Title: Laser dissection of vegeatation.. there is more to a tree than meets the eye
Speaker: Dr. Jan van Aardt, Rochester Institute of Technology
Abstract: Our research group has developed a solid relationship with the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). NEON has as its main objectives the monitoring of continental scale ecosystems to assess the impact of climate change, invasive species, and land-use/land-cover change on these ecosystems. This will be achieved by collecting relevant (public domain) ecological in situ variables. However, synoptic coverage and scaling ability will be provided by three airborne imaging platforms that arguably contain the world’s leading airborne imaging spectrometer (next-generation AVIRIS) and a waveform light detection and ranging (lidar) laser scanner. Waveform lidar measures the backscattered intensity for a 1064nm laser, as a function of time, with precise geo-location. Waveform lidar sensing allows algorithm specialists to derive information about the ground surface, vegetation structure, and to extract 3D surfaces. Imaging spectroscopy, on the other hand, provides narrow, contiguous wavelength bands in the 400-2500nm spectral region for assessment of vegetation species, stress, and processes. I will focus on our lidar research with NEON, while also alluding to imaging spectroscopy efforts to characterize the structure and condition of vegetation. Not only will we be able to determine what vegetation “feels like” (structure), but these and related efforts will enable us to assess what plants “look like” (composition) and what role (function) they play in ecosystems.
Biography: Dr. Jan van Aardt is an associate professor in RIT's Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing (DIRS) group. Prior to joining RIT, he was a research group leader at South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and before that, he worked as a post-doc at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. He received his MS and PhD degrees in forestry from Virginia Tech.