Sunday, 30 June 2013

SALCA down on the farm

June saw SALCA return to Newcastle for NERC-funded field experiments testing the sensitivity of the instrument to changes in canopy moisture content. The (literal) field experiment, involving 22 potted trees at the University’s Cockle Park Farm, involves repeated SALCA scans as drought stress is induced in groups of trees over a period of 1 month, alongside scans of regularly watered controls. The SALCA signal will be compared to a range of physiological measurements and to spectral data acquired with an ASD field spectrometer. The experiment is now well under way, and after initial teething problems with windthrow and over inquisitive and hungry livestock, the drying groups of small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata) and Austrian pine have been gradually wilting for a little over a week. Steve has got to grips with the operation of a cherry picker and fingers are crossed that the so far almost ideal weather will last! Early results from the experiments will be presented in a poster at INTECOL, London in August. 

Setting up the experiments
What happens when sheep get hold of a windblown experimental tree, and a possible culprit.

Clockwise: SALCA in the field, a small-leaved lime drying group with intensity calibration board, measuring stomatal conductance and contact probe measurments of leaf reflectance properties.