Meirah Williamson
Pronouns: she/her
University of Florida

Adviser: Dr. Esther Mullens

Focus Area:

Research Statement:
My research interests broadly lie at the intersection of extreme weather and society. My current research with Dr. Esther Mullens examines Excessive Rainfall Outlooks (EROs), which are probabilistic forecasts of flash flooding risk across the continental United States made by the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center (WPC). We are examining flash flooding events that were not forecast by EROs, and seeing if they had any economic damages or fatalities or injuries. We’re also looking at the meteorological and hydrological precursors to these damaging events to see if there are any patterns. Flash flooding events are one of the most deadly hazards in the US and world wide, so we’re hoping that we can highlight regions and/or seasons that are poorly forecast to help the WPC in improving EROs (or tell the WPC that they’re doing a great job!).

Who is she?
Meirah is a second year Master’s student in the Geography Department. She is a Wisconsin native who moved to Florida for grad school.

How did she get here?
Meirah grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, near where the Yahara River crosses the isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. With water on three sides, the basement would flood every year, but she was able to spend hot summer days swimming in the lakes and cold winter days walking on the frozen lakes.

As a child, Meirah was made keenly aware of extreme weather events when her family would take shelter in the basement during tornado warnings. While returning in a bus from a 6th grade field trip, her entire class had to shelter under tables at a McDonald’s, when tornadoes and waterspouts made the roads unsafe. It all worked out in the end, but the experience caught her attention.


When Meirah finished high school, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. While there, she did undergraduate research using QGIS (open source GIS software) to perform spatial analysis of the urban heat island (UHI) effect on freeze warnings and frost advisories in Madison, WI. She found that urban Madison would often not dip to temperature thresholds required for a freeze warning/frost advisory when one was issued by the NWS for Madison. The isthmus (the most densely built up part of Madison) was often the warmest part of Madison during freeze warnings/frost advisories, staying several degrees on average above the temperature thresholds. Many families of color, including immigrant families, and families below the poverty line use urban gardens as a food source in Madison. This research could help the NWS better tailor their forecasts to account for the UHI effect, and make sure that people relying on gardens for sustenance know when they actually need to worry about their crops (e.g. cover them to prevent frost). “ I really enjoyed doing this spatial analysis,” Meirah said, “and seeing that — yes, there does seem to be something here that can be improved on to help the NWS improve their forecasts and thus people relying on weather forecasts; combining extreme weather and society.“

During her senior year, Meirah spent a semester abroad at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark. When she arrived, she only needed a single class to graduate – Climate, Weather, and Plants – to fulfill a Biology requirement. This left her free to explore Copenhagen by bike – and also to spend weekends visiting Berlin, Lisbon, and San Sebastian by train.

After completing her Bachelor’s degree, Meirah moved to Berkeley, California for an internship at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab – where she developed benchmarks for the Panama Rainfall Gradient project. While the research questions didn’t perfectly align with her interests, she loved working as part of a collaborative team, which was very different from the solo research she did during her undergraduate degree.

One day, while perusing a listserv, she saw that Dr. Esther Mullens was advertising a Research Assistant position at the University of Florida, focusing on extreme precipitation, climate dynamics, and climate and weather impacts on infrastructure and vulnerable populations. It was a perfect match, so Meirah applied to become a GeoGator. A few months later, she and her bicycle moved to Gainesville.

What’s she been doing at UF?
Since joining Dr. Mullens’ lab in the Fall of 2019, Meirah has been exploring the National Weather Service’s Excessive Rainfall Outlooks (EROs) product – looking for edge cases where flash flooding was not predicted in the forecast but happened all the same. When there are few people – like in parts of the Rocky Mountains – an unforecasted flash flood has little impact on people. An unexpected monsoon in the normally arid, but high population desert southwest, can turn deadly and cause lots of economic damage. By examining the complex interplay of rain, topography, soil moisture, and atmospheric conditions, Meirah is working to identify when and where the EROs break down, to improve flash flooding forecasts.

While Meirah used GIS analysis for her senior thesis, she was learning it as she went. Now that she’s studying hazards as a geographer, she’s been building her skills in Dr. Ash’s GIS Analysis of Hazard Vulnerability. The course “really piqued my interests in how we spatially understand vulnerability and risk among communities to extreme weather,” says Meirah, who is incorporating advanced GIS techniques into her research.

