SHIFT Researcher Analyzes Field Samples at Dangermond Preserve
University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) student Piper Lovegreen calibrates a sensor to measure leaf chlorophyl content of vegetation at the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve in Santa Barbara County on March 23, 2022. Lovegreen is among the researchers working on the Surface Biology and Geology High-Frequency Time Series (SHIFT) campaign, which is jointly led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, UCSB, and The Nature Conservancy.
Operating between late February and late May 2022, 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 the functional characteristics, health, and resilience of plant communities. The sampling and analysis done by researchers on the ground and in the ocean is intended to validate data taken by AVIRIS-NG (Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer-Next Generation). The instrument, designed at JPL, is collecting spectral data of vegetation it observes during weekly flights in an aircraft over a 640-square-mile (1,656-square-kilometer) study area in Santa Barbara County and coastal Pacific waters.
The campaign is a pathfinder for NASA's proposed Surface Biology and Geology (SBG) mission. SHIFT will help scientists design data collection and processing algorithms for that mission, which would launch no earlier than 2028. The SHIFT data is also intended to support the research and conservation objectives of The Nature Conservancy, which owns the Dangermond Preserve, and UCSB, which operates the Sedgwick Reserve, another nature preserve within the study area. More than 60 scientists from institutions around the U.S. have indicated they intend to use the SHIFT data in their research.