January 1, 2019.
Studying Earth’s biodiversity is important in understanding how ecosystems are changing in response to environmental stressors. Particularly, monitoring Earth via remote sensing can give us high-resolution data of plant functional traits, such as canopy height, leaf mass per area (LMA), and leaf nitrogen content, which provide insight into ecosystem changes. We mapped out remote sensing airborne data from the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in California and used R to create a hypervolume of the vegetated area. Hypervolumes are useful in creating a three-dimensional visualization of data to understand the relationships among different traits. We computed the three-dimensional space of the intersection of various functional traits by logarithmically transforming the values from the data. Additionally, we conducted fieldwork in the Angeles National Forest to validate remote sensing data of plant functional traits in the area. We can use hypervolume analyses and in-situ data to better understand how functional traits contribute to the changes we observe in the biodiversity of ecosystems.
David Schimel, Ryan Pavlick
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
The 2018 STEM Teacher and Researcher Program and this project have been made possible through support from Chevron (www.chevron.com), the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (www.marinesanctuary.org), the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Program under Grant #1836335 and 1340110, the California State University Office of the Chancellor, and California Polytechnic State University in partnership with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders.