Palm oil mill effluent contains carcinogenic coloured compounds that are difficult to separate due to their aromatic structure. Though colour treatment using adsorption processes at lower pH (<4) have been reported effectual, due to its acidity the remediated effluent poses an environmental hazard as a result. Thus, the current study focused on achieving decolourization at neutral pH by enhancing the morphology of the coconut shell activated carbon (CSAC) using N₂ as activating-agent with microwave irradiation heating. The microwave pretreated and non-pretreated CSAC were characterized using scanned electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) analysis. A significant modification in the porous structure with a 66.62% increase in the specific surface area was achieved after the pretreatment. The adsorption experimental matrix was developed using the central composite design to investigate the colour adsorption performance under varied pH (6⁻7), dosage (2⁻6 g) and contact time (10⁻100 min). At optimum conditions of neutral pH (7), 3.208 g dosage and contact time of 35 min, the percentage of colour removal was 96.29% with negligible differences compared with the predicted value, 95.855%. The adsorption equilibrium capacity of 1430.1 ADMI × mL/g was attained at the initial colour concentration of 2025 ADMI at 27 °C. The experimental data fitted better with the Freundlich isotherm model with R² 0.9851.
Biodiversity continues to decline in the face of increasing anthropogenic pressures such as habitat destruction, exploitation, pollution and introduction of alien species. Existing global databases of species' threat status or population time series are dominated by charismatic species. The collation of datasets with broad taxonomic and biogeographic extents, and that support computation of a range of biodiversity indicators, is necessary to enable better understanding of historical declines and to project - and avert - future declines. We describe and assess a new database of more than 1.6 million samples from 78 countries representing over 28,000 species, collated from existing spatial comparisons of local-scale biodiversity exposed to different intensities and types of anthropogenic pressures, from terrestrial sites around the world. The database contains measurements taken in 208 (of 814) ecoregions, 13 (of 14) biomes, 25 (of 35) biodiversity hotspots and 16 (of 17) megadiverse countries. The database contains more than 1% of the total number of all species described, and more than 1% of the described species within many taxonomic groups - including flowering plants, gymnosperms, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, beetles, lepidopterans and hymenopterans. The dataset, which is still being added to, is therefore already considerably larger and more representative than those used by previous quantitative models of biodiversity trends and responses. The database is being assembled as part of the PREDICTS project (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems - http://www.predicts.org.uk). We make site-level summary data available alongside this article. The full database will be publicly available in 2015.
The stages of decomposition and the faunal succession on rabbit carcasses in three different habitats, namely jungle, rural, and highland areas, were studied. Three New Zealand White rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) carcasses weighing ∼2 kg were sampled daily until the decomposition process was completed. Representative specimens of adult flies, larvae, pupa, and mites were collected from the carcasses and processed in the laboratory. There were differences in decomposition rate and faunal succession between the carcasses. The fastest rate of decomposition was recorded in rural area, and the slowest rate of decomposition was recorded in highland area. The carcasses exhibited the same pattern of colonization by adult flies, but the dominant species of larvae and adult flies on each carcass in specific habitats were different. The primary species of flies recorded in jungle were Chrysomya megacephala F., Chrysomya rufifacies (Macquart), Chrysomya chani Kurahashi, Chrysomya villenuevi