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Joel Baker, MS Student

Advisor:  Dr. Dawn Biehler


John Brooks Binau, M.S. Student
UMBC Shriver Peaceworker Fellow

Hometown: Hagerstown, MD

Advisors: Dr. Maggie Holland

Education History:

B.S., Communications, Ithaca College

Research Interests: Agroecology, Permaculture, Food Systems, Sustainable Agriculture

Thesis Research: My thesis project uses a mixed-methods approach to measure the relationship between urban farms and food security in Baltimore City.  The first phase of my research will focus on quantifying and mapping the flow of produce from urban farms through their points of distribution and to their end-consumers (customers and donor recipients). This will allow us to spatially define the extent of the urban farm foodshed in Baltimore. The second phase of this research will assess the degree to which these urban farms help alleviate food insecurity and strengthen in-situ community resilience with a particular focus on the foodscape of neighborhoods located near urban farms.

Committee members: Dawn Biehler, David Lansing
Publications & Presentations:
Peace Corps Connect 2014 – Nashville: “Urban Farm Consumers in Baltimore City: A Foodshed & Foodscape Analysis”



Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Advisor: Dr. Christopher Swan

Education History:
B.S., Biology, Towson University
M.S., Biology-Ecology, Towson University

Research Interests: Community Ecology, Community Assembly, Dispersal, Functional Traits, Disturbance, Interspecific Interactions

I have a broad interest in ecological community structure and function. My research focus includes understanding plant community assembly and how these communities interact with biotic dispersal vectors and herbivores. I am particularly interested in how these interactions are influenced by disturbance and ultimately how this structures communities.


JasonJason Chang, M.S. Student

Advisor:  Dr. Erle Ellis

Education Background: B.S. Environmental Science, Certification GIScience
Research Interests: Conservation/Restoration, Landscape Ecology
I have broad interests in the interactions between human and natural systems. My primary research interests fall within the scope of land change science and conservation. I believe that these disciplines go hand in hand: a spatial approach to environmental issues will allow for pragmatic solutions and efficacious conservation practices.


chirico_headshotPeter George Chirico, PhD Student

Hometown: Vienna, VA

Advisor: Dr. Andrew J. Miller

Education History:
B.A., Geography, Mary Washington College
M.A., Geography, University of South Carolina

Research Interests: Geomorphology, Digital elevation modeling, Remote sensing, GIS, Natural resources

I am currently employed with the USGS in Reston, Virginia where I have been working on issues related to terrain analysis and natural resources. My research combines the use of geomorphological mapping, remote sensing, and field surveys, as techniques for investigating and assessing artisanally mined diamond deposits in central and western Africa. The work has direct implications for natural resource management, development, and in preventing the trade in conflict minerals and “blood diamonds.”

Selected Publications:

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

2013, Malpeli, K.C., and Chirico, P.G., The influence of geomorphology on the role of women at artisanal and small-scale mine sites: Natural Resources Forum, v. 31, no. 1, p. 43-54. (available online at

2012, Harrison, R.W., Tsiolakis, E., Stone, B.D., Lord, A., McGeehin, J.P., Mahan, S.A., and Chirico, P., Late Pleistocene and Holocene uplift history of Cyprus—implications for active tectonics along the southern margin of the Anatolian microplate: Geological Society of London, Special Publications, v. 372, 25 p.

2012, Chirico, P.G., Malpeli, K.C., and Trimble, S.M., Accuracy evaluation of an ASTER-derived Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM) Version 1 and Version 2 for two sites in Western Africa: GIScience and Remote Sensing, v. 49, no. 6, p. 775-801. (available online at

USGS Publications

2013, Chirico, P.G., Malpeli, K.C., and Moran, T.W., Reconnaissance investigation of the alluvial gold deposits in the North Takhar Area of Interest, Afghanistan: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013-1180, 14 p. (available online at

2013, Malpeli, K.C., Chirico, P.G., and McLoughlin, I.H., Reconnaissance investigation of the placer gold deposits in the Zarkashan Area of Interest, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013-1179, 12 p. (available online at

2013, Casey, B.N., and Chirico, P.G., Topographic and hydrographic GIS datasets for the Afghan Geological Survey and U.S. Geological Survey 2013 mineral areas of interest: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013-1124, 16 p. (available online at

2012, Chirico, P.G., Malpeli, K.C., Van Bockstael, Mark, Diaby, Mamadou, Cissé, Kabinet, Diallo, T.A., and Sano, Mahmoud, Alluvial diamond resource potential and production capacity assessment of Guinea: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012-5256, 49 p. (available online at

2011, Chirico, P.G., Stamm, R.G., Moran, T.W., and Chaihorsky, Alexander, Chapter 12A. Summary of the North Takhar Placer Gold Area of Interest, in Peters, S.G., King, T.V.V., Mack, T.J., Chornack, M.P., eds., Summaries of important areas for mineral investment and production opportunities of nonfuel minerals in Afghanistan, Vol. 2: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1204, p. 951-968.

