ResearchPad - spring https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Temperature and preeclampsia: Epidemiological evidence that perturbation in maternal heat homeostasis affects pregnancy outcome]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15767 This study aims to determine the association between temperature and preeclampsia and whether it is affected by seasonality and rural/urban lifestyle.MethodsThis cohort study included women who delivered at our medical center from 2004 to 2013 (31,101 women, 64,566 deliveries). Temperature values were obtained from a spatiotemporally resolved estimation model performing predictions at a 1×1km spatial resolution. In “Warm” pregnancies >50% of gestation occurred during the spring-summer period. In cold pregnancies >50% of gestation occurred during the fall and winter. Generalized estimating equation multivariable models were used to estimate the association between temperature and incidence of preeclampsia.Results1) The incidence of preeclampsia in at least one pregnancy was 7% (2173/64,566); 2) during “warm” pregnancies, an elevation of one IQR of the average temperature in the 1st or the 3rd trimesters was associated with an increased risk to develop preeclampsia [patients with Jewish ethnicity: 1st trimester: relative risk (RR) of 2.38(95%CI 1.50; 3.80), 3rd trimester 1.94(95%CI 1.34;2.81); Bedouins: 1st trimester: RR = 2.91(95%CI 1.98;4.28), 3rd trimester: RR = 2.37(95%CI 1.75;3.20)]; 3) In “cold” pregnancies, an elevation of one IQR of average temperature was associated with a lower risk to develop preeclampsia among patients with Bedouin-Arab ethnicity RR = 0.68 (95% CI 0.49–0.94) for 1st trimester and RR = 0.62 (95% CI 0.44–0.87) for 3rd trimester.Conclusions1) Elevated averaged temperature during the 1st or 3rd trimesters in “warm” pregnancies confer an increased risk for the development of preeclampsia, especially in nomadic patients; 2) Of interest, during cold pregnancies, elevated averaged temperature was associated with a lower risk to develop preeclampsia for nomadic patients. 3) These findings suggest temperature might be associated with perturbations in maternal heat homeostasis resulting in reallocation of energy resources and their availability to the fetus that may increase the risk for preeclampsia. This observation is especially relevant in the context of global warming and its effects on maternal/fetal reproductive health. ]]> <![CDATA[Differential migration in Chesapeake Bay striped bass]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14625 Differential migration—increased migration propensity with increasing individual size—is common in migratory species. Like other forms of partial migration, it provides spatial buffering against regional differences in habitat quality and sources of mortality. We investigated differential migration and its consequences to survival and reproductive patterns in striped bass, a species with well-known plasticity in migration behaviors. A size-stratified sample of Potomac River (Chesapeake Bay) Morone saxatilis striped bass was implanted with acoustic transmitters and their subsequent coastal shelf migrations recorded over a 4-yr period by telemetry receivers throughout the Mid-Atlantic Bight and Southern New England. A generalized linear mixed model predicted that ≥ 50% of both males and females depart the Chesapeake Bay at large sizes >80 cm total length. Egressing striped bass exited through both the Chesapeake Bay mouth and Delaware Bay (via the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal), favoring the former. All large fish migrated to Massachusetts shelf waters and in subsequent years repeatedly returned to regions within Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. Within this dominant behavior, minority behaviors included straying, skipped spawning, and residency by large individuals (those expected to migrate). Analysis of the last day of transmission indicated that small resident striped bass experienced nearly 2-fold higher loss rates (70% yr-1) than coastal shelf emigrants (37% yr-1). The study confirmed expectations for a threshold size at emigration and different mortality levels between Chesapeake Bay (resident) and ocean (migratory) population contingents; and supported the central premise of the current assessment and management framework of a two-contingent population: smaller Chesapeake Bay residents and a larger ocean contingent. An improved understanding of differential migration thus affords an opportunity to specify stock assessments according to different population sub-components, and tailor reference points and control rules between regions and fishing stakeholder groups.

