March 2016


forest and fungi
Mar 31, 2016Landsat Uncovers Underground Forest Fungi

A NASA-led team of scientists has developed the first-ever method for detecting the presence of different types of underground forest fungi from space, information that may help researchers predict how climate change will alter forest habitats.

wetlands in winter
Mar 16, 2016New Technique Tracks ‘Heartbeat’ of Hundreds of Wetlands

Across the U.S. and particularly in Washington state, very little is known about the acreage, yearly flooding cycles and even the actual locations of wetlands. Even hazier is what could happen to these vital ecosystems under climate change.

in the field
Feb 2, 2016A New Observation Method That Sees the Forest for the Trees

A marriage in the remote forests of China promises to unite two important forces to better inform the health and future of biodiversity. The union is reported in this week’s journal Ecological Indicators by Michigan State University researchers.

wild horses
Dec 17, 2015An Integrated Look at Barrier Islands: Assateague to Metompkin

A new Landsat-based report from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center takes an integrated look at barrier islands.

Union Beach, NJ post-Sandy
Dec 17, 2015How Hurricane Sandy Affected New Jersey Coastal Marshes

Alex Riter, a graduate student at the University of Maryland College Park, presented her finding on how Hurricane Sandy affected New Jersey coastal marches at #AGU15. We talked to Riter about her research.

great blue heron
Dec 17, 2015Using Landsat to Measure Chlorophyll in the Chesapeake Bay

Sara Lubkin, previously with the NASA DEVELOP program, presented a poster at #AGU15 on her work using Landsat data in concert with MODIS data to measure chlorophyll levels in the Chesapeake Bay. We spoke with Lubkin about her work.

fire boundary, Red Lassic
Dec 15, 2015Forest Disturbances and their Causes in California

Courtney Reents, a graduate student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presented a poster on forest disturbance in California at #AGU15.

a prairie pothole
Dec 14, 2015Climate Change, Conservation, and the Chemical Evolution of Prairie Potholes

Martin Goldhaber gave a talk about how climate change will impact the hydrochemistry of wetlands in an immensely important ecosystem known as the Prairie Pothole Region at #AGU15. Landsat data helped Goldhaber track how the size of the [...]

grazing cattle
Dec 10, 2015Land Change Trends, Midwest–South Central U.S., 1973 to 2000

A new Landsat-based report on land use trends in the Midwest and South Central U.S. between 1973 and 2000 was released by USGS this month.

fire scar in the everglades
Nov 30, 2015Recounting Recent Fire History of Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve

When you think of Southern Florida's vast everglades, fire is not something that usually comes to mind, but the region has a long history of seasonal fires.

Gombe ecosystem
Sep 29, 2015Landsat Images Advance Watershed Restoration in Western Tanzania

For those who live along its shores, Lake Tanganyika in east Africa is the backbone of local transportation and serves as an essential source of household water and protein. Every night, fishers lure nocturnal, sardine-like fish called dagaa [...]

shorebirds
Sep 24, 2015Landsat Helps Feed the Birds

The BirdReturns program, created by The Nature Conservancy of California, is an effort to provide "pop-up habitats" for some of the millions of shorebirds, such as sandpipers and plovers, that migrate each year from their summer breeding grounds [...]

water hyacinth in bloom
Sep 2, 2015A Beautiful Menace: Tracking Water Hyacinth with Landsat

Delivering maps and tabular summaries of live water hyacinth coverage in waterways of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta from the latest cloud-free Landsat satellite imagery.

ISU team in the field
Aug 7, 2015A Landsat-based Tool to Track Cheatgrass, Monitor Potential Wildfire Hazard

Landsat 8 imagery is being used to identify increased wildfire susceptibility due to the invasion of cheatgrass on rangelands.

Coral reef with fish courtesy of Jeremy Cohen, Penn State University
Jun 17, 2015Satellites Enable Coral Reef Science Leap from Darwin to Online

With Earth-observing satellite data, scientists can now monitor the health of coral reefs, even in the most remote regions scattered around the globe where it is otherwise difficult to see changes.

the sound of deforestation
May 28, 2015The Sound of Deforestation, A Hack to Make Data Sing

In his lightning talk Lagomasino proposed a challenge to help study deforestation by linking satellite imagery and ground-images gathered via crowdsourcing

Water released from Morelos Dam
Dec 18, 2014Landsat Satellite Sees Green-up Along Colorado River’s Delta After Experimental Flow

A pulse of water released down the lower reaches of the Colorado River last spring resulted in more than a 40 percent increase in green vegetation where the water flowed, as seen by the Landsat 8 satellite. The March 2014 release of water – an [...]

