Dr Yinglong Chen (School of Earth and Environment and UWA Institute of Agriculture, UWA)
Model ing plasticity and response of lupin roots to heterogeneous environments

Root systems are fundamental to crop productivity. Searching for root traits underpinning efficient
nutrient acquisition has received increased attention in modern breeding programs aimed at improved
crop productivity. In the recent ARC Discovery project, we established a high-throughput novel
phenotyping platform (Chen et al., Functional Plant Biology 2011, 38: 355−363), and examined
genotypic variability in underlying root traits efficient in capturing water and nutrients in a large
germplasm of narrow-leafed lupin (Lupinus angustifolius) using both phenotyping and model ing
approaches (Chen et al., Plant Soil 2011, 348: 345−364; Plant Soil 2012, 354: 141−155; Crop & Pasture
2013, 64: 588–599; Plant Soil 2013, doi: 10.1007/s11104-013-1741-x). Two current functional-
structural root architectural models, ROOTMAP and SimRoot, were used in our root study to investigate
root-soil interactions through representing the relationships between rooting traits and the non-uniform
supply of soil resources.
This talk wil be focusing on one modelling simulation study aimed to predict and identify phenotypic
plasticity, root growth responses and phosphorus (P)-use efficiency of contrasting genotypes to localised
soil P in a glasshouse. Two wild lupin genotypes with contrasting root system were grown in cylindrical
columns containing uniform soil with three P treatments (nil and 20 mg P kg–1 either top-dressed or
banded) in a glasshouse. Computer simulations were carried out with the both models which were
parameterised with root architectural data from our hydroponic phenotyping study. Both experimental
and simulation outcomes demonstrated that i) root hairs and root proliferation increased plant P
acquisition and were more beneficial in the localised P fertilisation scenario, ii) placing P deeper in the
soil might be a more effective fertilisation method with greater P uptake than top dressing, iii) the
combination of P foraging strategies (including root architecture, root hairs and root growth plasticity) is
important for efficient P acquisition from a localised source of fertiliser P, and iv) root models based on
different resource al ocation hypothesis differ in the simulated root growth and nutrient uptake. Our
research highlights the potential of root models in the aid of selection of root traits for improved plant
performance in specific environments. A brief summary of related root studies undertaken in the recent
and current ARC projects is expected to be present.
Brief Biography
Yinglong (Alan) was awarded a PhD at Murdoch University in 2006, and Master Degree in Agriculture (by
research) (1997) and Bachelor Degree in Science (1994) in China. He was a Research Assistant Professor
and Group Leader in Soil Microbiology at the Chinese Academy of Forestry (1994-2002). Yinglong was an
ACIAR Fellowship at CSIRO (1997-1998), Visiting Scientist at INRA (France, 2000), Visiting Research
Associate at Murdoch University (2001). Yinglong has been working at UWA as a Research Associate
since 2006. He published three books, 5 book chapters, edited one international conference
proceedings, and published 24 articles in ISI-indexed journals including New Phytologist, PLoS ONE, Plant
Physiology and Biochemistry, Plant Soil, Mycorrhiza. Yinglong is an appointed external referee of
European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant proposals, and was an International Adviser and
Regional Coordinator for Centre for International Forestry Organization Research (CIFOR).


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