Most of my work is aimed at predicting rhythmical changes in vegetation growth, i.e. vegetation phenology, using cheap imaging sensors (PhenoCams). The rhythmical timing of vegetation phenology is intimately linked to yearly variations in weather and long-term changes in climate. Not only does the seasonal development of vegetation serve as an important climate change indicator, the seasonal plant carbon uptake also provides an important feedback to the Earth system.
African tropical forest drought
I’m interested in understanding the influence of drought on the productivity of African tropical forests. Here, I rely on retrospective analysis of wood core stable isotopes and historical phenological and meteorological observations to reconstruct and model past vegetation responses to year-to-year variability in precipitation. A large part of this research is supported through the Jungle Rhythms crowd-sourcing project. A newly funded project, COBECORE, will provide matching climate data throughout the Congo basin supporting further spatial analysis.
I collaborate with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) where I designed the protocols for a cellphone camera based methodology to track crop growth and disturbance in the fields of smallholder farmers. This research supports index-based micro-insurance, to alleviate income variability for these farmers.