Using Landscape Limnology to Classify Freshwater Ecosystems for Multi-ecosystem Management and Conservation

BioScience, June 2010, Vol. 60, No. 6, Pages 440–454

Patricia A. Soranno‌, Kendra Spence Cheruvelil‌, Katherine E. Webster‌, Mary T. Bremigan‌, Tyler Wagner‌, and Craig A. Stow

“Governmental entities are responsible for managing and conserving large numbers of lake, river, and wetland ecosystems that can be addressed only rarely on a case-by-case basis. We present a system for predictive classification modeling, grounded in the theoretical foundation of landscape limnology, that creates a tractable number of ecosystem classes to which management actions may be tailored. We demonstrate our system by applying two types of predictive classification modeling approaches to develop nutrient criteria for eutrophication management in 1998 north temperate lakes. Our predictive classification system promotes the effective management of multiple ecosystems across broad geographic scales by explicitly connecting management and conservation goals to the classification modeling approach, considering multiple spatial scales as drivers of ecosystem dynamics, and acknowledging the hierarchical structure of freshwater ecosystems. Such a system is critical for adaptive management of complex mosaics of freshwater ecosystems and for balancing competing needs for ecosystem services in a changing world.”

Postdoctoral Research Associate, USC: “Climate Change in the Southern California Bight: Integrating Science and Societal Implications”

USC’s College of Letters Arts and Sciences is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to join its team.

The Biological Sciences Department (BISC) of the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences seeks a Postdoctoral Research Associate to participate in a 3 year USC College-supported project entitled, “Climate Change in the Southern California Bight: Integrating Science and Societal Implications” (full project description is available upon request). The Postdoctoral Research Associate will be responsible for helping to identify, assimilate, synthesize and interpret various data streams relevant to climate change in the Southern California Bight with the aim of developing a comprehensive data base/ clearinghouse for this information which would be made broadly available.

The successful candidate will work directly with the PIs, David Hutchins and Douglas Capone of the Marine Environmental Biology (MEB) Section of the Department of Biological Sciences as well as in conjunction with Data Integration and Modeling teams composed of faculty from MEB, Earth Sciences, and the USC GIS Research Laboratory as well as several faculty from other allied departments. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will be expected to participate in a series of annual workshops with the teams aimed at identifying data needs and developing the web-based clearinghouse for these data. In addition, the successful applicant will have the opportunity to be involved in a number of innovative outreach and education activities that will be sponsored as part of this project

Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and South Carolina Provide Online Maps Showing Detailed Broadband Coverage

The states of Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and South Carolina are now providing easy-to-use maps that show in detail each state’s broadband coverage. The interactive, online maps are made possible by BroadbandStat, an application based on ESRI geographic information system (GIS) technology, and will help the states plan and improve high-speed Internet access for their residents and businesses. The BroadbandStat maps were funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and contribute to the comprehensive national broadband map that NTIA is required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to create and make publicly available by February 2011.

“A complete, interactive broadband map is now available for customers, Internet service providers, and policy makers,” said Orjiakor Isiogu, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), about the new map hosted on the Connect Michigan Web site. “This is an important first step as the state seeks to target resources to those areas of the state without high-speed Internet service.”

Interactive tools include the ability to identify the population density and unserved households in a selected area, link to news about broadband-related projects, and create reports and charts.

MPSC received a $1.8 million NTIA grant to launch its broadband mapping and planning initiative. Over the next 18 months, Michigan’s initial BroadbandStat map will be updated and refined as additional data becomes available. Connect Michigan, Connect Minnesota, Connect Nevada, and Connect South Carolina are the entities tasked with collecting the data and producing their states’ online maps. All are affiliated with the nonprofit Connected Nation organization, which partnered with ESRI to create BroadbandStat.

Connect Nevada was awarded $1.4 million in stimulus funds through the NTIA for broadband mapping and planning. Nevada’s broadband map includes data collected on the availability, speed, location, and type of broadband services from more than 35 state broadband service providers.

During the inauguration of his state’s BroadbandStat map, Nevada governor Jim Gibbons said, “Nevadans will now have a map that not only puts information about available broadband services at their fingertips but also defines where the state and the private sector need to focus their attention to bring high-speed Internet to every part of our state.”

Connect Minnesota and Connect South Carolina worked with their state broadband service providers to accurately pinpoint remaining gaps in broadband availability across the state. They also collected data from community anchor institutions such as schools, universities, libraries, hospitals, and public safety facilities, which are potential sites for providing community access to broadband services.

For links to each state’s interactive maps and more information on BroadbandStat, visit

[Source: ESRI press release]

Is the Spatial Distribution of Mankind’s Most Basic Economic Traits Determined by Climate and Soil Alone?

PLoS ONE 5(5): May 5, 2010

Jan Beck and Andrea Sieber

“Several authors, most prominently Jared Diamond (1997, Guns, Germs and Steel), have investigated biogeographic determinants of human history and civilization. The timing of the transition to an agricultural lifestyle, associated with steep population growth and consequent societal change, has been suggested to be affected by the availability of suitable organisms for domestication. These factors were shown to quantitatively explain some of the current global inequalities of economy and political power. Here, we advance this approach one step further by looking at climate and soil as sole determining factors.”

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

…a new study from the National Research Council…

“Substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require prompt and sustained efforts to promote major technological and behavioral changes, says Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change, another of the new books. Although limiting emissions must be a global effort to be effective, strong U.S. actions to reduce emissions will help encourage other countries to do the same.

“In addition, the U.S. could establish itself as a leader in developing and deploying the technologies necessary to limit and adapt to climate change.”

Industry Leaders Discuss Technology for Smart Growth

Online Spatial Roundtable Delivers Lively Conversation on Community Development

In the latest discussion, ESRI industry solutions manager Dr. Ahmed Abukhater prompts planning leaders to weigh in on the role of technology in creating smart communities. He proposes that analyzing the geography of growth and planning with geospatial technology provides a clear path forward and helps build consensus.

“Planners make decisions regarding current and future development patterns in response to urban problems that are geographic in nature,” says Abukhater. “Developing sustainable, equitable, and livable communities involves spatially based decision making that requires spatially enabled technology. Planners need new tools and approaches to change the way we think, plan, and—most importantly—envision our future.”

Spatial Roundtable is designed for geographic information system (GIS) industry thought leaders to share their points of view about trends, challenges, and technologies. Participants in the discussion include the main contributor, who initiates the discussion, and invited topic experts. Site visitors may also add comments.

Join the discussion today at

[Source: ESRI press release]

Eigenplaces: Analysing Cities Using the Space – Time Structure of the Mobile Phone Network

Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 2009, volume 36, pages 824 ^ 836

Jonathan Reades, Francesco Calabrese, and Carlo Ratti

“Several attempts have already been made to use telecommunications networks for urban research, but the datasets employed have typically been neither dynamic nor fine grained. Against this research backdrop the mobile phone network offers a compelling compromise between these extremes: it is both highly mobile and yet still localisable in space. Moreover, the mobile phone’s enormous and enthusiastic adoption across most socioeconomic strata makes it a uniquely useful tool for conducting large-scale, representative behavioural research. In this paper we attempt to connect telecoms usage data from Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) to a geography of human activity derived from data on commercial premises advertised through Pagine Gialle, the Italian `Yellow Pages’. We then employ eigendecomposition–a process similar to factoring but suitable for this complex dataset–to identify and extract recurring patterns of mobile phone usage. The resulting eigenplaces support the computational and comparative analysis of space through the lens of telecommuniations usage and enhance our understanding of the city as a `space of flows’.”