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Water-use efficiency and mechanisms of drought tolerance in woody species in relation to climate change and elevated CO2


The project aims at providing a fundamental basis for assessing adaptation features of woody plants in the context of climate change. It takes into account the main physiological processes and morphological-structural alterations involved in the plant responses to combined effects of (i) elevated CO2, (ii) drought constraints and (iii) high light and temperature stresses which have been shown to strongly interfere with drought stresses.

1. To analyze plant performance in different environments simulating climate change with respect to three main determinants :

- Water-use efficiency (WUE), i.e. the ratio of carbon assimilation to transpiration (or of biomass production to transpirational water losses).
- Drought tolerance mechanisms : (i) Stress tolerance of photosynthetic processes. (ii) Protection against oxidative stress. (iii) Xylem hydraulic efficiency and safety. (iv) Root growth and interactions with soil water. (v) Cell wall rheological properties. (vi) Osmoregulation.
- Whole tree functional integration with emphasis on the role of hydraulic and metabolic root-shoot signalling in controlling leaf processes.

2. To assess the role of ectomycorrhizal associations as a factor affecting plant water relations, plant nutrient status, and thus plant performance, in the context of climate change.

3. To take into account the competition for water use with associated vegetation.

Plant models will be European forest and fruit species (Pinus pinaster, Quercus species, Prunus avium) of ecological and economic interest both in northern and Mediterranean areas.

Call for proposal

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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
EU contribution
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Centre de Recherche de Nancy Champenoux
54280 Seichamps

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Participants (5)