Elizabeth (Betty) Walter-Shea

Elizabeth (Betty) Walter-Shea

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants

Contact Information

TitleEmeritus - Environmental Biophysicist
Faculty RankProfessor Emeritus
Address Off Campus
Lincoln NE
VitaeDownload file


My Story

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

Singh, J., G. Yufeng, D. M. Hereen, E. Walter-Shea, C. M. U. Neale, S. Irmak, and M. S. Maguire. 2022. Unmanned aerial system-based data ferrying over a sensor node station network in maize. Sensors, 22, 1863, doi.org/10.3390/s22051863 Online
Singh, J., G. Yufeng, D. M. Heeren, E. Walter-Shea, C. M. U. Neale, S. Irmak, W. E. Woldt, G. Bai, S. Bhatti, and M. S. Maguire. 2021. Inter-relationships between water depletion and temperature differential in row crop canopies in a sub-humid climate. Agricultural Water Management, 256, doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2021.107061 Online
Malek-Madani, G., Walter-Shea, E.A., Nguy-Robertson, A., Suyker, A., Arkebauer, T.J. 2020. Modeling Gross Primary Production of Midwestern US Maize and Soybean Croplands with Satellite and Gridded Weather Data. Remote Sensing. 12, 3956. Online
Miao, G., Guan, K. Y., Suyker, A., Yang, X., Arkebauer, T., Walter-Shea, E., Hmimina, G. Y., Gamon, J., Franz, T., Frankenberg, C., Berry, J. A., Wu, G. (2020). Varying contributions of drivers to the relationship between canopy photosynthesis and far-red sun-induced fluorescence for two maize sites at different temporal scales. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences. 125(2) https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JG005051Online
Walter-Shea, E.A., K.G. Hubbard, M. A. Mesarch and G. Roebke. (2019) Improving the calibration of silicon photodiode pyranometers. Meteo. Atmos. Physics. 131:1111–1120. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00703-018-0624-3Online
Amuti, T., Luo, G., Yin, G., Hu, S., Walter-Shea, E. (2018). Evaluation of a process-based agro-ecosystem model (Agro-IBIS) for maize in Xinjiang, Northwest China. Agronomy, 8.
Gamon, J., Hmimina, G. Y., Miao, G., Guan, K., Springer, K., Wang, R., Yu, R., Gholizadeh, H., Moore, R., Walter-Shea, E., Arkebauer, T., Suyker, A., Franz, T., Wardlow, B., Wedin, D. A. (2018). Imaging spectrometry and fluorometry in support of FLEX: wha
Nguy-Robertson, A.L., A.A. Gitelson, Y. Peng, E.A. Walter-Shea, B. Leavitt, & T.J. Arkebauer, (2013) Continuous monitoring of crop reflectance, vegetation fraction and identification of developmental stages using a four band radiometer. Agronomy Journal.
Bavougian, C. M., Read, P., Walter-Shea, E. (2012). Training system effects on sunlight penetration, canopy structure, yield and fruit characteristics of "Frontenac" grapevine (Vitis spp.). International Journal of Plant Science, 12, 402-409.
Meyer, G. E., Paparozzi, E. T., Walter-Shea, E., Blankenship, E., Adams, S. (2012). An investigation of reflective mulches for use over capillary mat systems for winter-time greenhouse strawberry production. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 28, 271-279Online
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.
Irmak, (Kilic) A., R.K. Singh, E. Walter-Shea, S.B. Verma and A.E. Suyker. 2011. Comp. and Anal. Empirical Equ. for Soil Heat Flux for Different Cropping Sys. and Irrig. Methods. Trans. ASABE. 54(1): 67-
Singh, R.K., A. Irmak (Kilic), E. Walter-Shea, S.B. Verma and A.E. Suyker. 2011. Spectral data-based estimation of soil heat flux. Transactions of the ASABE 54(5): 1589-1597.Online
Arkebauer, T.J., E.A. Walter-Shea, M.A. Mesarch, A.E.Suyker, S.B. Verma. 2009. Scaling up of CO2 fluxes from leaf to canopy in maize-based agroecosystems. Agro. For. Meteo. doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2009.04.013Online
Annual carbbon dioxide exchange in irrigated and rainfed maize-based agroecosystems (RS-1294). Shashi B. Verma, Achim Dobermann, Kenneth G. Cassman, Daniel T. Walters, Johannes M. Knops, Timothy J. Arkebauer, Andrew E. Suyker, Georfe G. Burba, Brigid Amos, Haishun Yang, Daniel Ginting, Kenneth G. Hubbard, Anatoly A. Gitelson and Elizabeth A. Walter-Shea. 20 pp.Online
S.B. Verma, A. Dobermann, K.G. Cassman, D.T. Walters, J.M. 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 maizeOnline
Hanan, Niall, Berry, Joseph, Verma, SB & Walter-Shea, EA, Suyker, Andrew, Burba, George, Denning, Scott. (2004). Model analyses of biosphere-atmosphere exchanges of CO2, water and energy in Great Plains tallgrass prairie and wheat ecosystems. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 131. 162-179.
Shulski, M.D., E.A. Walter-Shea, K.G. Hubbard, G.Y. Yuen, G. Horst. 2004. Penetration of Photosynthetically Active & Ultraviolet Radiation into Alfala & Tall Fescue Canopies. Agronomy Journal 96:1562-1571.Online
Peters, A.J., Ji, L., Walter-Shea, E. 2003. Southeastern U.S. Vegetation Response to ENSO Events (1989-99). Journal of Climate Change 60:175-188.Online
Hanan, P., Burba, G.G., Verma, S.B., Berry, J.A., Suyker, A.E., Walter-Shea, E.A. 2002. Inversion of net ecosystem CO2 flux measurements for estimation of canopy PAR absorption. Global Change Biology. 8(6):563-574.
