Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Undervalued potential of crassulacean acid metabolism for current and future agricultural production
    Davis, Sarah C. ; Simpson, June ; Gil-Vega, Katia Del Carmen ; Niechayev, Nicholas A. ; Tongerlo, Evelien van; Castano, Natalia Hurtado ; Dever, Louisa V. ; Búrquez, Alberto - \ 2019
    Journal of Experimental Botany 70 (2019)22. - ISSN 0022-0957 - p. 6521 - 6537.
    Agave - Opuntia - agroecosystems - aloe - cacti - crops - drought - orchid - pineapple - vanilla - water use efficiency

    The potential for crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) to support resilient crops that meet demands for food, fiber, fuel, and pharmaceutical products far exceeds current production levels. This review provides background on five families of plants that express CAM, including examples of many species within these families that have potential agricultural uses. We summarize traditional uses, current developments, management practices, environmental tolerance ranges, and economic values of CAM species with potential commercial applications. The primary benefit of CAM in agriculture is high water use efficiency that allows for reliable crop yields even in drought conditions. Agave species, for example, grow in arid conditions and have been exploited for agricultural products in North and South America for centuries. Yet, there has been very little investment in agricultural improvement for most useful Agave varieties. Other CAM species that are already traded globally include Ananas comosus (pineapple), Aloe spp., Vanilla spp., and Opuntia spp., but there are far more with agronomic uses that are less well known and not yet developed commercially. Recent advances in technology and genomic resources provide tools to understand and realize the tremendous potential for using CAM crops to produce climate-resilient agricultural commodities in the future.

    Grazing management for more resilient mixed livestock farming systems on native grasslands of southern South America
    Modernel, Pablo ; Picasso, Valentin ; Carmo, Martin Do; Rossing, Walter A.H. ; Corbeels, Marc ; Soca, Pablo ; Dogliotti, Santiago ; Tittonell, Pablo - \ 2019
    Grass and Forage Science 74 (2019)4. - ISSN 0142-5242 - p. 636 - 649.
    drought - grazing management - livestock farming systems - native grasslands - resilience - Rio de la Plata grasslands

    Droughts in southern South America affect grazing systems in many ways. They reduce biomass productivity; decrease livestock feed intake, weight and reproductive performance; increase farmers’ costs; and reduce farm income. It was hypothesized that simple grazing management variables affect the resilience of grazing systems to droughts at the paddock and farm scales. The effects of grazing management on herbage and animal production were assessed at paddock level, and how technological and structural variables relate to the production and economic performances at farm level. Results of a grazing experiment controlling herbage allowance at paddock level showed that resistance of herbage accumulation and animal live weight to drought was significantly higher for paddocks with higher pre-drought herbage allowance than for those managed to low herbage allowance treatments. A strong positive linear relationship was found between pre-drought herbage height and resistance of herbage accumulation rate (p <.01). In a longitudinal study of nine farms in Uruguay, resistance of cow pregnancy rate to drought was positively correlated with cow pregnancy rate (r =.72, p =.02) and farm net income (r =.78, p =.02), and negatively correlated with sheep-to-cattle ratio (r = −.80, p =.01). These correlations suggest that farms with higher incomes and low proportions of sheep in the herd withstand drought better (in terms of pregnancy rate). Four common regional production strategies were identified that react differently when farmers face drought, and these results can aid farmers in those regions to design more resilient mixed livestock farming systems and can inform policymakers about effective strategies for mitigating drought impacts in the region.

    Land–atmospheric feedbacks during droughts and heatwaves : state of the science and current challenges
    Miralles, Diego G. ; Gentine, Pierre ; Seneviratne, Sonia I. ; Teuling, Adriaan J. - \ 2019
    Annals of the New York Academy Of Sciences 1436 (2019)1. - ISSN 0077-8923 - p. 19 - 35.
    drought - heatwave - land feedback - land–atmospheric interactions

    Droughts and heatwaves cause agricultural loss, forest mortality, and drinking water scarcity, especially when they occur simultaneously as combined events. Their predicted increase in recurrence and intensity poses serious threats to future food security. Still today, the knowledge of how droughts and heatwaves start and evolve remains limited, and so does our understanding of how climate change may affect them. Droughts and heatwaves have been suggested to intensify and propagate via land–atmosphere feedbacks. However, a global capacity to observe these processes is still lacking, and climate and forecast models are immature when it comes to representing the influences of land on temperature and rainfall. Key open questions remain in our goal to uncover the real importance of these feedbacks: What is the impact of the extreme meteorological conditions on ecosystem evaporation? How do these anomalies regulate the atmospheric boundary layer state (event self-intensification) and contribute to the inflow of heat and moisture to other regions (event self-propagation)? Can this knowledge on the role of land feedbacks, when available, be exploited to develop geo-engineering mitigation strategies that prevent these events from aggravating during their early stages? The goal of our perspective is not to present a convincing answer to these questions, but to assess the scientific progress to date, while highlighting new and innovative avenues to keep advancing our understanding in the future.

