Monitoring Spring Recovery of Photosynthesis and Spectral Reflectance in Temperate Evergreen and Mixed Deciduous Forests

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Christopher YS Wong1, Muhammad Altaf Arain2 and Ingo Ensminger1, (1)University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, (2)McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
Evergreen conifers in boreal and temperate regions undergo strong seasonal changes in photoperiod and temperatures, which characterizes their photosynthetic activity with high activity in the growing season and downregulation during the winter season. Monitoring the timing of the transitions in evergreens is difficult since it’s a largely invisible process, unlike deciduous trees that have a visible budding and senescence sequence. Spectral reflectance and the photochemical reflectance index (PRI), often used as a proxy for photosynthetic light-use efficiency, provides a promising tool to track the transition of evergreens between inactive and active photosynthetic states. To better understand the relationship between PRI and photosynthetic activity and to contrast this relationship between plant functional types, the spring recovery of an evergreen forest and mixed deciduous forest was monitored using spectral reflectance, chlorophyll fluorescence and gas exchange. All metrics indicate photosynthetic recovery during the spring season. These findings indicate that PRI can be used to observe the spring recovery of photosynthesis in evergreen conifers but may not be best suited for deciduous trees. These findings have implications for remote sensing, which provides a promising long-term monitoring system of whole ecosystems, which is important since their roles in the carbon cycle may shift in response to climate change.