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    Pathways to engineering the phyllosphere microbiome for sustainable crop production

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    Algal sensitivity to nickel toxicity in response to phosphorus starvation

    Effect of phosphorus starved cultures of Dunaliella tertiolecta on growth represented as optical density under stress of nickel ionsIn the case of normal culture, phosphorus starved control culture (without nickel stress), and phosphorus-starved treated cultures, data presented in Table 1 and graphed in figure (S1, Supplementary Data) clearly showed a progressive increase in optical density with increasing culturing period in case of normal culture, phosphorus-starved control culture, and phosphorus-starved treated cultures. Our findings are consistent with those of18 who found that in phosphorus starved cultures of three algae species, Microcystic aeruginosa, Chlorella pyrenoidesa, and Cyclotella sp., the biomass, specific growth rate, and Chl-a all declined significantly.The optical density achieved during the four periods of culturing was lower in phosphorus-depleted control cultures than in normal cultures (i.e., cultures contained phosphorus). When compared to a normal control (without nickel addition), the optical density was reduced by 9.1% after 4 days of culturing under phosphorus deprivation and by 10.0 percent after 8 days of culturing. In the case of 5 mg/L dissolved nickel, however, the obtained optical density values in phosphorus starved treatment cultures rose with the increase in culturing period during all culturing periods as compared to phosphorus-starved control (without nickel addition) cultures.At 10 mg/L dissolved nickel and after 4 days of culturing, the optical density although less than those in case of concentration 5 mg/L, yet it was higher than control (− P) but by increasing the culturing period more than 4 days, the optical density was less than control (− P). Our results are similar to those of19 who observed that the decrease in cell division rate signaled the onset of P-deficiency. The cultures that showed no significant increase in cell number for at least three consecutive days under the experimental conditions were considered P-depleted. In addition20, observed that the growth rate of Dunaliella prava was found to be dramatically lowered when phosphorus was limited. The content of chlorophyll fractions, total soluble carbohydrates, and proteins all fell considerably as a result of phosphorus restriction.The results concerning the effect of dissolved nickel on the growth of Dunaliella tertiolecta under conditions of phosphorus limitation show that phosphorus starved Dunaliella had lower growth as compared to the control (phosphorus-containing culture medium). These results are in agreement with those obtained by7 who reported that the optical density of Chlorella kessleri cell suspension decreased with phosphorus deficiency compared to control. Also21, found that Chlorella vulgaris cells grew 30–40% slower in phosphorus-starved cultures than in control cultures. Furthermore22, showed that diatoms were unable to thrive when phosphorus levels were insufficient. Diatom dominances were reduced to 45 and 55% in enclosures where phosphate was not provided23 observed that, under salt stress, Chlorella’s metabolic rate was substantially lower than Dunaliella’s.It can be concluded that when microorganisms are deprived of phosphorus, dissolved nickel uptake decreases, resulting in an increase in algal metabolism24. Also25, examined the effects of phosphorus and nitrogen starvation on the life cycle of Emiliania huxleyi (Haptophyta) and proved that various biochemical pathways’ metabolic load increased under P-starvation while it decreased under N-starvation.Effect of phosphorus starved cultures of Dunaliella tertiolecta on chlorophylls content under stress of nickel ionsTable 2 and figure (S2, Supplementary Data) show the sequences of change in the amount of chlorophylls a and b in phosphorus-depleted cultures of Dunaliella tertiolecta in response to various dissolved nickel concentrations. The results show that total chlorophyll content rose steadily until the end of the experiment under normal conditions (a control containing phosphorus). These results are in harmony with those obtained by24. The ratio between chlorophylls “a” and “b” remained nearly constant till the end of the 12th day. At the 16th day of culturing, the ratio decreased from 2.9:1 to 2.4:1. On the contrary, the total chlorophylls under control (in the absence of nickel element) in case of phosphorus-starved cultures showed a progressive increase up to the 12th day. At the 12th day the total chlorophylls in case of phosphorus-starved cultures decreased by 10.7% compared to the normal control. At the 16th day, the total chlorophylls in case of untreated phosphorus starved culture decreased by 20.8% compared to those obtained at normal control26. Reported that the chlorophyll content of Chlorella sorokiniana was significantly reduced due to a lack of nitrogen and phosphorus in the medium.Table 2 Effect of different concentrations of dissolved nickel (mg/L) on chlorophylls content (µg/ml) of Dunaliella tertiolecta under the stress of phosphorus starvation.Full size tableThe total chlorophyll content of Dunaliella tertiolecta in the phosphorus-starved cultures treated with 5 mg/L of dissolved nickel increased gradually until the 12th day, when the content of the total chlorophylls reached 2.11 µg/ml, i.e., higher than the phosphorus-starved control (− P) by 15.3%. At the 16th day, the total chlorophylls, although lower than those obtained at the 12th day, were still higher than the control (− P). At a concentration of 10 mg/L of dissolved nickel, slight increase in the content of total chlorophylls was recorded from the beginning to the end of the culturing period, i.e., from the 4th to the 16th day. At the other concentrations of dissolved nickel (15, 20, and 25 mg/L), a pronounced decrease in the total chlorophylls could be observed from the 4th to the 16th day of culturing compared to control (− P). Our results are going with an agreement with those obtained by27 who found that chlorophylls were inhibited maximum at higher dissolved nickel concentrations but activated at lower values. The normal ratio between chlorophylls “a” and “b” (3:1) was upset after the 8th day of culturing under concentrations 5, 10, and 15 mg/L of dissolved nickel. At 20 and 25 mg/L of dissolved nickel, this ratio was unstable from the beginning to the end of the experiment. The fact that dissolved nickel is extremely mobile and hence only absorbed to a minimal level may explain the sensitivity of the tested alga to nickel in response to phosphorus deficiency, and an increase in phosphorus concentration favors its absorption by microorganisms28. It can be concluded that when microorganisms are deprived of phosphorus, dissolved nickel uptake decreases, resulting in an increase in algal metabolism.Effect of different concentrations of dissolved nickel on photosynthesis (O2-evolution) of phosphorus starved cells of Dunaliella tertiolecta
