Congratulations to Geography/LCB Ph.D. student, Giancarlo Sadoti for being awarded a Spring 2013 research fellowship from the Nevada NASA Space Grant Consortium. Giancarlo’s proposal focused on the complementary application of data from ground-based weather stations and thermal remote sensing to modeling the responses of breeding birds to temperatures encountered during and prior to egg-laying. Giancarlo proposed the use of a diverse set of historic and modern bird datasets collected by naturalists, biologists, and citizen scientists in these models. Giancarlo hopes his research can help managers and conservationists better prepare for the ways birds will response to the increased frequency and severity of anomalous temperatures expected under climate change.
I’m very pleased to welcome Denis Mutiibwa, who is starting as a postdoc this January.
Chief among the projects Denis will be working on is a new NASA-funded activity characterizing thermal stress in birds in the Southwest using remote sensing data, instrumental observations, and modeling.
Originally from Kampala, Uganda, Denis earned a Ph.D, major Engineering, Masters in Statistics and Biological Systems Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Bachelor’s degree from Alexandria University-Egypt.
His general research interests include:
- Assessing the impacts and trends of climate change on ecosystems and hydrological processes.
- Detection of anthropogenic signals on climate change.
- Determining the impact of Land Use/Land Cover changes on Climate Change.
- Remote sensing-based partitioning and estimation of surface energy fluxes and crop coefficients.
- Time Series and Spatial analysis of climate and hydrological data.
And outside of research, Denis likes playing guitars, playing soccer, and supporting the Huskers!
We’ll see if we can make him a Wolf Pack fan as well.
[by Giancarlo Sadoti]
Tom and I recently returned from a week-long trip to Urumqi in the Xinjiang Province of China where we attended the International Symposium on Invasive Plants and Global Change. The meeting was organized by the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Lab of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Lands, the Xinjiang Agricultural Institute, and the University of Nevada, Reno. Attendees were supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the U.S. National Science Foundation, and the United Nations Development Programme. UNR graduate students were also supported by the Graduate Student Association.
The meeting featured international collaborations and independent research on plant invasions from the U.S., China, Australia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. U.S. researchers came from UNLV, BSU, BYU, USGS, USDA, Rutgers, NCSU, and NAU. A number of U.S.-China collaborations were strengthened or born during the meeting and promise to result in research helpful to resource management in both countries. Both Tom and I presented research related to cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), an annual grass particularly invasive in the Great Basin of North America. The meeting schedule allowed interested participants to attend two days of field trips into the Junggar Basin desert east of Urumqi and into the forested foothills of the Tien Shan mountains south of Urumqi. These trips let us poke around looking at plants – some native to Asia but invasive in North America – and a number of birds new to most of us from the U.S.
This was my first trip to China and Tom’s fifth (and his third to Xinjiang). Urumqi is the most inland city in the world. For a sense of its remoteness, it took us an additional four-hour flight from Beijing across massive deserts to reach Urumqi (on top of the 12-hour flight from San Francisco). While residents of many Chinese cities have seen Americans for decades (or longer), Urumqi is still remote enough that our party got plenty of stares when out in public. Despite the dominant Han culture, Urumqi is still a crossroads for a diverse group of central Asian cultural groups, making for great people-watching and a diverse cuisine. Both in and outside Urumqi, I was struck by the pace of development. An increase in income and population has led to a boom in building construction and traffic in the city, while the demand for energy has led to development of huge surface coal mines and the construction of new coal-fired power plants. It will be interesting to see how Xinjiang attempts to responsibly develop its future, much as it will be here in the U.S.
I anticipate hiring a postdoctoral collaborator on NASA-funded research investigating temperature regimes, climate change, and ecological consequences in complex terrain using remote sensing, sensor networks, geospatial modeling, and climate modeling. Start date could be as early as this Fall or as late as January 2013.
Please the LCB opportunities page for more information: http://wolfweb.unr.edu/~talbright/LCB/opportunities.html
Tom recently learned that his proposal was selected for a NASA New Investigator in Earth Sciences award. This program is a highly competitive bi-annual grant opportunity for early career researchers in the earth sciences and provides three years of funding for research and education. The project is entitled, “Desert Birds in a Warming World: Characterizing thermal stress with daily Earth observation data in complex terrain”. The work will also involve educational co-investigator Jacque Ewing-Taylor (UNR/Raggio Research Center for STEM Education) and collaborators John Mejia (Desert Research Institute), Markus Neteler (Fundazione Edmund Mach), Anna Pidgeon (UW-Madison), and Blair Wolf (U. New Mexico).
After two years of waiting, planning, cleaning, waiting, contracting, etc… we’re all very happy that the renovation of the Mackay Science 209 home of LCB is complete. We’ve got about 750 square feet for computer work stations, assembling gear, having lab meetings, brainstorming, etc.
Thanks to the all those who helped support and carry out this work.
Tom and Dave are headed to the US-IALE meeting in Newport Rhode Island next week.
Tom organized a symposium he’s very excited about: ” Environmental sensors and loggers: New approaches to characterizing heterogeneity and applications in landscape ecology”. This will be Monday 9 April from 1:15-5:00 PM
Dave is presenting a talk in this symposium entitled ” Topographic Influences on Near-Surface Temperature Regimes in Complex Terrain, San Francisco Peaks, Arizona”.
Tom is also presenting a talk on Wednesday entitled “Hot extremes: Characterizing a key driver of ecological change” in Erika Smithwick’s symposium on landscape resiliance and disturbance dynamics.
US-IALE is always a great meeting. Looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues both old and new! http://www.usiale.org/newport2012/