Spectral detection of stress-related pigments in salt-lake succulent halophytic shrubs

Victoria Marchesini, J.P. Guerschman, R.M. Schweiggert, Tim Colmer, Erik Veneklaas

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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© 2016 Elsevier B.V.The spectral detection of vegetation pigment concentrations has a high potential value, but it is still underdeveloped, especially for pigments other than chlorophylls. In this study, the seasonal pigment dynamics of two Tecticornia species (samphires; halophytic shrubs) from north-western Australia were correlated with spectral indices that best document the pigment changes over time. Pigment dynamics were assessed by analysing betacyanin, chlorophyll and carotenoid concentrations at plant level and by measuring reflectance at contrasting seasonal dates. Plant reflectance was used to define a new reflectance index that was most sensitive to the seasonal shifts in Tecticornia pigment concentrations. The two Tecticornia species turned from green to red-pinkish for the period March–August 2012 when betacyanins increased almost nine times in both species. Chlorophyll levels showed the opposite pattern to that of betacyanins, whereas carotenoid levels were relatively stable. Normalised difference indices correlated well with betacyanin (r = 0.805, using bands at 600 and 620 nm) and chlorophyll (r = 0.809, using bands at 737 and 726 nm). Using knowledge of chlorophyll concentrations slightly improved the ability of the spectral index to predict betacyanin concentration (r = 0.822 at bands 606 and 620 nm, in the case of chemically determined chlorophyll, r = 0.809 when using remotely sensed chlorophyll). Our results suggest that this new spectral index can reliably detect changes in betacyanin concentrations in vegetation, with potential applications in ecological studies and environmental impact monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-463
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


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