Winter warming delays dormancy release, advances budburst, alters carbohydrate metabolism and reduces yield in a temperate shrub

Majken Pagter, Uffe Brandt Andersen, Lillie Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Global climate models predict an increase in the mean surface air temperature, with a disproportionate increase during winter. Since temperature is a major driver of phenological events in temperate woody perennials, warming is likely to induce changes in a range of these events. We investigated the impact of slightly elevated temperatures (+0.76 8C in the air, +1.35 8C in the soil) during the non-growing season (October–April) on freezing tolerance, carbohydrate metabolism, dormancy release, spring phenology and reproductive output in two blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) cultivars to understand how winter warming modifies phenological traits in a woody perennial known to have a large chilling requirement and to be sensitive to spring frost. Warming delayed dormancy release more in the cultivar ‘Narve Viking’ than in the cultivar ‘Titania’, but advanced budburst and flowering predominantly in ‘Titania’. Since ‘Narve Viking’ has a higher chilling requirement than ‘Titania’, this indicates that, in high-chillingrequiring genotypes, dormancy responses may temper the effect of warming on spring phenology. Winter Warming significantly reduced fruit yield the following summer in both cultivars, corroborating the hypothesis that a decline in winter chill may decrease reproductive effort in blackcurrant. Elevated winter temperatures tended to decrease stem freezing tolerance during cold acclimation and deacclimation, but it did not increase the risk of freeze-induced damage mid-winter. Plants at elevated temperature showed decreased levels of sucrose in stems of both cultivars and flower buds of ‘Narve Viking’, which, in buds, was associated with increased concentrations of glucose and fructose.
Hence, winter warming influences carbohydrate metabolism, but it remains to be elucidated whether decreased sucrose levels account for any changes in freezing tolerance. Our results demonstrate that even a slight increase in winter temperature may alter phenological traits in blackcurrant, but to various extents depending on genotypespecific differences in chilling requirement.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberplv024
JournalAoB PLANTS
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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