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Chickpea evolution has selected for contrasting phenological mechanisms among different habitats

Berger, J.D., Milroy, S.P.ORCID: 0000-0002-3889-7058, Turner, N.C., Siddique, K.H.M., Imtiaz, M. and Malhotra, R. (2011) Chickpea evolution has selected for contrasting phenological mechanisms among different habitats. Euphytica, 180 . pp. 1-15.

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Arguably the most important adaptive criterion in annual crops is appropriate phenology that minimizes exposure to climatic stresses and maximizes productivity in target environments. To date this has been achieved empirically by selecting among diverse genotypes in target locations. This approach is likely to become inadequate with pending climate change because selection is imposed on the outcome (flowering time) rather than the underlying mechanism (i.e. responses to daylength, ambient or vernalizing temperatures). In contrast to the cereals, in legumes the interaction between phenological mechanisms and environmental selection pressure is largely unknown. This paper addresses this shortcoming through photothermal modelling of chickpea germplasm from the world’s key production areas using a meta-analysis of multi-environment trials located from 49° N to 35° S. Germplasm origin had significant effects on temperature and daylength responsiveness, the former strongly correlated to vegetative phase temperatures at the collection or development site (r = 0.8). Accordingly, temperature responses increase from winter- to spring-sown Mediterranean and Australian material, and then to north, central & southern India. Germplasm origin also affects the relationship between photoperiod and temperature response. In Eastern Mediterranean material a strong negative relationship (r = −0.77) enables temperature insensitive genotypes to compensate through a strong photoperiod response. Clearly, chickpea evolution has selected for different phenological mechanisms across the habitat range. Given that under the anticipated global warming temperature sensitive cultivars will flower relatively earlier than those responding largely to photoperiod, it is important to exploit this diversity in developing better-adapted genotypes for future cropping environments.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright: © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
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