Year-round tracking of small trans-Saharan migrants using light-level geolocators

first_imgSince 1899 ringing (or banding) remained the most important source of information about migration routes, stopover sites and wintering grounds for birds that are too small to carry satellite-based tracking systems. Despite the large quantity of migrating birds ringed in their breeding areas in Europe, the number of ring recoveries from sub-Saharan Africa is very low and therefore the whereabouts of most small bird species outside the breeding season remain a mystery. With new miniaturized light-level geolocators it is now possible to look beyond the limits of ring recovery data. Here we show for the first time year round tracks of a near passerine trans-Saharan migrant, the European Hoopoe (Upupa epops epops). Three birds wintered in the Sahel zone of Western Africa where they remained stationary for most of the time. One bird chose a south-easterly route following the Italian peninsula. Birds from the same breeding population used different migration routes and wintering sites, suggesting a low level of migratory connectivity between breeding and wintering areas. Our tracking of a near passerine bird, the European Hoopoe, with light-level geolocators opens a new chapter in the research of Palaearctic-African bird migration as this new tool revolutionizes our ability to discover migration routes, stopover sites and wintering grounds of small birds.last_img read more

No evidence for fitness signatures consistent with increasing trophic mismatch over 30 years in a population of European shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis

first_img1. As temperatures rise, timing of reproduction is changing at different rates across trophic levels, potentially resulting in asynchrony between consumers and their resources. The match‐mismatch hypothesis (MMH) suggests that trophic asynchrony will have negative impacts on average productivity of consumers. It is also thought to lead to selection on timing of breeding, as the most asynchronous individuals will show the greatest reductions in fitness.2. Using a 30‐year individual‐level data set of breeding phenology and success from a population of European shags on the Isle of May, Scotland, we tested a series of predictions consistent with the hypothesis that fitness impacts of trophic asynchrony are increasing.3. These predictions quantified changes in average annual breeding success and strength of selection on timing of breeding, over time and in relation to rising sea surface temperature (SST) and diet composition.4. Annual average (population) breeding success was negatively correlated with average lay date yet showed no trend over time, or in relation to increasing SST or the proportion of principal prey in the diet, as would be expected if trophic mismatch was increasing. At the individual level, we found evidence for stabilising selection and directional selection for earlier breeding, although the earliest birds were not the most productive. However, selection for earlier laying did not strengthen over time, or in relation to SST or slope of the seasonal shift in diet from principal to secondary prey. We found that the optimum lay date advanced by almost four weeks during the study, and that the population mean lay date tracked this shift.5. Our results indicate that average performance correlates with absolute timing of breeding of the population, and there is selection for earlier laying at the individual level. However, we found no fitness signatures of a change in the impact of climate‐induced trophic mismatch, and evidence that shags are tracking long‐term shifts in optimum timing. This suggests that if asynchrony is present in this system, breeding success is not impacted. Our approach highlights the advantages of examining variation at both population and individual levels when assessing evidence for fitness impacts of trophic asynchrony.last_img read more

Dixie State Men’s Basketball Signs Juco Transfer Tuesday

first_imgJudkins said he’s excited to see what Greene can bring to the table and believes he can step in [to the program] and play right away. Greene led the Cardinals by shooting 69.3 percent from the field and scored in double figures 16 times last season. Brad James FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailST. GEORGE, Utah-Tuesday, Dixie State men’s basketball head coach Jon Judkins announced the signing of junior college power forward Jarod Greene. Tags: Dixie State men’s basketball/Jarod Greene/Jon Judkins/North Idaho Cardinalscenter_img May 21, 2019 /Sports News – Local Dixie State Men’s Basketball Signs Juco Transfer Tuesday Written by Greene, a 6-8 prospect out of Blackfoot, Idaho and North Idaho College, played the past two seasons for the Cardinals, leading them to an undefeated 16-0 divisional record and an overall 31-2 record in 2018-19.last_img read more

