Research at LCB
Our lab's research is about interactions between environmental change (especially climate), plants and animals, and people.
We often (but not always) make use of "natural experiments" by delving into time series and spatially distributed data to look at how systems respond to different environmental changes and variability through space and time. Powerful computing (GIS, remote sensing, statistical and mathematical models) and massive archives of remote sensing, climate data, and "citizen science" biological observations are cornerstones in this approach.
Complementing this, more insights can come from mechanistic approaches based on first principles (e.g. physical relationships) and experimentation (e.g. field experiments). In some of our projects we get a chance to use these approaches too, often with collaborators.
We've looked at implications of environmental change on birds, mammals, plants (from rare endemics to invasive weeds), evapotranspiration, topo- and micro-climate diversity, and protected area assessment, and more recently, urban areas. Projects generally focus in the Western US, but we’ve also worked in China and Nicaragua, Central America.
Examining the spatial and temporal dynamics of urban heat hazards using NASA's ECOSTRESS instrument (image source: NASA/JPL)
Funded from diverse sources, this represents several smaller projects aimed using sensor networks to characterize the diversity of topographic- and vegetation-induced microclimates and their implications for life. 2010-
Funded by NASA, this work uses mechanistic models and landscape temperature products to understand how birds in hot deserts are affected by extreme heat. 2012-2017
Funded from NASA, New Mexico Natural Heritage, and other sources, this is a collection of projects looking at avian population responses to extreme weather climatic variability. 2011-2016
Funded by California Parks, this small project examined the response by nesting Osprey of Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA to human influences such as trails and roads. 2015-2016
Funded from diverse sources, this work examined similarities in ecological communities and climates can influence patterns of plant invasion across the US and China. 2010-2015
This was a thesis project using thermal remote sensing and the METRIC model by M.S. student, Matthew Bromley and done in collaboration with DRI's Justin Huntington. (image: Matthew Bromley) 2013-2015