Turgor-driven functional-structural growth modelling of maize during development and drought

01 January 2018 → 31 December 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
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Project description

Drought stress, as an important consequence of global climate change, is a major factor limiting crop productivity causing large agricultural losses. The purpose of this research project is to gain a better understanding of plant growth and development of maize, in particular how these relate to water availability. The VIB-UGent Department of Plant Systems Biology, a world-leading institute in plant sciences, operates a large robot that captures plant growth by means of cameras, and automatically controls soil water content. The UGent Laboratory of Plant Ecology has various specialized plant sensors, which measure plant water use and growth. By combining these technology platforms, a unique setup is created, capable of recording plant growth and water relations simultaneously. The large amount of information obtained by this integrated system will be assembled into a functional-structural plant model, suited to predict the impact of drought on growth. The model will provide better insights into the plant processes that regulate plant growth
throughout development and in response to drought. This information is useful for farmers and breeder as it can support decision making regarding irrigation scheduling or aid in the selection of crop varieties that are best adapted to current and future climatic conditions, which is a vital process in agriculture.