Associate or Full Professor – Chicanx/Latinx Health and Wellness

first_imgDepartment SummaryThe Department of Chicana andChicano Studies (CCS) at San José State University (SJSU) seeksqualified applicants for a full-time Associate or Full Professorwith a specialization in the area of Chicanx/Latinx Health andWellness.CCS at SJSU was created in 1968, making it the oldest graduateprogram in Chicanx Studies in the country. Our mission is to serveSJSU students and diverse communities through an interdisciplinaryChicanx Studies program based on principles of social justice. Weoffer three degree programs: A master’s degree with emphases inPolicy, Education, and Comparative Ethnic Studies; a newundergraduate major with emphases in Cultural and CreativeExpression, Institutions and Community Engagement, andTransnationalism and Global Relations; and a popular undergraduateminor that draws students from across the university. Ourcurriculum prepares students to critically examine and creativelyrespond to intellectual traditions and contemporary issuesresulting from race, class, and gender intersections inChicanx/Latinx and other communities. Graduates of our program havelaunched careers in teaching, social services, public policy,health care, government, and community service, as well as pursuedadvanced degrees in programs such as Education, History, SocialWork, and Feminist Studies, becoming the next generation of CCSeducators and community leaders.Addressing the racial and ethnic realities of our students andcommunities, CCS has seen significant growth in recent years interms of both faculty hiring and student enrollment. CCS facultyregularly connect with students and our broader campus communitythrough an exciting new series of weekly Pláticas that highlighttheir wide-ranging interest and expertise. In addition, our facultyconnect their research and teaching to our campus and localcommunities through partnerships with the Chicanx/Latinx StudentSuccess Center, UndocuSpartan Center, Culture Counts ReadingSeries, Young Women’s Freedom Center, and more. As the flagshipEthnic Studies department within the College of Social Sciences(CoSS), CCS is a vital part of SJSU.SJSU and CoSS are committed to growing Ethnic Studies more broadly.In 2018, CoSS launched the Ethnic Studies Collaborative (ESC),bringing together faculty, staff, and students to highlight theresearch and leadership contributions of SJSU’s Ethnic Studiesprograms and departments. The ESC includes the Department ofAfrican American Studies, Department of Chicana and ChicanoStudies, and the Program of Asian American Studies; it serves asthe nexus for Ethnic Studies faculty, student, and communitycollaboration at SJSU. The ESC supports Ethnic Studies curricularand co-curricular projects that address issues of settlercolonialism, racial capitalism, immigration, and racialization,with a focus on the comparative histories and experientialknowledges of marginalized racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.,including but not limited to Native Americans/American Indians;Black and African Americans; Chicanxs and Latinxs; NativeHawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Indigenous peoples of Oceania andother nations; and Asian Americans. The ESC is also currentlyplaying a key role in shaping the implementation of AB 1460, theCSU graduation requirement in Ethic Studies.Required Qualifications Compensation – Commensurate with qualifications andexperience. See Benefits Summary for details.Starting Date – August 2021Eligibility – Employment is contingent upon proof ofeligibility to work in the United States.Application ProcedureClick Apply Now to complete the SJSU Online Employment Applicationand attach the following documents by February 1, 2021 for fullconsideration: Preferred Qualifications Develop and teach courses in Chicanx/Latinx Health and Wellnessat both the undergraduate and graduate levels that align with theapplicant’s training and interests.Engage in student recruitment and retention efforts.Support the development of the CSU Ethnic Studies graduationrequirement through course development and advising. This workinvolves crossing disciplines and active engagement with diversegroups and individuals.Scholarly and professional contributions are expected fortenure and promotion.Participate in shared governance, usually in department,college, and university committee and other serviceassignments.Demonstrate awareness and experience understanding the needs ofa student population of great diversity – in age, culturalbackground, ethnicity, primary language and academic preparation –through inclusive course materials, teaching strategies andadvisement. A Ph.D. (or equivalent) from an accredited institution inChicanx/Latinx Studies, public health, sociology of health, medicalanthropology, health policy or related fieldsDemonstrated commitment to teaching excellenceA record of research productivity, as might be demonstratedthrough peer-reviewed publications or presentations appropriate foran associate or full professorDemonstrated communication and interpersonal skillsDemonstrated awareness of and sensitivity to the educationalgoals of a multicultural population as might have been gained incross-cultural study, training, teaching and other comparableexperience. Administrative or managerial experience (for example, programdevelopment, budget oversight, supervising office staff,etc.) Responsibilities letter of interestcurriculum vitaestatement of teaching interests/philosophy (2 pages)statement of research plans (2 pages)diversity statement (2 pages)three references with contact information Inquires may be directed to Professor Maria Luisa Alaniz, Chair ofRecruitment Committee ( [email protected] ).The UniversitySan José StateUniversity enrolls over 35,700 students, a significantpercentage of whom are members of minority groups. As such, thisposition is for scholars interested in a career at a nationalleader in graduating URM students. SJSU is a Hispanic ServingInstitution (HSI) and Asian American and Native American PacificIslander (AANAPISI) Serving Institution; 40% of our students arefirst-generation, and 38% are Pell-qualified. The university iscurrently ranked third nationally in increasing student upwardmobility. The University is committed to increasing the diversityof its faculty so our disciplines, students, and the community canbenefit from multiple ethnic and gender perspectives.San José State University is California’s oldest institution ofpublic higher learning. Located in downtown San José (Pop.1,000,000) in the heart of Silicon Valley, SJSU is part of one ofthe most innovative regions in the world. As Silicon Valley’spublic university, SJSU combines dynamic teaching, research, anduniversity-industry experiences to prepare students to address thebiggest problems facing society. SJSU is a member of the 23-campusCalifornia State University (CSU) system.Equal Employment StatementSan José State University is an Affirmative Action/EqualOpportunity Employer. We consider qualified applicants foremployment without regard to race, color, religion, nationalorigin, age, gender, gender identity/expression, sexualorientation, genetic information, medical condition, maritalstatus, veteran status, or disability. This policy applies to allSan José State University students, faculty, and staff as well asUniversity programs and activities. Reasonable accommodations aremade for applicants with disabilities who self-disclose. Note thatall San José State University employees are considered mandatedreporters under the California Child Abuse and Neglect ReportingAct and are required to comply with the requirements set forth inCSU Executive Order 1083 as a condition of employment.Additional InformationA background check (including a criminal records check) must becompleted satisfactorily before any candidate can be offered aposition with the CSU. Failure to satisfactorily complete thebackground check may affect the application status of applicants orcontinued employment of current CSU employees who apply for theposition.Advertised: November 27, 2020 (9:00 AM) Pacific StandardTimeApplications close:last_img read more

