This project will use three biodiversity manipulations at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve to test whether plant diversity (including genotypes within species, species with different functions, and species from different evolutionary lineages) can be detected remotely at multiple spatial scales. The study will measure biodiversity from the sky and space by remotely sensing the reflected light spectra of plants and investigate the consequences of biodiversity for ecosystem and global processes. Project scientists from four institutions will investigate linkages between plant biodiversity, soil microbe diversity and ecosystem function. These efforts will serve in the development of airborne and satellite platforms that can routinely monitor biodiversity and provide critical experimental evidence for the concept of surrogacy, i.e., that one metric of biodiversity can be used to provide information about others.
The project will transform methods for detecting changes in biodiversity worldwide and will provide numerous training opportunities in science, technology and math (STEM) for young scientists. Results will be integrated into the Cedar Creek Schoolyard Ecology program and a NASA-funded STEM Education Center to train Native American reservation teachers. Citizen scientists will be engaged through the MN Phenology Network. Data and research outcomes will be archived in publically accessible data repositories.