CO2-induced microclimate changes help wheat to adapt to future climates

Markus Löw1, Shihab Uddin1,2, Glenn Fitzgerald1,3, Michael Tausz4,5

1Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, 4 Water Street, Creswick, VIC 3363, Australia Email:

2Department of Agronomy, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangladesh

3Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Private Bag 260, Horsham, VIC 3401, Australia

4School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne, 4 Water Street, Creswick, VIC 3363 Australia

5Birmingham Institute of Forest Research, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, UK


Optimising water use is a central element of maintaining crop growth and yield in less favourable, drier climates. Rising CO2 levels alter responses of plants. Some of these responses can be used to help mitigate the effect of rising temperature, less frequent precipitation and prolonged drought. We speculate that closure of stomata under elevated CO2 (eCO2) allows the plant not only to take advantage of higher water use, but  also changes the microclimate within the canopy, around the plant. Increased water use efficiency under eCO2 is well known, but does this allow wheat in a dryland agriculture system to lower its in-canopy air-temperature and vapour pressure deficit (VPD) which will have positive effects on sap flow, and leaf water status?


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

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David Marland Photography Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

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