Pepper spray attack at restaurant

first_imgFour students have been assaulted in a random pepper spray attack at a Chinese restaurant on Cowley Road.Stunned students were hospitalised after two men, described by police as white youths, sprayed the party-goers at private karaoke party.Three restaurant staff in Lan Kwai Fong restaurant were also assaulted after they tried to intervene in the incident at 10pm on Saturday.A barmaid at the restaurant said, “we heard some noise in the karaoke room so our staff tried to stop the men.“One of them was punching a customer. When we tried to stop them, they sprayed us with pepper spray.”Restaurant owner David Chu was left shaken by the experience. He told the Oxford Mail, “we tried to stop them, but we couldn’t, because they were spraying us as well… one of my colleagues found it difficult to breathe.”His staff were also left traumatized by the attack. Mr Chu added, “the girls were quite scared, they were in pain … they went to hospital, because the police didn’t know what kind of spray had been used.”One passer-by described the aftermath of the incident.She said, “there was a big group of Chinese people outside the restaurant. Some of them were clutching their eyes, and being questioned by police.”Chu suspects that the attack might be racially motivated. He commented, “the people in the private function room were Oriental, so it might be racist. It’s just Chinese people here, so I can’t think of any other explanation.”He also suggested that the attack may have been premeditated, “the two people who did this were prepared. People don’t carry pepper spray around with them normally”.Thames Valley police have not ruled out racist motives. A spokesman described the attack as a “peculiar incident.” He stressed that the police were “keeping an open mind.” No one has yet been arrested in connection with the assault.The restaurant has since introduced CCTV in the hope that this will deter future attackers.last_img read more