Patton, Chrysomya nigripes Aubertin, Chrysomya pinguis (Walker), Hemipyrellia ligurriens (Wiedemann), Hemipyrellia tagaliana (Bigot), Hypopyiopsis fumipennis (Walker), Hypopygiopsis violacea (Macquart), and Hydrotaea spinigera Stein represented by both adults and larvae. Musca domestica L., Atherigona sp., Lioproctia pattoni (Senior-White), Lioproctia saprianovae Pape & Bänziger, and Seniorwhitea princeps (Wiedemann) were represented by adults only. The biodiversity of flies in the rural area were C. megacephala, C. rufifacies, H. ligurriens, Fannia canicularis L., Hydrotaea chalcogaster (Wiedemann), and Hyd. spinigera represented by both adults and larvae, meanwhile M. domestica, Atherigona sp., Boettcherisca peregrina (Robineau-Desvoidy), Parasarcophaga taenionota Wiedemann, Parasarcophaga scopariiformis Senior-White, and S. princeps were represented by adults only. The species of flies collected in the highland area were Lucilia porphyrina (Walker), C. megacephala, C. rufifacies, C. villenuevi, C. pinguis, H. ligurriens, Hyd. spinigera, Hyd. chalcogaster, F. canicularis, and Boettcherisca highlandica Kurahashi & Tan represented by both adults and larvae, whereas C. nigripes, Chrysomya thanomthini Kurahashi & Tumrasvin, M. domestica, Atherigona sp., Parasarcophaga albiceps Meigen, P. taenionota, Sepsidae, Phoridae, and Millichidae were represented by adults only. Faunal succession followed the sequence of dominant flies, i.e., Calliphoridae, Sarcophagidae, Muscidae, Sepsidae, and lastly Stratiomyidae for jungle, or Sepsidae for rural and highland studies. Mites, from suborders Mesostigmata, Prostigmata, Astigmatina, and Oribatida, were also recovered throughout decomposition, which could be used for future implementation in forensic investigations. The data obtained from this study could provide more accurate indicators for local forensic scientists in solving criminal cases especially on the determination of time and primary location of death.
The future hospital is a resilient, physical learning facility featuring digital enhancement and leveraging an ecosystem of platforms for the Internet of Things (IoT) and analytics, achieving patient-centric care delivery via multidisciplinary healthcare provider teams coordinated to meet patients' medical, psychological, social and economic needs. It exists in a just ecosystem that assimilates the care spectrum from healthy living, the prevention of disease to acute care and the rehabilitation of patients recuperating from illnesses. It will take some time for these future hospitals to be built or for current hospitals to evolve and/or transform, but efforts to spread wisdom among the stakeholders, healthcare providers and patients must start now. The development of the digital components can also begin today, as can competency building for the healthcare providers who will be staffing these future hospitals, ensuring that they are equipped with competent staff employing patient-centric care processes that cater to patients' current and future needs.
Forest biomass is an essential indicator for monitoring the Earth's ecosystems and climate. It is a critical input to greenhouse gas accounting, estimation of carbon losses and forest degradation, assessment of renewable energy potential, and for developing climate change mitigation policies such as REDD+, among others. Wall-to-wall mapping of aboveground biomass (AGB) is now possible with satellite remote sensing (RS). However, RS methods require extant, up-to-date, reliable, representative and comparable in situ data for calibration and validation. Here, we present the Forest Observation System (FOS) initiative, an international cooperation to establish and maintain a global in situ forest biomass database. AGB and canopy height estimates with their associated uncertainties are derived at a 0.25 ha scale from field measurements made in permanent research plots across the world's forests. All plot estimates are geolocated and have a size that allows for direct comparison with many RS measurements. The FOS offers the potential to improve the accuracy of RS-based biomass products while developing new synergies between the RS and ground-based ecosystem research communities.
