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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Estimation of photosynthetic light-use efficience from automated multi-angular spectroradiometer measurements of coastal Douglas-fir Hilker, Thomas


Global modeling of gross primary production (GPP) is a critical component of climate change research. On local scales, GPP can be assessed from measuring CO₂ exchange above the plant canopy using tower-based eddy covariance (EC) systems. The limited footprint inherent to this method however, restricts observations to relatively few discrete areas making continuous predictions of global CO₂ fluxes difficult. Recently, the advent of high resolution optical remote sensing devices has offered new possibilities to address some of the scaling issues related to GPP using remote sensing. One key component for inferring GPP spectrally is the efficiency (ε) with which plants can use absorbed photosynthetically active radiation to produce biomass. While recent years have seen progress in measuring ε using the photochemical reflectance index (PRI), little is known about the temporal and spatial requirements for up-scaling these findings continuously throughout the landscape. Satellite observations of canopy reflectance are subject to view and illumination effects induced by the bi-directional reflectance distribution function(BRDF) which can confound the desired PRI signal. Further uncertainties include dependencies of PRI on canopy structure, understorey, species composition and leaf pigment concentration. The objective of this research was to investigate the effects of these factors on PRI to facilitate the modeling of GPP in a continuous fashion. Canopy spectra were sampled over a one-year period using an automated tower-based, multi-angular spectroradiometer platform (AMSPEC), designed to sample high spectral resolution data. The wide range of illumination and viewing geometries seen by the instrument permitted comprehensive modeling of the BRDF. Isolation of physiologically induced changes in PRI yielded a high correlation (r²=0.82, p<0.05) to EC-measured ε, thereby demonstrating the capability of PRI to model ε throughout the year. The results were extrapolated to the landscape scale using airborne laser-scanning (light detection and ranging, LiDAR) and high correlations were found between remotely-sensed and EC-measured GPP (r²>0.79, p<0.05). Permanently established tower-based canopy reflectance measurements are helpful for ongoing research aimed at up-scaling ε to landscape and global scales and facilitate a better understanding of physiological cycles of vegetation and serve as a calibration tool for broader band satellite observations.

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