Affordable Open-Source Data Loggers for Distributed Measurements of Sap-Flux, Stem Growth, Relative Humidity, Temperature, and Soil Water Content

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Timothy Anderson, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, United States
Characterizing the mechanisms that lead to differences in forest ecosystem productivity across complex terrain remains a challenge. This difficulty can be partially attributed to the cost of installing networks of proprietary data loggers that monitor differences in the biophysical factors contributing to tree growth. Here, we describe the development and initial application of a network of open source data loggers. These data loggers are based on the Arduino platform, but were refined into a custom printed circuit board (PCB). This reduced the cost and complexity of the data loggers, which made them cheap to reproduce and reliable enough to withstand the harsh environmental conditions experienced in Ecohydrology studies. We demonstrate the utility of these loggers for high frequency, spatially-distributed measurements of sap-flux, stem growth, relative humidity, temperature, and soil water content across 36 landscape positions in the Lubrecht Experimental Forest, MT, USA. This new data logging technology made it possible to develop a spatially distributed monitoring network within the constraints of our research budget and may provide new insights into factors affecting forest productivity across complex terrain.