Emerging grape varieties for a changing climate: cold hardiness

Project Description : 

Facing unpredictable climate changes, maintaining a sustainable agriculture depends on the availability of genetically diverse cultivars. The traditional European grapes (e.g. Pinot Noir) are cultivars of a single species. In contrast, emerging grape cultivars (European-American hybrids) take advantage of the tremendous genetic diversity of the native American grape species (about 30 species). The traditional European grape varieties have little cold hardiness. In contrast, little is known regarding the effect of large fluctuations of temperatures on emerging hybrids but the hybrids appear to show potential.
This project will involve sampling grapes of different varieties at Cold Spring Orchard in Belchertown at regular times in the winter, analyze the percentage of survival of the buds at these different times and quantify the lowest temperature at which they freeze.
The potential student should be interested in plant physiology, climate change and/or grapes! A car is necessary to travel to Belchertown to sample.
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Contact Person: 

Elsa Petit

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