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A greenhouse in order to study the impact of climate change on plants
Date:10/2/2007

The University of Navarra has installed a thermal gradient greenhouse in order to study the impact of climate change on plants. This is a pioneering methodology for studying the simultaneous effect of increased CO2 and ambient temperature. The research project, which will be undertaken by researchers from the area of Plant Biology of the University, could become a reference for later scientific studies in this area.

These studies, financed by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, the University Foundation of Navarra and the Foundation Caja Navarra, have already obtained their first results. We have discovered that plants respond to enrichment of atmospheric CO2 with increased growth. This will imply an increase in the productivity of food crops and of plant growth in general, explained Prof. Juan Jos Irigoyen, leader of the research project.

Nevertheless, after prolonged growth in an environment with increased CO2, plants become acclimatized and throttle back their growth. This could be due to the fact that in the new conditions produced by climate change, limiting factors appear which reduce plant growth, such as the availability of nutrients in the soil. In addition, the changes in other parameters associated with an increase in CO2 and with climate change in general, such as an increase in temperature and a reduction in rainfall, can reduce or even eliminate these beneficial effects.

Studies in forage crops, rapeseed and grapevines

The research team is made up of the professors Juan Jos Irigoyen and Manuel Snchez-Daz, of the University of Navarra; Fermn Morales, of the Spanish High Council of Scientific Research; the doctoral student lvaro Sanz and the research technicians Amadeo Urdiin and Mnica Oyarzun. Up to now, the team has focused its studies on forage crops such as alfalfa. These species can grow in nitrogen-poor soils; this element, when added to the soil as a fertilizer, contributes to the greenhouse ef
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Source:Eurekalert

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