Short term COVID-19 Modeling Post Doc/Grad position

The BC COVID-19 team of modelers is looking for a post-doctoral fellow or senior graduate student to conduct modeling work related to forecasting and scenario building. The position is for four months, potentially extendable, with funding from Mitacs and ApexRMS. The fellow would be supervised in the lab of Dr. Sally Otto (University of British Columbia).

The project would involve using SyncroSim to compare and chain together “models” – including existing off-the-shelf programs and scripts written in languages such as R, Python and C# – to transform data into forecasts (see pilot).  The tool could be used to address a variety of questions, depending on the needs of local decision makers, and allow rapid assessment of how modeling choices affect projections.

Skills: The fellow must have a background in quantitative modeling, be familiar with GitHub, and fluent in at least one coding language (including R).

Application: Please send Sally Otto (otto at zoology.ubc.ca) a CV and cover letter detailing relevant experience. Given current COVID restrictions, candidates should be in Canada and willing to work remotely.

Online presentations at the 2020 IALE-North America Meeting

Last week, we participated in the first fully virtual annual meeting of the International Association of Landscape Ecology (IALE) North America held May 11 – 14, 2020. We presented in two special symposia: (S-01) Integrated approaches for transdisciplinary landscape modelling and (S-13) Addressing scientific & methodological challenges in connectivity conservation planning. Watch the presentations given by ApexRMS and collaborators to learn more about our recent work on modelling wetland carbon cycling, identifying conservation priorities for habitat connectivity, and coupling agent-based and state-and-transition simulation models.

Scenario based modeling framework for forecasting COVID-19 infections and deaths

Our SyncroSim software platform now supports real-time forecasts of COVID-19 infections and deaths for jurisdictions of any size, ranging from public health units to countries.

Our approach delivers online daily updates to forecasts based on real-time gathering of online COVID-19 data. The tool also allows policy makers to explore “what-if” scenarios regarding changes to public health measures, forecasting the resulting consequences in advance of on-the-ground changes. The underlying predictive models in our tool are all open, allowing scientists to continually adapt and improve the models as understanding of COVID-19 evolves over time. A demonstration version of our software system, using real-time data for Canada, is available at www.apexrms.com/covid19. You can also view a detailed description of the model and a recent presentation of the framework to the British Columbia COVID-19 modeling group.

Integrating Local Ecological Knowledge into population model forecasts

Integrating information derived from different knowledge systems into natural resource management decision-making can be challenging. As an example of how this can be done effectively, a recent paper in the journal Conservation Science and Practice outlines a unique process whereby Local Ecological Knowledge was combined with scientific knowledge in order to inform the management of a muskox herd in southern Greenland. A key component of this work was running the DG-Sim population model with local stakeholders, allowing them to review and modify model assumptions, explore alternative future harvest scenarios, and ultimately achieve consensus with government regarding future harvest levels for the herd.

SyncroSim and ST-Sim Workshop Announced for the 2020 IALE North America Meeting

Attendees at the International Association of Landscape Ecology (IALE) North America Meeting in Toronto will have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on SyncroSim and ST-Sim Workshop on Tuesday, May 12, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  SyncroSim is a free software platform designed to streamline data management tasks associated with ecological forecasting, in order to facilitate scenario and uncertainty analyses. SyncroSim allows modelers to develop “packages” to bundle and share collections of linked GitHub-based model scripts. One such package has been developed for a model called ST-Sim. ST-Sim uses a state-and-transition simulation model approach to forecast landscape dynamics, including projecting changes in both vegetation and land use. This half day workshop will introduce developing and running spatially explicit models of landscape change using the open-source ST-Sim package within SyncroSim. The workshop will also introduce developing custom packages in SyncroSim, including packages to extend the core functionality of ST-Sim. Workshop registration opens in February.

Predicting carbon cycling in wetlands across the U.S.

Learn more about our current work modeling wetland carbon cycling at the AGU Fall Meeting 2019 in San Francisco this week. This work is part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s LandCarbon Program, which produces national assessments of carbon storage and greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes in ecosystems under current and future conditions of climate and land use change.

Maintaining habitat connectivity under scenarios of climate and landuse change

ApexRMS is collaborating with the Quebec Government and Andrew Gonzalez from McGill University to assess forest habitat connectivity within the St. Lawrence Lowlands under scenarios of climate and landuse change. We recently published a report and webinar identifying connectivity conservation priorities based on current land use and land cover. Work is now underway to combine climate projections with land use and land cover projections (using ST-Sim) for the St. Lawrence Lowlands so that we can identify priority areas to protect that have a higher probability of maintaining habitat connectivity into the future.

NSERC ResNet: A network for monitoring, modeling, and managing Canada’s ecosystem services for sustainability and resilience

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has announced funding for an exciting new project led by Elena Bennett at McGill University – NSERC ResNet: A network for monitoring, modeling, and managing Canada’s ecosystem services for sustainability and resilience. ApexRMS is proud to be an industry partner and work with this talented network of scientists to help measure Canada’s progress towards its sustainability goals. Positions are open for network managers, data managers, grad students, undergrads, postdocs and other researchers. Stay up to date by following @NSERC_ResNet.

Linking climate and land use in California

Links between climate change and land use are in the news around the world this week following the publication of a special report on the topic by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A recent paper published in Global Change Biology conducts an in depth scientific investigation of the interactions between climate and land use change in the state of California. The authors used ST-Sim software to build an integrated model of landscape change and carbon dynamics that estimated carbon stocks and fluxes for California’s forest, grassland, shrubland, and agricultural ecosystems. Carbon storage in California’s terrestrial ecosystems was projected to decline in nearly all of the 32 alternative future scenarios considered but there were large uncertainties associated with these projections stemming from underlying uncertainties about increasing CO2 and its effect on ecosystem carbon storage and flux.