You may think of fungus as something gross and slimy, but it’s actually an important part of the forest ecosystem! Nearly all tree species depend on a symbiotic relationship with one of two types of fungus called AM or ECM (comes from arbuscular mycorrhizal and ectomycorrhizal). Which fungus grows in the trees’ roots determines how nutrients are cycled and many other important things.
We wanted to find a way to classify large areas of trees as either AM or ECM using the information found in satellite imagery. To see if our technique worked, we compared the results of our satellite measurements with observations we made by hiking through four different forest sites across the United States.