Okay welcome everybody um my name is Jason Fridley. I’m a professor at Clemson University in the U.S and I’m also the reviews ecology journals, ecology and environment journal editor for the Journal of ecology journals, ecology and environment journal and a couple of years ago we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal started a new reviews ecology journals, ecology and environment journal series that turns over about every year called the crime reviews ecology journals, ecology and environment journal uh honoring eminent ecologist. Phil Grimes uh today. We’re here uh to talk about the second installment uh of the series which is called what can remote sensing do for plant ecology journals, ecology and environment journal and I am delighted to be able to discuss this series with two associate editors for the journal that did basically all the work in helping to conceptualize um the series that ended up with nine papers that are currently published. Uh in the journal. And so uh we’ll talk briefly um with these associate editors and uh about how the series came about and uh what they hope readers will will get from the series so. I’m delighted to introduce uh Emily lines at the University of Cambridge and tommaso Euchre of the University of Bristol and I’m going to first ask Emily to briefly introduce herself what she does and um how long she’s been at. Journal of ecology journals, ecology and environment journal thanks Jason um I think I was thinking about this. I think I’ve been an associate editor since 2016 but it might even be longer than that it’s a long time um I yeah so I’m an assistant professor here in the department of geography um I’m interested in Forest ecology journals, ecology and environment journal that’s how I know tomato because we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal did US yeah she’s in the same proscology group but I’m also interested in remote sensing and in data science approaches in particular great and we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal also have tommaso yukar from the University of Bristol. Who’s currently uh on sabbatical. I believe in Germany. Um maybe you could say a few words about yourself tommaso. Uh hi everyone uh yeah. I am usually based at the University of Bristol but today I’m calling in from Germany. I’m at the Technical University of Munich. But based in frising uh behind me you could see a beautiful map in German of bavaria’s bavarious forests which we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal were talking about a second ago uh Jokes Aside.
I’m I’m a lecturer and a research fellow at the school of logical Sciences in Bristol. Uh and generally I think of myself as a forest ecologist and not as a remote sensing scientist so part of the motivation and we’ll get into that a bit of for this series was try to sort of bridge a gap between these two. Um and we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal do research on the structure of forest ecosystems and why that matters for predicting how they function and what they look like and how they might change in the future in terms of my role at General ecology journals, ecology and environment journal. I think I’ve been an editor there since 2017 so I think this is my beginning of my sixth year rate. Well thank you well. Let’s talk about the this particular. Series so again. The series is called what can remote sensing do for plant ecology journals, ecology and environment journal. There are nine papers published in the series. Emily maybe you could start and tell us a little bit about how this series came about. Yeah so um Recollections may vary to my son might tell me. I’m wrong here but I think that this came about the idea for this came about at the bes annual meeting in Belfast which I think was 2019 certainly the last one before covered um and to master and I are both assistant editor. So we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal were in the journal editorial board meeting and we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal started talking to each other very brutally like Whispering Whispering next to each other um and then I oh and saying you know we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal would really like to see more of my sensing and somebody brought up the grind series and we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal thought well maybe we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal should propose something so I think we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal sat down over a copy or a bureau and and wrote out proposal in about 15 minutes before tomato had to run off and do something important. Um and that’s really how it started is because this is what we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal really we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal wanted to read these papers so we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal decided to make this happen. Yeah and tommaso why do you think um we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal needed a group of papers on this subject in. Journal of ecology journals, ecology and environment journal I think we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal needed these kind of papers specifically because typically we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal have this sort of idea in our heads.