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<![CDATA[Use of multiple traits genomic prediction, genotype by environment interactions and spatial effect to improve prediction accuracy in yield data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14474 Genomic selection has been extensively implemented in plant breeding schemes. Genomic selection incorporates dense genome-wide markers to predict the breeding values for important traits based on information from genotype and phenotype records on traits of interest in a reference population. To date, most relevant investigations have been performed using single trait genomic prediction models (STGP). However, records for several traits at once are usually documented for breeding lines in commercial breeding programs. By incorporating benefits from genetic characterizations of correlated phenotypes, multiple trait genomic prediction (MTGP) may be a useful tool for improving prediction accuracy in genetic evaluations. The objective of this study was to test whether the use of MTGP and including proper modeling of spatial effects can improve the prediction accuracy of breeding values in commercial barley and wheat breeding lines. We genotyped 1,317 spring barley and 1,325 winter wheat lines from a commercial breeding program with the Illumina 9K barley and 15K wheat SNP-chip (respectively) and phenotyped them across multiple years and locations. Results showed that the MTGP approach increased correlations between future performance and estimated breeding value of yields by 7% in barley and by 57% in wheat relative to using the STGP approach for each trait individually. Analyses combining genomic data, pedigree information, and proper modeling of spatial effects further increased the prediction accuracy by 4% in barley and 3% in wheat relative to the model using genomic relationships only. The prediction accuracy for yield in wheat and barley yield trait breeding, were improved by combining MTGP and spatial effects in the model.

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<![CDATA[Partition dependence in financial aid distribution to income categories]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0611b39b-d559-4542-a5d9-a69c54a62df4

When allocating resources, people often diversify across categories even when those categories are arbitrary, such that allocations differ when identical sets of options are partitioned differently (“partition dependence”). The first goal of the present work (Experiment 1) was to replicate an experiment by Fox and colleagues in which graduate students exhibited partition dependence when asked how university financial aid should be allocated across arbitrarily partitioned income brackets. Our sample consisted of community members at a liberal arts college where financial aid practices have been recent topics of debate. Because stronger intrinsic preferences can reduce partition dependence, these participants might display little partition dependence with financial aid allocations. Alternatively, a demonstration of strong partition dependence in this population would emphasize the robustness of the effect. The second goal was to extend a “high transparency” modification to the present task context (Experiment 2) in which participants were shown both possible income partitions and randomly assigned themselves to one, to determine whether partition dependence in this paradigm would be reduced by revealing the study design (and the arbitrariness of income categories). Participants demonstrated clear partition dependence in both experiments. Results demonstrate the robustness of partition dependence in this context.

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<![CDATA[Daily and seasonal fluctuation in Tawny Owl vocalization timing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N7177f503-3b7e-4d4b-a022-d9bd333d526e

A robust adaptation to environmental changes is vital for survival. Almost all living organisms have a circadian timing system that allows adjusting their physiology to cyclic variations in the surrounding environment. Among vertebrates, many birds are also seasonal species, adapting their physiology to annual changes in photoperiod (amplitude, length and duration). Tawny Owls (Strix aluco) are nocturnal birds of prey that use vocalization as their principal mechanism of communication. Diurnal and seasonal changes in vocalization have been described for several vocal species, including songbirds. Comparable studies are lacking for owls. In the present work, we show that male Tawny Owls present a periodic vocalization pattern in the seconds-to-minutes range that is subject to both daily (early vs. late night) and seasonal (spring vs. summer) rhythmicity. These novel theory-generating findings appear to extend the role of the circadian system in regulating temporal events in the seconds-to-minutes range to other species.

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<![CDATA[Variation in plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and D3 in normal pregnancy with gestational age, sampling season, and complications: A longitudinal cohort study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndf1a2733-e0b1-4fc7-90ad-b2bfa4368f5f

Introduction

Low levels of vitamin D in pregnancy have been associated with the risk of a variety of pregnancy outcomes. Few studies have investigated vitamin D concentrations throughout pregnancy in healthy women, and most guidelines recommend high vitamin D levels. In the present study, we investigated 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in healthy Caucasian Danish women in relation to season, gestational age and possible vitamin D-linked complications.

