Crop Physiology and Climate Change

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Postgraduate Course

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

dates to be determined

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 COresponses
  • 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:

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
More information

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

Registration of interest

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