After a long wait we recently received a shiny new spectrometer to detect the subtle fluorescence given off by plants in sunlight (known as solar induced fluorescence; SIF). We plan to use this spectrometer in conjunction with our LIFT (light induced fluorescence transience) to understand what this SIF signal can tell us about plant photosynthesis and functioning.
However, in order to do this we our spectrometer needed to be calibrated (i.e setup to give meaningful measurements) and we needed to understand the optical properties of the plants we plan to study. This means measuring the amount of light that can pass through and the amount of light reflected from the leaves of the plant being examined. To do this Zbynek and I spent three long days working with an object called an integrating sphere.
Now that our spectrometer is calibrated and we have a better understanding of our experimental plants we look forward to running some exciting experiments.
Last year in November, our group led by Barry Osmond hosted a LIFT (light induced fluorescence transient) meeting in Wollongong. The second meeting was held in Germany hosted by the Forschungszentrum Jülich IBG-2: Plant Sciences. The University of Wollongong, HRPPC at CSIRO in Canberra and the Forschungszentrum Jülich are developing protocols for measuring canopy photosynthesis using these new LIFT chlorophyll fluorometers.
Next stop was a 2 day workshop on Innovative optical Tools for proximal sensing of ecophysiological processes (OPTIMISE) in Milan. This was funded by COST which is an intergovernmental framework promoting European Cooperation in Science and Technology, through coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level.