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Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France) 2018

ICARUS : Improve Crops in Arid Regions and future climates

Crops Arid Climate

Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France)

Titre : ICARUS : Improve Crops in Arid Regions and future climates

Région : Occitanie

Date : Début projet : mai 2018 — Fin projet : mai 2023

2018 has been mostly dedicated to getting settled in my new research environment, interacting with participants to the initiative, reviewing research facilities at IRD and in the Montpellier research environment, learning how the system works. I also travelled a few times to those institutions where part of the experimentation of WP3-4 will take place i.e. ISRA-CERAAS in Senegal and ICRISAT in India. Ensuring a good transition from ICRISAT was especially important for the project and for the linkage to breeding, and for the access to both top-notch experimental facilities but also growth conditions representative of future climates.

Putting the ICARUS project in motion has involved, and keeps on involving, large efforts to develop experimental facilities, not available at IRD until now. Experimentation are currently taking place at the Eco-Physiology platform of CIRAD. For logistical reasons, I’m currently working to establish an experimental basis at IRD itself. Two experimental setups are being planned (an hydroponic plant culture setup to allow for pharmacological experiments and a pressure pot system for hydraulic measurements). Discussions have also started with Phenospex to develop a 3D imaging micro-platform, similar to the one I earlier developed at ICRISAT, to follow up plant development under climate-change types of conditions.

Work of the WP1 has actively started. A PhD student, Theo Pinguet-Poquet, has been recruited from Nov 1st 2018 and initiated his work. Protocols for phenotypic assays have been reviewed and tested. At the time this report is written, WP1 experimentation is going full breath. Germplasm of sorghum and pearl millet had been transferred to IRD prior to these trials. Arrangements have been made with ICRISAT for seed multiplication and future seed supply.

Work of WP2 has also actively progressed. This work builds on a MSc student (Univ. Montpellier 2017), and a postdoctoral fellow I supervise at ICRISAT (2017-2019), on crop response to increasing density. Field and lysimeter trials have continued in 2018, to reconfirm genotypic differences in response to density increase, and to measure light capture patterns, biomass and yield response, water and nutrient use efficiency. Besides very large increases in plant productivity in certain genotypes, other promising results shows increases in water use efficiency under denser stands, owing to a lower evaporative demand in the crop canopy.

Recruitment of additional PhD students and postdocs is also on-going. A second PhD student has been identified and will be enrolled in 2019 (Raphael Pilloni, M2 student from the WP2-related work described above). Contacts have been made with two postdoctoral scientists, one from a top-notch root research laboratory in the US, and one from a very famous crop modelling group, for possible recruitment in 2019.

The ICARUS project has been featured in several press articles and I have been invited to present to the general public in Toulouse. I’m also in charge of coordinating a collaborative initiative on climate change between French institutions (INRA, IRD, CIRAD, IRSTEA) and the CGIAR, with a first workshop being organized. While not directly linked to the ICARUS project, this initiative offers a perspective to it and opens opportunities for expansion.

Coordinateur : Vincent VADEZ

Financement Aide PIA : 750 000 €

Présentation (ANR)

Page publiée le 7 novembre 2021