From NASA JPL-Caltech and The University of California-Santa Barbara: “California Field Campaign Helping Scientists Protect Diverse Ecosystems”

From NASA JPL-Caltech

and

UC Santa Barbara Name bloc

The University of California-Santa Barbara

April 18, 2022

Andrew Wang
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
626-379-6874
andrew.wang@jpl.nasa.gov

Jane J. Lee
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-0307
jane.j.lee@jpl.nasa.gov

Juvenio Guerra
The Nature Conservancy
310-755-0590
juvenio.guerra@tnc.org

Shelly Leachman
University of California-Santa Barbara
805-893-8726
shelly.leachman@ucsb.edu

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JPL scientist Dana Chadwick, center, advises a field team working on the SHIFT campaign on locations for collection and analysis of vegetation samples at Central California’s Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve in March 2022. Image Credit: Piper Lovegreen/University of California-Santa Barbara.

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University of California, Santa Barbara student Piper Lovegreen measures chlorophyl content of plants at the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve in Santa Barbara County in March.Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Above Santa Barbara County, the Surface Biology and Geology High-Frequency Time Series, or SHIFT, campaign collects data to understand land and aquatic ecosystems.

With a plane crisscrossing the sky and researchers working on land and sea, the Surface Biology and Geology High-Frequency Time Series campaign (SHIFT) combines the ability of airborne science instruments to gather data over widespread areas with the more concentrated observations scientists conduct in the field to study natural environments.

SHIFT is jointly led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Nature Conservancy, and the University of California-Santa Barbara, and one of its primary goals is to generate the most precise, high-time-frequency data on plant and aquatic communities ever collected over such a vast region. The 640-square-mile (1,656-square-kilometer) study area, which stretches from Los Padres National Forest in the east to the Central California coast and into the coastal ocean in the west, includes some of the most dynamic ecosystems in the world.

The data, collected on a weekly basis from late February until the end of May, measures changes in the characteristics of vegetation across the landscape and tracks critical plant species as they emerge from winter dormancy. It will also provide clues about the health and resilience of ecosystems as California’s climate grows drier. For The Nature Conservancy and UCSB, both of which maintain nature preserves in the study area, the information collected will inform strategies to protect natural environments in the face of human-created pressures.

“This landscape has gradually changed over time, and now with the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, change is happening much more rapidly,” said Mark Reynolds, a SHIFT co-investigator and director of the Point Conception Institute at The Nature Conservancy’s Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve. “This is what it’s about for us: to understand the change that’s happening, anticipate the change to come, and to influence the trajectory of conservation, now and for future generations.”

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A research plane collecting spectral imaging data of vegetation on land and in the ocean as part of the SHIFT campaign flies just off the Central Coast of California near Point Conception and the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve in February. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

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The SHIFT campaign uses a research plane carrying the AVIRIS-NG instrument to collect data on the function, health, and resilience of plant communities in the 640-square-mile (1,656-square-kilometer) area of Santa Barbara County. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Studying Properties of Light

SHIFT employs an imaging spectrometer called AVIRIS-NG (Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer-Next Generation) that was designed at JPL in Southern California. An aircraft carrying the instrument has been flying above Santa Barbara County weekly during the study period.

The spectrometer works by collecting subtle characteristics of the light reflected from 16-by-16-foot (5-by-5-meter) squares of the surface, which can tell researchers about traits of tree leaves, blades of grass, shrubs, and other plants. Successive scans can detect variations in the color of the light and its reflectance at different wavelengths, revealing changes in how plants are functioning.

For example, scientists hope to learn about the health and resilience of Southern California oak species by studying the thousands of acres of oak woodlands in the Dangermond Preserve and UCSB’s Sedgwick Reserve. Oaks occupy a crucial niche in their ecosystems: In addition to their leaves taking in carbon dioxide, their acorns provide food for many species, and their trunks and branches serve as habitats for birds and other animals. The SHIFT data can show the nitrogen and phosphorus content of oak leaves, revealing the health of oak communities. It can also show canopy density, which can offer clues about whether oaks are adapting to progressively drier conditions or dying off.

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UC Santa Barbara Seal

The University of California-Santa Barbara is a public land-grant research university in Santa Barbara, California, and one of the ten campuses of the University of California system. Tracing its roots back to 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, The University of California-Santa Barbara joined the University of California system in 1944, and is the third-oldest undergraduate campus in the system.

The university is a comprehensive doctoral university and is organized into five colleges and schools offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 55 graduate degrees. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation, The University of California-Santa Barbara spent $235 million on research and development in fiscal year 2018, ranking it 100th in the nation. In his 2001 book The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities, author Howard Greene labeled The University of California-Santa Barbara a “Public Ivy”.

The University of California-Santa Barbara is a research university with 10 national research centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Center for Control, Dynamical-Systems and Computation. Current University of California-Santa Barbara faculty includes six Nobel Prize laureates; one Fields Medalist; 39 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 27 members of the National Academy of Engineering; and 34 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The University of California-Santa Barbara was the No. 3 host on the ARPANET and was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1995. The faculty also includes two Academy and Emmy Award winners and recipients of a Millennium Technology Prize; an IEEE Medal of Honor; a National Medal of Technology and Innovation; and a Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.
The University of California-Santa Barbara Gauchos compete in the Big West Conference of the NCAA Division I. The Gauchos have won NCAA national championships in men’s soccer and men’s water polo.

