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1. chinaXiv:202007.00002 [pdf]

Neuroanatomical correlates of individual differences in self-awareness of highly practiced visuomotor skills

Junjun LI; Zhenglong Lin; Ran Tao; Min Xu; Shihong Kong; Hong-Yan Bi; Yang Yang
Subjects: Psychology >> Cognitive Psychology

Metacognition refers to the ability to introspect our cognitive ability, which plays an essential role in guiding and optimizing our activities. However, little is known about metacognitive capacity for highly practiced motor behaviors and its neural correlates. Using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the present study examined the brain substrates underlying individual differences in self-awareness of handwriting in adults, a highly practiced visuomotor skill. Results showed that adult writers generally overestimate their handwriting skill, which is more pronounced in males relative to females. The extent of overestimation of handwriting quality was positively correlated with grey matter volume in the left fusiform gyrus, right middle frontal gyrus and right precuneus. Moreover, the activation of these regions in a handwriting task was not correlation with self-awareness of handwriting, confirming that the identified connection between brain structures and handwriting self-awareness is independent of task performances. The left fusiform gyrus and right middle frontal gyrus are thought to represent domain-specific brain mechanisms for handwriting self-awareness, while the right precuneus is likely to be a domain-general brain mechanism, suggesting that the ability of introspect practiced visuomotor skills relies on both domain-general and domain-specific brain systems. Together, this study is the first to reveal the neuroanatomical correlates of a highly practiced motor behavior, extending our understanding about the neural basis of human metacognition.

submitted time 2020-06-30 Hits816Downloads129 Comment 0

2. chinaXiv:202006.00222 [pdf]

Global Dryland Ecosystem Programme (G-DEP): Africa consultative meeting report

PENG Yu; FU Bojie; ZHANG Linxiu; YU Xiubo; FU Chao; Salif DIOP; Hubert HIRWA; Aliou GUISSE; LI Fadong
Subjects: Geosciences >> History of Geosciences

In order to enhance and restore the ecosystems of natural capital in African arid regions, the Global Dryland Ecosystem Programme (G-DEP) consultative meeting was hosted in Dakar, Senegal, from 23 to 25 September 2019. This paper details the first African meeting of the G-DEP. Consultative meeting reviewed preceding dryland ecosystems case studies, identified vulnerable arid and semi-arid regions, and proposed sustainable solutions to problems. It also identified the successes and failures of previous attempts to improve vulnerable ecosystems and ultimately formed an action plan to improve these attempts. Climate, ecosystems, and livelihoods for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI) for Sahara and Sahel, and China-Africa cooperation on science, technology, and innovation are three extra main sections concerned of the meeting. Separately, more specific topics as the complicated relationship between these natural processes and human activity, including pastoralism, soil restoration, and vegetation regenerate techniques, were fully discussed. Consultative meeting also identified the positive effects international collaboration can have on dryland regions, specifically in the capacity of sharing information, technology, and innovation on purpose to develop a joint proposal for long-term research programs in African arid and semi-arid areas. Moreover, meetings that review the progress made on ecosystem management for the sustainable livelihoods in Africa, identification of priority areas, and the development and implementation of ecosystem programs for proper research and collaboration in African arid and semi-arid zones, have been proposed as strategic recommendations to enhance the global partnership for sustainable development. Furthermore, as the outcomes of the workshop, there are three steps proposed to handle African dryland climate changes, several aspects suggested to solve current dilemmas of the GGWI, and a series of actions recommended for G-DEP related activities in Africa.

submitted time 2020-06-22 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits2218Downloads166 Comment 0

3. chinaXiv:202006.00234 [pdf]

Does cotton bollworm show cross-resistance to the Bacillus thuringiensis toxins Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab? A mini review

MA Jihong; TIAN Changyan; LYU Guanghui; MAI Wenxuan
Subjects: Geosciences >> History of Geosciences

