SESYNC Welcomes Postdoctoral Fellow Bianca Lopez

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) is pleased to welcome Dr. Bianca Lopez as a new Postdoctoral Fellow. Bianca recently finished her PhD in Ecology at the University of North Carolina. Learn more about our new researcher:


Name: Bianca Lopez

PhD: Ecology

Hometown: Newbury, MA

SESYNC Project: Benefits of urban green spaces

How would you describe your primary field of study? Urban ecology 

What are the broad questions you are interested in studying?
I'm interested in how urban environments and human choices influence ecosystems and figuring out way to design urban green spaces to provide benefits for both people and the environment.

What inspired you to choose this field of study?
Cities are growing, and most of the nature I (and millions of others) experience is in urban and suburban areas. Urban ecology is a fascinating area of study for me because it has the potential to impact many people but also because it is a surprisingly open area of research, since we still don't know very much about how urbanization affects ecosystems. 

Can you briefly describe your proposed SESYNC postdoctoral project?
I plan to use social media data from Twitter and Flickr to explore people's perceptions of urban green spaces (e.g., parks, gardens, and vacant lots) and how they relate to the ecological attributes and management practices in those green spaces. I hope that this research can help inform the design and management of urban green spaces to maximize benefits for people and other components of urban ecosystems.

Why is SESYNC the right place to undertake this research?
Expertise in computational methods and interdisciplinary, actionable research make SESYNC ideal for this project. I'm also excited to work with other urban ecologists at SESYNC and in the research network.

What are you reading right now?
I just reread a favorite novel about anthropologists working in the field, Euphoria by Lily King. I'm currently reading Bayesian Models: A Statistical Primer for Ecologists by Hobbs and Hooten (for a workshop at SESYNC) and a lot of fun papers on research that uses social media data.