Using phenocams to monitor our changing Earth: toward a global phenocam network.

Publicado en Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment Vol. 14(2), pp. 84-93 

Brown, T.B., Hultine, K.R., Steltzer, H., Denny, E.G., Denslow, M.W., Granados, J., Henderson, S., Moore, D., Nagai, S., SanClements, M., Sánchez-Azofeifa, G.A., Sonnentag, O., Tazik, D. and Richardson, A.D.

Año de publicación 2016
  • Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • Department of Research, Conservation and Collections, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ
  • Department of Biology, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO
  • USA National Phenology Network, National Coordinating Office, and School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
  • Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
  • IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • National Ecological Observatory Network, Boulder, CO
  • School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
  • Department of Environmental Geochemical Cycle Research, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan
  • National Ecological Observatory Network, Boulder, CO
  • Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Département de géographie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada
  • National Ecological Observatory Network, Boulder, CO
  • Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 




Proyecto CRN3025


• Automated digital time-lapse cameras (phenocams) are powerful tools for recording and understanding ecological responses to global environmental change

• Documenting such changes in the environment is critical for informed decision making and to reduce or counteract negative outcomes

• Advances in digital imaging, computing, and networking technologies provide new opportunities for phenological monitoring, and the availability of low-cost, easy-to-use camera hardware brings the goal of developing a global environmental monitoring network within reach of most researchers

• Standardization of practices and metadata recording will improve the utility of phenocams and facilitate their integration with other monitoring methods 


Rapid changes to the biosphere are altering ecological processes worldwide. Developing informed policies for mitigating the impacts of environmental change requires an exponential increase in the quantity, diversity, and resolution of field-collected data, which, in turn, necessitates greater reliance on innovative technologies to monitor ecological processes across local to global scales. Automated digital time-lapse cameras -"phenocams"- can monitor vegetation status and environmental changes over long periods of time. Phenocams are ideal for documenting changes in phenology, snow cover, fire frequency, and other disturbance events. However, effective monitoring of global environmental change with phenocams requires adoption of data standards. New continental-scale ecological research networks, such as the USNational Ecological Observatory Network ( NEON ) and the European Union&rsquos Integrated Carbon Observation System ( ICOS ), can serve as templates for developing rigorous data standards and extending the utility of phenocam data through standardized ground-truthing. Open-source tools for analysis, visualization, and collaboration will make phenocam data more widely usable.