    Data from: Quantifying in situ phenotypic variability in the hydraulic properties of four tree species across their distribution range in Europe
    González Muñoz, N. ; Sterck, F.J. ; Torres-Ruiz, J.M. ; Petit, Giai ; Cochard, Hervé ; Arx, G. von; Lintunen, Anna ; Caldeira, Maria C. ; Capdeville, G. ; Copini, P. ; Gebauer, Roman ; Grönlund, Leila ; Hölttä, Teemu ; Lobo-do-Vale, Raquel L. ; Peltoniemi, M. ; Stritih, A. ; Urban, Josef ; Delzon, S. - \ 2018
    hydraulic safety - hydraulic efficiency - phenotypic variability - drought - species distribution
    Stedelijke hittestress
    Spijker, J.H. - \ 2018
    heat resistance - heat - climatic change - drought - global warming - policy - green roofs
    Gastcollege Hogeschool Van Hall Larenstein
    Groen in de stad : Waterhuishouding
    Hiemstra, J.A. - \ 2018
    Wageningen University & Research - 6 p.
    greening - water harvesting - biodiversity - climate - plantations - air quality - drought - health - well-being
    Analysis of drought and vulnerability in the North Darfur region of Sudan
    Mohmmed, Alnail ; Zhang, Ke ; Kabenge, Martin ; Keesstra, Saskia ; Cerdà, Artemi ; Reuben, Makomere ; Elbashier, Mohammed M.A. ; Dalson, Twecan ; Ali, Albashir A.S. - \ 2018
    Land Degradation and Development 29 (2018)12. - ISSN 1085-3278 - p. 4424 - 4438.
    drought - meteorology - North Darfur region - remote sensing - vulnerability index

    North Darfur of Sudan is located on the edge of the Sahara Desert and endures frequent droughts due to water shortages and high summer temperatures. Monitoring and understanding drought characteristics are essential for integrated drought risk mitigation and prevetion of land degradation. This study evaluates drought conditions in North Darfur by analyzing the spatiotemporal distribution of drought using three drought indices (Standardized Precipitation Index, Vegetation Condition Index, and Soil Moisture Content Index) and their combined drought index (CDI) from 2004 to 2013. Biophysical and socioeconomic indicators are further used to measure vulnerability to drought risk and its three components (exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity) through a comprehensive risk assessment framework. The results show that most of North Darfur has experienced prolonged droughts during the study period, especially from 2007 to 2011. There is also a significant correlation between the monsoon season CDI and annual crop yield anomaly. The results confirm the validity of the CDI index, which provides a comprehensive description of the drought situation by combing four drought indices quantifying different drought aspects. The vulnerability results show that the majority of this region is highly exposed and sensitive to drought risks. In particular, the northern zone of the region is highly vulnerable, which is categorized by less-crop diversity, higher land degradation, frequent droughts, and high-poverty levels. This study provides valuable information for coping with climate change-induced drought risk in this region and demonstrates that there is still a large room for enhancing the adaptation capacity in this region.

    Interactive effects of tree size, crown exposure and logging on drought-induced mortality
    Shenkin, Alexander ; Bolker, Benjamin ; Peña-Claros, Marielos ; Licona, Juan Carlos ; Ascarrunz, Nataly ; Putz, Francis E. - \ 2018
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Biological sciences 373 (2018)1760. - ISSN 0962-8436 - 10 p.
    climate change - drought - logging - resilience - tree mortality - tropical forest

    Large trees in the tropics are reportedly more vulnerable to droughts than their smaller neighbours. This pattern is of interest due to what it portends for forest structure, timber production, carbon sequestration and multiple other values given that intensified El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events are expected to increase the frequency and intensity of droughts in the Amazon region. What remains unclear is what characteristics of large trees render them especially vulnerable to drought-induced mortality and how this vulnerability changes with forest degradation. Using a large-scale, long-term silvicultural experiment in a transitional Amazonian forest in Bolivia, we disentangle the effects of stem diameter, tree height, crown exposure and logging-induced degradation on risks of drought-induced mortality during the 2004/2005 ENSO event. Overall, tree mortality increased in response to drought in both logged and unlogged plots. Tree height was a much stronger predictor of mortality than stem diameter. In unlogged plots, tree height but not crown exposure was positively associated with drought-induced mortality, whereas in logged plots, neither tree height nor crown exposure was associated with drought-induced mortality. Our results suggest that, at the scale of a site, hydraulic factors related to tree height, not air humidity, are a cause of elevated drought-induced mortality of large trees in unlogged plots.This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'The impact of the 2015/2016 El Niño on the terrestrial tropical carbon cycle: patterns, mechanisms and implications'.