    Data represented in Table 3 and graphed in figure (S3, Supplementary Data S3) showed that the effect of phosphorus limitation on the photosynthetic activity of Dunaliella tertiolecta in response to five different concentrations of dissolved nickel revealed that, under phosphorus limiting conditions, the amount of O2-evolution was lower than in untreated cultures (the control). The evolution of O2 after 4 days of culturing in case of phosphorus starved control decreased by 8.7% compared to normal control, while after 12 days it decreased by 30.4%. The rate of O2-evolution at different concentrations of dissolved nickel over 5 mg/L caused successive reductions in the O2-evolution of phosphorus starved cells. Application of 5 mg/L of dissolved nickel, the results cleared that the rate of O2-evolution increased under the effect of all tested concentrations till the end of the experiment. It is clear from our data that the rate of O2-evolution depended mainly on the concentration of the nickel element and the length of culturing period. The lower the rate of O2-evolution, the higher the element’s concentration, and the longer the culturing period. This coincided with the findings of7 who found that low phosphorus treatment causes Chlorella kessleri to lose its photosynthetic activity. In this regard, it was discovered that phosphorus deficiency resulted in a decrease in photosynthetic electron transport activity29 found that the O2-evolution of Chlamydomon reinhardtii declined by 75%. This decrease reflects damage of PSII and the generation of PSII QB-non reducing centers.Table 3 Effect of different concentrations of dissolved nickel (mg/L) on photosynthetic activity (O2-evolution calculated as µ mol O2 mg chl-1 h-1) on phosphorus supplemented and starved cells of Dunaliella tertiolecta.Full size tableAlso30 found that P- deficiency has been correlated with lower photosynthetic rates. In the case of the treated phosphorus-starved cultures with lower concentrations (5 mg/L) of dissolved nickel, the rate of photosynthesis increased when compared to the phosphorus-starved control, but was less than that of the normal control (without nickel treatment). On the contrary, it was found that, in the treated phosphorus-starved cultures at concentrations of 10, 15, 20 and 25 mg/L of the tested element, the rate of photosynthesis decreased from the beginning to the end of the experiment. With increasing concentration, duration of the culturing period, and kind of element, the condition of decrease in O2-evolution became more pronounced; the same results were also recorded by24. The stimulation of growth and photosynthesis in the presence of some concentrations of dissolved nickel under phosphorus-limiting conditions is observed by31 they report that in Cu2+ sensitive Scenedesmus acutus, intracellular polyphosphate plays a key role in shielding photosynthesis from Cu2+ toxicity but not in copper resistant species.Effect of different concentrations of dissolved nickel on respiration (O2-uptake) of phosphorus starved cells of Dunaliella tertiolectaData obtained in Table 4 and graphed in figure (S4, Supplementary Data S4) concerning the rate of respiration of Dunaliella tertiolecta under phosphorus-limiting conditions was higher than that of untreated phosphorus-starved (control) for a short period of time only, i.e., after 4 days, at concentrations 5, 10 and 15 mg/L of dissolved nickel, After 8 days of culturing, the rate of O2- uptake increased only at 5 mg/L of dissolved nickel, while at the other concentrations it decreased gradually with increasing the concentration of the element. This finding is consistent with the findings of23, who discovered that Dunaliella cells increased their O2 absorption and evolution rates in the presence of 2 M salt NaCl in the media. In terms of oxygen uptake rate, Dunaliella cells demonstrated an increase in salt concentrations. In 1.5 M NaCl, it increased significantly by 60–80%.Table 4 Effect of different concentrations of dissolved nickel (mg/L) on respiration activity (O2-uptake calculated as µ mol O2 h-1) on phosphorus supplemented and starved cells of Dunaliella tertiolecta.Full size tableConcerning the increase in respiration in P-depleted green alga species cultures5 suggested that Scenedesmus, for example, can utilize the energy stored in starch and lipids for active phosphorus uptake from lake sediments. This process is aided by an increase in phosphatase production32 and these cells’ ability to operate anaerobically33. When unicellular green algae or higher plants are exposed to P deficiency, the majority of newly fixed carbon appears to be allocated to the synthesis of non-phosphorylated storage polyglucans (i.e., starch) or sucrose, with less photosynthetic activity directed to respiratory metabolism and other biosynthesis pathways34. It can be concluded from the obtained results that, when the alga was cultivated under phosphorus deficiency and treated with varied amounts of dissolved nickel, the growth was the most sensitive characteristic, followed by photosynthesis, and then dark respiration. In the few comparative studies with several species of green algae, growth was more sensitive than the other physiological processes examined. Out of them35, reported that growth was more susceptible to phosphorus deficiency in Chlorella pyrenoidosa and Asterionella gracilis than photosynthesis and respiration (the least sensitive processes). Growth was also more sensitive than photosynthesis in Nitzschia closterium 36 . Another important fact reported by37 is that under low phosphorus conditions, Dunaliella parva accumulates lipids rather than carbohydrates. These findings imply that phosphorus stress may prevent starch and/or protein production, leading to an increase in carbon flux to lipids. More

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    Comparison of the effects of litter decomposition process on soil erosion under simulated rainfall

