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Open Access Publications from the University of California

TER 1: Imagers as Biological Sensors


Plant and animal phenology measurements provide an important means of understanding the relationship between periodic phenomena, such as leaf flushes or bird nesting dates, and microenvironmental and climatic conditions. The collection of phenological data, however, can be labor intensive, and thus basic phenological information about many plant and animal species is not known. Imaging technologies at the James Reserve are currently being used to collect high-frequency, multiple-location phenological images together with micrometeorological data. Using simple algorithms for color analysis of images, results from the MossCam project have indicated that rainfalls of even 1 mm can result in significant increases of photosynthesis by the moss Tortula priceps and that leaf area of Rhododendron is positively correlated with green: red pixel ratios. Current work on improving algorithms, extending studies to analyze annual carbon budgets, and correlating micrometeorological data with nesting behavior will allow us to increase our understanding animal population dynamics and the climatic effects on plant distributions and primary productivity.

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