“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” These words of Marcel Proust resonate with me as I reflect on my journey to a Ph.D.. Having studied GIS for almost five years, I am excited to view this complex world and various phenomena within it in a spatial manner. I want to become a geographer who can use various approaches to analyze interactions between humans and nature, especially from the perspective of land use and land cover change (LULCC). At same time, I also train myself to become a modeler as I am excited about using models to simplify and imitate real world scenarios. I hope to use models to describe and analyze LULCC in coupled natural and human systems at different scales, as well as changes happening over time.
Now I am working with Dr. Arika Ligmann-Zielinska on a project called “Collaborative Research: A Spatiotemporal Approach to Sensitivity Analysis in Human-Environment Systems Models”. LULCC in the surrounding area has influence on nutrient dynamics in lakes. We have developed an integrated socio-ecological model based on previous work to simulate the participation of Conservation Reserve Program and calculate phosphorus concentration of lakes over time in the southwest Michigan. We will evaluate uncertainty of the integrated model using variance-based global sensitivity analysis. By understanding the interaction between variables and their contribution to model outcome variability, we aim at improving or simplifying our model without sacrificing much of its exploratory power.