“Ecology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the interactions between organisms and the interactions of these organisms with their environment.” (Begon, M.; Townsend, C. R., Harper, J. L. (2006). Ecology: From individuals to ecosystems. (4th ed.). Blackwell.)
The study of light energy, as it interacts with plant life, provides a wealth of valuable information about the organisms themselves, as well as the environments in which they grow. The ability to measure irradiance from above, below, and within a canopy, is important to understanding light utilization and productivity within a plant community. Researchers also require effective measurement of leaf optical properties to accurately model photon transport within the plant canopy. In addition, researchers can use leaf optical properties to quantify leaf biochemistry and discover indicators of physiological stress and disease.
Visible-near infrared spectroscopy techniques help develop quantitative calibrations for rapid characterization of canopy properties and chemical constituents and give scientists a methodology to make lab-quality measurements in the field. Combining this technology with remotely sensed data has resulted in improved capabilities for landscape-scale ecosystem studies.
Other landscape ecology applications include plant community mapping, evaluation of ecosystem status, crop type and yield mapping, harvest scheduling, plant pigment studies, and canopy reflectance measurements. A thorough ecosystem understanding is key to environmental conservation and the protection of forests, lakes, reefs, and all other marine and wildlife habitats from the long term effects of human urbanizing, as well as natural disasters like forest fires.
The ability to accurately perform reflectance and radiometric measurements of vegetation and soil in the field is critical to all of these applications. The ASD FieldSpec® line of spectroradiometers offers a wide range of configuration options for both contact measurements (such as leaves or in a soil profile pit) and stand-off measurements (such as those needed to measure canopy reflectance). Bringing a level of device portability and flexibility that only ASD can provide, FieldSpec spectroradiometers allow for fieldwork in tight spaces like growth chambers or short-stature plant canopies, and at sites located in some of the most remote regions of the planet.
Select any of the links below to see papers by researchers using ASD instruments for landscape ecology and ecosystem studies.
Sondankylä, Finland, the SIFLEX (Solar Induced Fluorescence Experiment) Campaign
Individual Spectral Reflectance Curves of the overstory species in LBL, Kentucky
Wyoming Assessment Project and Remote Sensing of Leafy Spurge
Overseas Visit Report: AVIRIS Science & Applications Workshop, JPL/NASA, 8 - 11 February 1999 — Cindy Ong, CSIRO Exploration & Mining and Alex Held, CSIRO Land & Water
Additional landscape ecology and ecology research applications are also available under the Application Notes tab at the top of this page.