Lynn Fenstermaker

Dr. Lynn F. Fenstermaker: Professional Qualifications/CV

Title: Associate Research Professor and Director, Nevada Desert Research CenterW P1000525 DRI-Webpage Dr. Lynn Fenstermaker
Affiliation: Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Location: DRI Las Vegas
Phone: 702.862.5412

Keywords: remote sensing, climate change, physiological ecology, ecosystem monitoring and assessment, UAS, unmanned aerial systems


Professional Interests                                                                                      

Dr. Lynn Fenstermaker has experience and interests in the use of remotely sensed data to map, monitor, and assess the effect of environmental stressors on vegetation at small and large scales. She has served as Director of two NSHE climate change experiments; the Nevada Desert FACE (Free Air CO2 Enrichment) Facility and the Mojave Global Change Facility and is currently Director of the NV Climate-ecohydrological Assessment Network (NevCAN).  All three of these projects have been examining various aspects of climate change impacts on the Mojave and Great Basin Deserts. Some of her recent research on evapotranspiration has scaled leaf and canopy measurements to plant community and ecosytem levels using remotely sensed data from ground, UAV and satellite sources. Dr. Fenstermaker is the DRI liaison for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and has worked with the University of Nevada Las Vegas to develop a Class I UAS platform. This platform has been used for several years to acquire multispectral and color images of research plots to assess climate change treatment effects and basic plant cover information.

Research Areas of Interest and Expertise

Use of remote sensing, including unmanned platforms, to address plant ecophysiological issues such as plant response to environmental and anthropogenic stress, ecosystem status and trends, and ecosystem response to global climate change.

Recent Projects



Ph.D. 2003 University of Nevada, Las Vegas Biology
M.S. 1986 Pennsylvania State University Agronomy
B.S. 1981 Pennsylvania State University Environmental Resource Management


Follow this link to the publications destination.

Selected Publications

Dr. Fenstermaker has authored or co-authored 40+ publications and technical reports. A selection of recent publications include:

Arnone III, JA, RL Jasoni, LF Fenstermaker, RS Nowak, and SD Smith (ready for submission)  Elevated CO2 reduces net ecosystem carbon uptake but does not reduce H2O losses.

Conrad, B, LF Fenstermaker, MH Young, B Bird and D Devitt (In Review) Estimating sensible heat in the Great Basin, Nevada using a large aperature scintillometer. Journal of Arid Land.

Fenstermaker, LF, RL Jasoni, JA Arnone III, and DA Devitt, (2012) Impact of pixel versus footprint approaches on empirically derived ET estimates from Landsat TM, pp 202-205, in CMU Neale and MH Cosh (editors)  IAHS/AISH  Remote Sensing and Hydrology, Proceedings of  a Symposium organized by the International Commission on Remote Sensing of IAHS, Jackson Hole, WY, 27-30 September, 2010, IAHS Publ 352.

McGwire, K, M Weltz, J Finzel, C Morris, L Fenstermaker and D McGraw, (2012) Multiscale assessment of green leaf cover in a semi-arid rangeland with a small unmanned aerial vehicle. International Journal of Remote Sensing 34:1615-1632. 

Devitt D, LF Fenstermaker, MH Young, B Conrad, BM Bird and M Baghzouz, (2011) Evapotranspiration of mixed shrub communities in phreatophytic zones of the Great Basin. Ecohydrology. DOI: 10.1002/eco.169.

Baghzouz M, DA Devitt, LF Fenstermaker and MH Young, (2010) Monitoring vegetation phenological cycles in two different semi-arid environmental settings using a ground based NDVI system: A potential approach to improve satellite data interpretation. Remote Sensing, 2:990-1013, doi:10.3390/rs2040990.

Smith, SD, TN Charlet, LF Fenstermaker and BA Newingham, (2009)  Effects of Global Change on Mojave Desert Ecosystems, 41 pp in RH Webb, LF Fenstermaker, JS Heaton, DL Hughson, EV McDonald, DM Miller (editors), The Mojave Desert: Ecosystem Processes and Sustainability, University of Nevada Press, Reno NV.

The Mojave Desert: Ecosystem Processes and Sustainability, (2009)  RH Webb, LF Fenstermaker, JS Heaton, DL Hughson, EV McDonald, DM Miller (editors), University of Nevada Press, Reno NV.

Wohlfahrt, G, A Haslwanter, L Hörtnagl, RL Jasoni, LF Fenstermaker, JA Arnone III and A Hammerle, (2009) On the consequences of the energy imbalance for calculating surface conductance to water vapour. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 149:1556-1559.

Young, MH, TG Caldwell, DG Meadows and LF Fenstermaker, (2009) Variability of soil physical and hydraulic properties at the Mojave Global Change Facility, Nevada: implications for water budget and evapotranspiration. Journal of Arid Environments, doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2009.01.015

Wohlfahrt, G., L.F. Fenstermaker and JA Arnone III, (2008) Large annual net ecosystem CO2 uptake of a Mojave Desert ecosystem. Global Change Biology, 14:1475-1487.

Devitt, DA, R.L. Morris, M. Baghzouz, M. Lockett, L.K. Fenstermaker, (2005) Water quality changes in golf course irrigation ponds transitioning to reuse. Hort Science, 40(7): 2151-2156.

Devitt, D.A., R.L. Morris, L.F. Fenstermaker, M. Baghzouz and D.S. Neuman, (2005) Foliar Damage and Flower Production of Landscape Plants Sprinkle Irrigated with Reuse Water. Hort Science, 40(6):1871-1878.

Devitt, D.A., R.L. Morris, and L.F. Fenstermaker, (2005) Foliar Damage, Spectral Reflectance and Tissue Ion Concentrations of Trees Sprinkle Irrigated with Waters of Similar Salinity but Different Chemical Composition. Hort Science, 40(3):819-826.

