The LI-COR 6 400 is capable of measuring an array of ecophysiological variables such as soil respiration rate, carbon dioxide uptake by plants and photosynthetic potential; all of which are closely linked to the effects of climate change on ecosystems. “By using the LI-COR, we can study our natural and agricultural ecosystems to understand how plants and crops function in our climate, thus getting a better understanding of how the plants might fare when the climate becomes warmer and drier,” Prof Theo Wassenaar from FNRSS, who also attended the workshop, said.
The training session addressed the main principles behind the functioning of the LI-COR 6 400 XT, as well as its basic operation. “Namibia is an arid country that can expect significant climate changes, thus it is an ideal place to use the photosynthetic response of plants as a proxy to provide us with insight on how plants might respond to a range of stressful climatic conditions,” Dr Clara Nesongano from UNAM explained.
Being able to grasp the physiological profiles of plants and soil dynamics are crucial in understanding risk factors that climate change could hold for Namibian biodiversity and its agricultural sector. Fransiska Kangombe, also from UNAM and one of the key drivers behind the training initiative, stated that the improvement of predictive models will allow informed decision-making and enhanced adaptive capacity for threats to Namibia’s biodiversity and horticultural base.
FNRSS anticipates to host a second and possibly a third workshop in June and July. These follow-up training sessions will allow participants to learn how to measure photosynthesis in plants in a variety of environmental conditions.