Elizabeth (Betty) Walter-Shea

Elizabeth (Betty) Walter-Shea

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Expertise & Interests
  • Grants
  • Advising
  • Courses Taught
  • Outreach

Title Environmental Biophysicist with emphasis in Remote Sensing
Address 803 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
Phone 402-472-1553
FAX 402-472-2946
E-mail ewalter-shea1@unl.edu
Vitae Download file

Hi, I'm Betty Walter-Shea, professor in the School of Natural Resources. I've been on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty since 1989 as a researcher and instructor.

My area of interest is in the study of light interactions in vegetative canopies and how this relates to plant functioning. I've also been interested in relating the light, which is reflected from vegetation, to plant status and using those relations to infer the status of plants from the reflected signal (field-based remote sensing). The light interaction in vegetation is highly dependent on the direction and quality of the light, the angle of view and the amount and display of leaf material. Critical variables are the time of day, viewing direction (relative to the sun), sky condition and the type and condition of vegetation.

Elizabeth Walter-Shea
Betty Walter-Shea demonstrates to students how to properly install instrumentation to measure components of net radiation energy.

My recent research has been on the study of remote-sensing estimates of photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by maize and soybean crops as part of a carbon-sequestration (storage) program. I have been involved in several experiments in which the common goal was to understand the interactions between the vegetative surface and the atmosphere (including ultraviolet-light penetration into vegetative canopies) and their role in global environmental change.

Remotely sensed data are widely used to monitor land surfaces and provide input data for climate models. Information on the relation between remote-sensing signals and the land surface is vital in interpreting images from satellite and aircraft. The interaction of sunlight with leaves, stems and soil can be quite complex, making interpretation challenging. I bring these interests into my classes, which include NRES 208, Introduction to Applied Climate Science, NRES 408/808, Microclimate: The Biological Environment and NRES 908, Solar Radiation Interactions with the Earth's Surface.

I received my bachelor's degree from the University of Central Arkansas, my master's degree from Texas A & M University and my Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Selected Publications

Zygielbaum, A.I., T.J. Arkebauer, E.A. Walter-Shea, and D. L. Scoby. 2012. Detection and measurement of vegetation photoprotection stress response using PAR reflectance. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 60: 37-48.
Arkebauer, T.J., E.A. Walter-Shea, M.A. Mesarch, A.E. Suyker, and S.B. Verma. 2009. Scaling up of CO2 fluxes from leaf to canopy in maize-based agroecosystems. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology.doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2009.04.013
Hanan, N.P., J.A. Berry, S.B. Verma, E.A. Walter-Shea, A.E. Suyker, G.G. Burba and A.S. Denning. 2005. Model analyses of biosphere-atmosphere exchanges of CO2, water and energy from Great Plains tallgrass prairie and wheat sites, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 131: 162-179.
Verma, S.B., A. Dobermann, K.G. Cassman, D.T. Walters, J.M.H. Knops, T.J. Arkebauer, A.E. Suyker, G.G. Burba, B. Amos, H. Yang, D. Ginting, K.G. Hubbard, A.A. Gitelson, and E.A. Walter-Shea. 2005. Annual carbon dioxide exchange in irrigated and rainfed maize-based agroecosystems. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 131:77-96.
Walter-Shea, E.A., J.L. Privette, D. Cornell, M.A. Mesarch and C.J. Hays, 1997. Relations between directional spectral vegetation indices and leaf area and absorbed radiation in alfalfa. Remote Sensing of Environment 61:162-177.
Deering, D.W., E.M. Middleton, B.L. Blad, E.A. Walter-Shea, J. Irons, C.L. Walthall and C.J. Hays, 1992. Prairie grassland bidirectional reflectances measured by different instruments at the FIFE site. Journal of Geophysical Research 97:18,887-18,904.
Walter-Shea, E.A., J.M. Norman and B.L. Blad, 1989. Leaf bidirectional reflectance and transmittance in corn and soybean. Remote Sensing of Environment. 29(2):161-174.

Educational Background

  • BS - University of Central Arkansas, Geography (1978)
  • MS - Texas A & M University, Geography (1981)
  • PhD - University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Agronomy with Agricultural Meteorology emphasis (1987)

SNR Mission Area(s)

  • Applied Climate Science

Affiliations (index)

Professional Organizations

Notable Websites

Other Areas of Interest

Field-based Remote Sensing, Environmental Biophysics, Agricultural Meteorology, Bio-atmospheric Interactions

SNR Areas of Expertise

Keyword Expert Level

10 - Top Expert
1 - Mild Interest



Remote Sensing




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Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title Long-Term Maize-Based Agro-Ecosystem Core Sites as Part of the AmeriFlux Management Project Network
Starting Date 3/9/2014
Principal Investigators
Andy Suyker
Timothy Arkebauer
Humberto Blanco
Trenton Franz
Anatoly Gitelson
Ken Hubbard
Adam Liska
Elizabeth (Betty) Walter-Shea
Haishun Yang
Art Zygielbaum
Ending Date 9/30/2016
Funding Level $112,399.00
Funding Source University of California-Berkeley National Lab


Graduate Program(s)

Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences

including specializations in
  • Bio-Atmospheric Interactions
  • Climate Assessment & Impacts
  • Remote Sensing

Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences

including specializations in
  • Bio-Atmospheric Interactions
  • Climate Assessment & Impacts

Courses Taught
Course Number Course Title Fall Even Years Fall Odd Years Spring Even Years Spring Odd Years Summer Session Cross Listing
GEOG 408 Microclimate: The Biological Environment X X AGRO/GEOG/HORT/METR/NRES/WATS 408/808
GEOG 808 Microclimate: The Biological Environment X X AGRO/GEOG/HORT/METR/NRES/WATS 408/808
NRES 208 Applied Climate Sciences X X n/a
NRES 408 Microclimate: The Biological Environment X X AGRO/GEOG/HORT/METR/NRES/WATS 408/808
NRES 808 Microclimate: The Biological Environment X X AGRO/GEOG/HORT/METR/NRES/WATS 408/808
NRES 908 Solar Radiation Interactions at Earth's Surface X AGRO/HORT/METR/NRES 908
WATS 408 Microclimate: The Biological Environment X X AGRO/GEOG/HORT/METR/NRES/WATS 408/808