Soybean and Wheat Response to Climate Change
My laboratory is replicating some effects of climate change to see what the future holds for soybeans, wheat and the soils where they grow.
We are using open-top chambers to expose soybean and wheat to levels of carbon dioxide and ozone that may be reached by the year 2050. Besides assessing the effects of future air concentrations on both crops, we are conducting a 5+ year project to determine how soil quality and carbon sequestration may be affected by plant responses to the two gases.
Preliminary results show just slightly higher levels of soil carbon in chambers with elevated carbon dioxide and in chambers with elevated levels of both carbon dioxide and ozone, but not in chambers with elevated ozone alone. In this type of cropping system, elevated carbon dioxide may stimulate soil decomposition processes and slow the rates of carbon accumulation in the soil.
Elevating carbon dioxide also reduced flour protein levels in wheat by 7 to 11 percent, but soybean protein concentrations were maintained because of soybeans' ability to acquire the nutrient, nitrogen, from the air.
Monitoring ground-level ozone from space
Breeding Plants for a High-Ozone World