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Howard Epstein - Terrestrial plant ecology and remote sensing

Category: 
Science & Engineering
Department: 
Environmental Sciences
Supervising Faculty Member: 
Howard Epstein
Research Focus: 

Remote sensing (satellite, aircraft, etc.) has become a very important tool in terrestrial plant ecology. There is a wealth of information that we can acquire from space that we cannot obtain from limited field access. However, in order for the remote sensing information to be useful, we do need to conduct field-based studies, so that we know what we are seeing from space. This study will evaluate data collected with hand-held sensors of the spectral properties of arctic tundra vegetation to assess 1) can we identify different arctic tundra plant communities with high-resolution spectral information? and 2) how does this spectral information vary along large latitudinal (temperature) gradients in the arctic tundra?

Position Description: 

Students will largely be dealing with the spectral data of the arctic tundra vegetation. We will evaluate how reflectances in different wavelength vary across different tundra plant communities along a latitudinal (temperature) gradient and on soil with different textures.

Required Skills: 

Some introductory knowledge of statistics would be useful. While the project is on tundra ecology, there is no necessary requirement in this area.

Training/Certification: 
No.
What will you learn: 

1) Develop a general understanding of some arctic tundra plant ecology.
2) Develop an appreciation for the use of remote sensing techniques in terrestrial ecology.
3) Develop skills in both univariate and multivariate statistical techniques for evaluating spectral reflectance data for arctic tundra vegetation along environmental gradients.

Specialization: 
Terrestrial plant ecology and remote sensing