    Data from: Increased transgenerational epigenetic variation, but not predictable epigenetic variants, after environmental exposure in two apomictic dandelion lineages
    Preite, Veronica ; Oplaat, Carla ; Biere, Arjen ; Kirschner, Jan ; Putten, W.H. van der; Verhoeven, Koen J.F. - \ 2018
    DNA methylation - stress memory - drought - salicylic acid
    DNA methylation is one of the mechanisms underlying epigenetic modifications. DNA methylations can be environmentally induced and such induced modifications can at times be transmitted to successive generations. However, it remains speculative how common such environmentally induced transgenerational DNA methylation changes are and if they persist for more than one offspring generation. We exposed multiple accessions of two different apomictic dandelion lineages of the Taraxacum officinale group (Taraxacum alatum and T. hemicyclum) to drought and salicylic acid (SA) treatment. Using methylation-sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphism markers (MS-AFLPs) we screened anonymous methylation changes at CCGG restriction sites throughout the genome after stress treatments and assessed the heritability of induced changes for two subsequent unexposed offspring generations. Irrespective of the initial stress treatment, a clear buildup of heritable DNA methylation variation was observed across three generations, indicating a considerable background rate of heritable epimutations. Less evidence was detected for environmental effects. Drought stress showed some evidence for accession-specific methylation changes, but only in the exposed generation and not in their offspring. By contrast, SA treatment caused an increased rate of methylation change in offspring of treated plants. These changes were seemingly undirected resulting in increased transgenerational epigenetic variation between offspring individuals, but not in predictable epigenetic variants. While the functional consequences of these MS-AFLP-detected DNA methylation changes remain to be demonstrated, our study shows that (1) stress-induced transgenerational DNA methylation modification in dandelions is genotype and context-specific; and (2) inherited environmental DNA methylation effects are mostly undirected and not targeted to specific loci.
    Data from: Increased transgenerational epigenetic variation, but not predictable epigenetic variants, after environmental exposure in two apomictic dandelion lineages
    Preite, Veronica ; Oplaat, Carla ; Biere, Arjen ; Kirschner, Jan ; Putten, W.H. van der; Verhoeven, Koen J.F. - \ 2018
    DNA methylation - stress memory - drought - salicylic acid - Taraxacum officinale
    DNA methylation is one of the mechanisms underlying epigenetic modifications. DNA methylations can be environmentally induced and such induced modifications can at times be transmitted to successive generations. However, it remains speculative how common such environmentally induced transgenerational DNA methylation changes are and if they persist for more than one offspring generation. We exposed multiple accessions of two different apomictic dandelion lineages of the Taraxacum officinale group (Taraxacum alatum and T. hemicyclum) to drought and salicylic acid (SA) treatment. Using methylation-sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphism markers (MS-AFLPs) we screened anonymous methylation changes at CCGG restriction sites throughout the genome after stress treatments and assessed the heritability of induced changes for two subsequent unexposed offspring generations. Irrespective of the initial stress treatment, a clear buildup of heritable DNA methylation variation was observed across three generations, indicating a considerable background rate of heritable epimutations. Less evidence was detected for environmental effects. Drought stress showed some evidence for accession-specific methylation changes, but only in the exposed generation and not in their offspring. By contrast, SA treatment caused an increased rate of methylation change in offspring of treated plants. These changes were seemingly undirected resulting in increased transgenerational epigenetic variation between offspring individuals, but not in predictable epigenetic variants. While the functional consequences of these MS-AFLP-detected DNA methylation changes remain to be demonstrated, our study shows that (1) stress-induced transgenerational DNA methylation modification in dandelions is genotype and context-specific; and (2) inherited environmental DNA methylation effects are mostly undirected and not targeted to specific loci.
    Extreme drought boosts CO2 and CH4 emissions from reservoir drawdown areas
    Kosten, Sarian ; Berg, Sanne van den; Mendonça, Raquel ; Paranaíba, José R. ; Roland, Fabio ; Sobek, Sebastian ; Hoek, Jamon Van Den; Barros, Nathan - \ 2018
    Inland Waters : Journal of the International Society of Limnology 8 (2018)3. - ISSN 2044-2041 - p. 329 - 340.
    drought - emission peaks - greenhouse gases - reservoirs - rewetting - sediment

    Although previous studies suggest that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from reservoir sediment exposed to the atmosphere during drought may be substantial, this process has not been rigorously quantified. Here we determined carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions from sediment cores exposed to a drying and rewetting cycle. We found a strong temporal variation in GHG emissions with peaks when the sediment was drained (C emissions from permanently wet sediment and drained sediments were, respectively, 251 and 1646 mg m−2 d−1 for CO2 and 0.8 and 547.4 mg m−2 d−1 for CH4) and then again during rewetting (C emissions from permanently wet sediment and rewetted sediments were, respectively, 456 and 1725mg m−2 d−1 for CO2 and 1.3 and 3.1 mg m−2 d−1 for CH4). To gain insight into the importance of these emissions at a regional scale, we used Landsat satellite imagery to upscale our results to all Brazilian reservoirs. We found that during the extreme drought of 2014–2015, an additional 1299 km2 of sediment was exposed, resulting in an estimated emission of 8.5 × 1011 g of CO2-eq during the first 15 d after the overlying water disappeared and in the first 33 d after rewetting, the same order of magnitude as the year-round GHG emissions of large (∼mean surface water area 454 km2) Brazilian reservoirs, excluding the emissions from the draw-down zone. Our estimate, however, has high uncertainty, with actual emissions likely higher. We therefore argue that the effects of drought on reservoir GHG emissions merits further study, especially because climate models indicate an increase in the frequency of severe droughts in the future. We recommend incorporation of emissions during drying and rewetting into GHG budgets of reservoirs to improve regional GHG emission estimates and to enable comparison between GHG emissions from hydroelectric and other electricity sources. We also emphasize that peak emissions at the onset of drought and the later rewetting should be quantified to obtain reliable emission estimates.

