Quantifying plant colour and colour difference as perceived by humans using digital images

Kendal, D, Hauser, C, Garrard, G, Jellinek, S, Giljohann, K and Moore, J 2013, 'Quantifying plant colour and colour difference as perceived by humans using digital images', PL o S One, vol. 8, no. 8, e72296, pp. e72296-1-e72296-11.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

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Title Quantifying plant colour and colour difference as perceived by humans using digital images
Author(s) Kendal, D
Hauser, C
Garrard, G
Jellinek, S
Giljohann, K
Moore, J
Year 2013
Journal name PL o S One
Volume number 8
Issue number 8
Article Number e72296
Start page e72296-1
End page e72296-11
Total pages 11
Publisher Public Library of Science
Abstract Human perception of plant leaf and flower colour can influence species management. Colour and colour contrast may influence the detectability of invasive or rare species during surveys. Quantitative, repeatable measures of plant colour are required for comparison across studies and generalisation across species. We present a standard method for measuring plant leaf and flower colour traits using images taken with digital cameras. We demonstrate the method by quantifying the colour of and colour difference between the flowers of eleven grassland species near Falls Creek, Australia, as part of an invasive species detection experiment. The reliability of the method was tested by measuring the leaf colour of five residential garden shrub species in Ballarat, Australia using five different types of digital camera. Flowers and leaves had overlapping but distinct colour distributions. Calculated colour differences corresponded well with qualitative comparisons. Estimates of proportional cover of yellow flowers identified using colour measurements correlated well with estimates obtained by measuring and counting individual flowers. Digital SLR and mirrorless cameras were superior to phone cameras and point-and-shoot cameras for producing reliable measurements, particularly under variable lighting conditions. The analysis of digital images taken with digital cameras is a practicable method for quantifying plant flower and leaf colour in the field or lab. Quantitative, repeatable measurements allow for comparisons between species and generalisations across species and studies. This allows plant colour to be related to human perception and preferences and, ultimately, species management.
Subject Image Processing
Environmental Monitoring
Keyword(s) Australia
Color discrimination
Color vision test
Controlled study
Digital imaging
Image analysis
Invasive species
Mobile phone
Plant leaf
Qualitative analysis
Quantitative analysis
Species comparison
Species identification
DOI - identifier 10.1371/journal.pone.0072296
Copyright notice © 2013 kendal et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
ISSN 1932-6203
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 25 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 11 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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