Bird's-eye View of Biodiversity with Landsat

  • Released Friday, April 17th, 2020
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:45PM

Temperature data from the Landsat 8 satellite is used by scientists at University of Wisconsin-Madison to predict bird biodiversity in winter months. Turns out, having a habitat with pockets of different temperatures – like a grove of trees in an open field, or a nest or snow burrow – is especially important for small-bodied bird species and those threatened by climate change.

Music: Life Cycles by Theo Golding [PRS], published by Atmosphere Music Ltd [PRS]

Complete transcript available.

Watch this video on the NASA Goddard YouTube channel.

Global temperatures are rising, putting bird species across America in danger of extinction as their habitats change. To understand how temperature affects birds across the country, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison compared data from the thermal sensor on Landsat 8, TIRS, to bird biodiversity across the country. Turns out, having a habitat with pockets of different temperatures – like a grove of trees in an open field, or a nest or snow burrow – is especially important for small-bodied bird species and those threatened by climate change. This bird’s-eye view of the relationship between temperature and bird biodiversity will help conservationists figure out where to prioritize their efforts in a warming world.



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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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