    Study area descriptionYangtze River Basin is situated in central China (Fig. 1). Its geographical coordinates are between 30° 48′ 30″–31° 02′ 30″ N and 112° 48′ 45″–113° 03′ 45″ E. Taizishan is located in the transition zone between the north and south of China, with an altitude of 403–467.4 m. It belongs to the subtropical monsoon humid climate zone and has obvious karst landforms. The farm area is 7576 hectares, the forest coverage rate is 82.0%, and the vegetation is mainly Masson pine, fir, and various broad-leaved tree species. Increased forest coverage reduces sediment production30. The soil is mainly viscous yellow–brown soil and loess parent material. Rain is concentrated in summer, with an average annual rainfall of 1094.6 mm and an average annual temperature of 16.4 °C. Rainfall-related flood risk increased in the Yangtze River Delta in recent years31.The study was based in a Pinus massoniana forest in the Taizishan forest farm of Hubei Province. The Pinus massoniana (Masson pine) is a common species distributed in Central China.Figure 1Geographic location of the study area. Maps were generated using ArcGIS 10.8 for Desktop (http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcgis-for-desktop).Full size imageExperiment designWe chose the Pinus massoniana forest with 47a in the study area as the research object. In the typical Pinus massoniana forest, the separate layers of litter (semi-decomposed and non-decomposed layers) were collected from several 1 m × 1 m quadrat and placed in grid bags. The litter of the semi-decomposed layer have no complete outline, and the color was brown. As the litter leaves of the completely decomposed layer are powdery and are combined with the soil layer, this layer is difficult to collect. Before testing, it was necessary to clean the soil off the pine needles and then allow the litter to dry naturally. The characteristics of the semi-decomposed and non-decomposed litter layers are shown in Table 1. The soil samples need to be dried and screened by 10 mm. When filling the soil trough, every 0.1 m of soil thickness was one layer, for a total of four layers (0.4 m). The characteristics by soil particle sizes are different (Fig. 2). The soil samples were dried naturally, crushed, and then sieved. The soil trough (2 m long, 0.5 m wide and 0.5 m deep) was filled to have a bulk density of 1.53 g·m−3. In this process, an appropriate amount of water was sprinkled on the surface of each soil layer to achieve a soil moisture content consistent with the surrounding, undisturbed, or natural, state. The simulation experiment was conducted in the Jiufeng rainfall laboratory at Beijing Forestry University, China. We used a rainfall simulation system (QYJY-503T, Qingyuan Measurement Technology, Xi’an, China) used a rotary downward spray nozzle. The system is able to simulate a wide range of rainfall intensities (10 to 300 mm h−1) using various water pressure and nozzle sizes controlled by a computer system.Table 1 Characteristics of the non-decomposed and semi-decomposed layers of Pinus massoniana litter.Full size tableFigure 2Soil particle composition of study area soil layers.Full size imageAccording to the results of the field forest investigation, the litter was covered with the experimental treatments shown in Table 2. The treatments mass coverage of non-decomposed litter layer was named as follows: N1 denoted litter mass coverage 0 g·m−2, N2 was ‘the non-decomposed litter mass coverage 100 g·m−2’, N3 was ‘the non-decomposed litter mass coverage 200 g·m−2’, and N4 was ‘the non-decomposed litter mass coverage 400 g·m−2’, N5 was ‘the semi-decomposed litter mass coverage 100 g·m−2’, N6 was ‘the non-decomposed litter mass coverage 100 g·m−2 and the semi-decomposed litter mass coverage 100 g·m−2’, N7 was ‘the non-decomposed litter mass coverage 200 g·m−2 and the semi-decomposed litter mass coverage 100 g·m−2’. N2, N3 and N4 were the undissolved state of litter layer, and N4 (non-decomposed state, ND), N7 (initial stage of litter decomposition, ID), N6 (middle stage of litter decomposition, MD) and N5 (final stage of litter decomposition, FD) respectively represent different stages of litter decomposition.Table 2 The experimental design of this study.Full size tableAccording to the rainfall in the Taizishan area of Hubei Province, erosive rainfall and extreme rainstorms were selected as the research conditions. Summer rainfall events occur mainly in the summer in this area, and a rainfall intensity of 60 mm·h−1 was the most common erosive rainfall intensity. Under extreme weather conditions, the rainfall intensity can reach up to 120 mm·h−1. Our experiments were conducted with 60 and 120 mm·h−1 rain intensities with a rainfall that lasted 1 h. According to the field investigation data of forest land, this area is a low mountain and hilly area with a slope mostly between 5° and 10°. Therefore, 5° and 10° were selected for the slope treatments in this study. The combination of slope and rainfall intensity was named as follows: T1 denoted ‘Slope 5° and rainfall intensity 60 mm·h−1’, T2 was ‘Slope 10° and rainfall intensity 60 mm·h−1’, T3 was ‘Slope 5° and rainfall intensity 120 mm·h−1’, and T4 was ‘Slope 10° and rainfall intensity 120 mm·h−1’. With two rainfall intensities, two slopes, seven litter coverage gradient and two repetitions combined, this study had a total of 56 rainfall events.Experimental procedureBefore the test, the soil samples were wetted for 10 h and then drained for 2 h to eliminate the effect of the initial