Wireless Sensor Networks in Soil EcologyThe recent emergence of small sensors can fundamentally change the way we can approach many scientific problems, some of them totally intractable in the past. Without an autonomous sensor system, experiments in need of accurate information about a multitude of environmental parameters on various spatial and temporal scales require a superhuman effort. The low-power, wireless capabilities of these new sensors result in an easily deployable, scalable design for large-scale monitoring systems. The inexpensive nature of these sensors enable scientists to place a high resolution grid of sensors in the field, and get frequent readouts, providing an extremely rich data set about the correlations and subtle differences among many correlated parameters.
At last, we have the ability to design experiments that study not only the gross effects of the environmental parameters, but rather see the subtle relations between gradients and small temporal changes. This technology is particularly well suited for environmental monitoring where high-resolution, continuous measurements are needed in a heterogeneous habitat.