Stanford University

ESS Seminar Series: Dr. Rodrigo Vargas “Representativeness of environmental observatory networks: a reality or an intangible goal”

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“Representativeness of environmental observatory networks: a reality or an intangible goal”


Environmental observatory networks (EONs) promote collection and dissemination of environmental data along with efforts towards standardization of protocols, data sharing and synthesis activities. Arguably, EONs are the proper structure to address complex, global and socially imperative issues, and value-added products from EONs have been useful for the scientific community and policy makers to assess knowledge gaps and expand the frontiers of ecological understanding. Unfortunately, we cannot measure everywhere within a region or around the world, so the spatial distribution of nodes (i.e., study sites) within EONs is limited or biased. This challenge opens the need to evaluate the representativeness of EONs to better interpret their value-added products and syntheses of information. This seminar will discuss evaluation of representativeness of EONs that contribute with information of land-atmosphere water and carbon fluxes across the Americas and the world.






Dr. Rodrigo Vargas,is a Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware. He completed his PhD at the University of California-Riverside and a postdoc at the University of California-Berkeley. His research interests focus on how biophysical factors regulate greenhouse gas dynamics in terrestrial and coastal ecosystems. He studies soil-plant-atmosphere interactions to understand and quantify the response of ecosystems to management, extreme events, and global environmental change. His research spans from data mining and applying machine learning approaches, to remote sensing and micrometeorological measurements of greenhouse gas fluxes, and modeling of carbon dynamics at multiple spatial and temporal scales. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed publications and has received funding from NSF, NASA, USDA, DOE, DARPA and several state and international organizations.  Vargas has participated in developing decision support systems and policy-relevant applications with contributions to the “Mexican Report on Climate Change”, the FAO of the United Nations report “Status of the World’s Soil Resources”, and the “Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report” (SOCCR2). He has received multiple recognitions for supporting minority students in STEM and is a Highly Cited Researcher by the Web of Science. He formerly served on the North American Carbon Program (NACP) Science Leadership Group, the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) soil sensor technical working group, and the Atmosphere group of the North American Forestry Commission. Currently, he is on the Science Steering Committees of AmeriFlux and the Mexican Carbon Program, and is a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, Oecologia, and Global Change Biology. Finally, he is a member of the cluster on Science and the Arts in the Earth and Environmental Science of the Franklin Institute, a member of the U.S. National Committee for Soil Science of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and a fellow of the Earth Leadership Program.



We will return to a VIRTUAL seminar format. Please join us Thursday for our Spring Seminar Series with our guest speaker Rodrigo Vargas, Ph.D. A special thanks to Professor Scott Fendorf for bringing this speaker to us for this seminar. Also, thanks to Professor Morgan O’Neill & Professor Jamie Jones for co-instructing and running this Seminar Series this Spring by bringing you experts in the fields as we learn from them. ​​​​

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