Over the summer, she teamed up with fellow Master’s student Holli Capps, working as the grader in Extreme Weather. Many of the students were non-geography/science majors. Meirah enjoyed the enthusiasm of interacting with the undergrad students – who in many cases didn’t realize that they were interested in science until they took the course.

How has she been holding up during the pandemic?
The first few months of the pandemic were disorienting – due to the lack of clear messaging on what we should and should not do. Once it became clear that outdoor activities are fairly safe, Meirah became more comfortable going outside. She’s been touring the State Parks that are accessible by bike – going as far as Fanning Springs and the Nature Coast Trail, where you can get off your bike and jump in the cool, clear springs. Meirah bought a car over the summer and is looking forward to exploring more of Florida’s wild places.

Meirah has also been getting out of the house to do good in the community. The Civic Media Center’s Free Grocery Store moved from an in person store to a bag and delivery model. Meirah has been volunteering by bagging groceries to help folks who are food insecure. Now that she has a car, she’s planning on making delivery runs as well.

When she’s not exploring the region’s bike trails or helping keep our community fed, Meirah has been playing her oboe (she has played since she was 11) and watching the best season that the White Sox have had in years.



Holli Nicole Capps

Pronouns: she/her/ella

University of Florida

Adviser: Dr. Peter Waylen

Focus Area: Earth System Science

Research Statement: My research interests include climate science and hydro-climatology broadly, and specifically rainfall and streamflow variability, and extreme precipitation. I am interested in looking at daily to annual scales as well as inter and intra-variability. I use meteorological station data as well as numerical and probabilistic approaches to study or evaluate potential changes over time and space of these hydrological phenomena.

Field work at Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park doing water monitoring with the Florida Springs Institute.

Who is she?

Holli Capps is a second year Master’s student in the Geography Department. A Florida native of Venezuelan descent on her mom’s side, Holli completed a B.S. in Environmental Science with a minor in Geography at the University of Florida in 2019.

St.Marks, Wakulla has the oldest Lighthouse on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico side (on a walking trail here), one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System, and a Spanish fort built in 1679.

How did she get here?

Growing up in Wakulla County on Florida’s Forgotten Coast, Holli always had an appreciation for nature and the environment, and a fascination for extreme weather. After Holli took AP Environmental Science in high school, she fell in love with climate change and science. Holli’s biological Dad is a big FSU fan, but she always knew she was a Gator at heart. When she graduated from High School, Holli followed her passion for climate science to the Environmental Science department. Eventually, Geography provided the avenue to tie all of these interests together.

As a first generation student from a part of the state with extremely limited technology resources, Holli has had extra hurdles to overcome to succeed in graduate school. These include but are not limited to: navigating academic bureaucracy, learning advanced technologies like R and GIS, and tackling remote sensing someday soon.

What’s she been doing at UF?

As part of her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and the Certificate in Meteorology and Climatology, Holli took Dr. Pete Waylen’s GEO 3280 Principles of Geographic Hydrology while a sophomore. In a small class filled with Engineering majors and grad students, Holli felt out of her depth. She asked lots of questions and spent nearly every day in Dr. Waylen’s office hours. Her hard work paid off – Dr. Waylen invited Holli to join the department as an undergraduate researcher, which led to her first publication Predicting monthly streamflows and their variability from limited historic records in the Tárcoles watershed, Costa Rica.

After completing her undergrad, Holli joined the Department of Geography as a Master’s student in Fall 2019 and has enthusiastically jumped into grad school. She has come full circle – teaching GEO 2242 Extreme Weather – the first geography class she ever took.

Talk about Extreme Weather – this is the house of one of my friends, after Tropical Storm Debby flooded Wakulla County in 2012 – some areas got two feet of rain!

She’s also kept up a rigorous research agenda, publishing Interannual Variability in Daily Characteristics of Winter Precipitation at Tallahassee, 1949 – 2016 in The Florida Geographer in November of 2019, which won ‘Best Paper’ at the 2019 Florida Society of Geographers meeting. She presented Regionalization of Annual Precipitation in Ghana at the meeting of the Florida Society of Geographers 2020 meeting in February,

How has she been holding up during the pandemic?
Holli is fortunate to have a stable household with roommates – all of whom are able to work and go to school from home. It’s been emotionally exhausting, but Holli is doing lots of self care, like watching movies with her roommates, eating buffalo wings, and hanging out with her cat, Nala.

