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PhD Dissertation Proposal Defense

This is a past event.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 at 9:00am to 11:00am

Virtual Event

Presenting: Selena Chavez


Abstract: Abstract: In September 2017, South Florida was impacted by Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Irma caused large amounts of damage across South Florida, including damage to a large swath of mangrove forest. A combination of hurricane-strength winds and high storm surge across the area resulted in defoliation, broken branches, and downed trees changing the forest structure. Mangrove forests are essential for the health of Everglades due to the many ecosystem services they provide. Evaluating changes in mangrove forest’s structure and their recovery is important as loss or change in mangrove forests can lead to a loss in the ecosystems services that they provide. In this proposed study, changes to mangrove forests caused by Hurricane Irma will be quantified, as well as their recovery over time. The study relies on new generation lidar remote sensing technology, a wide array of available multispectral data, as well as long-term carbon monitoring data from eddy covariance towers. New generation technologies from NASA Goddard's Lidar, Hyperspectral, and Thermal imager (G-LiHT) provide an opportunity to investigate changes in mangrove forests using 3D and high-resolution data to assess mangrove forests at different tree structure levels (i.e., canopy, tree trunks, forest floor). High-resolution airborne imagery collected by G-LiHT before and after Hurricane Irma will be used to estimate volumes of damage induced to a swath of mangrove forests. Multispectral remote sensing data provides an opportunity to monitor and assess mangrove phenology changes over time. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from multiple multispectral remote sensing instruments will be used to observe and model the reduction and recovery of mangrove canopy in the Everglades over time. In addition, long-term carbon flux data from the eddy covariance tower will be used to assess temporal changes in carbon fluxes and evaluate the impact of Hurricane Irma on local carbon sequestration potential. Methodologies developed in this proposal will further improve our understanding of the effects major disturbance such as hurricanes have on mangrove forests in South Florida and lay the framework to investigate future mangrove forest's damage and recovery in response to extreme weather events worldwide.

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Date: Wednesday, July 21, 2021 Time: 09:00 AM – 11:00 AM

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Event Type

Academics, Info sessions, Lectures & conferences


Faculty & Staff



College of Arts, Sciences & Education, Department of Earth and Environment


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