Materials and methods

Eight hundred and one healthy Caucasian Danish women with an expected normal pregnancy were recruited among 2147 women attending first trimester screening. Seven blood samplings were planned throughout the pregnancy and delivery period. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 (25(OH)D2) and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) concentrations were measured by LC-MS/MS and total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) were calculated.

Results

A total of 3304 samples from 694 women were available for 25(OH)D measurements. The mean (25th-75th percentiles) concentrations of 25(OH)D, 25(OH)D3, and 25(OH)D2 were 54.6 (38.8–68.6) nmol/L, 52.2 (36.4–66.4) nmol/L, and 2.4 (2.2–2.2) nmol/L, respectively. Season was the strongest predictor of 25(OH)D concentration, with the lowest values observed in winter and spring, where only 42% and 41% of samples, respectively, were above 50 nmol/L. Nearly all women had values below the suggested optimal level of 75 nmol/L, independent of season. 25(OH)D peaked at gestational weeks 21–34. Plasma 25(OH)D2 levels were low in all seasons. Women with complications during pregnancy had higher 25(OH)D (estimated difference 9.8 nmol/L, standard error 2.7, p<0.001) than did women without complications, and women giving birth vaginally had lower 25(OH)D than did those delivering via elective (10.0 nmol/L, standard error 2.1, p<0.001) or emergency cesarean section (6.8 nmol/L, standard error 2.2, p<0.001).

Conclusion

The 25(OH)D concentrations vary with both season and gestational age. Healthy women had lower 25(OH)D concentrations than recommended, without an association with an increased risk of pregnancy complications. Guidelines for vitamin D in pregnancy may require revision.

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<![CDATA[Heterochrony of puberty in the European badger (Meles meles) can be explained by growth rate and group-size: Evidence for two endocrinological phenotypes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897769d5eed0c4847d2c1b

Puberty is a key stage in mammalian ontogeny, involving endocrinological, physiological and behavioural changes, moderated by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Thus, not all individuals within one population achieve sexual maturity simultaneously. Here, using the European badger (Meles meles) as a model, we describe male testosterone and female oestrone profiles (using Enzyme-immunoassays) from first capture (3 months, post-weaning) until 28 months (attaining sexual maturity and final body size), along with metrics of somatic growth, scent gland development and maturation of external reproductive organs as well as intra-specific competition. In both sexes, endocrinological puberty commenced at ca. 11 months. Thereafter, cub hormone levels followed adult seasonal hormone patterns but at lower levels, with the majority of cubs reaching sexual maturity during their second mating season (22–28 months). Interestingly, there was evidence for two endocrinological phenotypes among male cubs (less evident in females), with early developers reaching sexual maturity at 11 months (first mating season) and late developers reaching sexual maturity at 22–26 months (second mating season). Early developers also attained a greater proportion of their ultimate adult size by 11 months, exhibiting faster growth rates than late developers (despite having similar adult size). Male cubs born into larger social groups tended to follow the late developer phenotype. Our results support the hypothesis that a minimum body size is required to reach sexual maturity, which may be achieved at different ages, even within a single population, where early maturity can confer individual fitness advantages and enhance population growth rate.

