From the Everglades to tropical rainforests, ecosystems exist as a balance of many species and nonliving phenomena. Processes and changes may be hard to notice at a given moment, but they are always occurring, and over time they affect all plants, animals and people. There are many ways to take a snapshot of an ecosystem, and our researchers are experienced in a variety of methods ranging from up-close to orbital.
In-person studies take our researchers to South American sites including in French Guiana, Brazil and Peru, to sample tree bark and leaves and catch insects for surveys. We also identify new amphibian species and track populations as they suffer and rebound from disease. Plant exploitation and trafficking also draw our experts’ attention, as we explore ways to satisfy demand or plants without wiping out threatened species.
Remote sensing projects give us a large-scale view of ecosystems. Our Everglades work includes the evaluation of aerial and satellite data such as photos and LiDAR laser scans, developing methods for identifying plant distribution from the sky. Improving scientists’ access to hard-to-reach ecosystems makes it easier to observe and protect them.