A Web of Sensors Enfolds an Entire Forest to Uncover Clues to Climate Change

Harvard's experimental forest is wired up and down to study how changing conditions affect entire ecosystems

13 min read
A Web of Sensors Enfolds an Entire Forest to Uncover Clues to Climate Change
Photo: Bob O’Connor

“Everything is connected to everything else,” says the First Law of Ecology, laid down in 1971 by the U.S. biologist and activist Barry Commoner. He was addressing scientists who had been trained to manipulate a few key variables, after isolating them from all outside influences, to see their effects on a few outcomes. But in ecology, everything varies together; an interwoven web links microbes to mountains.

Even a single forest has enough entwined connections to boggle the mind. Tree growth depends on fleeting changes in the atmosphere, soil, and water. The arrival of new plant and animal species, or the disappearance of old ones, might spell disaster now or a bloom some years hence. Even the tiniest microorganisms can shape the fate of towering oaks.

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Video Friday: Drone in a Cage

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A drone inside of a protective geometric cage flies through a dark rain

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

ICRA 2022: 23 May–27 May 2022, PHILADELPHIA
IEEE ARSO 2022: 28 May–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28 June–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Remembering 1982 IEEE President Robert Larson

He was a supporter of several IEEE programs including Smart Village

3 min read
A photo of two men in suits.  One behind the other.

Robert Larson [left] with IEEE Life Fellow Eric Herz, who served as IEEE general manager and executive director.

IEEE History Center

Robert E. Larson, 1982 IEEE president, died on 10 March at the age of 83.

An active volunteer who held many high-level positions throughout the organization, Larson was the 1975–1976 president of the IEEE Control Systems Society and also served as IEEE Foundation president.

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Why Battery Energy Storage Is Moving to Higher DC Voltages

Download this free whitepaper to learn how battery energy storage up to 1500 VDC can deliver power efficiencies and cost reductions

1 min read

The explosive growth of the battery energy storage industry has created a need for higher DC voltages in utility-scale applications.

Download this free whitepaper and learn how you can achieve a smooth transfer of power, efficiencies and cost reductions with battery energy storage system components up to1500 VDC.