That remote sensing doesn’t belong in the toolbox of of traditional ecologists. Uh and as someone who comes from a background as a traditional ecologist or you. I’d call myself that I did my PhD on three rings and I had no idea never thought about measuring things from above above the canopy with any sort of shape or form um I’ve actually come to appreciate how much we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal can do with these data sets and how actually easy many of them are to use much more so than we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal generally think and so I think this for for us really. The motivation was to sort of sort of introduce some of these uh these approaches to readers who might not have thought about them before and hopefully get them interested in. Curious enthusiastic yeah well I certainly put myself in that boat of the the remote sensing curious crowd and trying to figure out with no training in uh in those particular Technologies as to how easy is it to to approach data sets and use them for various questions whether you’re in forests or many other places because we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal have nine very diverse papers that talk about remote sensing from the Arctic and grasslands and forests a number of different areas so Emily putting yourself in the shoes of the readers of that may not have any remote sensing experience at all. Are there a couple things you hope them specifically to get out of the series yeah. I mean overall I would hope it Sparks some new ideas and some new you know New Perspectives on. Maybe their systems or their questions but the other thing is coming from somebody who does try to bridge this. Gap a lot of really exciting development has happened over the last sort of 10 years. I think a lot of people when they think about remote sensing might think. About land. Mapping like land use mapping from landsat data or something quite simple like that but actually the technology has been moving on so rapidly over the last decade. Um you know coming down rapidly in price going up hugely in usability so you know some even someone like me can learn to fly drone in a half day very it’s very straightforward now um that.
I think that there are a lot of tools out there that maybe people are not necessarily aware of. They’re being developed in a remote sensing literature and then engineering literature. Um and and crucially the tools to analyze these data are also becoming much more user-friendly and much more scalable and so um what I think is that this was a good time to to bring some new ideas into the journal. Um that just highlight. How how much there is available now um for ecologists to use and and that. This shouldn’t be a a daunting thing where you have to you know. Learn an entirely discipline in order to take advantage of it. Yeah yeah. I think um as a as a reader the pace of technological advancement is the thing that’s really daunting and I wonder if we’ll need this series again in in 10 years or maybe or maybe less tomasa what are some of your personal highlights of the series so I was trying to. I was trying to think how best to answer this question and I think to me. The personal highlight of the series is the diversity of topics that we’ve actually been able to cover so I we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal have some truly outrageously varied uh Journal sort of articles that have been that have been published as part of this. There’s everything from like mapping lyanna’s using different types of sensors in tropical forests either from drones or from satellites or from terrestrial laser scanning uh there’s a review papers on the potential for uh linking different scales of ecophysiology using like thermal remote sensing. Um there’s papers about plant plant interaction something that we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal really think about like people getting on their knees and playing around uh in the ground and trying to understand things how can we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal sort of scale these processes up with remote sensing. Uh there’s there’s a paper in the series uh about the use of historical photos so it’s not just things that you would typically think about like sitting on a satellite uh that’s sort of spinning around Earth.
But it’s it’s also also thinking creatively outside the box about what is remote sensing really and so for me. The Highlight is the fact that we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal have been able with these nine articles to really cover a huge breadth of different topics and highlight the potential as a sort of Emily was was talking about previously. Yeah I think you’ve hit upon something. That was really exciting for me. Uh helping along with the editing processes seeing the breadth of Concepts that remote sensing tools can lend themselves to you mentioned species interactions which is not something. I would have normally thought about so agreed Emily. I wanted to give you the opportunity to answer that question as well about personal highlights from the series. Yeah well I mean everything tomasa said that I think we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal were both really delighted by the the range of people who who really got involved and were engaged when we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal sent out the invitations when we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal sent out the call um just it was just really great to see so many different types of groups from around the world using these Technologies I do have a I was personally particularly excited by uh Linda boy’s paper um on using photographs I’ve got a I’ve got a personal particular interest of reusing Gator. I think there’s loads of data out there that just simply slightly shipped our thinking about processing. We ecology journals, ecology and environment journal can take advantage of. And so the idea of using photo archives. I think they can tell us so much about environmental change through the past that we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal just sort of think carefully about how to go about approaching them so I really. I really personally enjoyed that that paper I mean I enjoyed all of them. Yeah yeah well um so one of the nine papers was written by both of you and and your research group and I I should say that um your co-authors include Fabian Fisher and Harry Owen that the paper is called reimagining Forest ecology journals, ecology and environment journal in three dimensions with remote sensing as a forest ecologist myself.