Double Duchy as bakery expands

first_imgDuchy Originals has doubled production at its bakery since opening the plant in June.The Cornish bakery has also increased its workforce, from 14 to 20 people, to keep up with production after signing a deal last month to supply more than 100 Sainsbury’s stores.It already sells to Waitrose and Budgens with a range of 10 products including steak and cheese & onion pasties, lemon and fruit tarts and organic Cornish pasties. A new meat pie range will be launched in Waitrose next month.”Distribution has greatly increased and the bakery is doing very well,” said a spokeswoman. “We supply quite a few stores but we hope to sell into others in the future. It is early days but there is definitely potential to expand.”The 10,000sq ft bakery was built in Launceston last year.The bakery – owned by the Prince of Wales’ estate – continues to source locally as much as possible and buys all its cream and milk from Cornish Organics and the meat for pies and pasties from Organic Livestock Farmers’ Co-operative of Cornwall and Devon.Duchy Originals was set up by Prince Charles in 1990 to fund his charitable trust.last_img read more

M&S takes profit hit

first_imgMarks & Spencer (M&S) has seen profit before tax down £122.6m on last year, despite strong like-for-like food sales.The retailer achieved profit before tax of £658.0m (2011: £780.6m) in the full year to 31 March 2012. Underlying profit before tax was £705.9m, down from £714.3m last year.Its total food sales in the UK were up 3.9%, with like-for-like growth of 2.1%. Overall group sales increased 2% to £9.9bn.M&S said it had improved the quality of many of its existing products during the year, without increasing price. For example it upped the prawn content of its prawn mayo sandwich by 40%, which increased sales by 21%.In its 15 pilot stores launched last November, which feature new-style artisan bakeries, sales have been 2.5% ahead of the control group in the first six months of trading.Marc Bolland, chief executive, said that while the economic environment had deteriorated since M&S first set out its strategic plans, “we have made significant progress”.“Our UK pilot stores are delivering good results, which has given us the confidence to launch phase two of the programme. We are well on track to become a truly international multi-channel retailer. “By the end of this year we will be transacting from 10 websites worldwide and opening around 100 international stores per year.”last_img read more

