Modeling Radiation Use Efficiency in Big Sagebrush Understory

Sam’s research focuses on gathering field data to pair with remotely sensed imagery to then model a physiological plant trait called radiation use efficiency. Radiation use efficiency is the proportion of incoming solar radiation that is converted to biomass. Decreases in efficiency of plants has been shown to correlate with stress and decreased production and understanding variables that can influence stress can aid in future management decisions. Sam is particularly interested in the environmental variables that are related to spatial variability of radiation use efficiency in the understory of big sagebrush. Sam is interested in how this variable compares to more commonly used and easier to calculate metrics, such as normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and if the larger workload required to calculate radiation use efficiency provides more complete results or not.




Sam Wilson, Research Assistant | Sam Wilson is a graduate student at Yale School of the Environment working towards a Masters in Environmental Science, focusing on using remote sensing, big data, and field work to analyze relationships in rangeland ecosystems. He received a B.S. in Geography from Montana State University in 2019 and spent the next few years living in Bozeman, Montana. While there summers were spent working in rangelands on a long term monitoring protocol with the BLM and winters were spent using satellite imagery to map wetlands for the National Wetlands Inventory. In his free time he enjoys skiing, hiking, reading, and learning! .  |  Blog