UNL’s new state-of-the-art greenhouse facility at Nebraska Innovation Campus will open for a preview and celebration of Fascination of Plants Day at 2:30 p.m. May 18.
The multi-million dollar Greenhouse Innovation Center offers 49,950 square feet of space and houses an automated phenotyping system that uses conveyor belts to transport plants to specialized chambers where high-resolution images are captured for research.
The unique system is one of a handful operating worldwide and will be used by researchers to study plant characteristics and responses to environmental stressors — such as drought. The phenotyping system has the potential to significantly advance UNL’s plant science research agenda and open new opportunities for private-sector collaborations.
“The facility offers unique capabilities for UNL to use non-destructive sensing and imaging techniques to conduct research into how plants are affected by various environmental interactions,” said Tala Awada, interim associate dean of UNL’s Agricultural Research Division and member of the team overseeing the greenhouse facility. “It will also allow our researchers to more effectively and innovatively pursue multidisciplinary research focused on current and emerging issues related to agriculture.”
The cameras catalog the growth and conditions of each plant studied. Images — which include two- and three-dimensional options — are captured in visible light, fluorescent light, infrared and hyperspectral (information from across the electromagnetic spectrum).
Construction of the greenhouse facility is scheduled for completion by the end of May. A test experiment will run in June. A formal opening is planned for the fall.
“Our goal is to have plants moving through the system for the May 18 preview event,” Awada said.
The preview is also a celebration of the international Fascination of Plants Day, which is also May 18. The event schedule includes a welcome; a Fascination of Plants Day exhibit; comments by UNL’s Archie Clutter, dean/director of the Agricultural Research Division, and Ronnie Green, vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources; and tours of the greenhouse complex. A complete schedule of events is listed below.
The greenhouse preview, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Center for Biotechnology, Center for Plant Science Innovation and the Agricultural Research Division. The Greenhouse Innovation Center is located on the east side of Nebraska Innovation Campus at 1920 N. 21st St.
Greenhouse Innovation Center Open House | May 18 | Nebraska Innovation Campus
2:30 p.m. — Welcome and tour of the Fascination of Plants Day exhibit
3 p.m. — Comments from Archie Clutter and Ronnie Green
3:30 p.m. — Tour of greenhouse facility
4 p.m. — Tour of greenhouse facility