Affiliate Professor of Geography, Department of Geography, UC Berkeley
Research topics: landscape and ecosystem ecology, remote sensing, GIS, spatial analysis, wetland and urban ecology, urbanization, wetland restoration, invasive species
- PhD, University of California Berkeley, 2012
- MS, University of Michigan 2004
- Philosophy Statement
I am interested in diverse aspects of landscape ecology and its potential to inform sustainable, multi-functional landscape-designs, and decision-making in environmental planning. My research combines field ecological methods with remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analysis to perform analyses of multi-scale structure of ecosystems, to facilitate scaling of ecological processes from local to regional levels and to develop remote sensing-based monitoring approaches for vulnerable areas and sites with limited field access.
My current research focuses on the following principal themes:
1) Dynamics of wetland vegetation and ecosystem services in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (the Delta). Both in the Delta and globally, emergent wetland plants control important ecosystem processes (e.g., aboveground productivity, greenhouse gas fluxes and subsidence-counteracting belowground peat storage), habitat for birds and other wildlife and recreational, aesthetic and cultural values to humans. Changing climate, increasing demands for water, alien species invasions and other pressures create urgent needs to better understand multi-functionality of wetland canopies and their response to change drivers in order to develop sustainable management and planning strategies for the multi-functional Delta landscape. In our group we are taking advantage of the rich remote sensing and geospatial data libraries and diversity of wetland field sites in the region to interpolate important biophysical characteristics of wetland canopies such as leaf area index and better understand their response to climate, hydrology and recent land use history.
2) Effects of city environment on urban ecosystem services. It is well known that urbanization affects landscape carbon and energy balance by reducing green plant cover while creating more fertilized environments for remaining and new vegetation, and by increasing impervious surface and forming strong thermal gradients within city areas. However, much uncertainty still exists on how the relationships between physical properties of urban environments and ecological function of urban vegetation change over time with the dynamics of urban landscapes, and how they vary across different metropolitan areas of the world. Combining time series of satellite remote sensing with ground-based data on urban ecosystem structure is a promising venue to investigate these complex feedbacks and links between broad-scale urban structure and ecological services of specific sites and their designs.
3) Coupled thermal-vegetation patterns as indicators of development and socioeconomic context in urban regions. Among various benefits of urban vegetation, local cooling and improvement of thermal comfort are especially well-known in light of elevated heat loads in built-up environments. What is not well understood, however, is how these benefits vary with different urban morphologies and socioeconomic contexts of development. Using repeatedly collected optical and thermal satellite imagery, we can characterize spatial patterns of green vegetation cover and surface temperature proxies and develop the indicators of urban environment that may elucidate the character and broader context of development. Such indicators are especially needed in data-scarce regions and locations where the outcomes of development create substantial risks to human well-being and vulnerability to climate change and hazards.
I have a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy & Management from UC Berkeley in 2012, a M.S. degree in Natural Resources/Terrestrial Ecology & Management and a Certificate in Spatial Analysis from the School of Natural Resource and Environment at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2004 and a B.S. degree in Ecology from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine in 2001. My previous research included applications of vegetation and landscape ecology, remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) to study ecosystem properties and change in grasslands of Ukraine, transitioning forests of northern Michigan, USA, large wetland biodiversity hotspots in PR China and California, USA. My current research focuses predominantly on wetland systems and urbanizing landscapes in California and globally.
- Courses Taught
- LA 201 Studio: Ecological Factors in Urban Landscape Design, Fall 2017 (Theme: Mitigating urban heat in Mediterranean-type climates)
- LA 110 Ecological Analysis (Lecture & Lab), Fall 2015, 2016
- LA 289 (formerly LA 254 section 003): Applied Remote Sensing, Spring 2015, 2016, 2017
- module in LA 201A studio Urban Ecological Design, Fall 2015
- LA 255 (Doctoral PhD seminar for LAEP PhD students), Spring 2016
- Awards + Recognition
- Hellman Fellows Faculty Fund 2017 award for the project "Urban resilience to intensifying heat under different climatic and socioeconomic contexts"
- Tsinghua-Berkeley Fund grant, 2014-2015 “Urban vegetation and thermal patterns following city growth: a cross-continental comparison” (with Nicholas Clinton, John Radke & Jun Yang)
- Selected Publications
Chapple DE, Dronova I. Vegetation development in a tidal marsh restoration project during a historic drought: a remote sensing approach. Accepted: Frontiers in Marine Science, section Coastal Ocean Processes, July 2017.
Kong F, Ban Y, Yin H, James P, Dronova I. Modelling stormwater management at the city district level in response to changes in land use and Low Impact Development. Environmental Modelling and Software 95:132-142.
Shapero M, Dronova I, Macaulay L. Implications of changing spatial dynamics of irrigated pasture, California's third largest agricultural water use. Accepted in: Science of Total Environment, June 8 2017.
