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 New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

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: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>