[PhD’s corner] Hong Anh Nguyen: Connecting the dots between high-throughput phenotyping platforms and crop models

Hong Anh Nguyen is one of the #DigitAg labelled PhDs


Connecting the dots between high-throughput phenotyping platforms and crop models

  • Start Date: 1st November 2019
  • University: Institut Agro
  • PhD School: GAIA
  • Field(s): Ecophysiology and adaptation of plant
  • Doctoral Thesis Advisor: Bertrand Muller, LEPSE, Inrae and Pierre Martre, LEPSE, Inrae
  • Funding: Occitanie region and INRAE
  • #DigitAg: Labeled PhD – Axis 6: Multiscale modelling and simulation – Challenge 2: Digital solutions to optimize the genotype in changing production systems and markets

Keywords: root system, wheat, crop models, nitrogen, water deficit

Abstract: Global agriculture has two requirements: to be productive to meet demand and efficient in terms of land use. This dual requirement is formulated in the context of both climate change and moderation of the use of irrigation and chemical fertilizers. To arrive at these results, the architecture of the root system appears as a target to be favored. This has been rather neglected in the selection schemes while arguments accumulate to demonstrate its role in optimizing the harvesting of water resources and minerals especially in situations of low inputs. To enable the world of selection to direct its choices towards efficient root architectures, it is necessary to develop and then assemble at least two elements: crop models integrating a more or less explicit description of the root architecture and its response to soil heterogeneities and a high throughput pipeline to parameterize these models for a wide variety of genotypes. However, currently, the main models of culture embody a very frustrating representation of the root system and do not take into account its plasticity in the face of the underground environment. In addition, although high-throughput phenotyping platforms for root architecture have recently been developed, they are still too little connected to models. The thesis project aims to fill this double void (i) improve the representation of root system architecture and functioning in crop models, to better understand their potential benefits in different environmental scenarios including drought and low-N, (ii) connect data from high-throughput phenotyping platforms to the parameters of root architecture model (RAMs) (iii) explore the value of root plasticity traits to improve plant responses to spatially and temporally variable water and nitrogen supply under defined environmental scenarios. Simulations of the impact of contrasting root architectures will be conducted at the end of the thesis in order to identify root system architecture ideotypes in defined drought and N deficiency scenarios and soils to improve wheat adaptation to new growth conditions. This will take place in the framework of the H2020 SOLACE project, in which platform experiments have already been conducted using two panels of 200 genotypes of common wheat and durum wheat, including those with nitrogen and water deficiency. Note that the thesis will be held in close collaboration with the teams of UMR Agroecology Dijon (C Salon) and the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve. In addition, all developments in modeling will be based on existing standards consisting of the RSML language and the OpenAlea platform (http://openalea.gforge.inria.fr).

Contact: hong-anh.nguyen [AT] inrae.fr