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Award #0308498
IDEA: Large-Scale Wireless Sensor Networks for In Situ Observation of Ecosystem Processes

NSF Logo  NSF Award Abstract - #0308498 AWSFL008-DS3

IDEA: Large-Scale Wireless Sensor Networks for In Situ Observation of Ecosystem Processes

NSF Org EF
Latest Amendment Date September 17, 2003
Award Number 0308498
Award Instrument Standard Grant
Program Manager Angela V. Klaus
EF EMERGING FRONTIERS
BIO DIRECT FOR BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Start Date September 1, 2003
Expires August 31, 2008 (Estimated)
Expected Total Amount $1806200 (Estimated)
Investigator Paul G. Flikkema Paul.Flikkema@nau.edu (Principal Investigator current)
George W. Koch (Co-Principal Investigator current)
James S. Clark (Co-Principal Investigator current)
Bruce A. Hungate (Co-Principal Investigator current)
Sponsor Northern Arizona Univ
100 Babbitt Administrative Ctr.
Flagstaff, AZ 860114130 928/523-4880
NSF Program 1694 BE: INSTRUM DEVELOP FOR ENV AC
Field Application
Program Reference Code 1689,1694,9184,BIOT,

Abstract

A grant has been awarded to Northern Arizona University under the direction of Dr. Paul Flikkema for the development and deployment of a wireless sensor network for the purpose of enabling a better understanding of environmental and ecosystem processes across multiple scales. Progress in an array of technologies, including microelectronic sensing and computation, wireless communication, and the self-assembly of autonomous devices into cooperative networks has inspired the vision of wireless sensor networks. While networks of intelligent agents transparently embedded into our physical environment could advance human welfare in a number of domains, research indicates that any successful wireless sensor network must be carefully optimized for its application. Our goals are to (i) complete the development of wireless environmental sensor network technology, (ii) make significant progress in understanding the maintenance of biodiversity and in measuring ecosystem properties by applying this technology to three field projects, (iii) build awareness of the benefits of the technology to society, and (iv) improve collaboration between engineering and the sciences. The instrumentation development component of this project builds on a successful seed effort in which we have constructed a small proof-of-concept wireless environmental sensing network. We will build a "distributed instrument"--a prototype network comprising hundreds of palm-sized wireless sensors. In anticipation of this prototype development, we have paid careful attention to ensuring that our networking technology will scale up to thousands of sensors, providing dense coverage at landscape geographic scales.

The prototype network technology will be deployed to enable a new degree of data quality in three diverse field studies. First, we will probe the role of the role of fine-scale environmental phenomena in the maintenance of ecosystem diversity in two Eastern US forests. The second experiment maps the complexity of microclimates and their effects on biodiversity in the crowns of the coastal redwoods of California. And in the third field study, we will determine the effects of scale on eddy covariance measurements of ecosystem energy balance in Northern Arizona. The results of these studies will have global implications for biological diversity and ecosystem function. Our education efforts will improve scientific and technological literacy for everyone from researchers to the general public. 1) We will convey the scientific advances made possible by this research to a global audience of students, the public, land mangers, and policy makers through hands-on activities, an interactive cd-rom, and a website. 2) Our efforts in training students from under-represented groups and in training across biological and engineering disciplines will contribute to broadening cultural perspectives in the sciences. 3) We will disseminate knowledge of wireless sensor networks to an interdisciplinary and international group of researchers through a workshop.

This project is designed to have a spectrum of broader impacts: it will 1) convey the scientific advances made possible by this research to students, the public, land mangers, and policy makers through hands-on activities, an interactive CD-ROM, and a website; 2) educate students from under-represented groups and across biological and engineering disciplines, broadening cultural perspectives in the sciences; and 3) disseminate knowledge of wireless sensor networks to an interdisciplinary and international group of researchers through workshops.


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