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Apple Quietly Extends AirPods Pro Repair Program That Addresses Crackling/Static – MacRumors

Back in October of 2020, Apple introduced a service program to address AirPods Pro issues that could cause them to experience static, crackling sounds, or problems with Active Noise Cancellation. At the time, Apple said the program would cover the ‌AirPods Pro‌ for two years after the retail sale of the unit.

AirPods PRo isolated
Apple has now extended the program, quietly updating the accompanying support document back at the beginning of October. As noted on Reddit, the “Additional Information” section of the page now notes that the program will cover affected ‌AirPods Pro‌ for three years after the first retail sale of the unit, up from the initial two years.

Customers who purchased AirPods at launch in 2019 will now be covered until October 2022 should this issue pop up, and those who bought in 2020 before the repaired version in October 2020 came out can get repairs until 2023.

Faulty ‌AirPods Pro‌ that are in need of repair exhibit the following problems:

  • Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone
  • Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Affected ‌AirPods‌ were manufactured before October 2020, and those who have ‌AirPods Pro‌ experiencing issues can bring them to Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider for service free of charge. Apple says that the ‌‌AirPods Pro‌‌ will be examined prior to service to verify that they’re eligible for the program. ‌‌AirPods Pro‌‌ earbuds demonstrating the issue (left, right, or both) will be replaced.

The program applies only to the ‌AirPods Pro‌ and not the ‌AirPods‌ or the AirPods Max.

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Apple today announced the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Max, all-new models that boast improved cameras, and specifically, a dramatic new Night Mode photo feature.
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Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

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Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

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Apple and Corellium Agree on Settlement to Bring Lawsuit to an End

Tuesday August 10, 2021 11:36 pm PDT by

Apple this week dropped its long-standing lawsuit against Corellium, the security research company that provides security researchers with a replica of the iOS operating system, allowing them to locate possible security exploits within Apple’s mobile operating system, The Washington Post reports.
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YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option.
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macOS 12 Monterey Beta 5 Reveals Updated iWork Icons

Apple is working on updated icons for the macOS versions of its iWork apps, according to images discovered by MacRumors. The new icons are included in the framework of macOS 12 Monterey beta 5 that handles the display of collaboration links in apps such as iMessage.
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Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld.
Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates.
As of last week, these updates no…

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Ancient driftwood tracks 500 years of Arctic warming and sea ice: Fallen trees kept afloat in sea ice reflect accelerated ice loss in the last 30 years – Science Daily

A new study reconstructs the path of frozen trees as they made their way across the Arctic Ocean over 500 years, giving scientists a unique look into changes in sea ice and currents over the last half millennium.

By dating and tracing pieces of driftwood on beaches in Svalbard, Norway’s archipelago in the Arctic Circle, scientists have determined where these fallen trees floated. Retracing the driftwood’s journey let the researchers reconstruct, for the first time, both the level of sea ice over time and the currents that propelled the driftwood-laden ice.

Borne by rivers to the ocean, fallen trees from the north’s expansive boreal forests can be frozen in sea ice and float far, but the new research showsfewer trees are making the long journey as the sea ice that carries them shrinks away.

The new study found a distinct drop in new driftwood arrivals over the last 30 years, reflecting the steep decline in sea ice coverage in a warming Arctic and provides a higher-resolution picture of past Arctic Ocean conditions than other methods allow. The study is published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, which publishes research that advances our understanding of the ocean and its processes.

Sea ice is sensitive to climate change and is an important part of Arctic ecosystems, so understanding how ice, ocean temperatures and currents have varied together over time is necessary for predicting coming changes in the Arctic. But doing so can be elusive: Ice melts, after all. The oldest sea ice is only about four years old (and getting younger), so scientists need to turn to other records.

“This is the first time driftwood has been used to look at large-scale changes in Arctic sea ice dynamics and circulation patterns,” said geoscientist Georgia Hole at the University of Oxford, who led the study.

“They’re taking the analysis one step further to connect changes in driftwood to changes in sea ice, and that’s where we want to go. It’s really exciting,” said Hans Linderholm, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden who was not involved in the research.

