• University of Nottingham
  • Logo

Introduction to Plant Phenotyping Technologies

Learn about technologies used in plant phenotyping and their effect on data collection and analysis of plant traits.

354 enrolled on this course

An image of a plant

Introduction to Plant Phenotyping Technologies

354 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 1 hour per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Explore the technologies used in modern plant phenotyping

Modern technologies have revolutionised plant phenotyping processes, allowing the recording of plant trait characterisation to take place over hours, rather than weeks or months.

On this four-week course, you’ll delve into some of the various technologies used in plant phenotyping, learning about data generation in different environments – both the advantages and challenges

Discover different types of phenotyping kit

Plant phenotyping data can be gathered using a variety of equipment including satellites, phenotyping platforms, and hand-held devices.

You’ll be introduced to some of these devices, look at some of the data they produce, and discuss the challenges of using phenotyping technologies in practice, both inside and out. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to consider the practicalities of each type of technology in various situations.

Investigate phenotyping data collection techniques

You’ll explore the types of data and measurements required in different contexts. You’ll discuss the impact of big data on plant phenotyping and how technologies can aid meaningful analysis.

Using this understanding, you’ll be able to think about what data should be gathered depending on the crop characteristics you want to analyse and discuss which technologies would be best suited to the task.

Examine methods used to phenotype plants in different environments

To gather meaningful data, varied methods of plant phenotyping must be used in field and controlled environments.

You’ll investigate plant phenotyping concepts and technologies in different environments, assessing the suitability and ease of data collection.

By the end of this course, you’ll have been introduced to some phenotyping equipment, concepts and data, and thought about how to use this data to inform crop production.


  • Week 1


    • Welcome and Introductions

      Welcome to the course.

    • Introduction to plant phenotyping

      In this activity, we discuss what plant phenotyping is, provide historical background, and talk about different types of plant phenotyping data.

    • Summary of week 1

      What have we learned so far?

  • Week 2

    Lab and controlled environment phenotyping

    • Welcome to week 2

      Welcome back to week 2 of the course.

    • Introduction to phenotyping under controlled conditions

      In this activity, we introduce you to phenotyping under controlled conditions, define what controlled environments are, and talk about their advantages and disadvantages.

    • Summary of week 2

      This week we've looked at some example phenotyping approaches in lab and controlled environments. We've seen the hardware to capture data and how you might analyse some of this data in software.

  • Week 3

    Field phenotyping

    • Welcome to week 3

      Welcome back to week 3 of the course.

    • Importance of field phenotyping

      Importance of field phenotyping

    • Field phenotyping platforms and equipment

      Field phenotyping platforms and equipment

    • Overview of data generated and traits of interest

      Overview of data generated and traits of interest

    • Overcoming barriers for successful data collection

      Overcoming barriers for successful data collection

    • Summary of week 3

      This week we've looked at what field phenotyping is and discussed some platforms and equipment that can be used to collect phenotyping data in the field.

  • Week 4

    Technologies for all environments

    • Welcome to week 4

      Welcome back to week 4 of the course.

    • High throughput phenotyping using chlorophyll fluorescence

      High throughput phenotyping using chlorophyll fluorescence

    • Phenotyping of photosynthesis using gas exchange

      Phenotyping of photosynthesis using gas exchange

    • Practical exercises

      These exercises will focus on chlorophyll fluorescence and phenotyping photosynthesis, the two previously discussed topics.

    • Anatomics – Laser ablation tomography and image analysis

      Anatomics – Laser ablation tomography and image analysis

    • Summary and conclusion

      What have we learned in this course?

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate understanding of plant phenotyping concepts on several levels: from basic principles to modern state, challenges, and different robot kits for data collection.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for researchers and other professionals working in the area who are curious about plant phenotyping. It is suitable for those without previous experience with plants or plant phenotyping.

This course is also an ideal entry point for those with no phenotyping experience, who want a brief introduction to some of the fundamentals of plant phenotyping. Following on from this course you might want to check out some upcoming DataCAMPP courses on data management, analysis and robotics, which, as you will see, form an important part of the plant phenotyping process.

Who will you learn with?

Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, working in in plant physiology and the development of phenotyping equipment at the anatomical, organ, whole plant and field scales.

Research Associate at the University of Lincoln, focusing on distributed systems, agent-based modelling and multi-agent control.

I am a Senior Lecturer in Crop Science at the University of Lincoln. My research focus as a crop physiologist is to use high throughput phenotyping techniques to screen for traits to improve yield.

Who developed the course?

The University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham is committed to providing a truly international education, inspiring students with world-leading research and benefitting communities all around the world.

University of Lincoln

The University of Lincoln is rated in the top 20 UK universities for student satisfaction in the Guardian University Guide 2022 and the Complete University Guide 2022.

  • Established

  • Location

    Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK

Ways to learn

Buy this course

Subscribe & save

Limited access

Choose the best way to learn for you!

$134/one-off payment

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews


Fulfill your current learning needDevelop skills to further your careerSample the course materials
Access to this courseticktick

Access expires 15 Jul 2024

Access to 1,000+ coursescrosstickcross
Learn at your own paceticktickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Continue & Upgrade

Cancel for free anytime

Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 15 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...