Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 12/6/16

Department of Geography (DoG) News and Events




The image shown here is an aerial view of the slopes of Mount Halimun Salak, near Bogor. Higher up the mountain is a forested National Park that provides much of the drinking water for the mega-city of Jakarta. Are you interested in learning more about landscapes and health? Bronwen Powell is accepting student interns to work with her on research projects. Photo by Kate Evens/CIFOR.


Carolyn Fish and Nathan Piekielek just had an article published in the Journal of Maps and Geography Libraries on Targeting Disciplines for GIS Outreach Using Bibliometric Analysis.

Clio Andris has been awarded a $159,000 grant from the Knight Foundation for the project: Census 2.0: A census of connectivity.

Alan Taylor’s research was cited in a New York Times column, “Dot Earth,” about fire management policies in California’s Sierra Nevadas.

Andrew Brown won third place in the 2016 EMS Undergraduate Student Poster Exhibition. His team’s entry was, “Recession of the Ampatuni and Ausangate Glaciers.” Denice Wardrop, Mike Nassry, and Joe Bishop were the project advisers.


EMS students tour Iceland’s renewable energy facilities
Picturesque Iceland, the least populated nation in Europe, is home to glaciers, volcanoes and a unique ability to harness the renewable energy that lies beneath the Earth’s surface.

It’s also a place for Penn State students to see classroom lessons and their career ambitions brought to life.

This summer, with the help of a scholarship from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS), EMS students toured the country as part of the Global Renewable Energy Education Network, or GREEN, program’s Iceland trip. There, students spent 10 days in unique classroom settings at Reykjavik University’s School of Science and Engineering, paired with adventure trips to tour the renewable energy facilities that produce 99 percent of Iceland’s energy needs.

“Students really get inside knowledge of those facilities. They get in-depth, personalized tours from the heads of those facilities,” said Stacy Davidson, academic adviser in EMS. “Iceland wants everyone to see what they’re doing.”


Performance evaluation measures for toponym resolution
By Morteza Karimzadeh
In GIR ’16 Proceedings of the 10th Workshop on Geographic Information Retrieval Article No. 8
In this paper, we point out to the shortcomings of precision and recall in evaluating the performance of geoparsing algorithms. We propose separate processes for evaluating toponym recognition and toponym resolution stages, and also propose new metrics that quantify the performance of toponym resolution.

Immersive Analytics for Multi-objective Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy (DICE) Models.
By Mark Simpson, Jan Oliver Wallgrün, Alexander Klippel, Liping Yang, Gregory Garner, Klaus Keller, Danielle Oprean, and Saurabh Bansal. 2016.
In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Companion on Interactive Surfaces and Spaces (ISS Companion ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 99-105.
We are creating an immersive analytics tool for exploring the output of a Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy (DICE) model, and present early work on the prototype system. DICE models and other Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) are critical for informing environmental decision making and policy analysis. They often produce complex and multi-layered output, but need to be understood by decision makers who are not experts. We discuss our current and targeted feature set in order to help address this challenge. Additionally, we look ahead to the potential for rigorous evaluation of the system to uncover whether or not it is an improvement over current visualization methods.

Grassland productivity in response to nutrient additions and herbivory is scale-dependent.
By Smithwick E. A. H., Baldwin D. C., Naithani K. J.
In (2016) PeerJ 4:e2745
Vegetation response to nutrient addition can vary across space, yet studies that explicitly incorporate spatial pattern into experimental approaches are rare. To explore whether there are unique spatial scales (grains) at which grass response to nutrients and herbivory is best expressed, we imposed a large (∼3.75 ha) experiment in a South African coastal grassland ecosystem. In two of six 60 × 60 m grassland plots, we imposed a scaled sampling design in which fertilizer was added in replicated sub-plots (1 × 1 m, 2 × 2 m, and 4 × 4 m). The remaining plots either received no additions or were fertilized evenly across the entire area. Three of the six plots were fenced to exclude herbivory. We calculated empirical semivariograms for all plots one year following nutrient additions to determine whether the scale of grass response (biomass and nutrient concentrations) corresponded to the scale of the sub-plot additions and compared these results to reference plots (unfertilized or unscaled) and to plots with and without herbivory. We compared empirical semivariogram parameters to parameters from semivariograms derived from a set of simulated landscapes (neutral models). Empirical semivariograms showed spatial structure in plots that received multi-scaled nutrient additions, particularly at the 2 × 2 m grain. The level of biomass response was predicted by foliar P concentration and, to a lesser extent, N, with the treatment effect of herbivory having a minimal influence. Neutral models confirmed the length scale of the biomass response and indicated few differences due to herbivory. Overall, we conclude that interpretation of nutrient limitation in grasslands is dependent on the grain used to measure grass response and that herbivory had a secondary effect.