Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Aerial monitors shed light on reed die-back around Central Europe's largest lake

09.02.2015

Researchers from the University of Leicester and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences discover way to map 'reed die-back' using satellites and aircraft

An international team led by scientists at the University of Leicester has developed a way to increase our understanding of the die-back of reeds throughout Europe - including popular tourist areas - through satellite and aircraft monitoring systems.


Image shows reeds around Lake Balaton in Hungary.

Credit: University of Leicester

Known as 'reed die-back', the condition has affected reeds throughout many parts of Europe since the 1960s and has been intensively studied by biologists and ecologists for decades. The exact causes of reed die-back are still being debated today.

The research team from the University of Leicester, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and other partners has developed a way to map the extent of reed die-back syndrome using aircraft and satellites.

PhD student Dimitris Stratoulias and his supervisors Professor Heiko Balzter from the University of Leicester's Department of Geography, Dr Viktor Tóth and Dr Andras Zlinszky from the Hungarian Centre for Ecological Research studied the lake shore around Europe's largest lake, Lake Balaton in Hungary, which attracts over 4 million tourists each year.

The study describes how a technique called imaging spectroscopy can be applied to understand reed die-back. Hyperspectral data collected from modern sensors on board of aircraft and satellites can measure radiation that is invisible to the human eye, such as near-infrared wavelengths.

The team hope that the data can tell them something about the ecological status of the reed plants by measuring their chlorophyll absorption.

Mr Stratoulias waded through reed belts around the lake with a hand-held spectroradiometer, a portable fluorometer and a chlorophyll metre and recorded information about the amount of light and infrared radiation reflected from the reeds.

He found several indices that were related to the ecological status of the plants. In the next step of the project, airborne hyperspectral images with over 250 spectral bands revealed that the researchers can map the extent of these transformations of reed plants from the skies.

The "photosystem" of the plants helps them grow. Its activity can be mapped from specific wavelengths of 463 and 488 nanometres, amongst others.

Professor Heiko Balzter, Director of the Centre for Landscape and Climate Research at the University of Leicester and co-author of the study, said: "We are very happy that our way of mapping the reed status is more accurate than other similar methods. The indices we have developed at leaf level for reed mapping will enable us to map the extent of the damage. Ultimately, we hope to get to the roots of the reed die-back syndrome and find a solution."

Reeds grow along the margins of lakes and are an important part of wetland ecosystems. They belong to the grass family and can grow up to 5 metres tall. The stiff stems of reeds have been used by people for thousands of years as thatching and construction material, for making wicker baskets, arrows and pens.

Conservationists are concerned about the future of reed communities around lakes, since they form an integral part of lake shore ecosystems, and shelter a diversity of animals including insects, birds and fish.

Dimitris Stratoulias said: "We have demonstrated how vegetation parameters measured in the field can be estimated from airborne platforms and consequently from space. Images acquired from the sky can provide information exceeding largely the visual interpretation in which we are often confined. Earth observation is a fast advancing technological field and new capabilities are nowadays frequently coming to light."

Dr Viktor Tóth from the Hungarian Centre for Ecological Research added: "Freshwater lakes of Europe are artificially stabilised at a levels suitable for the tourism, but not for vegetation of the shores. Remote sensing techniques help hydrobiologists to estimate the level of die-back, and give an excellent technique to monitor future changes. Moreover, this new method could be useful not only in observation of reed, but also other types of vegetation, and even might have agricultural implications, too."

The study is published in the February edition of the top-rated remote sensing journal Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 157, Pages 72-84. It is open access, free of charge. The research was supported by the European Commission, Marie Curie Programme, GIONET project (European Centre of Excellence in Earth Observation Research Training, grant number PITN-GA-2010-264509).

Heiko Balzter | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA eyes Pineapple Express soaking California
24.02.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht 'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field
23.02.2017 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>