Ecosystems in Four Dimensions: Measuring Changes to Forest Structure and Function in the Anthropocene

Project Overview
Research Core Areas: 
Project Abstract: 
Fine-resolution and high-fidelity imaging spectroscopy (IS) and LiDAR data from the NEON Airborne Observation Platform offer an unprecedented opportunity to study ecosystem productivity across three-dimensional space and through time. We hypothesize that ecosystem productivity is regulated by the structural and functional diversity of plants in these four-dimensions and that a novel combination of IS, LiDAR, and field sampling, combined with statistical, physical, and biological models, can produce a robust new approach to mapping canopy functional traits in 3-D, while projecting canopy function through time. This research will provide a critical link between remotely sensed data products and the carbon cycle by scaling ecosystem processes from local to region scales and by improving our understanding of the spatial and temporal distribution of carbon sinks and fluxes in closed canopy forests. These outcomes will help broadly improve our understanding of the carbon cycle as a whole and help accurately predict current and future productivity in global ecosystem models. This project is dependent on a NEON AOP collection over UMBS, which is currently on the NEON AOP flight schedule for July 1-3 (though those dates are subject to change) and will only occur if funds are made available through the NSF via a supplemental funding request that is currently pending at NSF.
Investigator Info
Funding agency: 
National Science Foundation
Years research project active: 
2019 to 2020