Imaging drought stress in plants

Our knowledge of species drought tolerance is significantly limited yet critical in predicting how plants will respond to a rapidly changing climate. New optical techniques for visualising the effect of water stress provide the foundation for a new generation of tools to assess plant drought tolerance.

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How does it work?


Capture images of a leaf or stem over time using a microscope, off-the-shelf document scanner, or 3D-printed clamp.

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Use the OpenSourceOV plugins and guides to extract embolism events from the captured sequence of images.

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Use our detailed guide to analyse the data and present the cumulative effect of increasing drought stress as an optical vulnerability curve.

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Remotely transferring images from the Pi

By Chris Lucani -

Instead of transferring captured images from the Pi using a USB stick it’s far more efficient to remotely transfer them over a network connection. First, make sure your Pi and the computer you want to transfer the files to (the local computer) are connected to the same network. Most mobile phones have a ‘Mobile Hotspot’…

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Commercial “Cavicam” now available!

By Chris Lucani -

A commercial version of the OSOV clamp is now available. The “Cavicam” is a small, compact time-lapse camera based on the Raspberry Pi platform that can be used for imaging xylem and for optical dendrometry.

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Xylem embolism in leaves does not occur with open stomata: evidence from direct observations using the optical visualization technique

Drought represents a major abiotic constraint to plant growth and survival. On the one hand, plants keep stomata open for efficient carbon assimilation while, on the other hand, they close them to prevent permanent hydraulic impairment from xylem embolism. The order of occurrence of these two processes (stomatal closure and the onset of leaf embolism)…

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Eucryphia lucida leaf 1

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