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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Adaptive Cropping Systems Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #361545

Research Project: Experimentally Assessing and Modeling the Impact of Climate and Management on the Resiliency of Crop-Weed-Soil Agro-Ecosystems

Location: Adaptive Cropping Systems Laboratory

Title: Understanding the nexus of rising CO2, climate change and evolution in weed biology

item Ziska, Lewis
item Blumenthal, Dana
item FRANKS, STEVEN - Fordham University

Submitted to: Invasive Plant Science and Management
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/23/2019
Publication Date: 4/8/2019
Citation: Ziska, L.H., Blumenthal, D.M., Franks, S.J. 2019. Understanding the nexus of rising CO2, climate change and evolution in weed biology. Invasive Plant Science and Management. 12:79-88.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Rapid increases in herbicide resistance have highlighted the ability of weeds to undergo rapid genetic change. That change, in turn, has resulted in an increasing emphasis in weed science on the evolutionary ecology and potential adaptation of weeds to herbicide selection. Here we argue that a similar emphasis would also be invaluable for understanding another challenge that will profoundly alter weed biology: the rapid rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and the associated changes in climate. Our review of the literature suggests that elevated CO2 and climate change will impose strong selection pressures on weeds, and that weeds will often have the capacity to respond with rapid adaptive evolution. Based on current data, climate change and rising CO2 levels are likely to alter the evolution of agronomic and invasive weeds, with consequences for abundance, distribution, community composition and herbicide efficacy. In addition, we identify four key areas that represent clear knowledge gaps in weed evolution: (a) the selective role of herbicide resistance in response to a rapidly changing CO2 / climate confluence; (b) differential shifts in the efficacy of biotic constraints (e.g. pathogens) and resultant selection shifts in affected weed species; (c) climate induced shifts in weed distribution, demography and fitness relative to crop systems; and, (d) understanding and characterizing the function of epigenetics and the differential expression of phenotypic plasticity vs. evolutionary adaptation. These consequences, in turn, should be of fundamental interest to weed biology and the weed science community.