associated behaviors, as suggested by gunshot around the oral cavity, fractures of rostral teeth (canine and incisor teeth), and abrasions consistent with cage-biting on canine teeth. Anesthetized oral examination-including full-mouth intraoral radiographs, periodontal probing, and charting-is recommended for jaguars with clinical signs of oral pain, as well as for routine systemic evaluation.


Subject(s)
Mouth Diseases/veterinary , Panthera , Tooth Diseases/veterinary , Animals , Animals, Zoo , Belize , Female , Male , Mouth Diseases/pathology , Tooth Diseases/pathology , Tooth Diseases/surgery
14.
Mil Med ; 2021 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33399869

ABSTRACT

This is a case report of a 42-year-old woman who presented to a clinic with a history of progressive left foot and ankle swelling. She had a suspected history of myectoma, but had never been officially diagnosed despite repeated cultures and debridements over the course of decades. The inciting event occurred approximately 30 years prior in her home country of Belize. Her wound culture revealed Scedosporium apiospermum as the causative agent. Treatment included surgical debridement and oral antifungal therapy. This case represents an interesting adjunct to the differential diagnosis for military physicians, as mycetomas are prevalent in many of the areas where our forces are deployed and may only present after the service member has left active service because of its naturally indolent course.

15.
Occup Ther Health Care ; : 1-11, 2021 Jan 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33511896

ABSTRACT

Service-learning and interprofessional education are forms of experiential learning that instill confidence in students. This pilot study used a post-service learning survey to explore the benefits of interprofessional education in a service-learning experience with students. Findings indicated that this service-learning experience contributed to the development of cultural awareness, and professional skills, as well as increased team attitudes and perceptions related to the respective roles of occupational and physical therapy students. The following report describes students' perspectives and satisfaction concerning professional development, interprofessional education, and cultural awareness utilizing quantitative and qualitative descriptors.

16.
Preprint | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20248872

ABSTRACT

In this work, we evaluated the levels of genetic diversity in 38 complete genomes of SARS-CoV-2 from five Central American countries (Belize, Guatemala, Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico) with 04, 10, 2, 8 and 14 haplotypes, respectively, with an extension of up to 29,885 bp. All sequences were publicly available on the National Biotechnology Information Center (NCBI) platform. Using specific methodologies for paired FST, AMOVA, mismatch, demographic-spatial expansion, molecular diversity and for the time of evolutionary divergence, it was possible to notice that only 79 sites remained conserved and that the high number of polymorphisms found helped to establish a clear pattern of genetic non-structuring, based on the time of divergence between the groups. The analyses also showed that significant evolutionary divergences within and between the five countries corroborate the fact that possible rapid and silent mutations are responsible for the increase in genetic variability of the Virus, a fact that would hinder the work with molecular targets for vaccines and medications in general.

17.
Mar Pollut Bull ; 163: 111938, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33348289

ABSTRACT

Ocean plastic pollution is a global problem that causes ecosystem degradation. Crucial knowledge gaps exist concerning patterns in microfiber abundance across regions and ecosystems, as well as the role of these pollutants within the environment. Here, we quantified the abundance of microfibers in coral samples collected from the Belize Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS) using a polarized light microscope and identified a subsample of these to the polymer level using an Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy microscope. Microfibers were found in all coral samples with rayon being identified as the most common microfiber, comprising 85% of quantified pollutants. We found a greater average abundance of microfibers in coral samples from the Sapodilla Cayes (296 ± SE 89) than in samples from the Drowned Cayes (75 ± SE 14), indicating spatial variation in microfiber abundance within coral tissue along the MBRS. These results demonstrate that corals on the Belize MBRS interact with microfibers and that microfiber abundance on reefs varies spatially due to point sources of pollution and local oceanography. As rayon from clothing typically enters the ocean through wastewater effluent, alterations to waste water infrastructure may prove useful in decreasing rayon pollution in coastal waters.


Subject(s)
Anthozoa , Animals , Belize , Coral Reefs , Ecosystem , Plastics
18.
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 21091, 2020 12 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33273575

ABSTRACT

Human-driven threats to coastal marine communities could potentially affect chemically mediated behaviours that have evolved to facilitate crucial ecological processes. Chemical cues and their importance remain inadequately understood in marine systems, but cues from coastal vegetation can provide sensory information guiding aquatic animals to key resources or habitats. In the tropics, mangroves are a ubiquitous component of healthy coastal ecosystems, associated with a range of habitats from river mouths to coral reefs. Because mangrove leaf litter is a predictable cue to coastal habitats, chemical information from mangrove leaves could provide a source of settlement cues for coastal fishes, drawing larvae towards shallow benthic habitats or inducing settlement. In choice assays, juvenile fishes from the Caribbean (Belize) and Indo-Pacific (Fiji) were attracted to cues from mangroves leaves and were more attracted to cues from mangroves distant from human settlement. In the field, experimental reefs supplemented with mangrove leaves grown away from humans attracted more fish recruits from a greater diversity of species than reefs supplemented with leaves grown near humans. Together, this suggests that human use of coastal areas alters natural chemical cues, negatively affecting the behavioural responses of larval fishes and potentially suppressing recruitment. Overall, our findings highlight the critical links that exist between marine and terrestrial habitats, and the importance of considering these in the broader conservation and management of coastal ecosystems.

19.
Virology ; 553: 117-121, 2020 Nov 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33271489

ABSTRACT

Davidson's-fixed paraffin-embedded (DFPE) shrimp tissue are a priceless biological resource for pathogen discovery and evolutionary studies for aquaculture disease diagnostic laboratories worldwide. Nucleic acids extracted from DFPE tissues are often not adequate for most downstream molecular analysis due to fragmentation and chemical modifications. In this study, next generation sequencing (NGS) was used to reconstruct the complete genome of three geographical isolates (Belize, Venezuela and Hawaii) of a ~10 kb length RNA virus of shrimp, Taura syndrome virus (TSV), from DFPE tissues that have been archived for 15 years. Phylogenetic analyses showed that TSV isolates from Belize, Venezuela and Hawaii formed well supported clusters with homologous isolates from the corresponding regions submitted in the GenBank database. This is the first study to demonstrate the utility of archived tissue samples for identification of RNA viruses and evolutionary studies involving a viral disease in crustaceans and opens an avenue for expediting pathogen discovery.

20.
Zootaxa ; 4877(1): zootaxa.4877.1.9, 2020 Nov 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33311332

ABSTRACT

Two new Eulophinae genera, Elasmarion and Celesterion, are described based on material from sweep-net and malaise trap samples mainly from Costa Rica. The new genera are each represented by a single species, both described here, E. longipes and C. reticulatum spp. nov. The material for both groups is abundant and strongly female biased, 119 females and two males in Elasmarion, and 63 females and two males in Celesterion. Elasmarion is similar to the Old World genus Eulophomorpha Dodd, and a table with distinguishing characters is included, it also has some morphological features similar to the genus Elasmus Westwood. Celesterion does not show close morphological similarity to any genus in the Eulophinae. The biology is unknown for both species.


Subject(s)
Hymenoptera , Animal Distribution , Animals , Female , Male
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