Research Gate

Follow Holli on Twitter

Focus Area 3: Earth System Science

This is the science of the atmosphere, land, biota, and water from a geospatial science perspective. By combining hot topic or contemporary issues such as climate change, environmental extremes, and hazards, this focus area emphasizes the integrative nature of physical and environmental geography. These are the biophysical science questions that help drive management and policy.

Our sub-focus areas are as follows:

  • Atmospheric Science
  • River, Coastal and Lake Environments
  • Climate Change and Variability
  • Floods, Droughts and Extremes
  • Landscape Change and Spatial Analysis
  • Land, Water and Weather Hazards and Risk Assessment
  • Watershed Science and Sustainable Water Resources Management

Core Faculty

This is the science of the atmosphere, land, biota, and water from a geospatial science perspective. By combining hot topic or contemporary issues such as climate change, environmental extremes, and hazards, this focus area emphasizes the integrative nature of physical and environmental geography. These are the biophysical science questions that help drive management and policy.

Our sub-focus areas are as follows:

  • Atmospheric Science
  • River, Coastal and Lake Environments
  • Climate Change and Variability
  • Floods, Droughts and Extremes
  • Landscape Change and Spatial Analysis
  • Land, Water and Weather Hazards and Risk Assessment
  • Watershed Science and Sustainable Water Resources Management

Core Faculty

THE BLUE MARBLE: LAND SURFACE, OCEAN COLOR AND SEA ICE. The most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Compiled by NASA from MODIS data in 2001.


  • GEO2200 Physical Geography
  • GEO2200L Physical Geography Lab
  • GEO2201 Physical Landscapes
  • GEO 2242 Extreme Weather
  • GEO 3250 Climatology
  • GEO3280 Geographic Hydrology
  • GEO 3341 Extreme Floods
  • GEO3930 Extreme Droughts and Water Wars
  • GEO3930 Introduction to Climate Change
  • GEO4281 River Forms and Processes
  • GEO4285 Models in Geographic Hydrology
  • GEO4300 Environmental Biogeography
  • GEO5305 Environmental Biogeography
  • GEO5945C Field Course in Geography
  • GEO6255 Climatology
  • GEO 6282 Fluvial Morphology and Processes
  • GEO6348 Floods Seminar
  • GEO6375 Land Change Science Seminar
  • GEO6938 Climate Change in Africa
  • GEO6938 Seminar in Atmospheric Sciences
  • GEO6938 Geographic Hydrology?
  • MET3503 Weather and Forecasting
  • MET4532 Hurricanes
  • MET4560 Atmospheric Teleconnections
  • MET4750 Spatial Analysis of Atmospheric Data Using GIS
  • MET5504 Weather and Forecasting
  • MET6530 Hurricanes
  • MET6565 Seminar in Atmospheric Teleconnections
  • MET6752 Spatial Analysis of Atmospheric Data Using GIS


Dr. Jane Southworth

Department Chair and Professor

Affiliate Member, Florida Climate Institute

During COVID, with limited access to campus, people may not receive phone messages. For a quicker response, please use email.

(352) 294-7512

Curriculum Vita

Focus Areas

Research Statement

My research interests are based on the study of human-environment interactions within the field of Land Change Science and Geospatial Science. All of my research is undertaken with highly interdisciplinary research teams which involve both social and physical scientists. It is this interdisciplinary focus on research problems that interests me and for which I was trained. Within such interdisciplinary teams my particular strengths lie in the remote sensing of vegetation dynamics; land use, land cover change and land change modeling; the implications of scale and scaling in remote sensing and modeling analyses; people and parks; and modeling of the impacts of climate change on human-environment systems and vegetation dynamics.

Recent Courses

  • Study Abroad Program: UF in South Africa – People, Parks, and Conservation in Africa
  • GEO3930 Geographical Sciences & Sustainability (NEW Spring 2018)
  • GEO6938 Climate Variability & Climate Change in Africa
  • GEO2200 Physical Geography
  • GIS5038C Environmental Remote Sensing
  • GIS4037 Digital Image Processing
  • GEO6375 Land Change Science Seminar
  • GEO6921 How to Survive (and Thrive) in Academia
  • GEO6938 Advanced Environmental Remote Sensing
  • GEO2242 Extreme Weather
  • GEO3930 The Digital Earth (NEW Fall 2018)

Recent Funded Projects

  • 2016-2020

NSF CNH Program: Recent land transactions in Ethiopia: Impacts on agriculture, ecosystem services, and food-energy security. Notified of funding April 2016. $1.6 million. UF portion with Southworth as PI = $360,000 Total Award Period Covered: 9/1/2016 – 8/31/2020. PI: Dan Brown (University of Michigan). Co-PIs: Jane Southworth (UF PI) and Arun Agrawal (University of Michigan).

