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24 AUG 2021 (TUE) 10:00-10:45 | 11:15-12:00

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

Departmental Research Seminars via Zoom on Physical Geography

Via Zoom: link will be provided upon successful registration


[ 10:00-10:45 ]


Woody plant encroachment in southwestern US: Drivers, feedbacks, and conceptual models

Many grass-dominated ecosystems in arid and semiarid regions have experienced increasing woody plant density and abundance during the past century. An example is the Chihuahuan Desert in the southwestern US, which experienced different stages of shrub encroachment in the past 150 years. This study synthesizes and extends recent developments in understanding the roles and feedback processes of abiotic and biotic factors in the context of ecosystem dynamics in the Chihuahuan Desert. This is realized through an intercomparison of two Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites, the Jornada located in the south and the Sevilleta located in the north. Since early 2000, many studies have been conducted at these two LTER sites in the same overall context of ecosystem dynamics and at approximately the same time period but were largely implemented independently. Experimental and modeling studies support a conceptual framework which underscores the roles of erosion and fire in woody plant encroachment. Collectively, research at the Jornada LTER provided complementary, quantitative support to the well-known fertile-islands framework. Studies at the Sevilleta LTER expanded the framework, adding fire as a major disturbance to woody plants. Conceptual models derived from the synthesis can guide management interventions aimed at reducing or mitigating undesirable ecosystem state change elsewhere in the world.


Dr. Jimmy LI

Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences, The University of Tulsa (TU), Oklahoma, USA

Jimmy Li is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences, The University of Tulsa (TU), Oklahoma, USA. Dr. Li is currently the Graduate Program Advisor of the department.

Dr. Li completed his Ph.D. of Environmental Sciences at The University of Virginia in 2008 and postdoctoral training at Cornell University and UCLA before he joined TU in 2013. Dr. Li’s research is highly interdisciplinary including geomorphology, biogeochemistry, ecosystem science, GIS and remote sensing. Dr. Li was one of the first to investigate the mechanism of aeolian processes on rapid ecosystem change in southwestern US. Dr. Li also pioneered the application of rare earth element tracers on sediment transport. Dr. Li’s research is supported by NSF, Department of Transportation, NASA etc.

Dr. Li hosted sessions for AGU, EGU, and International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) a number of times. Dr. Li has served as Associate Editor for Aeolian Research since 2013. Dr. Li has published more than 70 papers in main-stream international journals.


[ 11:15-12:00 ]


Environmental Resilience - Understanding the nexus point of human-climate-environment interactions

The nexus point of human-climate-environment interactions is critical for balancing our sustainable development and resilience strategies both for the land and anthroposphere. Remote sensing and spatial modelling techniques provide a powerful way to integrate, assess, and project environment, policy, and socioeconomic data for the purpose of assessing this interaction point. By integrating remote sensing and modelling techniques, researchers can assess the resilience of forests and economies with climatic and land use changes, while also assess the impact of the processes on ecosystem services and natural capital. Additionally, these methodologies can be used to predict how policies will impact changes in the environment, and to determine where adaptation and management strategies are critical for buffering against damages and for promoting areas to become more resilient under changing conditions. Over the past decade I have worked to assess human-environment interactions and to project these forward to determine areas which need improved resilience. This research has helped to provide recommendations in North, Central, and South America on how government policies contribute to sustainable development, while also assessing resiliency in the environment and economy.


Dr. Kayla STAN

Research Fellow, University of Alberta/Royal Bank of Canada, Canada

Over the past decade, Kayla Stan has worked in Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing, and spatial modelling to research the interaction point between humans and the environment. She has dedicated herself to building a body of applied research which has been used by banks and governments both locally in Canada and abroad to transition the way they think about the value of the environment and how to integrate environmental and developmental goals. Additionally, she has worked to communicate and share her passion for geography, geology, and remote sensing to a diverse audience through teaching and mentorship of young scientists. She believes it is critical to reconcile human and environmental priorities through the use of spatial data to build sustainability-based management practices and improve the resiliency of the environment and individual communities when face with climatic volatility.



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