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

01 January 2018 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
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.