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Presentation by Gerard W. Wall

01/05/2017 - Our guest scientist Gerard W. Wall, who is a Plant Physiologist from the US Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center, has held a presentation on the "Thermal Regime Agronomic Cereal Experiment" (TRACE)

Gerard W. Wall (Gary) has lead research groups in multidisciplinary broad-based investigations on the response of agronomic crops to ambient and enriched CO2 and O3 (Free-Air CO2 Enrichment [FACE]), and natural (Thermal Regime Agronomic Cereal Experiment [TRACE]) and artificially imposed thermal regimes (Temperature Free-air Controlled Enhancement [T-FACE]). He has received degrees from SUNY at Stony Brook (B.S., 1979) and Kansas State University (M.S., 1982; Ph.D., 1986).

His work has focused on the tolerance of agronomic crops to biotic and abiotic stresses. He has demonstrated versatility in both experimental work and in the development of physiological-based algorithms designed to simulate plant response to global climate uncertainty. He has contributed experimentally derived data-sets, which are routinely utilized by international crop growth modeling consortia such as AgMIP, GCTE-IGBP, GRACEnet and ICASA.


Global climate uncertainty will alter thermal regimes of Earth's major cereal grain production regions. Because semi-arid desert regions experience the widest temperature ranges, intra- and inter-annual variations in ambient temperature provide a cost effective means to obtain a robust dataset across multiple cereal grain crops simultaneously. To refine our understanding of thermal response of cereal grains at higher temperatures and assess Genotype by Environment by Managemant (GxExM) interactions, we intend to stagger our planting dates, from the normal cropping season in December, to be in closer intervals during the April-June time frame. Experimental artifacts, such as soil physical properties, precipitation, solar radiation, photoperiod, and vapor pressure deficit, are unavoidable, and may complicate interpretation of thermal responses. Nevertheless, our use of day-neutral cultivars without any vernalization requirement will minimize photoperiod effects and ensure floral induction regardless of planting date. Our objectives are: (1) determine cereal grain crop responses to a wide range of air temperature via planting date; (2) quantify crop growth; (3) evaluate and refine thermal response on crop growth and development; (4) validate crop growth models with regard to thermal dependent processes believed to be mediated through canopy energy balance. Our materials of study include: Wheat (Tritium aestivum L.);  Durum Wheat (T. durum L.); Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.); and Triticale (xTriticumSecale) WheatxRye. Overall, four cereal grain crops, over eight planting dates in four replicates, over two years (intra- and inter-annual variability), will provide 256 differently treated crop responses across an air temperature ranging from -2 to 42°C. Our understanding of the adverse impact of global climate uncertainty will enable development of adaptation and mitigation strategies to ensure global food security.

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