Connecting Earth observation to high-throughput biodiversity data

Alex Bush, Rahel Sollmann, Andreas Wilting, Kristine Bohmann, Beth Cole, Heiko Balzter, Christopher Martius, András Zlinszky, Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer, Christina A. Cobbold, Terence P. Dawson, Brent C. Emerson, Simon Ferrier, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Martin Herold, Laurence Jones, Fabian H. Leendertz, Louise Matthews, James D.A. Millington, John R. OlsonOtso Ovaskainen, Dave Raffaelli, Richard Reeve, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Torrey W. Rodgers, Stewart Snape, Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers, Alfried P. Vogler, Piran C.L. White, Martin J. Wooster, Douglas W. Yu

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Understandably, given the fast pace of biodiversity loss, there is much interest in using Earth observation technology to track biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services. However, because most biodiversity is invisible to Earth observation, indicators based on Earth observation could be misleading and reduce the effectiveness of nature conservation and even unintentionally decrease conservation effort. We describe an approach that combines automated recording devices, high-throughput DNA sequencing and modern ecological modelling to extract much more of the information available in Earth observation data. This approach is achievable now, offering efficient and near-real-time monitoring of management impacts on biodiversity and its functions and services.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0176
JournalNature Ecology & Evolution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2017


  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation biology
  • Decision making
  • Ecosystem services
  • Environmental impact

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