Purdue University Graduate School
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3D Reconstruction of Sorghum Plants for High-Throughput Phenotyping

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posted on 2022-12-01, 21:00 authored by Mathieu GaillardMathieu Gaillard

High-throughput phenotyping is a recent multidisciplinary research field that investigates the accurate acquisition and analysis of multidimensional phenotypes on large and diverse populations of plants. High-throughput phenotyping is at the crossroad between plant biology and computer vision, and profits from advances in plant modeling, plant reconstruction, and plant structure understanding. So far, most of the data analysis is done on 2D images, yet plants are inherently 3D shapes, and measurements made in 2D can be biased. For example, leaf angles change when they are reprojected in 2D images. Although some research works investigate the 3D reconstruction of plants, high-throughput phenotyping is still limited in its ability to automatically measure a large population of plants in 3D. In fact, plants are difficult to 3D reconstruct because they look self-similar, feature highly irregular geometries, and self-occlusion. 

In this dissertation, we investigate the research question \textit{whether we can design and validate high-throughput phenotyping algorithms that take advantage of the 3D nature of the plants to outperform existing algorithms based on 2D images?} We present four contributions that address this question. First, we show a voxel 3D reconstruction pipeline and measure phenotypic traits related to canopy architecture over a population of 351 sorghum plants. Second, we show a machine learning-based skeletonization and segmentation algorithm for sorghum plants, which automatically learns from a set of 100 manually annotated plants. Third, we estimate individual leaf angles over a population of 1,098 sorghum plants. Finally, we present a sparse 3D reconstruction algorithm that can triangulate thousands of points of interest from up to 15 views without correspondences, even in the presence of noise and occlusion. We show that our approach outperforms single-view methods by using multiple views for sorghum leaf counting.

Progress made towards improving high-throughput phenotyping has the potential to benefit society with a better adaptation of crops to climate change, which will limit food insecurity in the world.


FFAR grant #602757


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Computer Science

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Bedrich Benes

Additional Committee Member 2

Daniel Aliaga

Additional Committee Member 3

Voicu Popescu

Additional Committee Member 4

James Schnable

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