Sweets Wireless Sensor Web Established at the SEV

SWEETS Project Description:
Advances in science often begin with the development and use of new technologies
and instrumentation. The integration of current 'off-the-shelf' technologies
including microcomputers, microsensors, low-power radio chips, and the Internet
allow the development of a new class of instrumentation that can scale across
space and time, introducing a new paradigm to how we instrument, and even
think about, the environment.
The SWEETS project pioneers the use of a new in situ scalable sensor network called a Sensor Web in ecological research to measure canopy microclimate effects of three aridland plant species (Juniperus monosperma - one-seeded juniper, Larrea tridentata - creosote bush, and Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana - honey mesquite).
Project Goals:
The SWEETS project has several goals:
1) Determine the feasibility of using NASA/JPL's Sensor Web in ecological drylands research. Deployment of wireless technology can be particularly challenging at the Sevilleta, because of the engineering constraints imposed by this aridland environment.
2) Review NASA/JPL's Sensor Web in terms of its use and applications in field ecology and environmental research.
3) SWEETS will generate valuable realtime micrcoclimate data that will advance our understanding of species interactions in desert ecosystems. Project results will be published in peer-reviewed research journals.
Specific Research Questions:
1) How do different desert shrub species (Juniperus monosperma, Larrea tridentata, and Prosopis glandulosa) alter the microclimate beneath their canopies, and how does this affect compositional variation in plant communities?
2) Does Larrea tridentata produce a greenhouse effect within its canopy keeping canopy temperatures warmer during the winter months?
3) What are the effects of precipitation events on microclimates, particularly soil and air temperatures and light, in areas with and without vegetation cover over sub-hourly time intervals?
4) How do Sensor Web measurements compare to traditional meteorological instrument measurements?
Go to the SWEETS webpage to learn more about this cutting edge Sevilleta research!
Go to the NASA/JPL Sensor Webs Project webpage to learn more about this new
technology.

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