Experimental facilities

Three broad categories of experimental systems have been used to investigate rice responses to [CO2], air temperature and other environmental factors. These include closed-chamber systems (Morrison and Gifford 1984a,b; Imai et al., 1985; Baker et al., 1990a), open-top chambers (Akita, 1980; Moya et al., 1997) and temperature gradient chambers (TGCs) (Horie et al., 1991, 1995c). Recently, a free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) system was constructed to study rice responses to [CO2] (Kobayashi, 1999). In order to study effectively the response of rice to potential global climate change variables, it is essential to impose factorial combinations of treatments such as [CO2], temperature and other environmental factors on the rice crop under field-like conditions. Additional desirable features include a high degree of robustness of the system, accuracy of environment control and reasonable construction and operating costs.

Rice responses to [CO2] are quite different for plants grown under isolated conditions (e.g. in pots) compared with those measured under field conditions (Nakagawa et al., 1994; see also section 5.2.5). Although rice experiments conducted using the FACE system utilize true field-grown conditions, obtaining factorial combinations of [CO2] and air temperature treatments is difficult. The required factorial experiments are conducted in closed-chamber systems, open-top chambers and TGCs. Specifically, the TGCs (Fig. 5.3) have many of the desired experimental capabilities, including system robustness and the ability to maintain a wide range of [CO2] and temperature regimes under field-like conditions with modest construction and operating costs (Horie etal., 1995c).

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