  • 2016-2018

NIOSH: South Eastern Coastal Center for Agricultural Health and Safety $10 million. PI: Overall center PI – Glenn Morris. Sub-PI for our project ($280,000) is Greg Glass. Co-PI: Southworth.

  • 2017-2018

University of Florida, International Center: Geography and CAS Study Abroad Program in South Africa. $25,000. PI: Southworth, Co-PI’s: Ryan and Child.

  • 2015-2016

UF Water Institute: The Water-Energy-Food-Environment nexus: Unintended consequences of interbasin water transfer for hydropower generation and agriculture on the protected environment. Total Award Amount: $10,000. PI: Rafael Munoz-Carpena. Co-PIs: Jane Southworth, Ray Huffaker, Greg Kiker, Peter Waylen.

  • 2015-2016

UF Water Institute: Water, Africa, Disease, and Health (WADAH). Total Award Amount: $10,000. PI: Jane Southworth. Co-PIs: Rafael Munoz-Carpena, Ray Huffaker, Greg Kiker, Jason Blackburn, Brian Child, Greg Glass, Sadie Ryan, Peter Waylen.

  • 2014-2015

UF Informatics Institute SEED Grant. “Death, Disease and Distribution”, $36,000. PI – Southworth, Co-PIs: Blackburn, Waylen, Glass, Ryan, Munoz-Carpena, and Kiker.

  • 2013-2018

NSF PIRE Program: PARTNERS (People And Reforestation in the Tropics: a Network for Education, Research, and Synthesis). Total Award Amount: $499,011. University of Connecticut – PI: Robin Chazdon. My role: Collaborator – Networking Grant.

  • 2013-2016

Google Earth Outreach Grant / Collaboration. PIs: Jane Southworth and Erin Bunting. Purpose: to bring Google Earth Engine, Google Maps Engine, Open Data Kit, Timelapse, and Google Tours into the Introductory Remote Sensing Class. This collaboration enabled our students to have contact with cutting edge remote sensing technology available through the Google array. This introduces our student to big data analysis via access to the extensive Google data catalog. Furthermore, the open data kit program is a tablet based field collection technique. Note: There is no direct money from this. The collaboration enabled our students to access a resource that only a couple other universities around the world have. Specifically other collaborations have been set up at Stanford, Cal Tech, and Princeton.

  • 2011-2015

NSF-CNH Program. Global Sensitivity & Uncertainty Analysis in the Evaluation of Social Ecological Resilience: Theoretical Debates over Infrastructure Impacts on Livelihoods & Forest Change. $1.6 million. PI: Dr. Stephen Perz. My role: Senior Investigator.

Recent Publications

Guo Cao, Bisheng Wang, Xavier Haro-Carrión, Di Yang, and Jane Southworth. 2017. A new difference image creation method based on deep neural networks for change detection in remote sensing images. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 38(23): 7161-7175.

Fullman, T., Bunting, E., Kiker, G., and Southworth, J. 2017. Predicted Shifts in Large Herbivore Distribution under Climate Change and Management Scenarios in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Ecological Modeling, 352: 1-18.

Hannah Herrero, Jane Southworth, Erin Bunting, and Brian Child. 2017. Using Repeat Photography to Observe Vegetation Change Over Time in Gorongosa National Park. African Studies Quarterly, 17(2): 65-82.

Ryan, S.J., Palace, M., Diem, J., Hartter, J. Chapman, C.A., Southworth, J. 2017. Population pressure and global markets drove a decade of deforestation in Africa’s Albertine Rift. Applied Geography, 81: 52-59.

Fullman, T.J., G.A. Kiker, A. Gaylard, J. Southworth, P.R. Waylen, and G.I.H. Kerley. Elephants respond to resource trade-offs in an aseasonal system through daily and annual variability in resource selection Koedoe; 59 (1)

Hannah Herrero, Jane Southworth, Erin Bunting. 2016. Utilizing Multiple Lines of Evidence to Determine Landscape Degradation within protected area landscapes: A Case Study of Chobe National Park, Botswana from 1982 to 2011. Remote Sensing, 8 (8): 623.

Ray Huffaker, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Miguel Campo-Bescos, Jane Southworth. 2016. Demonstrating correspondence between decision-support models and dynamics of real-world environmental systems. Environmental Modelling & Software, 83: 74-87.

