Using sensors and electronic systems for characterization of plant traits provides valuable digital inputs to support complex analytical modeling in genetics research. In field applications, frequent sensor deployment enables the study of the dynamics of these traits and their interaction with the environment. This study focused on implementing lidar (light detection and ranging) technology to generate 2D displacement data at high spatial resolution and extract plant architectural parameters, namely canopy height and cover, in a diverse population of 252 maize (Zea mays L.) genotypes. A prime objective was to develop the mechanical and electrical subcomponents for field deployment from a ground vehicle. Data reduction approaches were implemented for efficient same-day post-processing to generate by-plot statistics. The lidar system was successfully deployed six times in a span of 42 days. Lidar data accuracy was validated through independent measurements in a subset of 75 experimental units. Manual and lidar-derived canopy height measurements were compared resulting in root mean square error (RMSE) = 0.068 m and r2 = 0.81. Subsequent genome-wide association study (GWAS) analyses for quantitative trait locus (QTL) identification and comparisons of genetic correlations and heritabilities for manual and lidar-based traits showed statistically significant associations. Low-cost, field-ready lidar of computational simplicity make possible timely phenotyping of diverse populations in multiple environments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering