NASA eye in sky sees fungus as climate change predicter

We all know that cops in planes could spot marijuana patches but NASA’s upped the game to get a handle on how climate change will affect forests.

A team led by NASA scientists developed a system to detect and identify different underground forest fungi by snapping photos from satellites in space.

Organisms that go by the name of mycorrhizal fungi spread for miles underground hustling up nutrients that it passes on to the trees in exchange for sugars the trees make during photosynthesis.

Each type of the fungus associates with only one tree variety. Where the fungi travels, its companion trees follow. When the fungi is absent, so are the trees.  By tracking different types of fungi, scientists can predict how forests will fare in the future.

Check out the story at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6241Individual tree species have unique spectral fingerprints, but we thought the underlying fungi could be controlling them as groups.

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