Detecting Leaf Pulvinar Movements on NDVI Time Series of Desert Trees: A New Approach for Water Stress Detection

Chavez, RO; Clevers, JGPW; Verbesselt, J; Naulin, PI; Herold M.


Heliotropic leaf movement or leaf 'solar tracking' occurs for a wide variety of plants, including many desert species and some crops. This has an important effect on the canopy spectral reflectance as measured from satellites. For this reason, monitoring systems based on spectral vegetation indices, such as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), should account for heliotropic movements when evaluating the health condition of such species. In the hyper-arid Atacama Desert, Northern Chile, we studied seasonal and diurnal variations of MODIS and Landsat NDVI time series of plantation stands of the endemic species Prosopis tamarugo Phil., subject to different levels of groundwater depletion. As solar irradiation increased during the day and also during the summer, the paraheliotropic leaves of Tamarugo moved to an erectophile position (parallel to the sun rays) making the NDVI signal to drop. This way, Tamarugo stands with no water stress showed a positive NDVI difference between morning and midday (Delta NDVImo-mi) and between winter and summer (Delta NDVIW-S). In this paper, we showed that the Delta NDVImo-mi of Tamarugo stands can be detected using MODIS Terra and Aqua images, and the Delta NDVIW-S using Landsat or MODIS Terra images. Because pulvinar movement is triggered by changes in cell turgor, the effects of water stress caused by groundwater depletion can be assessed and monitored using Delta NDVImo-mi and Delta NDVIW-S. For an 11-year time series without rainfall events, Landsat Delta NDVIW-S of Tamarugo stands showed a positive linear relationship with cumulative groundwater depletion. We conclude that both Delta NDVImo-mi and Delta NDVIW-S have potential to detect early water stress of paraheliotropic vegetation.

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Título según WOS: Detecting Leaf Pulvinar Movements on NDVI Time Series of Desert Trees: A New Approach for Water Stress Detection
Título según SCOPUS: Detecting leaf pulvinar movements on NDVI time series of desert trees: A new approach for water stress detection
Título de la Revista: PLoS One
Volumen: 9
Número: 9
Fecha de publicación: 2014
Idioma: English