Bunting, E., Fullman, T., Kiker, G., and Southworth, J. 2016. Utilization of the SAVANNA Ecosystem Model to Analyze Future Patterns of Vegetation Cover in Kruger National Park under IPCC Climate Change Scenarios. Ecological Modeling, 342: 147-160.

Michael J. Hill, Qiang Zhou, Qingsong Sun, Crystal B. Schaaf, Jane Southworth, Niti B. Mishra, Cerian Gibbes, Erin Bunting, Thomas B. Christiansen, & Kelley A. Crews. 2016. Dynamics of the relationship between NDVI and SWIR32 vegetation indices in southern Africa: implications for retrieval of fractional cover from MODIS data. International Journal of Remote Sensing. Volume 37, Issue 6, pages 1476-1503.

Hill, Michael, J., and Jane Southworth. 2016. Anthropogenic change in savannas and associated forest biomes. Journal of Land Use Science, Volume 11: Issue 1, Pages 1-6.

Southworth, J., Zhu, L., Bunting, E., Ryan, S.J., Herrero, H., Waylen, P.R., Hill, M. 2016. Changes in vegetation persistence across global savanna landscapes, 1982-2010. Journal of Land Use Science, Volume 11, Issue 1, pages 7-32.

Ryan, S.J., Southworth, J., Hartter, J., Dowhaniuk, N., Fuda, R., Diem, J. 2015. Household level influences on fragmentation in an African park landscape. Applied Geography 58: 18-31.

Sun, J., J. Southworth, and Y. Qiu. 2015. Mapping multiscale impacts of deforestation in the Amazonian rainforest from 1986 to 2010. Journal of Land Use Science, Volume 10, Issue 2, pages 174-190.

Christopher Baraloto, Paula Alverga, Sufer Baéz Quispe, Grenville Barnes, Nino Bejar Chura, Izaias Brasil da Silva, Wendeson Castro, Harrison da Souza, Iracema Elizabeth de Souza Moll, Jim Del Alcazar Chilo, Hugo Dueñas Linares, Jorge Gárate Quispe, Dean Kenji, Matthew Marsik, Herison Medeiros, Skya Murphy, Cara Rockwell, Alexander Shenkin, Marcos Silveira, Jane Southworth, Guido Vasquez, and Stephen Perz. 2015. Effects of road infrastructure on forest value across a tri-national Amazonian frontier. Biological Conservation, 191, pages 674-681

Zhu Likai, Jane Southworth, Jijun Meng. 2015. Comparison of the driving forces of spring phenology among savanna landscapes by combining spatial and temporal heterogeneity. International Journal of Biometeorology, October 2015, Volume 59: Issue 10, pp. 1373-1384.

Sancahayeeta Adhikari, Jane Southworth, and Harini Nagendra. 2015. Understanding forest loss and recovery: a spatio-temporal analysis of land change in and around Bannerghatta National Park, India. Journal of Land Use Science, 10 (4)

Baraloto, C., P. Alverga, S. Baéz Quispe, G. Barnes, N. Bejar Chura, I. Brasil da Silva, W. Castro, H. Da Souza, I. De Souza Moll, J. Del Alcazar Chilo, H. Duenas Linares, J. Garate Quispe, D. Kenji, H. Medeiros, C. A. Rockwell, A. Shenkin, M. Silveira, J. Southworth, G. Vasquez, and S. Perz. 2014. Trade-offs among forest value components in community forests of southwestern Amazonia. Ecology and Society 19(4): 56

Waylen, P.R., Southworth, J., Gibbes, C., and H. Tsai. 2014. Time series analysis of land cover change: Developing statistical tools to determine significance of land cover changes in persistence analyses. Remote Sensing, 6, 4473-4497.

Sun, J., Z. Huang, Q. Zhen, J. Southworth, and S. Perz. 2014. Fractally deforested landscape: Pattern and process in a tri-national Amazon frontier. Applied Geography, 52: 204-211.

Gibbes, C., Southworth, J., Waylen, P., and B. Child. 2014. Climate variability as a dominant driver of post-disturbance savanna dynamics. Applied Geography, 53: 389-401.

Tsai, H., Southworth, J., and P. Waylen. 2014. Spatial persistence and temporal patterns in vegetation cover across Florida, 1982–2006. Physical Geography, 35(2): 151-180.

Sun, J., J. Southworth., and Y. Qiu. 2014. Mapping multiscale impacts of deforestation in the Amazonian rainforest from 1986 to 2010. Journal of Land Use Science.