    Increased transgenerational epigenetic variation, but not predictable epigenetic variants, after environmental exposure in two apomictic dandelion lineages
    Preite, Veronica ; Oplaat, Carla ; Biere, Arjen ; Kirschner, Jan ; Putten, Wim H. van der; Verhoeven, Koen J.F. - \ 2018
    Ecology and Evolution 8 (2018)5. - ISSN 2045-7758 - p. 3047 - 3059.
    DNA methylation - drought - Europe - salicylic acid - stress memory - Taraxacum officinale
    DNA methylation is one of the mechanisms underlying epigenetic modifications. DNA methylations can be environmentally induced and such induced modifications can at times be transmitted to successive generations. However, it remains speculative how common such environmentally induced transgenerational DNA methylation changes are and if they persist for more than one offspring generation. We exposed multiple accessions of two different apomictic dandelion lineages of the Taraxacum officinale group (Taraxacum alatum and T. hemicyclum) to drought and salicylic acid (SA) treatment. Using methylation-sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphism markers (MS-AFLPs) we screened anonymous methylation changes at CCGG restriction sites throughout the genome after stress treatments and assessed the heritability of induced changes for two subsequent unexposed offspring generations. Irrespective of the initial stress treatment, a clear buildup of heritable DNA methylation variation was observed across three generations, indicating a considerable background rate of heritable epimutations. Less evidence was detected for environmental effects. Drought stress showed some evidence for accession-specific methylation changes, but only in the exposed generation and not in their offspring. By contrast, SA treatment caused an increased rate of methylation change in offspring of treated plants. These changes were seemingly undirected resulting in increased transgenerational epigenetic variation between offspring individuals, but not in predictable epigenetic variants. While the functional consequences of these MS-AFLP-detected DNA methylation changes remain to be demonstrated, our study shows that (1) stress-induced transgenerational DNA methylation modification in dandelions is genotype and context-specific; and (2) inherited environmental DNA methylation effects are mostly undirected and not targeted to specific loci.
    Hydrological Response and Complex Impact Pathways of the 2015/2016 El Niño in Eastern and Southern Africa
    Siderius, C. ; Gannon, K.E. ; Ndiyoi, M. ; Opere, A. ; Batisani, N. ; Olago, D. ; Pardoe, J. ; Conway, D. - \ 2018
    Earth's Future 6 (2018)1. - ISSN 2328-4277 - p. 2 - 22.
    Africa - drought - El Niño - hydrological impacts - load shedding - preparedness
    The 2015/2016 El Niño has been classified as one of the three most severe on record. El Niño teleconnections are commonly associated with droughts in southern Africa and high precipitation in eastern Africa. Despite their relatively frequent occurrence, evidence for their hydrological effects and impacts beyond agriculture is limited. We examine the hydrological response and impact pathways of the 2015/2016 El Niño in eastern and southern Africa, focusing on Botswana, Kenya, and Zambia. We use in situ and remotely sensed time series of precipitation, river flow, and lake levels complemented by qualitative insights from interviews with key organizations in each country about awareness, impacts, and responses. Our results show that drought conditions prevailed in large parts of southern Africa, reducing runoff and contributing to unusually low lake levels in Botswana and Zambia. Key informants characterized this El Niño through record high temperatures and water supply disruption in Botswana and through hydroelectric load shedding in Zambia. Warnings of flood risk in Kenya were pronounced, but the El Niño teleconnection did not materialize as expected in 2015/2016. Extreme precipitation was limited and caused localized impacts. The hydrological impacts in southern Africa were severe and complex, strongly exacerbated by dry antecedent conditions, recent changes in exposure and sensitivity and management decisions. Improved understanding of hydrological responses and the complexity of differing impact pathways can support design of more adaptive, region-specific management strategies.
    Hydrological drought and wildfire in the humid tropics
    Taufik, Muh - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): R. Uijlenhoet, co-promotor(en): Henny van Lanen. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463436359 - 99
    wildfires - drought - humid tropics - wetlands - hydrology - prediction - water management - natuurbranden - droogte - humide tropen - wetlands - hydrologie - voorspelling - waterbeheer

    Drought is a recurrent hazard, which has happened throughout human history, and it is anticipated to become more severe in multiple regions across the world. Drought occurs in all climate regimes from humid to dry and from hot to cold. Drought is often viewed through its impact on environment and society, including wildfire, which is the topic of this study. The nature of such impacts differs remarkably from region to region. Although drought does not directly cause wildfire, it provides favorable conditions for wildfire ignition and spread. When drought coincides with strong El Niño events in the humid tropics, e.g. Southeast Asia, the impacts worsen through uncontrolled forest fires affecting the global carbon cycle. These include reduction of the carbon stock, intensifying the haze hazard, and other severe socio-economic impacts in Southeast Asia, including areas far away from the burnt area, e.g. Singapore because of fires in Sumatra.

    There still remains a serious lack of scientific understanding about the fundamental role of drought in fire-generating processes. Most research, so far, suggests that climate controls wildfire occurrence in the humid tropics. However, this climate-centered approach, which is reflected in contemporary drought-fire related indices, overlooks soil and hydrological processes beneath the surface across the humid tropics. There is also uncertainty about the relative roles of climate variability and human activities in influencing the nature and distribution of drought-related wildfires. Hence, the general objective of this PhD research is to examine how characterization of hydrological drought under natural and human-modified conditions can improve understanding of wildfires in general in the humid tropics.

    Chapter 2 discusses the contribution of humans to an increase of hydrological drought severity in the tropical peatland of Southeast Asia. Climate variability induces drought in the region, however, human activities (human-modified drought) may increase its severity. Analyzing long time series of simulated historical groundwater levels from selected regions in Southeast Asia, which were validated against some years with observations, revealed that human interference (through canalization and land-use change) has amplified drought severity. The drought amplification due to human interference was at least double that of climate-induced drought. The amplification is even higher when peatland is converted into acacia plantation. Further, research findings suggest that even if the Paris Agreement target is met, drought risk of peatlands remains high unless sustainable water management receives top priority in the region.

