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first_imgThe great whales are carnivores, feeding on tiny, shrimp-like animals such as krill. Moreover, the microbes that live in whales’ guts — the microbiome — resemble those of other meat-eaters.But scientists now have evidence that the whale microbiome shares traits with that of creatures not known to eat meat: cows.Scientists led by Peter Girguis, professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard, have found that the gut microbiome of right whales and other baleen species shares characteristics with those of both cows and meat-eating predators. The dual microbial communities allow whales to extract the most nutrition possible from their diet, digesting not only the copepods they eat, but their chitin-rich shells as well. The study is described in a Sept. 22 paper in Nature Communications.Among the co-authors of the paper are James McCarthy, professor of biological oceanography and Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography in the Museum of Comparative Zoology; Annabel Beichman ’14, now a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles; Joe Roman from the University of Vermont; Jarrod Scott and David Emerson, both from the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine; and Jon Sanders, a former graduate student in Girguis’ lab.“From one point of view, whales look like carnivores,” Girguis said. “They have the same kind of microbes that we find in lions and tigers that have very meat-rich diets. But they also have abundant communities of anaerobic bacteria, similar to those that [animals] use to break down cellulose.“However, there’s not a lot of cellulose in the ocean, but there is a lot of chitin, which is in the exoskeletons of copepods that baleen whales eat,” Girguis continued. “What our paper suggests is the whale foregut is much like a cow’s gut, and we posit that chitin-degrading anaerobic microbial community thrives in there, breaking down that material and making it available to the whale.”Those exoskeletons, Girguis said, represent as much as 10 percent of the whale’s total food intake, and would otherwise simply be defecated. By allowing whales to access the nutrition in the chitin-rich material, whales are able to extract the greatest possible benefit from their diet.“It’s almost like a pre-adaptation,” he said “that may give them a differential advantage in harnessing energy from their food. The morphology of their gut comes from their ancestors, the very same ancestors to cows, camels, and others. It serves them well as carnivores because it allows them to maximally extract nutrition from their food.”Ultimately, Girguis said, the study addresses questions that reach beyond the guts of whales.“This is really a question of what we can call phylogenetic inertia,” he said. “Because what we’re really thinking about is: When you look at the microbiome of an organism, you can, to some degree, look back in time and see its ancestors, because organisms that are related to one another seem to have similar microbiomes.“But not all organisms that are related live in the same kind of environment,” he continued. “So the question is, how different does your environment need to be before it changes your microbiome? This is a fundamental question about the relationship between your ancestry versus your current environment.”Many such questions might not have been asked, Girguis said, were it not for then-undergraduate Beichman. The second author of the study, Beichman kick-started the study when she and Roman took on the unenviable task of following pods of right whales at sea and collecting samples of their feces to determine which microbes were present.“There’s no other way to get the fecal samples but to collect them from the ocean,” Roman said.“It was a thrill to set out each morning into uncertain weather to search for elusive right whales, then to extract and sequence DNA from our smelly trophies,” Beichman said. “It had always been my passion to use the latest advances in genetic sequencing technology to answer questions about species of conservation concern, and so I wanted to add a genetic component to the study.“Working with my advisers to conceive the research questions based on the scientific literature, collect fecal samples in the field, and carry out DNA sequencing and analysis gave me invaluable experience at every stage of the study,” she added. “We all had different theories as to what the whale gut community might look like. What none of us expected was to see so much divergence from terrestrial mammals, or these shared characteristics with both terrestrial carnivores’ and herbivores’ microbiomes.”“Given what we know about whales’ ancestry — that they’re related to ruminants [animals that get nutrients from plants by fermenting them in an early stage stomach], and that they still have a multi-chambered foregut — there were several things we might find,” Girguis said. “One hypothesis was that their microbiome would look like those of other meat-eaters like lions and tigers, and the foregut was just vestigial. The other hypothesis was that it allowed a different group of microbes to do something we hadn’t thought about. What we found was that whales have a microbiome that looks halfway like a ruminant and halfway like a carnivore.”