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Technology & Infrastructure

SEGA cyberinfrastructure (CI) is a critical component of the experimental gardens. It is a fully integrated cyber-physical design with:

  • Physical control of temperature across the 1500-m elevational gradient
  • A sensor-actuator network to support garden- and plot-level sensing of key ecological variables
  • Cyber control of water availability using a sensor-actuator network to facilitate precise control of irrigation at individual plants, allowing design of experiments that combine control of temperature and water availability.
  • Modular, parallel-processing and energy-aware node hardware design allowing real-time sensing and actuation
  • Each garden will be connected to the internet via cellular or satellite modems, and all sensing and actuation will be backed by centralized systems for data processing, archival, visualization, analysis, and automatic control.

The combination of in situ and centralized CI will make possible inter-garden experiments to reveal the separate and combined effects of temperature and rainfall on plant and plant community growth and survival. The CI is designed to enable future extensions to additional gardens and new experimental designs, including subtractive control of precipitation using active rain-out shelters and plant-level control of air or soil temperature.

Physical infrastructure consists of:

  • Perimeter fencing for a minimum of 5 acres at each site (designed in consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to minimize disruption of wildlife. This will exclude elk, deer, javelina, and livestock.
  • Within a site, researchers may use additional fencing and exclusion methods to prevent the consumption of plants by rodents and other animals.
  • Connections to existing water sources and large (2,500 gallon or more) water storage tanks at every site. Water use at each site is anticipated to range from 50,000 to 250,000 gallons of water per year.
  • All SEGA gardens include a 1800W solar power system for water pumping and powering instrumentation.  The Arboretum at Flagstaff gardens and Bradshaw Ranch garden include grid power.
  • Irrigation systems will be a mix of above- and below-ground lines to minimize trenching but maximize functionality and longevity of the system.


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