    Chapter 3 deals with how an existing, well-known drought-fire related index, i.e. the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), is modified to improve applicability in the humid climate environment of Southeast Asia. The improvement includes: (i) adjustment of the drought factor to the local climate, and (ii) addition of the water table depth as a dynamic factor to fine-tune the drought index. The results indicate that the modified Keetch-Byram Drought Index (mKBDI) performed well in predicting fire hazard. Furthermore, the research identified a critical water table depth, which represents maximum fire hazard (0.85 m for the wetland forest of South Sumatra). Below this value hazard does not increase anymore. The mKBDI could be more widely applied, if pedotransfer functions would be developed that link easily-obtainable soil properties to the parameters of the water table factor.

    Chapter 4 shows that wetland transformation (i.e. through canalization and land-use change) not only affects hydrological drought (Chapter 2), but also influences fire behaviour. In Southeast Asia, expansion of agricultural cropland and forest plantations has changed the landscape of wetlands. The findings showed that the transformation into acacia plantation has amplified the fire hazard from 4% (under natural conditions) to 17%. An even higher amplification (40% fire hazard) is expected under poor water management, that is, uncontrolled drainage. The findings derived from this observation-based modeling experiment suggest that improved water management (controlled drainage with higher dry season surface water levels) can minimize fire susceptibility.

    Chapter 5 explains the importance of hydrology for fire hazard studies. Borneo is selected to investigate the added value of including hydrological variables in fire hazard prediction approaches. More than 300 statistical models were tested, and the results showed that models that include hydrological variables better predict area burnt than those solely based on climate indicators/indices. Further, modelling evidence shows amplifying wildfires and greater area burnt in response to El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) strength, when hydrology is considered. These results highlight the importance of considering hydrological drought for wildfire prediction. I recommend that hydrology should be considered in future studies of the impact of projected ENSO strength, including effects on tropical ecosystems and biodiversity conservation.

    The contributions of this thesis research to science are summarized and synthesized in Chapter 6. First, the research identified that fire hazard studies would benefit from adding hydrology, which is reflected in the improved model performance when hydrological variables are integrated. Next, the research revealed that humans play a substantial role in modifying groundwater drought characteristics, hence amplifying the fire hazard in Southeast Asia. Further, the chapter identified several relevant research findings, including the model choice, which should consider the simplicity and the applicability of the model. Another finding demonstrated that controlling canal water level through canal blocking is a practical water management tool to restore degraded wetland. This restored wetland would benefit some endemic species. However, the restored wetland still faces high drought severity. Hence they remain more fire-prone until the un-impacted hydrology condition is achieved. Finally, this research suggest that currently widely-used drought indices (such as FWI) require improvements in their model structure, which means integration of hydrological variables to increase their applicability for fire hazard studies in the humid tropics.

    The role of strigolactones and the fungal microbiome in rice during drought adaptation
    Andreo Jimenez, Beatriz - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): H.J. Bouwmeester, co-promotor(en): C. Ruyter-Spira. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463437028 - 205
    drought resistance - drought - abiotic injuries - rice - oryza sativa - plant-microbe interactions - nutrient uptake - defence mechanisms - hormones - fungi - genes - droogteresistentie - droogte - abiotische beschadigingen - rijst - oryza sativa - plant-microbe interacties - voedingsstoffenopname (planten) - verdedigingsmechanismen - hormonen - schimmels - genen

    Rice is the most important food crop in the world, feeding over half the world’s population. However, rice water use efficiency, defined by units of yield produced per unit of water used, is the lowest of all crops. The aim of this thesis was to study the effect of plant hormones and the root microbiome on drought tolerance in rice. The new plant hormone, strigolactone, was shown to be upregulated under drought and to regulate drought tolerance in interaction with the drought-hormone abscisic acid. Using a large collection of rice genotypes grown in the field, we showed that the composition of the root associated fungal microbiome is determined by the rice genotype and can contribute to drought tolerance.

    Understanding the productivity of cassava in West Africa
    Ezui, Kodjovi Senam - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Ken Giller, co-promotor(en): Linus Franke; A. Mando. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463430470 - 183
    manihot esculenta - cassava - crop production - rainfed agriculture - drought - crop yield - water use efficiency - radiation use efficiency - fertilizers - togo - ghana - west africa - manihot esculenta - cassave - gewasproductie - regenafhankelijke landbouw - droogte - gewasopbrengst - watergebruiksrendement - stralingsbenuttigingsefficiëntie - kunstmeststoffen - togo - ghana - west-afrika

