The project is structured into six WPs comprising inter-linked activities.
DiVicia will build on :
A participatory approach
The project will set up a participatory approach through the assessment of the sustainability of contrasting Mediterranean agroecosystems. This participatory approach will be applied in representative areas named reference areas of agroecosystems or (by contraction), Reference Agroecosystems (RAs).
6 Work packages
The activities will promote interactions, mainly with farmers, but also with advisors, breeders,
seed companies and local policy-makers for the development of legume crops, and innovative agricultural practices enhancing crop diversification. Meetings, interviews and inquiries will be organized with stakeholders, mainly farmers and advisors, to collect tacit knowledge and practices used for introducing legumes in CCSs in sole crop, inter- or mix-cropping, innovation trajectories and lock-ins. Reference agroecosystems (RAs) including CCSs with faba bean and/or vetch will be characterized in different Mediterranean contexts. A participatory evaluation of the sustainability of the CCSs will then be performed in these RAs. From these assessments, contrasting RAs (CRAs)
will be selected for further diagnoses and data collection (WP2) and modeling (WP3). Field visits and restitution meetings with the farmers will be organized in parallel to WP5, and ‘success stories’ will be disseminated.
WP2 will aim to evaluate agronomic and environmental benefits of biotic interactions
induced by the introduction of V. faba, V. sativa, and/or V. narbonensis in CCSs of selected CRAs. The sustainability of the CCS, will be evaluated by using a method understandable by stakeholders and chosen in partnership with them.
To improve the knowledge on relationships between sustainability scores, agronomic practices and abiotic factors, two diagnoses of soil health and functioning will also be performed in contrasting CCSs: (i) a multilocal nodular diagnosis (DiagNod method) and (ii) an assessment of the degradability of organic matter (LEVAbag method). To complete data collated from the CCSs, multisite field factorial experiments (FFEs) will be set up in different biogeographic regions of the Mediterranean Basin to investigate for the effects of (i) the insertion of stress tolerant vetch and faba bean genotypes as sole crop, inter- or mix-cropping with a cereal in the rotation, and (ii) interactions between the both legumes species, on the performances of the systems and soil fertility.
WP3 will use datasets from WP1 and WP2 to provide assessment and prediction tools to
promote the adoption of crop diversification with Vicia spp. in Mediterranean CCSs, and help farmers to drive their system towards sustainability. A model tool will thus be conceived for the farmers and advisors, to predict the effect of their practices on the degradability of organic matter. It will be calibrated from experimental data in controlled conditions. The Fabatropimed FFE database will be used to calibrate a MOMOS based model (N and C cycles between soil, plants and atmosphere) for Mediterranean conditions. A dataset will be built up for producing an open access tool to assess the benefits of crop diversification using Vicia spp. Based on environmental and Mediterranean socio-economic dataset, a bio-economic model will be performed to assess the impacts of biodiversity-based CCSs (with Vicia spp.) on the farm’s gross margin and costs.
WP4 will aim to develop optimal strategies to exploit crosses either between genetically
diverse and phenotypically interesting Vicia spp. regional landraces, or regional landraces and elite cultivars/selected
genotypes. This will provide an unprecedented collection of pre-breeding materials with complementary yield-related of extreme interest for Vicia spp. breeding programs. A first step will be to document landraces of faba bean (V. faba) and common vetch (V. sativa) representative of the Mediterranean diversity. A database system will be proposed to integrate external sources and project data, and make them searchable through a web server. These collections (target numbers of 300 accessions per each species) will be phenotyped in multiple environments to support modeling of GxE interactions to predict genotype responses under climate change scenarios. Dedicated screening for major diseases and drought responses will take place for both species. The phenotypic data will be compiled and stored centrally in a project database. The project collections will also be genotyped by high-throughput genotyping-bysequencing. Genotyping data will be used to (i) characterize genetic tructure of populations, and to (ii) realize Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) to deliver molecular markers closely linked to the traits of interest, to speed-up screening breeding steps through MAB and MAS. As contingency plan, existing Recombinant Inbred Lines populations (RILS) segregating for the traits of interest will be studied.
WP5 will set up a website and social media accounts for enhancing communication about the project progresses and outcomes to other scientists and stakeholders, and to favour information sharing within
DiVicia’s consortium. Foster the collaboration and knowledge exchange between the Mediterranean partners will be an important goal of this work package, complemented by a comprehensive communication and training programme for young scientists. It will also aim at networking with consortiums or other projects dealing with crop diversification and legumes. The DiVicia’s research will be widely published (taking Intellectual Property (IP) protection into consideration) and the results will be made widely available. Knowledge will be transferred to stakeholders through meetings, and a final dissemination event will ensure impact in providing information on novel methods, traits and germplasm to stakeholders inside and outside the consortium.
WP6 will ensure the implementation of the DiVicia Project in conformity with the work plan, with regard on overall progress, milestones, deliverables and planned resources, and taking into account of
changes related to the topic in the external context. The projects management will meet the challenges of addressing both scientific and applied issues, integration of scientific and tacit knowledges, and interdisciplinary. It will build a strong organizational setup able to support the management of (i) the flow of information, data, tools, within and among the different work packages and with the stakeholders, and (ii) collection and distribution of the biological material and of the technical protocols to the relevant partners. It will manage risks and steer the project to address unexpected situations. It will ensure administrative and financial management of the project.