Lean in, speak out

first_imgIn one of their final events together, Harvard College seniors huddled over hot beverages at Tercentenary Theatre Wednesday afternoon as they also drank in some clear-eyed wisdom about confronting hard truths, delivered by corporate executive and author Sheryl Sandberg during the annual Class Day ceremonies.The chief operating officer at Facebook, Sandberg ’91, M.B.A. ’95, is best known to the public as the author of “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” an influential 2013 best-seller-turned-cultural-phenomenon that urged women to step confidently into leadership roles. The book ignited a spirited international conversation about feminism and the workplace.“We don’t always see the hard truths, and once we see them, we don’t always have the courage to speak out. When my classmates and I were in college, we thought the fight for gender equality was won … Sure, most of the leaders in every industry were men, but we thought changing that was just a matter of time. We didn’t need feminism because we were already equals,” she said. “We were wrong; I was wrong. The world was not equal then, and it is not equal now.”Sandberg is a highly visible and vocal member of a growing coterie of powerful women who head global brands in technology and manufacturing from executive suites historically reserved for men. Before joining Facebook in 2008, Sandberg was vice president of global online sales and operations at Google, and held senior positions at the U.S. Treasury Department and the World Bank.“Yes, there are women who run Fortune 500 companies — 5 percent, to be precise — but our road there is still paved with words like ‘pushy’ and ‘bossy,’ while our male peers are ‘leaders’ and ‘results-focused,” she said.Wet weather and chilly temperatures didn’t stop the cameras from clicking. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerRecounting a favorite sign in the office that reads “Nothing at Facebook is someone else’s problem,” she said, “I hope you feel that way about the problems you see in the world, because they are not someone else’s problem. Gender inequality hurts men along with women. Racism hurts whites along with minorities, and the lack of equal opportunity hurts all of us from realizing our true potential.“The first time I spoke out about what it was like to be a woman in the workforce was less than five years ago. That means for 18 years, from where you sit to where I stand, my silence implied that everything was OK,” Sandberg said. “You can do better than I did.”Sandberg also urged students to be honest with themselves and each other, noting that asking for — and accepting — feedback is a critical professional skill to master. “Ask them for the truth because it will help you, and when they answer honestly, know that that is what makes them your friends.”She recalled her arrival at Harvard in the fall of 1987 as a freshman from Miami with big hair and white leg warmers. She thought she was destined for law school. “I knew exactly where I was headed; I had it all figured out,” Sandberg said, noting that less than 18 months after graduation, she ended up at Harvard Business School and never had truly envisioned where she is today.“There is no straight path from your seat today to where you are going. Don’t try to draw that line,” she said. “You will not just get it wrong, you’ll miss big opportunities, and I mean big, like the Internet.”Sheryl Sandberg Class Day Speech Facebook COO, author, and Harvard alumna Sheryl Sandberg ’91, M.B.A. ’95 addresses graduating seniors at Harvard’s Senior Class Day ceremony on May 28, 2014 at Tercentenary Theatre.In his last address to students, interim Dean Donald Pfister reflected on his time chatting with and advising students, attending their performances, firing off emails to them and, when some looked like they could use a cupcake, happily bringing them a few.Pfister laid out the sequence of Thursday’s Commencement for the students, where he will first attest to the University’s senior leadership that all have fulfilled the requirements for degrees in the Arts and Sciences — “At that point, there is no going back. We have given away your room,” he teased — before pronouncing each graduate ready “to advance knowledge, to promote understanding, and to serve society.”“What we are certifying, and my deepest hope, is that as you go out from Harvard, you will indeed advance, promote, and serve,” he said.Rakesh Khurana, the Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School, professor of sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and co-master of Cabot House, will become dean of Harvard College in July.Along with Sandberg, Harvard orators Adam J. Conner ’14 and Christie L. DiSilvestro ’14, and Ivy orators Zachary W. Guzman ’14 and Jenna D. Martin ’14, spoke of their Harvard experiences.Majahonkhe Shabangu and Sarah Rosenkrantz were named winners of the Ames Award, an honor given to a woman and a man in the senior class whose displays of heroic character and enthusiasm in helping others had gone unacknowledged. The award is given in memory of Richard Glover Ames and Henry Russell Ames, Harvard students and brothers who perished while trying to save their father, who had fallen overboard during a storm off the coast of Newfoundland in 1935. <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKII4AwLKkU” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/ZKII4AwLKkU/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

