Abstract Title

Drone Imaging for the Future, the Better Option for Local Scientific Advancement

Additional Funding Sources

This project was made possible by the NSF Idaho EPSCoR Program and by the National Science Foundation under Award No. OIA-1757324.

Abstract

Unoccupied aerial vehicles (UAVs) can capture imagery of vegetation across landscapes. Imagery can then be processed for ecological insights using two programs. The first program is Agisoft Metashape where images are loaded in from the UAV flight and stitched together to create a 3D point cloud, orthomosaic picture, and a digital surface model (DSM). The other program is QGIS where I load in the products from Agisoft and manipulate them to put into maps and view the data collected. Currently, we are focused on the imagery map and DSM to differentiate the spatial layout of sagebrush at a site with landscape heterogeneity in topography and genetic diversity of sagebrush. Sites 1 and 4 are compared because they are at opposite ends of an elevation and precipitation gradient. Site 1 is a higher elevation averaging 1843 meters, lower overall temperatures, more annual precipitation, and primarily consists of mountain sage. These qualities allow for a lusher view, larger trees, and the sagebrush is less abundant fighting for space among the other species that take hold. Site 4 has a lower elevation averaging 1622 meters, higher temperatures, less yearly precipitation, and primarily consists of Wyoming big sage. Sagebrush can grow more efficiently in a wider space without the tall trees which compete for sunlight, water, and nutrients. Now that we have these data, more drone flights will be done at varying times of year to track the vegetation over time and later compare the growth and survival rates of sagebrush. Sites like Castle Rock with high genetic diversity can function as living laboratories for understanding biodiversity. UAVs present an opportunity to study biodiverse patterns at scales that match the extent of biophysical variation, including topography.

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Drone Imaging for the Future, the Better Option for Local Scientific Advancement

Unoccupied aerial vehicles (UAVs) can capture imagery of vegetation across landscapes. Imagery can then be processed for ecological insights using two programs. The first program is Agisoft Metashape where images are loaded in from the UAV flight and stitched together to create a 3D point cloud, orthomosaic picture, and a digital surface model (DSM). The other program is QGIS where I load in the products from Agisoft and manipulate them to put into maps and view the data collected. Currently, we are focused on the imagery map and DSM to differentiate the spatial layout of sagebrush at a site with landscape heterogeneity in topography and genetic diversity of sagebrush. Sites 1 and 4 are compared because they are at opposite ends of an elevation and precipitation gradient. Site 1 is a higher elevation averaging 1843 meters, lower overall temperatures, more annual precipitation, and primarily consists of mountain sage. These qualities allow for a lusher view, larger trees, and the sagebrush is less abundant fighting for space among the other species that take hold. Site 4 has a lower elevation averaging 1622 meters, higher temperatures, less yearly precipitation, and primarily consists of Wyoming big sage. Sagebrush can grow more efficiently in a wider space without the tall trees which compete for sunlight, water, and nutrients. Now that we have these data, more drone flights will be done at varying times of year to track the vegetation over time and later compare the growth and survival rates of sagebrush. Sites like Castle Rock with high genetic diversity can function as living laboratories for understanding biodiversity. UAVs present an opportunity to study biodiverse patterns at scales that match the extent of biophysical variation, including topography.