have stumbled upon
poor excuse for a website
This is my attempt to allow others to read about my
work, my past experiences, and my future conquests without having to
answer all of the myspace questions. (Although people Id like
meet is definite addition soon).
I am currently living in Athens, Georgia, pursuing a MS in Forest
Resources from the Warnell
School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia
under the advisement of Dr.
I am working on creating a
spatially realistic Bayesian belief decision tool that will demonstrate
how land use changes will affect metapopulation and individual
subpopulation extinction probabilities of the federally theatened blackside dace. An
endemic of the Upper Cumberland River drainage of Kentucky and
Tennessee, the blackside dace's range has been greatly reduced through
a multitude of human induced stressors (mine, logging, and agriculture
pollution; impoundments and channelization to name a few).
project stems from my interest in applying GIS technologies to wildlife
management issues, especially the recovery of rare and endangered
Bayesian belief networks are probabilistic models used to analyze
cascading hierarchies of influence on outcome states. These
models are useful because they are effective communication tools and
are very flexible to existing data. As a communication tool, BBNs
can easily demonstrate system influences with graphical representation.
For example, the following image demonstrates a simplified
understanding of influences on blackside peristence. Biologists
believe that human land use activities, specifically forestry and
mining, have altered blackside dace habitat, mot notable by increasing
conductivity in streams, introducing heavy sediment loads, and
increasing water temperature. Elevated conductivity is believed
to reduce the survival of young of year fish. Increased
sedimentation in streams reduces available spawning substrate and
reduces the abundance of macroinvertabrate forage species.
Increased water temperature also alters the macroinvertabrate
community. The abundance of a local population is greatly shaped
by the reproduction (spawning), recruitment (YOY survival) and
foraging. Therefore, this model demonstrates exactly how human
land use can shape the abundance of a blackside dace population through
ecological and biological effects.
This site is hosted by UGA and will be used as my professional web
presence, so dont expect to see too much craziness.
Human Land Use
|Management Goal /
BBN models are also very flexible
to data inputs. Individual nodes (circles above) can represent
continuous or catergorical variables, allowing for many monitoring
systems to provide data. More importantly, relationships between
nodes (represented by arrows above) can be based on empirical data OR
expert opinion. This is a very important aspect of this modeling
effort, because users are able to work with the entire system, even if
certain relationships have not be scientifically studied.
Incorporating expert opinion is especially useful in the study
and management of endangered species, becuase often these species are
rare, narrowly distributed, and newly discovered. One more
additional benefit of BBNs is the ability to update the model as more
information is acquired. Since many parts of this model are based
on expert opinion, they need to be changed as more emprirical data is
collected. This can be accomplished within this modeling
I am currently in the process of developing a comprehensive BBN for the blackside dace (Phoxinus cumberlandensis).
Knowldege about the ecology of this species is based on a select
few empirical studies and years of field biology experience. My project
will combine these two types of information into one model of the
system. The model will also be developed to be an adaptive
management tool for scientists, government agencies, and recovery
planners. Support for this effort comes from many different
sources. The Cumberland HCP has been intergral in putting
together a team of experts, hosting meetings, and providing an outlet
for my model. Many biologists, from many agencies have already
helped in the model construction. Finally, financial support for
my work is provided by the National Park Service and the UGA Graduate
I have presented an intital model and results at the American Fisheries
Society and the Southeastern Fisheries Council annual meetings this
fall. This poster can be viewed here. Soon I will be
presenting talks at the annual meeting of the Georgia chapter of the
American Fisheries Society, the Southern Forestry and Natural Resource
Management GIS conference, and the annual meeting of the
International Society of Conservation Biology. These talks will
be posted soon.
A bit of personal history