The mystery of the lake

first_img A fresh-caught carp gasps and blinks in a fish market in Chapala, Mexico. The study identified carp as the fish that women of childbearing age should avoid. Fourth in a series on Harvard’s deepening connections to Mexico.CHAPALA, Mexico — Juan de Dios, age 4, was playing outside when his mother, Maria Dolores León Torres, called him back into the living room of their compact stone house. Glumly, he sat on the sofa between his mother and grandmother. On the pink wall were pictures of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, and another of Maria Dolores on her wedding day.Even before he was born, Juan de Dios was the subject of an important local public health study. Conducted by researchers at Harvard University and elsewhere, the survey asked a basic question: Is it safe for pregnant mothers to eat fish from nearby Lake Chapala? Earlier studies had hinted that its fish — a key source of protein for the poor — contained high levels of methyl mercury, a neurotoxin linked to long-term cognitive and behavioral deficits in children. Investigators needed to determine if that was true to safeguard public health locally.“It wasn’t easy,” said Harvard’s Enrique Cifuentes of executing the complex study, which began as a pilot in 2007 and reached full bloom between 2010 and 2013. “There were many concerns. These ‘risk communications’ are inherently volatile.”For a culinary culture in which fish are fundamental, the investigation required hurdling local fear and skepticism to recruit health workers, enlist Mexican university researchers, and survey pregnant women from communities surrounding the lake.Early outreach proved fruitful in winning local families’ trust. Leon Torres was one of 300 women recruited for a study of their first trimester of pregnancy. “All our lives we’ve eaten fish, because my father was a fisherman,” she said. “We’ve never gotten ill.”The mothers provided their medical histories and gave samples of their hair, blood, and urine. They agreed to clinic visits, and after giving birth to have their children undergo complex developmental evaluations.“We tracked their eating habits, rhythms of life, and how exposed they were to contaminants,” said Guadalajara native Sofia Reynoso Delgado, an investigator with Proyecto Chapala and chief community coordinator for collecting data from the mothers. Diving into Lake Chapala A shoreline view of Lake Chapala, the largest freshwater lake in Mexico and a breadbasket of protein in a region where 60 percent of 300,000 citizens live below the poverty line. Maria Dolores León Torres (left), at home with her family in the La Vista neighborhood of Chapala, Mexico. She and her son Juan de Dios, age 4 (center), were part of a Harvard study investigating suspected contamination in fish from Lake Chapala. “We haven’t ever gotten ill,” she said. Photos by Ned Brown/Harvard Staffcenter_img In a health clinic in Jocotepec, Mexico, 11-month-old Genesis laughs at the sound of plastic blocks — part of a test series called the Bayley Scales of Infant Development used to assess language, cognition, and motor skills in children to age 3. In the Harvard study, 167 such tests were done. Environmental mission, ethical imperativeProyecto Chapala had an environmental mission that was wrapped within an ethical imperative, said Reynoso. “From the moment a mother is giving life, [she] has the right to a healthy pregnancy,” she said. From that first study on fish, propelled in part by Harvard researchers, a constellation of projects has since grown, all centered on children and environmental conditions in the region, all pointed toward improving daily life for area inhabitants, bit by bit.In Chapala’s La Vista neighborhood, cobbled narrow streets are lined on each side with family-built houses of rough brick. Young women walk past, swinging telltale blue pails that denote a daily trip to collect free milk from a local social center. Plastic bags are nailed high on trees or hooked over fences, a way of keeping rodents away from garbage.La Vista, with its namesake beautiful views and impoverished residents, is like much of Mexico: lovely and poor. Half of all Mexicans live below the poverty line. Nationally, the median household income is about $260 a month. In the Lake Chapala region, home to 300,000 people, 60 percent are poor, and 13 percent live in extreme poverty.In the face of such economic hardship, people seem both fatalistic and big-hearted. Retired bus driver Ernesto Meza Valdivia leaned on a park balustrade at La Vista’s highest point, looking down on a picturesque tumble of pastel houses that led to the glittering lake below. “Panoramica Chapala,” he said, with church bells tolling behind him. “It is beautiful. God’s hand is in everything.”In towns along the lake, God’s hand has meant abundant fish. The first panel of a historical mural on a busy street in Chapala depicts early natives hauling their catches from the lake in tall baskets. Three of the mural’s eight panels are about fishing.Cifuentes, a physician who had a family practice in rural Mexico before earning a Ph.D., is principal research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Collaborating with him in the mercury study were onetime pediatrician Felipe Lozano-Kasten, now a professor of public health at the University of Guadalajara, and Leonardo Trasande of the Department of Pediatrics at the New York University School of Medicine, who tracked hair, blood, and urine samples. Over two years, HSPH neurologist David C. Bellinger, a professor of neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital, trained a cohort of Mexican psychologists to assess development in toddlers.At the heart of the investigation was a culture centered on the abundance of the 700-square-mile lake, the largest freshwater body in Mexico. For centuries, families have relied on cod, tilapia, and tiny charales as a main source of inexpensive protein.Lake Chapala’s professional fishermen, called pescadores, set out in their boats at 4 every morning to drag in a catch with nets or harvest fish from farms they block off in the 14-foot water. By 7 or 8 a.m. the fish are in local markets, so fresh they are still flopping and gasping on iced tables.Some customers prefer buying from fishermen directly, and returning home to prepare the fish for the day’s meals. On a narrow road near the town square in Jocotepec, a woman sat in the shade of a tree, filleting fish that lay wriggling in a wheelbarrow. In half an hour, the fish would be ceviche, bits of raw fillet mixed with lime, diced onion, salt, and cilantro. Or they would be breaded and fried whole.At one sitting, said boatman Jose Francisco Castro Estrada, it’s routine for him to eat three or four helpings of tilapia.Fish from the lake also supply most of the income for fish merchants in towns like Chapala, where shoppers at a second-floor fish market milled at tables heaped with the morning’s catch. On a good day, said Juan Ramon Mendoza Campos, a burly salesman, he will sell 130 pounds of local fish.So the mercury study was a concern for residents of the lake basin, possibly threatening two main engines of life: money and food.Study proved reassuringIn the end, though, the study proved reassuring. In a paper to be published in a journal this fall, Cifuentes and his co-authors aver that eating Lake Chapala white fish like tilapia and charales at least once a week is healthy for women of reproductive age and for pregnant mothers. Other people can eat fish more often than that.