Peters, A.J., Walter-Shea, E., Ji, L., Vina, A., Hays, M., Svoboda, M.D. 2002. Drought Monitoring with NDVI-Based Standardized Vegetation Index. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. 68:71-75.
Yuen G.Y., C.C. Jochum, L.J. Giesler, M. Durr, E.A. Walter-Shea, and K.G. Hubbard. 2002. UV-B biodosimetry in turfgrass canopies. Crop Science, 42:859-868.Online
Antunes, M.A.H., Walter-Shea, E.A., Mesarch, M.A. 2001. Test of an extended mathematical approach to calculate maize leaf area index and leaf angle distribution. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 108:45-53 (Journal Series Number:13110)Online
Hubbard, K.G., Lin, X., Walter-Shea, E.A. 2001. The effectiveness of the ASOS, MMTS, Gill and CRS air temperature radiation shields. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 18(6):851-864 (Journal Series Number:13013).Online
Lin, X., Hubbard, K.G., Walter-Shea, E.A. 2001. Radiation loading model for evaluating air temperature errors with a non-aspirated radiation shield. Transactions of the ASAE. 44(5):1299-1306 (Journal Series Number:13061).Online
Lin, X., Hubbard, K.G., Walter-Shea, E.A., Brandle, J.R., Meyer, G.E. 2001. Some perspectives on recent in-situ air temperature observations: Modeling the microclimate inside the radiation shields. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 18:1470-14Online
Weiss, A., Arkebauer, T.J., Walter-Shea E.A. 2001. Predicting albedo in two heliotropic crops. Agricultural Systems. 68:137-150 (Journal Series Number:12767).
Privette, J.L., Asner, G.P., Conel. J., Huemmrich, K.F., Olson, R., Rango, A., Rahman, A.F., Thome, K., Walter-Shea, E.A. 2000. The EOS Prototype Validation Exercise (PROVE) at the Jornada: Overview and lessons learned. Remote Sensing of Environment. 74:1Online
Mesarch, M.A., E.A. Walter-Shea, G.P. Asner, E.M. Middleton, and S.S. Chen 1999. A revised measurement methodology for conifer needles spectral optical properties evaluating the influence of gaps between elements. Remote Sensing of Environment. 68:177-192Online
Blad B.L., E.A. Walter-Shea, M.A. Mesarch, C.J. Hays, P.J. Starks, D.W. Deering and T.F. Eck 1998. Estimating Net Radiation with Remotely Sensed Data: Resultsfrom KUREX-91 and FIFE Studies. Remote Sensing Reviews. 17:55-71.
Mesarch M.A., E.A. Walter-Shea, Blad B.L., C.J. Hays and E.M. Middleton 1998. Comparing Biophysical Properties of the Streletskaya Steppe Reserve and the Konza Prairie. Remote Sensing Reviews. 17:37-53.Online
Middleton,E.M., Walter-Shea, E.A., Mesarch, M.A., Chan, S.S., Rusin, R.J. 1998. Optical Properties of Canopy Elements in Black Spruce, Jack Pine and Aspen Stands in Saskatchewan, Canada. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing. 24(2): 169-186. Online
Starks, P.J., Blad B.L., E.A. Walter-Shea, C.J. Hays, and M.A. Mesarch 1998. Estimating emitted longwave components of the radiation balance in the KUREX-91 and FIFE studies. Remote Sensing Reviews. 17:73-87.
Walter-Shea E.A., Blad B.L., M.A. Mesarch, C.J. Hays, D.W. Deering, and T.F. Eck 1998. Absorbed Photosyntheticdally Active Radiation and Sun-View Geometry Effects on Remote Sensing Relationships. Remote Sensing Reviews. 17:89-102.
Walter-Shea, E.A., J. 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.Online
Walter-Shea, E.A., Mesarch, M.A. 1996. Conifer Shoot Bidirectional Scattering: Methodology and Preliminary Results. International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium.Online
Starks P.J., E.A. Walter-Shea, F.R. Schiebe, and B.L. Markham 1995. Temperature Sensitivity Characterization of a Silicon Diode Array Spectrometer. Remote Sensing of Environment. 51:385-389.Online
Walter-Shea, E.A., C.J. Hays, and M.A. Mesarch 1993. An Improved Goniometer System for Calibrating Field Reference-Reflectance Panels. Remote Sensing of Environment. 43:131-138.Online
Deering D.W., E.M. Middleton, J.R. Irons, Blad B.L., E.A. Walter-Shea, C.J. Hays, C.Walthall, T.F. Eck, S.P. Ahmad, and B.P. Banerjee 1992. Prairie Grassland Bidirectional Reflectances Measured by different Instruments at the FIFE Site. Journal of GeophysOnline
Walter-Shea E.A., Blad B.L., C.J. Hays, M.A. Mesarch, D.W. Deering, and E.M. Middleton 1992. Biophysical Properties Affecting Vegetative Canopy Reflectance and Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation at the FIFE Site. Journal of Geophysical Research.Online
Starks P.J., J.M. Norman, B.L. Blad, E.A. Walter-Shea, and C.L. Walthall 1991. Estimation of Shortwave Hemispherical Reflectance (Albedo) from Bidirectionally Reflected Radiance Data. Remote Sensing of Environment. 38:123-134.Online
Walter-Shea E.A., B.L. Blad, J.M. Norman, and B.F. Robinson 1991. Leaf Reflectance and Transmittance in Soybean and Corn. Agronomy Journal. 83(3):631-636.Online
Walter-Shea E.A. and L.L. Biehl 1990. Measuring Vegetation Spectral Properties. Remote Sensing Reviews. 5(1):179-205.
Walter-Shea E.A., J.M. Norman, and Blad B.L. 1989. Leaf Bidirectional Reflectance and Transmittance in Corn and Soybean. Remote Sensing of Environment. 29:161-174 .Online
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. 29:161-174.Online



