Using thermography to investigate the effect of drought on two crop plants
“The purpose of our project was to evaluate the ability of two important crop plants to withstand drought stress. As human populations continue to grow, demand for food increases, and climate change causes unpredictable environmental fluctuations, it is becoming increasingly important to find suitable crop cultivars to overcome these challenges. Our project utilised thermography to measure the leaf temperatures of maize and French bean plants grown under either well watered or drought conditions. Our results suggest that drought has limited impact on maize plants, whereas the leaf temperature of droughted French beans increased by 4.5°C compared to well-watered plants. We attributed this to stomatal closure, which limits uptake of CO2 with potentially severe impacts on photosynthetic rates and yield. We concluded that maize would be a more suitable crop to grow as climates become dryer and that this may be due to its different photosynthetic mechanism.”
Find out more about this project by reading the scientific poster they produced for the Royal Society student conference (PDF).