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Summer Research Project 2018

  • Title: Landscape simulation of coupled natural and human systems
  • Summer Supervisors: Danelle Laflower; Meghan MacLean; Jonathan Thompson
  • Researchers: Danelle Laflower; Jonathan Thompson
  • Project Description:

    The landscape ecology lab at Harvard Forest studies long-term and broad-scale changes in forest ecosystems, with an emphasis on quantifying how land uses such as harvest, conversion, and conservation affect forest services and processes. We are seeking an REU student to work on two projects: (1) an analysis of changes to future ecosystem service provisioning (carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, flood control) associated with alternative scenarios of landscape change in New England; and (2) simulating the ecological effects of forest insects and effects of the landowner response to forest insects. Both projects require extensive use of GIS and spatial statistics (using the R statistical software package). Duties will include: running simulation models and analyzing outputs, conducting sensitivity analyses on these models and other analyses of spatial data.
    Jonathan Thompson will have primary responsibility for supervising and advising the REU student. He will be assisted by postdoc Meghan MacLean and RA Danelle LaFlower. Jonathan will meet weekly with the student; Meghan and Danelle will have near-daily interactions. The student should have an interest in forest landscape ecology and have experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, database management, and/or statistical analysis using the R statistical programming language. The position will be computer-based and will not have a field component. The student will be encouraged to work with the lab to design an independent research topic within the framework of the two overarching projects, perform appropriate data analyses, and present results orally and in written form at the annual summer student symposium.

  • Readings:

    Thompson JR, Fallon-Lambert K, Foster DR, Blumstein M, Broadbent EN, Almeyda Zambrano AM. 2014. Changes to the Land: Four Scenarios for the Future of the Massachusetts Landscape. Harvard Forest, Harvard University ISBN:978-0615-9852-68.


  • Research Category: Invasive Plants, Pests & Pathogens, Ecological Informatics and Modelling