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Data from: High-resolution thermal imagery reveals how interactions between crown structure and genetics shape plant temperature

Understanding interactions between environmental stress and genetic variation is crucial to predict the adaptive capacity of species to climate change. Leaf temperature is both a driver and a responsive indicator of plant physiological response to thermal stress, and methods to monitor it are needed. Foliar temperatures vary across leaf to canopy scales and are influenced by genetic factors, challenging efforts to map and model this critical variable. Thermal imagery collected using unoccupied aerial systems (UAS) offers an innovative way to measure thermal variation in plants across landscapes at leaf-level resolutions. We used a UAS equipped with a thermal camera to assess temperature variation among genetically distinct populations of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), a keystone plant species that is the focus of intensive restoration efforts throughout much of western North America. We completed flights across a growing season in a sagebrush common garden to map leaf temperature relative to subspecies and cytotype, physiological phenotypes of plants, and summer heat stress. Our objectives were to: (1) determine whether leaf-level stomatal conductance corresponds with changes in crown temperature; (2) quantify genetic (i.e., subspecies and cytotype) contributions to variation in leaf and crown temperatures; and (3) identify how crown structure, solar radiation, and subspecies-cytotype relate to leaf-level temperature. Stomatal conductance was negatively, non-linearly correlated with crown-level temperature derived from UAS. Subspecies identity best explained crown-level temperature with no difference observed between cytotypes. However, structural phenotypes and microclimate best explained leaf-level temperature. These results show how fine-scale thermal mapping can decouple the contribution of genetic, phenotypic, and environmental factors on leaf temperature dynamics. As climate-change-induced heat stress becomes prevalent, thermal UAS represents a promising way to track plant phenotypes that emerge from gene-by-environment interactions.

Data Use
Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 4.0)
Recommended Citation
Olsoy, P., Zaiats, A., Delparte, D., Roop, S., Roser, A., & Caughlin, T. T. (2022). Data from: High-resolution thermal imagery reveals how interactions between crown structure and genetics shape plant temperature [Data set]. University of Idaho.

US National Science Foundation and Idaho EPSCoR: OIA-1757324
US National Science Foundation and Idaho EPSCoR: OIA-1826801
US National Science Foundation: 2207158
USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station: Great Basin Native Plant Project

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POLYGON ((-115.99814147398 43.322370076996, -115.99860428851 43.321902871329, -115.99827761724 43.321717885618, -115.99781858067 43.322180318783, -115.99814147398 43.322370076996))
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
Orchard Common Garden Idaho USA
Temporal Coverage
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - 00:00 to Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - 00:00
English (United States)
Peter Olsoy, Andrii Zaiats, Donna Delparte, Spencer Roop, Anna Roser and Trevor Caughlin
Contact Name
Peter Olsoy
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Data available on:: 
Monday, June 26, 2023