sTRAITS: Integrating in-situ, upscaled and air- and spaceborne observations of plant traits

1st meeting: 25.-29.October 2021

Philip A. Townsend, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ryan Pavlick, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

iDiv members: Jens Kattge, Helge Bruelheide, Andreas Huth, Miguel Mahecha, Markus Reichstein, Michael Vohland, Christian Wirth

Working Group Postdoc:
Benjamin Dechant

Project summary:
Plant traits are characteristics of plants that result from evolutionary and community assembly processes and respond to environmental drivers. Trait-based ecology has become an important approach for characterizing diversity, predicting ecosystem function and understanding the consequences of global change. At present, our understanding of trait distributions globally comes from disconnected in-situ measurements collected non-systematically over many years, hyperspectral and lidar remote sensing (none of which are global in extent yet) - and statistical upscaling based on in-situ data. This statistical upscaling is global in extent, but has yet to be validated with independent data, and is likely valid at some scales and not others. We propose to develop consistent, high-resolution (~1km) global-scale data products through the synergistic merger of these data sources. First, we will integrate these data sources to: a) identify gaps in knowledge of trait distributions from in-situ and remotely-sensed sources, b) test the performance of upscaled trait data against remote sensing, and c) develop a synthesis product. Second, we will use this synthesis product to better understand trait-trait and trait-environment relationships at regional to global scales and test how traits and their diversity impact ecosystem function, as derived from other global products such as flux tower networks and satellites. We will develop a framework to estimate plant traits and their diversity across large environmental gradients in order to establish the optimal temporal and spatial coverage for data collection needed to calibrate and validate upcoming global satellite products from NASA and ESA missions in the late 2020s.

Group Members:

Philip Townsend, Ryan Pavlick,Jens Kattge, Fabian Schneider, Gregory Asner, Coline Boonman, Helge Bruelheide, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Sandra Diaz, Sandra Duran, Hannes Feilhauer,
Andreas Huth, Miguel Mahecha, Roberta Martin, Alvaro Moreno-Martinez, Isla Myers-Smith, Josep Penuelas, Karin Rebel, Peter Reich, Markus Reichstein, Michael Schaepmann, Irena Simova, Peter van Bodegom, Michael Vohland, Christian Wirth, Sönke Zaehle



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