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What Tree Canopy Structure Can Tell Us About Plant Productivity

Speaker: Dr. Grayson Badgley, Postdoctoral Fellow, Black Rock Forest

Quantifying photosynthesis at the global scale is a long-standing goal of ecology, with implications for our understanding of global change, biodiversity, and agriculture. While the biochemistry of photosynthesis at the leaf-level is well characterized, canopy and regional estimates of gross primary production (GPP) remain highly uncertain. 

Dr. Grayson Badgley will share ongoing work to infer GPP at these scales using tower- and satellite-based measurements of the near-infrared reflectance of vegetation (NIRv). He will discuss how NIRv relates to canopy structure and demonstrate that NIRv provides a tight constraint on the amount of sunlight captured by plants. He will also cover some of the radiative transfer theory underlying the NIRv approach. Finally, Dr. Badgley will discuss how NIRv might be integrated into terrestrial ecosystem models both to parameterize canopy biochemical variables and to explore the theoretical relationship between canopy structure and whole-plant photosynthetic capacity.


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