South Africa field season completed

Posted: June 17, 2012

Graduate students from the Roots Lab conducted experiments at the Ukulima Root Biology Center in South Africa
Interns (Rodney, Jacob, and Tsitso) install TDRs for measuring soil moisture

Interns (Rodney, Jacob, and Tsitso) install TDRs for measuring soil moisture

Graduate students Jimmy Burridge, Claire Kirt, Patompong "Khwan" Saengwilai, and Larry York traveled to Limpopo province South Africa from January through May to conduct experiments involving nitrogen, phosphorus, and water stress in both maize and common bean. They were joined by lab post-doc Eric Nord. Several South African university students, and one student from Switzerland, successfully completed internships where they learned fundamental techniques for plant and root biology, experimental design, and statistics. Most experiments occurred in a center pivot irrigated 20 ha field. Root system architectural (RSA) traits such as root crown number and nodal root angle were studied in adequate and low nitrogen plots in maize, along with the root anatomical trait called aerenchyma. Hundreds of maize genotypes were screened for numerous RSA traits in order to increase the understanding of their genetic basis. RSA traits in common bean were studied for their utility for both phosphorus and water stress, and also the patterns of their inheritance in different environments.