Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Temple, Texas » Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #338789

Research Project: Development and Evaluation of Sustainable Crop and Grassland Production Systems

Location: Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Title: Responses of switchgrass to precipitation changes: Nonlinear and asymmetric?

item HUI, DAFENG - Tennessee State University
item YU, CHIH-LI - Tennessee State University
item DENG, QI - Tennessee State University
item ARAS, SADIYE - Tennessee State University
item DZANTOR, E - Tennessee State University
item Fay, Philip
item SHEN, WEIJUN - Chinese Academy Of Sciences
item LUO, YIQI - University Of Oklahoma

Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/31/2017
Publication Date: 8/6/2017
Citation: Hui, D., Yu, C., Deng, Q., Aras, S., Dzantor, E.K., Fay, P.A., Shen, W., Luo, Y. 2017. Responses of switchgrass to precipitation changes: Nonlinear and asymmetric? In: Proceedings of the Ecological Society of America, August 6-11, 2017, Portland, Oregon. 2017 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Background/Question/Methods: Climate changes, including chronic changes in precipitation amounts, will influence plant physiology, biomass and productivity, and soil respiration. However, such precipitation effects on switchgrass, a major bioenergy crop, have not been well investigated. Two precipitation experiments (one mesocosm in a greenhouse and one field manipulation) were conducted in Nashville, TN. Both experiments included five precipitation treatments (ambient precipitation, -33%, +33%, -50%, and +50% of ambient). The growing season progression of leaf physiology, aboveground biomass, and soil respiration were determined over two years for each experiment. Results/Conclusions: Precipitation treatments significantly affected leaf physiology, growth, and aboveground biomass, and soil respiration in both experiments. In the mesocosm experiment, the photosynthetic rates of switchgrass were increased in the wet (+50% and +33%) treatments, but were not changed in the dry treatments, compared to the control. Both aboveground productivity and soil respiration linearly increased with increases in precipitation. In the field experiment, aboveground productivity showed a nonlinear and asymmetric response to precipitation change. Soil respiration had a nonlinear yet symmetric response to precipitation change. This study demonstrated that while switchgrass is a drought tolerant grass, severe drought significantly reduces its growth and biomass, and that high precipitation stimulates switchgrass photosynthesis and growth.