Summer 2015 Newsletter

ESDL Spring/Summer 2015 Newsletter

Plenty of exciting news to report for this Spring:

  • A big congratulations to Mollie van Gordon, who just received a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship to support her PhD research on using data-driven techniques to resolve human-environmental feedbacks in the Sahel. The title of her successful proposal is “Machine Learning and Information-Entropy Methods Using Remote Sensing Data for Understanding Hydrological Dynamics in a Coupled Human-Natural System: The Niger River Basin.”

 

  • Mollie van Gordon also successfully passed her Qualifying Exam in May. On to the PhD!

 

  • Cleo Woelfle-Erskine, an ERG PhD student affiliated with the lab, graduated in May with his PhD. Congratulations, Cleo!

New Personnel

This coming fall, we will be welcoming two new PhD students and two new postdocs. We’re very excited for them to join the ESDL community:

Chris Tennant gages a stream in a place much colder than Berkeley.

Chris Tennant gages a stream in a place much colder than Berkeley.

 

 

Christopher Tennant: Christopher Tennant will be starting a postdoc with the ESDL in August 2015 after receiving his PhD in Geosciences from the University of Idaho, where he has been working on hydrologic responses to rising snow lines.

 

 

Erin Beller

Erin Beller

Erin Beller: Erin will be starting her PhD in Fall 2015. She previously received a bachelor’s degree in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University and has been working as a principal investigator in the Historical Ecology group and project manager for the Resilient Landscapes Program at San Francisco Estuary Institute, her employer since 2006. Erin has received a Presidential Fellowship for her studies at Berkeley.

 

 

Hong-xu Ma

Hong-xu Ma

Hong-xu Ma: Hong-xu will be starting his PhD in Fall 2015. He previously received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Wuhan University, where he majored in Hydrology and Water Resources and Remote Sensing. He just received the award of outstanding graduate (1st place) for the School of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering at Wuhan University, and his second book has sold more than 40,000 copies, giving him the title of best-selling author in China. Hong-xu plans to work on sedimentation processes and land-building in coastal ecosystems.

 

Dino Bellugi

Dino Bellugi

Dino Bellugi: Dino is currently a postdoc in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science at MIT after having received his PhD in EPS at Berkeley in 2012. At MIT he worked on impacts of climate change driven extreme rainfall events on shallow landslides and has been developing machine learning procedures for landslide hazard prediction and the prediction of soil moisture. He will be starting with the ESDL in December 2015.

 

A few new papers:

  • Just accepted: Larsen, L., L. Hajek, K. Maher, C. Paola, D. Merritts, T. Bralower, I. Montanez, S. Wing, N. Snyder, M. Hochella, L. R. Kump, and M. Person. 2015. Taking the pulse of Earth’s surface systems. Eos. In press.
  • Just out in early view: Yuan, J., M. Cohen, D. Kaplan, S. Acharya, L. Larsen, and M. Nungesser. 2015. Linking metrics of landscape pattern to hydrological process in a lotic wetland. Landscape Ecology, doi: 10.1007/s10980-015-0219-z.
  • Just out in early view: Larsen, L., J. Harvey, K. Skalak, and M. Goodman, 2015. Fluorescence-based source tracking of organic sediment in restored and unrestored urban streams. Limnology and Oceanography, doi: 10.1002/lno.10108.
  • Published in March: Larsen, L. G., J. W. Harvey, and M. M. Maglio. 2015. Mechanisms of nutrient retention and its relation to flow connectivity in river-floodplain corridors. Freshwater Science 34(1), 187-205.

Press:

Our article on nutrient retention dynamics was spotlighted in the Society of Freshwater Science’s In the Drift newsletter. Read the spotlight piece here.

Funding News

The spring semester brought much good funding news!

  • Laurel had her CAREER proposal funded by NSF. The title of the proposal is “Ecogeomorphic implications of organic particulates across scales: Impacts of surficial properties and interception on landscape dynamics.”
  • Morgan Williams received a grant from the Department of Energy’s Office of Legacy Management to support his PhD research on soils development in toxic waste landfills. He begins his field work in earnest this summer. Congratulations, Morgan!
  • Christopher Tennant just received an NSF Critical Zone Observatory Science Across Virtual Institutes grant. His proposal is titled, “How sensitive is above ground biomass to snowpack loss?”
  • The UC Berkeley campus received an NSF Research and Traineeship Program grant that Laurel was a part of developing. Led by PI David Ackerly, the program is called Environment and Society: Data Sciences for the 21st Century (DS421). The program provides opportunities for graduate students interested in the interface between data sciences, the environment, and public policy.
  • In May, Laurel received a Hellman Fellows grant, which will support the hiring of a new laboratory manager. Stay tuned; the position will be advertised soon.

Undergraduate Research:

This spring we were delighted to have Aayush Khurana, Jie Ma, Brittany Burson, Rosanna Neuhausler, and Mandy Kim working in the lab. Congratulations to Aayush, Jie, and Brittany on their graduation!

Summer Research

Aayush Khurana

Aayush Khurana

Jessi Anderson and quadrat at Big Spring Run

Jessi Anderson and quadrat at Big Spring Run

 

We are glad to welcome back Aayush Khurana and Jessica Anderson as summer research personnel.

 

 

Conference Presentations

  • In April Laurel attended the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Meeting and presented talks on (1) using a network approach to understanding the effects of fire and flood on dissolved organic carbon dynamics and (2) how an experimental flow release in the Everglades impacted bed shear stress distributions and sediment transport. Rachel Allen, Roseanna Neuhausler, and Mandy Kim played a key role in working up the bed shear stress data.
  • In March Laurel was a panelist at Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century, a meeting in Berkeley commemorating the centennial of the US National Parks Service.

 Other news:

  •  Laurel was recently named Senior Fellow of the Berkeley Institute of Data Sciences (BIDS).
  • The first symposium for GEOG 279, Statistics and Data Analysis for Research, was a success. Even Cody the dog learned something! A few photos are below.

IMG_2924IMG_2926

From left to right: Daniella Hirschfeld, Rachel Allen, Madeline Foster, Jie Ma, John Chiang, Saalem Adera

From left to right: Daniella Hirschfeld, Rachel Allen, Madeline Foster, Jie Ma, John Chiang, Saalem Adera


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