Real-time imaging of ground cover: Relationships with radiation capture, canopy photosynthesis, and daily growth rate

S. P. Klassen, G. Ritchie, J. M. Frantz, D. Pinnock, B. Bugbee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Cumulative absorbed radiation is highly correlated with crop biomass and yield. In this chapter we describe the use of a digital camera and commercial imaging software for estimating daily radiation capture, canopy photosynthesis, and relative growth rate. Digital images were used to determine percentage of ground cover of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) communities grown at five temperatures. Plants were grown in a steady-state, 10-chamber CO2 gas exchange system, which was used to measure canopy photosynthesis and daily carbon gain. Daily measurements of percentage of ground cover were highly correlated with daily measurements of both absorbed radiation (r2 = 0.99) and daily carbon gain (r2 = 0.99). Differences among temperature treatments indicated that these relationships were influenced by leaf angle, leaf area index, and chlorophyll content. An analysis of the daily images also provided good estimates of relative growth rates, which were verified by gas exchange measurements of daily carbon gain. In a separate study we found that images taken at hourly intervals were effective for monitoring real-time growth. Our data suggests that hourly images can be used for early detection of plant stress. Applications, limitations, and potential errors are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Imaging and Spectral Techniques
Subtitle of host publicationApplications to Precision Agriculture
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780891183327
ISBN (Print)9780891181521
StatePublished - Oct 26 2015


  • Canopy photosynthesis
  • Commercial imaging software
  • Digital camera
  • Ground cover
  • Growth rate
  • Plant stress detection
  • Radiation capture
  • Real-time imaging
  • Short-term stress responses


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