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<![CDATA[Population density and temperature correlate with long-term trends in somatic growth rates and maturation schedules of herring and sprat]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89775ed5eed0c4847d2b47

We examine long-term trends in the average growth rates and maturation schedules of herring and sprat populations using survey data collected from the North Sea and west of Scotland since the 1960s and 1980s respectively. Otolith age data and maturity data are used to calculate time series of mean lengths at age, von Bertalanffy growth parameters, and probabilistic maturation reaction norms. As the growth and maturation of fish is known to be influenced by temperature and stock abundances, we account for these variables using Generalised Additive Models. Each of the herring populations displayed either steady declines in mean length across multiple age groups, or declines in length followed years later by some recovery. Depending on region, lengths at age of sprat increased or decreased over time. Varying temporal trends in maturation propensity at age and length were observed across herring populations. Many of the trends in growth rate and maturation were correlated to population abundance and/or temperature. In general, abundance is shown to be negatively correlated to growth rates in herring and sprat, and positively correlated with maturation propensity in herring. Temperature is also shown to be correlated to growth and maturation, and although the effect is consistent within species, the temperature effects differ between herring and sprat. This study provides detailed information about long-term trends in growth and maturation, which is lacking for some of these pelagic stocks, especially in the west of Scotland.

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<![CDATA[Hygroregulation, a key ability for eusocial insects: Native Western European honeybees as a case study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730dbd5eed0c484f38231

Sociality has brought many advantages to various hymenoptera species, including their ability of regulating physical factors in their nest (e.g., temperature). Although less studied, humidity is known to be important for egg, larval and pupal development, and also for nectar concentration. Two subspecies of Apis mellifera of the M evolutionary lineage were used as models to test the ability of a superorganism (i.e. honeybee colony) to regulate the humidity in its nest (i.e. “hygroregulation hypothesis”) in four conservation centers: two in France (A. m. mellifera) and two in Portugal (A. m. iberiensis). We investigated the ability of both subspecies to regulate the humidity in hives daily, but also during the seasons for one complete year. Our data and statistical analysis demonstrated the capacity of the bees to regulate humidity in their hive, regardless of the day, season or subspecies. Furthermore, the study showed that humidity in beehives is stable even during winter, when brood is absent, and when temperature is known to be less stable in the beehives. These results suggest that humidity is important for honeybees at every life stage, maybe because of the ‘imprint’ of the evolutionary history of this hymenopteran lineage.

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<![CDATA[Drought stress affects the protein and dietary fiber content of wholemeal wheat flour in wheat/Aegilops addition lines]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c633936d5eed0c484ae624e

Wild relatives of wheat, such as Aegilops spp. are potential sources of genes conferring tolerance to drought stress. As drought stress affects seed composition, the main goal of the present study was to determine the effects of drought stress on the content and composition of the grain storage protein (gliadin (Gli), glutenin (Glu), unextractable polymeric proteins (UPP%) and dietary fiber (arabinoxylan, β-glucan) components of hexaploid bread wheat (T. aestivum) lines containing added chromosomes from Ae. biuncialis or Ae. geniculata. Both Aegilops parents have higher contents of protein and β-glucan and higher proportions of water-soluble arabinoxylans (determined as pentosans) than wheat when grown under both well-watered and drought stress conditions. In general, drought stress resulted in increased contents of protein and total pentosans in the addition lines, while the β-glucan content decreased in many of the addition lines. The differences found between the wheat/Aegilops addition lines and wheat parents under well-watered conditions were also manifested under drought stress conditions: Namely, elevated β-glucan content was found in addition lines containing chromosomes 5Ug, 7Ug and 7Mb, while chromosomes 1Ub and 1Mg affected the proportion of polymeric proteins (determined as Glu/Gli and UPP%, respectively) under both well-watered and drought stress conditions. Furthermore, the addition of chromosome 6Mg decreased the WE-pentosan content under both conditions. The grain composition of the Aegilops accessions was more stable under drought stress than that of wheat, and wheat lines with the added Aegilops chromosomes 2Mg and 5Mg also had more stable grain protein and pentosan contents. The negative effects of drought stress on both the physical and compositional properties of wheat were also reduced by the addition of these. These results suggest that the stability of the grain composition could be improved under drought stress conditions by the intraspecific hybridization of wheat with its wild relatives.