Taman Negara Pulau Pinang (Penang National Park) is the only site on Pulau Pinang that supports a large population of the White-bellied Sea-eagle (WBSE) Haliaeetus leucogaster; however, the nesting sites of WBSEs have not been widely studied. As information on the location of WBSE nesting sites is very important for conservation works by local authorities, the objective of this study was to determine the distribution of nesting WBSEs in the coastal dipterocarp forest of Penang National Park. Surveys were conducted from December 2007 to July 2008 and October 2008 to April 2009, covering the breeding season of the species (September-July). The nesting sites were observed by boat along the coastline of Penang National Park and by performing ground surveys along the seashore at accessible areas; the nest survey was conducted three days/month from 0900 to 1500. A total of 34 WBSE nesting sites was located. Most of the occupied nests (seven nests) were found at Muka Head and Pantai Kerachut areas, which exhibit the densest concentration of occupied WBSE habitat in Penang National Park. WBSEs preferred to build their nests around Muka Head, which could be due to the frequent occurrence of whirlpools in the water body around that area. Aquatic animals, such as sea snakes and fish, stunned by the whirlpools would emerge to the sea surface, facilitating the foraging and feeding of WBSEs. Our results indicate that it is important to maintain and improve areas of suitable nesting habitat for WBSEs. Management actions should include (1) the yearly monitoring of known breeding sites throughout Penang National Park during the breeding season to determine breeding success over time, (2) recognising the critical habitat or nest-site selection of WBSEs, (3) establishment of a buffer zone surrounding nesting sites and potential habitat from human disturbance, and (4) encouraging on-going research to further understand this species.
The rapid expansion of oil palm cultivation in the Neotropics has generated great debate around possible biodiversity impacts. Colombia, for example, is the largest producer of oil palm in the Americas, but the effects of oil palm cultivation on native fauna are poorly understood. Here, we compared how richness, abundance and composition of terrestrial mammal species differ between oil palm plantations and riparian forest in the Colombian Llanos region. Further, we determined the relationships and influence of landscape and habitat level variables on those metrics. We found that species richness and composition differed significantly between riparian forest and oil palm, with site level richness inside oil palm plantations 47% lower, on average, than in riparian forest. Within plantations, mammalian species richness was strongly negatively correlated with cattle abundance, and positively correlated with the density of undergrowth vegetation. Forest structure characteristics appeared to have weak and similar effects on determining mammal species richness and composition along riparian forest strips. Composition at the landscape level was significantly influenced by cover type, percentage of remaining forest and the distance to the nearest town, whereas within oil palm sites, understory vegetation, cattle relative abundance, and canopy cover had significant effects on community composition. Species specific abundance responses varied between land cover types, with oil palm having positive effects on mesopredators, insectivores and grazers. Our findings suggest that increasing habitat complexity, avoiding cattle and retaining native riparian forest-regardless of its structure-inside oil palm-dominated landscapes would help support higher native mammal richness and abundance at both local and landscape scales.
Termites are found in various habitats, particularly diverse communities occurring in tropical forest and peatlands.
Termites are beneficial insects, which function as soil engineers, improving the soil quality. However, in peatlands
converted to commercial oil palm plantations, they are considered as pests. There is lack of studies on termite communities
in converted peatlands in Peninsular Malaysia. Thus, this study investigated termite species associated with oil palm
stands in three soil types (clay, shallow peat and deep peat) in Endau Rompin Plantation. The stand scouting method
was used to record the numbers and types of termites associated with palm trees in the individual stands on different
soil types. A total of 29 termite species associated with the palm stands were identified morphologically. All the species
belonged to the families Rhinotermitidae and Termitidae. Twenty-three of the 29 species were found in the shallow peat,
16 in clay soil and 15 in deep peat. The community structure was synthesized by two-way cluster analysis with Sorensen
(Bray Curtis) distance measure. Five termite groups associated with two soil types (clay soil and shallow/deep peat)
were generated. Moisture levels and organic content were likely to determine the presence of soil feeders identified in
the presence study. This study provides information on the status of termite species in oil palm plantation areas. Such
information may be useful in future planning strategies by the plantation management.