Since 1996, transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton has been commercially grown in numerous countries in an effort to stem the losses caused by key lepidopteran pests. However, the development of pest resistance to Bt toxins has jeopardized the continued utilization of Bt cotton. As a strategy designed to circumvent the development of resistance, Bt cotton varieties expressing two or more toxins targeting the same pest have been introduced. Nevertheless, from the perspective of long-term planting of Bt cotton, the potential risk of cross-resistance to these Bt toxins is a threat that cannot be ignored. In this paper, we review current research (including that based on the analysis of protein binding sites and resistance genes) on the resistance of cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) to the Bt toxins Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab and the interrelationship between these toxins. On the basis of existing evidence, we assume that the actions of Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab against cotton bollworm are not completely independent, and then propose the ''resistance-associated gene mutation potential hypothesis''. Although the mechanisms underlying the resistance of pests to Bt toxins are yet to be comprehensively elucidated, this hypothesis could undoubtedly have important implications for adopting ''pyramid'' strategy in the future. Further research is recommended to devise strategies to retard the development of H. armigera resistance to Bt cotton, either using different Bt toxins or their various combinations.

submitted time 2020-06-22 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits75Downloads39 Comment 0

4. chinaXiv:202006.00238 [pdf]

Assessing the collapse risk of Stipa bungeana grassland in China based on its distribution changes

QIAO Xianguo; GUO Ke; LI Guoqing; ZHAO Liqing; LI Frank Yonghong; GAO Chenguang
Subjects: Geosciences >> History of Geosciences

The criteria used by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for its Red List of Ecosystems (RLE) are the global standards for ecosystem-level risk assessment, and they have been increasingly used for biodiversity conservation. The changed distribution area of an ecosystem is one of the key criteria in such assessments. The Stipa bungeana grassland is one of the most widely distributed grasslands in the warm-temperate semi-arid regions of China. However, the total distribution area of this grassland was noted to have shrunk and become fragmented because of its conversion to cropland and grazing-induced degradation. Following the IUCN-RLE standards, here we analyzed changes in the geographical distribution of this degraded grassland, to evaluate its degradation and risk of collapse. Past (1950–1980) distribution areas were extracted from the Vegetation Map of China (1:1,000,000). Present realizable distribution areas were equated to these past areas minus any habitat area losses. We then predicted the grassland's present and future (under the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 scenario) potential distribution areas using maximum entropy algorithm (MaxEnt), based on field survey data and nine environmental layers. Our results showed that the S. bungeana grassland was mainly distributed in the Loess Plateau, Hexi Corridor, and low altitudes of the Qilian Mountains and Longshou Mountain. This ecosystem occurred mainly on loess soils, kastanozems, steppe aeolian soils and sierozems. Thermal and edaphic factors were the most important factors limiting the distribution of S. bungeana grassland across China. Since 56.1% of its past distribution area (4.9×104 km2) disappeared in the last 50 a, the present realizable distribution area only amounts to 2.2×104 km2. But only 15.7% of its present potential distribution area (14.0×104 km2) is actually occupied by the S. bungeana grassland. The future potential distribution of S. bungeana grassland was predicted to shift towards northwest, and the total area of this ecosystem will shrink by 12.4% over the next 50 a under the most pessimistic climate change scenario. Accordingly, following the IUCN-RLE criteria, we deemed the S. bungeana grassland ecosystem in China to be endangered (EN). Revegetation projects and the establishment of protected areas are recommended as effective ways to avert this looming crisis. This empirical modeling study provides an example of how IUCN-RLE categories and criteria may be valuably used for ecosystem assessments in China and abroad.

submitted time 2020-06-22 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits917Downloads57 Comment 0

5. chinaXiv:202006.00172 [pdf]

Reconfiguration of functional brain networks underlying the distinctions between automatic and controlled handwriting

Junjun LI; Lei HONG; Hong-yang BI; Yang YANG
Subjects: Psychology >> Cognitive Psychology

This study aimed to examine the brain mechanisms underlying the distinctions between automatic and controlled handwriting. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected while adult participants (n = 53) performed a copying task with varying speed control demands. Network analysis showed significant differences in functional connectivity within and between the frontoparietal network (FPN), the default mode network (DMN), the dorsal attention network (DAN), the somatomotor network (SMN) and the visual network (VN) between automatic and speed-controlled handwriting irrespective of written materials, which are thought to reflect general executive control and task-relevant visuomotor operations. However, there were no differences in brain activation between automatic and controlled handwriting. These results suggest that reconfiguration of functional network architecture, rather than regional activation, underlies the dissociations between automatic and controlled handwriting. Our findings shed new light on the neural mechanisms of handwriting mastery and handwriting impairments in individuals with neurological disorders.

