Volume 7, Issue 4 - August/September 2014
Eastern Threat Center Highlights Cont'd
Research Communication--and Brevity--Earn Prize for Scientist
“How good is the research if we can’t communicate it?” says Center biological scientist Serra Hoagland after taking top honors at Northern Arizona University's (NAU) 3 Minute Research Presentation Project contest. The inaugural event at NAU, where Hoagland is pursuing a PhD in forest science, challenges graduate students to explain their research concisely and in plain language. This honing of communication skills results in a better understanding of research significance by the public, including decision makers. Hoagland is partnering with the Mescalero Apache Tribe to study the effects of forest treatments on Mexican spotted owls, a threatened species, in order to develop active management practices that sustain healthy forests as well as owl habitats. Read more about her work and the contest, and watch a video of her presentation.
Above: Serra Hoagland communicates her research on forest treatments and Mexican spotted owls.
Scientists and Students Test New Forest Monitoring Technology
Forest monitoring from space is made possible by special sensors aboard orbiting satellites. The ForWarn forest monitoring tool relies on MODIS sensors to collect data that researchers can use to calculate the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), or measures of vegetation greenness. The MODIS sensors were originally designed to have a six-year life span, but are now operating beyond those years. As part of the NASA DEVELOP program, Center research ecologist Bill Hargrove partnered with NASA Stennis Space Center and students from the University of Southern Mississippi to test new methods for satellite data collection and NDVI calculation using a new sensor that monitors weather and climate patterns, known as the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The students summarized the project in a video, which won a NASA DEVELOP “Best in Category” award. ForWarn researchers will continue to assess the use of VIIRS data to calculate NDVI and produce maps of forest development, disturbance, and recovery.
Right: Students from the University of Southern Mississippi explain the project in an award winning video.