- ItemOpen AccessPlant–soil feedbacks among boreal forest species(John Wiley and Sons Inc., 2023) Štraus, Dora; Redondo, Miguel Ángel; Castaño, Carles; Juhanson, Jaanis c; Clemmensen, Karina E.; Hallin, Sara; Oliva Palau, JonàsPlant–microbial interactions in soils are considered to play a central role in regulating biodiversity in many global ecosystems. However, studies on plant–soil feedbacks (PSFs) and how these affect forest stand patterns in boreal regions are rare. We conducted a fully reciprocal PSF glasshouse experiment using four boreal tree species. Alnus glutinosa, Betula pendula, Picea abies and Pinus sylvestris seedlings were grown under controlled conditions in sterilised soil with or without soil inoculum collected under mature trees of each of the four species. Bacterial, fungal and oomycete communities in the rhizosphere were investigated using metabarcoding and correlated with differences in plant biomass. Alder grew best in conspecific soil, whereas birch grew equally well in all soil types. Pine and spruce grew best in heterospecific soil, particularly in soil from their successional predecessor. Ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) enhanced the growth of most seedlings, and Actinomycetota supported alder and birch growth and fungal plant pathogens hampered pine growth. Increased growth was linked to the ability of trees to recruit specific EMF and root-associated fungi in heterospecific soils. Synthesis. This study experimentally examines the influence of root-associated microbiota on the growth of boreal tree species. The observed plant–soil feedbacks mirror the successional patterns found in boreal forests, suggesting a possible contribution of soil microbiota to the successional progression. Species-specific ectomycorrhizal fungi and a few bacteria rather than fungal plant pathogens or oomycetes seem to drive the feedbacks by promoting seedling growth in heterospecific soils.
- ItemOpen AccessExperimental evaluation of different macro-encapsulation designs for PCM storages for cooling applications(Elsevier, 2023) Rehman, Omais Abdur; Palomba, Valeria; Vérez, David; Borri, Emiliano; Frazzica, Andrea; Brancato, Vincenza; Botargues, Teresa; Ure, Zafer; Cabeza, Luisa F.Extensive research has been conducted on utilizing phase change materials for cooling applications, making it one of the most explored techniques in this domain. This research paper presents a comprehensive performance evaluation of a latent heat thermal energy storage unit featuring three distinct macro-encapsulation designs for phase change materials. The study aims to assess the thermal performance, efficiency, and practical applicability of these macro-encapsulation designs in a storage system. The PCM macro-encapsulation designs under investigation include cylindrical and rectangular shapes, each possessing different geometry. Two different configurations have been considered in this study. One configuration contains same PCM mass in order to have similar storage capacity while the other configuration has maximum PCM mass that can be inserted inside the tank. The used phase change material is a salt hydrate with melting temperature of 17 °C. The experimental setup consists of a controlled test rig that simulates real-world conditions and enables the comparative analysis of the three designs. Key performance parameters such as the charging and discharging time, temperature profiles, heat transfer rate, and energy storage/retrieval rates are measured and analysed. The results obtained from the experimental study provide valuable insights into the thermal behaviour, energy storage capacity, and overall effectiveness of the three macro-encapsulation designs. It is important to mention that use of an encapsulation design is highly dependent on application. The findings of this study contribute to the understanding of the impact of different macro-encapsulation designs on performance of thermal energy storage units. The results serve as a basis for optimizing macro-encapsulation designs, improving the efficiency and reliability of latent heat storage systems, and promoting their wider adoption in various energy management applications.
