Crop Physiology and Climate Change

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Postgraduate Course

Crop Physiology and Climate Change:
Understanding fundamental processes to counter the challenge

Sunday 5 - Friday 10 May 2019

Congress centre 'De Werelt', Lunteren, the Netherlands

Organised by
Wageningen University & University of Florida


aquatic-ecologyThe global food system is under stress. Crop yields are expected to decline due to increases in the frequencies of heat waves and prolonged periods of droughts. This course will explore the effects of elevated CO2, temperature and drought on crop physiology. Crop traits that can mitigate or even enhance yield under the stress of a changing world will be explored through a toolbox of options, modelling being a central one. We will be integrating the different physiological processes in relation to change using a systems approach, rather than studying them separately. Focus will be on selecting or breeding plant cultivars that are adapted to these stresses, drought in particular.

The toolbox in this course will be a variety of plant and crop models (e.g. Gene-based Modelling, Functional-Structural Plant Modelling, Dynamic Crop Growth Modelling, Decision Support Systems) that will be used to understand and address the fundamental challenges and questions. Moreover, we will not only see what these models have to offer but also whether they are state-of-the-art to support agronomic practice decisions in a current and future changing world.

Current models are poor in predicting response to extreme events and erratic conditions. We will address crop physiology at different scales of space (field to region and the globe), time (seconds to decades), and level of integration (gene to whole plant). The overall goal of this course is to understand the effects of temperature, light, CO2 or water on the carbon source-sink relationships of plants and to improve the underlying models.


The course starts on Sunday afternoon before dinner with a keynote / introductory lecture. Accordingly we will have a participant poster carousel in which participants introduce themselves via a poster.

From Monday onwards, each morning starts with 2 - 3 lectures (30-45 minutes each), followed by a 30-minute discussion convened by 2-3 participants who will challenge the speaker on the presentation and the papers that the speaker submitted a-priori. Each morning lecture series has a specific focus. Prior to the course, participants can indicate for which speaker they want to convene the discussion. Accordingly, participants will be assigned to a convener group and receive the relevant literature.

Afternoons will be spent on working group sessions in which participants are split into 6 groups of 5-6 participants. While lectures in the course are organised by physiological process and how this is affected by climate change, the working group topics will focus on how a specific changing climatic/abiotic factor will affect physiological processes. Starting point for the group work is existing knowledge/models. The groups must accordingly address what new insight/knowledge must be generated to be able to adapt our cropping systems to counter the change at stake.

The suggested topics are investigation of:

  • Elevated CO2 responses
  • Temperature responses
  • Drought responses
  • Response to increased variability of conditions (water)
  • Climate change and the response of resource uptake and use efficiency

On the Wednesday afternoon there will be a modelling carousel which will consist of 3 consecutive sessions of 50 minutes. Per session one of the following models will be presented in a scientific format, demonstrated and discussed:

  • Phenology model in R (Melanie Correll)
  • SIMPLACE (Heidi Webber)
  • Functional-structural plant model (Jochem Evers)
  • Crop simulation models:
    • DSSAT (Gerrit Hoogenboom)
    • ORYZA2000 (Pepijn van Oort)

Participants have been divided in the different sessions based on their preference:


Sunday 5 May
Afternoon:  Introduction / Key-Note lecture:
                    - Rik Leemans (Wageningen University)
Evening:     -  Dinner
                    - Poster carousel (this will involve 6 sessions where 5-6 posters will be presented per session)

Monday 6 May
Morning:     Lectures: Climate Change and Phenology:
                    - Gerrit Hoogenboom (University of Florida)
                    - Melanie Correll (University of Florida)
Afternoon:  Working group sessions (6 groups)

Tuesday 7 May
Morning:     Lectures: Climate Change and Photosynthesis:
                    - Steven Driever (Wageningen University)
                    - Alejandro Morales Sierra (Wageningen University / University of Utrecht)
                    - Paul Struik (Wageningen University)
Afternoon:  Working group sessions (6 groups)

Wednesday 8 May
Morning:     Lectures: Source -Sink Relations:
                    - Kenneth Boote
(University of Florida)
                    - Heidi Webber (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, ZALF)
                    - Pepijn van Oort (Wageningen Plant Research)
Afternoon:  Modelling Carousel (a set of crop models will be lined up. Beforehand you can indicate which models you want to visit (2 - 3 models, 1 hour per method))

Thursday 9 May
Morning:     Lectures: Scaling and Integration:
                    - Simone Graeff-Hönninger (University of Hohenheim)
                    - Jochem Evers (Wageningen University)
Afternoon:  Working group sessions (6 groups)

Friday 10 May
Morning:    Symposium in Wageningen
Afternoon:  Excursion through the Wageningen University labs

Course Organisers
  • Kenneth Boote (University of Florida, Gainesville, USA)
  • Melanie Correll (University of Florida, Gainesville, USA)
  • Jochem Evers (Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands)
  • Gerrit Hoogenboom (University of Florida, Gainesville, USA)
  • Paul Struik (Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands)
  • Claudius van de Vijver (PE&RC, Wageningen, the Netherlands)
General information
Target Group The course is aimed at PhD candidates and other academics
Group Size Min. 20 / Max. 30 participants
Course duration 6 days
Language of instruction English
Frequency of recurrence Once every two years
Number of credits 2 ECTS
Prior knowledge Participants must have knowledge in crop/plant physiology and some knowledge in modelling and programming
Location Congress centre 'De Werelt', Lunteren, the Netherlands


Fees 1
PhD candidates of PE&RC and Wageningen University €   450,- €   500,-
a) All other PhD candidates (including those of University of Florida)
b) Postdocs and staff of the organizing institutes
€   950,- €   1.000,-
All others € 1.400,- € 1.450,-

1The course fee includes accommodation, all meals, course materials, coffee/tea, and water. It does not include beverages in the bar
2The Early-Bird Fee applies to anyone who REGISTERS ON OR BEFORE 7 APRIL 2019


  • If you need an invoice to complete your payment, please send an email to, including ALL relevant details that should be mentioned on the invoice (e.g., purchase order no., specific addresses, attendees, etc.).
  • The Early-Bird policy is such that the moment of REGISTRATION (and not payment) is leading for determining the fee that applies to you.
  • Please make sure that your payment is arranged within two weeks after your registration.
  • It is the participant's responsibility to make sure that he/she (or his/her secretary) completes the payment correctly and in time.
PE&RC Cancellation Conditions
  • Up to 4 (four) weeks prior to the start of the course, cancellation is free of charge.
  • Up to 2 (two) weeks prior to the start of the course, a fee of € 450,- will be charged.
  • In case of cancellation within two weeks prior to the start of the course, a fee of € 950,- will be charged.
  • If you do not show at all, a fee of € 1.400,- will nevertheless be charged.

Note: If you would like to cancel your registration, ALWAYS inform us and do not assume that by NOT paying the participation fee, your registration is automatically cancelled, because it isn't (and do note that you will be kept to the cancellation conditions).

More information

Dr. Claudius van de Vijver (PE&RC)
Phone: +31 (0) 317 485116


To register, please enter your details below and click "Register".