Session: Advances in Biodiversity Science with Remote Sensing
Biodiversity Survey of the Cape (BioSCape): A NASA Biodiversity field campaign in the Greater Cape Floristic Region of South Africa
Monday, August 2, 2021
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Adam Wilson, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, NY, China, Erin Hestir, School of Engineering, University of California Merced, CA, Jasper A. Slingsby, Fynbos Node, South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), Henry A. Frye, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Mansfield, CT and Cory Merow, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Storss, CT
University at Buffalo, State University of New York, NY, China
Background/Question/Methods We will introduce the first-ever NASA Biodiversity campaign. Incorporating airborne imaging spectroscopy, lidar, and field observations, the campaign will explore the structure, composition, function and threats to biodiversity across South Africa’s Greater Cape Floristic Region (GCFR), including surrounding coastal and marine environments. The GCFR contains two Global Biodiversity Hotspots with the richest temperate flora and the third-highest marine endemism in the world. The field campaign includes collection of new hyperspectral data ranging from UV to thermal wavelengths acquired by PRISM, AVIRIS-NG, and HyTES spectrometers combined with the LVIS laser altimeter aboard the NASA GIII and GV aircraft. Results/Conclusions These remotely sensed data will be combined with existing and new observations of the spatial distribution of species, ecosystems, and their traits to enable high-resolution mapping of biodiversity, functional traits, and three-dimensional structure across environmental gradients and times-since-disturbance. The campaign is organized around three major themes: 1) the distribution and abundance of biodiversity, 2) the role of biodiversity in ecosystem function, and 3) the impacts of biodiversity change on ecosystem services. This focus represents an important paradigm shift from previous NASA field campaigns, which were primarily biogeochemical, toward an approach for measuring and understanding functional, phylogenetic, and taxonomic biological diversity as key components of ecosystem function. The Science Team will be selected from submissions to NASA’s Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) in 2021. Local partners include the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), South African National Parks, and CapeNature.