A synthesis is presented of sampling work conducted under a UK government-funded Darwin Initiative grant undertaken predominantly within the Danum Valley Conservation Area (DVCA), Sabah, East Malaysia. The project concerned the assemblage structure, gas physiology and landscape gas fluxes of termites in pristine and two ages of secondary, dipterocarp forest. The DVCA termite fauna is typical of the Sunda region, dominated by Termes-group soil-feeders and Nasutitermitinae. Selective logging appears to have relatively little effect on termite assemblages, although soil-feeding termites may be moderately affected by this level of disturbance. Species composition changes, but to a small extent when considered against the background level of compositional differences within the Sunda region. Physiologically the assemblage is very like others that have been studied, although there are some species that do not fit on the expected body size-metabolic rate curve. As elsewhere, soil-feeders and soil-wood interface-feeders tend to produce more methane. As with the termite assemblage characteristics, gross gas and energy fluxes do not differ significantly between logged and unlogged sites. Although gross methane fluxes are high, all the soils at DVCA were methane sinks, suggesting that methane oxidation by methanotrophic bacteria was a more important process than methane production by gut archaea. This implies that methane production by termites in South-East Asia is not contributing significantly to the observed increase in levels of methane production worldwide. Biomass density, species richness, clade complement and energy flow were much lower at DVCA than at a directly comparable site in southern Cameroon. This is probably due to the different biogeographical histories of the areas.
We studied the diversity of Aedes breeding sites in various urban, suburban, and rural areas over time between February 2009 and February 2010 in the dengue endemic areas of Penang Island, Malaysia. We categorized the breeding sites and efficiency, and identified the key breeding containers. Among the 3 areas, the rural areas produced the highest container index (55), followed by suburban (42) and urban (32) areas. The numbers of key premises and containers were significantly higher (P < 0.000) in rural areas. The class 1 containers were identified as the key containers with higher productivity and efficiency, although class 2 and class 4 are the highest in numbers. Aedes aegypti immatures were found mostly in drums, water reservoirs, and polyethylene sheets, while mixed breeding was more common in buckets and empty paint cans in urban and suburban areas. Aedes albopictus was found mainly in miscellaneous containers such as drums, empty paint cans, and covers in all areas. The main potential containers indoors were drums, water reservoirs, and empty paint cans, and containers outdoors included empty paint cans, drums, and polyethylene sheets.
T. iban sp. nov. is described from the Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Both sexes can be distinguished from all other species of Telosticta by the form of the antehumeral markings.
How tropical trees flower synchronously near the equator in the absence of significant day length variation or other meteorological cues has long been a puzzle. The rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is used as a model to investigate this phenomenon. The annual cycle of solar radiation intensity is shown to correspond closely with the flowering of the rubber tree planted near the equator and in the subtropics. Unlike in temperate regions, where incoming solar radiation (insolation) is dependent on both day length and radiation intensity, insolation at the equator is due entirely to the latter. Insolation at the upper atmosphere peaks twice a year during the spring and autumn equinoxes, but the actual solar radiation that reaches the ground is attenuated to varying extents in different localities. The rubber tree shows one or two flowering seasons a year (with major and minor seasons in the latter) in accordance with the solar radiation intensity received. High solar radiation intensity, and in particular bright sunshine (as distinct from prolonged diffuse radiation), induces synchronous anthesis and blooming in Hevea around the time of the equinoxes. The same mechanism may be operational in other tropical tree species.
Endophytic bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa UPMP3 and Burkholderia cepacia UMPB3), isolated from within roots of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) were tested for their presymbiotic effects on two arbuscular mcorrhizal fungi, Glomus intraradices UT126 and Glomus clarum BR152B). These endophytic bacteria were also tested for antagonistic effects on Ganoderma boninense PER 71, a white wood rot fungal pathogen that causes a serious disease in oil palm. Spore germination and hyphal length of each arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) pairing with endophytic bacteria was found to be significantly higher than spores plated in the absence of bacteria. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that the endophytic bacteria were scattered, resting or embedded on the surface hyaline layer or on the degraded walls of AMF spores, possibly feeding on the outer hyaline spore wall. The antagonistic effect of the endophytic bacteria was expressed as severe morphological abnormalities in the hyphal structures of G. boninense PER 71. The effects of the endophytic bacteria on G. boninense PER 71 hyphal structures were observed clearly under SEM. Severe inter-twisting, distortion, lysis and shriveling of the hyphal structures were observed. This study found that the effect of endophytic bacteria on G. intraradices UT126 and G. clarum BR152B resembled that of a mycorrhiza helper bacteria (MHB) association because the association significantly promoted AMF spore germination and hyphal length. However, the endophytic bacteria were extremely damaging to G. boninense PER 71.