Dronova I, Spotswood EN, Suding KN. Opportunities and constraints in characterizing landscape distribution of an invasive grass from very high resolution multi-spectral imagery. Accepted in Frontiers in Plant Science, section Technical Advances in Plant Science, special issue on Remote sensing of invasive species. Link
Dronova I. 2017. Environmental heterogeneity as a bridge between ecosystem service and visual quality objectives in management, planning and design. Landscape and Urban Planning 13:90-106. Available in open access
Yang J, Dronova I, Q. Ma, X. Zhang. Analysis of urbanization dynamics in mainland China using pixel-based nighttime light trajectories from 1992 to 2013. In Press: International Journal of Remote Sensing. Link
Knox SH, Dronova I, Sturtevant C, Oikawa P, Matthes J, Verfaille J & Baldocchi DD. 2017. Using digital camera and Landsat imagery with eddy covariance data to model gross primary production in restored wetlands. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 237:233-245. link
Yin H, Kong F, Middel A, Dronova I, Xu H, James P. 2017. Cooling effect of direct green façades during hot summer days：An observational study in Nanjing, China using TIR and 3DPC data. Building and Environment 116:195-2006. link
Oikawa, P.Y., Jenerette, G.D., Knox, S.H., Sturtevant, C., Verfaillie, J., Dronova I., Poindexter C., Baldocchi, D.D. 2017. Evaluation of a hierarchy of models reveals importance of substrate limitation for predicting carbon dioxide and methane exchange in restored wetlands. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 122, doi:10.1002/2016JG003438. link
McNicol G., Sturtevant C., Knox SH, Dronova I., Baldocchi DD, Silver W. 2017. Effects of seasonality, transport-pathway, and spatial structure on wetland greenhouse gas fluxes. Global Change Biology doi:10.1111/gcb.13580. link
Kong F, Sun Ch, Liu F, Yin H, Jiang F, Pu Y, Cavan G, Skelhorn C, Middel A, Dronova I. 2016. Energy saving potential of fragmented green spaces due to their temperature regulating ecosystem services in the summer. Applied Energy 183:1428-1440. link
Dronova I, Beissinger SR, Burnham JW, Gong P. 2016. Landscape-level associations of wintering waterbird diversity and abundance from remotely sensed wetland characteristics of Poyang Lake. Remote Sensing, 8(6), 462; doi:10.3390/rs8060462. In: Special issue “What can remote sensing do for the conservation of wetlands?”.
Dronova I, Taddeo S. 2016. Canopy leaf area index in non-forested marshes of the California Delta. Wetlands 36:705–716. DOI 10.1007/s13157-016-0780-5
Baldocchi DD, Knox SH; Dronova I, Verfaille J, Oikawa P, Sturtevant C, Hatala-Matthes J, Detto M. 2016. The Impact of Expanding Flooded Land Area on the Annual Evaporation of Rice. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 223:181-193.
Eitzel M.V., Kelly N.M., Dronova I., Valachovich Y., Quinn-Davidson L., Solera J., de Valpine P. 2016. Challenges and opportunities in synthesizing historical geospatial data using statistical models. Ecological Informatics 31:100-111.
2015 and earlier
Dronova, I. 2015. Object-based image analysis in wetland research: a review. Remote Sensing 7: 6380-6413. Link: http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/7/5/6380
Dronova I, Gong P, Wang L, Zhong L. 2015. Mapping dynamic cover types in a large seasonally flooded wetland using Extended Principal Component Analysis and object-based classification. Remote Sensing of Environment 158:193-206. Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425714004404
Dronova I, Gong P, Clinton N, Wang L, Fu W, Qi S, Liu Y. 2012. Landscape analysis of wetland plant functional types: the effects of image segmentation scale, vegetation classes and classification methods. Remote Sensing of Environment 127:357-369.
Wang L, Dronova I, Gong P, Yang W, Li Y, Liu Q. 2012. A new time-series vegetation-water index of phenological-hydrological trait across species and functional types for Poyang Lake wetland ecosystem. Remote Sensing of Environment 125:49-63.
Dronova I, Gong P, Wang L. 2011. Object-based analysis and change detection of major wetland cover types and their classification uncertainty during the low water period at Poyang Lake, China. Remote Sensing of Environment 115: 3220-3236.
Dronova I, Bergen KM, Ellsworth DS. 2011. Forest canopy properties and variation in aboveground net primary production over Upper Great Lakes Landscapes. Ecosystems 14: 865–879.
Bergen KM and Dronova I. 2007. A remote sensing-ecosystem approach to observing succession on aspen-dominated landscapes. Landscape Ecology 22: 1395-1410.
Tkachenko V and Dronova I. 2003. The synphytoindicational characteristics of cretaceous steppe “Creydova Flora”. Ukrainian Botanical Journal. V. 1(2003): 18-25.
Tkachenko V, Didukh Y, Dronova I. 2002. The ecological peculiarities of the department “Cretaceous Flora” of the Ukrainian Steppe Nature Reserve. Scientific Records of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy 20: 467-471.
Gotynyan V and Dronova I. 2002. “Some trends in Remote Sensing of Earth”, Ukrainian Journal of Space Science and Technology 8: 65-69.