Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tracking deer by NASA satellite

31.03.2016

Mule deer mothers are in sync with their environment, with reproduction patterns that closely match the cycles of plant growth in their habitat. And new research using NASA satellite data shows that tracking vegetation from space can help wildlife managers predict when does will give birth to fawns.

Raising a fawn is no easy task - a doe needs a rich supply of vegetation for the late stages of pregnancy and for nursing. Mule deer birth rates peak shortly before the peak of annual plant growth, when food sources are increasing. Through a combination of satellite measurements and ground-based population counts, researchers can forecast the timing of fawning seasons based on vegetation.


A mule deer fawn emerges from the foliage in this National Park Service photo.

Credits: US National Park Service

"We had never tracked the deer population this way, and we had never been able to predict it with such precision," said David Stoner of Utah State University, lead author of a recent study. "We can estimate the start and peak of the season using satellite imagery, and then we can map and predict when the deer are giving birth in any given region."

Mule deer populations are closely monitored and counted by biologists and land managers, in part to determine population trends over time, which helps them set the proper number of hunting permits to issue. At the same time, remote sensing scientists have a space-based way to track when vegetation greens up and how productive it is compared to drought or wet years. the health of vegetation

. The tool is called the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is a measure of the "greenness" of the landscape. It measures how plants absorb and reflect light -- the more infrared light is reflected, the healthier the vegetation. So by measuring the greenness of the mule deer habitat, scientists were able to mark the beginning and peak of the plant growing season - and the fawning season.

To visualize the relationship between vegetation greenness and fawns, Stoner and his colleagues divided mule deer habitat that stretched from southern Idaho to central Arizona into three zones. They measured the NDVI for each day of the calendar year, using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites.

They found that vegetation greenness in the northern latitudes peaks earlier than in the southern latitudes, according to Stoner. Since nutrient-dense food sources were available earlier in the year, there was more food available for mule deer mothers and babies at the time when they needed it most. That greenness is partly a result of a consistent stream of snowmelt moisture feeding the deep roots of mountain plants.

In southern latitudes, on the other hand, the plants are more dependent on rain from late summer monsoonal showers. This means vegetation quality peaks later in the year, after a brief drought that comes before the summer monsoons. As a result, does give birth later in the south than in the north.

"This kind of applied research is very important for making remote sensing data relevant to wildlife management efforts," said Jyoteshwar Nagol, a researcher at the University of Maryland. Deer have a huge economic impact in the United States, from hunting to crop damage to car accidents. As regional climates shift or droughts occur, deer distributions could change in response to changes in the timing of vegetation green-up.

###

For more information:

http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Earth Observatory Story:

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=87736&eocn=home&eoci=iotd_previous

Kate Ramsayer | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Clear as mud: Desiccation cracks help reveal the shape of water on Mars
20.04.2018 | Geological Society of America

nachricht Hurricane Harvey: Dutch-Texan research shows most fatalities occurred outside flood zones
19.04.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

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.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

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...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

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...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

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...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>