March 2018

Bear cubs in the wild
Mar 12, 2018Does a Bear Smile in the Woods? Citizen Scientists and Satellites Find Out

NASA satellites are helping Wisconsin develop a clearer picture of its diverse and abundant fauna.

Hankui Zhang
Jan 11, 2018Satellite-based Program to More Accurately Identify Land Cover

A new program uses Landsat satellite data to automatically categorize what’s on the ground more accurately than other land cover products.

peatland in Sumatra
Dec 28, 2017Open Digital Mapping For Assessing Carbon Storage in Tropical Peatlands

Tropical peatland can be mapped accurately using freely-available remote sensing data and open source software.

Dec 21, 2017Thousands of Citizen-Scientists Help Researchers Map Kelp Forests

Kelp forests are beautiful but fragile habitats for a wide array of plant and animal species.

clearcut mangrove in Tanzania
Dec 15, 2017Global Mangrove Mapping with Landsat

The area of mangrove wetlands around the world has been declining over recent decades.

kelp on Falkland Islands
Dec 14, 2017Floating Forests: Citizen Scientists are Mapping Giant Kelp with Landsat

Learn more about the huge citizen science kelp mapping endeavor called Floating Forests.

clear water in Florida Keys
Dec 13, 2017What Lies Beneath: Mapping Benthic Habitats with Landsat

A method for mapping coral reefs or other benthic habitats over time.

wetlands in Baylands Nature Preserve
Dec 13, 2017How Much Swamp Are We Talking Here?
Towards Better Mapping of Coastal Wetlands

Ways to better estimate the greenhouse gas contributions of wetlands.

Murray River
Dec 13, 2017Graphing a Path to Survival: Habitat Connectivity in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin

Quantifying the impact of historic land-use and hydroclimatic variability on landscape connectivity dynamics across Australia’s breadbasket.

Nov 7, 2017Researchers Explore Causes of Land Cover Change in African Savannas

This study examined Landsat satellite data from the past 30 years to track broad land cover change in the Chobe district of Northern Botswana.

map of study area
Sep 7, 2017Finding Baltimore’s Mosquito Hotspots with Help from Landsat

High levels of residential abandonment and unchecked vegetation growth in low-income neighborhoods are strong indicators of mosquito prevalence. Higher income neighborhoods are also susceptible to mosquito-borne disease due to the presence of [...]

American Oyster
Aug 24, 2017Oyster Prospecting with Landsat 8

In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Maine have demonstrated that Landsat 8 satellite data can be used to find locations where oysters farms should thrive.

post-fire slope erosion prediction map
Jun 15, 2017Blazing Fast Relief: A NASA-Supported Tool is Accelerating Wildfire Recovery

Burned Area Emergency Response teams—one of most important parts of wildfires that you’ve probably never heard of.

map of guano
Jun 13, 2017At the Bottom of the World, Satellites Are Guiding Commerce and Conservation

MAPPPD is the first free, open-access Antarctic decision support system that integrates remotely sensed inputs, such as Landsat 7 images and MODIS sea ice data, to provide an assessment of Adélie and other penguin species across the frozen continent.

Magnetic Island intertidal zone
May 25, 2017Welcome to the Intertidal Zone:
Mapping Australia’s Coast with Landsat

Using 28 years of Landsat data, an Australian research team has created a continent-wide intertidal zone extent map for the whole of the Australian coast.

migratory birds at field site
Mar 27, 2017Landsat Reveals Bird Habitat Loss in California

Drought and reduced seasonal flooding of wetlands and farm fields threaten a globally important stopover site for tens of thousands of migratory shorebirds in California’s Sacramento Valley, a new Duke University-led study shows.

forest cover change in Gombe National Park
Jan 24, 2017How Satellite Data Changed Chimpanzee Conservation Efforts

Approximately 345,000 or fewer chimpanzees remain in the wild, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a substantial decline from the more than two million that existed a hundred years ago.

trumpeter swans
Jan 12, 2017Where the Wetlands Are

Documenting and protecting wetlands has become crucial to the eight states and two Canadian provinces thronging the Great Lakes.

hardwood swamp in flordia
Dec 16, 2016Apalachicola’s Disappearing Swamp

The hardwood swamp along the Apalachicola River is slowly replaced by bottomland hardwood forest.

Dec 15, 2016Tracking Water Resources in California’s Central Valley

A near real-time water resources tracking and decision-support system for the Central Valley of California.

Taimyr reindeer
Dec 12, 2016What Satellites Can Tell Us About How Animals Will Fare in a Changing Climate

From the Arctic to the Mojave Desert, terrestrial and marine habitats are quickly changing. Satellites are particularly well-suited to observe habitat transformation and help scientists forecast what animals might do next.

Louisiana coastal marshes
Dec 12, 2016How Louisiana’s Coastal Marshes are Responding to Climate Change

Louisiana's coastal marshes are responding to climate change.

NW Florida mangroves
Dec 12, 2016The Poleward March of Mangroves

Mangrove expansion has been observed in some subtropical locations around the world.

Spartina grass on Sapelo Island
Aug 15, 2016Landsat Reveals Serious Decline in Georgia Salt Marsh Health

Scientists at the University of Georgia’s Marine Institute at Sapelo Island have found that the amount of vegetation along the Georgia coast has declined significantly in the last 30 years, spurring concerns about the overall health of marshland [...]

trees killed by pine beetles
Jul 19, 2016Landsat—The Watchman that Never Sleeps

In western North America, mountain pine beetles infest and ravage thousands of acres of forest lands. Landsat satellites bear witness to the onslaught in a way that neither humans nor most other satellites can.

Thirsting for Equitable Water Distribution, Australia Turns to Landsat
May 25, 2016Thirsting for Equitable Water Distribution, Australia Turns to Landsat

Since record keeping began in 1860, no period has been drier for southeastern Australia than the decade-long Millennium Drought. The lack of rain between 1997 and 2009 led to livestock losses, crop failures, and percentage drops in the Australian GDP.

Trees burned by the Summit Fire
May 19, 2016Landsat Data Show Rapid Recovery for Some Forests in Santa Cruz Mountains Despite Drought

NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Landsat satellite images over the past three decades showed that the severe drought periods recorded since the 1980s have not slowed rapid tree and shrub growth, especially on steep slopes burned recently by [...]

May 16, 2016Landsat Helps Feed Tired And Hungry 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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]