A Caltech Library Service

Mechanistic evidence for tracking the seasonality of photosynthesis with solar-induced fluorescence

Magney, Troy S. and Bowling, David R. and Logan, Barry A. and Grossmann, Katja and Stutz, Jochen and Blanken, Peter D. and Burns, Sean P. and Cheng, Rui and Garcia, Maria A. and Köhler, Philipp and Lopez, Sophia and Parazoo, Nicholas C. and Raczka, Brett and Schimel, David and Frankenberg, Christian (2019) Mechanistic evidence for tracking the seasonality of photosynthesis with solar-induced fluorescence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116 (24). pp. 11640-11645. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC6575630. doi:10.1073/pnas.1900278116.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Northern hemisphere evergreen forests assimilate a significant fraction of global atmospheric CO_2 but monitoring large-scale changes in gross primary production (GPP) in these systems is challenging. Recent advances in remote sensing allow the detection of solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) emission from vegetation, which has been empirically linked to GPP at large spatial scales. This is particularly important in evergreen forests, where traditional remote-sensing techniques and terrestrial biosphere models fail to reproduce the seasonality of GPP. Here, we examined the mechanistic relationship between SIF retrieved from a canopy spectrometer system and GPP at a winter-dormant conifer forest, which has little seasonal variation in canopy structure, needle chlorophyll content, and absorbed light. Both SIF and GPP track each other in a consistent, dynamic fashion in response to environmental conditions. SIF and GPP are well correlated (R^2 = 0.62–0.92) with an invariant slope over hourly to weekly timescales. Large seasonal variations in SIF yield capture changes in photoprotective pigments and photosystem II operating efficiency associated with winter acclimation, highlighting its unique ability to precisely track the seasonality of photosynthesis. Our results underscore the potential of new satellite-based SIF products (TROPOMI, OCO-2) as proxies for the timing and magnitude of GPP in evergreen forests at an unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Information ItemData CentralArticle
Magney, Troy S.0000-0002-9033-0024
Bowling, David R.0000-0002-3864-4042
Blanken, Peter D.0000-0002-7405-2220
Köhler, Philipp0000-0002-7820-1318
Parazoo, Nicholas C.0000-0002-4424-7780
Schimel, David0000-0003-3473-8065
Frankenberg, Christian0000-0002-0546-5857
Additional Information:© 2019 National Academy of Sciences. Published under the PNAS license. Edited by Gregory P. Asner, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, and approved April 26, 2019 (received for review January 7, 2019). Data Availability. The datasets generated and/or analyzed for the current study are available at a data repository hosted at the California Institute of Technology ( The doi associated with this dataset is 10.22002/D1.1231 (71). We thank Dave Eriksson and the support staff at University of Colorado Mountain Research Station for help during field deployment of the canopy access towers and PhotoSpec; Prof. John Lin for enthusiastic support of this research and many helpful discussions; Dr. Greg Ostermann for setting up OCO-2 target selections; Dr. Andrew Richardson for making the PhenoCam data (Fig. 1A) available; and Apogee Instruments for donating quantum sensors. This research was funded by a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship (to T.S.M.); a Langbein Summer Research Fellowship (to S.L.); California Institute of Technology startup funds (to C.F.); the Keck Institute for Space Studies; and NASA Awards NNX16AP33G (to D.R.B.), NNX17AE14G (to C.F.), and NNX15AH95G (to C.F.). Funding for the AmeriFlux core site data (US-NR1/Niwot Ridge; principal investigator, P.D.B.) was supported by the US Department of Energy Office of Science through the AmeriFlux Management Project at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under Award 7094866. The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the NSF. These data were produced by the OCO-2 project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, and obtained from the OCO-2 data archive maintained at the NASA Goddard Earth Science Data and Information Services Center. This research was carried out, in part, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. Government sponsorship acknowledged. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved. Author contributions: T.S.M., D.R.B., B.A.L., K.G., J.S., and C.F. designed research; T.S.M., D.R.B., B.A.L., K.G., J.S., P.D.B., S.P.B., M.A.G., S.L., and C.F. performed research; T.S.M., D.R.B., B.A.L., K.G., J.S., S.P.B., R.C., M.A.G., P.K., S.L., N.C.P., B.R., and C.F. analyzed data; and T.S.M., D.R.B., B.A.L., K.G., J.S., P.D.B., S.P.B., P.K., N.C.P., B.R., D.S., and C.F. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. Data deposition: Our data are provided as time series with all of the relevant variables presented in the paper. The data can be found at The data are saved as a .csv file. This article contains supporting information online at
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Bowdoin CollegeUNSPECIFIED
Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS)UNSPECIFIED
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory7094866
Subject Keywords:solar-induced fluorescence (SIF); remote sensing; gross primary production (GPP); photosynthesis; evergreen forest
Issue or Number:24
PubMed Central ID:PMC6575630
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190528-133154726
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Mechanistic evidence for tracking the seasonality of photosynthesis with solar-induced fluorescence. Troy S. Magney, David R. Bowling, Barry A. Logan, Katja Grossmann, Jochen Stutz, Peter D. Blanken, Sean P. Burns, Rui Cheng, Maria A. Garcia, Philipp Kӧhler, Sophia Lopez, Nicholas C. Parazoo, Brett Raczka, David Schimel, Christian Frankenberg. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Jun 2019, 116 (24) 11640-11645; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1900278116
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:95825
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 May 2019 21:20
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:16

Repository Staff Only: item control page