ViPS Invited Seminar September 2020
Erik Murchie, University of Nottingham, UK

Date: 16th September 2020

Time: 13:00

Title: Too much yet not enough:  photosynthesis and photoprotection within dynamic crop canopies

Location: Remotely via Zoom

Host: Matt Robson

Abstract: Plant canopies are challenging environments for photosynthesis due to dynamic conditions over short and long timescales.  Light in particular is rapidly changeable and is subject to intensity and spectral quality fluctuations caused by architecture and canopy motion (wind). Recent projects within my research group and in collaborations with colleagues from Mathematics and Computer Science combine 3D reconstructions of field cereal crop canopies with photosynthesis measurements. The aim is to provide a greater understanding of the relationship between photosynthesis, architecture, light gradients and dynamics over short and long timescales. In particular we focus on the interplay between dissipation of excess energy in high light and light capture in light limiting conditions.
Using rice canopies with enhanced photoprotective capacity due to overexpression of psbS we have shown an enhanced growth rate and reduced photoinhibition. Using the same lines we recently established that photoprotective energy dissipation is greater in the lower, not the upper, portion of a rice canopy. We have also focused on wind induced canopy movement as a largely unexplored phenomenon but one which is important for light distribution. I will present results showing how we have used computer vision and tracking to quantify wheat canopy movement due to wind in the field.

Research in Erik's group concerns the responses of photosynthesis to light in canopies of crop species, especially the consequences of the interplay between dissipation of excess energy and light capture.

Read more about Erik's research