Melissa Mitchem - Ecological Modeling Lab

University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA


The Ecological Modeling/Spatial Analysis Lab. is especially interested in the nutrients present in stream water and their relationships with land use and other geographic characteristics of watersheds.  Our lab applies computer technology to the analysis of ecological questions.  Geological Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) are types of computer programs that display and analyze spatial data.  These programs can help analyze satellite images or aerial photographs to categorize land as forest, crop, urban, water, and other land uses.  Nutrient measurements taken at various stream sampling stations can then be compared to the land types in the streamsí watersheds.  We can also use the results can to predict nutrient discharges from other watersheds.

My project deals with the classification of land use from satellite images.  The classification results depend on the source of the image and the classification methods used.  Therefore, individuals may arrive at different conclusions when categorizing land use for the exact same area.  My goal is to estimate the errors associated with the categorization of land use and to see how those errors affect predictions about nutrient discharges from watersheds.

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