Jeff and his advisor won a Google Earth Engine Research Award, providing funding for his research for one year. With his advisor Anna Michalak, Jeff will use the funding to expand his remote sensing work in Lake Erie to 167 freshwater lakes globally. The project, one of only nine funded, was titled "Developing global maps of algal blooms in large freshwater lakes since 1985." With this award, Jeff seeks to create the first-ever maps of freshwater phytoplankton blooms globally to better understand potential trends in bloom occurrence over time and the impact of factors such as land use and climate change in influencing these trends.
Jeff is named as a fellow for the 2015 Rising Environmental Leaders Program by the Stanford Woods Institute. Jeff is one of 20 fellows selected from a competitive field of applicants to learn firsthand about how to apply science to policy-making. The signature event in the program is its D.C. Boot Camp, a week where participants are introduced to a broad range of legislative staff, NGO leaders, and advocacy directors to more deeply understand how they can contribute in the policy-making process.
Jeff published a review article in the Journal of Great Lakes Research. The article, entitled "Challenges in tracking harmful algal blooms: A synthesis of evidence from Lake Erie", reviews the state of the science on identifying harmful algal blooms in the literature. The review finds that consensus on harmful algal blooms is lacking, raising questions about the evidence base used to develop predictions of future bloom occurrence. The press release for the paper can be found here. This is Jeff's second first-author paper.
Metrics reported in the literature for monitoring harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, categorized by their linkage to harm to human and/or ecosystem health.
Jeff presented a poster at the American Geophysical Union Annual Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California. His presentation, "Using LANDSAT to expand the historical record of phytoplankton blooms in Lake Erie" described the process by which he created the first self-consistent, historical data set ever on phytoplankton blooms in Lake Erie.
Jeff presented a poster at the University of North Carolina 2014 Water and Health Conference in Chapel Hill, NC. He presented his preliminary findings from his dissertation work, “Probing the impacts of climate change on household water supply in Mozambique," finding that climate change is likely to shift households to alternative sources of water supply in rural and peri-urban Mozambique.
Jeff presented a case study for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe at a workshop on the benefits of transboundary water cooperation in Geneva, Switzerland. Speaking as an expert on the North American Great Lakes, Jeff provided recommendations along with other distinguished guests on a Policy Guidance Note aimed at identifying, assessing, and communicating the benefits of transboundary water cooperation.
Jeff gave two research presentations at the 57th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research, hosted by the International Association for Great Lakes Research at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada. He presented his ongoing dissertation work, “Evaluating LANDSAT algorithms for cataloguing historical harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie," and the work of Michalak Lab postdoc Yuntao Zhou, "A statistical model of the interannual variability of hypoxia in Lake Erie." His presentation on LANDSAT algorithms found that a near-infrared threshold with simple atmospheric correction performed best at tests comparing to other remotely-sensed bloom estimates and to in-situ sampled Microcystis data.
Jeff's first first-author paper is published in the Journal of Water and Health. The paper, entitled "The challenge of global water access monitoring: evaluating straight-line distance versus self-reported travel time among rural households in Mozambique" uses high-resolution satellite imagery together with a GIS algorithm to evaluate different possibilities for including a distance and/or time criterion in the definition of access to improved water supply. The paper finds that, depending on the indicator, the share of households having "access" would vary by more than 70%, highlighting the importance of ongoing debate on feasible monitoring strategies.
Jeff attended the first workshop in the Great Lakes Workshop Series on Remote Sensing of Water Quality at the Ohio Aerospace Institute at NASA Glenn in Cleveland, Ohio. He contributed to discussions on algorithm development for water quality and was part of a working group tasked with developing an intercomparison project for harmful algal bloom algorithms.
Jeff presented preliminary results from his dissertation research at the American Geophysical Union Annual Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California. His presentation, "Can LANDSAT be used to catalog historical freshwater harmful algal blooms?" established the methodological framework for evaluating LANDSAT algorithms for hindcasting harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.
Jeff's first publication is published in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences. The paper, entitled "Record-setting algal bloom in Lake Erie caused by agricultural and meteorological trends consistent with expected future conditions" brought together a multi-disciplinary team to identify whether or not the record-setting 2011 algal bloom in Lake Erie was due merely to a perfect storm of unfortunate factors, or instead due to ongoing trends such that it may be a harbinger of the future. Jeff contributed to this paper through work identifying that the in-situ meteorological conditions in 2011 were especially warm and quiescent in the post-onset period relative to other years and that such conditions were expected with future climate change, supporting the main finding of the paper that ongoing trends in land use and climate suggest that the 2011 bloom may be a harbinger of future blooms.