Network of field experiments with lean, efficient phenotyping close to practical breeding
Phenotyping in field experiments using minimal plant phenotyping equipment are performed in agriculturally-relevant and breeding-like conditions, which allows investigation of the (genetic) variability of measured plant traits in a range of environmental scenarios as a response to differences in field management, soil composition, or environmental conditions. Monitoring of the environmental conditions (i.e. abiotic and biotic conditions) are essentially the same as those in intensive fields, with sensor networks for measurement (e.g. temperature, radiation, rainfall, air humidity and soil water potential), at a temporal definition of typically one hour and should allow to understand differences in plant or crop performance and could explain statistical outliers which are not due to genetic variation of the species. The amount of plants, plots or fields per year is dependent on the experiments and should be statistically relevant, with the relevant number of repetitions according to the data analysis protocol. Throughputs are typically hundreds to thousands of (micro)plots.
A key objective for EMPHASIS will be to increase the capability of networks of field trials, number and geographical/ climatic coverage, and the coordination of existing infrastructures and their integration to facilitate analyses of plant performance across climatic gradients, the development of appropriate phenotyping methods and statistics. The scientific communities involved here are; biologists, geneticists, statisticians, agronomists, breeders, modelers and specialists of information systems and technology development.