The globalization of the palm oil trade poses a menace to the ecosystem integrity of Southeast Asia. In this short communication, we briefly discuss why palm oil certifications may have failed as an effective means to halt forest degradation and biodiversity loss. From a comparison of multiple new datasets, we analysed recent tree loss in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea, and discovered that, from 2001 to 2016, about 40% of the area located in certified concessions suffered from habitat degradation, deforestation, fires, or other tree damages. Certified concessions have been subject to more tree removals than non-certified ones. We also detect significant tree loss before and after the start of certification schemes. Beyond non-governmental organisations' concern that Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) certifications allow ongoing clearance of any forest not identified as of high conservation values (HCV) or high carbon stock (HCS), we suggest an alarming and previously overlooked situation, such as that current "sustainable palm oil" is often associated with recent habitat degradation and forest loss. In other words, certified palm oil production may not be so sustainable.
Tropical agriculture is expanding rapidly at the expense of forest, driving a global extinction crisis. How to create agricultural landscapes that minimise the clearance of forest and maximise sustainability is thus a key issue. One possibility is protecting natural forest within or adjacent to crop monocultures to harness important ecosystem services provided by biodiversity spill-over that may facilitate production. Yet this contrasts with the conflicting potential that the retention of forest exports dis-services, such as agricultural pests. We focus on oil palm and obtained yields from 499 plantation parcels spanning a total of ≈23,000 ha of oil palm plantation in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. We investigate the relationship between the extent and proximity of both contiguous and fragmented dipterocarp forest cover and oil palm yield, controlling for variation in oil palm age and for environmental heterogeneity by incorporating proximity to non-native forestry plantations, other oil palm plantations, and large rivers, elevation and soil type in our models. The extent of forest cover and proximity to dipterocarp forest were not significant predictors of oil palm yield. Similarly, proximity to large rivers and other oil palm plantations, as well as soil type had no significant effect. Instead, lower elevation and closer proximity to forestry plantations had significant positive impacts on oil palm yield. These findings suggest that if dipterocarp forests are exporting ecosystem service benefits or ecosystem dis-services, that the net effect on yield is neutral. There is thus no evidence to support arguments that forest should be retained within or adjacent to oil palm monocultures for the provision of ecosystem services that benefit yield. We urge for more nuanced assessments of the impacts of forest and biodiversity on yields in crop monocultures to better understand their role in sustainable agriculture.
This study was conducted to determine the composition of surfactants in atmospheric aerosols and rainwater in the vicinity of Lake Chini, Malaysia. Samples of atmospheric aerosol and rainwater were collected between March and September 2011 using a high volume air sampler (HVAS) and glass bottles equipped with funnel. Colorimetric analysis was undertaken to determine the concentration of anionic surfactants as methylene blue active substances (MBAS) and cationic surfactants as disulphine blue active substances (DBAS). The water-soluble ionic compositions were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry for cations (Na, K, Mg and Ca) and ion chromatography equipped with a conductivity detector for anions (F(-), Cl(-), NO3(-), and SO4(2-)) and the Nessler Method was used to obtain the NH4(+) concentrations. The source apportionment of MBAS and DBAS in atmospheric aerosols was identified using a combination of principal component analysis (PCA) and multiple linear regression (MLR). The results revealed that the concentrations of surfactants in atmospheric aerosols and rainwater were dominated by anionic surfactants as MBAS. The concentration of surfactants as MBAS and DBAS was dominated in fine mode compared to coarse mode aerosols. Using PCA/MLR analysis, two major sources of atmospheric surfactants to Lake Chini were identified as soil dust (75 to 93%) and biomass burning (2 to 22%).