Simulated heat waves during maize reproductive stages alter reproductive growth but have no lasting effect when applied during vegetative stages

Matthew H. Siebers, Rebecca A. Slattery, Craig R. Yendrek, Anna M. Locke, David Drag, Elizabeth Ainsworth, Carl Bernacchi, Donald Richard Ort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Due to climate change, heat waves are predicted to become more frequent and severe. While long-term studies on temperature stress have been conducted on important crops such as maize (Zea mays), the immediate or long-term effects of short duration but extreme high temperature events during key developmental periods on physiological and yield parameters are unknown. Therefore, heat waves were applied to field-grown maize in east central Illinois using infrared heating technology. The heat waves warmed the canopy approximately 6 °C above ambient canopy temperatures for three consecutive days during vegetative development (Wv1) and during an early reproductive stage (silking; Wv2). Neither treatment affected aboveground vegetative biomass, and Wv1 did not significantly reduce reproductive biomass. However, Wv2 significantly reduced total reproductive biomass by 16% (p < 0.1) due to significant reductions in cob length (p < 0.1), cob mass (p < 0.05), and husk mass (p < 0.05). Although not statistically significant, seed yield was also reduced by 13% (p = 0.15) and kernel number by 10% (p = 0.16) in the Wv2 treatment. Soil water status was unaffected in both treatments, and leaf water potential and midday photosynthesis were only transiently reduced by heating with complete recovery after the treatment period. Therefore, the reduction in Wv2 reproductive biomass was most likely due to greater sensitivity of reproductive structures to direct effects of high temperature stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Volume240
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Fingerprint

vegetative growth
maize
heat
corn
biomass
canopy
heating
temperature
photosynthesis
leaf water potential
hulls
soil water
seed yield
long term effects
seed
Zea mays
crop
climate change
effect
heat wave

Keywords

  • Heat wave
  • Maize
  • Photosynthesis
  • Vapor pressure deficit
  • Yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

Cite this

Simulated heat waves during maize reproductive stages alter reproductive growth but have no lasting effect when applied during vegetative stages. / Siebers, Matthew H.; Slattery, Rebecca A.; Yendrek, Craig R.; Locke, Anna M.; Drag, David; Ainsworth, Elizabeth; Bernacchi, Carl; Ort, Donald Richard.

In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Vol. 240, 01.03.2017, p. 162-170.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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