From the River to the Sea
Dec 18, 2014From the River to the Sea

A pulse of water released down the lower reaches of the Colorado River last spring resulted in more than a 40 percent increase in green vegetation where the water flowed, as seen by the Landsat 8 satellite. The March 2014 release of water – an [...]

Landsat data stack
Dec 9, 2014Unleashing Climate Data and Innovation for more Resilient Ecosystems

Ecosystems provide vast services and benefits to humankind: food and water that is needed for survival; nutrients and other natural products that fuel farms and industries; natural controls on many pests and pathogens; storage of carbon safely [...]

boat in the Sundarbans
Oct 29, 2014Mapping South Asia’s Mangroves

Along the sea’s edge in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, the dense coastal population lives largely in symbiosis with the region’s mangrove forests. Mangroves—a vast network of intertidal trees and shrubs with their characteristic [...]

UNC paleontologists in the field
Oct 22, 2014Dinosaur GPS

Dr. Robert Anemone is the head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. But he works out of a pretty standard office. The administrative assistant greets you in the outer office before gesturing toward [...]

abandoned farm in Montana
Sep 26, 2014Modeling a Changing American Landscape

Land change is a signature activity of human civilization. Since the dawn of history, people have purposefully converted natural landscapes to human-dominated areas. Typical motivations for land change are cultivation (e.g. slash-and-burn [...]

Giant kelp
Jul 31, 2014Tracking Giant Kelp From Space

Citizen scientists worldwide are invited to take part in marine ecology research, and they won’t have to get their feet wet to do it. The Floating Forests project, an initiative spearheaded by scientists at UC Santa Barbara and UCLA, is calling [...]

Chart showing old-growth forest loss in Indonesia, 2000-2012
Jul 30, 2014A Closer Look at Old-Growth Forest Loss in Indonesia

A group of researchers from the University of Maryland, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, and the World Resource Institute joined forces to remedy the lack of consensus about the amount of old-growth forest clearing occurring in Indonesia.

aquaculture operation
May 28, 2014Losing Tidal Flats Around the Yellow Sea

Using Landsat time series data, a group of Australian and British ecologist have found that the Yellow Sea has lost 28% of its tidal flats in the last three decades.

CLASlite team
Mar 7, 2014Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (CLASlite) Classroom Launches in Spanish

On March 4, 2014, the CLASlite team at the Carnegie Institution for Science (Department of Global Ecology) launched the Spanish version of the Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (or CLASlite) Classroom, hosted by Stanford University Online [...]

newly established black mangrove grows amid salt marsh plants north of St. Augustine, Florida
Dec 30, 2013Landsat Satellite Sees Florida Mangroves Migrate North

Cold-sensitive mangrove forests have expanded dramatically along Florida's Atlantic Coast since the mid-1980s, as the frequency of killing frosts has declined, according to a new study based on 28 years of satellite data from the NASA-USGS [...]

CLASlite in Peru
Dec 18, 2013Forest Monitoring: Bringing the Power to the People

Forest conservation is an issue of major concern to communities large and small around the globe. But gathering the monitoring data needed to make the right decisions has proven extremely prohibitive for individuals to entire governments.

Leonard Lopate
Aug 8, 2013Environmental Monitoring with Public Domain Satellites

WNYC's Leonard Lopate talks with SkyTruth president, John Amos, about using public domain satellite imagery, such as Landsat, to monitor the environment. SkyTruth uses all types of satellite imagery to monitor environmental changes and [...]

May 9, 2013Landsat Images Provide the Gold Standard for New Earth Applications

Images from Landsat satellites provided free to the public by the Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey were the starting points for “a new breakthrough” reported today by Time and announced on the Official Google Blog. Using its [...]

Feb 1, 2013Landsat Monitors Chesapeake Bay Change

Landsat is a critical and invaluable tool for characterizing the landscape and mapping it over time. Landsat data provides a baseline of observations for science about how human activities on the land affect water quality, affect wildlife [...]

Jan 14, 2013Sensing Forest Disturbance: Landsat Sees Insect Outbreaks From Space

A new way of studying and visualizing Earth science data from a NASA and U.S. Geological Survey satellite program is resulting in, for the first time, the ability to tease out the small events that can cause big changes in an ecosystem. Called [...]

Nov 15, 2012NASA DEVELOP: Colorado Ecological Forecasting

This past summer, NASA DEVELOP interns partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey and the USDA Forest Service to create a fine resolution forest cover classification model of Fraser Experimental Forest (FEF), located in northwestern Colorado. [...]

Cladophora on shore of N. Manitou Island
Sep 26, 2012Using Landsat to Map Cladophora in the Great Lakes

Cladophora, a nuisance, native green algae that grows attached to solid substrate in all of the Laurentian Great Lakes, has expanded its range partially due to invasive quagga and zebra mussels. During significant storm events it detaches and [...]

