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2020 (4)

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Norwegian pear production is low due to climatic limitations, a lack of well-adapted cultivars and suitable pollinizers. However, nowadays it is increasing as a result of newly introduced and bred pear cultivars. Since cross pollination is necessary for high yields and good fruit quality, the aim of this investigation was to find the most suitable pollinizers for the pear cultivars “Ingeborg” (“Conference” × “Bonne Louise”) and “Celina” (“Colorée de Juillet” × “Williams”). Self-pollination of “Ingeborg” and “Celina”, together with “Conference”, “Belle Lucrative”, “Anna”, “Clara Frijs”, “Herzogin Elsa”, “Kristina” and “Fritjof” as potential pollinizers, were studied in this experiment during the 2017 and 2018 seasons in Norway. The success rate of each pollinizer was tested under field conditions, while the monitoring of pollen tube growth was done using the fluorescence microscopy method. All reproductive parameters (pollen germination, number of pollen tubes in the upper part of the style, pollen tube number in the locule of the ovary, number of fertilized ovules, initial fruit set, and final fruit set) in all crossing combinations were higher in 2018 due to much warmer weather. Based on the flowering overlap and success rate of each individual pollinizer and fruit set, the cultivars “Anna” and “Clara Frijs” can be suggested as pollinizers for the cultivar “Ingeborg”, while “Fritjof”, “Anna”, “Kristina” and “Herzogin Elsa” for the cultivar “Celina”. An even distribution of two compatible pollinizers having overlapping flowering times with the main commercial pear cultivar is a general recommendation for commercial pear production.

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Plants can form an immunological memory known as defense priming, whereby exposure to a priming stimulus enables quicker or stronger response to subsequent attack by pests and pathogens. Such priming of inducible defenses provides increased protection and reduces allocation costs of defense. Defense priming has been widely studied for short‐lived model plants such as Arabidopsis, but little is known about this phenomenon in long‐lived plants like spruce. We compared the effects of pretreatment with sublethal fungal inoculations or application of the phytohormone methyl jasmonate (MeJA) on the resistance of 48‐year‐old Norway spruce (Picea abies) trees to mass attack by a tree‐killing bark beetle beginning 35 days later. Bark beetles heavily infested and killed untreated trees but largely avoided fungus‐inoculated trees and MeJA‐treated trees. Quantification of defensive terpenes at the time of bark beetle attack showed fungal inoculation induced 91‐fold higher terpene concentrations compared with untreated trees, whereas application of MeJA did not significantly increase terpenes. These results indicate that resistance in fungus‐inoculated trees is a result of direct induction of defenses, whereas resistance in MeJA‐treated trees is due to defense priming. This work extends our knowledge of defense priming from model plants to an ecologically important tree species.

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In order to predict the effects of climate change on the global carbon cycle, it is crucial to understand the environmental factors that affect soil carbon storage in grasslands. In the present study, we attempted to explain the relationships between the distribution of soil carbon storage with climate, soil types, soil properties and topographical factors across different types of grasslands with different grazing regimes. We measured soil organic carbon in 92 locations at different soil depth increments, from 0 to 100 cm in southwestern China. Among soil types, brown earth soils (Luvisols) had the highest carbon storage with 19.5 ± 2.5 kg m−2, while chernozem soils had the lowest with 6.8 ± 1.2 kg m−2. Mean annual temperature and precipitation, exerted a significant, but, contrasting effects on soil carbon storage. Soil carbon storage increased as mean annual temperature decreased and as mean annual precipitation increased. Across different grassland types, the mean carbon storage for the top 100 cm varied from 7.6 ± 1.3 kg m−2 for temperate desert to 17.3 ± 2.9 kg m−2 for alpine meadow. Grazing/cutting regimes significantly affected soil carbon storage with lowest value (7.9 ± 1.5 kg m−2) recorded for cutting grass, while seasonal (11.4 ± 1.3 kg m−2) and year-long (12.2 ± 1.9 kg m−2) grazing increased carbon storage. The highest carbon storage was found in the completely ungrazed areas (16.7 ± 2.9 kg m−2). Climatic factors, along with soil types and topographical factors, controlled soil carbon density along a soil depth in grasslands. Environmental factors alone explained about 60% of the total variation in soil carbon storage. The actual depth-wise distribution of soil carbon contents was significantly influenced by the grazing intensity and topographical factors. Overall, policy-makers should focus on reducing the grazing intensity and land conversion for the sustainable management of grasslands and C sequestration.

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Land-sea riverine carbon transfer (LSRCT) is one of the key processes in the global carbon cycle. Although natural factors (e.g. climate, soil) influence LSRCT, human water management strategies have also been identified as a critical component. However, few systematic approaches quantifying the contribution of coupled natural and anthropogenic factors on LSRCT have been published. This study presents an integrated framework coupling hydrological modeling, field sampling and stable isotope analysis for the quantitative assessment of the impact of human water management practices (e.g. irrigation, dam construction) on LSRCT under different hydrological conditions. By applying this approach to the case study of the Nandu River, China, we find that carbon (C) concentrations originating from different land-uses (e.g. forest, cropland) are relatively stable and outlet C variations are mainly dominated by controlled runoff volumes rather than by input C concentrations. These results indicate that human water management practices are responsible for a reduction of ∼60% of riverine C at seasonal timescales, with an even greater reduction during drought conditions. Annual C discharges have been significantly reduced (e.g. 77 ± 5% in 2015 and 39 ± 11% in 2016) due to changes in human water extraction coupled with climate variation. In addition, isotope analysis also shows that C fluxes influenced by human activities (e.g. agriculture, aquaculture) could contribute the dominant particulate organic carbon under typical climatic conditions, as well as drought conditions. This research demonstrates the substantial effect that human water management practices have on the seasonal and annual fluxes of LSRCT, especially in such small basins. This work also shows the applicability of this integrated approach, using multiple tools to quantify the contribution of coupled anthropogenic and natural factors on LSRCT, and the general framework is believed to be feasible with limited modifications for larger basins in future research.