Important ice cubes

The Arctic Ocean collects trees that naturally fall into high-latitude rivers in North America and Eurasia. When it was cold enough, some of the trees were frozen into the sea ice. The ice then floated across the ocean, swept along by ocean currents and winds, until beaching on Svalbard’s shores. There they sat, some for hundreds of years, until researchers like Hole and Linderholm came along.

Researchers have used driftwood for climate-change studies before, but the new study is the first to test how useful Arctic driftwood is for peering into past currents and ice coverage. To check their work, the study directly compared driftwood-inferred sea ice coverage to the observational record of sea ice.

“This is a fantastic resource to say something about ocean currents and sea ice conditions,” said Linderholm. “I think they do have a case for matching [tree] provenance changes to changes in sea ice conditions, which is what we’re looking for: to have sea ice information prior to observations.”

Tracing trees

In the summer months of 2016 and 2018, Hole and her collaborators combed several beaches in northern Svalbard for driftwood. Back in the lab, they analyzed the tree rings to determine what kind of tree it was and compared the tree ring patterns of each driftwood slice to a database of measured rings from trees across the boreal forests. Hole could then trace trees to individual countries, watersheds and even rivers and see how driftwood sources varied over time.

Hole paired her driftwood data with early sea ice observations, from 1600 to 1850, thanks to records from Icelandic fishers, seal hunters and passing ships. More recent sea ice data came from airplane and satellite imagery. Finally, she compared driftwood-tracking data with sea ice conditions and currents to see how well they correlated.

Her data revealed a slow and steady northward migration of the lowest-latitude sea ice, reflecting warming, along with swings in driftwood arrivals between North America and Eurasia.

“We also saw an increase in variability in the driftwood record from 1700 to 1850, which we interpret as increased variability in sea ice,” said Hole. Colder conditions tend to have more sea ice, so earlier driftwood reflected a wider range of sources. As the Arctic warmed up and sea ice melted, less driftwood could make the long journey.

The unique method provides nuanced insights that other techniques can’t offer, and this study is just the beginning — until the Arctic loses its sea ice altogether, that is.

“It’s such a fragile system,” Hole said. “If the sea ice does decline as predicted, then this will kind of be a dying field.”

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Everything announced at the Apple event: AirPods 3, new MacBook Pro, HomePod Mini and more – CNET

Apple event live coverage

Apple redesigned its entry-level AirPods.

Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple wants to turn it up to 11 for its AirPods and MacBook Pro laptops. During its October product event Monday, Apple announced revamps for its third-generation AirPods, new M-series MacBook Pro laptops and a series of new colors for its HomePod Mini. The company also announced a price drop for Apple Music, offering a $5 per month “Voice” subscription designed to work with Siri.

Now playing:
Watch this:

The biggest announcements from Apple’s October 2021 event


AirPods 3

Apple redesigned its entry-level AirPods — you can buy the new AirPods 3 today, complete with a free case engraving — to be a kind of in-between of earlier AirPods (still available) and the AirPods Pro. Gone are the Q-Tip looking stems, which now have AirPods Pro-like shortness and sensor controls. The design for your ear has a “contour” that Apple said will fit many ears, and it has smarts that can change how audio sounds based on what it believes your ear is hearing.

The new AirPods offer six hours of listening time and up to 30 hours total after four recharges from their carrying case, which comes with wireless charging for $179 (£169, AU$279). 

Now playing:
Watch this:

Apple introduces AirPods 3


MacBook Pro

MacBook Pros (how to preorder them now) got their biggest upgrade in years. Apple announced its next generation of computers Monday, new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros powered by its new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, which Apple says are much faster and may go further to replace the “Pro” performance computers powered by Intel chips. Out is the Touch Bar, but returning are an HDMI port, an SD card slot and a MagSafe connector. The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999 (£1,899, AU$2,999); the 16-inch model at $2,499 (£2,399, AU$3,749).

The new devices follow last year’s M1-powered Macs, which were the first Apple lineup not powered by a chip made by Intel. Instead, Apple is using ones similar to the chips that power the iPhone, and so far has been getting positive reviews for them. 

Now playing:
Watch this:

New MacBook Pro: MagSafe returns


HomePod Mini

Apple didn’t change last year’s popular $99 (£89, AU$149) HomePod Mini so much as it introduced colorful new design options. Much like it did with the redesigned M1 iMacs earlier this year, Apple introduced “bold” and “fun” colors to its lineup, offering a “pop of color and personality.” Those new hues — blue, yellow and orange — join space gray and white.