    Drought stress and sub-optimal soil fertility management are major constraints to crop production in general and to cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) in particular in the rain-fed cropping systems in West Africa. Cassava is an important source of calories for millions of smallholder households in sub-Sahara Africa. The prime aim of this research was to understand cassava productivity in order to contribute to improving yields, food security and farm incomes in rain-fed cassava production systems in West Africa. A long-term goal was to contribute to a decision support tool for site-specific crop and nutrient management recommendations. Firstly, we studied farmers’ perception of cassava production constraints, assessed drivers of diversity among households and analysed the suitability of farmers’ resource endowment groups to the intensification of cassava production. The results indicate that farmers perceived erratic rainfall and poor soil fertility to be prime constraints to cassava production. The agricultural potential of the area and the proximity to regional markets were major drivers for the adoption of crop intensification options including the use of mineral and organic fertilizers. While the use of mineral and organic fertilizers was common in the Maritime zone that had a low agricultural potential, storage roots yields were below the national average of 2.2 Mg dry matter per hectare, and average incomes of 0.62, 0.46 and 0.46 US$ per capita per day for the high, medium and low farmer resource groups (REGs – HRE, MRE and LRE, respectively) were below the poverty line requirement of 1.25 US$. In the high agricultural potential Plateaux zone, HRE and MRE households passed this poverty line by earning 2.58 and 2.59 US$ per capita per day, respectively, unlike the LRE households with 0.89 US$ per capita per day. Secondly, we investigated the effects of mineral fertilizer on nutrient uptake, nutrient physiological use efficiency and storage roots yields of cassava since soil fertility was a major issue across the zones. We used an approach based on the model for the Quantitative Evaluation of the Fertility of Tropical Soils (QUEFTS). This model was successfully adapted for cassava and it appropriately assessed the response of cassava to N, P and K applications, especially in years with good rainfall. Under high drought stress, the model overestimated cassava yields. Thirdly, we investigated the impact of balanced nutrition on nutrient use efficiency, yield and return on investment compared to blanket fertilizer use as commonly practiced in cassava production systems in Southern Togo, and in Southern and Northern Ghana. The balanced nutrition approach of the QUEFTS model aimed to maximize simultaneously nutrient use efficiency of N, P and K in accordance with the plant’s needs. Larger nutrient use efficiencies of 20.5 to 23.9 kg storage root dry matter (DM) per kilo crop nutrient equivalent (1kCNE of a nutrient is the quantity of that nutrient that has the same effect on yield as 1 kg of N under balanced nutrition conditions) were achieved at balanced nutrition at harvest index (HI) of 0.50 compared to 20.0 to 20.5 kg storage root DM per kilo CNE for the blanket rates recommended by national research services for cassava production. Lower benefit:cost ratios of 2.4±0.9 were obtained for the blanket fertilizer rates versus 3.8±1.1 for the balanced fertilizer rates. Our study revealed that potassium (K) was a major yield limiting factor for cassava production, especially on the Ferralsols in Southern Togo. Hence, we fourthly studied the effect of K and its interaction with nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and the timing of harvest on the productivity of cassava in relation to the effects of K on radiation use efficiency (RUE), light interception, water use efficiency (WUE) and water transpiration. The results suggest that K plays a leading role in RUE and WUE, while N is the leading nutrient for light interception and water transpiration. Potassium effects on RUE and WUE depended on the availability of N and harvest time. Values of RUE and WUE declined with harvest at 4, 8 and 11 months after planting. Thus, enhanced K management with sufficient supply of N during the early stage of development of cassava is needed to maximize RUE and WUE, and consequently attain larger storage root yields. Given that erratic rainfall was another major constraint to cassava production according to the results of the farm survey, and due to the inability of QUEFTS modelling to assess drought effects on cassava yield successfully, another modelling approach based on light interception and utilization (LINTUL) was used. We quantified drought impacts on yields and explored strategies to improve yields through evaluation of planting dates in Southern Togo. The evaluation of the model indicated good agreement between simulated and observed leaf area index (Normalised Root Mean Square Error - NRMSE - 17% of the average observed LAI), storage roots yields (NRMSE 5.8% of the average observed yield) and total biomass yield (NRMSE 5.8% of the average observed). Simulated yield losses due to drought ranged from 9-60% of the water-limited yields. The evaluation of planting dates from mid-January to mid-July indicated that the best planting window is around mid-February. Higher amount of cropping season rainfall was also achieved with early planting. These results contradict current practices of starting planting around mid-March to mid-April. However, the results indicate the possibility to increase cassava yields with early planting, which led to less yield losses due to drought. By contrast, late planting around June-July gave larger potential yields, and suggested these periods to be the best planting window for cassava under irrigated conditions in Southern Togo. This shows that appropriate water control and planting periods can contribute to attaining larger yields in Southern Togo. Further improvement of the LINTUL model is required towards using it to assess water-limited yield, which can be used as boundary constraint in QUEFTS to derive site-specific fertilizer requirements for enhanced cassava yield and returns on investments in West Africa.

    Evaluation of Socio-Economic Factors that Determine Adoption of Climate Compatible Freshwater Supply Measures at Farm Level : a Case Study in the Southwest Netherlands
    Veraart, Jeroen A. ; Duinen, Rianne van; Vreke, Jan - \ 2017
    Water Resources Management 31 (2017)2. - ISSN 0920-4741 - p. 587 - 608.
    Adaptation - Adoption - Agriculture - Climate - Freshwater supply - Knowledge - water supply - fresh water - climate adaptation - drought - watervoorziening - zoet water - landbouw - klimaatadaptatie - droogte

