Prof. Danielle Wood will moderate a panel on Biodiversity at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Biodiversity forms the basis of ecosystem function and human life support systems. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reported that humans cause environmental change which is so rapid, that across the globe whole ecosystems and the species within them are disappearing within a single human lifetime. Advancing understanding of Earth’s biodiversity and its response to rapid global environmental change at scales from cells to continents is critical to societal capacity to mitigate biodiversity loss and thus maintain healthy ecosystems and adapt to further global change. Assessments of animal and plant life indicate that globally 25% of species are threatened by extinction. Even greater biodiversity losses occur locally and regionally and threaten ecosystem health. However, our understanding of this biodiversity change is restricted to few places with intensive field sampling.
Remote sensing now offers a remedy; spaceborne observations provide data on the interaction of Earth’s surface with electromagnetic radiation over time and with complete spatial coverage at the global scale. These data can be used to determine a plethora of ecosystem properties, and thus several aspects of biodiversity; as well as ecosystem-level cycling of water, carbon, energy, and nutrients. This scientific session will focus both on how remote sensing and other emerging technologies allow researchers to assess local biodiversity at a global scale, and how they contribute to our understanding of changes in biodiversity, ecosystem dynamics, and human habitats.