Major projects

FLEX / S3 Photosynthesis

Project location
Starting date 05 June 2012
Completion date 31 May 2014
Client European Space Agency (ESA)
Partners P&M Technologies (Canada) University of Bologna (Italy), University of Valencia (Spain), Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany) , Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (France), Academy of Sciences (Czech Republic).
Project leader Dr. Gina Mohammed (P&M Technologies)
Project officer
Project type Contract research
Budget 40.000 EUR

This study targets the linkage between solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence and photosynthesis in terrestrial vegetation.  A dedicated photosynthesis model based on state-of-the-art existing modules will be developed and implemented.  We will also develop and test a prototype algorithm to derive photosynthesis from FLEX tandem mission measurements.
The aim is to be able to map terrestrial photosynthesis from space by measuring vegetation fluorescence emission.  Scientific objectives of the study are:

  • To assess the quality of fluorescence-derived photosynthesis data against classical optically-based methods (the fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation times Light Use Efficiency).
  • To address in more detail temporal and spatial scaling issues (from towers to satellite footprints).
  • To identify and characterise the effects of different types of stress on fluorescence and photosynthesis (especially drought and freezing air temperatures).
  • To indicate potential applications and usage of the novel fluorescence observations.

The potential of fluorescence to serve as an early indicator of stress – that is, before damage is irreversible – is a major aspect to be considered in the exploitation of FLEX measurements, since reflectance changes often are detectable only in dramatic or advanced cases of physiological strain.

The Photosynthesis Study will complete the package of parallel study activities needed for assessment of the FLEX candidate mission.

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