Perched 30m above the Daintree Rainforest, Australia’s latest piece of high-tech environmental surveillance kit is keeping watch. 24 hours a day TERN’s new camera, the Sentinal Phenocam, feeds time-lapse images of vegetation to researchers to monitor the timing of vegetation development, including flowering, fruiting and leaf lifecycle—known as phenology. The data allows scientists to analyse the direction and magnitude of changes to vegetation phenology due to climate change and extreme weather events, such as cyclones and droughts.
Dr Tim Brown, of the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility – ANU node, was involved in the development of the project. He’s predicting that this new phenocam technology will facilitate the expansion of environmental surveillance systems all around the nation.
“I’m really excited about this new technology and its many applications. It is well suited to large-scale research projects, smaller-scale environmental monitoring programs and enabling citizen science projects,” said Tim.
In a recent paper, researchers have developed a methodology suitable for analyzing the growth curves of a large number of plants from multiple families. The corrected curves accurately account for the spatial and temporal variations among plants that are inherent to high-throughput experiments.
An example of curve registration. a The salinity sensitivity (SS) curves of the 16 functions from an arbitrary family, b SS curves after the curve registration, and c the corresponding time-warping functions. The salinity sensitivity on the y-axis of a and b refers to the derivative of the relative decrease in plant biomass
Advanced high-throughput technologies and equipment allow the collection of large and reliable data sets related to plant growth. These data sets allow us to explore salt tolerance in plants with sophisticated statistical tools.
As agricultural soils become more saline, analysis of salinity tolerance in plants is necessary for our understanding of plant growth and crop productivity under saline conditions. Generally, high salinity has a negative effect on plant growth, causing decreases in productivity. The response of plants to soil salinity is dynamic, therefore requiring the analysis of growth over time to identify lines with beneficial traits.
In this paper the researchers, led by KAUST and including Dr Bettina Berger and Dr Chris Brien from the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (APPF), use a functional data analysis approach to study the effects of salinity on growth patterns of barley grown at The Plant Accelerator® at the APPF. The method presented is suitable to reduce the noise in large-scale data sets and thereby increases the precision with which salinity tolerance can be measured.
Read the full paper, “Growth curve registration for evaluating salinity tolerance in barley” (DOI: 10.1186/s13007-017-0165-7)here.
IPPN Root Phenotyping Working Group
Travel Grant for Researchers Using Phenotyping
IPG 2017, 34th Annual Root Biology Symposium
Columbia, Missouri, USA
7-9 June 2017
The IPPN Root Phenotyping Working Group (RPWG) encourages mobility among researchers and enhances international contacts between research groups. With this sponsorship grant RPWG supports participation of Early Career Researchers at the IPG 2017, 34th Annual Root Biology Symposium.
Up to four grants of 500 EUR per researcher can be awarded.
1 May 2017
You are affiliated with a university or a research institution and you are an early career scientist, PhD student, or postdoc who finished his PhD no later than ten years ago.
Sunlight and water are two obvious requirements essential for healthy growth of plants, but did you know that zinc is also a vital ingredient? Zinc is a critical nutrient in hundreds of enzyme systems which are necessary for normal plant function. Zinc is also critical for human health – in fact, zinc is involved in more body functions than any other mineral.
Plants get zinc from the soil via their root systems. This uptake of nutrients is enhanced in many plants by mycorrhizal fungi which colonise the roots, creating a vast connection between the plant roots and the soil around them. Mycorrhizal fungi effectively increase the surface area of the roots, collecting nutrients from the soil beyond the reach of plant roots alone, and transfer these nutrients back to the plant.
Scientist, Dr Stephanie Watts-Williams, wants to find out how such mycorrhizal fungi can improve the zinc nutrition of plants, and subsequently impact on human health – particularly in countries where zinc malnutrition is a serious issue.
When it comes to plant science, we know our stuff, but we want to make sure we are sharing it the best way possible.
The Australian Plant Phenomics Facility is developing a new website. This is your chance to have your say! If you would like to offer some feedback, an idea on how our website can better support your research needs or if you have a desire for greater information, resources or news, please let us know. Contact us here.