Miguel A. Campo-Bescos, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Jane Southworth, Likai Zhu, Peter R. Waylen, and Erin Bunting. 2013. Combined Spatial and Temporal Effects of Environmental Controls on Long-Term Monthly NDVI in the Southern Africa Savanna. Remote Sensing, 5, 6513-6538.

Southworth, J., Rigg, L., Gibbes C., Waylen, P., Zhu, L., McCarragher, S., Cassidy, L. 2013. Integrating Dendrochronology, Climate and Satellite Remote Sensing to Better Understand Savanna Landscape Dynamics in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. LAND, 2: 637-655.

Campo-Bescos, M.A., R. Munoz-Carpena, D.A. Kaplan, J. Southworth, L. Zhu, and P.R. Waylen. 2013. Beyond precipitation: physiographic thresholds dictate the relative importance of environmental drivers on savanna vegetation. PLoS ONE, 8(8): e72348.

J. Sun, J. Southworth. 2013. Retrospective analysis of landscape dynamics using normalized spectral entropy. Remote Sensing Letters, Vol. 4, No. 11, 1049–1056.

Likai Zhu and Jane Southworth. 2013. Disentangling the relationships between net primary production and precipitation in southern Africa savannas using satellite observations from 1982 to 2010. Remote Sensing, 5, 3803-3825.

J. Sun, J. Southworth. 2013. Indicating structural connectivity in Amazonian rainforests from 1986 to 2010 using morphological image processing analysis. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 34(14): 5187-5200.

Cassidy, L., J. Southworth, C. Gibbes, & M.W. Binford. 2013. Beyond classifications: Combining continuous and discrete approaches to better understand land-cover change within the lower Mekong River region. Applied Geography, 39: 26-45.

Erin Bunting, Jessica Steele, Eric Keys, Shylock Muyengwa, Brian Child, Jane Southworth. 2013. Local Perception of Risk to Livelihoods in the Semi-Arid Landscape of Southern Africa. LAND 2(2): 225-251.

Xia Cui, Cerian Gibbes, Jane Southworth, Peter Waylen. 2013. Using Remote Sensing to Quantify Vegetation Change and Ecological Resilience in a Semi-Arid System. LAND, 2(2): 108-130.

Sun, J., Z. Huang, J. Southworth. Y. Qiu. 2013. Mapping fractality during the process of deforestation in an Amazon tri-national frontier. Remote Sensing Letters, 4:6, 589 -598.

Perz, S., Y. Qiu, Y. Xia, J. Southworth, J. Sun, M. Marsik, K. Rocha, V. Passos, D. Rojas, G. Alarcon, G. Barnes, C. Baraloto. 2013. Trans-boundary infrastructure and land cover change: Highway paving and community-level deforestation in a tri-national frontier in the Amazon. Land Use Policy, 34, 27 – 41.

Sun, J., & J. Southworth. 2013. Remote Sensing-Based Fractal Analysis and Scale Dependence Associated with Forest Fragmentation in an Amazon Tri‑National Frontier. Remote Sensing, 5(2): 454-472.

Educational Background

  • PhD in Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, 2000
  • M.S. in Geography, Specialization in Meteorology & Climatology, 1996
  • B.S. in Geography, Leicester University, 1992

Current Graduate Students



  • Co-advise Tyler Schaper (with Greg Glass)


Recent Graduate Students


  • Dr. Hannah Herrero Summer 2019
  • Dr. Meshari Alenezi Summer 2019
  • Dr. Xavier Haro-Carrion Summer 2019
  • Forrest Stevens – Fall 2014
  • Mehmet Ozdes – started PhD Fall 2012
  • Erin Bunting Summer 2014
  • Tim Fullman Summer 2014 Co-Chair, Dr. Brian Child
  • Jessica Steele Summer 2014
  • Likai Zhu Summer 2014
  • Jing Sun Summer 2013
  • Muhammad Almatar Fall 2012
  • HuiPing Tsai Fall 2012
  • Cerian Gibbes Spring 2011
  • Sanchayeeta Adhikari Spring 2011
  • Pinki Mondal Fall 2010
  • Claudia Stickler December 2009
  • Jaclyn Hall Summer 2009
  • Amy Daniels Summer 2009
  • Matt Marsik Fall 2008 Co-Chair, Dr. Peter Waylen
  • Joel Hartter Fall 2007 Co-Chair, Dr. Abe Goldman


  • Mariano Gonzalez Fall 2009
  • Forrest Stevens Spring 2009
    Muhammad Almatar Spring 2008
  • Cerian Gibbes Fall 2006
  • Rob Lopez Spring 2006


Dr. Michael W. Binford



During COVID, with limited access to campus, people may not receive phone messages. For a quicker response, please use email.

