Tomorrow never dies: will a high CO2 world mean less stress for barley?


Samuel Taylor, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University

Rob Hancock, James Hutton Institute

Christos Tachtatzis, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Strathclyde 

Craig Michie, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Strathclyde


Globally, rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations will have significant consequences for plant function. Photosynthesis in crops like barley is expected to benefit from a significant boost due to CO2 fertilisation. This project aims to establish how CO2 boosted photosynthesis in barley impacts stress tolerance when the crop faces damage caused by drought – also predicted to increase as a result of future climate change. Using new, controlled environment facilities and phenotyping platforms at James Hutton Institute and Lancaster University, measurements will be made to determine the range of drought x [CO2] responses shown by barley.

Measurements of photosynthesis, transpiration, biomass, and the biochemistry of primary metabolism and reactive oxygen species, will be paired with hyperspectral imaging to generate new understanding and novel non-destructive tools for discriminating stress. Outcomes of this project will drive a data-led approach to crop improvement and crop management practices aimed at adapting barley for future cropping environments.