The High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre
Sensors in the field
The High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre is using wireless sensor nodes to record microclimate and plant performance in the field in an effort to select new plant varieties suited to difficult growing conditions.
Measurements are made continuously and are accessible via the internet for real-time viewing.
Analysing the size, growth and performance of plants in a greenhouse or field site can be time-consuming and laborious. When a field site is located in a remote area, it becomes quite expensive to send people out to the field.
The Phenonet has the ability to collect this information and send it back to the laboratory in real time, an invaluable tool for plant scientists.
Phenonet: a smart sensor network
Motivated by the need to provide quantitative descriptions of spatial variation across field trials, in space and in time, Phenonet provides a tool to measure real-time physical and environmental variables.
These variables include canopy temperature, soil moisture, soil temperature, incoming solar radiation and micrometeorology.
The Phenonet is under continuous development and plans are in place to measure other important parameters like photosynthetic efficiency and flowering time.
Phenonet consists of spatially distributed autonomous sensor nodes equipped with a range of sensors, a wireless communications device, a small computer (micro-controller) and an energy source (battery and solar panel).
The collected data is transmitted over the mobile phone network to a server for real time viewing via the internet. Phenonet data is now online [external link - this website requires Firefox Browser].
This information can then be integrated with each plant’s genetic profile and performance to improve accuracy and speed of plant breeding.
One network is currently deployed in Yanco at the Managed Environmental Field (MEF).