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<![CDATA[Historical observations of algal blooms in Mazatlan Bay, Sinaloa, Mexico (1979-2014)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b529ad5eed0c4842bcc8c

A 35-year record of algal blooms in Mazatlan Bay is reviewed in order to register bloom-forming species and their seasonal presence, duration, degree of toxicity and environmental impact. A total of 202 algal blooms have been recorded and 25 dominant species identified: 6 toxic, 5 harmful and 14 harmless species. A harmless species, Myrionecta rubra, tended to decrease in frequency, while toxic species Gymnodinium catenatum and Margalefidinium polykrikoides showed a clear trend towards an increase in frequency. The number of discoloration days attributable to blooms was highly variable in each year, but a decadal analysis revealed a tendency to increase. The monthly distribution of algal blooms for decades showed two peaks of high frequency, the larger from February to May and the smaller from September to November. The duration of blooms varied from a few days to more than three months; the ephemeral blooms were the most frequent, but in the last decade, the frequency of the longer-lasting blooms has increased. An absence of blooms in 1983–4 and 1992–3 coincided with strong El Niño events, but this pattern was not consistent in subsequent El Niño years. Years with more or fewer discolorations days appear to be associated with cold or warm phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

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<![CDATA[Tree rings as a proxy for seasonal precipitation variability and Early Neolithic settlement dynamics in Bavaria, Germany]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52ecd5eed0c4842bd293

Studying the dynamic of Neolithic settlement on a local scale and its connection to climate variability is often difficult due to missing on-site climate reconstructions from natural archives. Here we bring together archaeological settlement data and a regional climate reconstruction from precipitation-sensitive trees. Both archives hold information about regional settlement dynamics and hydroclimate variability spanning the time of the first farming communities, the so called Linearbandkeramik (LBK) in Bavaria, Germany. Precipitation-sensitive tree-ring series from subfossil oak are used to develop a spring-summer precipitation reconstruction (5700–4800 B.C.E.) representative for southern Germany. Early Neolithic settlement data from Bavaria, mainly for the duration of the LBK settlement activities, are critically evaluated and compared to this unique regional hydroclimate reconstruction as well as to reconstructions of Greenland temperature, summer sea surface temperature, delta 18O and global solar irradiance to investigate the potential impact of climate on Neolithic settlers and their settlement dynamic during the LBK. Our hydroclimate reconstruction demonstrates an extraordinarily high frequency of severe dry and wet spring-summer seasons during the entire LBK, with particularly high year-to-year variability from 5400 to 5101 B.C.E. and with lower fluctuations until 4801 B.C.E. A significant influence of regional climate on the dynamic of the LBK is possible (e.g. around 4960 B.C.E.), but should be interpreted very carefully due to asynchronous trends in settlement dynamics. Thus, we conclude that even when a climate proxy such as tree rings that has excellent spatio-temporal resolution is available, it remains difficult to establish potential connections between the settlement dynamic of the LBK and climate variability.

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<![CDATA[Genome-wide association mapping of grain yield in a diverse collection of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) evaluated in southern Australia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8c8d5eed0c48496f180

Wheat landraces, wild relatives and other ‘exotic’ accessions are important sources of new favorable alleles. The use of those exotic alleles is facilitated by having access to information on the association of specific genomic regions with desirable traits. Here, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using a wheat panel that includes landraces, synthetic hexaploids and other exotic wheat accessions to identify loci that contribute to increases in grain yield in southern Australia. The 568 accessions were grown in the field during the 2014 and 2015 seasons and measured for plant height, maturity, spike length, spike number, grain yield, plant biomass, HI and TGW. We used the 90K SNP array and two GWAS approaches (GAPIT and QTCAT) to identify loci associated with the different traits. We identified 17 loci with GAPIT and 25 with QTCAT. Ten of these loci were associated with known genes that are routinely employed in marker assisted selection such as Ppd-D1 for maturity and Rht-D1 for plant height and seven of those were detected with both methods. We identified one locus for yield per se in 2014 on chromosome 6B with QTCAT and three in 2015, on chromosomes 4B and 5A with GAPIT and 6B with QTCAT. The 6B loci corresponded to the same region in both years. The favorable haplotypes for yield at the 5A and 6B loci are widespread in Australian accessions with 112 out of 153 carrying the favorable haplotype at the 5A locus and 136 out of 146 carrying the favorable haplotype at the 6A locus, while the favorable haplotype at 4B is only present in 65 out of 149 Australian accessions. The low number of yield QTL in our study corroborate with other GWAS for yield in wheat, where most of the identified loci have very small effects.

