Integrated Phenomics: from Lab to Field
The emerging discipline of plant phenomics aims to recover quantitative descriptions of plant structure and function from image and sensor data.
Inspired by the vertical integration successfully adopted in manufacturing industry, CPIB is unique in the UK in pursuing integrated phenomics. The Centre’s research in this area aims to take control of every stage in the phenotyping pipeline, from hardware design, image acquisition and analysis software development, to data handling and analysis, with the common aim of answering biological questions.
CPIB develops phenotyping systems operating at multiple scales, from molecular to organ to whole plant, with an initial focus on root phenomics.
CPIB’s integrated root phenomics platforms include:
- Cell scale: using a vertical-stage confocal microscope and CellseT software
- Organ scale: using imaging robots and RootTrace software
- Root system scale: using root pouches and RootNav software
- Root system scale: using X-ray computed tomography to analyse soil-grown plants in the Hounsfield Facility
EU-based scientists may apply to use these facilities via the EPPN Transnational Access programme
The above operate in laboratories and controlled environments. CPIB is currently developing methods for deployment in the field, including platforms based on unmanned aerial vehicles. The Hounsfield Facility bridges the gap between lab and field, allowing field-grown plants to be brought into a more controlled environment and analysed with minimum disturbance.