Aniruddha Belsare is a disease ecologist with a background in veterinary medicine, interspecific transmission, pathogen modeling and conservation research. Aniruddha received his Ph.D. in Wildlife Science (Focus: Disease Ecology) from the University of Missouri in 2013 and subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship there (University of Missouri, May 2014 – June 2017). He then was a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Modeling Complex Interactions at the University of Idaho (June 2017 - March 2019) and later a Research Associate with the Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center, Michigan State University (March 2019 - Jan 2021). He is currently a Computational Ecologist in the Civitello Lab at Emory University.
My research interests primarily lie at the interface of ecology and epidemiology, and include host-pathogen systems that are of public health or conservation concern. I use ecologic, epidemiologic and model-based investigations to understand how pathogens spread through, persist in, and impact host populations. Animal disease systems that I am currently working on include canine rabies, leptospirosis, chronic wasting disease, big horn sheep pneumonia, raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis), and Lyme disease.
My core research interest is to understand how humans and other living creature perceive and behave; respond and act upon their environment and how this dynamic interplay shapes us into who we are. In recognition of the broad scope of this question I am a strong believer in the need for inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches and have worked at research groups in a wide range of departments and institutions, including university departments of Physics as well as Psychology, a bio-medical research lab, a robotics research laboratory and most recently the RIKEN Brain Science Institute. Though my work has primarily taken the form of computational neuroscience I have also performed psychophysical experiments with healthy human subjects, been involved in neural imaging experiments and contributed towards the development of a humanoid robot.
Based on the philosophy of ‘understanding through creating’ I believe that bio-mimetic and biologically inspired computational and robotic engineering can teach us not only how to build more flexible and robust tools but also how actual living creatures deal with their environment. I am therefore a strong believer in the fertile information exchange between scientific as well as engineering research disciplines.
Community assembly after intervention by coral transplantation
The potential of transplantation of scleractinian corals in restoring degraded reefs has been widely recognized. Levels of success of coral transplantation have been highly variable due to variable environmental conditions and interactions with other reef organisms. The community structure of the area being restored is an emergent outcome of the interaction of its components as well as of processes at the local level. Understanding the
coral reef as a complex adaptive system is essential in understanding how patterns emerge from processes at local scales. Data from a coral transplantation experiment will be used to develop an individual-based model of coral community development. The objectives of the model are to develop an understanding of assembly rules, predict trajectories and discover unknown properties in the development of coral reef communities in the context of reef restoration. Simulation experiments will be conducted to derive insights on community trajectories under different disturbance regimes as well as initial transplantation configurations. The model may also serve as a decision-support tool for reef restoration.
Dr. Lilian Alessa, University of Idaho President’s Professor of Resilient Landscapes in the Landscape Architecture program, is also Co-Director of the University of Idaho Center for Resilient Communities. She conducts extensive research on human adaptation to environmental change through resilient design at landscape scales. Much of her work is funded by the National Science Foundation, including projects awarded the Arctic Observing Network, Intersections of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) and the Dynamics of Coupled Natural Human Systems programs. Canadian-born and raised, Alessa received her degrees from the University of British Columbia. She also uses her expertise in social-ecological and technological systems science to develop ways to improve domestic resource security for community well-being, particularly through the incorporation of place-based knowledge. Her work through the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence, the Arctic Domain Awareness Center, involves developing social-technological methods to monitor and respond to critical environmental changes. Lil is a member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education and is on the Science, Technology and Education Advisory Committee for the National Ecological Observing Network (NEON). Professor Alessa also teaches a university landscape architecture capstone course: Resilient Landscapes with Professor Andrew Kliskey. Professor Alessa’s collaborative grant activity with Professor Andrew Kliskey, since coming to the university in 2013, exceeds 7 million USD to date. She has authored over a 100 publications and reports and has led the development of 2 federal climate resilience toolbox assessments, the Arctic Water Resources Vulnerability Index (AWRVI) and the Arctic Adaptation Exchange Portal (AAEP).