Optimising the design of wheat variety mixtures through the identification and statistical validation of assembly rules

Optimising the design of wheat variety mixtures through the identification and statistical validation of assembly rules

By In Aiv Internship On December 14, 2018

Internship title: Optimising the design of wheat variety mixtures through the identification and statistical validation of assembly rules

Name: Génétique Quantive et Evolution – Le Moulon
Affiliation: INRA, Université Paris-Sud, CNRS, AgroParisTech
Address: Ferme du Moulon, 91190 Gif-sur-Yvette

LAB Director
Name: Olivier Martin
Phone number: 0169332330

Name: Emma Forst
Phone number: 0169332347

Subject Keywords: functional traits
organic farming
multi-trait analysis
Tools and methodologies: 1) bibliography to complete the codesign of the mixtures ideotypes for organic farming systems and the assembly rules
2) bibliography and analysis of plant to plant competition
3) statistical analysis to validate the assembly rules on data sets of wheat variety mixtures
4) statistical analysis to validate conjointly several assembly rules
5) integration of the assembly rules in a multi-criteria assessment tool (using R Shiny)
Summary of lab’s interests: The GQE-Le Moulon lab gather researchers on genetics and biology but covers a large variety of themes (such as agronomy, botanic, quantitative genetics, evolutionary genetics or population genetics) and also accounts for few mathematicians and physicists.
The researchers work mainly focuses on the study of the genetics basis of quantitative variations.
The DEAP (diversity, evolution and adaptation of the populations) team is internationally recognized for its participatory plant breeding program in collaboration with organic farmers organizations, and is currently also leading projects on wheat variety mixtures and species mixtures.
Project summary: The internship is based on different projects outcomes on wheat variety mixtures (Wheatamix, PICRI, and CASABio projects). These projects have been carried out using a participatory ideotyping for designing wheat variety mixtures adapted to specific farmers production contexts and practices. In fact, farmers usually design their mixtures using few criteria, such as complementary disease resistances and homogeneous height and maturity, while other criteria of interest for plant interactions exist.

The PICRI and CASABio projects involved organic farmers for the design of strategies and assembly rules for improved weed control and nitrogen use (workshops) and the design of their mixtures to use and assess in their farms. For three years (2016 to 2018) on-farm trials have been carried out to compare the mixtures and the pure stands on yield, quality, disease development, weed biomass, etc. These trials will be used to validate the assembly rules by integrating the mixtures composition in term of functional traits, for better explaining the measured variables.

When the assembly rules and the effects of traits combinations will be validated, they will be integrated in a a multi-criteria assessment tool (using R Shiny on R studio). This tool already exist on a very basic version but need to be improved to integrate more rules, and to become a user-friendly tool for farmers.
Interdisciplinary aspect of the project: – The internship project is based on a previous work of codesign of assembly rules with researchers and farmers (and other stakeholders), that should be completed at the beginning of the project (synthesis of the material and bibliography on specific aspects of plant competition to deepen).
– The intern will carry out statistical analysis on biological data (field trials, matrix of functional traits, …) in uni- and multi-variate fashion, and using mechanistic models
– The candidate will develop an R app to integrate the assembly rules in a multicriteria assessment tool, and will discuss the interface user-friendliness with the final users (farmers)