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Université de Bordeaux
LabEx COTECluster of Excellence
Cluster of excellence

Impacts of water stress on forest and agro-ecosystems: understanding and modelling common mechanisms of drought tolerance


Adaptation to climate change, and specifically water stress, is one of the most important topics in plant biology. As stated in the LabEx call, “… services provided by ecosystems depend on their ability to absorb disturbances …” This is especially true for agro-ecology where both local and global markets tend to constrain the species utilized. Thus, adapting systems through changing the plant that is grown is often not an economically feasible option. It is critically important to discover ways to increase the resilience of those plant species specific to local economies. In Aquitaine, both winegrapes and forest trees provide excellent examples. Water stress reduces plant growth and crop yield, and for perennial crop and tree species there is an added consideration; their long-term ability to tolerate and recover from stress. A species’ resilience truly embodies two attributes:

(1) the means to maintain productivity over the short term under stress,

(2) the long term ability to recovery from periods of severe stress.

The ideal is to maximize both of these attributes.

This project will quantify the resilience of various winegrape and forest tree species through elucidating whole plant relationships of the loss and recovery of hydraulic capacity in response to water stress. These experiments will identify particular winegrape and tree species with an increased ability to tolerate and recover from this stress. Finally, these results will be used to model the extent to which water stress will reduce water uptake and gross ecosystem productivity in these ecosystems. This project will strengthen the relationships and interactions between EGFV, ISPA, and BIOGECO, and we hope to leverage the results obtained through this project in obtaining other sources of research funding to support future collaborations.

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