Liv Østrem

Research Scientist

(+47) 909 58 964
liv.ostrem@nibio.no

Place
Fureneset

Visiting address
Fure, 6967 Hellevik i fjaler

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Abstract

The effect of variable autumn temperatures in combination with decreasing irradiance and daylength on photosynthesis, growth cessation and freezing tolerance was investigated in northern- and southern-adapted populations of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and timothy (Phleum pratense) intended for use in regions at northern high latitudes. Plants were subjected to three different acclimation temperatures; 12, 6 and 9/3°C (day/night) for 4 weeks, followed by 1 week of cold acclimation at 2°C under natural light conditions. This experimental setup was repeated at three different periods during autumn with decreasing sums of irradiance and daylengths. Photoacclimation, leaf elongation and freezing tolerance were studied. The results showed that plants cold acclimated during the period with lowest irradiance and shortest day had lowest freezing tolerance, lowest photosynthetic activity, longest leaves and least biomass production. Higher acclimation temperature (12°C) resulted in lower freezing tolerance, lower photosynthetic activity, faster leaf elongation rate and higher biomass compared with the other temperatures. Photochemical mechanisms were predominant in photoacclimation. The northern-adapted populations had a better freezing tolerance than the southern-adapted except when grown during the late autumn period and at the highest temperature; then there were no differences between the populations. Our results indicate that the projected climate change in the north may reduce freezing tolerance in grasses as acclimation will take place at higher temperatures and shorter daylengths with lower irradiance.

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Abstract

During the past two decades, significant spread of the perennial weeds Juncus effusus (soft rush) and Juncus conglomeratus (compact rush) in coastal parts of Norway seems to have coincided with an observed rise in winter temperatures. This study investigated the frost tolerance (LT50) and effects of moderate frost exposure on rush plant regrowth over time during the period late November to late winter/spring, and photosynthetic activity in late winter/spring. Juncus effusus and J. conglomeratus of physiologically young age (seedlings) displayed similar high frost tolerance (LT50) and did not differ significantly in regenerative ability following prolonged frost exposure. Regrowth capacity generally increased during winter and when stress conditions increased, shoot formation was prioritised over total biomass production. Maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) and performance index of photosystem II (PI) were high in late winter/spring, with J. effusus showing higher values than J. conglomeratus. Green, photosynthetically active shoots, which facilitate accumulation of carbohydrates during autumn and even in winter, may provide Juncus spp. with substantial competitiveness in late winter and spring. The results revealed that the dominance of J. effusus over J. conglomeratus in pastures and leys is not due to major differences in winter survival parameters, but probably the higher photosynthetic efficiency observed in J. effusus. Generally higher temperatures during winter and lower frost kill may be contributing to the current increase in rush infestation.

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Abstract

Climate change and its effects on grassland productivity vary across Europe. The Mediterranean and Nordic regions represent the opposite ends of a gradient of changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, with increasingly warmer and wetter winters in the north and increasingly warmer and drier summers in the south. Warming and elevated concentration of atmospheric CO2 may boost forage production in the Nordic region. Production in many Mediterranean areas is likely to become even more challenged by drought in the future, but elevated CO2 can to some extent alleviate drought limitation on photosynthesis and growth. In both regions, climate change will affect forage quality and lead to modifications of the annual productivity cycles, with an extended growing season in the Nordic region and a shift towards winter in the Mediterranean region. This will require adaptations in defoliation and fertilization strategies. The identity of species and mixtures with optimal performance is likely to shift somewhat in response to altered climate and management systems. It is argued that breeding of grassland species should aim to (i) improve plant strategies to cope with relevant abiotic stresses and (ii) optimize growth and phenology to new seasonal variation, and that plant diversity at all levels is a good adaptation strategy.

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Abstract

Global climate change and increased pressure for adopting more sustainable agricultural practices call for new approaches in breeding forage crops. In the cool temperate regions of Europe these crops may benefit from a warmer and prolonged growing season, but new stresses may emerge during autumn and winter, whereas further south risk of drought will increase. In addition, future forage crops have to use both nutrients and water more efficiently to maximize production per unit area. This paper presents examples of how perennial forage crops can be adapted to the projected European environmental conditions through breeding. In the Nordic region, the focus is on identifying traits that are important for high yields under changed overwintering conditions and management practices. In temperate maritime Europe, the breeding focus is on forage grass and legume root systems for ecosystem service, nutrient and water use, as well as the advantages and potential for Festulolium, including its role in ruminant nutrition. In temperate and southern Europe, breeders aim to develop varieties that can survive long drought periods and recover rapidly following autumn rains, as well as improving adapted legume species with the following aims: reducing use of synthetic fertilizers, mitigating the environmental impacts of ruminant production systems; and reducing their dependency on external protein-rich feeds. Forage production systems, which are commonly found in areas less suited to grain production, can contribute significantly to future food security but only if forage crops can be successfully adapted to meet future environmental challenges.