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<![CDATA[Response of Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis to marine environmental changes in the north-central South China Sea based on satellite and in situ observations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59feaad5eed0c4841352bc

In the South China Sea (SCS), Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis (S. oualaniensis) generally has the highest stock density in spring and occupies an important position in fisheries. The responses of S. oualaniensis to marine environments in the north-central SCS in spring (March to May) from 2006 to 2010 were analyzed using satellite and in situ observations, with generalized additive models (GAMs). A high proportion variation in catch per unit effort (CPUE) was explained by environmental variables, including sea surface temperature (SST; explaining 13.8%) and the interaction between SST and chlorophyll a (Chl-a) concentration (explaining 16.9%). SSTs within the range of 24–28°C and Chl-a concentrations within 0.10–0.35 mg/m3 had positive effects on S. oualaniensis CPUE, and SST within 28–29.5°Cand Chl-a concentrations within 0.05–0.20 mg/m3 had negative effects. In addition, the response time of the maximum standardized catch per unit effort (SCPUE) in May to the maximum Chl-a in March was approximately six ten-day time step. The higher Chl-a and smaller stock size of S. oualaniensis in early March 2008 were partly associated with climatic anomalies caused by La Niña in spring and the limitation of S. oualaniensisby low temperature in 2008. The findings in this study can help better protect and manage S. oualaniensis resources in the SCS.

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<![CDATA[Incorporating media data into a model of infectious disease transmission]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e90cd5eed0c48496f731

Understanding the effect of media on disease spread can help improve epidemic forecasting and uncover preventive measures to slow the spread of disease. Most previously introduced models have approximated media effect through disease incidence, making media influence dependent on the size of epidemic. We propose an alternative approach, which relies on real data about disease coverage in the news, allowing us to model low incidence/high interest diseases, such as SARS, Ebola or H1N1. We introduce a network-based model, in which disease is transmitted through local interactions between individuals and the probability of transmission is affected by media coverage. We assume that media attention increases self-protection (e.g. hand washing and compliance with social distancing), which, in turn, decreases disease model. We apply the model to the case of H1N1 transmission in Mexico City in 2009 and show how media influence—measured by the time series of the weekly count of news articles published on the outbreak—helps to explain the observed transmission dynamics. We show that incorporating the media attention based on the observed media coverage of the outbreak better estimates the disease dynamics from what would be predicted by using media function that approximate the media impact using the number of cases and rate of spread. Finally, we apply the model to a typical influenza season in Washington, DC and estimate how the transmission pattern would have changed given different levels of media coverage.

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<![CDATA[Assessing the performance of different irrigation systems on lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) in the greenhouse]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e91cd5eed0c48496f815

