Crop models are essential tools to support the choice of varieties, species and cropping systems but also to orientate breeding in front of the many intertwinned challenges of climate change. However, crop models predictions widely diverge under combination of stresses such as those associated with climate change (temperature increases, drought, elevated CO2).
MODCARBOSTRESS revisits some of the hypotheses on which crop models are based and explores avenues for their improvement.
The objectives of MODCARBOSTRESS were to:
- Evaluate the performance of crop models that are based on contrasted views of plant function when crops are challenged by stress combinations.
- Evaluate the importance of acclimation to temperature increase and elevated CO2.
- Evaluate the benefits of incorporating biological knowledge into crop models.
- Propose low-cost improvements in CO2 control in phenotyping set-up.
- MODCARBOSTRESS facilitated the application of both high throughput and deep phenotyping technologies to the problem of how plants respond to multiple stresses, applied either sequentially or concurrently.
- This project provided basic understanding of the interactions between stresses and elevated CO2 in wheat – with results which were used later in other species such as legumes and tomatoes
- It provided advances in modelling approaches (choice of modelling strategy and parametrization) that contribute to improving simulations of crop production in Europe.
- Several model improvements were evaluated, tested and implemented, for instance:
- The formalism of the rate of leaf emission was changed from a purely empirical approach to the C status of the plant through the photothermal quotient.
- The acclimation of photosynthesis to temperature was modelled via optimising nitrogen partitioning among various fractions in charge of the photosynthetic machineries.
- The impact of stress priming and stress combinations (drought, temperature, CO2) was extensively assessed leading to proposals for improved formalisms in models.
- MODCARBOSTRESS also allowed the design and implementation of low-cost hardware and software devices for monitoring of CO2 in phenotyping facilities.