Abstract

Eight experiments with cultivars (cvs.) of grass and clover species were established in the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to evaluate important forage species and cvs. in terms of yield potential, persistence and adaptation to variable climate in the West Nordic countries. Timothy had on average the highest spring cover after three years of trial together with smooth meadow grass (cv. Knut), whereas perennial ryegrass had the lowest spring cover after three years. On average cocksfoot (cv. Laban) and timothy (Grindstad related cvs.) gave the highest yield, 8.85 and 8.71 t ha-1, respectively, and smooth meadow grass and common bent grass the lower yields, 7.52 and 7.30 t ha-1, respectively. The results from these experiments show that we have a wide range of species and cultivars usable in the West Nordic areas. We can meet an increase in temperature to a certain level by moving the more southern species and cvs. farther north, however, our most winter hardy cvs. are still important to maintain.

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Abstract

Ryegrass x fescue interspecific hybridization (so-called Festulolium) has great potential for forage diversification because of its many amphiploid and introgression-bred forms. Festulolium breeding efforts aim to improve adaptation to mainly winter cold and summer drought through higher abiotic stress tolerance. This goal must be met with a minimum of compromise regarding productivity in the first years of full exploitation. To compare field performances, a 21-entry trial of Festulolium and controls of pure species has been ongoing since 2012 in eight European countries. The yield data collected in 2012 and 2013 in nine locations showed that the Festulolium cultivars performed on average quite well compared to pure species controls. In amphiploids, the annual yield appeared to be mainly driven by the Lolium sp. parent combined with F. pratensis (Fp); the Lm x Fp amphiploids performed thus far better on average than the Lp x Fp equivalents. The only amphiploid from F. glaucescens included in the study had an intermediate response over locations, which was closer to tall fescue than to F. pratensis. Interestingly, a broad variability for yield among the Lm x Fp cultivars appeared to be associated with climate interactions when cold, wet locations were contrasted with more temperate locations with early spring growth.

Abstract

The current germplasm of forage crops like perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), timothy (Phleum pratense L.) and red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) are not adequately adapted to future climatic conditions at higher latitudes. The climate is predicted to be more unstable during winter, and winter survival needs to be improved. In this study, the aim was to detect the effects of selection/local adaptation by estimating genome-wide shifts in allelic composition of single nucleotide polymorphism markers in samples from swards of perennial ryegrass, timothy and red clover grown and managed at diverse locations in Norway. In addition separate mixtures of cultivars and breeding populations of perennial ryegrass, timothy and red clover was sown at five geographically distinct locations throughout Norway. The fields were harvested for 3 years and leaf tissues sampled randomly from about 200 plants field-1 year-1. To detect allelic shifts, genotyping by sequencing was used to generate genome-wide allele frequency fingerprints (GWAFFs). These allele frequency fingerprints were used to monitor shifts in population structure in response to location and years. Preliminary analyses demonstrate that the GWAFFs clearly distinguished samples from years/fields with good survival from those with poor survival based on scoring of winter survival in spring in perennial ryegrass and red clover.

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Abstract

The expected temperature rise in late summer/early autumn can change the conditions for acclimation and affect the winter survival of perennial crops. This study examined the effect of the temperature just before the onset of cold acclimation (pre-acclimation) on freezing tolerance of timothy (Phleum pratense L.), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) populations (both cultivars and breeding populations) adapted to either northern or southern parts of Norway. Using phytotron experiments, we studied whether increasing pre-acclimation temperature delays growth cessation, affects photoacclimation and reduces freezing tolerance. Furthermore, we assessed whether these effects were related to the latitudinal adaptation of the plant material. The results showed that a rise in pre-acclimation temperature decreased both cold acclimation capacity and photoacclimation in these species. This affected the freezing tolerance, which was reduced significantly more in northern-adapted population of timothy and perennial ryegrass compared with southern-adapted populations. Red clover was less affected by temperature changes than the grasses.

