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Xjenza Online Vol. 3 Iss. 2 - December 2015
Xjenza Online Vol. 3 Iss. 2 - December 2015 ISSUE: Xjenza Online Vol. 3 Iss. 2 - December 2015



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Article
Global Environmental Change: Economic and Labour Market Implic- ations for Small Island Territories
G. Baldacchino, C. Galdies
Pages: 81 - 85
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Article
Potential future climatic conditions on tourists: A case study focusing on Malta and Venice
C. Galdies
Pages: 86 - 104
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
The main purpose of this study is to quantify important climatic shifts that took place over Malta and Venice that could be considered as a determining factor on their choice as two prime tourist destinations. Rather than making use of traditional tourist climate indices, this study identi es long-term trends in weather variables and their derived bioclimatic indices. These climate derivatives are based on a set of high temporal observations (some of which are collected every 30 minutes) and are thus able to capture valuable information that traditional monthly distribution cannot provide. The derivatives obtained from the elementary meteorological observations showed that the level of comfort experienced by visiting tourists over the long term is deteriorating due to increased heat stress. Nonetheless, the increased occurrence of optimal wind speed conditions, as well as a reduced occurrence of gale storms and wind chill events is making these destinations more attractive. A careful study of the output of IPCC climate model projections sheds light on a critical future bioclimate condition during current peak visiting months (July and August) at both destinations. This may imply a required shift, as a form of adaptation, of the visiting periods at these two destinations. This study should allow tourist planners to determine which weather element is a likely future obstacle to the overall bioclimatic suitability of outdoor tourism activities.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.2.01
Article
Rising waters: Integrating national datasets for the visualisation of diminishing spatial entities
S. Formosa
Pages: 105 - 117
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
Preparing for the potential changes wrought by climate change can be grounded in commonly integ- rated real data. Efforts by various countries to pre- pare for such potentialities have resulted in a stepped- approach to data management and integration. Small island states experience an added burden through data limitations, disparate datasets and data hoarding. This paper reviews the processes employed in Malta that target a spatio-temporal analysis of current and future climate change scenarios aimed at integrating environ- mental, spatial planning and social data in line with the transposition of the Aarhus Convention, the INSPIRE Directive (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community) and the SEIS (Shared Environ- mental Information System) initiative. The study ana- lyses potential physical and social aspects that will be impacted by sea-level rise in the Maltese islands. Scen- arios include the analysis of areas that will be inundated, the methodology employed to carry out the analysis, and the relative impacts on land use and environmental, in- frastructural and population loss. Spatial information systems and 3D outputs illustrate outcome scenarios.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.2.02
Article
Economic and Labour Market Implications of Climate Change on the Fisheries Sector of the Maltese Islands
L. Knittweis
Pages: 118 - 127
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Abstract:
Climate change has been predicted to have large and rapid impacts on the Mediterranean Sea. Impacts of increasing mean annual sea temperatures, more extreme climatic events and changes in oceanographic parameters will affect the distribution, productivity and resilience of commercially targeted stocks. This study uses data on the Maltese shing industry, collected through the EU sheries data collection system by the Government of Malta, to develop our understanding of how climate change may impact the Maltese sheries sector. The most important eet segment contributing to the overall productivity of the Maltese shing industry, both in terms of total biomass landed and total generated income, was comprised of vessels using hooks in 2009-2011. These vessels mainly used drifting surface longlines to target large pelagic species. In 2011, this eet segment accounted for the largest number of full time employment positions, and was the most important eet segment in terms of total investment. Available information on species targeted by this eet segment suggests that the impact of climate change may in fact be positive. However, limited information is available on stock status as well as on the potential impacts of climate change on several important target species such as sword sh, dolphin sh and blue n tuna. In order to ensure the continued competitiveness of the Maltese shing eet in light of this uncertain situation, it is suggested that an emphasis is placed on ensuring that the industry is exible and able to effectively market and promote new products as and when they emerge. This could be achieved by developing shers' skills accordingly, and placing an emphasis on diversifying activities.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.2.03
