Phenotypic responses of wild barley to experimentally imposed water stress

V. Ivandic, C. A. Hackett, Z. J. Zhang, J. E. Staub, E. Nevo, W. T.B. Thomas, B. P. Forster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Responses to water stress within a population of wild barley from Tabigha, Israel, were examined. The population's distribution spans two soil types: Terra Rossa (TR) and Basalt (B). Seeds were collected from plants along a 100 m transect; 24 genotypes were sampled from TR and 28 from B. Due to different soil water-holding capacities, plants growing on TR naturally experience more intense drought than plants growing on B. In a glasshouse experiment, water was withheld from plants for two periods (10 d and 14 d) after flag leaf emergence. A total of 15 agronomic, morphological, developmental, and fertility related traits were examined by analysis of variance (ANOVA). Ten of these traits were significantly affected by the treatment. A high degree of phenotypic variation was found in the population with significant genotype × treatment and soil type × treatment interactions. Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed using combined control and stress treatment data sets. The first three principal components (pc) explained 88.8% of the variation existing in the population with pc1 (47.9%) comprising yield-related and morphological traits, pc2 (22.9%) developmental characteristics and pc3 (18.0%) fertility-related traits. The relative performance of individual genotypes was determined and water stress tolerant genotypes identified. TR genotypes were significantly less affected by the imposed water stress than B genotypes. Moreover, TR genotypes showed accelerated development under water deficit conditions. Data indicate that specific genotypes demonstrating differential responses may be useful for comparative physiological studies, and that TR genotypes exhibiting yield stability may have value for breeding barley better adapted to drought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2021-2029
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number353
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to Glyn Bengough, Richard Keith and Jackie Lyon for valuable advice and skilful technical assistance. The authors also thank Salvatore Ceccarelli (ICARDA, Syria) for critically reviewing the manuscript. Victor Ivandic holds a Marie-Curie fellowship as part of the EC programme for `Training and Mobility of Researchers'. Professor Eviatar Nevo wishes to thank the Israeli Discount Bank Chair of Evolutionary Biology and the Ancel-Teicher Research Foundation for financial support. The research at SCRI is supported by Grant-in-Aid from the Scottish Executive for Rural Affairs Department (SERAD).


  • Adaptation
  • Drought
  • G × E interaction
  • Hordeum spontaneum
  • Principal component analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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