submitted time 2020-06-17 Hits988Downloads212 Comment 0

6. chinaXiv:202005.00088 [pdf]

Effect of the W-beam central guardrails on wind-blown sand deposition on desert expressways in sandy regions

WANG Cui; LI Shengyu; LEI Jiaqiang; LI Zhinong; CHEN Jie
Subjects: Biology >> Botany >> Applied botany

Many desert expressways are affected by the deposition of the wind-blown sand, which might block the movement of vehicles or cause accidents. W-beam central guardrails, which are used to improve the safety of desert expressways, are thought to influence the deposition of the wind-blown sand, but this has yet not to be studied adequately. To address this issue, we conducted a wind tunnel test to simulate and explore how the W-beam central guardrails affect the airflow, the wind-blown sand flux and the deposition of the wind-blown sand on desert expressways in sandy regions. The subgrade model is 3.5 cm high and 80.0 cm wide, with a bank slope ratio of 1:3. The W-beam central guardrails model is 3.7 cm high, which included a 1.4-cm-high W-beam and a 2.3-cm-high stand column. The wind velocity was measured by using pitot-static tubes placed at nine different heights (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 30 and 50 cm) above the floor of the chamber. The vertical distribution of the wind-blown sand flux in the wind tunnel was measured by using the sand sampler, which was sectioned into 20 intervals. In addition, we measured the wind-blown sand flux in the field at K50 of the Bachu-Shache desert expressway in the Taklimakan Desert on 11 May 2016, by using a customized 78-cm-high gradient sand sampler for the sand flux structure test. Obstruction by the subgrade leads to the formation of two weak wind zones located at the foot of the windward slope and at the leeward slope of the subgrade, and the wind velocity on the leeward side weakens significantly. The W-beam central guardrails decrease the leeward wind velocity, whereas the velocity increases through the bottom gaps and over the top of the W-beam central guardrails. The vertical distribution of the wind-blown sand flux measured by wind tunnel follows neither a power-law nor an exponential function when affected by either the subgrade or the W-beam central guardrails. At 0.0H and 0.5H (where H=3.5 cm, which is the height of the subgrade), the sand transport is less at the 3 cm height from the subgrade surface than at the 1 and 5 cm heights as a result of obstruction by the W-beam central guardrails, and the maximum sand transportation occurs at the 5 cm height affected by the subgrade surface. The average saltation height in the presence of the W-beam central guardrails is greater than the subgrade height. The field test shows that the sand deposits on the overtaking lane leeward of the W-beam central guardrails and that the thickness of the deposited sand is determined by the difference in the sand mass transported between the inlet and outlet points, which is consistent with the position of the minimum wind velocity in the wind tunnel test. The results of this study could help us to understand the hazards of the wind-blown sand onto subgrade with the W-beam central guardrails.

submitted time 2020-05-31 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits3933Downloads315 Comment 0

7. chinaXiv:202005.00091 [pdf]

Crop production changes and the impact of Grain for Green program in the Loess Plateau of China

LYU Changhe; XU Zhiyuan
Subjects: Biology >> Botany >> Applied botany

Since the Grain for Green (GFG) program was implemented in 1999, most steeply sloping farmlands in the Loess Plateau of China have been returned to forestland and grassland. To understand its impact on the food production, this study analyzed the spatiotemporal changes of food crop production (FCP) in the plateau and quantified the contribution of sown area and yield changes to the total FCP during 1998–2014 using factor decomposition models, and then discussed the impact of GFG program on the FCP based on literature data. With the implementation of GFG program, total sown area in the Loess Plateau quickly deceased by 17.3% from 1998 to 2003, and then gradually restored to 1.03×107 hm2 in 2010. Thereafter, it slightly decreased to 1.02×107 hm2 (94.6% of the area in 1998) in 2014. By contrast, total FCP generally showed an apparent growth trend, averagely increased by 1.71% per year in the whole plateau during 1998–2014. This increase was jointly contributed by the improved yield of individual crops, and the adjustment of cropping structure, i.e., the expansion of high yield maize crop. The factor decomposition analysis results indicate that the sown area shrinkage only reduced the growth rate of total FCP by 0.29% per year during 1998–2014, although a significant impact was found for the early stage of 1999–2003. The results suggest that the implementation of GFG program would not induce an obvious risk of the food security. Therefore, it is suggested that the GFG program should be set as a long-term strategic policy, by not only supporting the conversion of slope farmlands, but also helping local farmers to seek sustainable ways of land use to improve the income and livelihood. It can be combined with the poverty eradication program, to simultaneously achieve the national goals of ecological civilization building and the livelihood improvement of rural people in the Loess Plateau. Considering rainfall limitation, the conversion of slope farmlands should be prioritized to grasslands.