Article
Economic and Labour Market Implications of Climate Change on the Tourism Sector of the Maltese Islands
A. Jones
Pages: 128 - 140
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Abstract:
This paper reviews threats to, and consequences of, current climate and environmental change on tourism destinations. The paper reviews recent published research on the impacts of climate and environmental change and consequences of such on the physical social and economic character of tourism operations using the Maltese Islands as a case. The validity and practicality of management options to tackle the complex nature and juxtaposition between tourism growth, climate and environment change and tourism destination management are considered, including an evaluation of management responses, the ecacy of local governance and consequent policy options and choices. The research methodology is focussed upon a qualitative evaluation of contextual issues utilising media analysis techniques from case studies drawn from the immediate locality of the study area. These are used to highlight and illustrate particular sensitive issues and points for contention and how these in turn might relate to tourism in Malta and its future prospects. Conclusions from the research demonstrate and discuss the ecacy of current predictions and how tourism infrastructure and destination management issues should be tailored to more strategic policy responses from all key tourism and environmental stakeholders in both the private and public sectors. In this respect the paper highlights the current impasse between public perception and policy implementation which, to date, largely continues to ignore immediate threats and thus fails to provide adequate strategic management responses or responsible governance. In conclusion strategic and combined management strategies are considered and advocated for managing tourism destinations and for addressing the increasing demands from the often complex tiers of stakeholder groups that are represented. In this context implications are further drawn for the future prospects for tourism within the Maltese Islands. These speci cally relate to changing demands to tourism employment, tourism product and service growth, tourism capital investment, tourism competitiveness and tourism skills and educational development.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.2.04
Article
The Impact of Global Environmental Change on Transport in Malta
M. Attard
Pages: 141 - 152
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
This study addresses the impact of global environmental change, speci cally on transport in the Maltese Islands, with special attention to the economic implications of changes on: (i) employment, (ii) product or service growth/decline, (iii) capital investment, (iv) competitiveness and (v) skills/educational development and upgrade. Geographic and economic data from sec- ondary sources are used to support the study. The pa- per addresses the concerns of environmental change on the islands of Malta and attempts to map the extent of potential damage to the islands' transport system, namely the impact of sea level rise and extreme weather events. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used to build a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the islands and simulate the effects on the road network, maritime installations and air transport infrastructures that are critical for Malta's economy and sustainability. The paper also describes the implications of such impacts. Results show that a signi cant share of the islands' in- frastructure could be heavily damaged and the trans- port systems easily disrupted from predicted impacts of global environment change. The paper concludes with a call for the adoption of sustainable transport measures which address not only mitigation but also adaptation to global environmental change.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.2.05
Article
A preliminary survey of marine cave habitats in the Maltese Islands
L. Knittweis, P. Chevaldonné, A. Ereskovsky, P. J. Schembri, J. A. Borg
Pages: 153 - 164
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Abstract:
