Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Looking at Water Stress Spectrally

                                            Tim Aston measures spectral reflectance of a plant experiencing drought.

Students in BOT 4111/5111, An Introduction to Remote Sensing of the Environment, are required to complete a self-designed research project by the end of the semester that applies remote sensing concepts learned in class.  Tim Aston, a graduate student in Brent Ewers' lab, took on a unique project; he's using a spectrometer to see how the reflectance of light from a plant leaf changes as the leaf dries.  His hypothesis is that drought stress will be visible in the "red edge," the spectral region between the visible red and the near-infrared, and in a water absorption band at around 960 nm.  Ultimately, Tim hopes to be able to use remote sensing to identify plants that express differences in genetic traits related to the movement of water through their leaves.  

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