Abstract: Developing cultivars with improved adaptation to drought and heat stressed environments is a priority for plant breeders. Canopy temperature (CT) is a useful tool for phenotypic selection of tolerant genotypes, as it integrates many physiological responses into a single low-cost measurement. The objective of this study was to determine the ability of CT to predict grain yield within the flow of a wheat breeding program and assess its utility as a tool for indirect selection. CT was measured in both heat and drought stressed field experiments in northwest Mexico on 18 breeding trials totaling 504 spring wheat lines from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Irrigated Bread Wheat program. In the heat treatment, CT was significantly correlated with yield (r = −0.26) across all trials, with a maximum coefficient of determination within the individual trials of R2 = 0.36. In the drought treatment, a significant correlation across all trials was only observed when days to heading or plant height was used as a covariate. However, the coefficient of determination within individual trials had a maximum of R2 = 0.54, indicating that genetic background may impact the ability of CT to predict yield. Overall a negative slope in the heat treatment indicated that a cooler canopy provided a yield benefit under stress, and implementing selection strategies for CT may have potential for breeding tolerant genotypes.
Abstract: Phenotyping trials may not take into account sufficient spatial context to infer quantitative disease resistance of recommended varieties in commercial production settings. Recent ecological theory—the dispersal scaling hypothesis—provides evidence that host heterogeneity and scale of host heterogeneity interact in a predictable and straightforward manner to produce a unimodal (“humpbacked”) distribution of epidemic outcomes. This suggests that the intrinsic artificiality (scale and design) of experimental set-ups may lead to spurious conclusions regarding the resistance of selected elite cultivars, due to the failure of experimental efforts to accurately represent disease pressure in real agricultural situations. In this model-based study we investigate the interaction of host heterogeneity and scale as a confounding factor in the inference from ex-situ assessment of quantitative disease resistance to commercial production settings. We use standard modelling approaches in plant disease epidemiology and a number of different agronomic scenarios. Model results revealed that the interaction of heterogeneity and scale is a determinant of relative varietal performance under epidemic conditions. This is a previously unreported phenomenon that could provide a new basis for informing the design of future phenotyping platforms, and optimising the scale at which quantitative disease resistance is assessed.
Abstract: The research trial was carried out in the Mediterranean region where high summer temperatures have been proved to have a detrimental effect on the delicate tomato fruitset process. The flower to fruit set process was simultaneously monitored in fogged and unfogged shelters during the three-month Mediterranean summer season. Comparisons of pollen quality, fruit set rates and fruit yield revealed that mean daily temperatures of 25–26 °C are the upper limit for proper fruit set and fruit yield for tomatoes grown in protected cultivation during the hot Mediterranean summer period. A moderate reduction of 1–1.5 °C in mean daily temperatures together with the increased RH (relative humidity) from 50% to 70% during day time improved the pollen grain’s viability. Suggestions concerning more efficient controls on the fogging system considering those findings are discussed.
Abstract: Field trials conducted in 2008 and 2009 investigated whether plot size affects incidence of white flower anther injury by tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois)) in host plant resistance (HPR) evaluations. The three cotton lines evaluated in the trial included a susceptible frego bract line (RBCDHGPIQH-197) and 2 standards, SureGrow (SG) 105 and Deltapine (DP) 393. Samplers monitored white flower anther injury between single row mini-plots embedded within multiple row max-plots. A sub-section of the max-plots was sprayed with insecticides to evaluate these tactics on altering the incidence of white flower anther injury. Plant bug numbers were very low in 2008, while infestation levels were higher in 2009. Significantly higher numbers of flowers with anther injury were observed in both years in the susceptible frego bract line compared to SG 105 and DP 393 lines. In both years, anther injury levels were similar in the max- and mini-plots, with lower levels observed in max-sprayed plots. The white flower monitoring procedure is a consistent indicator of adult plant bug preferences and is not influenced by plot size or interspersions of cultivar lines among plots.
Abstract: The root zone physical condition influences root development and function, which affects turfgrass growth, quality and performance. The temporal variability of root zone properties was investigated in a factorial experiment combining sand layering compaction and moisture stress on the performance of Savannahgrass (SG) (Axonopus compressus), Bermudagrass (BG) (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.) (cv. Tifway 419) and Zoysiagrass (ZG) (Zoysia spp.) grown in four contrasting soils. Four stresses—drought (D), waterlogging (WL), high compaction (HC) and low compaction (LC)—were applied either with or without a surface sand layer. Root zone properties, including root weight (RW), bulk density (BD), surface hardness (SH), redox potential (Eh) and non-capillary pore space (NCPS), were monitored over a four-month growth period. Surface hardness values were greater for the high compaction effort in treatments without sand, but were highest under drought. Sand addition resulted in lower SH for all grass × soil combinations. The soil texture influenced root zone BD for all turfgrasses, with the clay soils recording significantly lower bulk densities (<1.00 g/cm3) than those with coarser fractions. Compaction had a minimal influence on BD, the effect being further modified by grass type. Low BD was associated with high RW. RW was also significantly higher in the sand-amended treatments. Waterlogging reduced Eh for all soils, with higher values recorded in the sand treatments. The redox potential was lowest in River Estate soil and in pots planted with ZG. Across turfgrasses, Princes Town and Talparo soils had significantly lower NCPS for the sand treatment. NCPS was highest for ZG across stress treatments, but values were similar to SG under compaction treatments. Sand layering improved the root zone aeration status, particularly with SG, resulting in a better physical condition.