“We’ve come to better understand the evolution of whales over the past few decades, and see where they fit on the evolutionary tree. But we have not understood the microbial changes that have allowed them to become one of the most successful groups of animals in the ocean,” said Roman. “This study helps explain that.”Going forward, Girguis and colleagues hope to sample the microbial community in whales’ stomach chambers, and to extend the study to toothed whales, which don’t have such chitin-rich diets. The team also has drawn interest from aquariums, which may be able to use information about the gut microbes in whales to better care for animals kept in captivity.“A lot of aquariums … they know when their whales are healthy or not, but they don’t always have a causal factor, and these gut microbes may be a big clue,” Girguis said. “As long as people keep whales in captivity, there is value in this type of research, because it can keep them as healthy as possible.”While the study may not provide a definitive answer to questions of phylogenetic inertia, it does suggest that some morphological features, if they can provide an advantage, are retained, despite dramatic changes in a creature’s environment.“We now have this snapshot that addresses this question of how a creature’s evolutionary past interacts with its microbiome, and how its diet today influences its microbiome,” he said. “The answer is … if that morphological feature, if it has value to a species, then it may well be something that’s capitalized on over evolutionary time.”last_img read more

first_imgSpend your Halloween weekend in Virginia Beach, Virginia and experience the East Coast’s largest Halloween beach bash, the Anthem Wicked 10K presented by Bon Secours In Motion. Mark your calendar for October 26-27, 2018. You’ll be busy enjoying a boardwalk run beside the Atlantic Ocean followed by a post-race party on the beach. What more could you ask for? We’ve got a lot more!The Anthem Wicked 10K Weekend features a race for everyone: 10K, Mile, 1K for the kids, and a huge costume contest with cash prizes. Virginia Beach is the place to be Halloween weekend whether you’re planning a family getaway, a weekend for the girls, trying to run a personal best, or just want an excuse to wear a costume.Once you cross the finish line, a huge post-race party on the beach is waiting for you. We’ve got everything you need to celebrate your Spooktacular race. Live music from the 80s cover band, The Deloreans, brings the energy to this party, and Blue Moon beer and soup form Baker’s Crust are readily available to help you recover from your race. 1oK participants get 3 beers with their registration!But wait. There is still more! The weekend kicks off on Friday night, October 26th with the Old Point National Bank Monster Mile. Add the Monster Mile to your Wicked 10K registration to complete the Pumpkin Smash Challenge. This mile course runs under the lights on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and finishes with a post-race party at The Shack on 7th. Enjoy live entertainment and Blue Moon Beer at one of Virginia Beach’s local hangouts.Your Wicked weekend at the beach will be one for the record books. Remember your experience with the race swag you’ll receive: a race shirt, finisher medal, and finisher lunchbox.We can’t wait to see you in October. Wicked good times are guaranteed at the Anthem Wicked 10K Weekend.last_img read more

first_imgAll clubs are to be warned to follow the rules governing players suffering concussion following the controversy surrounding Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Spurs have defended their handling of the incident where manager Andre Villas-Boas allowed the Frenchman to remain on the pitch against Everton on Sunday despite having been knocked out in a collision with Romelu Lukaku’s knee and initially being unable to remember where he was. FIFA’s chief medical officer and the Professional Footballers’ Association say, under current regulations, that Lloris should have been substituted. Tottenham’s head of medical services Wayne Diesel said: “Once the relevant tests and assessments were carried out, we were totally satisfied that he was fit to continue playing.” FIFA’s chief medical officer, professor Jiri Dvorak, said if there is any doubt about concussion then the player should be removed from the field of play. Dvorak said there was a “99 per cent probability” that Lloris would have been concussed – and pointed out that Everton striker Lukaku needed an ice-pack on his knee afterwards. “The player should have been substituted,” Dvorak told Press Association Sport. “The fact the other player needed ice on his knee means it’s obvious the blow was extensive. “It’s a 99 per cent probability that losing consciousness in such an event will result in concussion.” Dvorak added that the player’s view should not be taken into account in such situations. He said: “When he has been knocked unconscious, the player himself may not see the reality. “I do not know the details but I know that the Premier League doctors are extremely good and I can imagine that the doctor may have recommended he be replaced. “We have a slogan: if there is any doubt, keep the player out.” Villas-Boas’ decision has been criticised as “dangerous” and “irresponsible” by brain injury charity Headway. Luke Griggs, spokesperson for Headway, said: “We are hugely concerned that a professional football club should take such an irresponsible and cavalier attitude to a player’s health.” The FA has detailed regulations on head injuries and concussion and, although it is understood the governing body is not investigating Tottenham’s handling of the incident, the rules state that anyone suffering unconsciousness should not play again that day. The rules