Drought: the very word instills dread, conjuring up images of dried-up wells, barren earth, and – perhaps worse still – empty taps and long lines to access wells. Is Poland likely to experience significant water shortages?
Predicted climate change may have negative impact on many environmental components including vegetation by increase of evapotranspiration and reduction of available water resources. Moreover, a growing global population and extensive use of water for irrigation and industry result in increasing demand for water. Facing these threats, quantitative and qualitative protection of water resources requires development of tools for drought assessment and prediction to support effective decision making and mitigate the impacts of droughts. Therefore, the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, National Research Institute has developed and implemented a set of tools for the operational drought hazard assessment. The developed tools cover drought indices estimation, assessment of sensitivity to it formation and drought hazard prediction. They are streamlined into an operational scheme combined with data assimilation routines and products generation procedures. A drought hazard assessment scheme was designed to be implemented into the platform of a hydrological system supporting the operational work of hydrological forecast offices. The scheme was launched to run operationally for the selected catchments of the Odra River and the Wisla River basins. The crucial resulting products are presented on the website operated by IMWM-NRI: POSUCH@ (Operational System for Providing Drought Prediction and Characteristics) (http://posucha.imgw.pl/). The paper presents the scheme and preliminary results obtained for the drought event which began in August 2011.
Clarifying the genetic background of the drought-tolerance trait is a crucial task that may help to improve plant performance under stress by a genetic engineering approach. Dehydration-responsive element-binding protein (DREB) is a transcription factor family which modulates many stress-responsive genes. In this study, we isolated a DREB homolog gene named ZmDREBtv from Zea mays var. Tevang-1. Using bioinformatic tools, a number of InDels and SNPs in ZmDREBtv sequence different from the reference accession were identified. In addition, based on deduced protein sequence similarity, ZmDREBtv was assigned to transcription factor DREB2 class as featured by a conserved DNA binding domain - AP2. The ZmDREBtv construct under thecontrol of the rd29A promoter was transformed into a drought-sensitive maize plant, K7 line. The transgenic plants were assessed with reference to molecular and phenotypic characteristics related to the drought-tolenrance trait. The results proved that the maize plants carrying ZmDREBtv gene showed enhanced tolerance and better performance to the water-deficit environment at different stages, compared to the wild-type plants.
In order to evaluate morphological and physiological traits related to drought tolerance and to determine the best criteria for screening and identification of drought-tolerant genotypes, we grew two tolerant genotypes (MCC392, MCC877) and two sensitive genotypes (MCC68, MCC448) of chickpea under drought stress (25% field capacity) and control (100% field capacity) conditions and assessed the effect of drought stress on growth, water relations, photosynthesis, chlorophyll fluorescence and chlorophyll content in the seedling, early flowering and podding stages. Drought stress significantly decreased shoot dry weight, CO2 assimilation rate (A), transpiration rate (E), and Psii photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) in all genotypes. In the seedling and podding stages, Psii photochemical efficiency was higher in tolerant genotypes than in sensitive genotypes under drought stress. Water use efficiency (WUE) and CO2 assimilation rate were also higher in tolerant than in sensitive genotypes in all investigated stages under drought stress. Our results indicated that water use efficiency, A and Fv/Fm can be useful markers in studies of tolerance to drought stress and in screening adapted cultivars of chickpea under drought stress.