“That reflects a global consensus on the consumption of fish during pregnancy,” said Cifuentes, who for several years traveled to the lake region, often with Harvard and Guadalajara graduate students in tow. They helped collect fish, lake sediments, and medical samples.As for the study’s developmental testing, it revealed no negative effects on cognition, language, or motor skills among infants. That result, said University of Guadalajara psychologist Leonor Lozano, was “very positive news for the people of the communities surrounding Lake Chapala.”But the study did say that women of childbearing age should avoid eating carp, carnivorous fish, and bottom feeders that may contain elevated levels of mercury. In hundreds of fish assayed, said Cifuentes, only carp — and just a few of those — showed risky levels of mercury.“Fortunately, we have very good news,” he said of the three-year study’s bottom line. “Keep eating fish. But women of childbearing age should eat only the right ones.”The carp breed in Lake Chapala’s most polluted area, an effluvial patch near the mouth of the Rio Lerma, which exits into the lake after starting near Mexico City and coursing through 470 miles of landscape. Lining the river basin along the way are farms, but also polluting industries related to petrochemicals, meat, beverages, and leather goods. Environmentalists use a Spanish phrase for Lerma, “water for crying.”Water levels in Lake Chapala affect pollution levels and fishing. If they are low, toxins become more concentrated, and fishing is poor. The lake’s water levels are determined by the weather and by how much water the city of Guadalajara draws off. Heavy rain in September brought Chapala to about 80 percent of its optimal water level.Even when the catch is abundant, eating local white fish just once a week doesn’t sound like enough for pregnant women. But study data showed there are abundant local sources of protein beyond fish, including chicken, pork, and beans. Luckily, vegetables and fruits are also relatively cheap and abundant in the Lake Chapala watershed.Maria Clara Claro Moreno, the mother of 4-year-old Juan Pablo, lives in La Vista and also participated in the study, taking lessons from it. Like other mothers, she made adjustments in her family’s cooking and eating. Clara doesn’t make fish broth anymore, and “even though the head is our favorite, and we used to argue over who got to eat it,” she said, “we try not to eat it anymore.”But the mercury investigation was never just about suspected contamination in fish. It had a wider set of missions: to empower local citizens, share environmental lessons, and educate children to manage the future. In addition, it aimed to prepare a group of collaborators who are decision-makers, citizens, and academics, and who would share what they know and learn. The groups “discuss the realities,” said Lozano-Kasten, “and we build a better reality together.”Presentations to communitiesIn 2010, Proyecto Chapala started a weekly series of hour-long presentations in six communities along the lake, discussing environmental contaminants, strategies for minimizing exposure, and other issues related to the heart of the project: protecting children and their mothers. Few men attended. Proyecto Chapala researcher Gabriela Luna Hernandez, a master’s degree student in nutrition at the University of Guadalajara, said, “The mother is the center of food, the center of health, and the center of culture.”The classes became the foundation for Taller Medio Ambiente e Infancia, a three-month, 40-hour program in environmental health, with certificates awarded at the end. “It’s a way of empowering the mothers,” said Lozano-Kasten, who ran many of the sessions. It’s also a way of transferring academic knowledge into a practical arena, like childrearing. A scientist “has stuff published in a journal,” he said, which local people never read. “Knowledge has to be useful.”By 2011, the educational outreach had expanded to installing EcoSan dry sanitation toilets and enhanced hand-washing facilities in four area primary schools serving about 1,000 children. The effort was a way to conserve water, to teach children basic hygiene habits, and to impart environmental lessons.“Schools are a good place to build principles,” said Cifuentes, including an appreciation of sanitation systems that may protect Lake Chapala by eliminating discharges into it. “We want to teach children that water is not for conveying waste.”Instead, that waste is put to work. At the primary school in El Molino, a hillside town of 1,300 far above the lake, janitor Benjamin Delgadillo explained how solid waste in the toilets is dusted with ash or sawdust and stored for several months, and how it emerges as compost. Urine is captured too, diluted, and decanted, and finally repurposed as fertilizer.Before dry sanitation toilets were installed, the school used 3,000 liters of water a day, pumped far uphill from the lake at great cost or trucked to the site. After four Eco-San toilets were installed, said school director Mayra Berenice Garcia Ramirez, water use fell to 700 liters a day.The school also now captures rainwater in three 3,000-liter cisterns, said Ana Karina Garcia Suarez, a University of Guadalajara physician with a master’s degree in environmental health. She is chief environment educator for primary schools in the Chapala region. Her job, new since the study began, is one of the ways Proyecto Chapala continues to improve life on the lake. These are initiatives “beyond the clinic experience,” said Lozano-Kasten, and that go “deeper into the local culture.”On the scholarly side, there are other studies planned for the Chapala region, including one on exposure to pesticides, another on the long-term effects of plastic leachates, and a third on pregnancy rates among adolescents in the region. With the mercury study completed, said Lozano-Kasten, “the systems and methods are in place” for future investigations.“If you reach the children and their mothers,” said Lozano-Kasten, “the project has succeeded.”Harvard President Drew Faust, University administrators, and faculty members are in Mexico this week for a series of meetings, tours, and alumni events. Read about the trip here. Ramon Mendoza (center) with his family at the fish market stand he founded in Chapala, Mexico. last_img read more

