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Botanists research plant characteristics like their physiological processes, their evolutionary history, resistance to disease, relationships to other parts of the Biosphere or sphere within the Earth System.

Tiny plants called phytoplankton grow in the sunlit waters of the ocean's surface. Like all plants, phytoplankton contain chlorophyll, a pigment that transforms sunlight into energy the plant can use. This same pigment gives phytoplankton their greenish color.

One of the key "vital signs" of Earth's vegetation is the total green leaf area for a given ground area. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites collects global Leaf Area Index (LAI) data on a daily basis.

The colors on these maps show a measure of the "greenness" of Earth's landscapes. The values on these maps—ranging from -0.1 to 0.9—have no unit.

Model analyst develops models to help visualize, observe, and predict complicated data. Model analysis is the process of taking large amounts of data and separate it into a structure that makes it intelligible to the binary process of computers.


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