(352) 294-7500

Personal website

Curriculum Vita

Focus Areas

Areas of Specialization

  • Macrosystems Biogeography
  • Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing Applications in Environmental Systems
  • Land-Water Interactions
  • Landscape Dynamics, especially Land-Cover/Land-Use Change
  • Paleoecology, Paleolimnology and Paleoclimatology

Educational Background

  • PhD in Zoology and Geology, Indiana University, 1980
  • M.S. in Fisheries Biology, Louisiana State University, 1975
  • B.S. in  Biology, Kansas State University, 1973

Recent Courses

  • GEO 4037/5134C  Remote Sensing
  • GEO 4300/5305     Environmental Biogeography
  • GEO 2200               Physical Geography
  • GEO 4120               Aerial Photo Interpretation
  • GEO 5159               G.I.S. Applications in Environmental systems

Current Graduate Students


Recent Graduate Students


In My Own Words

I am a physical geographer, biogeographer, and landscape ecologist specializing in the study of environmental systems, or human-environment interactions. I have published papers on the effects of climate variability on cultural rise and collapse, agroecosystem bases for sustainable agriculture, environmental systems as a basis for landscape planning and ecological restoration, and technical aspects of measuring lake sedimentation rates. The research requires geospatial science approaches, and uses Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing techniques extensively. The work also involves collaboration with anthropologists, archaeologists, ecosystem modelers, geologists, economists, and planners. Recent NSF and NASA-funded research examines how people live around protected areas in East and Southern Africa, and how land ownership influences carbon uptake and storage in the southeastern U.S. coastal plain.

Recent Publications

Cassidy, L.1, J. Southworth, C. Gibbes, and M.W. Binford. In press. Beyond classifications: combining continuous and discrete approaches to land cover change analyses within the Lower Mekong River Region. International Journal of Remote Sensing. Revised, to be published May 2013, Vol. 39:26-45.

Staub, C.G., Binford, M.W. & Stevens, F.R., 2013. Elephant herbivory in Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi. African Journal of Ecology, DOI:10.1111/aje.12064.

Gaughan, A.E. F.R. Stevens, C. Gibbes, J. Southworth & M.W. Binford, 2012. Linking vegetation response to seasonal precipitation in the Okavango–Kwando–Zambezi catchment of southern Africa. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 33(21), pp.6783–6804.

Pricope, N.G. and M.W. Binford. 2012. A spatio-temporal analysis of fire recurrence and extent for semi-arid savanna ecosystems in Southern Africa using moderate resolution satellite imagery. Journal of Environmental Management. 100:72-85

Van Holt, Tracy, C. Moreno, M. Binford, K. Portier, S. Mulsow, and T. Frazer. 2012. The influence of landscape change on a nearshore fishery in southern Chile. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02674.x

Urdaz-Rodríguez, J., G. Fosgate, A.R. Alleman, O. Rae, A. Donovan. M.W. Binford, A. Zaragoza, P. Melendez. 2012. Association between ecological factors and the presence of Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus larvae in Puerto Rico. Exp. Appl. Acarol. DOI 10.1007/s10493-012-9573-6. Published online 26 May 2012.

Patarasuk, R. & Binford, M.W., 2012. Longitudinal analysis of the road network development and land-cover change in Lop Buri province, Thailand, 1989–2006. Applied Geography, 32(2), pp.228-239.

Cassidy, L., M.W. Binford, J. Southworth, and G.Barnes. 2010. Social and ecological factors and land-use land-cover diversity in two provinces in southeast Asia. Journal of Land Use Science. 5:277-306. Online version doi:10.1080/1747423X.2010.500688.

Southworth, J., J. Hartter, M. W Binford, A. Goldman, C. A Chapman, L. J Chapman, P. Omeja, and E. Binford. 2010. Parks, people and pixels: evaluating landscape effects of an East African national park on its surroundings. Tropical Conservation Science 3, no. 2: 122–142.

