Researchers who wish to study
plant phenotypes under precise environmental control can grow their plants in
greenhouses or climate-controlled chambers. These allow for uniform growth
conditions that are difficult to replicate in the field so researchers have precise
control over experimental variables. In 2016, imaging systems were installed to
enable rapid, clear-cut measurements of plant traits such as size and color.
For even better data quality and
higher capacity, a new Controlled Environments Phenotyping Facility is planned
for 2017. At approximately 7,300 square feet, the state-of-the-art facility
will draw on the University’s existing strengths, bringing together engineers
who develop new sensor technologies with plant scientists looking to answer
novel experimental questions. This facility will accommodate two large climate
chambers, each containing conveyors and robots to move and care for plants.
Growth areas are linked to a series of automated imaging stations that will
also be accessible to image plants from any campus greenhouse or growth space.