2010, Chirico, P.G., Semiautomated mapping of surficial geologic deposits from Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) and hydrologic network data, from Digital Mapping Techniques ’09—Workshop Proceedings’: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1335. (available online at


Peter Revere Claggett, PhD Student,,

Hometown:  Stevensville, MD

Advisor: Dr. Matthew E. Baker

Education History:

B.A., Environmental Sciences, University of California, Berkeley

M.A., Geography, Miami University (Ohio)

M.En., Environmental Sciences, Miami University (Ohio)

Research Interests: Hydrologic impacts of impervious surface patterns, Monitoring, understanding, and modeling regional land use/cover change, Assessing the impacts of land use/cover change on water quality, quantity, and wildlife habitats

The hydrologic impacts of roads, rooftops, parking lots, and other impervious surfaces have been well documented.  By preventing rainfall from infiltrating into the ground, impervious surfaces reduce groundwater recharge and increase the rate and volume of surface runoff.  This phenomenon can increase stream discharge resulting in accelerated erosion of stream banks and transport of sediment.  However, not all streams respond similarly to increases in impervious surfaces nor do all impervious surfaces contribute equally to changes in stream flow.  Watershed dimensions, slope, lithology, soils, channel and floodplain configuration, and other factors affect local hydrologic responses to land use/cover change.  Variations in stormwater management and the hydrologic connectivity of impervious surfaces via storm drain networks or proximity further affect the relationship between impervious surfaces and stream flow.  I plan to explore this more nuanced relationship in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to inform both stormwater management and land use planning decisions.

Publication Information:

Claggett, P. R., Irani, F. M., and R.L. Thompson, 2013. Estimating the Extent of Impervious Surfaces and Turf Grass across Large Regions. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, Vol. 49(5): 1752-1688 (

Sohl, T.L., and Claggett, P.R., 2013, Clarity versus complexity: Land-use modeling as a practical tool for decision-makers.  Journal of Environmental Management 129: 235-243

Claggett, P.R, and Thompson, R.L. eds., 2012, Proceedings of the workshop on alternative futures- Accounting for growth in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1216, 29 p., [].

Claggett, P.R., Okay, J.A., and S.V. Stehman, 2010. Monitoring Regional Ripairan Forest Cover Change Using Stratified Sampling and Mulitresolution Imagery. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, Vol. 46(2): 334-343.

Irani, Fred, M., and Claggett, Peter, R., 2010, Chesapeake Bay Watershed Land Cover Change Data Series:  U.S. Geological Data Series 505.

Jantz, C.A., S.J. Goetz, D.I. Donato, and P.R. Claggett, 2010. Designing and Implementing a Regional Urban Modeling System Using the SLEUTH Cellular Urban Model. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Vol. 34(1): 1-16.

Claggett, P.R., Jantz, C.A., Goetz, S.J., and Bisland, Carin, 2004, Assessing Development Pressure in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed – An Evaluation of Two Land-use Change Models.  Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Vol. 94(1-3): 129-146.



ZachZach Clifton, M.S. Student

Advisor: Dr. Matthew Baker

Hometown: Bel Air, MD

Education History:
B.S. Environmental Science, UMBC, 2015
B.A. Philosophy, UMBC, 2015

Research Interests: Remote Sensing, Fluvial Geomorphology, Terrestrial LiDAR, GIS

My interests lie with the application of GIS technology and terrestrial LiDAR to better quantify geomorphologic processes occurring along the banks and floodplains adjacent to river channels. I will be working as part of the team at UMBC monitoring the movement of sediment downstream following the removal of Bloede Dam in Patapsco State Park.


