Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

USDA Studies Confirm Plant Water Demands Shift with Water Availability

23.01.2013
Plants can adapt to extreme shifts in water availability, such as drought and flooding, but their ability to withstand these extreme patterns will be tested by future climate change, according to a study by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and their cooperators.

The study was published this week in Nature by a team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists led by Guillermo Ponce Campos and Susan Moran and an Australian team led by Alfredo Huete from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). This research included contributions from nine other ARS scientists, four U.S. Forest Service scientists, and colleagues from the University of Arizona, the University of California-Irvine, and UTS. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of responding to climate change.

"In the United States, much of our agricultural productivity has depended on long-term precipitation regimes. But those patterns are changing and we need information for managing the effects of those shifts," said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling. "These findings can help managers respond to the challenges of global climate change with effective strategies for maintaining agricultural productivity."

The researchers conducted their investigation using measurements made during 2000-2009 at 29 sites in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Australia. This provided data about precipitation patterns in environments ranging from grasslands to forests. Globally, the 2000-2009 decade ranked as the 10 warmest years of the 130-year (1880-2009) record. The team compared these data with measurements taken from 1975 to 1998 at 14 sites in North America, Central America, and South America.

To calculate ecosystem water use, the scientists used satellite observations to approximate aboveground net plant productivity at each site. Then they combined these approximations with field data of precipitation and estimates of plant water loss to generate indicators of plant water use efficiency.

The researchers observed that ecosystem water-use efficiency increased in the driest years and decreased in the wettest years. This suggests that plant water demand fluctuated in accordance with water availability and that there is a cross-community capacity for tolerating low precipitation and responding to high precipitation during periods of warm drought.

However, the team observed that the water-use efficiency data exhibited a trend of "diminishing returns." This suggests plant communities will eventually approach a water-use efficiency threshold that will disrupt plant water use and severely limit plant production when drought is prolonged.

The scientists also used the data to develop predictions about future plant response to climate changes. Their results suggest that ecosystem resilience will decline as regions are subjected to continuing warming and drying trends. They project that this downturn will begin in grassland biomes because these plant communities are particularly sensitive to the hot and dry conditions of prolonged warm droughts.

This work can help resource managers develop agricultural production strategies that incorporate changes in water availability linked to changing precipitation patterns.

ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to help answer agricultural questions that impact Americans every day. ARS work helps to ensure high-quality, safe food and other agricultural products; assess the nutritional needs of Americans; sustain a competitive agricultural economy; enhance the natural resource base and the environment, and provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities and society as a whole.

Ann Perry | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ars.usda.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>