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Apple unveils new colors for HomePod Mini


Apple Music ‘Voice’

Apple is taking on Amazon’s $4 per month single-device music plan by offering its own take, called Apple Music Voice. This service, which is $5 per month, is “designed exclusively for Siri.” Think of it as Apple Music, but only on Siri. Apple also added “hundreds” of new “mood and activity playlists” to compete better with Amazon and Spotify.

Our liveblog archive follows.

And that’s it.

10:52 a.m. PT

Clocking in at 49 minutes, Apple’s event wraps up. Nothing changes with the MacBook Air, Mac Pro or Mac Mini and the company didn’t say when MacOS Monterey will be launched, though presumably it would happen when the new Macs land next week.

MacBook Pro has pro-like prices

10:51 a.m. PT



The 14-inch MacBook Pro will be $1,999 and the 16-inch will be $2,499. They can be preordered today, and available next week, Apple said.

The company didn’t say what’s happening to the Intel laptops it used to sell, but this may be it for them. (We’ll know more when Apple’s website is updated after the event.)

Better battery life

10:47 a.m. PT

Apple said the new MacBook Pro gets up to 21 hours of video playback with the 16-inch version and 17 hours with the 14-inch model. The new MagSafe 3 can also charge the laptop up to 50% in a half hour, Apple said.

Apple’s new MacBook Pros have a notch in the display, improved 1080p webcams

So can this beat Intel?

10:46 a.m. PT



Apple a bit of its presentation talking about how much faster its chips can be than its previous version Intel-based laptops. The M1 Max, for example, has 3.7x the performance of a Core i7 MacBook Pro, Apple, said, and graphics performance is up to 13x faster.

Apple said its built-in GPUs are also up to 4x faster than Radeon Pro 5600M from the previous generation MacBook Pro 16-inch.

Upgraded audio for the MacBook Pro

10:44 a.m. PT

Apple said it upgraded the microphones and the speakers in its laptops. That allows for better recording, Apple said. It also has six speakers for audio, allowing for “spatial audio” which includes Dolby Atmos.

Apple upgrades MacBook Pro, bringing back MagSafe charging, HDMI and SD Cards

10:36 a.m. PT



The company redesigned its MacBook Pro with popular features like MagSafe charging, SD card slot and an HDMI port. It comes in 16-inch and 14-inch models, and has more pronounced feet.

Apple got rid of the TouchBar, and instead took the popular keyboard from its Magic Keyboard design, and brought it to the laptop.

The computer supports Thunderbolt 4, Apple said. And they can charge the laptop if you’d prefer. Or you can use MagSafe 3, its newest charging standard, which supports more power throughput.

Meanwhile, Thunderbolt 4 can support 3 Pro Display XDR screens and an HDMI TV.

Apple pulls out all the stops for the MacBook Pro

10:40 a.m. PT

Apple played with the bezel on its laptops, moving its menu bar up into where the bezel used to be in its MacBook Pro screens, with the FaceTime camera now taking up a spot in the middle of the menubar. 

The display is called a “Liquid Retina XDR” display, which has mini-LED lighting from the iPad Pro and like the iPhone 13, can move images as fast as 120hz or step down when there isn’t much happening on the screen. (Apple calls this ProMotion.)

Apple said it has 1,000 nits of sustained brightness, allowing for deeper and more dramatic colors.

The FaceTime camera, meanwhile, has 2x better low-light performance, and offers better video quality with an upgraded 1080p webcam.

How MacOS and Apple’s apps benefit from the M1 chips

10:29 a.m. PT

Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software engineering, said the company’s MacOS software is designed to take advantage of the technology in the M1. He noted that because the CPU and GPU share their memory, they’re able to move data much more quickly than a typical computer, which has separated memory between the GPU and CPU.

To underscore this, he noted upgrades to the company’s pro-apps, like Logic Pro, which can now edit spatial audio on a laptop. Other apps move much quicker as well, he said.

So far, developers have created 10,000 universal apps for Apple Silicon, Apple said.

M1 Max, more-powerful than M1 Pro

10:24 a.m. PT

Apple built the M1 Max to have more GPU performance than the M1 or M1 Pro. It has 1.7x the number of transistors, and supports up to 64GB of “unified” memory. It also has a 32-core GPU.

