Eben N. Broadbent, PhD, is an assistant professor of forest ecology & geomatics in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida. He is also an affiliated researcher with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University and a faculty affiliate of UF's Tropical Conservation and Development program, Center for Latin American Studies, Water Institute, and Biodiversity Institute. He co-directs the GatorEye Unpiloted Flying Laboratory. He holds a PhD in Biology (Ecology & Evolution) from Stanford University, a MS in Tropical Forestry from the University of Florida, and a BA in Botany from the University of Vermont. When time allows, he enjoys mountain biking, trail running, snowboarding, guitar, and playing chess - but mostly he just enjoys learning new methods to advance SPEC Lab research.
Kelsi Davis is a researcher and graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Geography at the University of Alabama. She is attending as a master’s student under the advisory of Dr. Eben Broadbent within the Spatial Ecology and Conservation (SPEC) lab. Kelsi attended Texas A&M University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geosciences with a minor in Geography. While attending Texas A&M, she worked on a wide variety of research and projects. In 2012, she served an assistanceship with the USGS to analyze water quality in the region of San Antonio, Texas. In 2013, she attended a study abroad trip where she focused heavily on the effects of ecotourism in both Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and variation of microclimates within a tropical cloud forest in Costa Rica. In her last two years of earning her undergraduate degree, she worked under the advisory of Dr. Daniel Goldberg and in collaboration with the Audubon Society to analyze Volunteered Geographic Information and its capabilities of serving as accurate scientific research data. Kelsi also assisted Dr. Brendan Roark with lab work concerning collecting the isotopic signatures of chemosynthetic mussels from the Atlantic Ocean. Kelsi’s current research interests pertain to secondary forest biomass accumulation spatio-temporal patterns and drone-borne LiDAR monitoring. She is also interested as to how the depletion and deforestation of tropical forests will affect global climate change.
Beatriz Lopez Gutierrez is graduate research assistant and PhD student in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Forest Ecology and Geomatics, at the University of Florida, advised by Dr. Almeyda Zambrano and Dr. Broadbent. Bea graduated with an Honours Degree in Zoology at Cambridge Anglia Ruskin University and completed a Master Research in Biosystematics at the Imperial College London. In addition to her academic life, she has been involved in various conservation projects around the world, being experienced in a range of marine and terrestrial surveying techniques. Her interests lie in biodiversity monitoring, sustainability, conservation and development issues in tropical regions, particularly in the Osa Peninsula and Golfito region, Costa Rica, where she has spent the last several years coordinating several ongoing research projects, including water quality and works with camera traps and sea turtle conservation. Her PhD research combines geospatial approaches (LiDAR, multispectral sensors) and field surveys (camera traps, audio recorders) to model and assess biodiversity and habitat structure and connectivity across tropical forests in this region of Costa Rica. Additionally, she will carry out socio-economic analyses and outreach efforts, including workshops, to further our understanding of biodiversity conservation, sustainability and the role of local communities in conservation efforts in these regions.
Michael T. Dobbins is a PhD student in the Department of Geography at the University of Florida. He was a Masters student and Graduate Teaching Assistant affiliated with the SPEC Lab at the University of Alabama, with Eben Broadbent serving on his committee. For his MS thesis, he worked on a multi-faceted jaguar conservation project in the Mayan village of Blue Creek, Belize. Through the use of camera traps and track plotting, he investigated jaguar habitat selection and activity patterns over a 25 sq. mile study area centered around the village. Additionally, he interviewed residents of Blue Creek to obtain a better understanding of the human-jaguar interactions that take place, as well as to find out the overall attitude of the residents towards jaguars. Please see his personal website for detailed information at: http://mtdobbins.people.ua.edu/
Hoda Manafian is a PhD student in the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida. She is advised by Dr. Almeyda Zambrano, and Dr. Broadbent serves on her committee. She is broadly interested in using a geospatial approach to assess dynamics of agritourism in Florida. This approaches integrates Florida's largest economic sectors, tourism and agriculture to identify 'win-win' approaches to resilient sustainable industries. In addition to potential economic advantages, agritourism development may be an effective tool for sustainable conservation of "agricultural heritage", which is the main source of cultural ecosystem services (CES) in agricultural context. Her current research project seeks to assess, map and quantify the social values of CES of agritourism farms in FL through analyses incorporating geographic information systems (GIS) and the SolVES modeling framework. She is from Iran, where her studies were on sustainability science topics related to rural development. For her master's thesis she worked on sustainable rural tourism as a "cultural heritage preservation" strategy in an ancient national heritage site called Abyaneh Village, which has more than 1500 years of cultural history, which is located in her hometown Isfahan. She holds a minor in Historic Preservation from UF.
Clare Ols is an undergraduate majoring in Biology. She is a native of Cleveland, OH. She is working with the SPEC Lab originally through the University of Alabama Emerging Scholars Program ( http://emergingscholars.ua.edu ) and now continues as a research assistant. For her research, she has spent many months living in remote areas of Costa Rica leading camera trapping projects to identify linkages between animal species composition and abundance distribution and drone-derived forest structural attributes in the Osa Verde ecological farm owned and managed by Osa Conservation. She is also involved in other projects linking forest structure and wildlife in the Lapa Rios ecolodge nature reserve in Costa Rica, and on projects in the Peruvian Amazon.
