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Dormancy cycling responses to environmental signals and global warming in contrasting Arabidopsis ecotypes

Project led by: Prof. Bill Finch-Savage & Dr. Steve Footitt

Ph. D. student Ziyue Huang


In this project we are investigating how dormancy cycling differs between the Arabidopsis ecotypes Cape Verdie Isle (CVi) and Burren (Bur).

  • CVi is highly dormant winter annual ecotype adapted to the warm dry climate of the Cape Verdi islands. As a winter annual its seeds are shed in late spring. They enter the soil seed bank where they lose dormancy over the summer, and germinate in the autumn following soil disturbance. They then over winter in the vegetative stage before flowering in spring.
  • Bur is a less dormant summer annual ecotype adapted to the cool wet climate of the Burren region of Western Ireland. As a summer annual its seeds are shed in late summer. They enter the soil seed bank where they pass the winter losing dormancy in the spring, and germinate in late spring following soil disturbance. They then flower over the summer.

Comprehensive molecular eco-physiology comparisons of dormancy cycling are being carried out on both ecotypes.

Using the unique Thermo Gradient Tunnels at the Warwick Crop Centre we are also investigating the impact of projected global warming from 2012 -2080 on flowering time, seed development and dormancy in the these ecotypes.