Chlorophyll a fluorescence illuminates a path connecting plant molecular biology to Earth-system science

Porcar-Castell, Albert; Malenovský, Zbyněk; Magney, Troy; Van Wittenberghe, Shari; Fernández-Marín, Beatriz; Maignan, Fabienne; Zhang, Yongguang; Maseyk, Kadmiel; Atherton, Jon; Albert, Loren P; Robson, Thomas Matthew; Zhao, Feng; Garcia-Plazaola, Jose-Ignacio; Ensminger, Ingo; Rajewicz, Paulina A; Grebe, Steffen; Tikkanen, Mikko; Kellner, James R; Ihalainen, Janne A; Rascher, Uwe and Logan, Barry (2021). Chlorophyll a fluorescence illuminates a path connecting plant molecular biology to Earth-system science. Nature plants, 7(8) pp. 998–1009.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-021-00980-4

Abstract

For decades, the dynamic nature of chlorophyll a fluorescence (ChlaF) has provided insight into the biophysics and ecophysiology of the light reactions of photosynthesis from the subcellular to leaf scales. Recent advances in remote sensing methods enable detection of ChlaF induced by sunlight across a range of larger scales, from using instruments mounted on towers above plant canopies to Earth-orbiting satellites. This signal is referred to as solar-induced fluorescence (SIF) and its application promises to overcome spatial constraints on studies of photosynthesis, opening new research directions and opportunities in ecology, ecophysiology, biogeochemistry, agriculture and forestry. However, to unleash the full potential of SIF, intensive cross-disciplinary work is required to harmonize these new advances with the rich history of biophysical and ecophysiological studies of ChlaF, fostering the development of next-generation plant physiological and Earth-system models. Here, we introduce the scale-dependent link between SIF and photosynthesis, with an emphasis on seven remaining scientific challenges, and present a roadmap to facilitate future collaborative research towards new applications of SIF. [Abstract copyright: © 2021. Springer Nature Limited.]

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