    The availability of freshwater resources in soil and groundwater bodies in the southwestern part of The Netherlands is expected to decrease during the agricultural growing season because of an expected increase of freshwater demands and a changing climate. This expected shortage of fresh water might negatively affect agricultural production. To cope with this problem, three pilots were initiated aimed at increasing freshwater supply at farm-level. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the socio-economic factors that determine the wider use of the measures investigated in these pilots. Therefore, the results of a feasibility study and a survey about drought risks were compared. The survey indicates that respondents do not make distinction between a dry and extremely dry year in their estimation of the return period. The results of a feasibility study illustrate that confidence and the level of common understanding regarding the reliability of these innovative measures has increased amongst project participants since 2012. The survey respondents were less optimistic about the wider implementation of the investigated technologies. A reliable freshwater supply and supportive legislation are the most decisive socio-economic factors for a future investment in additional freshwater supply for farmers in this region. Both studies illustrate that the impact of additional freshwater supply on farm economics strongly depends on farm type and crop cultivation plan. These insights may support the wider use of these innovations and may help to improve agro-hydrological models.

    African elephant in a cleft stick : choosing between starving or dying from thirst in arid savanna
    Wato, Yussuf - \ 2016
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Herbert Prins, co-promotor(en): Ignas Heitkonig; Frank van Langevelde. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463430005 - 126
    loxodonta africana - starvation - thirst - savannas - arid zones - animal ecology - mortality - drought - loxodonta africana - uithongering - dorst - savannen - aride klimaatzones - dierecologie - mortaliteit - droogte

    Elephant population studies have become important especially because of the long standing perception that high elephant densities have negative impact on vegetation and other wildlife species. Thus, in areas of high elephant density, managers attempt to re-distribute them or keep their numbers low through provision of water, translocation or culling. These approaches are thought to keep the population within the limits that can be sustained by the ecosystem, termed “the ecological carrying capacity”, a management option hinged on equilibrium theory. Equilibrium systems are considered stable, with resources and the animals that depend on them being at balance with each other. This stability is rarely the case in tropical savannas where the rule appears to be “a flux of nature” rather than “a balance of nature”.

    Tropical savannas, where over half of the African elephant live, are prone to constant environmental fluctuations, especially prolonged droughts, and hence there is a growing understanding that populations of wildlife species and their communities are rarely at equilibrium. Therefore, it is critical to understand how the constant environmental flux in this system affects wildlife populations and the implication for their management. In this thesis, the central focus is to investigate the role of drought occurrences on elephant population dynamics in tropical savannas. To address this question, it is important to have a good understanding of the historical changes of elephant population in relation to drought events and the ecology of elephant in semi-arid savannas - their distribution and density, their movements and behaviour. For the historical data, I analysed the best existing long-term data in Africa of wild elephant population that has been consistently monitored for over 40 years where life histories of over 3000 wild individual elephant are known, at Amboseli National Park in Kenya. In addition, I also analysed geo-referenced elephant mortality data collected daily for 10 years from Tsavo Conservation Area. Further, I analysed 2 years data from 8 GPS collared African elephant to investigate their movement response to seasonal water and forage distribution in Tsavo Ecosystem.

    First, I investigated the temporal effects of drought duration (number of consecutive dry months) and intensity (amount of rainfall) on elephant population structure in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. The result corroborates findings from past studies that calves (<2years) are more susceptible to drought caused mortality and the risk of dying decreased with age. A new finding in this study reveals that the effect of drought induced mortality for the adult elephant is sex and age dependent, with males older than 25 years being less likely to die as compared to females of the same age. This new result is because of the resolution of analysis in this study which focused on the length and severity of drought as opposed to past studies that restricted their analysis to seasonal and inter-annual differences in rainfall pattern. As they grow older and sexually mature, the foraging range of male elephant increase and they begin to take more risks and disperse to unfamiliar habitats to seek for quality forage and mates. Generally, foraging strategies between sexes in many species are more pronounced during periods of food scarcity, and the driving force in the differences appears to be driven by energy need requirements, reproductive status of an individual, body sizes and the social context, all of which differ between sexes.

    In the next study, I investigated the spatial pattern of elephant mortality in relation to drought occurrences in Tsavo National Park using MaxEnt. The results shows that elephant carcasses were aggregated and elephant mortality was negatively correlated with four months cumulative precipitation prior to death, forage availability and distance to water, while local elephant density showed a positive correlation. This finding rules out dehydration as the cause of elephant mortality in Tsavo as the river where the carcasses were aggregated is perennial. Furthermore, forage availability was low close to water sources and did not show a significant difference close to or further away from the river despite high elephant density around the river. Hence, these elephant mortalities may have occurred as a result of starvation.

    I went further to focus on two main limiting resources for elephants, namely forage and water, and their effect on elephant-habitat utilization in semi-arid savannas. I first investigated how water source distribution affect elephants’ seasonal movement patterns. Results indicate that male elephant moved maximally 20 km away from the nearest water source in the dry season while the female elephant foraged to a maximum of about 10 km and only moved further than this distances in the wet season. The strong directionality of elephant movement from a distance of 15km towards water sources (rho > 0.5) as they re-visited their watering source in the dry season suggest that elephant have information on location of the water sources.

    Next, I investigated the factors that determine selection of a foraging site for elephant with a focus on forage nutrients or biomass. Because of their large body size, it is thought that elephant can survive on a less nutritious but high biomass of forage. The results from this study shows that elephant selected foraging site based on forage biomass in dry seasons, whereas they selected areas with higher nutrients in the wet season. Moreover, females selected sites with a higher forage biomass as compared to males. This result may be explained by the difference in social organisation and foraging strategies between the sexes. In the previous studies on human-elephant conflict, for instance, male elephant raided crops more than the mixed herd, perhaps to seek for high quality forage.

