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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Using Imagers for Scaling Ecological Observations

  • Author(s): Graham, Eric
  • Hicks, John
  • Riordan, Erin
  • Wang, Eric
  • Yuen, Eric
  • et al.

Stationary and mobile ground-based cameras can be used to scale ecological observations, relating pixel information in images to in situ measurements. Currently there are four CENS projects that involve using cameras for scaling ecological observations: 1. Scaling from one individual to the landscape. Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras can be zoomed in on a tight focus on individual plants and parts of individuals and then zoomed out to get a landscape view, composed of the same and similar species. 2. Estimating photosynthesis over large areas with HDR. High Dynamic Range imaging is a technique to capture an absolute amount of reflected light in an image. For a meadow composed of similarly reflecting species, we can estimate light received by leaves and thus photosynthesis over a wide area. 3. Scaling soil surface temperature measurements. Soil surface temperatures and soil energy balance are related to solar radiation and air temperature. Sunflecks captured with a camera taking panoramic mosaics of images can be used to estimate the radiation load for large areas of unobstructed understory. 4. Expanding plant phenological observations with a nation-wide network of webcams. Twice-daily images from over 1000 internet-connected and freely available cameras have been collected since February 2008. The advance of Spring can be tracked as a "green-up" and related to satellite remote sensing signals.

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