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]

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. Gut Microbes Linked to Neurodegenerative Disease
  2. Top 10 Innovations 2016
    Features Top 10 Innovations 2016

    This year’s list of winners celebrates both large leaps and small (but important) steps in life science technology.

  3. Opinion: WHO’s Silence on Cannabis
  4. Image of the Day: Parting Ways
    Image of the Day Image of the Day: Parting Ways

    The Allen Institute for Cell Science releases the first public collection of human induced pluripotent stem cells that have been fluorescently tagged using CRISPR.

Rockland