    Together, the four studies in this thesis strongly suggest that elephant starve to death in prolonged drought contrary to the past studies that reported that adult elephant are less affected by drought. Even though prolonged droughts usually result in higher elephant mortalities, the resilience of semi-arid savannas may perhaps be as a result of these deaths that release the system from high browsing pressure and give it a window to regenerate. If that is the case, then drought induced elephant mortality may be a better way to regulate elephant numbers than culling. This finding strongly suggests that semi-arid savannas may in fact be a non-equilibrium system sustained by growth and crashes of herbivore populations. Maintaining the system as natural as possible may therefore keep elephant populations in savannas sustained for posterity. The modern day park managers have daunting challenges such as mass elephant deaths in drought, increased human-wildlife conflicts or changes in wildlife use of the landscape which may all be symptoms of wrong management interventions taken in the past or negative impacts of anthropogenic activities that have tipped the natural functioning of a non-equilibrium system. Therefore, park managers should undergo regular trainings on new conservation techniques and they should apply evidence-based science to make informed long term decision.

    De Wageningen Lowland Runoff Simulator (WALRUS): een snel neerslag-afvoermodel speciaal voor laaglandstroomgebieden
    Brauer, C.C. ; Torfs, P.J.J.F. ; Teuling, A.J. ; Uijlenhoet, R. - \ 2016
    Stromingen : vakblad voor hydrologen 22 (2016)1. - ISSN 1382-6069 - p. 7 - 18.
    neerslag - hydrologie van stroomgebieden - modellen - afvoerwater - laaglandgebieden - stroomgebieden - grondwater - oppervlaktewater - kwel - reservoirs - droogte - risicoanalyse - precipitation - catchment hydrology - models - effluents - lowland areas - watersheds - groundwater - surface water - seepage - reservoirs - drought - risk analysis
    De Wageningen Lowland Runoff Simulator (WALRUS) is een nieuw neerslag-afvoermodel dat het gat moet vullen tussen complexe, ruimtelijk gedistribueerde modellen die vaak gebruikt worden in laaglandstroomgebieden en simpele, ruimtelijk geïntegreerde, parametrische modellen die voornamelijk zijn ontwikkeld voor hellende stroomgebieden. WALRUS houdt expliciet rekening met hydrologische processen die belangrijk zijn in laaglandgebieden, in het bijzonder (1) de koppeling tussen grondwater en onverzadigde zone, (2) vochttoestandafhankelijke stroomroutes, (3) grondwater-oppervlaktewaterterugkoppeling en (4) kwel, wegzijging en het inlaten of wegpompen van oppervlaktewater. WALRUS bestaat uit een gekoppeld reservoir voor grondwater en onverzadigde zone, een reservoir voor snelle stroomroutes en een oppervlaktewaterreservoir. Het is geschikt voor operationele toepassingen omdat het efficiënt rekent en numeriek stabiel is. In de vrij toegankelijke modelcode zijn standaardrelaties geïmplementeerd, zodat er slechts vier parameters overblijven die gekalibreerd hoeven te worden. Het model is geschikt voor het operationeel simuleren van hoogwater en droogte ten behoeve van risico-analyses en scenario-analyses, voor het ontwerpen van infrastructuur en voor het aanvullen van ontbrekende gegevens in afvoermeetreeksen
    Exploring the genetics underlying the responses to consecutive combinations of biotic stresses and drought in Arabidopsis thaliana
    Huang, Pingping - \ 2016
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Maarten Koornneef, co-promotor(en): Mark Aarts. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462578593 - 291
    arabidopsis thaliana - genetic models - stress - stress response - drought - botrytis - pieris (lepidoptera) - genetics - gene expression - arabidopsis thaliana - genetische modellen - stress - stressreactie - droogte - botrytis - pieris (lepidoptera) - genetica - genexpressie

    Plants growing in natural environments are exposed to a broad range of biotic (pathogen attack, insect herbivory, etc.) and abiotic factors (drought, extreme temperatures, UV radiation, salinity, etc.) that are known to cause stress symptoms in many species (Pareek et al., 2010; Robert-Seilaniantz et al., 2010). Biotic and abiotic stress-inducing determinants often adversely impact plant growth and development, frequently leading to severe annual yield losses in agricultural production (Pierik et al., 2013; Pieterse et al., 2012; Stam et al., 2014). In the research endeavors described in this thesis, Arabidopsis thaliana was used as a model organism to study plant responses to different sequential combinations of biotic factors (infection with Botrytis or herbivory by Pieris) and drought. The main objective was to identify genes that contribute to tolerance to the aforementioned sequential stress combinations. Genome-wide association (GWA) mapping and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) approaches were used to identify combinatorial stress responsive genes. A number of candidate genes to combinatorial stress responses were identified by GWA analysis and RNA-seq. The physiological function of some candidate genes in different stress conditions were characterized using T-DNA insertion mutants and gene expression study. However, the physiological function of many allelic variants in stress conditions remain to be discovered. The study highlights the importance of an array of genes, crucial to the underlying defense processes, as targets for breeding by allele mining, ultimately aimed at improvement of crop tolerance to frequent combinations of stress factors.

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