EBC.PhotoEileen Connell, M.S. Student

Hometown: Frederick, MD

Advisor: Dr. Colin Studds

Education History:
B.S., Environmental Science, UMBC

Research Interests: Ecology, Biodiversity, Migratory Connectivity, Population Genetics

My research focuses on the migratory connectivity of the American redstart. Migratory connectivity is a term used to describe how breeding populations are related to populations in the winter habitat. By using prior knowledge of the redstart’s population genetics, I will determine the degree of migratory connectivity for this small migratory bird.


cruzJuan Cruz, MS Student


Hometown: Laurel, MD

Advisor: Dr. Dena Aufseeser

Education History:
B. A., Geography, UMBC
Geographic Information Science Certificate, UMBC

Research Interest:

My current master’s research focuses in understanding the effects of civic engagement on the perceptions of identity, immigrant relations and community formation in first-generation Latino Americans. Particularly in understanding the effects of civic and political experiences on identity and place formation.

Among my broader interests are Latino American political participation, urban geography, spatial politics and geographies of social movements.


Davis_HeadshotAmanda Davis, PhD Student


Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Advisors: Dr. Dawn Biehler & Dr. Robert Neff


Education History:
B.A., Anthropology, University of Oklahoma
M.A., International Peace & Conflict Resolution, Arcadia University
M.S., Environmental Sciences and Policy, Johns Hopkins

Research Interests: Urban geography, Human geography, social and spatial justice.

My research interests focus on the impact of changing residential and workplace patterns on issues of employment opportunity and accessibility. I am also interested in issues of social and spatial justice.


DixonAdam Dixon, PhD Student


Hometown: Wichita, KS.

Advisors: Dr. Erle Ellis

Education History:
M.S., Geographic Information Science, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, MO
B.A., Environmental Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Research interests: Land Management, Biodiversity Conservation, Ecosystem Ecology, Ecosystem Geography, Biogeography


I am interested in using geographic information to guide land use decision making. Past research has involved ecological corridor modeling, geographic assessment of biofuels policy in the tropics, global grassland ecosystem mapping, fine scale mapping of natural and non-natural grasslands using remotely sensed data, and ecosystem service and biodiversity assessment for infrastructure development in Myanmar. My research at UMBC builds on these experiences working in the Lab for Anthropogenic Landscape Ecology to ask questions about the interactions between human land use and biophysical systems. The aim is to produce geographic visualizations and information to develop land use management practices that enhance human well-being, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service provisioning.


Publication Information:

Dixon, A., Faber-Langendoen, D., Josse, C., Morrison, J., Loucks, C. 2014. Distribution mapping of worldgrassland types. Biogeography, Vol 41, 11, 2003-2019.


Promoting sustainable land use planning in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia: Building mapping capacity for sustainability. August 2014. WWF-Indonesia. Jakarta.


Project management and cartographic design for Sigaptaru, a collaborative mapping website to integrate with land use planning stakeholders in Sumatra, Indonesia. Released May 2013. WWF-Indonesia. Jakarta.


Master’s thesis: Modeling ecological connectivity in a protected area network in southeast Tanzania; in support of Master of Science, Geographic Information Science, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Missouri, July 2012.


dupre_headshotSam Dupre, PhD Student

Hometown: Lawrenceville, NJ

Advisor: Dr. Maggie Holland

Education History:
B.S., Animal Science, University of Vermont
M.S., Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology, Frostburg State University

Research Interests: Livelihood creation and empowerment; international sustainable natural resource management policy; forest community species dynamics, restoration, and degradation prevention.

The use of modern ecological science to address human/biodiversity conservation issues around the world through practical mechanisms involving agriculture and entrepreneurship.

Publication Information:

Dupre, CM, R Libman, SI Dupre, JM Katz, M Rybinnik, & T Kwiatkowski. (2013). Stroke Chameleons. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.



Michael Glassman, MS Student

Advisor:  Dr. Matt Baker



Jared Margulies, PhD Candidate

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Advisor: Dr. Erle Ellis

Education History:
B.A., Anthropology, with Environmental Studies, Goucher College
M.Sc., Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, University of Oxford

Research Interests : Political ecology, Biodiversity conservation,  Conservation in human-modified landscapes, Human-wildlife interactions, Conservation governance, More-than-human geographies

I consider myself as an environmental geographer broadly interested in conservation geographies, with an emerging interest in the meaning of the Anthropocene for biodiversity conservation and the persistence of wildlife across heterogeneous landscapes.  My previous work has centered on megafauna conservation and tolerance within the tea plantation landscapes of the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu in the Western Ghats of southwest India. For my dissertation I am building on this work in studying wildlife conservation governance and policy in southwest India.

Publication Information:

Kim, B.F.; Poulsen, M.N; Margulies, J.D.; Dix, K.; Palmer, A.M.; Nachman, K. Urban Community Gardeners’ Knowledge and Perceptions of Soil Contaminant Risks.  In Press for PLoS One.

