How does satellite capture biodiversity?

by Ewa Czyż

All of living organisms are brilliant creatures. No man can swim as fish, fly as bird, sense as bat. However, we as humans used our potential to engineer instruments that could combine skills evolved in nature. Satellites are one of the examples. With the distance of seven hundred kilometers above the earth surface, we can take pictures containing information that are exceeding any man vision. Through those images we can see further than any eagle, more precise than any mantel shrimp and perceive more colors behind blue than any butterfly and behind red than any snake. From those images with wide range of colors and an excellent coverage, we are able to derive the information about the earth surface that could be relevant to monitor natural environment.

By analyzing the hundreds of colors of the optical satellite images, we can derive the information about light absorption, drought stress, inner leaf structure and many other properties of the vegetation. Additionally, we are also able to distinguish different plant species reflecting in specific colors according to their genetic constrains. That information combined give us the current condition and structure of the environment on a global scale. This could help us to understand interactions between organisms and its environment and enable to prevent further environmental distortions with biodiversity decline being one of the major ones.