soil moisture on the soil detachment measurement. When the simulated rainfall started, all the runoff and sediment produced from plot were collected every 5 min in the first 10 min, and then collected once every 10 min during the subsequent 50 min. At the same time, runoff velocity, depth and temperature were measured and vernier calliper (accuracy 0.02 mm) respectively.The overland flow velocity was measured using dying method (KMnO4 solution)32. After judging the flow pattern, we confirmed the correction coefficient K value (in laminar flow state, K = 0.67; transition flow state, K = 0.70; turbulent flow state, K = 0.8). The average velocity of overland flow was obtained by multiplying the correction coefficient K and the instantaneous velocity. Runoff depth was measured using vernier calliper (accuracy 0.02 mm). Runoff temperature was measured using thermometer. When the rainfall experiment finished, the collected runoff samples were measured volumetric cylinder and then settled for at least 12 h. The clear water was decanted, and the samples were put into an oven to dry for 24 h under 105 °C. The sediment sample was dried and weighed with an electronic scale.Calculation of hydrodynamic parametersOverland flow has the characteristics of a thin water layer, large fluctuations of the underlying surface, and unstable flow velocity. At present, most scholars use open-channel flow theory to study overland flow33,34. In open-channel flow theory, the Reynold’s number (Re), Froude constant (Fr), flow index (m), resistance coefficient (f), and soil separation rate (({D}_{r})) are the basic parameters of overland flow dynamics, through Reynold’s number (Re), Froude constant (Fr), flow index (m) can distinguish flow patterns. Re is calculated as:$$Re=Rcdot V/nu ,$$where Re is the Reynolds number of the water flow, which is dimensionless, and can be used to judge the flow state of overland flow. When Re ≤ 500, the flow pattern is laminar; when 500   5000, the flow pattern is turbulent. R is the hydraulic radius (m), which is generally replaced by flow depth as measured by a vernier calliper (accuracy 0.02 mm). (V) is the average velocity (m·s−1); (nu) is the kinematic viscosity coefficient (m2·s−1), and the calculation formula is (nu) = 0.01775·10−4·(1 + 0.0337 t + 0.00021 t2), where t is the test overland flow temperature35.Fr is the Froude constant, which is the ratio of the inertial force to gravity and can be used to distinguish overland flow as rapid flow, slow flow, or critical flow. When Fr  1, the fluid is rapid flow.Fr is calculated as:$$Fr=V/sqrt{gcdot R},$$where (Fr) is the Froude constant of the water flow, which is dimensionless; (V) is the average velocity (m·s−1); g is the acceleration of gravity and has a constant value of 9.8 m·s−2; R is a hydraulic radius (m), and is generally replaced by flow depth as measured by a vernier calliper (accuracy 0.02 mm).Regression fitting is made for runoff depth (h) and single width flow (Q). The runoff depth equation for slope is as follows:$$h=k{q}^{m},$$where q is the single width flow (L·m−1·s−1); h is the depth of water on the slope (m); and m is the flow index, which reflects the turbulent characteristics of the flow state. The larger m is, the more energy the flow consumes in the work of resistance. The comprehensive index (k) reflects the characteristics of the underlying surface and the water viscosity of the slope flow. The larger k is, the stronger the surface material of the slope works on the flow.The resistance of overland flow reflects the inhibition effect of different underlying surface conditions on the velocity of overland flow. The Darcy–Weisbach formula is widely used in research because of its two advantages: applicability and dimensionlessness under laminar and turbulent flow conditions36,37.The resistance coefficient (f) is calculated as follows:$$f=8cdot gcdot Rcdot J/{V}^{2},$$where the resistance coefficient f has no dimension; g is the acceleration of gravity and is always 9.8 m·s−2; R is a hydraulic radius (m), generally replaced by flow depth measured by a vernier calliper (accuracy 0.02 mm); (V) is the average velocity (m·s−1); and J is the hydraulic gradient, which can be converted by the gradient in a uniform flow state and is generally replaced by the sine value of the gradient.Shear stress ((tau)) is the main driving force that affects the stripping of soil particles from the surface soil38. Shear stress is calculated as:$$tau =rcdot gcdot Rcdot J,$$where (tau) is the shear force of runoff (Pa); and r is the density of water and sediment concentration flow (kg·m−3). This study used a muddy water mass and volume ratio in the unseparated state to calculate the density of water and sediment concentration flow.Flow power (W) is the runoff power per unit area of water and refers to the power consumed by the weight of water acting on the riverbed surface to transport runoff and sediment. W is calculated as:$$W=tau cdot V,$$where W is the flow power (N·m−1·s−1); and (tau) is the shear force of runoff (Pa).Soil separation rate (({D}_{r})) refers to the quality of soil in which soil particles are separated from the soil per unit time. The calculation formula is as follows:$${D}_{r}={W}_{d}-{W}_{w}/tcdot A,$$where ({D}_{r}) is the rate of soil separation (kg·m−2·s−1); ({W}_{w}) is the dry weight of soil before the test; ({W}_{d}) is the dry weight of soil after the test, measured by the drying method (kg); t is the scouring time (s); and A is the surface area of the soil sample (m2). More

