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Public Lecture Series with Sean Ahearn

Tiger Sustainability: Movement, Interaction and Human Impact in Thailand and Myanmar

Interaction among and between species is the driving force behind ecosystem form and function. The cascading effect in ecosystems, which is a result of the chain of interaction among species, is particularly salient when apex species are reduced, eliminated, or even reintroduced. Understanding this chain of interaction is essential for predicting the impact that a change in the environment has on ecosystem resilience. As the apex species, the tiger’s (Panthera tigris) role in maintaining ecosystem stability is an essential part of this process.

The ability to understand tigers and the relationship to their environment changed dramatically when Sean Ahearn and his team first put GPS collars on them in the year 2000. Details of their movement and how they relates to behavior, home range size, interaction within and between species, and their interaction with humans could suddenly be analyzed and quantified. This, combined with other field data from camera traps, occupancy surveys, and smart patrol enabled him to obtain a much more complete picture of tiger biology, the ecological systems they inhabit and human impact on them.

Integrating these different data sources to better understand tigers and their long-term viability is the focus of his research. Ahearn’s study area is the Western Forest Complex (WEFCOM) that spans the Thai and Myanmar border with particular focus on United Nations World Heritage sites of Thung Yai-Huai Kha Khaeng.

WEFCOM is one of perhaps 4 or 5 places on earth that still supports a sustainable population of tigers. Maintaining or even increasing tiger habitat, the prey base which supports tigers, and the tiger populations in this region, is critical for the species survival. The core research team includes:

 •  Dr. Achara Simcharoen and Dr. Saksit Simcharoen, Division of Wildlife Research in the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation of Thailand
 •  Professor James David L. Smith, Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, TC
 •  Professor Somayeh Dodge, Department of Geography, Environment and Society, University of Minnesota, TC
 •  Professor Sean C. Ahearn, Department of Geographical and Environmental Earth Sciences, Hunter College, CUNY

Dr. Ahearn is a noted expert in remote sensing and geographic information systems and has extensive research, teaching, and management experience in related subjects, with emergency response and urban GIS, digital image analysis, spatio-temporal models, agent-based models, and ecological models among his chief interests. As Director of the Center for Advanced Research of Spatial Information (CARSI) at Hunter College – City University of New York, he managed a series of large photogrammetric, remote sensing, and GIS projects. Among these, he played a lead role in managing the design, development and implementation of NYCMap, the digital base map for the City of New York.

Dr. Ahearn also managed a series of GIS and remote sensing applications in response and mitigation to the events of Sep 11, 2001. In recognition for his contribution to the theory and practice of remote sensing and GIS, Dr. Ahearnhas received numerous awards, including a 2013 IBM Faculty Award. He previously served as President of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) and was a founding member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC), on appointment by the United States Secretary of Interior.

Date: Monday, June 11

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10

Guest Ticket Price: $25

Student Ticket Price: $5 with a valid student ID at the door

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