Response of wheat restricted-tillering and vigorous growth traits to variables of climate change.Glob Chang Biol 2015; 21(2):857-73GC
The response of wheat to the variables of climate change includes elevated CO2, high temperature, and drought which vary according to the levels of each variable and genotype. Independently, elevated CO2, high temperature, and terminal drought affect wheat biomass and grain yield, but the interactive effects of these three variables are not well known. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of elevated CO2 when combined with high temperature and terminal drought on the high-yielding traits of restricted-tillering and vigorous growth. It was hypothesized that elevated CO2 alone, rather than combined with high temperature, ameliorates the effects of terminal drought on wheat biomass and grain yield. It was also hypothesized that wheat genotypes with more sink capacity (e.g. high-tillering capacity and leaf area) have more grain yield under combined elevated CO2, high temperature, and terminal drought. Two pairs of sister lines with contrasting tillering and vigorous growth were grown in poly-tunnels in a four-factor completely randomized split-plot design with elevated CO2 (700 µL L(-1)), high day time temperature (3 °C above ambient), and drought (induced from anthesis) in all combinations to test whether elevated CO2 ameliorates the effects of high temperature and terminal drought on biomass accumulation and grain yield. For biomass and grain yield, only main effects for climate change variables were significant. Elevated CO2 significantly increased grain yield by 24-35% in all four lines and terminal drought significantly reduced grain yield by 16-17% in all four lines, while high temperature (3 °C above the ambient) had no significant effect. A trade-off between yield components limited grain yield in lines with greater sink capacity (free-tillering lines). This response suggests that any positive response to predicted changes in climate will not overcome the limitations imposed by the trade-off in yield components.