Johny Srouji, SVP hardware technologies, said Apple’s GPU delivers more performance than a discrete GPU, like those made by Nvidia or AMD, and with 70% less power consumption. 

Compared to the highest end GPU in a laptop, Srouji said, Apple’s GPU uses 100w less power, and outperforms PC laptops plugged in or on battery.

“It’s by far the most capable chip we’ve ever built,” he added.

Apple debuts M1 Pro and M1 Max

10:21 a.m. PT

Apple says it’s “completely reimagining” the MacBook Pro, starting with the “M1 Pro” chip. Johny Srouji, SVP hardware technologies, said one of its biggest benefits is that the new chip can support up to 32GB of memory, and 2x the transistors of last year’s M1. It has 8 high-performance cores, and 2 “efficiency” cores. It also has a 16-core GPU and it supports ProRes video.

M1 Pro can also support multiple displays.

“M1 Pro is unlike anything in a pro computer,” he said.

New AirPods 3

10:15 a.m. PT



Apple’s introducing a third generation of its entry-level AirPods with spatial audio built in. The new devices have a an AirPods Pro-like look, with a similar case and force sensor controls on the stems.

Susmita Dutta, Apple’s engineering program manager, audio, said the company created a new “low distortion driver” and it’s sweat and water resistant.

Apple has a new “contour design,” and also has “adaptive EQ” to change how you hear sounds based on the conditions in your ear canal. 

Apple says it now has 6 hours of listening time on a charge, and up to 30 hours total using the charging case. 

Apple’s including wireless charging for $179. Last generation AirPods, meanwhile, will remain on sale for $129, a $30 discount.

Apple Music introduces $5 ‘Voice’ plan to access tunes solely through Siri

Apple upgrades HomePod Mini with new colors

10:09 a.m. PT



Apple’s adding yellow, orange and blue colors to its $99 HomePod Mini smart speakers. This follows upgrades for the iMac earlier this year, which offered seven colors including orange, yellow and blue as well. The new HomePod Minis will be made available starting in November. (No specific date from Apple yet.)

Upgrading Siri with new playlists and new subscription option

10:07 a.m. PT

Apple begins with a new “voice” plan for its Apple Music service, offering $5 per month to access Apple Music through Siri. The new feature will also allow Apple Music subscribers to ask for a playlist based on what’s going on, like a hike, or dinner party.

It starts with everything Apple ever made

10:03 a.m. PT

Apple began its event with an homage to the iconic startup sounds and various noises you hear from the company’s devices. Someone in their garage is writing a song using them, which is cute.

Then we get Tim Cook. “At Apple, we are focused on creating innovative products and experiences.” He says we’ll be talking about music and the Mac today.

What else?

9:25 a.m. PT

Apple’s also expected to announce new versions of its popular $159 AirPods wireless earbuds. This new version is expected to look similar to the more expensive AirPods Pro, according to reports by Bloomberg, but won’t have the same features like active noise cancellation and “spatial” surround sound

Apple’s also expected to release its next free major Mac software update, MacOS Monterey. As has been the trend for the past few years, Apple put work into melding the Mac, iPad and iPhone even further with this release. While MacOS is still very different from its mobile device cousins, it has features that work much closer with it. Perhaps most dramatic this year is a feature that allows you to use the same keyboard and mouse to interact with a Mac laptop, desktop or iPad at any time.

So far

9 a.m. PT

Apple’s revamp for its MacBook Pros follows earlier upgrades for its computer lines. Earlier this year, Apple upgraded its iMac line with a new entry-level $1,299 M1-powered version that came in seven colors including orange.

Aside from that, Apple’s also released upgraded versions of its $999 MacBook Air, $699 Mac Mini and entry-level $1,299 MacBook Pro. Those upgraded machines didn’t look different on the outside, but CNET’s computer reviewer Dan Ackerman found they offered impressive battery life while still running apps well.

Customers seem to be gobbling them up so far. Apple said it sold so many M1 Macs that the product line helped push its desktop and laptop revenues to an all-time high of $9.1 billion during the first three months of this year. That was up 70% from the same time a year earlier, a dramatic change in an otherwise slow-going market. “Keep in mind, in the five years prior to the pandemic, the Mac was essentially a flat business, growing on average 1% annually,” Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster wrote in May. 