The Mediterranean Sea is a hotspot for mar- ine biodiversity. Past studies of Mediterranean marine caves have revealed the unique biocoenotic and ecolo- gical characteristics of these habitats, which are protec- ted by European Union legislation. The Maltese Islands have an abundance of partially and fully submerged marine caves with different geomorphological character- istics, yet there have been no systematic studies on these habitats and their associated species. This study is a rst synthesis of existing information on the biotic as- semblages and physical characteristics of Maltese mar- ine caves. The work combines a review of the available information with a preliminary survey of some marine caves in Gozo, during which several species were recor- ded for the rst time for the Maltese Islands. Character- istic species recorded from local marine caves are high- lighted, including several species of red and brown algae, sessile invertebrates including bryozoans, ascidians and sponges, and mobile forms including crustaceans and sh. A marked zonation from the cave entrance to the inside of the caves was identi ed: photophilic algae at the mouth of the cave are progressively replaced by more sciaphilic species, followed by a middle section domin- ated by sessile invertebrates, and then a completely dark inner section that is mostly devoid of sessile organisms. Several species protected by national and international legislation were found to occur.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.2.06
Article
Effcacy of Pseudomonas chlororaphis subsp. aureofaciens SH2 and Pseudomonas uorescens RH43 isolates against root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) in kiwifruit
S. Bashiri, P. Llop, M. Davino, M. Golmohammadi, G. Scuderi
Pages: 165 - 173
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
The Root-knot nematodes, Meloidogyne spp., are parasites of many crops and orchards, including kiwifruit trees. The Islamic Republic of Iran is among the leading kiwifruit producers in the world and M. in- cognita has been found as the dominant species respons- ible for severe loss of this crop. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of antagonistic bacteria on larval mortality, number of galls per plant and egg masses of nematode reduction, fty local bacterial strains were isolated from root surrounding soils of kiwifruit plants in the north- ern production areas in Iran. Bacterial antagonists were characterized by morphological, physiological, biochem- ical and molecular methods. Two representative strains, showing the best nematicidal activity, were identi ed as Pseudomonas chlororaphis subsp. aureofaciens (isol- ate Sh2) and Pseudomonas uorescens (isolate Rh43). They increased the percentage of larval mortality to 56:38% and 54:28% respectively in assays in vitro and showed excellent performance also in vivo with consist- ent reduction of number of galls (67:31% and 55:63%, re- spectively) and egg mass (86:46% and 84:29%, respectively) in plants. This study indicates that Pseudomo- nas chlororaphis subsp. aureofaciens isolate Sh2 and Pseudomonas uorescens isolate Rh43 are good poten- tial biocontrol agents for containing root-knot nemat- odes in kiwifruit trees.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.2.07
Article
Analysing correlation between the MSE index and global stock markets
R. Ellul
Pages: 174 - 182
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
The paper investigates the time-varying cor- relation between the Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) in- dex, and ve major international stock markets. An MGARCH-DCC approach is employed to measure the degree to which the MSE moves with other stock mar- kets. Daily returns on these six stock exchange indices were computed and used to calculate dynamic condi- tional correlations (DCCs) between the markets. The results indicate that the local stock market appears not to be driven by the same forces that shape foreign stock markets, implying that local dynamics shape returns on the Exchange, rather than foreign events.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.2.08
Article
3D Video Coding and Transmission
C. J. Debono, P. A. A. Assuncao
Pages: 183 - 188
Abstract | View full article | PDF
Abstract:
The capture, transmission, and display of 3D content has gained a lot of attention in the last few years. 3D multimedia content is no longer con ned to cinema theatres but is being transmitted using stereoscopic video over satellite, shared on Blu-RayTMdisks, or sent over Internet technologies. Stereoscopic displays are needed at the receiving end and the viewer needs to wear special glasses to present the two versions of the video to the human vision system that then generates the 3D illusion. To be more effective and improve the immersive experience, more views are acquired from a larger number of cameras and presented on different displays, such as autostereoscopic and light eld displays. These multiple views, combined with depth data, also allow enhanced user experiences and new forms of interaction with the 3D content from virtual viewpoints. This type of audiovisual information is represented by a huge amount of data that needs to be compressed and transmitted over bandwidth-limited channels. Part of the COST Action IC1105 3D Content Creation, Coding and Transmission over Future Media Networks" (3DConTourNet) focuses on this research challenge.

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2015.2.09
Article
A week with Professor Giacomo Rizzolatti (30th of November - 6th of December 2015)
G. Di Giovanni
Pages: 189 - 190
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Article
RIDT/Malta Neuroscience Network (MNN) Brain Campaign 2016
W. Kenely
Pages: 191 - 192
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Article
Fourth Annual Science in the House Exhibition at the New Parlia- ment Building
D. C. Magri
Pages: 193 - 195
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