Advertisement

The View From Above

Satellite imagery is giving biologists a whole new perspective on the phenomena they study.

By | February 1, 2012

By removing the goats from kipuka alala, Hawaiian authorities hoped to protect the critically endangered Palila honeycreeper bird, which nests and feeds mainly on the seeds of the mamane tree (far right), also endangered. Satellite, airborne, and on-the-ground analysis of vegetation density and composition in Kipuka Alala suggests that the removal of goats seems to have had the unintended effect of enabling the expansion of invasive weed species such as fountain grass and fireweed (weed with flowers). Both are of major concern because fountain grass increases the risk of intense wildfires, and fireweed is toxic to livestock.

By removing the goats from kipuka alala, Hawaiian authorities hoped to protect the critically endangered Palila honeycreeper bird, which nests and feeds mainly on the seeds of the mamane tree (far right), also endangered. Satellite, airborne, and on-the-ground analysis of vegetation density and composition in Kipuka Alala suggests that the removal of goats seems to have had the unintended effect of enabling the expansion of invasive weed species such as fountain grass and fireweed (weed with flowers). Both are of major concern because fountain grass increases the risk of intense wildfires, and fireweed is toxic to livestock.

RYAN P. O'DONNELL (BIRD); JIM KELLNER (FIREWEED)

The View From Above Image Gallery

Life scientists from a wide range of fields—from ecology and epidemiology to anthropology, marine microbiology, and animal behavior—are increasingly turning to rapidly advancing and ever-more-accessible satellite imagery to gain a more sophisticated, big-picture understanding of how organisms interact not only with their immediate environments, but also with the more expansive, global landscape.

Read the full story.
[gallery]

Advertisement

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. Neanderthal-Human Hybrid Unearthed
  2. Extra DNA Base Discovered
    The Nutshell Extra DNA Base Discovered

    An epigenetic variant of cytosine is stable in the genomes of living mice, suggesting a possible expansion of the DNA alphabet.

  3. Opinion: Too Many Mitochondrial Genome Papers
  4. The Brain on Fear
    The Scientist The Brain on Fear

    Scientists uncover the neurons in the mouse brain responsible for linking the sight of a looming object to scared behavior.

Advertisement
Eppendorf
Eppendorf
Advertisement
The Scientist