Lincoln University recently honoured Dr Brad Case with an Early Career Researcher Award, which he says he will use to help fund his research on how forest ecosystems may respond to future climate change effects.
Dr Case, whose expertise involves using IT tools to understand ecological patterns, says he is “excited and honoured” to have his work recognised in this way.
The award includes a payment of $5000 and acknowledges staff members who are within five years of completing their PhD, and have shown high levels of research excellence over the past five years.
“Research excellence includes having work printed in high quality research publications, obtaining funding, receiving awards and prizes and getting peer recognition,” Dr Case says.
“In the past two-to-three years, I published four papers from my PhD thesis in an international, peer-reviewed journal dealing with the ecology of mountain treelines in New Zealand.”
Dr Case also received a paid nine-month fellowship to Harvard University in 2014-2015 with his wife, Lincoln University ecology lecturer, Dr Hannah Buckley, whose research aims to understand biological diversity.
At Harvard, they worked on a new method for analysing forest ecosystems, with the goal of helping to predict the future dynamics of plant communities to manage environmental changes.
Dr Case used computer modelling to predict how a forest might change over time, particularly due to climate change or disturbance from pests and disease.
“A portion of the funds from the award will be spent visiting colleagues in North America to gain modelling skills for this project,” he says.
Dr Case has also established a number of international collaborations with researchers in North America, Europe, and China.
“I went to China in October last year on a Royal Society of New Zealand-paid NZ-China Scientist Exchange programme award. This allowed me to grow relationships with researchers at the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, which is affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Science.”