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) is a very important leafy vegetable in China and is commonly grown using furrow irrigation. In order to improve production efficiency, greenhouse experiments were conducted at Experimental Station, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China using furrow irrigation (FI), micro-sprinkler irrigation (MS), plastic film mulching irrigation (PF) and a combined plastic film mulching–micro-sprinkler irrigation system (PF+MS) to study their effects on soil physical characteristics, water distribution, root morpho-physiological traits, nutrition absorption, lettuce yield and water use efficiency for a spring crop and autumn crop in 2015 (Fig 1). Root length, root surface area, and root density were significantly higher under PF and PF+MS than under FI. Moreover, these traits were higher under MS than under FI but these differences were not significant. The soluble protein, soluble sugar, and Vitamin C content of lettuce decreased in the order PF+MS > PF > MS > FI in both crops. In the spring crop, the biological yield of MS, PF, and PF+MS was 7.22%、36.77%、43.20% higher than FI, respectively. In the spring crop, biological water use efficiency (BWUE) of FI, MS, PF and PF+MS was 20.93, 25.24, 36.81 and 38.54 kg m−3, respectively. The BWUE of MS, PF, and PF+MS was 20.59%, 75.87% and 84.14% higher than FI. Economic water use efficiency (EWUE) of FI, MS, PF and PF+MS was 17.06, 21.31, 31.11 and 32.31 kg m−3, respectively. The EWUE of MS, PF, and PF+MS was 24.91%, 82.36% and 89.39% higher than FI, respectively. The autumn crop achieved a higher WUE than the spring crop. The results suggested that the combined plastic film mulching-micro-sprinkler irrigation was the most suitable irrigation approach for increasing lettuce yield.

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<![CDATA[Predicting ecosystem components in the Gulf of Mexico and their responses to climate variability with a dynamic Bayesian network model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c521879d5eed0c484798772

The Gulf of Mexico is an ecologically and economically important marine ecosystem that is affected by a variety of natural and anthropogenic pressures. These complex and interacting pressures, together with the dynamic environment of the Gulf, present challenges for the effective management of its resources. The recent adoption of Bayesian networks to ecology allows for the discovery and quantification of complex interactions from data after making only a few assumptions about observations of the system. In this study, we apply Bayesian network models, with different levels of structural complexity and a varying number of hidden variables to account for uncertainty when modeling ecosystem dynamics. From these models, we predict focal ecosystem components within the Gulf of Mexico. The predictive ability of the models varied with their structure. The model that performed best was parameterized through data-driven learning techniques and accounted for multiple ecosystem components’ associations and their interactions with human and natural pressures over time. Then, we altered sea surface temperature in the best performing model to explore the response of different ecosystem components to increased temperature. The magnitude and even direction of predicted responses varied by ecosystem components due to heterogeneity in driving factors and their spatial overlap. Our findings suggest that due to varying components’ sensitivity to drivers, changes in temperature will potentially lead to trade-offs in terms of population productivity. We were able to discover meaningful interactions between ecosystem components and their environment and show how sensitive these relationships are to climate perturbations, which increases our understanding of the potential future response of the system to increasing temperature. Our findings demonstrate that accounting for additional sources of variation, by incorporating multiple interactions and pressures in the model layout, has the potential for gaining deeper insights into the structure and dynamics of ecosystems.

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<![CDATA[Examining the ‘cosmetics placebo effect’]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f772d5eed0c48438619f

Previous studies have found a positive effect of cosmetics on certain behavioral measures, such as the tip given to waitresses by male patrons. These studies have employed confederates who usually wear cosmetics. We therefore sought to examine whether the positive effect found in these studies could, in part, be explained by a change in behavior. In order to test the possibility of a ‘cosmetics placebo effect’, we employed a confederate to solicit donations from passersby. On some days our confederate would not have any cosmetics applied to her face (i.e., no cosmetics condition), on some days cosmetics were pretended to be applied to her face (i.e., placebo cosmetics condition), and on other days cosmetics were actually applied to her face (i.e., cosmetics condition). In line with previous research, we found that across conditions men donated significantly more than women to our female solicitor, providing support for the ‘showoff hypothesis’, in which male generosity serves as a mating tactic. When investigating men’s donations in more detail, we found that the highest percentage of donations came in the cosmetics condition, followed by the placebo cosmetics condition, and then by no cosmetics condition. The effect of condition on donation rates, however, was not statistically significant. Our study was limited to one solicitor and one dependent variable (i.e., percentage of people approached who donated) and therefore future research would benefit from using more confederates as well as examining other behavioral measures. Given the influence of cosmetics use on so many real-world outcomes, we believe that further exploration into a possible ‘cosmetics placebo effect’ would be valuable.

