Current Lab Members


PhD STUDENTS

Benjamin Clark

Benjamin’s research interests relate to the impacts of agriculture on ecosystem functions and food security in Eastern and Southern Africa. In particular, he studies how agricultural land cover change alters the water cycle and landscape-level hydrological processes.

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Amrita Neelakantan

Amrita studies relocation of people from national parks. Her research focuses on human well-being, livelihood strategies and impacts on natural resources once forest dwellers have relocated outside protected areas. She aims to collect data from relocated households to explore landscape wide patterns. Her study is based around Kanha national park in the central Indian highlands.

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Naomi Schwartz

Naomi is interested in human impacts on disturbance regimes and the social and ecological effects of those changes, especially as these questions as they apply to tropical forest regeneration: how do novel disturbance regimes affect forest succession in the tropics, and how do the characteristics of secondary forests feed back to affect disturbance regimes? Her work is primarily based in the Peruvian Amazon, where she is using remote sensing and field data to address questions about feedbacks between windstorm damage, wildfire, and forest succession.

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POST DOCS

Kyle Davis

Kyle’s interests lie at the nexus of food, water, and climate change. Combining crop models, climate projections, and agricultural census data, his work looks to identify strategies to increase nutrition, climate resilience, and water sustainability. He also explores the potential tradeoffs associated with large-scale land investments in the developing world and their implications for food security, rural livelihoods, and climate adaptation.

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Alexandra Karambelas

Alex’ research focuses on the links between energy, emissions, air quality, and human health outcomes in northern India. Through this research, she seeks to quantify contributions from various anthropogenic emissions sectors to ambient pollution concentrations and human health outcomes in the region and determine potential sectors for future mitigation. Alex received her Ph.D. in Environment and Resources and also holds degrees in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (B.S., M.S.) and a certificate in Energy Analysis and Policy, all from the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

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Miriam Marlier

Miriam defended her Ph.D. dissertation, Public Health Impacts from Fires in Tropical Landscapes, from Columbia’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in December 2013. She is now working as a postdoctoral research scientist as part of the Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages project, using satellite data to develop future fire emissions inventories associated with land cover change scenarios, which are used to quantify the impact of different development and conservation strategies on air quality and public health.

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Deepti Singh

Deepti is a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Environmental Earth System Science from Stanford University in 2015. Her research investigates the role of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols in influencing regional climate change, the characteristics of extremes events, and their human impacts. She has a particular interest in understanding the physical drivers of climate extremes and their agricultural impacts in monsoon-dominated regions that are particularly vulnerable to climate change. She is currently using a combination of observations and modeling tools to study the dynamics of hydro-climatic extremes in Asia in the past and future climates. She is also combining climate data with satellite images to examine the impacts of such extremes on agriculture in India in recent years.

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Nandini Velho

Nandini’s research focuses on understanding the social and health outcome that exist in and around India’s protected areas. Her PhD work focused on how protected areas and community-managed lands are managed to reduce hunting and help wildlife persist. She is also interested in popular writing, nature education and the interface  between science and policy.

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LAB AFFILIATES

Xiao Chang

Xiao’s research interests lie in diets and nutrition, agricultural land use and rural livelihoods in China. She is using survey data and statistical models to examine how household food diversity has changed for different household groups across different areas in the last two decades and the effects of associated household characteristics. She also studies land use strategies of farmer households to explore the nexus of land use, household livelihoods and the dietary outcomes.

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Sebastian Heilpern

Sebastian is generally interested in using a trait-based approach to understand and predict how changes in fish biodiversity might influence ecosystem services in the Amazonian watersheds. Fishes are often times the primary protein source for many amazonian people and a developing project is to investigate how multiple services associated with ecosystem properties (e.g., biogeochemisty) and human well-being (e.g., protein and micronutrient availability) derived from fishes may be affected by land-use policy and dam development. He is also particularly interested in making science relevant to policy, especially for the goal of reconciling conservation and development. Sebastian’s primary advisor is Shahid Naeem in the department of E3B.

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Pinki Mondal

Pinki’s current research examines impacts of weather variability on agriculture and food/nutrition security in India. She uses remote sensing/GIS, statistics, and crop-climate models to identify how crop productivity will vary with different adaptation strategies for projected climate change scenarios. She uses household surveys and linear programming tool to understand how agricultural intensification impacts food and nutrition security in smallholder farmer families.

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