Agricultural Applications of CENS ESS Technology

Understanding the relationship between ecological processes and environmental conditions requires parallel research in a variety of ecosystems and habitat types. With this goal in mind, the Terrestrial Sensing Group of the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) is working to develop sensors network systems at other field stations. The Gump Station provides a unique opportunity to expand sensing to a tropical ecosystem. This station routinely hosts a variety of researchers in the fields such as terrestrial ecology, marine biology, archeology, and oceanography. It is also collaborating with a local Tahitian non-profit organization, Te Pu 'Atiti'a on an ethnobotanical garden and cultural center (Atitia Center). 
The CENS Terrestrial Group is working on two related projects at the Gump Station.
Project 1: Garden sensor network
The first project involves the deployment of a sensor network within an area of the garden already planted with a variety of local food crops. Once a dense sensor network is installed, researchers will be able to use this "smart" garden for studies in areas such as plant physiology, comparisons of traditional and modern agricultural techniques, cultivation of medicinal plant species, weed/pest control, and effects of invasive plant species on canopy light regimes. CENS technology infrastructure will also enable other terrestrial and marine researchers to start using sensor networks in their own studies.
Project 2: Ethnobotany of Sweet Potato Agriculture and Lunar Planting Calendars
The second project is an ethnobotanical study conducted by UCR graduate student, Sean Askay. This study is using microclimate and soil sensor arrays to evaluate the influence of weather conditions and the synodical lunar rhythm on the success of local sweet potato crops (Ipomea batatas), as predicted by traditional Tahitian agricultural and ecological knowledge.
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Project Information