Shemya Island
Aug 29, 2012Analyzing Landsat to Mitigate Bird/Aircraft Collisions

The presence of birds near an aircraft runway is a constant concern. Although deadly crashes are rare, a bird strike to the windshield can cause visibility issues for pilots, and strikes to jet engines can cause engine failure. Flocks of birds [...]

Aug 20, 2012Landsat Shows Yellowstone Burn Recovery

A combination of lightning, drought and human activity caused fires to scorch more than one-third of Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1988. Within a year, burn scars cast a sharp outline on the 793,880 acres affected by fire, [...]

Jun 28, 2012“Mud Island”

• Poplar Island rises out of the Chesapeake Bay as it's rebuilt by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers using dredged mud from the Baltimore Harbor which lies about 30 miles (about 48 kilometers) north of the island. In these Landsat images, [...]

Chesapeake Bay region
Jun 19, 2012EarthSky Interview with Peter Claggett: Seeing Chesapeake Bay Changes with Landsat

Satellite images show big changes happening to Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the U.S., where freshwater meets the sea. Peter Claggett is a research geographer with the U.S. Geological Survey's Eastern Geographic Science Center. [...]

May 30, 2012ESA Video Explores the Mississippi River Delta with Landsat

Source: ESA Online Videos • A recent European Space Agency (ESA) online video features a Landsat image from October 3, 2011 showing the Mississippi River Delta, where the largest river in the United States empties into the Gulf of Mexico. [...]

Pinnacle III reef in Discovery Bay
Jan 26, 2012Detecting Detrimental Change in Coral Reefs

Over dinner on R.V. Calypso while anchored on the lee side of Glover's Reef in Belize, Jacques Cousteau told Phil Dustan that he suspected humans were having a negative impact on coral reefs.

beached giant kelp
Dec 23, 2011Explaining Beached Kelp

Have you ever walked along a California coast and wondered about all of the kelp washed-up on shore? In winter when storms are more frequent, giant kelp is regularly washed ashore. University of California, Santa Barbara researcher David Reed [...]

Kirtland's Warbler
Dec 9, 2011Satellite Data Shows that Kirtland’s Warblers Prefer Forests After Fire

Kirtland's warblers are an endangered species of lightweight little birds with bright yellow-bellies that summer in North America and winter in the Bahamas. But be it their winter or their summer home, a new study using data from NASA-built [...]

aspen stand suffering from sudden aspen decline
Dec 6, 2011Consequences of Aspen Die-off

Trembling aspen are dying. No tree species in North America has a broader habitat and no other is as large (a single clone can be a hundred acres in size). So their recent widespread mortality, caused by a severe five-year drought and higher [...]

caribou
Dec 5, 2011Canadian Caribou Habitat Declines

Source: Global Forest Watch Canada At the International Society of Conservation Biology Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, representatives from the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) in Quebec Canada today presented dramatic scientific [...]

Caernarvon freshwater diversion in Louisiana.
Aug 11, 2011Wetland Restoration Challenges

A recent publication inGeophysical Research Letters has called into question the effectiveness of current wetland restoration methods. Using more than two decades worth of Landsat data, Dr. Michael Kearney of the University of Maryland analyzed [...]

Rice paddies
Jul 19, 2011Monitoring Waterbird Habitat

In an article published this month in The International Journal of Avian Science,Spanish researchers used Landsat data to map waterbird habitat in rice paddies adjacent to the Doñana National Park in southwestern Spain. As the area of natural [...]

Kelp forest in Santa Barbara Channel.
May 24, 2011Scientists Track Environmental Influences on Giant Kelp with Help from Landsat Data

Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have developed new methods for studying how environmental factors and climate affect giant kelp forest ecosystems at unprecedented spatial and temporal scales. The scientists merged data collected underwater by [...]

Yellowstone National Park and the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming
Sep 8, 2010Landsat Reveal Surprising Connection Between Beetle Attacks, Wildfire

If your summer travels have taken you across the Rocky Mountains, you've probably seen large swaths of reddish trees dotting otherwise green forests. While it may look like autumn has come early to the mountains, evergreen trees don't change [...]

A portion of the map showing mangrove forests distributions of the world.
Aug 18, 2010Landsat Enables World’s Most Comprehensive Mangrove Assessment

The most definitive map of Earth’s mangrove forests has been created with Landsat data. A group of scientists, led by Chandra Giri from USGS-EROS, has calculated that approximately 53,190 square miles (137, 760 km²) of mangroves exists, 12.3 [...]

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Jun 1, 2010Lasers Together with Landsat Help Researchers Predict Birds’ Preferred Habitat

Every spring, migratory birds like the Black-throated Blue Warbler journey from tropical Caribbean or South American refuges to North American forests. But which forest patch will they call home this year? And, how can researchers predict where [...]