History

The University of California-Santa Barbara traces its origins back to the Anna Blake School, which was founded in 1891, and offered training in home economics and industrial arts. The Anna Blake School was taken over by the state in 1909 and became the Santa Barbara State Normal School which then became the Santa Barbara State College in 1921.

In 1944, intense lobbying by an interest group in the City of Santa Barbara led by Thomas Storke and Pearl Chase persuaded the State Legislature, Gov. Earl Warren, and the Regents of the University of California to move the State College over to the more research-oriented University of California system. The State College system sued to stop the takeover but the governor did not support the suit. A state constitutional amendment was passed in 1946 to stop subsequent conversions of State Colleges to University of California campuses.

From 1944 to 1958, the school was known as Santa Barbara College of the University of California, before taking on its current name. When the vacated Marine Corps training station in Goleta was purchased for the rapidly growing college Santa Barbara City College moved into the vacated State College buildings.

Originally the regents envisioned a small several thousand–student liberal arts college a so-called “Williams College of the West”, at Santa Barbara. Chronologically, The University of California-Santa Barbara is the third general-education campus of the University of California, after The University of California-Berkeley and The University of California-Los Angeles (the only other state campus to have been acquired by the University of California system). The original campus the regents acquired in Santa Barbara was located on only 100 acres (40 ha) of largely unusable land on a seaside mesa. The availability of a 400-acre (160 ha) portion of the land used as Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara until 1946 on another seaside mesa in Goleta, which the regents could acquire for free from the federal government, led to that site becoming the Santa Barbara campus in 1949.

Originally only 3000–3500 students were anticipated but the post-WWII baby boom led to the designation of general campus in 1958 along with a name change from “Santa Barbara College” to “University of California-Santa Barbara,” and the discontinuation of the industrial arts program for which the state college was famous. A chancellor- Samuel B. Gould- was appointed in 1959.

In 1959 The University of California-Santa Barbara professor Douwe Stuurman hosted the English writer Aldous Huxley as the university’s first visiting professor. Huxley delivered a lectures series called The Human Situation.

In the late ’60s and early ’70s The University of California-Santa Barbara became nationally known as a hotbed of anti–Vietnam War activity. A bombing at the school’s faculty club in 1969 killed the caretaker Dover Sharp. In the spring of 1970 multiple occasions of arson occurred including a burning of the Bank of America branch building in the student community of Isla Vista during which time one male student Kevin Moran was shot and killed by police. The University of California-Santa Barbara ‘s anti-Vietnam activity impelled then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to impose a curfew and order the National Guard to enforce it. Armed guardsmen were a common sight on campus and in Isla Vista during this time.

In 1995 The University of California-Santa Barbara was elected to the Association of American Universities– an organization of leading research universities with a membership consisting of 59 universities in the United States (both public and private) and two universities in Canada.

On May 23, 2014 a killing spree occurred in Isla Vista, California, a community in close proximity to the campus. All six people killed during the rampage were students at The University of California-Santa Barbara. The murderer was a former Santa Barbara City College student who lived in Isla Vista.

Research activity

According to the National Science Foundation, The University of California-Santa Barbara spent $236.5 million on research and development in fiscal 2013, ranking it 87th in the nation.

From 2005 to 2009 UCSB was ranked fourth in terms of relative citation impact in the U.S. (behind Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, and Princeton University) according to Thomson Reuters.

The University of California-Santa Barbara hosts 12 National Research Centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, the Southern California Earthquake Center, the UCSB Center for Spatial Studies, an affiliate of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, and the California Nanosystems Institute. Eight of these centers are supported by The National Science Foundation. UCSB is also home to Microsoft Station Q, a research group working on topological quantum computing where American mathematician and Fields Medalist Michael Freedman is the director.

Research impact rankings

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked The University of California-Santa Barbara 48th worldwide for 2016–17, while the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in 2016 ranked https://www.nsf.gov/ 42nd in the world; 28th in the nation; and in 2015 tied for 17th worldwide in engineering.

In the United States National Research Council rankings of graduate programs, 10 University of California-Santa Barbara departments were ranked in the top ten in the country: Materials; Chemical Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Physics; Marine Science Institute; Geography; History; and Theater and Dance. Among U.S. university Materials Science and Engineering programs, The University of California-Santa Barbara was ranked first in each measure of a study by the National Research Council of the NAS.

The Centre for Science and Technologies Studies at Leiden University [Universiteit Leiden](NL) ranked UCSB as the seventh-best research university in the world based on mean normalized citation score, and as the second best in the world based on the proportion of the publications to the top 10% most frequently cited.

The Global Research Report: United States published by Thomson Reuters in November 2010 rated The University of California-Santa Barbara ‘s research fourth nationally in citation impact.

Among U.S. university economics programs, in 2010 The University of California-Santa Barbara was ranked sixth for experimental economics; third for environmental economics; and 12th for cognitive and behavioral economics by RePEc.

Washington Monthly named The University of California-Santa Barbara as the 20th best national university in 2020 based on its contribution to the public good as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.

NASA JPL-Caltech Campus

NASA JPL-Caltech
is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although the facility has a Pasadena postal address, it is actually headquartered in the city of La Cañada Flintridge, on the northwest border of Pasadena. JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Laboratory’s primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

NASA Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA.

NASA Deep Space Network Station 56 Madrid Spain added in early 2021.

NASA Deep Space Network Station 14 at Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California

NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA

NASA Deep Space Network Madrid Spain. Credit: NASA.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs.] NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the[JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.