Love, D. C., Breaud, A., Burns, S., Margulies, J., Romano, M., & Lawrence, R. (2012). Is the three-foot bicycle passing law working in Baltimore, Maryland? Accident Analysis & Prevention48, 451-456.

Margulies, J. No-Till agriculture in the USA. Organic Fertilisation, Soil Quality and Human Health. Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, 2012, Volume 9, 11-30, DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-4113-3_2

Rule, A.M.; Geyh, A.S; Ramos-Bonilla, J.P.; Mihalic, J.; Margulies, J.D.; L.M. Polyak; Kesavan, J.; Breysse, P.N. (2010). Design and Characterization of a Sequential Cyclone System for the Collection of Bulk Particulate Matter. Journal of Environmental Monitoring. 12, 1807-1814. DOI: 10.1039/c0em00034e

Franco, M.; Herring, S. (Eds.) (2010). The Baltimore City Food Environment. Published by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Available from



Martin_headshotAlex Martin, M.S. Student

Hometown: Chantilly, VA

Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Halverson

Education History:

B.S., Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University

Research Interests: Tropical cyclogenesis, Boundary layer wind structure, Wind farm risk assessment, Wind energy resource assessment and analysis

My primary interest lies in atmospheric boundary layer wind analysis. By studying tropical cyclogenesis, I hope to gain a better understanding of what drives the strengthening of these systems and apply this to future risk analysis.


McGovernKirsten McGovern, M.S.

Hometown: Sykesville, MD

Advisor: Dr. Colin Studds

Education History:

B.S. Environmental Science, UMBC

Research Interests: Ecology, birds, conservation. My thesis is titled “Optimizing the timing of anuran calling surveys in New Jersey based on differences in calling phenology between species” and focuses on improving the monitoring of frogs based on the limited resources that wildlife refuges (or other conservation organizations) have to work with. I will be graduating in August and pursuing a career in the field of conservation/wildlife management.


McLindenMatt McLinden, Ph.D. Student

Hometown: Worcester, MA

Education History:
B.S. Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts
M.S. Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts

Advisor:  Dr. Jeffrey Halverson

Research Interests: Radar Meteorology, Active and Passive Microwave Remote Sensing from Airborne and Spaceborne platforms.

I am a research engineer at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center where I focus on radar and microwave radiometery. I enjoy the interesting threshold between the engineering and atmospheric science aspects of remote sensing.

Publication Information:

McLinden, M. L., E. J. Wollack, G. M. Heymsfield, L. Li, “Reduced Image Aliasing with Microwave Radiometers and Weather Radar through Windowed Spatial Aver- aging,” IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, publication pending, 10.1109/TGRS.2015.2445100.

Li, L., G. M. Heymsfield, J. Carswell, D. Schaubert, M. L. McLinden, J. Creticos, M. Perrine, M. Coon, J. Cervantes, M. Vega, S. Guimond, L. Tian, A. Emory, “The NASA High-altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP),” IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, publication pending.

McLinden, M. L., J. Carswell, L. Li, G. Heymsfield, A. Emory, J. Cervantes, L. Tian, “Utilizing versatile transmission waveforms to mitigate pulse compression range sidelobes with the HIWRAP radar,” IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 2013, 10.1109/GSRS.2013.2241729.

Heymsfield, G. M., L. Tian, L. Li, M. McLinden, J. Cervantes, “Airborne Radar Observations of Severe Hail Storms: Implications for Future Spaceborne Radar,” J. of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 2013, JAMC-D-12-0144.1.


MarinaMetesMarina Metes, M.S. Student

Hometown: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

Advisor: Dr. Andrew J Miller

Education History:
B.S., Earth Science, Michigan State University

Research interests: Fluvial geomorphology, hydrology, GIS, land use change, and cartography.

I’m studying the geomorphic changes of headwater streams as a result of recent urbanization. I am using a combination of field work and multitemporal lidar to analyze shifts in channel initiation points and stream channel geomorphology both during and following the completion of urban development.


Mer_picMer Mietzelfeld, PhD student

Hometown: Unadilla, NY

Advisor: Dr. Colin Studds

Education History:
B.A., Biology, Bard College
M.A., Environmental Studies, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Research Interests: Population ecology, biogeography, migratory connectivity, wildlife conservation

Dissertation research: I am studying the overwinter ecology of ovenbirds, a migratory warbler species, in Jamaica. Specifically, I am performing food manipulations on winter territories to observe the physiological and behavioral effects of late winter food supply on individuals preparing for spring migration. I am deploying gps geolocator tags to track the study birds to their breeding grounds thereby providing insight into how winter habitat quality may impact breeding success.


