Connecting Plant Pheromones to Fluorescence Based Remote Sensing
University of Idaho Seed Grant
Volatile chemicals plants produce can provide a wealth of information about plant health and interaction with other plants and predators on an individual scale. Plant volatile focus is typically on a few compounds, however the synergistic effects of these chemicals appears to be much more powerful that just one or two molecular structures. Remotely sensed chlorophyll fluorescence is able to measure plant stress expressed through changes in the reflectance of narrow wavelengths of color and on a global scale. Establishing a link between these two methods would help to develop more rapid assessment tools of plant volatiles in the field. The proposed research is to simultaneously measure chlorophyll fluorescence and volatile chemical signatures produced by lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) trees in the McCall, Long Valley area of Idaho. Ecological factors to be comparatively studied include healthy trees, trees stressed by drought and mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosa) and the seasonal physiological fluxes from early spring into summer. Correlations from analysis of volatile chemical and remotely sensed data will be used to enhance real time assessment of important ecological protection mechanisms that may lead to advanced plant management tools.