Getting the Big Picture of Biodiversity: Satellites and other remote sensing tools offer new ways to study ecosystems—and maybe even save them

November 18, 2021


Other researchers, meanwhile, are trying to use satellite-derived information about vegetation to gain insights into the animals living there. Walter Jetz, a biodiversity scientist at Yale University, and colleagues have been developing computer models that incorporate data from the research literature about the conditions that various animal species require to thrive, such as plants used for food or nests.

They feed remote sensing information about an area’s climate, vegetation, and topography into the models to predict where a given animal species should be found and at what densities.

The result is the Map of Life, a freely available online repository of maps of species’ ranges that draws from 600 million observations worldwide of 44,351 species of vertebrates, plants, and insects. “

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