Towards Quantitative Optical Cross Sections in Entomological Laser Radar - Potential of Temporal and Spherical Parameterizations for Identifying Atmospheric Fauna

PLoS One. 2015 Aug 21;10(8):e0135231. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135231. eCollection 2015.


In recent years, the field of remote sensing of birds and insects in the atmosphere (the aerial fauna) has advanced considerably, and modern electro-optic methods now allow the assessment of the abundance and fluxes of pests and beneficials on a landscape scale. These techniques have the potential to significantly increase our understanding of, and ability to quantify and manage, the ecological environment. This paper presents a concept whereby laser radar observations of atmospheric fauna can be parameterized and table values for absolute cross sections can be catalogued to allow for the study of focal species such as disease vectors and pests. Wing-beat oscillations are parameterized with a discrete set of harmonics and the spherical scatter function is parameterized by a reduced set of symmetrical spherical harmonics. A first order spherical model for insect scatter is presented and supported experimentally, showing angular dependence of wing beat harmonic content. The presented method promises to give insights into the flight heading directions of species in the atmosphere and has the potential to shed light onto the km-range spread of pests and disease vectors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atmosphere / analysis
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Flight, Animal / physiology*
  • Insect Control
  • Insect Vectors / anatomy & histology
  • Insect Vectors / pathogenicity
  • Insect Vectors / physiology*
  • Insecta / anatomy & histology
  • Insecta / pathogenicity
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Lasers
  • Remote Sensing Technology / instrumentation*
  • Wings, Animal / anatomy & histology
  • Wings, Animal / physiology

Grant support

The continuous support from Ernst van Groningen, International Science Program, Uppsala, is greatly appreciated. Hyperspectral imaging was performed with Hyspex push broom cameras, kindly provided by Norsk Elektro Optikk A/S. This project also received funding from the Swedish Research Council through Linnaeus grants to the Centre for Animal Movement Research and the Lund Laser Centre. Mikkel Brydegaard is employed part time by Norsk Elektro Optikk AS and part time by Lund University. The specific roles of the author are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.