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Title: Multiscale remote sensing of plant physiology and carbon uptake
Author: Atherton, Jon Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 0974
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2012
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This study investigated the use of optical remote sensing for estimating leaf and canopy scale light use efficiency (LUE) and carbon exchange. In addition, a new leaf level model capable of predicting dynamic changes in apparent reflectance due to chlorophyll fluorescence was developed. A leaf level study was conducted to assess the applicability of passive remote sensing as a tool to measure the reduction, and the subsequent recovery, of photosynthetic efficiency during the weeks following transplantation. Spectral data were collected on newly planted saplings for a period of 8 weeks, as well as gas exchange measurements of LUE and PAM fluorescence measurements. A set of spectral indices, including the Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI), were calculated from the reflectance measurements. A marked depression in photosynthetic rate occurred in the weeks after outplanting followed by a gradual increase, with recovery occurring in the later stages of the experimental period. As with photosynthetic rate, there was a marked trend in PRI values over the study period but no trend was observed in chlorophyll based indices. The study demonstrated that hyperspectral remote sensing has the potential to be a useful tool in the detection and monitoring of the dynamic effects of transplant shock. Relationships between hyperspectral reflectance indices, airborne carbon exchange measurements and satellite observations of ground cover were then explored across a heterogeneous Arctic landscape. Measurements were collected during August 2008, using the University of Edinburgh’s research aircraft, from an Arctic forest tundra zone in northern Finland as part of the Arctic Biosphere Atmosphere Coupling at Multiple Scales (ABACUS) study. Surface fluxes of CO2 were calculated using the eddy covariance method from airborne data that were collected from the same platform as hyperspectral reflectance measurements. Airborne CO2 fluxes were compared to MODIS vegetation indices. In addition, LUE was estimated from airborne flux data and compared to airborne measurements of PRI. There were no significant relationships between MODIS vegetation indices and airborne flux observations. There were weak to moderate (R2 = 0.4 in both cases) correlations between PRI and LUE and between PRI and incident radiation. A new coupled physiological radiative transfer model that predicts changes in the apparent reflectance of a leaf, due to chlorophyll fluorescence, was developed. The model relates a physically observable quantity, chlorophyll fluorescence, to the sub leaf level processes that cause the emission. An understanding of the dynamics of the processes that control fluorescence emission on multiple timescales should aid in the interpretation of this complex signal. A Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm was used to optimise biochemical model parameters by fitting model simulations of transient chlorophyll fluorescence to measured reflectance spectra. The model was then validated against an independent data set. The model was developed as a precursor to a full canopy scheme. To scale to the canopy and to use the model on trans-seasonal time scales, the effects of temperature and photoinhibition on the model biochemistry needs to be taken into account, and a full canopy radiative transfer scheme, such as FluorMOD, must be developed.
Supervisor: Nichol, Caroline. ; Mencuccini, Maurizio. Sponsor: Forest Research
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: optical remote sensing ; light use efficiency ; carbon exchange ; chlorophyll fluorescence ; passive remote sensing ; photosynthetic efficiency