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  Increased Network Capacity and Redundancy – While our proof-of-concept design employed only one gateway for simplicity, the prototype network can use multiple gateways to enhance response time, lengthen network lifetime, and increase reliability. Our current self-assembly algorithms will be extended to allow nodes to dynamicly choose the gateway that best serves it in terms of latency and energy consumption.

Support of High-Resolution Sensing – The proof-of-concept nodes employed an integrated analog-to-digital converter with 10-bit resolution. While sufficient for demonstration of the technology (e.g., measuring temperature and insolation), this resolution is not sufficient for all measurements. In this project, we will be monitoring both heat flux and soil moisture, each of which requires higher precision measurements. Thus our prototype sensors integrate a 12-bit converter, increasing resolution by a factor of four. This resolution supports the broad range of measurements needed in this study, including soil moisture, relative humidity, heat flux, and leaf wetness in addition to temperature and light intensity.

Three areas of ecosystem research in which development of our wireless network technology shows particular promise are: 1) detecting the influence of fine-scale ecological disturbance on environmental conditions and biological diversity, 2) quantifying micro-climatic variability created by the canopy structure and how it influences plant function and diversity in the world’s tallest forests, and 3) determining the effects of microenvironmental scaling on eddy covariance measurements of land-atmosphere energy exchange---a key regulator of ecosystem processes. As described in the next section, we plan to deploy a network of WISARD sensors in each of these field tests.
 
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