Home>Key Lab of Mollisols Agroecology

The Key Laboratory of Mollisols Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, was approved by Chinese Academy of Sciences in December, 2009. It was developed mainly on the basis of Research Center for Agriculture, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology (NEIGAE), Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The laboratory focuses on the research of soil ecology and agroecology in Black soil (Mollisol) regions. The mission of this laboratory is to make endless efforts to solve two scientific problems in Black soil regions: to prevent soil degradation and maintain soil fertility, and to exploit crop yielding potential and increase crop productivity.

The laboratory consists of 9 research groups, i.e., soil degradation and restoration, soil nutrient cycling, soil organic carbon and conservation tillage, crop physiology and culture, grassland farming, saline soil ecology and remediation, pest organism management, molecular ecology of farmland, and soybean molecular breeding. Three research stations are affiliated to the facility with field experiment area of 55 hm2, including comprehensive observation plots, long-term fixed experimental plots and farmland experimental plots. 

Currently, there are 20 research professors, 15 associate professors, 8 assistant professors and 4 technicians in the lab. The laboratory also has 69 visiting researchers and graduate students working or studying in different groups.

Laboratory Director

Prof. Dr. Xiaobing Liu, liuxb@neigae.ac.cn

Laboratory Deputy Director

Prof. Dr. Guanghua Wang, wanggh@neigaehrb.ac.cn

Prof. Dr. Fanjiang Kong, kongfj@neigaehrb.ac.cn

Main research areas

1. Changes and driving factors in Black soil quality

(1) Quality changes and regulations in soil fertility

This research area is mainly focused on: the degradation process and spatial-temporal variability of Black soil fertility, maintenance and oriented improvement of Black soil quality; the coupling process of water, fertilizer, gas as well as heat and their optimal regulation; the index system and theory of quantitative characterization for evaluating and monitoring soil quality; dynamic database establishment and predictions model of spatial-temporal differentiation for Black soil quality; development on the theory and conservation and utilization approaches for Black soil .

(2) Erosion process and control

Based on geomorphological characteristics of Black soil regions with rolling-hill and  alternative freezing and thawing climate, this research focuses on the development and process of soil erosion under various erosion stress; quantitative evaluation and index system for factors causing water and soil erosion; spatial distribution, process and mechanism of occurrence and development in erosion gully, soil conservation measures for optimal deposition of water in different soil erosion regions, and assessment of soil and water conservation practices forfarmland management and crop production.

(3) Biodiversity and environmental quality

The goal of this research area is to integrate the methodologies of experimental ecology and molecular biology to reveal the relationships and interaction mechanisms between crop and microorganisms in Black soil agroecosystem in responses and adaptations to agronomic practices, and to clarify the functions of soil microorganisms on agroecosystem restoration, to evaluate the influences of soil environmental changes on soil biology, to quantitatively illustrate variation characteristics of soil microorganisms, fauna and nematodes in Black soil, and to exploit the potential of soil microorganisms in controlling crop diseases and insect pests.

2. Crop productivity and eco-physiological mechanisms

(1) Eco-physiological mechanisms of crop yield formation

Considering the three key processes of dry matter production, partitioning and formation of product organ in main crops (maize, soybean and rice) yield formation, this area mainly focuses on the relationships between vegetative structure and effective photoassimilate production, storage as well as translocation in high-yielding population, to discover the regulation mechanism of source-sink system, to develop approaches for high yield and high efficiency crop production system.

(2) Exploitation and utilization of high yielding and stress resistant crop germplasm

To meet the agriculture production demands in crop germplasm with high yield and stress resistance, this research area mainly focuses on establishing the identification index system for crop germplasm which is favorite for high-yield, drought-resistance, chilling- resistance and salt-alkaline resistance; examining the physiological mechanism of high yield and stress resistance in crop germplasm, exploring key factors in controlling crop stress resistance; establishing crop yield response model under abiotic stress, breeding cultivars with high-yield and stress resistance, and developing the approaches in utilizing the high-yielding and multi-stress resistant crop germplasm.

(3) Principles of sustainable production and high yield in crops

Based on meeting the requirements of light, temperature, water and nutrients to regional crops, this research area is mainly to focus on the gap between maximum potential productivity and actual potential productivity, to clarify the limiting factors in realizing high yield and high efficiency production, and to develop new high-yielding and high efficient planting patterns, and to investigate the approaches for management, growth regulation and optimization decision in setting up technique systems and cultivation patterns of crop sustainable high yield.

3 Process and structure optimization in Black soil agroecosystem

(1) Biomass cycle for sustainable high productivity

The major research areas are as follows: developing the harmless and recycling technology of agro-biomass e.g. crop straw and animal dung, carrying out the researches on the recycling methods and their effects in agroecosystem, exploring approaches and matching technology to high efficient and ecoagriculture in Black soil zone, and seeking the development model and technical system for improving soil sustainable productivity on a regional scale.

(2) nutrient-water cycle and energy transformation in farmland

The major research areas are as follows: dynamics of soil water cycle, soil water balance model and water supply process in soil- crop- atmosphere system in Black soil; the effects of water- fertilizer coupling application on crop yield, quality and the changes of soil organic matter; clarifying the degree of disturbance from natural disaster on water- fertilizer coupling process in Black soil argo-ecosystem; discussing the relationship and control of crop production and water cycle in Black soil zone, and seeking the regulation techniques for improving farmland water use efficiency; studying the process and rule of energy transformation, as well as the approach to improving the ratio of energy output and input in agro-ecosystem.

(3) Structure optimization and management in agro-ecosystem

The major research areas are as follows: reasonable layout and spatial-temporal optimization allocation of population structure for the crop resources in Black soil agro-ecosystem, discussing the mechanism of sustainable productivity gain and management in agro-ecosystem; studying the dynamic evaluation of quantity and quality, utilization assessment, value assessment and mid- and long-term prediction of sustainable utilization on soil and water resources as well as biological resources in Black soil zone; establishing quantitative and dynamic evaluation indicators for sustainable and high-efficiency agriculture on the regional scale, setting up agro-ecosystem structure of crop resource optimization; discussing the effect of global change on agro-ecosystem and proposing the response countermeasure and suggestions, providing consulting references to the construction of key areas for commercial grain production and environmental protection.

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