Using an imaging tool to evaluate biodiversity is more effective than traditional methods premised on painstaking field work.
Measuring the plant diversity using spectral data promises to improve efforts to predict how well ecosystems function.
June 1, 2018 University of Minnesota Read full Science Daily article here
The value of ecological biodiversity for maintaining ecosystem stability and function is well established, but a recent study points to a novel way to fine-tune our ability to measure it at larger scales. ..
[Researchers] used spectra of light reflected from plants to evaluate biodiversity and predict ecosystem function.
“We have known for decades that the chemical composition of plants can be estimated from reflectance spectra,” said Schweiger. “What we found is that the spectral dissimilarity, or the overall differences in spectral reflectance, among plant species increases with their functional dissimilarity and evolutionary divergence time.”
Anna K. Schweiger, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Philip A. Townsend, Sarah E. Hobbie, Michael D. Madritch, Ran Wang, David Tilman, John A. Gamon. Plant spectral diversity integrates functional and phylogenetic components of biodiversity and predicts ecosystem function. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2018; 2 (6): 976 DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0551-1