Miller_headshotAndrew D. Miller, M.S. student

Hometown: Akron, PA

Advisor: Dr. Matthew Baker



Education History:
B.S., Biology, Ursinus College (Double major: German)
M.S., Environmental & Forest Biology, SUNY-ESF

Research Interests: stream ecology, landscape ecology, community ecology, population dynamics, fisheries management

I am interested in factors that affect patterns of aquatic community composition and population dynamics across a range of scales. I address these questions using a combination of GIS, field work, and modeling. I am particularly interested in the spatial and temporal dynamics of riverine communities, and how the processes that drive these changes differ based on properties of the stream network and surrounding landscape.


Katelyn Miller, MS Student

Advisor:  Dr. Margaret Holland


pitas-2014-6828 (1)John-Henry Pitas, MS student

Hometown: Falls Church, Virginia
Advisor: Dr. Dawn Biehler
Education History:
BA – Environmental Studies, Geography and Environmental Systems, UMBC
AS – Teacher Education, Northern Virginia Community College
Research interests:Urban political ecology,Multispecies ethnography, Critical animal studies, Posthumanist and critical feminist theory, Innovative qualitative methodologies
I’m am currently working on a masters thesis that documents the lives of pigeons and pigeon keepers in Baltimore, Maryland. I am utilizing a combination of qualitative methodologies including semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and photovoice.

Aaron Poyer, PhD Student

Hometown: Ithaca, NY

Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Halverson

Education History:

A.S., Math/Sciences, Tompkins Cortland Community College

B.S., Meteorology, SUNY Oswego

M.S., Environmental Biology, Hood College

M.Cert., Project Management, The George Washington University

Research Interests:

I am currently working on pre-dissertation concept exploration research into the interconnections between the geography and atmospheric regimes of the Baltimore/Washington region, particularly the impacts these have on lightning distribution and initiation or enhancement.

I am currently a full time employee of the National Weather Service; I began working on algorithm and sensor development for ASOS program and later moved into testing software and hardware for the Upper Air (weather balloon) program.


RalstonKatherine Ralston, MS Student

Hometown:  Fairfax, Va

Advisor: Dr. Matthew E. Baker

Education History:
B.A., Middle East Language and Culture, University of Virginia

Research Interests
:  hydrology, ecology, agroforestry, habitat patches, restoration methods

I am interested in the hydrology and ecology of unmanaged, partially managed and “restored” patches of land and their current and potential ecological functions.


RichDylan Rich, MS Student


Los Alamos, NM

Education History:
B.S., Applied Mathematics, Seattle University


Research Interests: Graph theory, Bayesian networks, causality, data science, inference, landscape connectivity, conservation biology, ecology, ecosystem management

My current research is focused on developing a simple toolset for extracting causal structures from multivariate datasets, specifically for use with environmental data.

Publication Information:

Rich, Dylan, Fanny Cazettes, Yunyan Wang, José Luis Peña, Brian J. Fischer. 2014. Neural representation of probabilities for Bayesian inference. Journal of Computational Neuroscience.


Riddering, Laura MediumLaura Riddering, PhD Student
Hometown: Troy, MI
Advisor: Dr. David Lansing
Education History:
B.S., Biology, Alma College
M.A., International Development and Social Change, Clark University
Research Interests: Development, critical tourism, conservation policy, environmental justice, land tenure and property rights, social movements
RittleAlex M. Rittle, PhD Student

Hometown: Reading, PA

Advisor: Dr. Matt Baker

Education History:
B.S., Geology; Minor in Biology, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
M.A., Physical Geography, University of Kentucky

Research Interests: Fluvial geomorphology, ecohydraulics, biogeomorphology, stream restoration, stream ecology and macroinvertebrate community composition, structure from motion, landscape modeling