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<![CDATA[Aggregation process of drifting fish aggregating devices (DFADs) in the Western Indian Ocean: Who arrives first, tuna or non-tuna species?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478cabd5eed0c484bd3cb0

Floating objects drifting in the surface of tropical waters, also known as drifting fish aggregating devices (DFADs), attract hundreds of marine species, including tuna and non-tuna species. Industrial tropical purse seiners have been increasingly deploying artificial man-made DFADs equipped with satellite linked echo-sounder buoys, which provide fishers with information on the accurate geo-location of the object and rough estimates of the biomass aggregated underneath, to facilitate the catch of tuna. Although several hypotheses are under consideration to explain the aggregation and retention processes of pelagic species around DFADs, the reasons driving this associative behavior are uncertain. This study uses information from 962 echo-sounder buoys attached to virgin (i.e. newly deployed) DFADs deployed in the Western Indian Ocean between 2012 and 2015 by the Spanish fleet (42,322 days observations) to determine the first detection day of tuna and non-tuna species at DFAD and to model the aggregation processes of both species group using Generalize Additive Mixed Models. Moreover, different seasons, areas and depths of the DFAD underwater structure were considered in the analysis to account for potential spatio-temporal and structure differences. Results show that tuna species arrive at DFADs before non-tuna species (13.5±8.4 and 21.7±15.1 days, respectively), and provide evidence of the significant relationship between DFAD depth and detection time for tuna, suggesting faster tuna colonization in deeper objects. For non-tuna species, this relationship appeared to be not significant. The study also reveals both seasonal and spatial differences in the aggregation patterns for different species groups, suggesting that tuna and non-tuna species may have different aggregative behaviors depending on the spatio-temporal dynamic of DFADs. This work will contribute to the understanding of the fine and mesoscale ecology and behavior of target and non-target species around DFADs and will assist managers on the sustainability of exploited resources, helping to design spatio-temporal conservation management measures for tuna and non-tuna species.

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<![CDATA[Impact of adversity on early childhood growth & development in rural India: Findings from the early life stress sub-study of the SPRING cluster randomised controlled trial (SPRING-ELS)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5f9d5eed0c484caaadc

Introduction

Early childhood development is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and can be negatively influenced by many different adversities including violence in the home, neglect, abuse and parental ill-health. We set out to quantify the extent to which multiple adversities are associated with impaired early childhood growth & development.

Methods

This was a substudy of the SPRING cluster randomised controlled trial covering the whole population of 120 villages of rural India. We assessed all children born from 18 June 2015 for adversities in the first year of life and summed these to make a total cumulative adversity score, and four subscale scores. We assessed the association of each of these with weight-for-age z-score, length-for-age z-score, and the motor, cognitive and language developmental scales of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development III assessed at 18 months.

Results

We enrolled 1726 children soon after birth and assessed 1273 of these at both 12 and 18 months of age. There were consistent and strongly negative relationships between all measures of childhood adversity and all five child growth & development outcome measures at 18 months of age. For the Bayley motor scale, each additional adversity was associated with a 1.1 point decrease (95%CI -1.3, -0.9); for the cognitive scales this was 0.8 points (95%CI -1.0, -0.6); and for language this was 1.4 points (95%CI -1.9, -1.1). Similarly for growth, each additional adversity was associated with a -0.09 change in weight-for-age z-score (-0.11, -0.06) and -0.12 change in height-for-age z-score (-0.14, -0.09).

Discussion

Our results are the first from a large population-based study in a low/middle-income country to show that each increase in adversity in multiple domains increases risk to child growth and development at a very early age. There is an urgent need to act to improve these outcomes for young children in LMICs and these findings suggest that Early Childhood programmes should prioritise early childhood adversity because of its impact on developmental inequities from the very start.

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