- ItemOpen AccessSemantics and Non-Fungible Tokens for Copyright Management on the Metaverse and Beyond(Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2023) García González, Roberto; Cediel, Ana; Teixidó Cairol, Mercè; Gil Iranzo, Rosa MaríaRecent initiatives related to the Metaverse focus on better visualisation, like augmented or virtual reality, but also persistent digital objects. To guarantee real ownership of these digital objects, open systems based on public blockchains and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are emerging together with a nascent decentralized and open creator economy. To manage this emerging economy in a more organised way, and fight the so common NFT plagiarism, we propose CopyrightLY, a decentralized application for authorship and copyright management. It provides means to claim content authorship, including supporting evidence. Content and metadata are stored in decentralized storage and registered on the blockchain. A token is used to curate these claims, and potential complaints, by staking it on them. Staking is incentivized by the fact that the token is minted using a bonding curve. The tokenomics include the resolution of complaints and enabling the monetization of curated claims. Monetization is achieved through licensing NFTs with metadata enhanced by semantic technologies. Semantic data makes explicit the reuse conditions transferred with the token while keeping the connection to the underlying copyright claims to improve the trustability of the NFTs. Moreover, the semantic metadata is flexible enough to enable licensing not just in the real world. Licenses can refer to reuses in specific locations in a metaverse, thus facilitating the emergence of creative economies in them.
- ItemOpen AccessThe effect of external stimulation on functional networks in the aging healthy human brain(Oxford University Press, 2023) Escrichs, Anira; Sanz Perl, Yonatan; Martínez-Molina, Noelia; Biarnés, Carles; Garre Olmo, Josep; Fernández Real, José Manuel; Ramos, Rafel; Martí, Ruth; Pamplona Gras, Reinald; Brugada, Ramon; Serena, Joaquín; Ramió Torrentà, Lluís; Coll-De-Tuero, Gabriel; Gallart, Luís; Barretina Ginesta, Jordi; Vilanova, Joan Carles; Mayneris Perxachs, Jordi; Saba, Luca; Pedraza, Salvador; Kringelbach, Morten L.; Puig, Josep; Deco, GustavoUnderstanding the brain changes occurring during aging can provide new insights for developing treatments that alleviate or reverse cognitive decline. Neurostimulation techniques have emerged as potential treatments for brain disorders and to improve cognitive functions. Nevertheless, given the ethical restrictions of neurostimulation approaches, in silico perturbation protocols based on causal whole-brain models are fundamental to gaining a mechanistic understanding of brain dynamics. Furthermore, this strategy could serve to identify neurophysiological biomarkers differentiating between age groups through an exhaustive exploration of the global effect of all possible local perturbations. Here, we used a resting-state fMRI dataset divided into middle-aged (N =310, <65 years) and older adults (N =310, ≥ 65) to characterize brain states in each group as a probabilistic metastable substate (PMS) space. We showed that the older group exhibited a reduced capability to access a metastable substate that overlaps with the rich club. Then, we fitted the PMS to a whole-brain model and applied in silico stimulations in each node to force transitions from the brain states of the older- to the middle-aged group. We found that the precuneus was the best stimulation target. Overall, these findings could have important implications for designing neurostimulation interventions for reversing the effects of aging on whole-brain dynamics.
- ItemOpen AccessDiminishing benefits of urban living for children and adolescents’ growth and development(Nature Research, 2023) NCD Risk Factor Collaboration ( NCD-RisC)Optimal growth and development in childhood and adolescence is crucial for lifelong health and well-being1,2,3,4,5,6. Here we used data from 2,325 population-based studies, with measurements of height and weight from 71 million participants, to report the height and body-mass index (BMI) of children and adolescents aged 5–19 years on the basis of rural and urban place of residence in 200 countries and territories from 1990 to 2020. In 1990, children and adolescents residing in cities were taller than their rural counterparts in all but a few high-income countries. By 2020, the urban height advantage became smaller in most countries, and in many high-income western countries it reversed into a small urban-based disadvantage. The exception was for boys in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa and in some countries in Oceania, south Asia and the region of central Asia, Middle East and north Africa. In these countries, successive cohorts of boys from rural places either did not gain height or possibly became shorter, and hence fell further behind their urban peers. The difference between the age-standardized mean BMI of children in urban and rural areas was <1.1 kg m–2 in the vast majority of countries. Within this small range, BMI increased slightly more in cities than in rural areas, except in south Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and some countries in central and eastern Europe. Our results show that in much of the world, the growth and developmental advantages of living in cities have diminished in the twenty-first century, whereas in much of sub-Saharan Africa they have amplified.