Note: During the Fall 2021 semester, the Ecoinformatics Seminar will meet on Mondays from 11:30-12:20 via Zoom. If you are interested in getting on the list to receive the Zoom link, please contact Dr. Katharyn Duffy.
The calendar below lists all Ecoinformatics and related events, including our weekly seminar. The weekly Ecoinformatics Seminar series includes a full schedule of world-class speakers who will present their research and take some time to talk about career development and how they got where they are today. Please join us every week for this exciting seminar series!
CubeSats and cloud computing enable farm water conservation from space.
Kevin Tu is Research Scientist at Corteva Agriscience, where he develops digital solutions for farmers and crop breeding research using remote sensing technologies from drones to satellites. Prior to joining Corteva in 2011, Kevin was a postdoc and research scientist at UC Berkeley, wrangling stable isotopes to extract physiological information from eddy fluxes. He received his PhD from UNH where he contributed to the early stages of AmeriFlux.
Doubling of global food demand in the next 50 years combined with increasing weather uncertainties imposes a challenge of improving sustainable water management practices, particularly in the agricultural sector. Nearly half of the global crop production occurs on one fifth of the world’s farmland, due to the productivity benefits afforded by irrigation in dry but otherwise arable landscapes. While comprising only 20% of the world’s croplands, irrigated farms use upwards of 70% of the freshwater withdrawn from lakes, rivers and groundwater. Rainwater is by far the largest source of water used by crops, however, surface water (lakes and rivers) and groundwater are the critical sources of water in dry areas, where consumption in excess of rainfall is met by depleting groundwater or by importing water from distant regions. Population growth and agricultural expansion now occurring in dry regions implores farmers to use water conservatively in ways that can allow for sustainable freshwater availability across agricultural, industrial and domestic needs. Variable rate irrigation offers the potential to increase water use efficiency, maximize the ‘crop per drop’ and reduce grower costs. However, growers tend to use subjective methods to determine when, where and how much irrigation to apply. Quantitative soil moisture sensing is limited by the number of probes that can be installed in a given field, notably during a short 2-3 week window after planting but before irrigation begins. Recent advances now make it possible to overcome many of these limitations by providing real-time daily evapotranspiration and soil moisture at sub-field scales using CubeSat satellites and cloud computing combined with gridded weather data and soil maps, providing the opportunity to improve farm water management and implement sustainable irrigation practices.
11:30 am-12:30 pm
February 14, 2022
WaterViz: A real time confluence of science, art and music. Dr. Lindsey Rustad is a Research Ecologist for the USDA Forest Service Center for Research on Ecosystem Change in Durham, NH, co-Director of the USDA Northeastern Hub for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change, andTeam Leader for the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in NH. She received a B.A. in Philosophy at Cornell University in 1980, an M.S. in Forest Science at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences in 1983, and a Ph.D in Plant Science in 1988 at the University of MaineHer areas of expertise include biogeochemistry, climate change impacts, advanced environmental sensor systems, and the integration of art and science.
The WaterViz for Hubbard Brook is a new water cycle visualization and sonification tool that lies at the nexus between the hydrologic sciences, visual arts, music, education and graphic design. In a nutshell, hydrologic data are captured digitally from a small first-order catchment at the USDA Forest Service Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire using an array of environmental sensors. These data are transmitted to the internet and are used to drive a computer model that calculates all components of the water cycle for the catchment in real time. The complete set of measured and modeled data are then used to drive a flash visualization and sonification of the water cycle at Hubbard Brook, which are available to viewers and listeners worldwide on the internet. The WaterViz provides a novel approach that allows the viewer to intuit the dynamic inputs, outputs, and storage of water in this small, upland forested watershed as they are occurring and from anywhere in the world. We invite you to view the WaterViz at: https://waterviz.org/.
11:30 am-12:30 pm
February 21, 2022
Today Dr. Gillian Bowser will discuss DEIJ in Ecology and why we might be navigating with eyes wide shut! Dr. Bowser is in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado State University and is the lead PI on the Youth Environmental Alliance in Higher Education (YEAH)- a National Science Foundation funded research collaboration network to introduce multicultural youth to global environmental negotiations at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Dr. Bowser’s lab focuses on pollinators and national parks including work on citizen science as a tool to engage multicultural audiences in addressing pollinator declines worldwide and the impacts on sustainable food systems. She is also an author on the upcoming National Climate Assessment (NCA5) on the biodiversity chapter as well as an author on the UN Environment’s Global Gender Environmental Outlook (GGEO2) on gender and biodiversity.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice or DEIJ has emerged as an urgent concept in the sciences where different minority groups remain woefully underrepresented in the sciences. Environmental sciences, especially the fields of ecology, have made remarkable strides on the representation of women, yet the historically marginalized groups do not reflect those successes with minority women still representing less than 5% of the STEM workforce. In this talk, I will explore the parallels with inclusive policy making for other global issues and the application of those frameworks to rethink the approaches of diversifying the environmental disciplines with a focus on the field based sciences like ecology.
11:30 am-12:30 pm
February 28, 2022
Integrating plant physiology and community ecology across scales through trait-based models to predict forest drought mortality. Anna Trugman is an ecologist with a multidisciplinary background in the earth sciences. Her research interests are centered around understanding the Earth system consequences of plant physiological processes and ecological interactions, particularly in water limited systems and novel climate conditions expected with anthropogenic climate change. Anna received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in Geological and Environmental Sciences, her Ph.D. from Princeton University in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, and spent two years at the University of Utah in the Biology Department. She has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at UC Santa Barbara since 2019.
Plant physiological traits, and hydraulic traits in particular, have been shown to be critical for representing the underlying mechanisms governing forest productivity and mortality during periods of water limitation. However, our prediction of drought driven forest mortality is still remarkably limited. Here, I leverage existing large-scale trait databases and the United States (U.S.) Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) long-term permanent plot network, which contains >250,000 permanent plots across the contiguous U.S., to develop maps documenting the evolution of forest trait distributions in the U.S. over two decades from the year 2000 to the present. I then trait-based ecosystem models to understanding the physiological and ecological unknowns underlying observed patterns of disturbance and drought-driven mortality, which can have major carbon cycle consequences.