The Baskett Research and Education Area (BREA), a 2,266-acre facility located five miles east of Ashland, Mo., on Highway Y, is an integral part of the School of Natural Resources (SNR) mission of teaching, research and extension.
BREA is used as an outdoor laboratory for several classes including dendrology, ornithology and resource measurements, and has been the source of more than 125 publications.
One of the unique advantages of BREA is that it is located in the Ozark border region of south-central Missouri, an ecologically important transitional zone between the central hardwood forest region and the central grassland region of the United States.
Current examples of research being conducted by SNR faculty are the MOFLUX project and Deer Cam.
Around the MOFLUX tower, CO2 collectors take measurements around the clock.
At MOFLUX, the MU Department Of Forestry, along with the Environmental Sciences Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division of NOAA, are collaborating on a research project that measures the carbon and water balance of Missouri's oak-hickory forests on a large scale.
This Department of Energy-funded study, an addition to an existing network of "Ameriflux" sites, employs a 106-foot tower that is outfitted with sophisticated analytical equipment measuring CO2, water vapor and meteorological information.
This data can be used to estimate the CO2 and water vapor exchange of up to 250 acres of forest, giving an ecosystem-level answer to when forests are sources and sinks of CO2.
The project will undertake comparative studies with other AmeriFlux sites to examine how CO2 uptake (by photosynthesis) and release (by respiration) change along important climate and vegetation gradients. Also supported by the project are on-going, long-term successional studies at BREA to document historical forest development and forest dynamics at the site.
Deer Cam Project
In the past few decades, engineers and wildlife researchers have been developing advanced communication technologies for wildlife monitoring.
The state-of-the-art technologies for wildlife research are radio tracking and sensor networks. Radio tracking uses a radio transmitter or receiver (attached to a deer) to collect its location information.
There are three distinct types of radio-tracking technologies that are in use today: very high frequency (VHF) radio tracking, satellite tracking and Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking.
Recent technological advances in hardware miniaturization of sensors, low-power microprocessor design and wireless ad hoc networking have enabled the deployment of large-scale wireless sensor networks.
However, these wildlife monitoring technologies do not offer visual information. Wildlife researchers have found that for accurate behavior analysis and interaction modeling, it is imperative to obtain some visual information about the animal's activity as well as the environmental context of the behavior. Otherwise, the wildlife researchers are kept "blind" from the animals, and they fail to understand some important behavioral attributes of the wildlife species.
This project brings video sensing capability to wireless sensor networks and collects important visual information for wildlife behavior analysis and interaction modeling.
It also addresses important issues on energy minimization and performance optimization in video sensing over mobile wireless sensor networks and explores the advantages of video sensor information in wildlife research.
Conducting Research at BREA
To conduct research at BREA, a Thomas S. Baskett Wildlife Research and Education Area Research Study Plan (PDF) must be completed and approved before research begins.