Read more: All the MacBook Pro rumors out there

What we expect

8:30 a.m. PT

Last month, we got the iPhone 13, revamped iPad Mini and newly upgraded entry-level iPad. This time around, we’re expecting Apple will be focusing on its computers. In particular, Apple’s expected to announce new MacBook Pro laptops, with upgraded internal chips. Apple’s in the midst of a significant technology switch, moving from Intel-powered microprocessors to those designed by Apple’s internal teams.

These M-series chips, as Apple calls them, are based on the well-regarded A-series chips that have powered iPads and iPhones since 2010.

The rumor mill suggests that Apple won’t just be upgrading the inside of its performance-focused laptops. It’s also expected to add back a magnetic charging cable (of which I’m a big fan) and HDMI port. It’s also said to be ditching the hotly debated Touch Bar.

Read more: All the rumors ahead of Apple’s big event

And it begins

8 a.m. PT

Hi everyone, welcome to CNET’s liveblog for Apple’s second major product release event this fall. As with events for the past year and a half, Apple will be broadcasting remotely over the internet.

At one point, before the delta variant of the coronavirus really started to surge, I’d wondered whether Apple would return to in-person events this fall. I started preparing in my head about whether I’d be comfortable traveling on a plane, knowing that even though I’m fully vaccinated, there’s a chance I could bring the virus back to my young children. Of course, I could bring it back from the grocery store too, but getting on a plane and traveling across the country seemed like it was a different level of risk.

Fortunately, while parents like me anxiously wait for the government to clear the vaccine for children, I won’t have to face down that choice. Pandemic or no, CNET’s team is here and ready for whatever Apple has to announce today.

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Spectroradiometer “Ray Guns” Let Scientists Use Light Instead of DNA To Tell Plants Apart – SciTechDaily

Spectroradiometer Ray Gun

The “ray gun” instrument, a spectroradiometer. Credit: Courtesy of Lance Stasinski

In Star Trek, characters carry a little handheld device called a tricorder that they can point at objects to analyze and identify them. When the show’s writers cooked up the idea in the 1960s, it was purely science fiction, but a new paper in New Phytologist takes the idea a step closer to reality. The researchers used a handheld device that looks a little like a ray gun to record how plant leaves on different Alaskan mountains reflect light. And, it turns out, different populations of plants of the same species — for instance, plants living on neighboring mountaintops — reflect light differently, in ways that echo their genetic variation from each other.

“While trained biologists can usually walk into the field and identify species with their eyes, it takes expensive genetic analyses to reveal the populations — groups of individuals of the same species within a gene pool — that are so important for conservation and evolutionary research,” . says Dawson White, a postdoctoral researcher at Chicago’s Field Museum and the study’s co-lead author. “In this new study, we’ve shown that you can use light instead of <span aria-describedby="tt" class="glossaryLink" data-cmtooltip="

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a molecule composed of two long strands of nucleotides that coil around each other to form a double helix. It is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms that carries genetic instructions for development, functioning, growth, and reproduction. Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA. Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).

“>DNA to define plant populations, at a similar level of detail. This new method is a lot faster and cheaper than genetic testing, which could dramatically increase our efficiency at mapping and monitoring biodiversity.”

Dryas Plants

Dryas plants on an Alaskan mountaintop. Credit: Courtesy of Catherine Chan

“DNA is like an instruction manual on how to build an organism, and it turns out that this manual contains instructions for building and combining the smallest individual parts that make up that organism,” says Lance Stasinski, a graduate student researcher at the University of Maine and the paper’s other co-lead author. “We are able to use light that is reflected from these parts to determine which instruction manual was used to build the organism — even when the instruction manuals vary by only a handful of words.”

All living things contain DNA, and the more similar two organisms’ DNA is, the more closely related to each other they are. That’s true both between and within species — your DNA is more similar to a chimpanzee’s than to a dog’s, because we’re more closely related to chimps, and your DNA is closer to your cousin’s than to a random stranger on the other side of the world. The same is true for plants: even within a single species, there are variations in DNA from one population to another.

