B.L. Turner advisees: From ASU to start of academic careers

B.L. Turner II arrived at ASU in 2008 as a well-recognized pioneer in the field of sustainability science. At ASU he’s worked with eight doctoral students, three of whom graduated in December 2015.  As the three start their academic careers, each is building on the work they did under Turner’s mentorship.

John Connors

Since summer, John Connors has been working at Boston University as a postdoctoral fellow at the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future.  John is contributing to multiple projects that expand on his dissertation research on land change and food security.

Currently, he is initiating a project that studies deer management practices in Massachusetts, particularly the different environmental priorities and perceptions of land managers, which may affect the creation or loss of deer habitats.

Connors is also continuing the analysis of data from his dissertation research in Tanzania. His dissertation investigated the politics of agricultural development and the role of crop diversity in supporting the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Tanzania’s Kilombero Valley. His current initiative aims to characterize how agricultural development has transformed conservation areas in the region.

Chris Galletti

This fall, Chris Galletti began a position as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Geography at Dartmouth University, conducting research and teaching under the broad umbrella of coupled natural and human systems.

“My current research is at the intersection of climate science, geospatial technologies, and land change science,” Galletti said.  Specifically, he’s developing ways to study cities and natural ecosystems using remote sensing and GIS.

He applies this focus to two major projects:  First, he’s continuing his dissertation research on land change in Oman where he is developing models of the Indian Ocean Monsoon and land use to understand how they interact to alter the environment of a cloud forest over time. 

Second, he’s using principles of landscape ecology to study urban design and how it can offset extreme temperatures, maintain water quality, and promote ecosystem services in cities. He is introducing this area to students at Dartmouth through a class where the students use GIS and remote sensing to study cities – and in the process, get a taste for the complexities of urban environments, from urban climate to land use and land cover to hydrology.

Jesse Sayles

Jesse Sayles moved to Montreal this December to begin a postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University, where he’s working with Dr. James Ford and his Climate Change Adaptation Research Group.  He’s collaborating on a multi-year project whose goal is to develop evidence that can inform both policy and programming needed to assist Inuit communities in adapting to the health effects of climate change, by combining scientific research and Inuit traditional knowledge.

Sayles’ specific focus will be on multi-level governance issues – including inter-community dynamics and local-to-regional processes.

“I’ll be using many of the same ideas, theories and methods as I did for my doctoral work,” said Sayles.  His dissertation focused on the misalignment of governance boundaries with the natural resources systems they seek to govern, looking at the specific case of salmon and shellfish habitat restoration in the Puget Sound in Washington State.

“One of the biggest things I learned here at ASU and with Dr. Turner is the importance of understanding how your work relates to and informs bigger sustainability and human-environment sciences,” Sayles said.