Climate change poses an unprecedented challenge to agriculture. While growers have always struggled with year-to-year variation in climate – early rains or unusually hot summers – climate change provides a major directional shift in mean climate.
Across the globe, growing regions are warming and plants are shifting in both time and space. Current and future shifts pose a major challenge to researchers and growers alike, yet they also highlight a major avenue to adapt crops to climate change – by understanding and exploiting phenological diversity.
Using winegrapes (Vitis vinifera subsp. vinifera) as a case study, we review the phenological diversity present within one crop and its underlying environmental and genetic drivers. In wine- grapes, harvest dates are strongly tied to temperature, but this sensitivity varies greatly, with differ- ent cultivars (or ‘varieties’) of grapes ripening much more or less for the same amount of warming. This phenological diversity provides a mechanism to help growers adapt winegrapes to shifting climates – by planting different varieties that will grow well under current and future cli- mate regimes. More generally, understanding phenological diversity – including its environmental vs. genetic components – offers a major avenue to use ecological knowledge to advance adaptation for winegrapes, and many other crops, to climate change.
June 7 @ 11:15
– 12:05 pm
Dr. Elizabeth W. Wolkovich