Dynamic leaf photosynthesis modelling in wheat: selecting the key dynamic parameters and methodologies to obtain them

In nature, photosynthesis of field crops depends on environmental conditions like temperature, humidity and irradiance. When these conditions are stable over time, the processes that control photosynthesis are stable as well. Examples of such processes are stomatal movement, Rubisco activity and non-photochemical quenching. However, environmental conditions can change rapidly throughout the day. Especially the irradiance incident on leaves tends to change a lot due to solar movement, passing clouds or wind-induced movement of stems and leaves. Processes controlling photosynthesis respond to these changes but do so with a delay, and not instantaneously. When the response time of these processes under irradiance fluctuations is known, we can predict the behaviour of leaf photosynthesis for field crops over time. However, it is unclear how many model parameters (i.e. response times) are required to accurately predict the dynamic behaviour of photosynthesis under irradiance fluctuations, and how these can be obtained best. In this project you will be provided with an existing dynamic leaf photosynthesis model. Your task will be to identify the dynamic parameters (i.e. response times) present in the model and sort them by importance to the final calculated leaf photosynthetic rate. Subsequently, your task will be to set up protocols to obtain these parameters from field or lab measurements. The crop of interest is spring wheat.

Interested in doing a BSc or MSc thesis at HPP? Please contact the HPP student coordinator Katharina Hanika.