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    Tree species composition mapping with dimension reduction and post-classification using very high-resolution hyperspectral imaging

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    The formulation of irrigation and nitrogen application strategies under multi-dimensional soil fertility targets based on preference neural network

    Study areaFigure 2 shows the location of the study area on a map of China generated by ArcGIS software. This study’s field experiments were carried out in the Shuanghe Town agricultural comprehensive water-saving demonstration area (40°42′ N; 107°24′ E), which is located in the middle reaches of the Hetao Irrigation Area of Inner Mongolia. The duration of the experimental process ranged from April in 2018 to October in 2020. The experimental area was characterized by a mid-temperate semi-arid continental climate. The average annual precipitation was determined to be 138 mm and the average evaporation was approximately 2332 mm. The majority of the rainfall was concentrated during summer and autumn seasons, and the accumulation of salt in the surface soil was considered to be serious in the spring and winter months. The average rainfall during maize growth period was 75.3 mm. The 0 to 40 cm soil layers in the experimental area were categorized as silty loam soil, with an average bulk density ranging from 1.42 to 1.53 g cm−3. A maize straw layer with a thickness of 5 cm was buried at a depth of 40 cm, and then the land was leveled. Also, in addition to autumn watering and spring irrigation procedures, water from the Yellow River was used three times for irrigation during the entire growth period of the maize crops. The adopted irrigation method belonged to border irrigation. Urea (46% N) were used as the fertilizer types.Figure 2The location of the study area.Full size imageField trials design and data collectionWe carried out experiment 1 from 2018 to 2019, and the data obtained were used for model training and to determine the hyper-parameters. The experimental design is shown in Table 1. The PNN model trained from the data obtained in experiment 1 predicted the optimal range of irrigation amount and nitrogen application rate (N rate) for each growth period of maize. In these ranges, the soil organic matter and total nitrogen could be kept above 20 g/kg and 1.6 g/kg, respectively, the soil salt content was less than 2 g/kg, and the pH value was between 6.5 and 7.5. In order to verify the accuracy and feasibility of the range of irrigation and nitrogen application simulated by PNN, the field experiment 2 was set in 2020 based on the range simulated by PNN and to evaluate the fitting degree between measured and simulated values of soil indicators under the same amount of irrigation and nitrogen application. The experimental design is shown in Table 2.Table 1 Experimental 1 design scheme.Full size tableTable 2 Experimental 2 design scheme.Full size tableThe experimental design were repeated for three times. The plot area of each treatment measuring 8 × 9 = 72 m2. The surrounding area was separated using 1.2 m buried polyethylene plastic film, and 30 cm was left at the top to prevent fertilizer and water from flowing into each other. The field management process was consistent with that used by the local farmers. The film width of maize was 1.1 m, with each film covering two rows. The plant spacing was approximately 45 cm, and the row spacing was 35 cm. In addition, the planting density of the maize was 60,000 plants/hm2.During the entire growth period of the maize crops, soil samples were collected from the 0 to 20 cm, 20 to 40 cm, 40 to 60 cm, 60 to 80 cm, and 80 to 100 cm soil layers using a soil drill and a three-point method was adopted. The soil samples were stored at 4 °C for the determination of total nitrogen, organic matter, total salt content, and pH values. The total nitrogen, organic matter, total salt content, and pH were determined using a KDN-AA double tube azotometer, MWD-2 microwave universal digestion device, TU1810PC ultraviolet–visible spectrophotometer, and a TU18950 double beam ultraviolet–visible spectrophotometer, respectively.Soil parameters measured include organic matter (SOM), total nitrogen (TN), Salt and pH. The data set includes pre-irrigation and post-irrigation reports from 2018 to 2020. Statistical parameters regarding the soil data are shown in Table 3.Table 3 Various meteorological variables and their descriptive statistics.Full size tableThe dataset obtained in Experiment 1 in 2018 to 2019 was 2490 rows in size, the 80/20 principle was used to data into training, and testing sets were required for ML modeling; 80% of data were employed for model training, while the remaining 20% were used for testing. Specifically, the data corresponding to the treatments with the nitrogen application rate (N rate) of 75 kg/hm2 (N3) in all the treatments (W1N3, W2N3, W3N3) were used as the test set, and the data of the other treatments were used as the training set. The training set was used to initiate ML parameter training. Subsequently, The test set was employed to assess the model. The dataset size in 2020 was 1080 rows, which was used to verify ML modeling.Figure 3 shows the changes of soil indexes over time for each treatment in the field test (take the 0–40 cm soil in the main distribution area of maize roots as an example). There are differences under the influence of different irrigation amounts. When irrigation is 90 mm, soil SOM is 13.25% and 7.00% higher than 60 mm and 120 mm, and soil TN is 4.59% and 6.50% higher than 60 mm and 120 mm, respectively. The soil Salt was 23.30% lower than 60 mm, and the pH was 4.16% and 4.36% lower than that of 60 mm and 120 mm, respectively. It can be seen that irrigation of 90 mm is more favorable for increasing soil SOM and TN contents and reducing soil salinity and alkalinity. Soil SOM and TN contents were the highest at n 75 kg/hm2, which were 4.38% and 8.34% higher than those at N = 93.3 kg/hm2, respectively. Soil Salt was the lowest at N = 60 kg/hm2, which was 3.02% lower than those at N = 75 kg/hm2, with a small gap with other levels. In conclusion, nitrogen application of 75 kg/hm2 was beneficial to increase soil organic matter and nitrogen content, and nitrogen application of 60 kg/hm2 was beneficial to controlling soil salt content.Figure 3Changes in soil organic matter, total nitrogen, salinity, and pH under different treatments over time (a case study of 2019).Full size imageMachine learning (ML) models used for irrigation and nitrogen application strategiesFive ML frames were used to estimate the irrigation and N rate. These models are preference Neural Network (PNN), Support Vector Regression (SVR), Linear Regression (LR), Logistic Regression (LOR), and traditional BP Neural Networks (BPNN). Among them, the prediction effects of linear, Poly, and rbf kernel functions are respectively tried in SVR framework. The torch framework was used to train and test machine learning models in Python.Development of preference neural networkModel frameworkThe preference neural network (PNN) which was proposed for the first time in this study was a typical deep learning model. PNN can be regarded as an approximate natural function in order to describe the complete dependence of the soil fertility indexes, including the effects of soil total nitrogen, organic matter, total salt content, and pH values on irrigation and nitrogen applications. More specifically, PNN has the ability to optimize the function by constructing the mapping y = f (x, θ) and learning parameter θ.First, the input end of PNN model was defined as matrix X ∈ ℝn×d (in which n is the sample size, n = 2490; and d is the dimension of each input vector, d = 6), where {xi} i=1, …, n ∈ X represents the vectorized set of total nitrogen, organic matter, salt content, and pH used for measuring the soil fertility, as well as the nitrogen application and irrigation durations (expressed by days after sowing). At the same time, the output end of the model was defined as the matrix Y ∈ ℝn×2, which represented the levels of the irrigation and nitrogen fertilizer applications. The goal of the proposed PNN model was to learn the fixed mapping Y′ = f (X; θ) ⇒Y through the given input matrix X, where θ is the well optimized learnable parameters which can be obtained via PNN training. Meanwhile, the predicted value Y′ will infinitely approach the measured value Y. The structure and the algorithm of this study’s PNN model is shown in Fig. 4 and Table. 4.Figure 4Schematic diagram for the PNN structural connections. In the figure, it can be seen that when each input vector passed through each layer of the PNN, it is first multiplied by the Hadamard product of the weight matrix and preference value matrix for the purpose of obtaining a weight matrix with preference properties. After the matrix was activated by the Relu Function, Batch Normalization Module Methods and the Dropout Module were used for random suspension and normalization processing, and the input of the next layer was obtained.Full size imageTable 4 Algorithm of Preference neural network.Full size tableLayer-by-layer affine transformationA good definition of the affine transformation of the information flow between layers is considered to be the key to neural network model training. Generally speaking, the learnable parameter θ of each layer of a model includes the weight parameter w and the preference parameter b. The hidden representation hl of the l-th layer in PNN is defined as follows:$${h}_{l}({h}_{l-1};{W}_{l},{b}_{l})={h}_{l-1}^{mathrm{T}}{W}_{l}+{b}_{l}$$
    (1)

