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Lulu He

Doctor of Philosophy, (Science)
Study Completed: 2016
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Drought Tolerance of Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium Perenne L.) and The Role of Epichloe Endophyte

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

The growth and development of perennial ryegrass, an important grass species in New Zealand, is often restricted by summer drought. Ms He evaluated drought tolerance of several New Zealand perennial ryegrass cultivars and investigated effects of commercial Epichloe endophytes on drought tolerance of their host cultivars. She found that tall fescue Flecha had higher yield stability and greater dehydration postponement compared to evaluated ryegrass cultivars due to its partial summer dormancy. Perennial ryegrass cultivar One50 with Spanish germplasm in its breeding background was better able to maintain growth and demonstrated better physiological protection compared to cultivar Commando bred from the so-called Mangere ecotype. Endophyte infection did not modify plant responses to drought but affected plant growth and physiological traits regardless of water availability, and this effect was dependent on host cultivar and endophyte strain. Her research findings provide valuable insights for future drought tolerance breeding of perennial ryegrass in New Zealand.

Professor Cory Matthew
Dr Jimmy Hatier
Professor Peter Kemp


L. He, J.-H.B. Hatier, S.D. Card and C. Matthew. 2013. Endophyte-infection reduces leaf dehydration of ryegrass and tall fescue under moderate water deficit. Proceedings of the New Zealand Grassland Association 75: 63-68.