CPD and its aftermath: throwing out the baby?
Trends in world population: how will the millenium compare with the past?
This paper reviews historical and projected trends in world population numbers, and the underlying determinants of those trends. Whereas the world's population has shown little change over most of its one million-year history, the past 200 years have witnessed dramatic changes in fertility, mortality and population growth rates. Recent decades, in particular, have seen unprecedented demographic events, with more people added to the world's population in the past 50 years than in the preceding million. The demographic impact of HIV/AIDS, selective as it is to young adults and infants, is also unprecedented, with life expectancy among some populations reduced by almost 20 years. As we approach the end of the 20th century, further demographic changes are underway with, for the first time in recent human history, a slowing down of world population growth. Nonetheless, world population is projected to grow from 6 billion currently to about 9.4 billion by 2050 (medium fertility assumption), with ageing emerging as the most pressing demographic issue facing humanity in the millenium. (+info)
Density-dependent growth as a key mechanism in the regulation of fish populations: evidence from among-population comparisons.
It is generally assumed that fish populations are regulated primarily in the juvenile (pre-recruit) phase of the life cycle, although density dependence in growth and reproductive parameters within the recruited phase has been widely reported. Here we present evidence to suggest that density-dependent growth in the recruited phase is a key process in the regulation of many fish populations. We analyse 16 fish populations with long-term records of size-at-age and biomass data, and detect significant density-dependent growth in nine. Among-population comparisons show a close, inverse relationship between the estimated decline in asymptotic length per unit biomass density, and the long-term average biomass density of populations. A simple population model demonstrates that regulation by density-dependent growth alone is sufficient to generate the observed relationship. Density-dependent growth should be accounted for in fisheries' assessments, and the empirical relationship established here can provide indicative estimates of the density-dependent growth parameter where population-specific data are lacking. (+info)
Gender selection in China: its meanings and implications.
With the advancement of assisted reproduction technologies, people are offered wider choices to choose the gender of their offspring and to construct 'ideal-typed' families with specific gender structure. Gender selection is welcomed by many societies with gender-specific preference, especially those patriarchal societies such as Chinese communities. It is not only a medical procedure but also a social orientation, which reveals much of the underlying preference towards gender. This paper explores the cultural dimensions to gender selection and its psychosocial meanings and implications in Chinese societies, especially after the establishment of One Child Policy in China. Problems associated with son preference in the culture with strong gender stereotyping are addressed. We believe that gender selection for social reasons should not be allowed since undesirable outcomes will be resulted under such strict population control program. (+info)
Monitoring the spread of myxoma virus in rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus populations on the southern tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. I. Natural occurrence of myxomatosis.
A survey of rabbit populations in the southern tablelands of New South Wales, Australia, was carried out to establish the pattern of occurrence of myxomatosis in preparation for a deliberate release of myxoma virus. Myxomatosis was first detected in December and cases were found on most sites through to May. The serological profiles of rabbit populations suggested that their susceptibility to myxoma virus was generally low in winter and highest in spring and summer reflecting the presence of increasing numbers of susceptible young rabbits. This was consistent with the pattern of rabbit breeding, as determined from the distribution of births and reproductive activity in females and males, which occurred maximally in spring and early summer. The serology and age structure of rabbit populations on sites suggested that some rabbit populations can escape an annual myxomatosis epizootic. Although fleas were present on rabbits throughout the year and therefore not considered to be a limiting factor in the spread of myxomatosis, their numbers peaked at times coincident with peak rabbit breeding. It was concluded that mid to late spring was an optimal time for a deliberate release. (+info)
Monitoring the spread of myxoma virus in rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus populations on the southern tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. II. Selection of a strain of virus for release.
To be able to study the dynamics of myxoma virus spread following a release in the field, a strain of virus is required that is both highly transmissible and readily differentiated from other field strains. Eight strains of virus of known virulence for laboratory rabbits and with previously mapped and sequenced restriction fragment length polymorphisms, were used to infect groups of seronegative wild rabbits. Based on these trials, and on the nature of the DNA polymorphism, a virus designated Brooklands/2-93 was chosen as a strain suitable for experimental release. These trials confirmed that resistance to myxomatosis within wild rabbit populations continues to be substantial and that some rabbits are highly resistant. These rabbits probably have little role in transmission of virus. Most of the virus strains tested induced very small or invisible primary lesions at the inoculation site. Thus the secondary skin sites such as eyelids, face and ears may be critical for transmission. (+info)
Monitoring the spread of myxoma virus in rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus populations on the southern tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. III. Release, persistence and rate of spread of an identifiable strain of myxoma virus.
An identifiable strain of myxoma virus was introduced into four local populations of wild rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus on the southern tablelands of New South Wales (NSW) and its spread in the presence of other field strains was monitored for 6 months. The main vector in this region was considered to be the European rabbit flea Spilopsyllis cuniculi. Each population of rabbits was of a high density and living in groups of warrens covering areas from 59 to 87 hectares. Rabbits occupying centrally located warrens were inoculated with the virus in late September or early October (spring) and the subsequent appearance of myxomatosis across the sites monitored by trapping, shooting and visual observations. Samples, taken from rabbits with myxomatosis, were examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that allowed identification of the introduced strain. On all four sites the introduced virus spread from the inoculated rabbits in the centrally located warrens to rabbits in surrounding warrens. On Sites 1 and 3, this spread continued across the entire site persisting for at least 118 and 174 days respectively. On Sites 2 and 4, the virus was detected for 78 and 62 days respectively and the subsequent inability to detect the introduced virus correlated with the appearance of an unrelated field strain. Using three different methods of calculation, rates of spread ranged from 3.7 to 17.8 m d(-1). (+info)
Immunocontraception for population control: will resistance evolve?
The prospect for successful biocontrol using immunocontraception is threatened if there is adaptation to the vaccine through natural selection of individuals that are genetically resistant to the contraceptive agent. To assess this possibility we examined the literature and found that little relevant data are available for any species on the appropriate trait, fertility variation among immunized individuals, or about appropriate population and genetic parameters influencing the likelihood of a selection response. Some data are available on variation in antibody response to immunocontraceptives, but the relationship between antibody response and fertility levels is poorly documented. The antibody response data indicate low heritability for this trait suggesting that fertility levels of contraceptive-resistant individuals will also have a low heritability. Slow evolution of contraception resistance might therefore be anticipated. The absence of information about relevant parameters makes the construction of quantitative models premature. We discuss factors in particular need of investigation if predictions about resistance evolution are to be made. These include: 1. the genetic basis of fertility retention, 2. the proportion of the population resistant to the contraceptive agent and how this is affected by gene flow from refuge populations, 3. the genetically-based fitness tradeoffs of resistant individuals that often accompany selection, 4. cross-generation effects that can thwart the effects of selection, and 5. the efficiency of delivery of the contraceptive agent. An understanding of the above for particular species, and the development of appropriate divergently acting multiple vaccines that can be used in temporal rotation or in mixtures, should facilitate the development of management options to minimize resistance evolution. (+info)