do, however, allow for “a transient alteration of conscious level” following a head injury, which says a player can return to play following assessment by medical staff. Coincidentally, Lukaku was himself the centre of a concussion scare at West Ham earlier in the season when he suffered a blow to the head while scoring, but played on and afterwards said he could not remember anything about his goal. The international players’ union FIFPro also criticised Tottenham for allowing Lloris to continue. The incident was raised by PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor at a quarterly meeting with representatives from the Football Association, Premier League and Football League on Monday, where it was decided to remind clubs of the protocol for concussion. Taylor told Press Association Sport: “I watched the incident on television and I was surprised to say the least that he was allowed to stay on. “We are very concerned that the protocol that involves concussed players was not adhered to and I raised this at the meeting with the professional game’s stakeholders today, and the decision was taken to remind all clubs of the protocol. “Managers should not take these decisions in the heat of the moment and that needs reinforcing.” Taylor said the PFA wants the rules made even tougher so that any player who loses consciousness during a match should be automatically removed from the field of play rather than leaving it up to medical staff to make a decision. Lloris was unable to remember the incident and was taken for a brain scan but given the all-clear. Questions remain, though, over Villas-Boas’ decision. Immediately after the match he told Sky Sports: “The medical department was giving me signs that the player couldn’t carry on, because he couldn’t remember where he was.” In a statement, however, Tottenham said medical staff were “totally satisfied that he was fit to continue playing”. The club did not respond to further questions asking whether Lloris did in fact suffer concussion – under current rules that will require at least a week’s rest and further tests. Press Associationlast_img read more

first_imgAt USC, a school known for big-name Division I varsity sports, club sports generally get lost under a deluge of Rose Bowls, national championships and highly touted recruits. However, the USC boxing team, which started not so long ago as a couple of guys working out in the basement of a local gym, is exploding onto the regional boxing scene and is poised to make an impact on a national level.Twenty-five members attend the team’s two-hour Tuesday/Thursday practices on campus, and anywhere between five and 10 Trojans make the half-hour drive to Gio’s Brooklyn Boxing Club in Burbank, Calif., for a more intensive workout on Monday and Wednesday nights.Knockout · USC graduate student Jeff Sacha gives a teammate a blow to the face in the basement of PED. The team practices in the basement twice a week and goes off campus on two different days. – Photo courtesy of Evan Aguilar Four practices a week, runs to stay in shape and actual fights represent a high level of dedication for a club sport. The dedication makes sense — the boxing club is home to USC’s best boxers because the Trojans have no varsity boxing team.In fact, no school in the United States has one, since the NCAA outright banned collegiate boxing in the 1960s after a University of Wisconsin fighter collapsed during the NCAA championships and eventually died. The National Collegiate Boxing Association, which USC boxing belongs to, is the ruling organization for collegiate boxing — putting USC on a level playing field with any school in the United States.Led by coach Ramon Espada and current president Evan Aguilar, a junior majoring in business administration, the team is preparing for its showcase on Friday, the L.A. Collegiate Boxing Invitational at the Los Angeles Athletic club. This event will be the first annual tournament for collegiate boxers in California, comparable to similar established tournaments in New York, Detroit and Seattle.The USC boxing club has been the driving force behind the invitational, and to say it’s a big deal would be an understatement. The members will face off against fighters from crosstown rival UCLA and national champion West Point in a 10-bout event, headlined by the match between USC graduate student Jeff Sacha, who is studying sociology, and UCLA’s fighter Ian Cruz. Also fighting are USC students Garrick Lee, a senior majoring in fine arts and Elijah Oseguera, a senior majoring in international relations.The team has come a long way since its inauspicious beginnings in 2006. Current assistant coach Mike Evanisko met Espada upon moving to Southern California after college. The two became good friends as Evanisko started to box as an amateur. After working as a real estate agent, Evanisko decided to enter graduate school at USC. According to Evanisko, “Ramon lit up” and proposed starting a team, and the USC boxing club was born.To get recognized as a club sport, the duo needed more members to petition the idea to the university. Evanisko rounded up a few friends from the Marshall School of Business and submitted the application.“At first, there was really only one member,” Evanisko said. “The rest of the guys showed up a couple of times.”But the club grew and eventually had a group of 10 or so dedicated boxers training in the basement of a community center in South Central Los Angeles.At first, just Evanisko fought, winning bouts at San Jose State, Santa Clara and Reno.