I was really excited to see uh your view of how Forest ecology journals, ecology and environment journal can be reimagined. But it really uh fits in so well with the series. Because it’s really about um how these tools can impact someone like me. That hasn’t thought that much about the technology. Um so maybe tommaso you can maybe just kind of tell us a major take-home message of your your reimagining. I think the the major take-home message is something that uh sort of uh. Emily and I jotted down on a napkin. In those first five minutes that we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal were chatting after the be after the sort of like the journal. Recology journals, ecology and environment journal meeting at the at the bes and it’s the idea that typically Forest ecologists would go into the forest with only a tape measure in their hand. Uh and the sort of view of this. DBA exactly exactly and that’s what I did for my PhD as well. And you have this. We ecology journals, ecology and environment journal were talking about this sort of this dbh or diameter-centric view of what a forest looks like and so we’re typically measuring diameters and we’re studying them over time and how and all of our understanding of how forests function and operate is all based on this single measurement. But actually what’s going on in in a forest is mostly going on above your head in the canopy and it’s going above in 3D it’s happening interactions between individual crowns and and all of those processes at least from a competition for light perspective or all happening well above the diameter. The diameter is simply there to support the trunk for all the interesting stuff that’s happening above and so for us. He was trying to highlight that that. Central message that there’s there’s more to a tree than just this diameter and we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal can learn a lot by thinking about it’s about it in in 3D yeah with apologies to to those that study processes underground of course which which is why. I try I tried to say I try to correct myself and say uh competition for light because that is an uh absolutely valid point and uh and yes if I have uh I have obviously I have a bent towards what’s going on about ground but we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal shouldn’t forget below yeah of course of course I think I’ve maybe had that comment in an early draft um Emily what about like uh technologies that have yet to see their full potential in in studying Forest ecology journals, ecology and environment journal.
What can you say about that well. I think it’s not so much the the Technologies I mean I think we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal might sensing has seen its full attention. Studying for our psychology. I think the range of papers we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal have out there all of them have Technologies in there that could be applied to questions in biopsychology. I think what’s exciting now is the uh possibility of scaling and that’s because more people have these these um pieces of Kit they can go out and collect data more of them are making those data available as well so actually a lot. I I what I think is pushing. The boundary of of some aspects of gross technology is people making use of others data and so things looking at like structural traits. Um um axes of variation uh are taking large data sets that are being put out there using some of the cool data science tools that are also being made available um and I’m picking up patterns at very large scales. You know people have been able to get into the canopy whereas projectors and look at things like branching angles. Um you know we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal can cut down. We’ve been able to cut down trees and weigh them to look at a long machine biomass but it’s a scale that we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal can now do these because we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal have these technologies that. I think is most exciting um so I. I imagine that their uptake is going to see a big uh upgrade in our sample sizes across a whole whole range of aspects. By this point yeah. I’m really delighted to hear you. Emphasize the issue of scale because as someone who has surveyed forests many times over broad extents you spend so many hours and so much. Personnel time on studying a tiny fraction of the area in any particular area and and thinking about easy ways and yet accurate ways to scale up is perhaps the the really big uh advance.
