Flux Puppy – An open-source software application and portable system design for low-cost manual measurements of CO2 and H2O fluxes

Published by Stephanie Mayer on

Manual chamber-based measurements of CO2 (and H2O) fluxes are important for understanding ecosystem carbon metabolism. Small opaque chambers can be used to measure leaf, stem and soil respiration. Larger transparent chambers can be used to measure net ecosystem exchange of CO2, and small jars often serve this purpose for laboratory incubations of soil and plant material. We developed an Android application (app), called Flux Puppy, to facilitate chamber-based flux measurements in the field and laboratory. The app is designed to run on an inexpensive handheld Android device, such as a tablet or phone, and it has a graphical user interface that communicates with a LI-COR LI-820 and LI-830 (CO2) or LI-840 and LI-850 (CO2/H2O) infrared gas analyzer. The app logs concentrations of CO2 and H2O, cell temperature and pressure at 1 Hz, displays the output graphically, and calculates the linear regression slope, R-squared, and standard error of the CO2 time series. A metadata screen allows users to enter operator, site, and plot information, as well as take a photograph using the Android device’s built-in camera, and log measurement location using the device GPS. Additionally, there is a notes field, which can be revised after the measurements are taken. Data files (the 1 s raw data, photograph, and metadata including statistics calculated from the raw data) are then transmitted off the device through file sharing options (Gmail, Outlook, Google Drive, Dropbox etc.). Because Flux Puppy code is open-source (available on GitHub) and the flux measurement system we describe is relatively inexpensive and straightforward to assemble, it should be of broad interest to the carbon cycling community.