I consider myself a geomorphologist, but more specifically a fluvial biogeomorphologist, as I am particularly interested in the coupled relationship between ecological and physical (hydraulic, hydrologic, and geomorphic) processes occurring in lotic systems. My research involves analyzing channel evolution and response following a dam removal, focusing particularly on the usefulness of structure-from-motion technologies to more efficiently model and detect geomorphic changes. I am also interested in the role of macroinvertebrate community structure in understanding ecological adaptations to stream alterations. ​
20141231_114358(1)Mariya Shcheglovitova, PhD Student
Hometown:  Staten Island, NY
Advisor:  Christopher Swan
Education History:
B.S. Biology and Mathematics, The City College of New York
Research Interest:  Woody Debris, Microbes, Urban Systems, Community Ecology, Community Assembly, Environmental Remediation
I research the ecological and spatial factors that drive microbial community assembly, using decaying wood as a study system. I am particularly interested in urban woody debris as an interface for human microbe interactions. With my research I aim to connect findings on microbial community structure and function to urban sustainability initiatives, to this end I study the potential for urban microbes and woody debris to take up heavy metal pollutants.
J. Tonini , A. Moore, D. Stern, M. Shcheglovitova, G. Ortí. (2015). Concatenation and Species Tree Methods Exhibit Statistically Indistinguishable Accuracy under a Range of Simulated Conditions. PLOS Currents Tree of Life. doi:10.1371/currents.tol.34260cc27551a527b124ec5f6334b6be.A. Shamsaddini, Y. Pan, W.E. Johnson, K. Krampis, M. Shcheglovitova, V. Simonyan, A. Zanne, and R. Mazumder (2014). Census-based rapid and accurate metagenome taxonomic profiling. BMC Genomics. 15(1):918S. M. Sanders, M. Shcheglovitova, and P. Cartwright. (2014). Differential gene expression between functionally specialized polyps of the colonial hydrozoan Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus (Phylum Cnidaria). BMC genomics 15(1): 406.Shcheglovitova M. and R.P. Anderson (2013). Estimating optimal complexity for ecological niche models: A jackknife approach for species with small sample sizes. Ecological Modelling. 269:9-17.B. Bentlage and M. Shcheglovitova (2012) NichePy: modular tools for estimating the similarity of ecological niche and species distribution models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 3:484-489.

April Sparkman, PhD Student

Hometown: Walkersville, MD

Advisor: Dr. Christopher Swan

Research Interests: Aquatic Ecology, Stream Ecology, Phylogenetics, Riparian Zones


St. PeAlexandra St.Pé, PhD Student

Hometown: Brandon, Mississippi

Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Halverson

Education History:
B.S., Meteorology, Mississippi State University
M.S., Geography and Environmental Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Research Interests: energy meteorology, offshore wind development, renewable energy policy, energy economics, international energy system standards

Given more than 70% of earth’s surface is water, there is enormous potential to capture the kinetic energy of offshore wind and produce electricity. However, significant uncertainties exist when developing an offshore wind project, particularly during a Wind Resource Assessment (WRA), which attempts to characterize an offshore wind resource, thus expected energy yield, prior to wind farm construction. The implications of an inaccurate WRA approach, thus pre-construction energy yield estimate, are significant given its critical link to a project’s layout optimization strategy, expected profitability and investment decisions.

Using high resolution Doppler wind lidar measurements offshore near Ocean City, MD, my research investigates the value of scanning Doppler wind lidar measurements for quantifying micrometeorology conditions impacting a wind turbine’s potential performance, thus reducing uncertainty in the WRA process. To elucidate the economic implications of wind measurement techniques employed during a WRA, variability in a wind farm’s capacity factor, a key term for predicting project profitability, is demonstrated. Finally, given the importance of government procurement mechanisms for offshore wind development, my research concludes with discussion about effective, science-informed, policy instruments that maximize offshore wind farm generation capacity at least cost, while contemporaneously reducing risk in investment decisions.


Goudarzi, N., Lei, X., St Pé, A., Rabenhorst, S., Delgado, R., Sandborn, P. (2015). Maintenance Optimization of a Wind Turbine: The Impact of an Accurate Wind Speed Measurement. Proceedings of the ASME 2015 Power Conference, San Diego, California

Delgado, R., Berkoff, T., Compton, J. S., St Pé, A., Baker, B., Hoff, R. M., … & Crawford11, J. (2011). Determination of Planetary Boundary Layer Heights on Short Spatial and Temporal Scales from Surface and Airborne Vertical Profilers during DISCOVER-AQ. American Geophysical Society Annual Meeting.