submitted time 2020-05-31 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits3637Downloads295 Comment 0

8. chinaXiv:202005.00096 [pdf]

Challenges for the sustainable use of water and land resources under a changing climate and increasing salinization in the Jizzakh irrigation zone of Uzbekistan

Rashid KULMATOV; Jasur MIRZAEV; Jilili ABUDUWAILI; Bakhtiyor KARIMOV
Subjects: Biology >> Botany >> Applied botany

Jizzakh Province in Uzbekistan is one of the largest irrigated areas in Central Asia without natural drainage. In combination with aridity, climate change and extensive irrigation practices, this has led to the widespread salinization of agricultural land. The aim of this study was to identify opportunities to improve the reclamation status of the irrigated area and how best to effectively use the water resources in Jizzakh Province based on investigations conducted between 1995 and 2016. A database of field measurements of groundwater levels, mineralization and soil salinity conducted by the provincial Hydro-Geological Reclamation Expeditions was used in the study. The total groundwater mineralization was determined using a portable electric conductometer (Progress 1T) and the chloride concentration was determined using the Mohr method. The soil salinity analyses were conducted by applying two different methods: (1) the extraction and assessment of the soluble salt content, and (2) using an SM-138 conductivity sensor applied to a 1:1 mixture of soil sample and water. The analyses of the monitoring results and the salt balance in the "irrigation water–soil–drainage water" system clearly demonstrated that the condition of the irrigated land in the province was not significantly improved. Under these conditions, the stability of crop yields is achieved mainly through the use of large volumes of fertilizer. However, excess amounts of mineral fertilizers can also cause the salinization of soils. The average groundwater salinization value in most of the irrigated land (75.3%) fluctuated between 1.1 and 5.0 g/L, while the values were less than 1.0 g/L in 13.1% of the land and in the range of 5.1–10.0 g/L in 10.5% of the land. During the period of 1995–2016 the salinization level of the irrigated land in Jizzakh Province increased slightly and the area could be divided into the following classes: no salinity (17.7% of the total area), low salinity (51.3%), moderate salinity (29.0%), and high salinity (2.0%). Detailed studies of the salt balance in irrigated land, the impact of climate change, increased fertilizer use, and repeated remediation leaching on the groundwater level and mineralization should be conducted in the future, due to the possibility of accelerated salinization, fertility decline, and reduced yields of agricultural crops.

submitted time 2020-05-31 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits1915Downloads256 Comment 0

9. chinaXiv:202005.00098 [pdf]

Stable oxygen-hydrogen isotopes reveal water use strategies of Tamarix taklamakanensis in the Taklimakan Desert, China

DONG Zhengwu; LI Shengyuo; ZHAO Ying; LEI Jiaqiang; WANG Yongdong; LI Congjuan
Subjects: Biology >> Botany >> Applied botany

