Friday, July 17, 2015

Scaling Plant Traits

Current Earth system models represent Arctic plant traits with a mean value that does not vary with time or space.  We’re working towards approaches that will provide rich descriptions of plant traits for next generation models that will enable the representation of spatial and temporal variation in several key model parameters.  To achieve this goal we are building relationships between plant functional and structural traits and spectral signatures of plant leaves and canopies so that we can leverage near surface, airborne and ultimately space borne remotely sensed data to retrieve these plant traits.

We’ve spent the last week working towards that goal.  Shawn and Wil have been scanning plant canopies and Kim and I and been following them around measuring physiological properties before handing our leaves back to Shawn and Wil for measurement of leaf level spectra.  We’re hoping to demonstrate that leaf level relationships between spectra and plant traits translate to canopy level measurements that can be used to retrieve physiological properties across time and space and in the near term hope to apply these relationships to observations from the NGEE-Arctic tram.