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Capturing change: the duality of time-lapse imagery to acquire data and depict ecological dynamics

Emma M. Brinley Buckley, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
Craig R. Allen, U.S. Geological Survey; Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
Michael Forsberg, International League of Conservation Photographers; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Michael Forsberg Photography
Michael Farrell, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications; University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Andrew J. Caven, Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Wood River, Nebraska

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-09268-220330

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Abstract

We investigate the scientific and communicative value of time-lapse imagery by exploring applications for data collection and visualization. Time-lapse imagery has a myriad of possible applications to study and depict ecosystems and can operate at unique temporal and spatial scales to bridge the gap between large-scale satellite imagery projects and observational field research. Time-lapse data sequences, linking time-lapse imagery with data visualization, have the ability to make data come alive for a wider audience by connecting abstract numbers to images that root data in time and place. Utilizing imagery from the Platte Basin Timelapse Project, water inundation and vegetation phenology metrics are quantified via image analysis and then paired with passive monitoring data, including streamflow and water chemistry. Dynamic and interactive time-lapse data sequences elucidate the visible and invisible ecological dynamics of a significantly altered yet internationally important river system in central Nebraska.

Key words

data visualization; passive monitoring; river ecology; time-lapse imagery

Copyright © 2017 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087