    where Wl and bl represent the learnable weight and bias variables of the l layer, respectively, and hl-1 is the hidden representation of the upper layer. Therefore, when l = 1, then h0 = X.In the present study, using the hierarchical update rules, a given input data stream was allowed to pass through each hidden layer with intermediate operations, and then finally reached the output end.Preference structureThe correlation between different production behavior factors (e.g., irrigation levels) and different natural factors (e.g., soil organic matter) differs in agricultural production. However, the traditional fully connected neural network has the characteristic that nodes of one layer are fully connected with all nodes of subsequent layers, resulting in the neurons between production behavior factors and natural factors with very weak correlation still all being connected. Conversely, connections between neurons corresponding to factors with solid correlations are not strengthened.Therefore, in this study the preference value module was specially developed. By first calculating the correlation and significance between different production behavior factors (irrigation amount, N rate) and different soil fertility factors (organic matter, total nitrogen, total salt and pH), the preference value between the above two types of variables was calculated, and the preference matrix was constructed. Then the Hadamard product of the weight matrix and preference matrix was used to realize the artificial intervention and guidance to the neural network’s learning process.In order to reduce the adverse impact of non-normality of data on correlation analysis as much as possible, this study rank-based inverse normal (RIN) transformations (i.e., conversion to rank score) methods were used to normally process the data28. The RIN transformation function used here is as follows:$$f(x)={Phi }^{-1}left(frac{{x}_{r}-frac{1}{2}}{n}right)$$
    (2)

    where Φ–1 is the inverse normal cumulative distribution function, and n is the sample size.The normal cumulative distribution function is represented as follows: for discrete variables, the sum of probabilities of all values less than or equal to a, and its formula is as shown below:$${F}_{X}(a)=P(Xle a)$$
    (3)
    The RIN normalized conversion values meet the requirements of normal distribution, Pearson correlation analysis and t-test can be directly performed, and the formula used was as follows:$$r(X,Y)=frac{mathrm{Cov}(X,Y)}{sqrt{left(mathrm{Var}left[Xright]mathrm{Var}left[mathrm{Y}right]right)}}$$
    (4)

    where r (X, Y) is the Pearson Correlation Coefficient, Var [X] is the variance of X, and Var [Y] is the variance of Y, Cov (X, Y) is the covariance of X and Y, which represents the overall error of the two variables. The t-test is performed on the normalized data after rank-based inverse normal (RIN) transformation method, and the formula is as follows:$$t=sqrt{frac{n-2}{1-{r}^{2}}}$$
    (5)

    where n is the number of samples, and r represents the Pearson Correlation Coefficient. Preference value is the concentrated embodiment of correlation and significance between variables, and the calculation formula is as follows:$${PV}_{ij}=frac{r({X}_{i},{Y}_{j})}{{P}_{ij}+e}$$
    (6)

    where PVij represents the preference values between the variables Xi and Yj, Xi represents the ith production behavior factor (e.g., irrigation amount), and Yj represents the jth soil fertility factor (e.g., soil organic matter content), ({P}_{ij}) is obtained by looking up the table based on the t, and e is a constant, taking 0.001 in order to prevent the denominator of the formula from being 0.In order to make the preference values of the various indicators in the same order of magnitude more stable, the preference values were normalized:$${PV}_{normal}=pm frac{left|{PV}_{i}-{PV}_{avg}right|}{sqrt{frac{sum_{i=1}^{N}{({PV}_{i}-{PV}_{avg})}^{2}}{N-1}}}$$
    (7)