VanAppledorn_headshotMolly Van Appledorn, PhD Candidate

Hometown:  Holland, MI

Advisor: Dr. Matthew E. Baker


Education History:
B.S., Environmental Science, University of Michigan
M.S., Ecology, Utah State University

Research Interests: Watershed Ecology, Landscape Ecology, Hydrology, Riparian Ecosystems

My research interests lie at the intersection of fluvial geomorphology, plant ecology, and landscape ecology. I combine geospatial analyses, hydraulic and hydrologic modeling, and field methods to address both basic and applied questions about watershed ecology. One of the main research projects I am currently working on is understanding how functional traits of riparian plant species relate to hydrologic and hydraulic gradients. In addition to giving us more insight into the dynamic ecology of floodplain systems, the results from this study will provide ecological guidance for cost-effective reforestation projects and will identify species that may be useful in monitoring or inventorying ecosystem function.


voelkerNicole Voelker, PhD Student

Hometown: Bel Air, MD

Advisor: Dr. Christopher Swan

Education History:
B.S., Environmental Science, Towson University

Research Interests: Biodiversity, Aquatic Ecology, Urban Systems, Stormwater

I am generally interested in biodiversity in built environments. I am conducting surveys and experiments to understand the direct and indirect effects humans have on shaping biodiversity patterns at multiple scales in stormwater ponds



Charlie Wahl, M.S. Student

Hometown: Elburn, IL

Advisor: Dr. Christopher Swan

Education History:
B.S, Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, Clemson University

Research Interests: Community Ecology, Stream and Aquatic Ecology, Dispersal, Functional traits, Urban ecology

I am broadly interested in community level ecology, more specifically how regional (dispersal) and local (habitat) factors shape and structure communities. For my thesis I manipulated local habitat (resource quality) at different sections of stream networks where dispersal varies (low and higher order streams). Based on the quality of the resources and the amount of dispersal taking place in each section I hypothesized how macroinvertebrate consumer (shredder) communities should respond. By examining how regional and local factors work in conjunction with one another I may get a better understanding of how communities are structured and regulated by the environment.

I am also interested in using functional traits as another way to view community composition. I am currently examining how functional traits can be used to predict shifts in community structure due to climate change. By knowing what traits are susceptible to environmental changes in stream flow and temperature I can predict how community structure will vary based on the loss of these traits. Furthermore I hypothesize that in urban environments these traits may already be lost due to environmental filtering of the urban environment.




MayoJ_headshotJennifer Mayo, M.S.

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Advisor: Maggie Holland


Education History:

B.A., International Studies, The Ohio State University

Research Interests:  I am interested in designing and implementing impact evaluation studies for environmental and agricultural projects.



Anna Johnson, PhD

Hometown: Fairfield, PA

Advisor: Christopher Swan


Education History:

B.A., Liberal Arts, St. John’s College

Research Interests: Biodiversity, Community Ecology, Urban Sustainability, Urban Vacant Land Management and Remediation, Citizen Science

I study the ecological processes that drive the assembly of plant communities, using herbaceous plant communities in vacant lots as my model system. I use a combination of field surveys and experiments to test and extend basic ecological theory about the limits on species coexistence in urban systems at multiple spatial scales. I am particularly interested in connecting quantitative ecological research results to urban sustainability initiatives and engaging underserved populations in the practice and outcomes of research.

Publication Information:

A. L. Johnson and C. M. Swan. (in press). Drivers of Vegetation Species Diversity and Composition in Urban Ecosystems In Urban Wildlife Science: Theory and Practice. McCleery, R. et al. (editors).



Dandois_headshotJonathan Dandois, PhD

Hometown: Bethesda, MD

Advisor: Erle Ellis


Education History:

B.S., Geography and Environmental Systems, UMBC

Certificate of Geographic Information Systems, UMBC

Research Interests: Forest ecology, vegetation structure, computer vision, remote sensing, phenology, 3D, forest dynamics, Arducopter, UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems), multirotors, Ecosynth

I am interested in applying remote sensing and computer vision techniques to solving problems in ecology and environmental science by developing new, better, or just simpler tools that improve on current methods.  I want to work with multidisciplinary teams of ecologists and computer scientists in the lab, at the computer, and in the field to tackle difficult problems related to measuring and observing ecosystem patterns and processes.

Publication Information:

Dandois, J.P. and Erle C. Ellis (2013). High spatial resolution three-dimensional mapping of vegetation spectral dynamics using computer vision. Remote Sensing of Environment. 136, 259-276. DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2013.04.005 (available here)

Dandois, J.P. and E.C. Ellis (2010). Remote Sensing of Vegetation Structure and Using Computer Vision. Remote Sensing, 2(4): 1157-1176. DOI: 10.3390/rs2041157



lindner_portraitGarth Lindner, PhD

Advisor: Andrew J. Miller

Research Interests: Stream restoration, stormwater management, floodplain modeling and management, hydrologic modeling, ecosystem services


Voglozin_HeadshotNohemi C. A. Voglozin, PhD (Fall 2013)

Hometown: Benin, West Africa

Advisors: Sandy Parker & Laura Lewis


Education History:

Engineer and MS degrees, Agronomy, Management of Natural Resources; University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin

Research Interests: Agricultural Biogeography, GIS, Management of Natural resources, Crop Evolution, Crop Genetic Diversity, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation & Policy.

