Cedar Creek is the center of an ecosystem study from above

A multi-institutional research effort centered at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (East Bethel, MN) will seek answers about plant biodiversity and trends in ecosystems.  The project is titled Linking remotely sensed optical diversity to genetic, phylogenetic and functional diversity to predict ecosystem processes. 

Tracking changes in biodiversity over time is key to maintaining vital ecosystem processes that support: carbon storage, healthy streams, rivers and lakes, and clean drinking water.

This project will measure biodiversity from the sky by remotely sensing the reflected light spectra of plants and investigate the consequences of biodiversity for ecosystem and global processes. The study will test whether plant diversity can be detected remotely from the air and from space.  Project scientists from four institutions will investigate linkages between plant biodiversity, soil microbe diversity and ecosystem function. These efforts will serve in the development of airborne and satellite platforms that can routinely monitor biodiversity and identify trends in ecosystems.

The project seeks to transform methods for detecting changes in biodiversity worldwide and will provide numerous training opportunities in science, technology and math (STEM) for young scientists. Results will be integrated into the Cedar Creek Schoolyard Ecology program. Citizen scientists will be engaged through the MN Phenology Network. Data and research outcomes will be archived in publicly accessible data repositories.

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