“At that point, it was just me and Ramon,” Evanisko said. “We’d leave L.A. as late as 10 or 12  most nights ­— I had school, and he had work. We’d drive through the night, find something to eat and somewhere to stay, and get ready for the fight.”Evanisko qualified for regionals in Las Vegas in 2007 but was paired up against one of the top fighters at the tournament and lost.NCBA rules state that graduate students only have one year of eligibility, so the next year USC lost its only competitive fighter. Despite the setback, which could have potentially dissolved the team, USC boxing continued to grow thanks to a dedicated core group of members. Every boxer who has served as president of the club is still involved with the team, and has been since the beginning.Then in 2008, Lee took over as president, and Espada remained as the coach. The club continued to grow, and jumped between gyms to accommodate its growing membership, moving from the L.A. Boxing Club, to the Sands Gym Downtown, to Wild Card, where Manny Pacquiao — one of the best boxers in the world — trains.Even with all the changes, the fighters have grown better and more consistent; two years ago, Sacha qualified for collegiate nationals in Maryland but couldn’t attend because of budget restrictions.USC boxing has taken off in the past few years, yet members still have lofty goals.“I’m hoping to send Jeff, Garrick, Elijah and Chris to the Western Collegiate Championships, and then maybe nationals,” Espada said.Espada believes at least one of the fighters has a shot at grabbing a national title this year. Now that they’ve starting hosting shows, Espada hopes to eventually host a regional or national championship here in Los Angeles.One of the problems USC boxing has faced is the lack of a consistent practice facility that is properly outfitted. Sacha solved that problem. USC boxing is working to build a gym at the Graf Pit at Pico Union, in exchange for teaching boxing classes to local kids. This would allow the team to not only have a steady, close practice facility but also to give back to the community and gain recognition.Espada has loftier goals for the future.“UNLV and UNR have big boxing gyms on campus, with all the gear they need, and around 100 fighters on the team,” he said. “We can do something like that.”One thing is for sure — the club is going nowhere but up.“This whole thing has been driven by Ramon,” Evanisko said. “As long as he’s here, the club will be around. He won’t let it die.”last_img read more

first_img Mark Moisley joins GBGB as Executive Commercial Director August 6, 2020 ARC confirms Belle Vue closure August 3, 2020 Related Articles Share Share StumbleUpon The future of Manchester’s Belle Vue Greyhound Stadium is to be decided today, which could see the track demolished and the site redeveloped to build 247 houses.The proposals made by Countryside Properties were recommended for approval by the local officer at Manchester’s Planning and Highways Committee earlier this week after a consultation report highlighted the track’s decline in revenues and footfall in recent years.Mark Bird, Managing Director of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), explained that the closure of the UK’s first purpose-built greyhound racing track would be a ‘massive loss for the sport’.He said: “It’s the only track in the North West of the country, the nearest tracks to that in the North West would possible Sheffield or even Shawfield in Scotland. The loss of a track in a big area such as that would be a massive loss for the sport, and also for the wider communities of people in and around Manchester and Liverpool too.”While the track’s future hangs in the balance, an online petition by the Save Belle Vue Stadium Action Group has continued to gain traction, having received circa 13,000 signatures in favour of saving the track.The report submitted to the Planning Committee ahead of today’s meeting revealed: “A detailed assessment has been made in respect of the harmful aspects of the material considerations in this case, mainly the loss of the existing local non-statutory heritage site, the loss of employment opportunities at the existing site and the potential highway impacts from additional congestion created by the proposed residential development.“However, on balance, this level of harm is considered to be outweighed by the benefits the proposed development would bring, in relation to the provision of good quality affordable residential accommodation, an improvement to the overall appearance of the site, the betterment to the ecological value of the site, and the reduction in the noise currently generated by the existing uses to the benefit of existing residents living around the site.“Therefore, although it is acknowledged that the proposed development would result in some harm, this harm does not outweigh the overall benefits of the proposals and the determination of the planning application in accordance with the up-to-date Development Plan.”Bird pointed out that in order to continue engaging with the local communities, and to reverse the decline in footfall, greyhound racing as a sport must reconsider the way that media rights deals are structured and shift the focus towards the entertainment side of racing.He continued: “Because of the way that media rights around greyhound racing have fashioned themselves over the last couple of years, there is less footfall across all of the tracks in the UK. So there are 21 tracks in England and Scotland, and it is something that we as the regulator of the sport are looking at in terms of how we can get more footfall into stadiums.