The goal of my research program is to improve our understanding about highly integrated natural and human processes. Within the context of Land-System Science, I seek to understand how natural and human systems interact through feedback mechanisms and affect land management choices among humans and ecosystem (e.g., carbon storage) and biophysical processes (e.g., erosion) in natural systems. One component of this program involves finding novel methods for data collection (e.g., unmanned aerial vehicles) that can be used to calibrate and validate models of natural systems at the resolution of decision makers. Another component of this program involves the design and construction of agent-based models to formalize our understanding of human decisions and their interaction with their environment in computer code. The most exciting, and remaining part, is coupling these two components together so that we may not only quantify the impact of representing their coupling, but more importantly to assess the impacts of changing climate, technology, and policy on human well-being, patterns of land use and land management, and ecological and biophysical aspects of our environment.
To achieve this overarching goal, my students and I conduct fieldwork that involves the use of state-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in combination with ground-based light detection and ranging (LiDAR) equipment, RTK global positioning system (GPS) receivers, weather and soil sensors, and a host of different types of manual measurements. We bring these data together to make methodological advancements and benchmark novel equipment to justify its use in the calibration and validation of models of natural and human processes. By conducting fieldwork at high spatial resolutions (e.g., parcel level) we are able to couple our representation of natural system processes at the scale at which human actors make decisions and improve our understanding about how they react to changes and affect our environment.
land use; land management; agricultural systems; ecosystem function; carbon; remote sensing; field measurements; unmanned aerial vehicle; human decision-making; erosion, hydrological, and agent-based modelling
Modeling land use change from smallholder agricultural intensification
Agricultural expansion in the rural tropics brings much needed economic and social development in developing countries. On the other hand, agricultural development can result in the clearing of biologically-diverse and carbon-rich forests. To achieve both development and conservation objectives, many government policies and initiatives support agricultural intensification, especially in smallholdings, as a way to increase crop production without expanding farmlands. However, little is understood regarding how different smallholders might respond to such investments for yield intensification. It is also unclear what factors might influence a smallholder’s land-use decision making process. In this proposed research, I will use a bottom-up approach to evaluate whether investments in yield intensification for smallholder farmers would really translate to sustainable land use in Indonesia. I will do so by combining socioeconomic and GIS data in an agent-based model (Land-Use Dynamic Simulator multi-agent simulation model). The outputs of my research will provide decision makers with new and contextualized information to assist them in designing agricultural policies to suit varying socioeconomic, geographic and environmental contexts.
I am Colombian with passion for social impact. I believe that change starts at the individual, community, local and then global level. I have set my goal in making a better experience to whatever challenges I encounter and monetary systems and governance models is what concerns me at the time.
In my path to understanding and reflecting about these issues I have found my way through “Reflexive Modeling”. Models are just limited abstractions of reality and is part of our job as researchers to dig in the stories behind our models and learn to engage in a dialogue between both worlds.
Technology empowers us to act locally, autonomously and in decentralized ways and my research objective is to, in a global context, find ways to govern, communicate and scale the impact of alternative monetary models. This with a special focus on achieving a more inclusive and community owned financial system.
As a Ph.D. fellow for the Agenda 2030 Graduate School, I expect to identify challenges and conflicting elements in the sustainability agenda, contribute with new perspectives, and create solutions for the challenges ahead
Prof. Christian E. Vincenot is by nature an interdisciplinary researcher with broad scientific interests. He majored in Computer Science / Embedded Systems (i.e. IoT) at the Université Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg, France) while working professionally in the field of Computer Networking and Security. He then switched the focus of his work towards Computational Modelling, writing his doctoral dissertation on Hybrid Modelling in Ecology, and was awarded a PhD in Social Informatics by Kyoto University in 2011 under a scholarship by the Japanese Ministry of Research. He subsequently started a parallel line of research in Conservation Biology (esp. human-bat conflicts) under a postdoctoral fellowship of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) (2012-2014). This led him to create the Island Bat Research Group (www.batresearch.net), which he is still coordinating to this date. In 2014, he was appointed as the tenured Assistant Professor of the Biosphere Informatics Laboratory at Kyoto University. He also been occupying editorial roles for the journals PLOS ONE, Frontiers in Environmental Science, and Biology. In 2020, he created Ariana Technologies (www.ariana-tech.com), a start-up operating in the field of Data Science/Simulation and IoT for crisis management.
Prof. Vincenot’s main research interests lie in the theoretical development of Hybrid Mechanistic Simulation approaches based on Individual/Agent-Based Modeling and System Dynamics, and in their applications to a broad range of systems, with particular focus on Ecology.
I am a PhD Candidate in the Biological Anthropology program at the University of Minnesota. My research involves using agent-based models combined with field research to test a broad range of hypotheses in biology. I have created a model, B3GET, which simulates the evolution of virtual organisms to better understand the relationships between growth and development, life history and reproductive strategies, mating strategies, foraging strategies, and how ecological factors drive these relationships. I also conduct field research to better model the behavior of these virtual organisms. Here I am pictured with an adult male gelada in Ethiopia!
I specialize in writing agent-based models for both research in and the teaching of subjects including: biology, genetics, evolution, demography, and behavior.
For my dissertation research, I have produced “B3GET,” an agent-based model which simulates populations of virtual organisms evolving over generations, whose evolutionary outcomes reflect the selection pressures of their environment. The model simulates several factors considered important in biology, including life history trade-offs, investment in body size, variation in aggression, sperm competition, infanticide, and competition over access to food and mates. B3GET calculates each agent’s ‘decision-vectors’ from its diploid chromosomes and current environmental context. These decision-vectors dictate movement, body growth, desire to mate and eat, and other agent actions. Chromosomes are modified during recombination and mutation, resulting in behavioral strategies that evolve over generations. Rather than impose model parameters based on a priori assumptions, I have used an experimental evolution procedure to evolve traits that enabled populations to persist. Seeding a succession of populations with the longest surviving genotype from each run resulted in the evolution of populations that persisted indefinitely. I designed B3GET for my dissertation, but it has an indefinite number of applications for other projects in biology. B3GET helps answer fundamental questions in evolutionary biology by offering users a virtual field site to precisely track the evolution of organismal populations. Researchers can use B3GET to: (1) investigate how populations vary in response to ecological pressures; (2) trace evolutionary histories over indefinite time scales and generations; (3) track an individual for every moment of their life from conception to post-mortem decay; and (4) create virtual analogues of living species, including primates like baboons and chimpanzees, to answer species-specific questions. Users are able to save, edit, and import population and genotype files, offering an array of possibilities for creating controlled biological experiments.