Collaborative Research: Dispersion of Particles Within and Above Plant Canopies

  • Chamecki, Marcelo (PI)
  • Isard, Scott Alan (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The supported research will determine characteristics of atmospheric turbulence unique to near-surface airflow interaction with plant canopies, and in-turn identify mechanisms controlling the release and transport of small particles (e.g., pollen grains, spores, seeds, etc.) within such canopies. Dynamic interactions will be represented by a combination of field-observations, laboratory water-channel experiments and high-resolution numerical simulations advance the prediction of particle transport in boundary layers beyond current models, which represent turbulent transport via steady, homogenous diffusion coefficients. In this way, the role of individual coherent flow structures in releasing, capturing and transporting particles will be quantitatively determined. This research will combine flume experiments with artificial canopies under controlled laboratory conditions, field experiments in the context of actual crops (as facilitated by Pennsylvania State University's Rock Springs Farm research facility), and numerical experiments using large-eddy simulation (LES) models.

The Intellectual Merit of this effort derives from improved understanding of vegetation-atmosphere interactions involving turbulent processes generated by agricultural crops typical of those across the Midwestern U.S., which has relevance both to atmospheric behavior and biological processes within plant canopies. Broader impacts of this research will center on improved representation and prediction of modes of atmospheric turbulence generated within and above plant canopies, and will involve strongly interdisciplinary work at the interface of the atmospheric and biological sciences. A variety of graduate and undergraduate educational opportunities will be provided within diverse field-experiment, laboratory and numerical analysis settings, and will include student participation in an Aerobiology Field Course to be conducted at the PSU field research facility.

Effective start/end date9/15/118/31/15


  • National Science Foundation: $455,192.00


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