Influence of Festuca and novel Lolium cultivars on the variability of soil hydrological functioning

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Unlisted


To identify the physical location of genes in Festuca and Lolium species that are responsible for good root penetration through strong soil and to develop functional molecular markers (SNPs) to target the relevant Festuca-derived allelic variants. It is hypothesized that good root penetration will have the following benefits: 1) Improved water extraction and water use efficiency (WUE) during dry periods, and 2) Increased soil profile storage capacity that will increase water infiltration and reduce runoff during wet periods. Objectives 1)To test whether roots of Festuca species and Lolium cultivars with genes derived from Festuca-species are better at penetrating strong soil layers and extracting water from deeper layers than roots of Lolium species. 2)To test the hypothesis that grasses with genes derived from Festuca-species have lower surface runoff during periods of water excess and are less prone to drought than Lolium species. 3)To scale up from the plot scale findings to the catchment scale using a coupled SVAT-runoff model to improve management of flood risk at the landscape scale.


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