    where N represents the number of variables related to the experimental treatments, PVi -PVavg takes the absolute value, while the positive or negative values of the PVnormal were determined by the positive or negative values of the correlation r.The PNN integrated the preference matrixes into the neural network structures by identifying the Hadamard products of the learnable weights between the preference matrixes and the input and output data. By referring to Eq. (1) in the hierarchical affine transformation, the preference constraint of PNN could be expressed as follows:$${h}_{l}({h}_{l-1};{W}_{l},{b}_{l})={h}_{l-1}^{T}{W}_{l}odot P+{b}_{l}$$
    (8)

    where P is the preference matrix calculated by Eq. (8), and ⊙ represents the Hadamard product of the corresponding elements of the matrix. The structure of preference neural network and preference value are shown in Figs. 5 and 6.Figure 5Schematic diagram of the preference connection structures of the preference neural networks. The depth of the network detailed in the figure only illustrates the preference connection structure (for a better demonstration), and does not indicate the depth of the PNN used in the experiment.Full size imageFigure 6PVnormal between production behavior factors and natural factors. Since soil depth, days, irrigation amount and N rate were all artificially set variables, and there was no objective correlation in the data set. Therefore, the preference values among these variables were default e = 0.001.Full size imageHyper-parameters of PNNWe conducted experiments on the datasets with varying the hyper-parameters (such as the number of PNN layers and hidden layers, the number of nodes in each layer, learning rate, dropout rate and batch size) to understand that how the Hyper-parameters impact on the performance of PNN.We select the activation function and learning rate by referring to the neural network structure commonly used in similar fields (1 hidden layer and 64 hidden nodes)29,30. It is found that ReLU has better performance than other activation functions (sigmoid, tanh). The performance is best when the learning rate is around 0.005. It is generally believed that neural networks with more hidden layers are able, with the same number of resources, to address more complex problems31, but excessively increasing network depth will easily lead to overfitting32. Since there is no direct method to select the optimal number of hidden layers and nodes33, this study first calculated the structure of one hidden layer and 64 nodes in each layer, and found that the combined effect was poor (R2 of irrigation and nitrogen application were 0.3971 and 0.4124, respectively). Therefore, the trial-and-error method is adopted. The number of hidden layers starts from 1 and is incremented by 1 to test the maximum number of 10 hidden layers. The number of nodes in each layer were tested with a maximum number of 100 hidden neurons, starting with 5 and increasing by 5.We found that when the number of hidden layers of PNN exceeds 6, and the number of nodes in each layer exceeds 65, the performance will drop significantly. The reason behind this phenomenon could be the current dataset size is insufficient for larger scale of the PNN model. In the consideration of that the size of new dataset we can obtain very year is similar to the current dataset size, we believe that current hyper-paramter settings of PNN is in a reasonable condition.After that, the number of layers was fixed as 6, and the number of nodes in each layer were tested 10 times with 60 as the starting point and 1 as the increment, we found that when the number of nodes was 64, the improvement of the fit degree was no longer noticeable. On this basis, we changed different activation functions and learning rate again, and found that PNN still has the best performance when the activation function is ReLU and the learning rate is 0.005. Then, different batch sizes and dropout rates were tried. The two parameters had weaker effects on the performance than the other parameters, and the performance was optimal at 256 and 0.1, respectively.The hyper-parameters include:

    1.

    number of PNN layers;

    2.

    number of hidden layers;

    3.

    types of activation function;

    4.

    percentage of dropout;

    5.

    learning rate;

    6.

    loss function;

    7.

    optimizer;

    8.

    batch size;

    9.

    number of epochs;

    10.

    number of workers.

    The ideal PNN structure for the study comprises these layers:

    1.

    number of PNN layers is 8;

    2.

    number of hidden layers is 6;

    3.

    Fully connected layers with 64 nodes and ReLU activation function

    4.

    dropout with 0.1.

    5.

    the learning rate is 0.005;

    6.

    loss function is Huber Loss Methods (HLM);

    7.

    optimizer: ADAM;

    8.

    epochs is 500;

    9.

    the batch size is 256;

    10.

    number of workers is 6.

    Hyper-parameters of other modelsLR algorithms and LOR do not have hyper-parameters that need to be adjusted. A part of the hyper-parameters of the SVR model was determined by referring to Guan Xiaoyan’s research34, and a part of the hyper-parameters of the BPNN model was determined by referring to Gu Jian’s research27. RMLP takes the same hyperparameters as PNN. The hyperparameters of SVR and BPNN models are shown in Table 5.Table 5 Hyper-parameters of other model.Full size tableModel performance evaluationThe proposed PNN model was trained and validated using the field measured data from 2020 and the performance achievements of PNN were evaluated by the root mean square errors, mean square errors, and mean absolute errors as follows:$$RMSE=sqrt{frac{{sum }_{i=1}^{n}{({y}_{ipre}-{y}_{imea})}^{2}}{n}}$$
    (9)
    $${R}^{2}=1-frac{{sum }_{i=1}^{n}{({y}_{ipre}-{y}_{imea})}^{2}}{{sum }_{i=1}^{n}{({y}_{ipre}-{y}_{iavg})}^{2}}$$
    (10)
    $$MAE=frac{{sum }_{i=1}^{n}left|{y}_{ipre}-{y}_{iavg}right|}{n}$$
    (11)
    Model multidimensional fertility targetsThe soil fertility grade classification of soil organic matter, soil total nitrogen content and salt content in this study was based on the soil fertility grade classification results by the Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Bureau of Bayannur City, along with the local standard Technical Specifications for the Assessment and Rating Criteria of Cultivated Land Quality (DB 15/T 1086, 2016), as the shown in Tables 6 and 7.Table 6 Soil organic matter and Soil total nitrogen degrees.Full size tableTable 7 Grading of the salinization degrees.Full size tableIn the evaluation system of soil fertility referencing the Technical Specifications for Assessment and Rating Criteria of Cultivated Land Quality (DB 15/T 1086, 2016), the pH was divided into four grades according to the membership degrees of the land productivity evaluations, as detailed in Table 8.Table 8 pH grading degrees of the cultivated land.Full size tableBased on the classification standard of soil fertility obtained by the Bureau of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry of Bayannur City, when the farmland soil is at the high fertility level, the soil organic matter and total nitrogen content should be more than 20 g/kg and 1.6 g/kg, respectively. Soil salt content was less than 2 g/kg. Meanwhile, the pH value is kept between 6.5 and 7.5. More

