Spatial Modeller – Ecology, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, New Zealand
Broadly speaking I am a geography and an ecologist, and I use computers and modelling extensive to ask questions about the ecological impacts from geographical patterns and processes.
My research is interdisciplinary, examining environmental questions and problems through the combination of theories and methods from geography and ecology. This is largely done through modelling approaches, as I am usually interested in questions that involve scales of space and time that cannot be answered through empirical observation and experimentation. My research has been largely focussed on the modelling species’ distributions and connectivity across landscapes for applications in conservation ecology, epidemiology, and invasion ecology. I am also interested in developing models to investigate questions around landscape dynamics and human interactions with the environment. I currently have numerous ongoing research projects across all of these themes that involve collaborators in Canada, the UK, and New Zealand.
While my research is generally driven by environmental questions and problems, where necessary my research also includes the development of new methods and algorithms. So I also have technical interests in Python and R computer programming and the use and development of open-source and cross-platform scientific software, and I develop and publish my own software when I require it to support my research. I believe that such work is of great value to the research community, so I also have an interest in encouraging the use of these types of approaches, and have researched ways of best introducing scientific programming to non-programming scientists, which I hope to continue as part of my fellowship.
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Check out contributions by and mentions of Thomas Etherington on www.software.ac.uk