Genetic research has shown that sometimes these variations appear at a very fine scale — for instance, plants from one species on one mountaintop can form groups that have slightly different DNA than the plants on a mountaintop just a few miles away. When populations split like this, that means that they’re not sharing pollen or seeds with each other and are genetically isolated.

Dawson White Analyzing Dryas Plants

Researcher Dawson White analyzing Dryas plants in Alaska. Credit: Courtesy of Dawson White

Scientists study these differences in DNA to tell one plant population from another, but it’s an arduous task — they have to collect the plant samples, store them, get permits to move them to the lab, then go through the many steps to actually sequence the plant’s genetic code and compare them. It’s a process that takes weeks or even months. In this new study, however, the researchers have found another method to determine how closely related two plant populations are to each other, one that could eventually be done almost instantaneously out in the field. This is where the ray guns come in.

Spectroradiometers are instruments that measure how much light reflects off a surface and what wavelengths that light contains. The instrument itself fits in a backpack, and there’s a handheld probe attached to a fiber optic cable that looks like a little ray gun. Agricultural scientists use these instruments to analyze the light bouncing back off of leaves to detect disease. But this new study revealed that the light bouncing off of leaves varies from one population of plants to the next.

“Leaves have evolved to interact with light, and these machines are recording differences in the light after photons have entered the leaves and been absorbed or bounced around based on different chemistry and structure,” explains White. “This instrument reads the visible and infrared light that bounces back off of the leaf, and that information can give you a tremendous amount of information about the chemistry and structure of the leaf.”

Catherine Chan Analyzing Dryas Plants

Researcher Catherine Chan analyzing Dryas plants in Alaska. Credit: Courtesy of Dawson White

White and his colleagues from the Schoodic Institute and the University of Maine brought the spectrometer with them to alpine habitats in Alaska to study a small evergreen shrub called Dryas. They then scanned the plants’ leaves and collected samples of the plants so they could analyze the DNA later on.

“Our fieldwork is aimed at collecting reflectance data on plant communities at many different scales, genotypes in this study and separate species or coarser plant functional types in other studies. We use these reflectance signatures of plants in many studies to map vegetation using our UAV-based imagery and <span aria-describedby="tt" class="glossaryLink" data-cmtooltip="

Established in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. It’s vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity."

“>NASA’s AVIRIS ng airborne sensor. More precise information from the ground and air about vegetation like this has many uses in these tundra, from quantifying wildlife habitat to inferring underground permafrost dynamics,” says Peter R. Nelson, forest ecology director at Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park and associate faculty at the University of Maine,  School of Forest Resources.

The scientists found that from one mountaintop to the next, the leaves reflected back different amounts of light at different wavelengths. And, once they sequenced the plants’ genomes, they found that these differences in reflectances corresponded neatly with plants’ genetic differences. That means that looking at the light a plant reflects can be a quick, reliable substitute for lengthy genetic testing for researchers in the field trying to determine if a population of plants is genetically unique.

“We were very surprised to find that the different mountaintops were genetically isolated, so they are not sharing pollen or seeds, and moreover, that we could detect these different mountaintops with genetics or this new spectral method,” says White.

“The fact that leaf spectra capture genetic variation so well even in a biologically complicated scenario is incredibly promising. As the technology and models improve, we hope to be able to detect diversity using spectra measured from UAVs with the same levels of <span aria-describedby="tt" class="glossaryLink" data-cmtooltip="

How close the measured value conforms to the correct value.

“>accuracy that we do using the backpack spectrometer.,” says Dudu Meireles, a professor at the University of Maine.

Being able to tell one genetic population of plants from another could be critical for scientists working to preserve threatened populations.

“Now that we understand that each one of these mountaintops is genetically unique, that means that there are implications for conservation,” says Rick Ree, a curator at the Field Museum and one of the study’s authors. “If we want to try and maintain genetic diversity through time, especially given the shrinking habitats of alpine ecosystems due to climate change, then the implication that we should be sampling from every mountaintop.”

Reference: “Reading Light: Leaf spectra capture fine-scale diversity of closely-related, hybridizing arctic shrubs” by Lance Stasinski, Dawson M. White, Peter R. Nelson, Richard H. Ree and José Eduardo Meireles, 12 September 2021, New Phytologist.
DOI: 10.1111/nph.17731

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