Positions held today:
• Associate Professor for Geoinformatics and Ecology at the University of Salzburg (since 2017)
• UNIGIS Program Director (since 2020)
• Head of the Research Group “Spatial Simulation” (since 2013)
Major academic milestones:
• Assistant Professor, Department for Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg (2013-2017)
• Associate Faculty in the FWF Doctoral College “GIScience” (2013-2017)
• Director of Studies UNIGIS MSc distance learning programs, University of Salzburg (2012-2020)
• PhD at the University of Innsbruck on ecological modelling (2011)
• Research Assistant Austrian Academy of Sciences, GIScience Institute (2007-2011)
• Magistra in Ecology, Univ. of Innsbruck (2001) and MSc in GIS, Univ. of Edinburgh (2006)
Spatially-explicit simulation modelling of complex, ecological systems:
* the added value of spatially-explicit modelling
* Hybrid agent-based and system-dynamics modelling in ecology
* Agent-based models, Cellular Automata
Research focuses on the coupled dynamics of human and natural systems, specifically in the context of forest dynamics. I utilize a variety of modeling and analysis techniques, including agent-based modeling, cellular automata, machine learning and various spatial statistics and GIS-related methods. I am currently involved in projects that investigate the anthropogenic and biological drivers behind native and invasive forest pathogens and insects.
I have developed several agent-based and cellular automata applications combining agent-based modelling, geographical information systems and visualisation to understand the complex mechanisms of decision making in land use change and environmental stewardship in order to analyse:
• the role of pastoral agriculture in regional development,
• the tradeoffs between land use intensification and water quality,
• the adoption of land-based climate change mitigation practices, and
• the incorporation of cultural values into spatial futures or scenario modelling.
My broad research interests are in human-environmental interactions and land-use change. Specifically, I am interested in how people make land-use decisions, how those decisions modify the functioning of natural systems, and how those modifications feedback on human well-being, livelihoods, and subsequent land-use decisions. All of my research begins with a complex systems background with the aim of understanding the dynamics of human-environment interactions and their consequences for environmental and economic sustainability. Agent-based modeling is my primary tool of choice to understand human-environment interactions, but I also frequently use other land change modeling approaches (e.g., cellular automata, system dynamics, econometrics), spatial statistics, and GIS. I also have expertise in synthesis methods (e.g., meta-analysis) for bringing together leveraging disparate forms of social and environmental data to understand how specific cases (i.e., local) of land-use change contribute to and/or differ from broader-scale (i.e. regional or global) patterns of human-environment interactions and land change outcomes.
My initial training was in cadastre and geodesy (B.Eng from the Distrital University, UD, Colombia). After earning my Master’s degree in Geography (UPTC, Colombia) in 2003, I worked for the “José Benito Vives de Andreis” marine and coastal research institute (INVEMAR) and for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Three years later, in 2006, I left Colombia to come to Canada, where I began a PhD in Geography with a specialization in modelling complex systems at Simon Fraser University (SFU), under the direction of Dr. Suzana Dragicevic (SAMLab). In my dissertation I examined the topic of spatial and temporal modelling of insect epidemics and their complex behaviours. After obtaining my PhD in 2011, I began postdoctoral studies at the University of British Columbia (2011) and the University of Victoria (2011-2013), where I worked on issues concerning the spatial and temporal relationships between changes in indirect indicators of biodiversity and climate change.
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Montreal. My research interests center around the incorporation of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques into the development Agent-Based Models to solve complex socio-ecological problems in different kind of systems, such as urban, forest and wetland ecosystems.
The core of my research projects aim to learn more about spatial and temporal interactions and relationships driving changes in our world, by focusing on the multidisciplinary nature of geographical information science (GIScience) to investigate the relationships between ecological processes and resulting spatial patterns. I integrate spatial analysis and modeling approaches from geographic information science (GIScience) together with computational intelligence methods and complex systems approaches to provide insights into complex problems such as climate change, landscape ecology and forestry by explicitly representing phenomena in their geographic context.
Specialties: Agent-based modeling, GIScience, Complex socio-environmental systems, Forestry, Ecology