Katy Shay is an undergraduate majoring in Environmental Science. She has been working with the SPEC Lab through the University of Alabama Emerging Scholars Program. Katy led the Arboretum Soundscape Program (arboretum.ua.edu) monitoring seasonal changes in avifauna composition and abundance as well as a project comparing phylogenetic vs. ecological factors defining avian song similarity.
Sandra L. Almeyda Zambrano holds a BS degree and forest engineering certification from “Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina”. She is a Masters student alumni with the SPEC Lab, advised by Eben Broadbent, in the Department of Geography at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. Her MS thesis studied forest structural determinants of primate movement patterns in the Peruvian Andes. She is now science coordinator of the Amazon Conservation Association biological station Wayquecha in the Peruvian Andes. Please see her personal website at: http://www.peruconservation.org/sandra
Guillermo Mulder is a Costa Rican conservation biologist and ecologist with great experience in the fauna and flora of the Osa Peninsula and region. He was the guides leader, and is now director of sustainability, at the Lapa Rios Ecolodge on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. He is also leading the field work of the SPEC Lab - Lapa Rios camera trap project. Please see www.laparios.com or www.blog2.laparios.com for more information on this lodge and the surrounding area.
Carlos Alberto Quispe Gil is a Biologist educated at the National University San Antonio Abad in Cusco, Perú. He is an affiliated researcher with the SPEC Lab and served as the scientific coordinator at the Amazon Conservation Association Los Amigos field station in the Peruvian Amazon. He is led the field work of the SPEC Lab - Amazon Conservation collaborative project monitoring the terrestrial biodiversity at the Los Amigos biological station using camera traps and animal track monitoring, linked with satellite, airplane, and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) based remote sensing. His core interest is to contribute to biodiversity conservation in Peru, and since 2007 he has collaborated on conservation projects with government, non profits and private institutions. Please see his personal webpage at: http://www.peruconservation.org/carlosalberto
Andrés Jiménez Monge is a biologist with a deep passion towards herpetology, a keen eye for photography and a strategic vision for problem solving. Andres started working on conservation and environmental management when he was fifteen years old, with his effort in the field award him as Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leader by the International Found for Animal Welfare and the United States Wildlife and Fisheries Service. He has taken an active role in political advocacy on the country towards the improvement and refurbishing of the Costa Rican fisheries management, shark fining regulations and the involvement of Costa Rica on the International Whaling Commission. As Wetland program manager for Osa Conservation he worked along with the SPEC Lab on the assessment of land use change in the Térraba Sierpe National Wetland. In this project he directed the implementation of business strategies for local communities focused on sustainable management of mollusk and the implementation of the protected area management plan. He strives towards improving the way environmental management implements environmental solutions; his passion for environmental problem solving has directed his work to strategy, business development, project management theory and change management in environmental transformation projects. His research wants to help redefine how humans relate with wildlife, focusing on well being and saving “the ordinary”. He can be contacted via email at: andresjmo (-at-) gmail.com. His personal photo blog is available at: www.razaverde.com
Cindy Taylor graduated with a B.S. in biology from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. She worked for two and a half years as a lab technician at the University of Pennsylvania, studying the epigenetic mechanisms contributing to neuropsychiatric disease. She then spent one year in Costa Rica studying the foraging behavior of capuchin monkeys. For her thesis, she examined the spatial and temporal determinants of the composition and abundance of bat species within the Oakmulgee Ranger District of Talladega National Forest.
Austin Pinkerton is an undergraduate majoring in Computer Science from Madison, Mississippi. He is working with the SPEC Lab through the University of Alabama’s Computer-based Honors Research Program ( http://honors.ua.edu/computer-based-honors-program ). For his project, which started Spring 2015, Austin will be working with Dr. Broadbent on the design, programming, field validation and parameterization, and implementation of an automated pattern recognition algorithm to identify individual tree-crown dimensions and related forest structural and compositional attributes from high spatial resolution visual and multi-spectral sensors acquired from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Specifically, the project will focus on using IDL as the primary programming language on Micasense multispectral and visual (RGB) imagery collected from the PrecisionHawk UAV platform (www.precisionhawk.com) and post-processed in Pix4DPro software (www.pix4d.com) which uses photogrammetric correlation analyses to produce 3D point clouds, digital surface and elevation models, and ortho-mosaics at spatial resolutions as high as 1 cm2. This project is a collaboration with both PrecisionHawk and their subsidiary web based imagery analysis platform www.datamapper.com.
Philip Shimel is an undergraduate from Colorado, majoring in Environmental Science. He will be working with the SPEC Lab through the University of Alabama Honors College. He completed an REU internship researching pollination at the University of Virginia's Mountain Lake Biological Station (See "Shimel, Philip" http://mlbs.org/2014REUProjects). He has field experience catching amphibians with UA's Rissler Lab, surveying cloud forest in Ecuador (See https://ecomingafoundation.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/two-new-magnolia-species-discovered-in-our-rio-zunac-reserve/), and traversing rainforest in Belize to help study jaguar conservation with SPEC Lab alumnus Michael Dobbins. Starting Fall Semester Philip will be working on landscape – pollinator interactions in Alabama forests, specifically Lake Lurleen State Park. A recent copy of his resume is available for download at download.
Valerie Valdelomar León is a Costa Rican conservation biologist and ecologist with great experience in the fauna and flora of the Osa Peninsula and region. She is a guide at the Lapa Rios Ecolodge on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. She is also co-leading the field work of the SPEC Lab - Lapa Rios camera trap project. Please see www.laparios.com or www.blog2.laparios.com for more information on this lodge and the surrounding area.