Gaughan, A.E., Binford, M.W. & Southworth, J., 2009. Tourism, forest conversion, and land transformations in the Angkor basin, Cambodia. Applied Geography, 29(2), pp.212–223.
Rivero, R. et al., 2009. Integrating spectral indices into prediction models of soil phosphorus in a subtropical wetland. Remote Sensing of Environment, 113(11), pp.2389–2402.

Rivero, R.G. et al., 2007. Spectral Inferential Modeling of Soil Phosphorus Using Hybrid Geostatistical Methods.

Prabha, T.V., Karipot, A. & Binford, M.W., 2007. Characteristics of secondary circulations over an inhomogeneous surface simulated with large-eddy simulation. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 123(2), pp.239–261.
Southworth, J., G.S. Cumming, M. Marsik, and M.W. Binford. 2006. Linking Spatial and Temporal Variation at Multiple Scales in a Heterogeneous Landscape. Professional Geographer 58:406-420.
Weng, C., M.B. Bush, J.H. Curtis, A.L. Kolata, T.D. Dillehay, M.W. Binford. 2006. Deglaciation and Holocene climate change in the western Peruvian Andes. Quaternary Research. 66:87-96.
Shearer, A.W., D.A. Mouat, S.D. Bassett, M.W. Binford, C.W. Johnson, and J.A. Saarinen. 2006. Examining development-related uncertainties for environmental management: Strategic planning scenarios in southern California. Landscape and Urban Planning 77:359-381.
Binford, M.W. and R. Karty. 2006. Riparian greenways and water resources. Ch. 4 in D.A. Smith (ed.). Ecology of Greenways. 2nd Ed. Island Press. Washington, D.C.
Binford, M.W., H.L. Gholz, G. Starr, and T.A. Martin. 2006. Regional carbon dynamics of the Southeastern Coastal Plain: balancing ecosystem type, timber harvesting, environmental variation, and fire. J. Geophys. Res. 111, D24S92, doi:10.1029/2005JD006820.
Loescher, H.W., Starr G., Martin, T.A., Binford, M., Gholz, H.L. 2006.The effect of local atmospheric circulations on daytime carbon dioxide flux measurements over a Pinus elliottii canopy. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 45: 1127-1140.
Cumming, G.S., G. Barnes, S. Perz, M. SAchmink, J. Southworth, M.Bimford, R.D. Holt, C. Stickler and T. Van Holt, 2005. An Exploratory Framework for the Empirical Measurement of Resilience. Ecosystems 8(8): 975 – 987.
Binford, M. W., T. J. Lee, and R. M. Townsend. 2004. Sampling Design for an Integrated Socio-Economic and Ecologic Survey Using Satellite Remote Sensing and Ordination. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 101: 11517-11522.
Rocha, K. S., M. W. Binford, and M. Schmink. 2004. Mapeando Uso e Cobertura do Solo em Projeto de Assentamento Utilizando Técnicas de Sensoriamento Remoto e Métodos Participativos. Uáquiri: A Geografia e a Amazônia em Questão 2: 107-118.


Jensen, R. R., and M. W. Binford. 2004. Measurement and Comparison of Leaf Area Index Estimators Derived from Satellite Remote Sensing Techniques. International Journal of Remote Sensing 25 (20): 4251-4265.

Tugend, K. I., M. S. Allen, and M. W. Binford. 2004. Potential Use of Remote Sensing to Assess Effects of Wave Action on Plant Re-Establishment. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 42: 54-60.

Book Chapters

Hartter, J., J. Southworth, M.W. Binford. 2009. Parks as a Mechanism to Maintain and Facilitate Recovery of Forest Cover: Examining Reforestation, Forest Maintenance and Productivity in Uganda. Ch. 12 (pp 275 – 296) in Nagrenda, H., and J. Southworth. Reforested landscapes. Springer Landscape Series.

Felkner, J. S., and M. W. Binford. 2002. Modeling a Soil Moisture Index Using Geographic Information System in a Developing Country Context. In Handbook of Water Sensitive Planning and Design, ed. R. France, 513-538. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Hill, K., and M. W. Binford. 2002. The Role of Category Definition in Habitat Models:  Practical and Logical Limitations of Using Boolean, Indexed, Probabilistic and Fuzzy Categories. In Predicting Species Occurrences: Issues of Scale and Accuracy, ed. J. M. Scott, P. J. Heglund, F. Samson, J. Haufler, M. Morrison, M. Raphael, and B. Wall, 97-106. Washington: Island Press.

Book Reviews

Binford, M.W., 2008. Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can’t Predict the Future (review). Southeastern Geographer, 48(2), pp.255-258.