By applying novel measurement techniques from a high-altitude aircraft, scientists detected two species of invading plants that are changing the ecology of rain forest near the Kilauea Volcano in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Lead author, Dr. Gregory Asner of the Carnegie Institutions Department of Global Ecology, explained: "We found chemical fingerprints from the plant leaves and used them to tell which species dominated specific areas. We employed the recently upgraded NASA Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) to measure leaf nitrogen and water content from the aircraft, and corroborated the data on the ground. The fingerprints showed where the native dominant tree ohia (Metrosideros polymorpha) has been taken over by the invading Canary Islands tree, Myrica faya, and more importantly identified areas where Myrica invasion is in its early stages. The aircraft imagery also showed us how the forest canopy chemistry is changing as a result of the invader." The study is published in the March 7-11, 2005, early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Traditional remote sensing of the forest canopy is shown at on the bottom. The middle and top images are the outputs from the new analytical techniques used in the study. They show canopy water content and leaf nitrogen concentration from high-altitude airborne imaging spectroscopy. (Image courtesy Gregory Asner.)
The new methods are exciting because they detect effects of biological invasions on ecosystems, not just the presence of an invader. Islands like Hawaii are vulnerable to biological invasion; new species can wreak havoc very quickly. The fact that the new techniques allowed the scientists to detect an invader before it dominated the landscape is important to future management strategies. As a result of the findings, the group has expanded to include collaborators from federal, state, and private organizations. Scientists and resource managers from Carnegie, Stanford University, the U.S. National Park Service, NASA, and The Nature Conservancy have teamed up with an unprecedented plan to map the chemical and structural composition of Hawaiian ecosystems and to find invasive species and track their ecological impacts. This month, Carnegie global ecologists and engineers from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory are flying an upgraded version of the AVIRIS airborne spectrometer on a more nimble Twin Otter turboprop aircraft, not only to find invasive species, but to develop the next generation of ecosystem monitoring capabilities.
On Kilauea Volcano, the native Metrosideros tree typically has a low concentration of nitrogen in its leaves ( .6% to .8%), while the invading Canary Islands tree has relatively high nitrogen concentration (1.5% to 1.8%), because it can acquire nitrogen from the atmosphere.
Dr. Gregory Asner | EurekAlert!
Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
28.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.06.2017 | Life Sciences
28.06.2017 | Awards Funding