Primary AppointmentEnvironmental Sciences
Contact InformationTelephone: (434)924-8679
Remote sensing; terrestrial ecology; plant physiology.
I study vegetation-climate interactions in the context of climate change. My research work includes spatial ecology, plant physiology, remote sensing, and climate change. Specifically, I am interested in the climatic controls on vegetation photosynthesis and related plant functioning, the feedbacks of vegetation to the climate, and the impact of climate change on vegetation phenology. I develop novel approaches to quantify photosynthesis and leaf traits remotely, and I use advanced computation approaches such as data assimilation to bridge the gap between observations and models to improve our predictions of carbon, water and energy fluxes. UNLEASH: How does climate change affect our trees? Can our agriculture survive the drought? What are the novel techniques (cameras, UAVs, and innovative sensors) that we can use to better understand our ecosystem? These are the key questions we seek to understand in the PERS lab. What are the tools we use? First we use remote sensing, which uses sensors onboard satellite, airplane, UAV, or on the ground (in the forests!), to measure key "health" metrics of trees. For example, how hot are the leaves? How much CO2 is being taken up by the plants? Second, we use scientific programming (Matlab, R, Fortran etc.) to analyze satellite imageries (remember those beautiful satellite images from Google Earth?) from all over the globe. Third, we use advanced mathematical tools such as data assimilation and machine learning. And if you are interested in fieldworks in the forests, both near C'ville and as far as Costa Rica and Alaska, PERS lab is your choice! If you are interested in designing new instruments, talk to me! If you are interested in coding, we have projects that deal with large satellite datasets (like those in Google Earth).