Department of Geography and the Environment

Colloquium: Graduate Association of Geography and the Environment

Fri, March 21, 2014 | CLA 0.128

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Colloquium: Graduate Association of Geography and the Environment

Please join the Department of Geography and the Environment for our Spring 2014 colloquium series. We will be hosting a presentation by the representatives of the Graduate Association of Geography and the Environment. Speakers include John Clary, Cody Schank, and Xuebin Yang.


John Clary

The Digital Geographies of Transnational Migration: Mapping the Hometown Facebook Pages of San Luis Potosí, Mexico

The geographic perspective on transnational migration examines transnationalism as a spatial process operating at multiple scales and locations, in which places are both materially and symbolically reconfigured through migrants’ everyday communication practices. Although information and communication technologies (ICTs) clearly play a fundamental role in the structuring of transnational spaces, little research has directly considered how migrants’ everyday use of ICTs contributes to the production of such spaces. This study analyzes 'hometown' Facebook pages to reveal the digital, place-to-place connections between Mexican migrants living in Austin, TX, and their friends and family members living in Mexico and elsewhere.

Cody Schank

Building SDMs from temporally explicit environmental data: a test case using eBird and MODIS

Abstract: Species Distribution Models (SDMs) are often used in Conservation Planning as a tool to predict habitat suitability for species of conservation concern in order to aid the decision-making process of reserve network design.  However, SDMs frequently use long-term climate averages as environmental predictors, essentially giving a coarse temporal view of habitat suitability.  Incorporating the temporal information from species observations, and linking this information with environmental conditions at the time of observation, can provide a better understanding of how species might track a changing environment.  Building on the methods of Reside et al (2010), I test whether SDMs that use temporally explicit environmental variables perform better than models that use long-term climate averages.  Instead of building "weather" variables from long-term climate data sets, I use remotely sensed data, as it can provide environmental information at more frequent time scales (every 2 days for MODIS vs the 3-month "weather" data used by Reside et al).  The analysis utilizes data from eBird, as this data set provides frequent observations, and includes many species that are good dispersers.


Xuebin Yang

Woody plant encroachment monitoring: an approach combining object-based image analysis and decision tree analysis

Brief description of the topic: Woody plant encroachment, the increase of woody plant cover and density in savannas is a serious problem. The shift from herbaceous to woody dominance has many economic and ecological consequences. The first step to understand the mechanism of this phenomenon is to develop a reliable method for quantifying woody plant dynamics over time. Given so, this research applies a unique approach combining object-based image analysis and decision tree analysis to extract woody plant out of savannas and track its change over a long time period. Research result suggests that the combination of object-based image analysis and decision tree analysis can be an effective method for woody plant encroachment monitoring.


This event is free and open to the public. For more information, email Madeline Enos at

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