DegreeMajorInstitutionYear Awarded
Doctorate of PhilosophyAgronomy (specialization in Agricultural Meteorology)University of Nebraska-Lincoln1987
Master of ScienceGeographyTexas A & M University1981
Bachelor of ScienceGeographyUniversity of Central Arkansas1978





TitleAwarded byYear Awarded
Distinguished Teaching AwardCollege of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln2017


Professional Organizations

American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Society of Agronomy




SNR Program Areas

  • Applied Climate and Spatial Science

Areas of Interest/Expertise

  • Field-based Remote Sensing
  • Environmental Biophysics
  • Agricultural Meteorology
  • Bio-atmospheric Interactions
  • Microclimate
  • Vegetation


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 TitleLong-Term Maize-Based Agro-Ecosystem Core Sites as Part of the AmeriFlux Management Project Network (additional funds)
Starting Date12/03/2019


Ending Date09/30/2020
Funding Level$76,000.00
Funding AgencyUniv. of California-Berkeley National Lab


Grant Title2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
Starting Date10/01/2016


Ending Date10/03/2016
Funding Level$500.00
Funding AgencyIANR Travel Funds


Grant TitleLong-Term Maize-Based Agro-Ecosystem Core Sites as Part of the AmeriFlux Management Project Network
Starting Date03/09/2014


Ending Date09/30/2016
Funding Level$112,399.00
Funding AgencyUniversity of California-Berkeley National Lab


Grant TitleLong-Term Maize-Based Agro-Ecosystem Core Sites as Part of the AmeriFlux Management Project Network (additional funds)
Starting Date03/09/2014


Ending Date09/30/2016
Funding Level$112,399.00
Funding AgencyUniversity of California-Berkeley National Lab