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Abstract

The potential of ×Festulolium as a forage species for Nordic conditions was investigated by comparing Norwegian candivars (LpFp-T, LmFp-T, LpFp-D-N, LpFp-D-UK) differing in parental origin and ploidy level with commercial cultivars of ×Festulolium (Hykor, Felopa), the parental species perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis L.), and timothy (Phleum pratense L.). Plant development was observed as leaf:stem ratio and standardised development stage, and dry matter yield and digestibility were studied throughout two consecutive harvest seasons (2007 and 2008) as an effect of taking the first cut at four maturity stages, namely: 1) vegetative growth, 2) early heading), 3) heading and 4) anthesis, and then consecutive cuts throughout the season. Observations were made at two locations in Norway (61°N, 67°N). Leaf:stem ratio and standardised development stage were affected by maturity stage, and the loloid types of ×Festulolium (Felopa and the candivars) grouped between the parental species as to developmental pattern. The most extreme changes across maturity stages 1-4 in first cut were seen in the festucoid type Hykor (smallest) and in timothy (largest). Across maturity stages 2 and 3, for two years Hykor obtained higher dry matter yield than the other entries, but overall digestible dry matter yield was equal in Hykor and LpFp-T due to the better digestibility in LpFp-T. The lower dry matter yield obtained in ×Festulolium Felopa, the diploid candivars and LmFp-T was mainly due to winter damages. Consistency was found between the locations for the entries investigated. For Nordic growing conditions, in which winter hardiness is required for commercial cultivars, the amphitetraploid breeding approach of perennial ryegrass and meadow fescue should be pursued. It is the parental origin of the candivar LpFp-T, which was comparable to Hykor, the best of the commercial ×Festulolium cultivars, and performed better than the cultivars of the parental species.

Abstract

Scenarios of climate changes indicate longer and more frequent spells of mild weather during winter in northern latitudes. De-hardening in perennial grasses could increase the risk of frost kill. In this study, the resistance to de-hardening of different grass species and cultivars was examined, and whether the resistance changes during winter or between years, was tested. In Experiment 1, two cultivars of timothy (Phleum pratense L.) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) of contrasting winter hardiness were grown under ambient winter conditions, transferred from the field in January and April 2006 to the laboratory for 9 d with controlled de-hardening conditions of 3°C, 9°C and 15°C. The timothy cultivars were tested at 3°C, 6°C and 9°C in a similar experiment (Experiment 2) in January 2007. De-hardening, measured as decrease in frost tolerance (LT50), was less in timothy than in perennial ryegrass and increased with increasing temperatures. The northern winter-hardy cultivar Engmo of timothy de-hardened more rapidly than the less-hardy cultivar Grindstad, but had higher initial frost tolerance in both experiments, whereas there was less difference between cultivars of perennial ryegrass in Experiment 1. Cultivar Grindstad of timothy lost all hardiness in early spring at all temperatures, whereas cultivar Engmo maintained some hardiness at 3°C. Cultivar Engmo de-hardened at a lower rate in 2007 than in 2006, in spite of similar frost tolerance at the start of de-hardening treatment in both years. This indicates that the rate of de-hardening was controlled by factors additional to the initial frost tolerance and that autumn weather conditions might be important for the resistance to de-hardening.

Abstract

Scenarios of climate changes indicate longer and more frequent spells of mild weather during winter in northern latitudes. De-hardening in perennial grasses could increase the risk of frost kill. In this study, the resistance to de-hardening of different grass species and cultivars was examined, and whether the resistance changes during winter or between years, was tested. In Experiment 1, two cultivars of timothy (Phleum pratense L.) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) of contrasting winter hardiness were grown under ambient winter conditions, transferred from the field in January and April 2006 to the laboratory for 9 d with controlled de-hardening conditions of 3°C, 9°C and 15°C. The timothy cultivars were tested at 3°C, 6°C and 9°C in a similar experiment (Experiment 2) in January 2007. De-hardening, measured as decrease in frost tolerance (LT50), was less in timothy than in perennial ryegrass and increased with increasing temperatures. The northern winter-hardy cultivar Engmo of timothy de-hardened more rapidly than the less-hardy cultivar Grindstad, but had higher initial frost tolerance in both experiments, whereas there was less difference between cultivars of perennial ryegrass in Experiment 1. Cultivar Grindstad of timothy lost all hardiness in early spring at all temperatures, whereas cultivar Engmo maintained some hardiness at 3°C. Cultivar Engmo de-hardened at a lower rate in 2007 than in 2006, in spite of similar frost tolerance at the start of de-hardening treatment in both years. This indicates that the rate of de-hardening was controlled by factors additional to the initial frost tolerance and that autumn weather conditions might be important for the resistance to de-hardening.