Scott Ollinger - 20 Feb 2018

Scott Ollinger, University of New Hampshire, USA.

"Canopy reflectance, carbon assimilation and mysteries lurking in the light we cannot see"


Carbon and nitrogen cycles in forests are reciprocally and inextricably linked through a common set of biological processes.  Although the importance of N as a constraint on forest growth has been appreciated for decades, methods for mapping plant N status over broad spatial scales has lagged.  This presentation will discuss an ongoing study aimed at examining (1) basic relations among foliar N and CO2 assimilation in forests, (2) relationships between N concentrations and a suite of functionally convergent plant traits that influence canopy reflectance, and (3) implications for broad-scale N mapping and ecosystem—climate interactions.  It will also introduce a new study about the role of canopy biodiversity as a regulator of land-atmosphere carbon and water exchange.


Scott Ollinger is a professor at UNH in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Earth Systems Research Center.  He studies ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry at local to regional scales and his research typically involves integration of eddy covariance, plot-level field measurements and remote sensing.  His work on remote sensing of foliar nitrogen in North American forests has been used to assess spatial patterns in carbon assimilation and has opened new questions about how forests interact with climate.  He has been principal investigator on a number of NASA and NSF-funded projects, the most recent of which addresses the question of whether biodiversity in forests affects exchanges of carbon, water and energy between the land and atmosphere.  At UNH, Scott teaches courses in ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry. Scott has served on a number of science advisory boards and steering committees.  He was Director of the U.S. National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) in 2013-2014 and is presently a member of NASA’s HyspIRI satellite science study team.