The Network's phenotyping activities focus primarily on the measurement of component traits for yield potential, and secondarily on adaptation to abiotic stress (i.e., drought, thermal stresses, salinity). These traits are phenotyped in multilocation field hubs, and in some cases, backed up by phenotyping on dedicated platforms having controlled environments. A field-based platform for non-intrusive crop observations, guided by GPS and using various types of sensors mounted on a remote-controlled boom/tractor system, is now being used at IRRI (see photos). This robotized platform serves to phenotype basic crop parameters at canopy scale such as leaf area, biomass and N uptake (spectral sensors providing proxy variables); canopy height (sonar sensors), and estimates of canopy transpiration rate based on foliage temperature (IR sensors). Introducing the system to other sites/hubs of the network is an option.
Many component traits of yield potential, however, still require tedious manual observations. The following diagram summarizes the different types of component traits that contribute to yield potential and are being phenotyped by the network, although not all partners have the means to measure all variables. Yield potential component traits are mainly phenotyped for the indica rice panel because indica rices dominate the tropical irrigated, highly intensified systems.
The Network's phenomics research currently addresses drought (upland and rainfed lowland rice), salinity (irrigated rice) and thermal stress (irrigated) tolerance. Hopefully, studies will be extended to more kinds of abiotic stresses.