“I explore the relationship between global change and local ecosystem dynamics using cutting-edge geospatial technologies.”
Nick’s work focuses on understanding how global changes are making a big impact at the local ecosystem level. As global climate change progresses, local forest ecosystems are changing as well – sometimes at accelerated and alarming rates. The relationship between global and local scales is not well understood, and not all ecosystem will be affected in the same way. Understanding impacts at a local level helps scientists, citizens, and policy makers see how global change can affect us all right in our backyards. In North Carolina, with forests spanning from the coast to the blue ridge, ecosystems face growing threats from drought, flood, heat, urbanization, and increased storm frequency and strength. Through the use of remote sensing and GIS technologies, including lidar, high resolution imagery, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), his research aims to understand how forest canopy structure is changing, decouple local ecosystem and global factors, and investigate the implications on wildlife habitat and ecosystem services.