Much of the Snider Cotton Physiology Lab’s research has been devoted to deepening understanding of the physiological response of the cotton crop to yield-limiting abiotic stresses, with a particular emphasis on water and temperature stresses.
Regarding drought stress, the Snider Cotton Physiology Lab has utilized a number of diverse methodologies to demonstrate that:
- leaf area development was substantially more sensitive to drought stress than carbon assimilation;
- photosynthetic declines under growth or yield-limiting drought do not appear to be associated with non-stomatal impairment, as suggested in some plant species;
- drought primarily drives yield loss through reductions in boll number because declines in seed set are offset by intra-boll increases in the production of fiber per seed, and
- declines in fruit retention under drought are highly dependent on fruiting site position.
Regarding temperature stresses, the Snider Cotton Physiology Lab has:
- documented heat-induced limitations to reproductive success in cotton,
- identified cultivar differences in photosynthetic heat tolerance,
- documented developmental stage and environment-specific effects on photosynthetic thermotolerance,
- documented how early season growth temperature extremes induce photosynthetic acclimation in cotton seedlings, and identified significant interactions between genotype and growth temperature for seedling growth parameters in advanced breeding lines.