Aboveground-belowground linkages and carbon allocation in pasture grasses during climate extremes
Increased severity of drought and heat waves – key climate change predictions - will affect global food and livestock production via changes in plant physiology and, ultimately, productivity and nutrition. Understanding plant response to future changes in climate is critical for developing climate-smart pasture systems to sustain livestock farming in the coming decades. Flexible carbon allocation strategies, including morphological and biochemical adjustments to root systems, represent a key mechanism by which plants can adapt to changes in the biotic and abiotic environment. Knowledge of how pasture species respond to warming and altered rainfall regimes in terms of their belowground carbon allocation strategies is central for understanding how pasture systems will perform under future, more extreme climates. My PhD research will examine how key Australian pasture grasses differ in their morphological and biochemical (osmotic) responses to extreme drought and heat waves, and whether these strategies relate to their ability to resist and recover from the effects of severe climate stress.
Churchill AC, Zhang H, Fuller KJ, Amiji B, Anderson IC, Barton CVM, Carrillo Y, Catunda KLM, Chandregowda MH, Igwenagu C, Jacob V, Kim GW, Macdonald CA, Medlyn BE, Moore BD, Pendall E, Plett JM, Post AK, Powell JR, Tissue DT, Tjoelker MG, Power SA, (2022) 'Pastures and Climate Extremes: Impacts of Cool Season Warming and Drought on the Productivity of Key Pasture Species in a Field Experiment', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.13, Article no.836968
Prof. Sally Power, Prof. Mark Tjoelker, Prof. Elise Pendall