Fenstermaker, L.K., T. N. Charlet, T.E. Huxman, J.S. Coleman, R.S. Nowak, and S.D. Smith, (2002) Global Climate Change Research in the Nevada Desert. Pages 97-106 in D.A.Charlet (editor). Nevada Environmental Issues, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, IA.

Stanley D. Smith, Travis E. Huxman, Stephen F. Zitzer, Therese N. Charlet, David C. Housman, James S. Coleman, Lynn K. Fenstermaker, Jeffrey R. Seemann, and Robert S. Nowak, (2000) Elevated CO2 Increases Productivity and Invasive Species Success in an Arid Ecosystem. Nature 408:79-82.

McGwire, K., T. Minor and L. Fenstermaker, (2000) Hyperspectral Mixture Modeling for Quantifying Sparse Vegetation Cover in Arid Environments. Remote Sensing of Environment 72(3):360-374.

Fenstermaker, L.K., D.A. Devitt, D.E. Pataki, and S.D. Smith, (1999) Spatial Variations in Evapotranspiration of a Riparian Tamarix Community. Abstracts, The Ecological Society of America, 84th Annual Meeting. August 8-12, 1999, Spokane WA, p. 249.

Gamon J.A., L.K. Fenstermaker, and D.A. Sims, (1999) Optical detection of early CO2 treatment effects at the Nevada Desert FACE Facility. Ecological Society of America, Annual Meeting, Spokane WA.

Devitt, D.A., A. Sala, S.D. Smith, J.A. Cleverly, L.K. Shaulis, and R. Hammett, (1998)
Bowen Ratio Estimates of evapotranspiration for Tamarix ramosissima stands on the Virgin River in southern Nevada. Water Resources Research 34(9):2407-2414.

Fenstermaker-Shaulis, L.K., A. Lesky, and D. Devitt, (1997) Utilization of Remotely Sensed Data to Map and Evaluate Turfgrass Stress Associated with Drought. Journal of Turfgrass Management 2(1):65-81.

Fenstermaker, L.K. and J.R. Miller, (1994) Identification of Fluvially-Redistributed Mill Tailings Using High Spectral Resolution Aircraft Data. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 60(8):989-995.

Lunetta, R.S., R.G. Congalton, L.K. Fenstermaker, J.R. Jensen, K.C. McGwire, and L.R. Tinney, (1991) Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System Data Integration: Error Sources and Research Issues. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 57(6):677-687.

Recent Conferences

Fenstermaker LF, DA Devitt, LS Saito, JA Arnone III, F Biondi, BR Riddle, MJ Walker, RL Jasoni, S Strachan, B Bird, G McCurdy and B Lyles (2011) Monitoring climate variability and change along two elevation gradients in the Mojave and Great Basin Deserts.  96th Ecological Society of America (ESA) Meeting, August 7-12, 2011  Austin TX.

Saito, LS, F Biondi, L Fenstermaker, J Arnone, D Devitt, B Riddle, and M Young (2011) The Nevada NSF EPSCoR infrastructure for climate change science, education, and outreach project:  investigations of ecological change and water resources along elevational gradients in arid environments. World Environmental and Water Resources Congress, May 22-26, 2011, Palm Springs CA

Fenstermaker LF, RL Jasoni, JA Arnone III, DA Devitt and C Kratt (2010) Impact of pixel versus footprint approaches on empirically derived ET estimates from Landsat TM.  Remote Sensing and Hydrology 2010,  Sept 2010, Jackson Hole, WY.

Fenstermaker LF and MH Young (2009) Carbon Flux and Spectral Response of Biological Soil Crust to Soil Moisture Status. ASA-CSSA-SSSA 2009 International Annual Meeting, November 1-5, 2009, Pittsburgh, PA.

Young, MH, LF Fenstermaker and J Zhu  (2009)  Near-Surface Water Content and Carbon Flux in Biological Soil Crust. AGU Chapman Conference Examining Ecohydrological Feedbacks of Landscape Change Along Elevation Gradients in Semiarid Regions, October 4-8, 2009, Boise and Sun Valley, ID.

Fentermaker, LF, BA Newingham, SD Smith and TN Charlet (2009) Spectral Assessment of Mojave Global Change Treatment Effects.  Abstracts, The Ecological Society of America, 94th Annual Meeting, August 2-7, 2009, Albuquerque, NV, PS 6-63.


Atmospheric Sciences (DAS)
Air quality and atmospheric research including meteorology, visibility and pollutant transport.

Western Regional Climate Center
Climate Information and Data Services
Providing jointly developed products, services and capabilities that enhance the delivery of public climate info.

Diversity at DRI
An Inclusive Mission of Research Excellence
Diversity at DRI
Offering a supportive and diverse environment for our students, faculty/staff and visitors.

Land and Life
Earth and Ecosystems Sciences (DEES)
Research into changing landscapes including the soils, plants, animals and humans that affect them.

K-12 Outreach and Education
Supporting Nevada educators in science-based, environmental education with free tools, resources, and training.

Renewable Energy at DRI
Discovering New Energy Production Methods
dri-renewable-energyExpanding renewable energy research throughout Nevada and around the U.S.

Hydrologic Sciences (DHS)
Study of the natural and human factors that influence the availability and quality of water resources.

DRI Nevada Medal Event
2014 Medalist - Dr. Albert "Yu-Min" Lin
Proudly honoring outstanding achievement in science and engineering with gala events in Reno and Las Vegas.

Nevada Center of Excellence
Supporting Nevada's Economic Development
Center of ExcellenceCombining NSHE water expertise and IBM’s advanced technologies to grow tomorrow's workforce.