Ethnographic, molecular and Geographic Information Systems techniques are used in my research to gain insights into the spatial distribution of the rice genetic diversity managed at the farmer level in different ecogeographical regions in Benin, West Africa. Various methodologies are utilized and focused on three modes of inquiry: the collection of socio-economic and agro-ecological data using ethnographic surveys; molecular analysis of rice germplasm collected in the field from farmers; and the development of a Geographic Information Systems to integrate all this information to develop a base-line understanding of rice genetic resources and areas for conservation in Benin. The results can be used as part of a program to complement the rice germplasm collection and the genetic analysis ongoing in Benin, target effectively the area of greatest diversity, and identify the most effective strategy for the in situ and ex situ conservation of this diversity.

Publication Information:

Lewis, L. R. & Voglozin, N.C.A. 2014. Genetic diversity and population structure of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) from Sahelian Africa. In prep for: Molecular Ecology / Crop Science.

Voglozin, N.C.A. & Lewis, L. R. 2014. Analysis of the genetic variability of rice varieties in Benin, West Africa. In prep for: Molecular Ecology / Crop Science

Voglozin, N.C.A., Parker, Eugene & Lewis, L. R. 2014. In situ management of rice varieties at the farm, village and region scale in Benin, West Africa. In prep for: Conservation Biology/ Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization


Laura Merner, PhD

Hometown: Kinnelon, NJ

Advisor: Andrew J. Miller

Education History:

Bachelors Degree, Environmental Science and Geography, Clark University

Research Interests: Flood Hazards, Vulnerability and Risk, Community Based Participatory Research, Critical Geography, Human-Environment Relations, Historical Materialism, Post-Structural Understandings of Nature, Appalachian Studies

My research explores the interdisciplinary nature of flood hazards to better understand how vulnerability is constructed, perceived and legitimized.


donovan_headshotMitchell Donovan, M.S.

Hometown: Ellicott City, MD

Advisor: Andrew J. Miller


Education History:

B.S., Geography and Environmental Science, UMBC

Research Interests: Fluvial morphology, Geomorphology, Sediment transport, Geographic Information Systems, Cartography

I am currently investigating a variety of topics within the breadth of geomorphology and fluvial morphology. These areas, encompassed by my current research, include studying sediment transport, sources, and storage throughout the Piedmont, the ongoing impacts of legacy sediment, and the role of milldams in Piedmont floodplain formation. Outside of these topics, I am developing future plans within cartography, geographic information systems, and how to communicate science more clearly to non-scientists.

WebsitesBehance PortfolioUSGS Professional PageUMBC Top 30 Class


fairbank_headshotJanet Galway Fairbank, M.S.

Hometown: Laurel, Maryland

Advisor: Junmei Tang

Education History:

B.S., Environmental Science, UMBC

B.S., Business, Towson State University

Research Interests: Forest Ecology, Invasive Ecology, Land Use Change, Climate Change

Interested in ecological interactions and global change, specifically the effects of anthropogenic disturbance, land use change, and climate change on forested ecosystems and the creation of forest edges

Publication Information:

Fairbank, Janet. 2010. Anthropogenic Biomes: A High School Biology Unit Plan. Prepared in consultation with Erle Ellis and Sari Bennett. Published online October 1, 2010.(


Shamer_HeadshotSierra Shamer, M.S.

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Advisors: David Lansing & Maggie Holland


Education History:

B.A., Environmental Studies,  UMBC

Research Interests: Conservation & Development Policy, Political Ecology, Environmental Economics

My current research and academic interests are focused on conservation and development policy, implementation, and outcomes for both the natural world and human society.  Specifically, I study the payments for ecosystem services policy in Costa Rica, investigating how the translation of theory, to policy, to program implementation determines the perception of policy success and its reality on the ground.


branum_headshotTiffany Branum, M.S.

Hometown: Takoma Park, MD

Advisor: Dawn Biehler

Education History:

B.A., History and International Studies, Southern Adventist University

Research Interests: Human and urban geographies, food studies, identity studies (race, gender, class), public markets, public and shared spaces, urban design

My current research explores the impacts of redevelopment on the social dynamics of public markets.