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    Substrate and low intensity fires influence bacterial communities in longleaf pine savanna

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    Area of Habitat maps for the world’s terrestrial birds and mammals

    Knowing the distribution of species is crucial for effective conservation action. However, accurate and high-resolution spatial data are only available for a limited number of species1,2. For mammals and birds, the most comprehensive and widely used global distribution dataset is the set of range maps compiled as part of the assessments for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. These represent each species’ distributional limits and tend to minimize omission errors (i.e. false absences) at the expense of commission errors (i.e. false presences)3,4. Therefore, they often contain sizeable areas not regularly occupied by the species.Maps of the Area of Habitat (AOH; previously known as Extent of Suitable Habitat, ESH) complement range maps by indicating potential occupancy within the range, thereby reducing commission errors5. AOH is defined as ‘the habitat available to a species, that is, habitat within its range’5. These models are produced by subtracting areas unsuitable for the species within their range, using information on each species’ associations with habitat and elevation5,6,7,8. Comprehensive sets of AOH maps have been produced in the past for mammals6 and amphibians7, as well as subsets of birds8,9. The percentage of a species’ range covered by the AOH varies depending on the methodology used to associate species to their habitats, and their habitats to land-cover, the coarseness of the range map, the region in which the species is distributed, and the species’ habitat specialization and elevation limits5. For example, Rondinini et al.6 found that, when considering elevation and land cover features for terrestrial mammals, the AOH comprised, on average, 55% of the range. Ficetola et al.7 obtained a similar percentage when analyzing amphibians (55% for forest species, 42% for open habitat species and 61% for habitat generalists). Beresford et al.8 found that AOH covered a mean of 27.6% of the range maps of 157 threatened African bird species. In 2019, Brooks et al.5 proposed a formal definition and standardized methodology to produce AOH, limiting the inputs to habitat preferences, elevation limits, and geographical range.AOH production requires knowledge of which habitat types a species occurs in and their location within the range1. Information on habitat preference is documented for each species assessed in the IUCN Red List10, following the IUCN Habitats Classification Scheme11. However, the IUCN does not define habitat classes in a spatially explicit way, therefore, we used a recently published translation table that associates IUCN Habitat Classification Scheme classes with land cover classes12. Species’ elevation limits were also extracted from the IUCN Red List.We developed AOH maps for 5,481 terrestrial mammal species and 10,651 terrestrial bird species (Fig. 1). For 1,816 bird species defined by BirdLife International as migratory, we developed separate AOH maps, for the resident, breeding, and non-breeding ranges, according to the migratory distribution of the species (Fig. 2). The maps are presented in a regular latitude/longitude grid with an approximate 100 m resolution at the equator. On average, the AOH covers 66 ± 28% of the geographical range for mammals and 64 ± 27% for birds. We used the resulting AOH maps to produce four global species richness layers for: mammals, birds, globally threatened mammals and globally threatened birds13 (Fig. 3).Fig. 1Spatial distribution maps of Tangara abbas. Maps represent (a) the geographic range21, and (b) the Area of Habitat (AOH) of the species. The AOH was produced by subtracting unsuitable habitats from the geographical range. This species’ habitats are forest and terrestrial artificial habitats and has elevation range of 0 – 1600 m.Full size imageFig. 2Spatial distribution maps of Cardellina rubrifrons, divided into resident, breeding and non-breeding areas for this migratory species. Maps represent (a) the geographic range21, and (b) the Area of Habitat (AOH) of the species. The AOH was produced by subtracting unsuitable habitats from the ranges. This species is a forest species with elevation rangelimits of 1500 – 3100 m.Full size imageFig. 3Global species richness maps for (a) terrestrial mammals (considering 5,481species) and (b) terrestrial birds (considering 10,651 species). Calculated by overlaying all species’ AOH per class, resulting inon the number of species at each grid cell, latitude/longitude grid at a resolution of 1°/1008 or approximately 100 m at the equator (EPSG:4326) with the ellipsoid WGS 1984.Full size imageThe AOH maps presented in this paper are more useful for some purposes than global species distribution models, as they reduce and standardize commissions14. They are especially useful for not well-known and wide-range species. However, we note that for well-known species alternative sources may have more accurate distributions15. Moreover, AOHs are affected by the bias and errors of the underlying data, especially relevant errors associated with documentation of species’ habitats and elevations, and the translation of habitats into land cover classes, given that habitat is a complex multidimensional concept that is challenging to match to land-cover classes12, and that the current version of the IUCN Habitat Classification Scheme on IUCN’s website is described as a draft version11.The AOH maps have multiple conservation applications5,16,17, such as assessing species’ distributions and extinction risk, improving the accuracy of conservation planning, monitoring habitat loss and fragmentation, and guiding conservation actions. AOH has been proposed as an additional spatial metric to be documented in the Red List5, and is used for the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas18. More

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    Long-term High Resolution Image Dataset of Antarctic Coastal Benthic Fauna

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