The Digital Landscapes cluster explores the theoretical and applied issues associated with the acquisition, measurement, representation, analysis, simulation, and visualization of digital geographic information. The type of research encompassed in this cluster integrates geographic information science theory and methods with substantive research foci such as landscape ecology, bio-diversity, medical/health geography, global change, environmental remote sending, hydrology, and geomorphology. Through collaborative research and curricula these foci interface with the other Departmental clusters in Environmental Changes and Surface Processes and Space, Place, and Social Worlds. Suites of approaches such as GIS, Remote Sensing, GPS, simulation modeling, and spatial analysis are used to analyze and describe patterns in the geographic distribution of various phenomena ranging from plants to diseases to disturbances.
Examples of active research questions pursued by faculty within this cluster include:
- How does the spatial scale of species-environment relationships vary?
- What are the sources of uncertainty in models used to project the effect of climate change on species distributions?
- What thresholds of ecosystem disturbances are ecologically versus statistically significant?
- How do these thresholds vary across spatio-temporal scales?
- What are the effects of dam removal to fluvial environment and habitat?
- Which landscape-population combinations are more resilient/vulnerable to stochastic or structured change, and how have these landscapes or populations adjusted to, migrated, or facilitated there changes?
- How do longitudinal changes in hydraulics influence floodplain environments?
By combining these research questions with computationally intensive methods, the Digital Landscapes cluster integrates research with significant fieldwork components in locations as diverse as Botswana, Mexico, Perú, Texas, and Australia.