Recent evidence suggests that the chemical diversity of humid tropical forests exceeds that of all other terrestrial ecosystems combined, with cascading effects on spectroscopic patterns of tropical canopies acquired from new airborne and future space-based imaging spectrometers. To address this new frontier in spectroscopy, I developed the Carnegie Spectranomics Project (CSP), which seeks to quantify and understand linkages between chemical, spectral, and taxonomic patterns among tropical forest species. The CSP has collected and analyzed more than 3,500 species from C. and S. America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, showing that high-fidelity spectral patterns among species are driven by evolutionary processes that maximize chemical variation at site and global scales. This talk will highlight results from the CSP, and point to upcoming mapping flights using airborne high-fidelity imaging spectroscopy.

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