Tamarix taklamakanensis, a dominant species in the Taklimakan Desert of China, plays a crucial role in stabilizing sand dunes and maintaining regional ecosystem stability. This study aimed to determine the water use strategies of T. taklamakanensis in the Taklimakan Desert under a falling groundwater depth. Four typical T. taklamakanensis nabkha habitats (sandy desert of Tazhong site, saline desert-alluvial plain of Qiemo site, desert-oasis ecotone of Qira site and desert-oasis ecotone of Aral site) were selected with different climate, soil, groundwater and plant cover conditions. Stable isotope values of hydrogen and oxygen were measured for plant xylem water, soil water (soil depths within 0–500 cm), snowmelt water and groundwater in the different habitats. Four potential water sources for T. taklamakanensis, defined as shallow, middle and deep soil water, as well as groundwater, were investigated using a Bayesian isotope mixing model. It was found that groundwater in the Taklimakan Desert was not completely recharged by precipitation, but through the river runoff from snowmelt water in the nearby mountain ranges. The surface soil water content was quickly depleted by strong evaporation, groundwater depth was relatively shallow and the height of T. taklamakanensis nabkha was relatively low, thus T. taklamakanensis primarily utilized the middle (23%±1%) and deep (31%±5%) soil water ?and groundwater (36%±2%) within the sandy desert habitat. T. taklamakanensis mainly used the deep soil water (55%±4%) and a small amount of groundwater (25%±2%) within the saline desert-alluvial plain habitat, where the soil water content was relatively high and the groundwater depth was shallow. In contrast, within the desert-oasis ecotone in the Qira and Aral sites, T. taklamakanensis primarily utilized the deep soil water (35%±1% and 38%±2%, respectively) and may also use groundwater because the height of T. taklamakanensis nabkha was relatively high in these habitats and the soil water content was relatively low, which is associated with the reduced groundwater depth due to excessive water resource exploitation and utilization by surrounding cities. Consequently, T. taklamakanensis showed distinct water use strategies among the different habitats and primarily depended on the relatively stable water sources (deep soil water and groundwater), reflecting its adaptations to the different habitats in the arid desert environment. These findings improve our understanding on determining the water sources and water use strategies of T. taklamakanensis in the Taklimakan Desert.

submitted time 2020-05-31 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits885Downloads147 Comment 0

10. chinaXiv:202004.00042 [pdf]

Stable oxygen-hydrogen isotopes reveal water use strategies of Tamarix taklamakanensis in the Taklimakan Desert, China

DONG Zhengwu; LI Shengyu; ZHAO Ying; LEI Jiaqiang; WANG Yongdong; LI Congjuan
Subjects: Environmental Sciences, Resource Sciences >> Basic Disciplines of Environmental Science and Technology

Tamarix taklamakanensis, a dominant species in the Taklimakan Desert of China, plays a crucial role in stabilizing sand dunes and maintaining regional ecosystem stability. This study aimed to determine the water use strategies of T. taklamakanensis in the Taklimakan Desert under a falling groundwater depth. Four typical T. taklamakanensis nabkha habitats (sandy desert of Tazhong site, saline desert-alluvial plain of Qiemo site, desert-oasis ecotone of Qira site and desert-oasis ecotone of Aral site) were selected with different climate, soil, groundwater and plant cover conditions. Stable isotope values of hydrogen and oxygen were measured for plant xylem water, soil water (soil depths within 0–500 cm), snowmelt water and groundwater in the different habitats. Four potential water sources for T. taklamakanensis, defined as shallow, middle and deep soil water, as well as groundwater, were investigated using a Bayesian isotope mixing model. It was found that groundwater in the Taklimakan Desert was not completely recharged by precipitation, but through the river runoff from snowmelt water in the nearby mountain ranges. The surface soil water content was quickly depleted by strong evaporation, groundwater depth was relatively shallow and the height of T. taklamakanensis nabkha was relatively low, thus T. taklamakanensis primarily utilized the middle (23%±1%) and deep (31%±5%) soil water and groundwater (36%±2%) within the sandy desert habitat. T. taklamakanensis mainly used the deep soil water (55%±4%) and a small amount of groundwater (25%±2%) within the saline desert-alluvial plain habitat, where the soil water content was relatively high and the groundwater depth was shallow. In contrast, within the desert-oasis ecotone in the Qira and Aral sites, T. taklamakanensis primarily utilized the deep soil water (35%±1% and 38%±2%, respectively) and may also use groundwater because the height of T. taklamakanensis nabkha was relatively high in these habitats and the soil water content was relatively low, which is associated with the reduced groundwater depth due to excessive water resource exploitation and utilization by surrounding cities. Consequently, T. taklamakanensis showed distinct water use strategies among the different habitats and primarily depended on the relatively stable water sources (deep soil water and groundwater), reflecting its adaptations to the different habitats in the arid desert environment. These findings improve our understanding on determining the water sources and water use strategies of T. taklamakanensis in the Taklimakan Desert.

submitted time 2020-04-23 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits404Downloads213 Comment 0

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