Phenotypic plasticity of rapeseed in response to nitrogen supply and plant population density
During the last 50 years, oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) has become in the second most important oil seed crop at world level. A remarkable characteristic of this crop is its large phenotypic plasticity, defined as the property of a given genotype to produce different physiological or morphological traits in response to environmental conditions, which is an essential component of plant performance. One aspect of this plasticity is stem branching. Since the development, geometry and spatial distribution of branches determine plant habit, and its ability to compete for resources is a major determinant of productivity in oilseed rape. Nitrogen (N) availability per plant, leaf light interception and their interaction seem to be related to N allocation and carbon (C) assimilation at plant level, all of which have an important role in stem branching and generally in crop architecture. However, the physiological basis of these processes and their relation with stem branching have not been completely understood.
Thus, the project aims to evaluate (and model) the effects of N supply and leaf light interception in C and N economies, and their implications in stem branching pattern of oilseed rape.