ELITE NETZWERK BAYERN

English  Sprachen Icon  |  Gebärdensprache  |  Leichte Sprache  |  Kontakt


Aktuelles aus den Elitestudiengängen

Better together: Integrating and fusing multispectral and radar satellite imagery to inform biodiversity monitoring, ecological research and conservation science

Alumna of the ENB course Global Change Ecology Henrike Schulte to Bühne has recently published an article together with Dr. Nathalie Pettorelli (Institute of Zoology, London) about integrating different types of satellite imagery for biodiversity monitoring.

Foto: Elisabeth Erber

Satellite imagery has been used for several decades to monitor habitats and ecosystems. As "cameras in the sky", satellites provide imagery that allows tracking deforestation, mapping coral reefs or savannahs, or even detecting penguin colonies in the Antarctic. There are currently two types of satellites used for such applications: So-called multispectral sensors function much like a camera, capturing electromagnetic waves in the visible and infrared part of the spectrum; whereas radar sensors send out their own energy impulses and measure the returning signal, which contains important information about the structure of the Earth's surface - rather like mechanical bats.

Crucially, multispectral and radar sensors provide complimentary information about the environment: Multispectral sensors reveal colour and brightness of the Earth's surface (and consequently are good e.g. for distinguishing between healthy green and dry vegetation, or the bare ground), whereas radar sensors respond to volume, orientation and structure (which makes them useful e.g. for distinguishing between forest stands of different ages). Both multispectral and radar data is easily accessible for ecologists (and are often open access!). And unlike many other environmental, ecological or biodiversity datasets, they also normally have global coverage. However, ecologists rarely combine the two types of satellite data, even though doing so can increase the accuracy of their observations in many cases.

The review, published in "Methods in Ecology and Evolution" (http://bit.ly/2jkgof5), provides an introduction to different ways of combining multispectral and radar data to improve observations of ecosystems and threats to biodiversity - and in doing so aims to contribute to improving our knowledge about the global state of biodiversity.

Text: Henrike Schulte to Bühne

veröffentlicht am