Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Introduction to plant phenotyping

A video introducing learners to plant phenotyping

In this video, we will explain what a phenotype is, discuss how phenotyping has been conducted historically, and how new phenotyping technologies are changing the way we research plant sciences. We will also talk about different types of data and how categorising data can help with interpretation and planning experiments.

We also mention several specific technologies such as ERT or SPAD, and wanted to include some optional extra information and reading around these technologies.

ERT (electrical resistance tomography) measures soil electrical resistivity, which is affected by soil moisture, amongst other factors like soil type and structure. In plant phenotyping, it is often used as an indirect measurement for root amount and root depth in the field. Plots containing plants with more or deeper roots, are likely to a absorb more soil water, causing the soil under these plots to be very slightly drier than those with less or shallower roots. This can be seen in ERT data, particularly as the soil dries under each plot in between rain events over time. The link below is to a review of ERT and several other root phenotypic technologies, some of which are discussed later in this module.

SPAD (soil plant analysis development) is a non destructive measurement of leaf chlorophyll content, often also used as an indirect measurement of plant nitrogen status. SPAD will be covered in greater detail in week 2, but some optional extra information and reading is included below.

SPAD is commonly used because measurements are quick to take and SPAD meters are simple to use and relatively cheap. SPAD measurements are known to be variable and can be affected by a number of factors such as species, leaf age, leaf position in the canopy and position on that leaf. It is therefore important to ensure these factors are taken into account, and enough replicate measurements are taken. A couple of papers for further reading are linked below discussing meter placement in rice, and the relationship between SPAD and destructively measured chlorophyll content.

This article is from the free online

Introduction to Plant Phenotyping Technologies

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now