Adapting crops and 'natives' to a changing climate

Jul 26, 2011
Adapting crops and ‘natives’ to a changing climate
CSIRO’s Dr Joe Miller is studying the evolution of the iconic Australian wattle and predicting what specific environmental conditions are linked to individual wattle species. Credit: Siobhan Duffy, CSIRO

(PhysOrg.com) -- CSIRO scientists are investigating the potentially damaging effects climate change will have on Australia’s agricultural crops and native plants as carbon dioxide concentrations, temperatures and rainfall patterns change.

"We're facing an urgent need to develop new crop varieties for anticipated conditions in 20 to 50 years," said a team leader in the climate-ready cereals project at CSIRO, Dr. Jairo Palta.

The results of Dr. Palta's study into how different wheat traits perform under predicted future climate conditions will enable wheat breeders to select traits that maximize growth and quality.

Dr. Palta is one of many CSIRO researchers presenting their work at the 18th International Botanical Congress this week in Melbourne.

Also presenting is Dr. Robert Godfree who is investigating how native and invasive plant communities will respond to climate change.

"Grasses are an important component of healthy agricultural ecosystems yet there is relatively little data on how they will respond to ," Dr. Godfree said.

Preliminary results are encouraging and the efficient, versatile and inexpensive experiment design developed by Dr. Godfree and his team is now being adopted by a number of colleagues in Australia and overseas.

The iconic Australian wattle (Acacia) may also feel the effects of a changing climate.

Dr. Joe Miller and his CSIRO colleagues are modelling the predicted distribution of Acacia species around using climate variables such as temperature, available water and solar energy, soil type and topographic elevation.

"Once we understand what variables are intrinsically tied to wattle habitats we can predict where these habitats will move to in the future," Dr. Miller said.

Dr. Miller is also presenting an address on his work on the evolution of Acacia.

Explore further: Study evaluates reef corals' ability to persist over various time scales

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Climate change may wake up 'sleeper' weeds

Apr 15, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Climate change will cause some of Australia’s potential weeds to move south by up to 1000km, according to a report by scientists at CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship.

Warming could change South Australia's weed pests

May 20, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Hotter temperatures and reduced rainfall in South Australia due to climate change could prompt a period of 'weed change' across the state, according to a new report from CSIRO.

Aerosols -- their part in our rainfall

Feb 12, 2009

Aerosols may have a greater impact on patterns of Australian rainfall and future climate change than previously thought, according to leading atmospheric scientist, CSIRO's Dr. Leon Rotstayn.

'Asian haze' impacts on Australian rainfall

Dec 12, 2006

Elevated particle emissions resulting from increased economic activity in Asia may have increased Australia’s tropical rainfall, according to new research on the way pollution influences our climate.

Recommended for you

Can fair trade plastic save people and the planet?

7 hours ago

(Phys.org) —It's old news that open-source 3D printing is cheaper than conventional manufacturing, not to mention greener and incredibly useful for making everything from lab equipment to chess pieces. ...

User comments : 0