Ecological, Physiological and Genetic Aspects of
Global Climate Change Impacts in Field Crop Systems
Kent O. Burkey, Ph.D., Lead Scientist
Fitzgerald L. Booker, Ph.D.
Edwin L. Fiscus, Ph.D.
- Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing steadily with a predicted doubling by 2100. However, current ground-level ozone concentrations are sufficient to suppress crop yields in many agricultural areas with ozone concentrations predicted to remain at phytotoxic levels or increase.
- Average temperature is also projected to rise in tandem with increased greenhouse gases.
- The impact of these combined factors on crop productivity and soil carbon (C) dynamics can not be predicted with confidence because little is known about the interactive effects of these factors on cropping systems and the role of plant genetic variation in crop response.
- Greater knowledge of such interactions is essential to project and develop mitigation strategies for adverse effects of global climate change on agroecosystems.
- Quantify the combined effects of elevated carbon dioxide and ozone concentrations on soil C dynamics in a soybean-wheat field crop system.
- Quantify the effects of temperature on the physiology, biomass production and seed yield of selected crop plants under conditions of elevated carbon dioxide and ozone, singly and in combination.
- Identify soybean germplasm with enhanced growth and yield potential under elevated levels of carbon dioxide and ozone.
- Research will be conducted using field and greenhouse chambers for control of gas concentrations and temperature.
- Application of results from this research in models and decision support system will ultimately support management strategies that optimize sequestration of C in agricultural soils to offset carbon dioxide emissions.
- Research results should also aid in the development of crops that tolerate ozone and utilize carbon dioxide more effectively.
- This research addresses priority science questions in the Strategic Plan for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and therefore will help provide a scientific foundation for decision-making and policy development.