The sky's the limit: Marvin scores NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
EEB graduate student David Marvin has been awarded a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship, which will support the final years of his dissertation research.
“I am using a combination of airborne and satellite remote sensing imagery with field-based forest censuses to discriminate liana (woody vine) and tree canopy cover in tropical forests,” Marvin said. “My research will develop a method to detect liana canopy cover at landscape scales, quantify its extent, and verify whether it has increased over recent decades. The discovery that lianas have increased in size and abundance in tropical forests suggests these forests may see a change in community composition and a reduction in their carbon storage capacity. Monitoring changes in liana canopy cover will increase the accuracy of predicted changes to tropical forests, and aid in understanding the mechanisms responsible for increasing liana size and abundance.”
NASA received 497 applications for the 2012 NESSF Program in the following research areas: earth science, heliophysics, planetary science, and astrophysics – the four research programs of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, according to NASA’s announcement. Fifty-four awards were selected by the science divisions on a competitive basis. Criteria for evaluation included: the scientific merit of the proposed research; the relevance of the proposed research to NASA’s objectives in Earth or space science; academic excellence based upon an applicant's transcripts, the letter of recommendation by the student's academic advisor, and the degree to which it supported the proposed research. Marvin’s project is titled “Are tropical lianas increasing in abundance? An integrated satellite-aerial-ground approach for liana detection at the landscape scale” and his advisor is Professor Robyn Burnham.
The purpose of the NESSF is to ensure continued training of a highly qualified workforce in disciplines required to achieve NASA’s scientific goals. The award is for $30,000 per year, including $24,000 student stipend and an allowance of up to $6,000, consisting of $3,000 for student expenses and $3,000 for university expenses. NESSF awards are made initially for one year and may be renewed for no more than two additional years, contingent upon satisfactory progress, as reflected in academic performance, research progress, recommendation by the faculty advisor, and the availability of funds.
Caption: David Marvin climbing a communications tower to assess liana canopy cover above Barro Colorado Island, Panama.
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