“While most of the stadiums have things like restaurants, but it’s trying to draw that younger generation to the tracks and to get them enthused about the sport which is one of the biggest challenges. That is what we hope to achieve in the next couple of years.”Bird emphasised the social nature of the sport: “Most dog racing in the evening is between 6:30 and 10:30, and it is as much about the social aspects of going to the racing as it is about the actual races. If you are going to go dog racing, you’re more than likely going to take your friends and family with you, and the races form a part of that social event.“For us, it is then about making racing more attractive to a younger subset of people – part of that is making dog racing a form of entertainment, it’s what the dogs want to do, and importantly that the dogs are being looked after due to our high welfare standards. It’s also making racing about the experience that you have while at the track as well. Of all the tracks, Belle Vue draws a huge audience on a Saturday night and always has done.“When most people go dog racing, they will at least back one dog, but really it’s about making the dogs the star of the show. If you can make the dogs into the ‘superstars’, people will get behind that.” Submit SIS greyhound service returns to pre-lockdown levels June 25, 2020last_img read more

first_img0Shares0000Western Stima captain Wesley Kembou goes down under a challenge from Sofapaka’s Soter Kayumba during a Kenyan Premier League match at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on January 2, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluKISUMU, Kenya, Jan 2 – Sofapaka picked their third consecutive Kenyan Premier League 2018/2019 season draw after playing to a 1-1 stalemate with unbeaten Western Stima at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on Thursday.In Nakuru, AFC Leopards finally picked up their first three points of the season with a 2-0 win over Posta Rangers who were under new coach John Kamau. Robinson Kamura scored a first half brace for Ingwe who moved their tally for the season to six points after picking three draws and a loss in their opening four games of the campaign.Meanwhile, Mathare United remained top of the standings with a 2-1 victory over winless Kenya Commercial Bank at the Kasarani Stadium.Cliff Nyakeya scored from the spot for his fourth goal of the season early in the first half before Clifford Alwanga doubled the tally for the slum boys five minutes to the break. Chris Onyango scored from the spot in the 92nd minute for KCB’s consolation.Nzoia Sugar and Tusker FC meanwhile also picked up identical 2-0 wins over Ulinzi Stars and Vihiga United respectively. Henry Ochieng scored twice for Nzoia against the soldiers while Sidney Ochieng grabbed a brace for Tusker at Ruaraka taking his season tally to three.In Awendo, Sony Sugar beat Kakamega Homeboyz 2-1 while Bandari and Zoo Kericho played to a barren stalemate in Kericho.Earlier, Mount Kenya United picked their first point of the season with a 1-1 draw at home against Kariobangi Sharks.At the Moi Stadium in Kisumu, captain of the day Elli Asieche scored the equalizer for Batoto ba Mungu to earn them a point against hosts Stima who had gone ahead via a Vincent Odongo goal.Coming off the backdrop of identical 2-2 draws, Sofapaka knew they needed to pick a win if their title credentials were to be taken seriously.After a slow start occasioned by the sweltering heat in Kisumu, Sofapaka showed signs of hunger and in the 12th minute, Asieche tried his luck with a shot from range which flew straight to keeper Samuel Odhiambo’s arms.In the 26th minute, Luke Ochieng pulled a brilliant tackle to sweep the ball off Umaru Kassumba’s feet as the Ugandan raced to a through ball from Mike Oduor.Stima should have gone ahead on the half hour mark when the Sofapaka backline was caught napping and Johanna Mwita sneaked behind them, but keeper Richard Aimo bailed out his defenders with a brilliant save with his foot.Three minutes later, Aimo had to make another great save to deny Odongo after Mwita’s cross had landed on his path isolated on the left.Coming back into the second half, Sofapaka were stunned because of lack of concentration, a quick throw-in catching the defense line in sixes and sevens and Odongo saw space with keeper Aimo out and swung the ball into the far left corner.Sofapaka though gave a response on the hour mark when Asieche swung the ball in from the edge of the six yard box after the Stima defense had failed to clear an Oduor cross.But Stima were already high in confidence and the introduction of Baron Oketch in attack had added some pace into the game. The former Ulinzi Stars and Gor Mahia man came close in the 66th minute when he left his marker for dead on the right but his shot was punched away by Aimo.Quarter of an hour to the end, John Avire who had been shushed by the Stima defense found a way through into the box sent in by another great Oduor ball, but his shot didn’t have enough power behind it, Stima keeper Odhiambo picking it easily.Ten minutes to the break, the hard working Oduor was unlucky to be denied by the bar when he cut in from the right to shoot with his weaker left foot.Despite increased pressure, Sofapaka could not change the color of the game with head coach Melis Medo growing extremely frustrated on the touchline.Sofapaka have now drawn three of their five games, winning one and losing the other.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more