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LeafByte: A mobile application that measures leaf area and herbivory quickly and accurately

By Zoe L. Getman-Pickering, Adam T. Campbell, Nicholas Aflitto, Todd A. Ugine, Ari Grele, Julie Davis

Posted 23 Sep 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/777516 (published DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.13340)

1. In both basic and applied studies, quantification of herbivory on foliage is a key metric in characterizing plant-herbivore interactions, which underpin many ecological, evolutionary, and agricultural processes. Current methods of quantifying herbivory are slow or inaccurate. We present LeafByte, a free iOS application for measuring leaf area and herbivory. LeafByte can save data automatically, read and record barcodes, handle both light and dark colored plant tissue, and be used non-destructively. 2. We evaluate its accuracy and efficiency relative to existing herbivory assessment tools. 3. LeafByte has the same accuracy as ImageJ, the field standard, but is 50% faster. Other tools, such as BioLeaf and grid quantification, are quick and accurate, but limited in the information they can provide. Visual estimation is quickest, but it only provides a coarse measure of leaf damage and tends to overestimate herbivory. 4. LeafByte is a quick and accurate means of measuring leaf area and herbivory, making it a useful tool for research in fields such as ecology, entomology, agronomy, and plant science.

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