Ambient temperature plays an important role in plant development. In cereals, little is known about the exact effects of ambient temperature in the range between it being a vernalising agent and an abiotic stress factor; thus the genetic determinants involved in the registering and response to ambient temperature, and their natural variation has not been dissected either. Principally, we wished to establish the level of natural variation in response to ambient temperature in barley via studying plant phenological development. The responses to temperature of 168 barley genotypes of different provenances and seasonal growth habit groups were observed in controlled environments. The effects of four temperature regimes (13°C, 16.5°C, 18°C and 23°C) on the duration of plant phenophases were examined. The plant development was characterised in a series of consecutive phenophases that span the plant life cycle from germination through flowering to attainment of maximum plant height. Ambient temperature affected significantly plant development, with substantial variation in responses among the genotypes. Six major types of responses were identified, which depended strongly on seasonal growth habit, with only a small degree of overlap. Although the differences in the timing of development among clusters were significant under each temperature regime, the 23°C treatment resulted in the largest diversity of responses, with significant changes in the ranking of the six clusters compared to other treatments. Two clusters showed particularly unusual responses to 23°C: the development of one winter barley cluster was extremely accelerated by the 23°C treatment, whereas the development of one spring barley cluster was significantly delayed. Ambient temperature assumes importance as a regulatory cue in the intricate and complex temporal and spatial regulation network of plant development in cereals and acts mostly through its regulatory effect on certain developmental phases such as the onset and duration of the intensive stem elongation.
- Ambient temperature sensitivity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science