Biological Systems Engineering, Department of


First Advisor

Yeyin Shi

Date of this Version


Document Type



Jiating Li, Uumanned Aerial Vehicle Data Analysis For High-throughput Plant Phenotyping, (2019), University of Nebraska-Lincoln


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Yeyin Shi. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2019.

Copyright (c) 2019 Jiating Li


The continuing population is placing unprecedented demands on worldwide crop yield production and quality. Improving genomic selection for breeding process is one essential aspect for solving this dilemma. Benefitted from the advances in high-throughput genotyping, researchers already gained better understanding of genetic traits. However, given the comparatively lower efficiency in current phenotyping technique, the significance of phenotypic traits has still not fully exploited in genomic selection. Therefore, improving HTPP efficiency has become an urgent task for researchers. As one of the platforms utilized for collecting HTPP data, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) allows high quality data to be collected within short time and by less labor. There are currently many options for customized UAV system on market; however, data analysis efficiency is still one limitation for the fully implementation of HTPP. To this end, the focus of this program was data analysis of UAV acquired data. The specific objectives were two-fold, one was to investigate statistical correlations between UAV derived phenotypic traits and manually measured sorghum biomass, nitrogen and chlorophyll content. Another was to conduct variable selection on the phenotypic parameters calculated from UAV derived vegetation index (VI) and plant height maps, aiming to find out the principal parameters that contribute most in explaining winter wheat grain yield. Corresponding, two studies were carried out. Good correlations between UAV-derived VI/plant height and sorghum biomass/nitrogen/chlorophyll in the first study suggested that UAV-based HTPP has great potential in facilitating genetic improvement. For the second study, variable selection results from the single-year data showed that plant height related parameters, especially from later season, contributed more in explaining grain yield.

Advisor: Yeyin Shi