2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 254-5
Presentation Time: 2:50 PM


MCDONALD, Kyle C.1, CAMPBELL, Kenneth2, ISLAM, Rehnuma1, AZARDERAKHSH, Marzi3 and CRACRAFT, Joel4, (1)Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, City College of New York, Marshak 925, 160 Convent Ave, New York, NY 10031, (2)Vertebrate Zoology Department, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007, (3)Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ; Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, City College of New York, Marshak 925, 160 Convent Ave, New York, NY 10031, (4)Ornithology, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St., New York, NY 10024, kmcdonald2@ccny.cuny.edu

The Amazon basin is a biodiversity rich biome and plays a significant role into shaping Earth’s climate, ocean and atmospheric gases. Understanding the history of the formation of this basin is essential to our understanding of the region’s biodiversity and response to climate change. During March 2013, the NASA/JPL L-band polarimetric airborne imaging radar, UAVSAR, conducted airborne studies over regions of South America including portions of the western Amazon basin. We utilize UAVSAR imagery acquired during that time over the Planalto, in the Madre de Dios region of southeastern Peru in an assessment of the underlying geomorphology, its relationship to the current distribution of vegetation, and its relationship to geologic processes through deep time. We employ UAVSAR data collections to assess the utility of these high quality imaging radar data for use in identifying geomorphologic features and vegetation communities within the context of improving the understanding of evolutionary processes, and their utility in aiding interpretation of datasets from Earth-orbiting satellites to support a basin-wide characterization across the Amazon. We derive maps of landcover and river branching structure from UAVSAR imagery. We compare these maps to those derived using imaging radar datasets from the Japanese Space Agency’s ALOS PALSAR and Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). Results will provide an understanding of the underlying geomorphology of the Amazon planalto as well as its relationship to geologic processes and will support interpretation of the evolutionary history of the Amazon Basin.

Portions of this work have been carried out within the framework of the ALOS Kyoto & Carbon Initiative. PALSAR data were provided by JAXA/EORC and the Alaska Satellite Facility.This work is carried out with support from the NASA Biodiversity Program and the NSF DIMENSIONS of Biodiversity Program.