Welcome to the Gamon Lab website

Dr. Gamon studies the "breathing of the planet" - the exchanges of carbon and water vapor between the biosphere and the atmosphere. He develops and applies remote sensing and proximal sampling methods for studying plant function and biodiversity. Currently, he works part-time at the University of Alberta, and directs the airborne research program at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

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Research Topics

· Disturbance effects on ecosystem function
· Climate change impacts in northern latitude ecosystems
· Optical tools for sampling terrestrial ecosystems
· Detecting plant biochemical responses with non-contact optical methods
· Stress-related plant ecophysiology and photosynthesis changes
· Eco-informatics and Cyberinfrastructure for ecosystem monitoring

Research Topics

What is a spectral laboratory?

Dr. Gamon's Spectral Laboratory focuses on the use of optical remote sensing to evaluate vegetation productivity. Dr. Gamon founded SpecNet toward this goal and developed of a number of spectral reflectance tools (uni-spec, multi-spec) that can be used in analyzing field, airborne and spacecraft data.


Join us!

Do you want to understand reflectance and global productivity at a deeper level? Apply online to join Gamon Lab as a Post-Doctoral Fellow, Ph.D. or Master's student.

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"I welcome inquiries from applicants interested in ecology (ecophysiology, ecosystems ecology, ecosystem modeling and biodiversity), remote sensing, and eco-informatics and cyberinfrastructure. Please complete an online application."

Current Projects

“Seasonality of photosynthesis of temperate and boreal conifer forests across North America” (NSF Macrosystems).”

Recent Projects

  • “Evaluating growing season length and productivity across the ABoVE Domain using novel satellite indices and a ground sensor network”(ABoVE Program, NASA, USA)

    How are growing season length and primary productivity changing in the boreal and arctic regions of Alaska and western Canada and what drives these changes?  Using satellite remote sensing and ground measurements (optical sensors and eddy covariance), this project investigates patterns of “greening” and “browning” detected in satellite time series data, and seeks to resolve the underlying causes, including disturbance, climate variation, and climate change leading to altered temperatures and hydrology.  Key tools will include the light-use efficiency model and novel satellite-derived pigment indices that detect invisible photosynthetic activity in evergreen vegetation.  This 3-year project is part of a 9-year NASA ABoVE program, and is funded through the University of Nebraska.
  • "Linking remotely sensed optical diversity to genetic, phylogenetic and functional diversity to predict ecosystem processes."  (Collaborative Research, US NSF & NASA)

Funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), this project will explore the ability of remote sensing to detect biodiversity at many levels. In particular, we are testing the Optical Diversity and Surrogacy hypotheses using experimental studies at Cedar Creek Reserve and other sites in the US Midwest. Interested applicants should also consider applying directly to partner universities, which include the University of Nebraska and the University of Minnesota. Click here to read the project ABSTRACT.

  • "PhotoProxy" (Collaborative Research, Jülich, Germany, & European Space Agency)

Supported by the European Space Agency via Forschungszentrum Jülich (funding pending), with additional contributions from Canadian and US funding sources, this project explores several optical indices as "proxies" of photosynthetic function using multiscale remote sensing (proximal, aircraft and satellite sensing). Calibration and validation field sites in Europe, and North America are used to validate optical measurements (solar-induced fluorescence and reflectance indices) from satellite and aircraft, providing novel metrics of photosynthetic activity and plant stress. Our research examines the scale dependence of these optical metrics for improved estimation of photosynthetic productivity.

Links to Related Projects:
  • SpecNet – Spectral Network
  • CALMIT's Airborne Platform
  • Research Opportunities

    Positions available for motivated postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduate students
    Student Positions: Graduate and undergraduate research opportunities are available (University of Nebraska - Lincoln)

    Duties vary with topic and level of experience & training.

    Applicants should apply via this website. Direct inquiries will not be accepted.


    Latest News

    Remote Sensing of Plant Biodiversity has now been published!


    Selected Publications

    1. Cavender-Bares, J, Gamon JA, Townsend P (Eds) (2020) Remote Sensing of Plant Biodiversity. Springer Nature, Switzerland AG, Cham Switzerland. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33157-3

    2. Wang R, Gamon JA (2019) Remote sensing of terrestrial plant biodiversity.  Remote Sensing of Environment, 231:111218.  doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2019.111218

    3. Gamon JA, Somers B, Malenovsky Z, Middleton E, Rascher U, Schaepman M (2019). Assessing vegetation function with imaging spectroscopy Surveys in Geophysics, Special Issue:Exploring the Earth System with Imaging Spectroscopy 40(3): 489-513. DOI: 10.1007/s10712-019-09511-5

    4. Schweiger AK, Cavender-Bares J, Townsend PA, Hobbie SE, Madritch MD, *Wang R, Tilman D, Gamon JA (2018) Plant spectral diversity integrates functional and phylogenetic components of biodiversity and predicts ecosystem function. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 2:976-982. doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0551-1.

    5. Cavender-Bares J, Gamon JA, Hobbie S, Madritch M, Meireles J, Schweiger A, Townsend P (2017) Harnessing plant spectra to integrate the biodiversity sciences across biological and spatial scales.  American Journal of Botany. 104(7):1-4. doi.org/10.3732/ajb.1700061. 

    6. Gamon JA, Huemmrich KF, *Wong CYS, Ensminger I, Garrity S, Hollinger DY, Noormets A, Peñuelas J (2016) A remotely sensed pigment index reveals photosynthetic phenology in evergreen conifers.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113 (46), 13087-13092 doi:10.1073/pnas.1606162113 published

    7. Gamon JA (2015)Optical sampling of the flux tower footprint.  Biogeosciences 12: 4509-4523.  doi:10.5194/bg-12-4509-2015

    Click here for a more complete list of Dr. Gamon’s publications.