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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Plant Science Research » Research » Research Project #429443

Research Project: Strategies to Predict and Mitigate the Impacts of Climate Variability on Soil, Plant, Animal, and Environmental Interactions

Location: Plant Science Research

Project Number: 6070-11000-009-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jun 2, 2015
End Date: Oct 23, 2018

1. Assess and model the interactive effects of rising temperature, ambient ozone, and elevated carbon dioxide on the air-plant-soil continuum of cropping systems. 1.a. Assess and parameterize for crop growth models the effects of elevated ozone and temperature and carbon dioxide on soybean and wheat physiology, above and below ground growth and development, yield and seed quality. 1.b. Assess and document below ground environmental effects on root system architecture and function. 2. Identify germplasm that will contribute to the development of stress tolerant crops for climate resilient agricultural systems. 2.a. Validate phenotype of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) from a soybean mapping population developed from a cross between ozone-tolerant (Fiskeby III) and sensitive (Mandarin Ottawa) parents. 2.b. Screen soybean and wheat breeding lines for enhanced ozone tolerance. 2.c. Identify germplasm with root characteristics that have potential to ameliorate environmental effects and provide for resilience. 3. Characterize soil quality, nutrient status and greenhouse gas emissions of agricultural systems developed to enhance agricultural productivity and mitigate negative environmental consequences. 3.a. Quantify soil carbon sequestration and nitrogen utilization in different management systems, including cropland, pasture, and integrated crop–livestock-tree systems. 3.b. Determine greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, and N2O) and intensity from soil, crops, and livestock in conventional and alternative management systems. 3.c. Integrate soil carbon and greenhouse gas emissions data into national and international networks (e.g. GRACEnet and Global Research Alliance) to improve understanding of and facilitate change in conservation agricultural management systems to achieve sustainability.

Experiments will be conducted in open top field chambers, greenhouse exposure chambers, and custom Outdoor Plant Environment Chambers (OPECs), or in the air exclusion system (AES) developed previously by this project for field work. AES studies will test the effects of elevated ozone, temperature and carbon dioxide on soybean. Detailed assessments of plant growth, biomass, and yield along with measurements of leaf gas exchange, tissue chemistry and micrometeorological data (including soil environmental and classification data) will be used as inputs for parameterization of soybean growth models. Soybean and wheat germplasm will be screened for ozone response through assessments of leaf physiology and foliar injury, root system modifications and seed yield to identify genotypes and DNA markers for future cultivar development. National, regional, and state soybean yield trials will be surveyed for differences in root architecture across soil types and environmental regions. Controlled environment studies with soybean, corn, wheat and tall fescue will assess root system architectural responses to known and assumed root zone environmental perturbations. Experiments on research stations and on farms in North Carolina and the region will determine effects of management on soil carbon sequestration, soil quality, and the relationship of biologically active carbon to nutrient dynamics in agricultural systems. A long-term field experiment at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro NC will assess the impacts of agroforestry practices on microclimatic conditions, forage and animal production, soil quality, and soil carbon sequestration. On-farm trials will assess nitrogen availability under different management and soil conditions in pastures, croplands with multi-species cover crops, no-tillage wheat, and corn grain and silage systems.