Events - 20/05/2019


Time flies like an arrow and we have already crossed the equator of the TRUSTEE project. The mid-term meeting along with new network  trainings were held in September at the University of Milano-Bicocca. For Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) from the Northern countries it seemed like a return to Summer. However, it’s not yet time to rest  – time to report.

Mid-term meeting

The project passed an evaluation by the European Research Executive Agency (REA). Each ESR gave a presentation on his current achievements and future perspectives for the project external reviewer, the EU officer and TRuSTEE supervisory board members.  Additionally, we all got clearer understanding of potential collaborations achievable between ESRs.

Technical course 4 – Sentinel-2 for for Agriculture Monitoring Activities (Sen2-Agri)

Prior to the mid-term meeting, the ESRs participated in a three-day workshop organized by CS Systeme d’Information at the University of Milano-Bicocca. This technical course gave the ESRs a chance to get their hands dirty and work with the Sen2-Agri toolbox (, a tool designed to fully exploit Sentinel-2 data for the operational monitoring of agriculture activities. The workshop was led by Omar Barillero (CS) and Mickael Savinaud (CS);  they first introduced how satellite data series can be used to monitor agriculture activities on a global scale. The ensuing sessions were practical with a first introduction to the  installation and configuration of the Sen2Agri system, followed by hands on data sessions. Applications included using Sen2Agri with Sentinel-2 data to derive cloud-free reflectance composites,  vegetation status indicators, and crop type classification maps. The ESRs also learned how to do a basic manual atmospheric corrections and compared it against an automated method through the MACCS/MAJA software. Through all this, the ESRs got a chance to work with SNAP, python and command line interfaces, where they learned, most importantly, that warnings, while ugly, are not errors.

Thematic workshop 2 – Plant traits, retrieval and web design

During this workshop, lectures and hands-on exercises were focused in how to use remotely sensed data for applications in natural ecosystems. Ranging from individual plant level to the global scale, the ESRs learnt about statistical approaches for vegetation studies at several levels. Talie Musavi (MPI) gave a detailed explanation about plant traits, starting from the basics (e.g. how to measure them) and their origins, and reaching to more complicated aspects, as predicting small ecological processes taking places at local or even global level. With Alexander Damm (University of Zurich), the ESRs were able to discuss about radiative transfer models and fluorescence spectroscopy to assess physiological trait information and the difficulties linked with their use. Giulia Tagliabue and Marco Celesti (UNIMIB) taught the ESRs how to use ARTMO (add we), a GUI that provides tools for running and inverting several radiative transfer models at leaf and canopy level. Mirco Boschetti and Monica Pepe (CNR-IREA) gave a lecture about the use of web-based GIS portals as a tool that can be easily accessible by the non-scientific and scientific communities. On this line, and to conclude the workshop, Matteo Mattavelli (UNIMIB) worked with the ESRs to solve real-life problems using GIS softwares, evaluating the water supply of the Valtellina Valley to the Adda river catchment (Italy) and calculating the mass balance of the Rutor glacier (Italy).

Conferences and Secondments

After the mid-term meeting and training courses in Milano, some ESRs still needed more time together with four ESRs presenting their research at the 10th International Conference on Ecological Informatics (ICEI 2018) held in Jena, Germany between 24-28 September. Laura (VITO) presented on the “Remote sensing for the observation of senescence in Conference pear tree”, Egor (UT) gave some insights on ‘SCOPE model inversion for Sentinel-3 data retrieval’, Daniel elaborated on the “Sensitivity of potential gross primary productivity to climate drivers’ and David gave a talk on “Nutrient induced changes in Sun-Induced Fluorescence emission in a Mediterranean grassland”

Many ESRs continued with their nomadic lifestyle through their planned secondments. Egor (UT) and David (MPI) switched identities for a few months, each going to the eachother’s institution. Vicente (CSIC)  joined Egor (UT) in Jena, along with local ESR Daniel (MPI), for a 3-month stay at the MPI.

Egor (UT) and Laura (VITO) at the ICEI 2018.


Egor (UT) and Vicente (CSIC) at the MPI-BGC during their secondment along with local ESR Daniel (MPI). Can you spot at least 5 differences between the two consecutive days 19-20  November?

Egor Prikaziuk (UT), Khelvi Birukova (UNIMIB) and David Martini (MPG) took part in the International network on remote sensing of terrestrial and aquatic fluorescence (FLEX-meeting) in Davos, Switzerland,  5-8 of March 2019. The meeting was devoted to the ESA Fluorescence Explorer (FLEX) satellite mission to be launched in 2023. This hyperspectral satellite, in tandem with Sentinel-3, will provide measurements of sun-induced fluorescence (SIF), an indicator of plant state and photosynthesis.

During the conference, validation data collection at local scale, with FLOX instrument, and regional scale, with HyPlant airborne sensor, were discussed. Most of the talks were devoted to drivers of SIF and its relation to photosynthesis. David Martini presented a poster on a year of daily FLOX data analysis: Time series of Sun-Induced Fluorescence, Gross Primary productivity and Transpiration in a Mediterranean grassland. He also gave an oral talk dedicated to Mechanistic processes driving Sun-Induced Fluorescence and Gross Primary Production under nutrient manipulation. Khelvi Birukova discussed directional anisotropy of SIF signal with her poster Characterization of sun-induced fluorescence and PRI anisotropy based on field spectroscopy data. Egor Prikaziuk presented Global sensitivity analysis of coupled SCOPE-6S model to show the relative importance of vegetation and atmosphere parameters in simulated canopy spectra.


Vicente (CSIC) participating in the ‘Feria de madrid por la Ciencia y la Innovación’

Vicente Burchard (CSIC) had a chance to share his science and passion for remote sensing with non-scientific public during the Madrid Fair for Science and Innovation (‘Feria de Madrid por la Ciencia y la Innovación’: held between  28th-31st of March as part of The Week of Education (‘La Semana de la Educación’), a large educational and scientific event held in Madrid, Spain. During this session, Vicente shared some basic knowledge, concepts and applications of remote sensing with students ranging from primary to secondary school, as well as with some curious adults. It was a really great and refreshing experience being able to interact with the general public about the vast potential of remote sensing!

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