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Seven organizations from seven countries
were involved in the Photosynthesis Study.
Click the logos to visit their websites.

About the FLEX Photosynthesis Study

This study targetted the linkage between solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence and photosynthesis in terrestrial vegetation.  A dedicated photosynthesis model based on state-of-the-art existing modules was developed and implemented.  We also developed and tested a prototype algorithm to derive photosynthesis from FLEX tandem mission measurements.

The aim was to be able to map terrestrial photosynthesis from space by measuring vegetation fluorescence emission.  Scientific objectives of the study were:

  • 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.  Furthermore, visible plant colour does not matter to fluorescence.

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

For further information, click here.

To read or download the Final Project Report, click here.

To see a list of publications from the Study, click here.

To visit the follow-up FLEX Bridge Study website, click here.

Read more about FLEX and Chlorophyll Fluoresecence by clicking HERE, HERE, and HERE.

You can visit the ESA FLEX Project Page by clicking HERE.

Sentinel-3A was successfully launched on 16 February 2016.  Watch the launch event webcast HERE.

The ESA Earth Explorer 8 User Consultation Meeting (UCM) was held 15-16 September 2015 in Krakow, Poland.
Click HERE to watch webcasts of the presentations & discussions.  (For meeting agenda details, go HERE.)
The FLEX Report for Mission Selection can be downloaded HERE.

A conference on Remote Sensing of Fluorescence, Photosynthesis, and Vegetation Status was held
17-19 January 2017 at ESA-ESRIN in Frascati, Italy.  For details (including presentations), visit their website at
[ Download the conference flyer HERE. ]

Upcoming Study Project Meetings

Six official FLEX Photosynthesis Study meetings were held as part of this study:
    – The Kick-off meeting (KO) was held by telecon on 05 July 2012.
    – The first milestone progress meeting (PM-1) was held in Bologna on 26 October 2012.
    – The second milestone progress meeting (PM-2) was held by telecon on 17 January 2013.
    – The third milestone progress meeting (PM-3) was held at ESTEC on 28 May 2013.
    – The mid-term review (MTR) was held at ESTEC on 18 October 2013.
    – The final presentation & review (FR) was held at ESTEC on 02 July 2014.
In addition, a few telecons and informal meetings were held throughout the project as needed.

[ The PS Study Meeting Roster is now complete. ]

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