Full title: To investigate the likely impact on crop development of changes in temperature and water associated with global warming
This study will investigate the effects of soil moisture regimes and temperature gradient on growth, development and agronomic characters of winter barley under natural photoperiod and near natural irradiation. Experiments will be conducted in 2 thermogradient tunnels with temperature and ventilation control systems. A 4 year rotation of an edible brassica, potatoes, peas and barley will be initiated in the first tunnel, while the second tunnel will focus on potatoes and peas. The tunnels will be operated with a temperature gradient of about 3°C from the cool to the warm end. Similar soil moisture levels will be maintained in both tunnels throughout the winter but in spring, the soil moisture deficit in one tunnel will be allowed to accumulate by ear emergence. Limited crop sampling and dissection throughout growth will be possible. The following parameters will be recorded: rate of emergence, rate of leaf production and development, tillering, change from vegetative to reproductive initiation, anthesis, number of spikelets per ear, duration of grain filling, grain size and yield. Results will provide strategic information which will aid the prediction of likely effects on winter barley and other crops of changes in temperature and moisture availability arising from global warming.