Saint Mary’s names comedian as in-residence visiting artist

first_imgWriter, comedian and actress Casey Whitaker is this year’s Margaret M. Hill visiting artist in residence, an annual series made possible by a gift from Hill, an alumna and Broadway producer, according to a College press release.“Saint Mary’s is forever grateful to Peggy Hill for her gift to the College which allows us to, year after year, host artists who coach and instruct our students,” professor of theater Katie Sullivan said in the release. “The students receive advice about how to make their way in the professional theater world. They also have the opportunity to ask the artists various questions about their technique, particular roles or scripts or shows, how to balance career and personal life and how to take the first steps after college.”According to the release, Whitaker trained with Second City in Chicago and has toured with Second City’s Shred Co. for the past three years. In addition to her work as a performer, Whitaker is a freelance comedy writer for the card game, Utter Nonsense: an Inappropriate Accent Game.Currently, Whitaker is directing Saint Mary’s theater students in their spring production, a play she wrote called “Lucky, Liar, Loser.”  The play will run from April 27-30 in Little Theater.“Lucky, Liar, Loser” tells the story of the aftermath abuse takes on nine women, according to the press release. The play includes sketches, shadow puppetry and modern dance and includes choreography by Hannah Fischer, a 2011 alumna.“The play presents a uniquely complex mix of the serious and the comic that is always unexpected, creative and highly theatrical,” Mark Abram-Copenhaver, associate professor of theater, said in the release. “‘Lucky, Liar, Loser’ is a sophisticated treatment of this emotionally charged and current subject matter.” Tags: Casey Whitaker, Margaret M. Hill Visiting Artist, Second Citylast_img read more