National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
Butterfly Population Trends: Insights from Citizen Science
Elise Larsen is a quantitative ecologist interested in population and community dynamics in relation to disturbance and environmental change. Her research at SESYNC focuses on developing new tools for studying population dynamics and phenology in Lepidoptera, with an emphasis on climate impacts. This work as well as previous work involves collaboration with citizen science monitoring networks. Engaging with citizen science efforts creates opportunities to improve scientific research as well as connecting with the broader community and providing avenues for education. Dr. Larsen’s graduate research at the University of Maryland examined the patterns and processes of avian community assembly following the 1980 volcanic eruption at Mount St. Helens, WA. Previous research has spanned both avian and insect systems, addressing impacts of land use of avian diversity and community composition, as well as modeling the role of phenology and specifically asynchrony in insect population dynamics in a spatially explicit framework.
Exploring Water Management Options with COWA: A Coupled Human-Climate-Water Model
Safa Motesharrei's research focuses on integration of the Human System and Population into the Earth System Models. He works with a cross-disciplinary team of renowned scientists including Eugenia Kalnay (Atmospheric Science), James Yorke (Mathematics), Matthias Ruth (Public Policy), Victor Yakovenko (Econophysics), Klaus Hubacek (Geography/Economics), Jelena Srebric (Engineering/Energy Sustainability), Robert Cahalan (Climate Physics), and Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm (Hydrology). Together with Jorge Rivas (Institute of Global Environment and Society) and Dr. Kalnay, Dr. Motesharrei has developed a minimal dynamical model of Human and Nature, HANDY, which is the first mathematical model of this kind that shows not only ecological strain, but also economic stratification, can lead to a societal collapse. The paper on HANDY was published in the Journal Ecological Economics, and received widespread attention from media around the world, including The Guardian, The Huffington Post, IFLScience, and NPR. Safa plays a leading role in the development of the five-sector Human-Earth System model, which includes Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.