Increased UV-B radiation and its interaction with other climate change factors, such as temperature, water stress, and elevated CO2, can influence various physiological, growth, and yield traits of plants. In addition to direct effects on crop plants, these factors can also influence the interaction of plants with biotic factors (particularly with insect pests and plant pathogens). A comprehensive understanding of these interactions will be critical for evaluating the impact of climate change and climate variability on crop production and its long-term impact on crop ecology. Crop species and cultivars within species vary in their responses to both individual and a combination of stresses, suggesting a scope for genetic improvement. Thus, research should be more focused on breeding for tolerance to multiple stresses of regional or local importance. Sufficient care should be taken while evaluating and imposing stress treatments both in controlled environment and field conditions, particularly with respect to distribution of wavelength in the UV range for UV-B stress, diurnal differences and patterns between day and night temperatures for heat stress, time and intensity for moisture stress, and also acclimation response of plants to stressed environments. Experimentalists (molecular biologists and crop physiologists) should also consider light regimes that mimic filed-level solar radiation regimes while studying effects of stress factors on plants. The method of the imposition of stress could influence the quantitative response of any trait. As our knowledge of crop responses to multiple environmental stresses increases, it might be important to incorporate these algorithms, including genetic responses, into existing crop simulation models to develop better predictions of crop production and available management options in future climates.
Was this article helpful?