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Interdisciplinary research looks at Charlotte's green mystery
Date:9/13/2010

olina piedmont, may offer scientists an ideal living laboratory to study what makes a "human-dominated ecosystem" tick. "We have the opportunity to track and understand what is going on because we are catching Charlotte early enough in its growth trajectory," said Ross Meentemeyer, UNC Charlotte professor of Geography and Earth Sciences and the ULTRA-EX grant's principal investigator.

"Because of that we have a chance to determine if there are possibilities for alternative futures for Charlotte. Charlotte might be one of the best examples of a city projected to grow so fast and so big -- we have a unique opportunity here to watch development," Meentemeyer said.

If Charlotte's "city-in-transition" status makes it an attractive site to observe urban social and environmental dynamics, its conditions are also ideal for performing laboratory-like experiments in how the research findings might be applied and how urban change might be managed.

"The beauty of the situation is that if, working with public officials, we find a different course of action that can be followed, it could be very informative to the local stakeholders," Meentemeyer noted.

According to NSF, the grant will "provide support to enable teams of scientists and practitioners to conduct interdisciplinary research on the dynamic interactions between people and natural ecosystems in urban settings in ways that will advance both fundamental and applied knowledge."

Meentemeyer, a landscape ecologist and Executive Director of UNC Charlotte's Center for Applied Geographic Information Science, heads the inter-disciplinary research team. Other members of the research group are Jean-Claude Thill, Knight Distinguished Professor of Geography and Earth Sciences at UNC Charlotte, who is an authority on urban systems and modeling, William Ribarsky, Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Director of the Charlotte Visualization Center, Chunhua Wang, an environmental
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Contact: James Hathaway
jbhathaw@uncc.edu
704-687-5743
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Source:Eurekalert

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