Canopy Roughness: A New Phenotypic Trait to Estimate Aboveground Biomass from Unmanned Aerial System

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Title: Canopy Roughness: A New Phenotypic Trait to Estimate Aboveground Biomass from Unmanned Aerial System
Author: Herrero-Huerta, Mónica; Bucksch, Alexander; Puttonen, Eetu; Rainey, Katy Martin
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Date: 2020
Belongs to series: Plant Phenomics
ISSN: 2643-6515
Abstract: Cost-effective phenotyping methods are urgently needed to advance crop genetics in order to meet the food, fuel, and fiber demands of the coming decades. Concretely, charac-terizing plot level traits in fields is of particular interest. Re-cent developments in high resolution imaging sensors for UAS (unmanned aerial systems) focused on collecting de-tailed phenotypic measurements are a potential solution. We introduce canopy roughness as a new plant plot-level trait. We tested its usability with soybean by optical data collect-ed from UAS to estimate biomass. We validate canopy roughness on a panel of 108 soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] recombinant inbred lines in a multienvironment trial during the R2 growth stage. A senseFly eBee UAS platform obtained aerial images with a senseFly S.O.D.A. compact digital camera. Using a structure from motion (SfM) tech-nique, we reconstructed 3D point clouds of the soybean experiment. A novel pipeline for feature extraction was de-veloped to compute canopy roughness from point clouds. We used regression analysis to correlate canopy roughness with field-measured aboveground biomass (AGB) with a leave-one-out cross-validation. Overall, our models achieved a coefficient of determination (R2) greater than 0.5 in all trials. Moreover, we found that canopy roughness has the ability to discern AGB variations among different geno-types. Our test trials demonstrate the potential of canopy roughness as a reliable trait for high-throughput phenotyping to estimate AGB. As such, canopy roughness provides practical information to breeders in order to select pheno-types on the basis of UAS data.

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