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Genetic constraints on temporal variation of airborne reflectance spectra and their uncertainties over a temperate forest


Czyz, Ewa A; Schmid, Bernhard; Hueni, Andreas; Eppinga, Maarten B; Schuman, Meredith Christine; Schneider, Fabian D; Guillén-Escribà, Carla; Schaepman, Michael E (2023). Genetic constraints on temporal variation of airborne reflectance spectra and their uncertainties over a temperate forest. Remote Sensing of Environment, 284:113338.

Abstract

Remote sensing enhances large-scale biodiversity monitoring by overcoming temporal and spatial limitations of ground-based measurements and allows assessment of multiple plant traits simultaneously. The total set of traits and their variation over time is specific for each individual and can reveal information about the genetic composition of forest communities. Measuring trait variation among individuals of one species continuously across space and time is a key component in monitoring genetic diversity but difficult to achieve with ground-based methods. Remote sensing approaches using imaging spectroscopy can provide high spectral, spatial, and temporal coverage to advance the monitoring of genetic diversity, if sufficient relation between spectral and genetic information can be established.

We assessed reflectance spectra from individual Fagus sylvatica L. (European beech) trees acquired across eleven years from 69 flights of the Airborne Prism Experiment (APEX) above the same temperate forest in Switzerland. We derived reflectance spectra of 68 canopy trees and correlated differences in these spectra with genetic differences derived from microsatellite markers among the 68 individuals. We calculated these correlations for different points in time, wavelength regions and relative differences between wavelength regions. High correlations indicate high spectral-genetic similarities. We then tested the influence of environmental variables obtained at temporal scales from days to years on spectral-genetic similarities. We performed an uncertainty propagation of radiance measurements to provide a quality indicator for these correlations.

We observed that genetically similar individuals had more similar reflectance spectra, but this varied between wavelength regions and across environmental variables. The short-wave infrared regions of the spectrum, influenced by water absorption, seemed to provide information on the population genetic structure at high temperatures, whereas the visible part of the spectrum, and the near-infrared region affected by scattering properties of tree canopies, showed more consistent patterns with genetic structure across longer time scales. Correlations of genetic similarity with reflectance spectra similarity were easier to detect when investigating relative differences between spectral bands (maximum correlation: 0.40) than reflectance data (maximum correlation: 0.33). Incorporating uncertainties of spectral measurements yielded improvements of spectral-genetic similarities of 36% and 20% for analyses based on single spectral bands, and relative differences between spectral bands, respectively.

This study highlights the potential of dense multi-temporal airborne imaging spectroscopy data to detect the genetic structure of forest communities. We suggest that the observed temporal trajectories of reflectance spectra indicate physiological and possibly genetic constraints on plant responses to environmental change.

Abstract

Remote sensing enhances large-scale biodiversity monitoring by overcoming temporal and spatial limitations of ground-based measurements and allows assessment of multiple plant traits simultaneously. The total set of traits and their variation over time is specific for each individual and can reveal information about the genetic composition of forest communities. Measuring trait variation among individuals of one species continuously across space and time is a key component in monitoring genetic diversity but difficult to achieve with ground-based methods. Remote sensing approaches using imaging spectroscopy can provide high spectral, spatial, and temporal coverage to advance the monitoring of genetic diversity, if sufficient relation between spectral and genetic information can be established.

We assessed reflectance spectra from individual Fagus sylvatica L. (European beech) trees acquired across eleven years from 69 flights of the Airborne Prism Experiment (APEX) above the same temperate forest in Switzerland. We derived reflectance spectra of 68 canopy trees and correlated differences in these spectra with genetic differences derived from microsatellite markers among the 68 individuals. We calculated these correlations for different points in time, wavelength regions and relative differences between wavelength regions. High correlations indicate high spectral-genetic similarities. We then tested the influence of environmental variables obtained at temporal scales from days to years on spectral-genetic similarities. We performed an uncertainty propagation of radiance measurements to provide a quality indicator for these correlations.

We observed that genetically similar individuals had more similar reflectance spectra, but this varied between wavelength regions and across environmental variables. The short-wave infrared regions of the spectrum, influenced by water absorption, seemed to provide information on the population genetic structure at high temperatures, whereas the visible part of the spectrum, and the near-infrared region affected by scattering properties of tree canopies, showed more consistent patterns with genetic structure across longer time scales. Correlations of genetic similarity with reflectance spectra similarity were easier to detect when investigating relative differences between spectral bands (maximum correlation: 0.40) than reflectance data (maximum correlation: 0.33). Incorporating uncertainties of spectral measurements yielded improvements of spectral-genetic similarities of 36% and 20% for analyses based on single spectral bands, and relative differences between spectral bands, respectively.

This study highlights the potential of dense multi-temporal airborne imaging spectroscopy data to detect the genetic structure of forest communities. We suggest that the observed temporal trajectories of reflectance spectra indicate physiological and possibly genetic constraints on plant responses to environmental change.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Research Priority Programs > Global Change and Biodiversity
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Soil Science
Physical Sciences > Geology
Physical Sciences > Computers in Earth Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:Computers in Earth Sciences, Geology, Soil Science
Language:English
Date:1 January 2023
Deposited On:13 Jan 2023 15:59
Last Modified:29 May 2024 01:42
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0034-4257
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2022.113338
Project Information:
  • : FunderUniversität Zürich
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)