Salford scientist to lead Royal Society international research meeting

Salford scientist to lead Royal Society international research meeting

Professor Mark Danson from the School of Environment & Life Sciences has won support from the Royal Society to lead a Theo Murphy International Scientific Meeting to be held at The Society’s Chicheley Hall in February 2017. The meeting will bring together a star line-up of researchers from around the world to discuss “The terrestrial laser scanning revolution in forest ecology”. Meeting co-organizers are from the University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Newcastle and University College London, and amongst the sixteen invited speakers are researchers from Australia, United States, Finland, Netherlands and the UK.


Terrestrial laser scanners, or TLS for short, provide detailed three-dimensional measurements of forests, by firing millions of laser pulses up into the canopy.  The information recorded can then be used to measure forest structure with unprecedented accuracy, particularly the size and shape of the trees, as well as their mass. These measurements are set to revolutionize the way in which ecologists and other scientists measure forests, particularly their change over time, and will help determine whether forests are acting as carbon sinks, absorbing excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, or carbon sources, adding to the greenhouse effect. 


The Royal Society support builds on Salford’s outstanding track-record in the rapidly developing field of TLS for environmental applications, including a new instrument, the Salford Advance Canopy Analyser (SALCA), developed by Professor Danson’s team. Previous support for the research has been provided by the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council, and U.S. National Science Foundation.


The meeting will lead to a Special Themed issue of the Royal Society’s inter-disciplinary journal Interface Focus, with Professor Danson as lead editor. Professor Danson said: “This support from the UK’s most eminent scientific society will be a showcase Salford’s world-leading research in TLS applications in ecology. It will also provide a forum for developing this research field, along with other key players from around the world”.



IMAGE:   Three dimensional forest ‘range’ image from the Salford Advanced Laser Canopy Analyser