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Students & Postdocs

Rong Xu

Master's Student
Rong is a graduate student in the SEAS Master's degree program. She has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences. She is interested in studying ecosystem ecology and nutrient cycling for a Master's thesis. She is also interested in integrating quantitative tools such as modeling and statistics.
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Erin Barton

Master's Student
Erin Barton completed her Bachelor’s degree in Sustainability Science at Arizona State University on 2016. She is working with Bill Currie as her Master’s thesis advisor in SEAS. Erin is developing a Master’s thesis on the relationship between Human Appropriation of Net Primary Productivity (HANPP) and biodiversity, using habitat variability as a proxy for biodiversity. She is using digital geospatial datasets to focus on forested landscapes across the widely ranging variability in forest cover in the Great Lakes region.
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Liza Jenkins

PhD student
Liza Jenkins works at the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) in Ann Arbor, while working on her PhD dissertation at UM with Bill Currie as her advisor. Liza works on remote sensing of land cover, vegetation and lakes in Alaska and the Arctic.
Sarah Kiger

Sarah Kiger

PhD student
Sarah is developing a new modeling approach to model ecosystem structure and function as well as ecosystem services in the human-dominated residential landscape. She is using Biome-BGC, an ecosystem model that has been used to model wildland biomes across the globe. She is editing the model code to simulate the interaction of turfgrass and trees that is characteristic of exurban residential land in Southeastern Michigan, while also editing the code to simulate human activities such as raking leaves, mowing grass and pruning trees. She is translating model output on ecosystem structure and function into a variety of quantified ecosystem services.
photo of preeti rao

Preeti Rao

Preeti Rao is a postdoctoral researcher working with Bill Currie and Dan Brown on a range of research projects. She conducts research in geospatial and spatio-temporal analysis using GIS and remote sensing, natural and managed ecosystems, urban ecosystems, human-environment interactions, GHG emissions, and global environmental change. She completed her PhD at Boston University in 2013 and was formerly a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech in Pasadena, CA. One of her current projects involves assessing the intensity of forest harvest relative to net primary productivity and evaluating the effects of forest management on species composition, age and size class structure using digital geospatial datasets. She is using US Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data, combined with MODIS data on net primary productivity and other datasets to study characteristics of forests across the extreme north-south gradient in forest land cover and fragmentation within the Great Lakes region.