I think that can come in integrating a lot of these these tools that you’re talking about but okay so you mentioned protractor. We’ve mentioned diameter tapes ancient. Technologies Tomaso what am I missing if I go out into the woods. Let’s even throw a meter stick in there so. I’ve got my my old school. Kit what am I missing. Um that some of these more easily available remote sensing tools could could add to in the study a forest ecology journals, ecology and environment journal so. I’ll tell you my personal like my personal favorite in this context because you can make many examples here and if you’re really interested you can go and read our paper but to me this always goes back to there was a moment during my PhD. Uh where I was studying I was using tree rings to study how different trees interact. Uh and trying to understand whether when you mix different species of trees. Uh you’re more likely to get forests that are more productive and more resilient to climate change a sort of old school biodiversity ecosystem functioning uh line of line of research and we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal were definitely finding this pattern in forests as people have founded in grasslands. But we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal couldn’t really explain ecologically why it was emerging until we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal started thinking about what was going on in the canopy and we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal realized that what was happening is that individual trees were plastically adapting the shape and size of their crowns to match what their neighbors were doing. And this complementarity that was going on above ground was in turn allowing the canopies to pack more densely and more efficiently in space intercepting more light using light and more efficiently and as a result producing more wood over over a certain amount of time and sort of driving this uh fundamental ecological pattern that we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal were seeing and that was for me when the lights sort of like the the light went on that I had to sort of change my perspective of where I was looking from.
Uh and sort of like the what’s going on above there in 3D is really important uh and so some of these Technologies like like lidar which allow us at different scales to either an individual tree scale if we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal operate them on the ground or entire canopies and and Landscapes if we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal operate them from an airplane or from a drone I think can really transform our understanding of the processes that shape sort of the structure and function of forests in particular. Obviously you could apply it to other ecosystems as well. Yeah that’s a great example because of course stuff that is still easily measured by taking Leaf samples in the canopy relatively easy. Depending upon the size of your canopy can be combined with those morphological measurements to yield new insights into into plant function and plasticity and intra-specific variation and all those great things that mediate coexistence which is something that journal ecology journals, ecology and environment journal you know is really interested in in publishing as it always has been. So that’s a that’s a that’s a great. Point Emily I’m going to give the last question about your paper to you and and I’m I’m wondering about the near future. The kind of next steps. What are the new doors that are opening with remote sensing technologies that that we’re going to see in the next couple of years well. I think uh for a colleges the key part here is the combination of remote sensing Technologies but it’s very big data sets and and deep learning approaches because the psychologists were interested in individuals and and when you’ve got shed loads as three-dimensional data over very large areas it can be hard to pick out these individuals so there are some really cool new tools coming out from Deep learning that can automate that segmentation of individuals and once we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal can do that at scale then uh using things like drones to look at individual very large numbers of individual trees across very large Landscapes is going to really change how we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal think about uh Forest you know I come from a background of using National Forest inventions and they’re just not available for most parts of the world but with drones we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal can get over very large areas.
We ecology journals, ecology and environment journal can pick out individual trees and identify species or functional traits from them which we’re definitely starting to see the evidence that we’ll be able to do then. I think this is this kind of technology is really going to change how we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal can monitor environmental change. Um and allow us to do things like collaborate great with geneticsis and physiologists to look at how we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal can pick up resilience and ecosystems direct and ecosystems at much much bigger scales than before and provide the kinds of evidence that we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal need to to protect um ecosystems into in you know rapidly changing world yeah. I love how you mentioned. Data integration and computational approaches as being so essential to what someone like me that doesn’t want to work uh in the background of those things and doesn’t have the skill set to do so but nonetheless is so essential to giving a product that I can use and maybe go collaborate with people that that also don’t do remote sensing but do metabolomics and other things but it is crucial. That ecologists do that collaboration. Um you know working with computer. Scientists who might uh not necessarily have the background to be able to interpret the data correctly so we ecology journals, ecology and environment journal really need to build those collaborations um and work together and not wait for them to produce the tools for our students. Great point well fascinating. I’m so delighted that both of you chose to volunteer your time. Really to produce an absolutely spectacular nine paper series and journal of ecology journals, ecology and environment journal again the the series is called what can remote sensing do for plant ecology journals, ecology and environment journal. All nine papers are out including that of Emily lines who is joining us today and also Tomaso Euchre who is joining us. The associate editors that were responsible for this series.
So thank you both uh for for talking about your paper in the series and um thanks everybody for tuning in see you later.
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