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Physiological basis of crop improvement and agronomic development

Celestin Ukozehasi has been invited to speak in Nairobi on 3rd October.  You can view the live link through www.worldagroforestry.org/livestream starting 09:30hrs Kenyan time.

Seminar Title: Physiological basis of crop improvement and agronomic development

Plant breeding for improved productivity and environmental stress tolerance has primarily relied upon traditional selection methods, augmented by marker assisted selection and some high-throughput physiological methodologies. Of the latter, stable isotopes of 13C and 18O offer insights into the balance between stomatal regulation of gas exchange and overall leaf water balance, with organic material providing an integrated history of leaf performance. Other more labour intensive methods can be used to provide a snapshot of short-term limitations, such as photosynthetic gas exchange and water relations, and this study set out to explore how well these proxies relate to more long-term isotopic markers, and as compared to leaf anatomical traits.

In collaboration with the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB, UK), we studied both in the field and controlled environment, the photosynthetic and hydraulic characteristics, leaf morphology, flowering and yield of 23 recombinant inbred lines of Rht cultivars and other cultivars of different origin (Kazakhstan, UK, and Rwanda). Having studied a number of traits according to likely physiological associations, results revealed a link between Specific Leaf Area (SLA, cm² g⁻¹) and the photosynthetic capacity traits. In this research, we are getting evidences that suggest the SLA could be used as a proxy of photosynthetic capacity in wheat, and a surrogate measure of ∆13C. We also found that there might be a trade-off for selecting WUEi, earliness of flowering and yield.

Mr Celestin Ukozehasi is a Rwandan PhD candidate in Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge and research fellow in Land Health Surveillance (Dr Keith Shepherd Lab) at World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya. Celestin’s background is in Soil Sciences and Agronomy; he obtained his MSc in agroforestry and soil management from a joint program at National University of Rwanda, Rwanda, and Wageningen University, Netherlands. Until he embarked on his PhD study, he worked as Associate soil scientist with TSBF-CIAT, where he was involved with research of soil fertility and agronomy (ISFM, fertilizer recommendations, fertility of bench terraces, etc).

Venue:      ICRAF Conference Hall
Day:          Thursday 3 October, 2013
Time:        09:30 – 10:30hrs