Physiology and Thermal Imaging of Poplar Hybrids with Varying Temperature Tolerance

Friday, 19 December 2014
Peter Ibsen1,2, Willem J D Van Leeuwen2, Joel McCorkel3, Greg Barron-Gafford2 and David J Moore2, (1)City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, United States, (2)University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States, (3)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
: Plants growing in high temperatures may suffer from reduced photosynthetic efficiency, increased water demand and thermal damage to tissue. Leaves may mitigate heat stress through physiological or physical strategies which include minimizing heat load, maximizing evaporative cooling or biochemical stabilization.

In this study, leaf temperature of wild-type and genetically modified (GM) poplar trees was monitored using a thermal infrared camera and fine wire thermocouples. The GM trees did not have the capacity to produce the compound isoprene, hypothesized to biochemically protect plants against heat stress. One genotype had GM process applied, but retained isoprene making capacity (empty-vector). Temperature of ambient air and of an artificial leaf of similar size/color were also monitored. Photosynthesis and transpiration were measured using an infra-red gas analyzer. Leaf reflectance in an integrating sphere was determined using a spectrometer.

Leaf temperature was maintained close to or below air temperature and was always lower than the fake (non-transpiring leaf). Different genetic lines maintained different leaf temperatures, especially during peak temperature in the mid afternoon. The variance in leaf temperature is explored in relation to its effects on transpiration, photosynthesis and growth across isoprene and non-isoprene emitting trees.