That’s the goal of a University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) student-driven project in the Lake Guntersville, Ala., watershed that’s using NASA geospatial technologies and U.S. Department of Agriculture crop data, along with university aquatic plant growth research.
Senior Earth System Science majors Casey Calamaio and Kel Markert have teamed up with advisors Dr. Rob Griffin of UAH and Dr. Jeff Luvall of NASA’s Global Climatology and Hydrology Center to examine the inherent relationship between aquatic vegetation growth and water drainage near locations of high agricultural activity.
“We’d like for the end result of this to be a type of product that you can use to predict the results of various activities on the watershed,” said Dr. Griffin. The product would use historical data on crop acreage and type, combined with annual agricultural activity data and watershed maps to be predictive of aquatic growth, he said.
“NASA is always looking for ways to use its satellite imagery to benefit society,” Dr. Griffin said. “What we used from the Shuttle was elevation data to identify our sub-watersheds, where essentially after a rain event occurs, the water flows to a drainage area.”
Measuring the lake’s annual aquatic plant growth and correlating that to periods of agricultural activity like field preparation, fertilizing, herbicide or pesticide spraying and harvest can illustrate when runoff from these activities is affecting the lake, Calamaio said. Using multispectral satellite imagery in the near-infrared and red wavelengths, the researchers created vegetation indices for observing aquatic vegetation growth in the lake and seasonal variations for Lake Guntersville.
The research could save farmers money by showing them how much of the expensive inputs they apply to crops are not staying in place to do their intended jobs. The researchers are working to make it an accurate prediction tool for the future consequences of various farming practices like no till planting or more precise fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide application using GPS data.
Now that the Tennessee Valley Authority is no longer spraying herbicides to kill aquatic weeds, controlling their growth from the nutrient input side has become more important. Controlling the conditions that lead to algae blooms and aquatic weeds helps support the tourism industry at Lake Guntersville by keeping weeds from choking landings and harbors while preventing fish from eventually falling prey to possible mass deaths from oxygen depletion caused by the decay of plant matter in the water column.
That process is known as eutrophication, Calamaio said, where over-enriched waters allow native vegetation to be replaced with different species and biodiversity declines.
“Hopefully with this tool,” he said, “we will be able to create prevention measures to help better keep farm nutrients and chemicals with the crops.”
Jim Steele | Newswise
Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
11.04.2018 | American Society of Agronomy
Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops
09.04.2018 | John Innes Centre
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy