Diurnal and Seasonal Proximally Sensed Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI) in a High-Stress Semi-Arid Mixed Conifer Forest
AdvisorBarron-Gafford, Greg A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractA lack of accurate, reliable data on coupled carbon and water fluxes for Earth’s expansive ecosystems remains a major barrier to a complete understanding of the terrestrial carbon cycle. The remotely sensed Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI) measures deepoxidation of the xanthophyll cycle at wavelength 531nm and is one of the few pigment-based vegetation indices sensitive to rapid plant physiological responses. PRI presents new opportunities to study ecosystems on a diurnal time scale, as well as seasonal processes in evergreen systems where complex vegetation dynamics are not reflected by small annual changes in chlorophyll content or leaf structure. However, systematic PRI acquisition in conjunction with leaf and ecosystem flux measurements are needed in natural, diverse ecosystems. The growing field of proximal remote sensing affords the opportunity to bridge leaf, canopy and ecosystem scales, for a physiological inspection of whole ecosystem dynamics. The Southwest U.S. provides a natural setting for examining the influence of environmental drivers on the productivity of drought-sensitive forests, as well as for evaluating our ability to track these relationships using optical methods. We studied PRI in a semi-arid, sub-alpine mixed conifer forest, in order to assess its ability to serve as a proxy for dynamic photoprotection. We combined canopy spectral measurements with eddy covariance flux and sap flow methods to determine the sensitivity of PRI to seasonal changes in gross primary productivity (GPP) and the ecohydrological variability of a high stress environment. In addition, we combined top-of-canopy leaf-level gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, and hyperspectral measurements to determine the sensitivity of PRI to diurnal changes in needle photosynthetic function, and confirm the extent to which canopy diurnal patterns reflect leaf physiology. At the canopy scale we found that the relationship between PRI and GPP was inconsistent over the course of the monsoon season, shifting from a negative relationship in July and August (R2=.62), to a positive relationship in September (R2=.48). Multiple linear regression with soil moisture and air temperature showed that PRI responded to dynamic water and energy limitations of this system (R2=.41). We report for the first time a relationship between seasonal PRI and sap flow in a natural forest (R2=.55). These results suggest that on a seasonal scale PRI is an effective indicator of photosynthetic response to ecohydrological constraints. On a diurnal scale we found that PRI remained constant throughout the day at both leaf and canopy scales, and we suggest that saturated light conditions drive retention of xanthophylls in a de-epoxidized state. We contribute evidence that remotely sensed PRI has potential to fill a major gap in our ability to distinguish how water availability influences forest productivity and associated carbon dynamics.
Degree ProgramGraduate College