Jianguo (Jack) Liu, an associate professor of fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State is leading the research team, which is partially funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Liu received an award from NSF's Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program in 1997 for his work on panda habitat. The MSU team will work with scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and China's Center for Giant Panda Research and Conservation to assess the rates of change in forest cover and giant panda habitat.
Liu's team last year published its findings on their work in Science. Using both data from a recently declassified spy satellite and NASA's Landsat satellites as well as information about the human settlements in the Wolong Reserve, the study showed that panda habitat inside the reserve was destroyed more quickly after the reserve was established.
NASA and the National Institutes of Health are also funding the research.
The team plans to send regular dispatches and images from the field back to the United States. They will be available as a link from the NSF Web site. Additional information also is available on the Michigan State site. See: