Predicting the Effects of Environmental Change on Natural Ecosystems

Humans are damaging the natural world at an alarming rate. Urbanisation, climate change and deforestation are affecting ecosystems on which our society relies for important services, such as crop pollination by insects and pest control by natural predators. Decisions such as where to build a highway or dam, or which residential areas to expand, must take into account the risk to ecosystems to adequately calculate the potential cost of these decisions.

Coastal Change

Salt marshes are dynamic, productive ecosystems that reside at the margin of land and sea. Although expanses of these valuable systems have been lost to human development, many marshes have been stable despite rising sea levels. This apparent resilience results from nonlinear feedbacks that influence sediment accumulation and marsh migration into uplands to maintain marsh area.

Grassland Time Series

Classifications of land cover/land use, and land cover change have been useful for documenting forest loss, urbanization and habitat conversion. However, the current global land cover data products are insufficient for arid grasslands for two reasons. First, current classification products have poor performance in arid systems and are extremely unreliable.

Coastal Vulnerability

As global sea-level rise continues to accelerate due to anthropogenic climate change, understanding why social groups are differentially vulnerable to environmental hazards becomes increasingly important. To better understand how broader socio-political and environmental conditions shape place-based vulnerability to sea-level rise, this project examines the relationship of the shifting cultural and ecological landscapes of Sapelo Island, Georgia over both time and space.

Fish Trade

Seafood is an important source of nutrition, particularly in the developing world. An individual’s seafood consumption depends on the interaction of seafood production and various forms of access (geographic, social, institutional, etc.). Each of these can be affected by environmental change and variability, fisheries management practices, fishing behavior and economic wellbeing. Modelling provides one approach to link these environmental, socio-cultural, behavioral and nutritional aspects of fish demand.

Dams and Water Scarcity

Dams are the paramount driver of hydrological alteration in the U.S., homogenizing regional river dynamics and biodiversity. However, dams also provide a range of economic and social benefits, increasing human resilience against climate variability and change. Under scenarios of increasing water scarcity due to climate forcing and over-allocation of freshwater resources, examining how dams can provide engineered resilience in social-ecological systems is a question of crucial importance.

Could Climate Change Keep Kids Out of School?


Education is seen as a key tool for building resilience to climate change in the developing world. But new research shows that climate change could also make it harder to keep kids in school and ensure they get the best out of their time in the classroom.

Self-transportation in a Changing Climate


The future of transportation is connected to the future of global warming. As cities encourage residents to shift away from driving, they must also keep in mind: what if it’s just too darn hot or cold to walk or bike?


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