Study Programme and Faculty

Structure and Content of the school

  • Theory of coupled human-environmental systems
  • Basics of integrated modeling and k. LAB software instruction
  • The k.IM semantic language and collaborative modeling
  • Ecosystem services modeling in k.LAB
  • Analysis and interpretation of results

Faculty at current ISU 2018 edition

Ferdinando Villa
Director of the School
Ikerbasque Professor at BC3, Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Bilbao, Spain

Ferdinando Villa holds a Ph.D. in theoretical Ecology and had a long parallel career as a scientific software designer and engineer. After working in many fields of Ecology he has focused his research at the interface of policy, ecology, economics and computer science, concentrating on artificial intelligence approaches to assist environmental decision making and natural system assessment and valuation.  He collaborates with many international institutions and governments on environmental assessment methods and is the author or coauthor of 120+ scientific publications and many open source software packages. He has been the recipient of several million USD from the US National Science Foundation, the European Union, governments and private foundations for projects that integrate novel science with sophisticated decision support method. His most current effort, the ARIES project (www.ariesonline.org) is redefining the field of integrated assessment of ecosystem services and providing new approaches to address the challenge of environmental decision making in the 21st century.

Ken Bagstad
Researcher at U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, USA

Ken Bagstad is a Research Economist working with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Geosciences & Environmental Change Science Center in Denver. For this work, he uses GIS and modeling to map and value ecosystem service flows in the United States and globally. He has worked on pilot projects using ecosystem services modeling tools such as ARIES, SolVES, and InVEST to incorporate ecosystem services into management with U.S. federal agencies, including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and USDA Forest Service. He is co-leading work to construct natural capital accounts in the United States at national and regional scales. He has co-led ecosystem service model development for the ARIES project for the last 11 years, and from 2015-2016 served as a Senior Environmental Specialist with the World Bank’s WAVES Program. Ken holds a PhD in ecological economics from the University of Vermont.

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Stefano Balbi
Researcher at BC3, Basque Centre for Climate Change, Bilbao, Spain

Since my Master’s in Environmental Economics, I’ve been studying interactions between human and natural systems from a holistic perspective, in which theories and approaches from both social and environmental scientific practice are integrated to overcome disciplinary boundaries and provide more accurate representations of behaviours, spatial dependencies and temporal dynamics. This emphasis led me to pursue a Ph.D. in Analysis and Governance of Sustainable Development and to direct my interests towards cutting edge research in human geography, making use of computationally intensive, non-equilibrium methods to explore the complexity of social-ecological systems (SES)

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Marta Pascual
Guest Researcher at BC3, Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Bilbao, Spain.

Marta Pascual Altares (PhD, MSc Marine Environment & Resources (MER), BSc Biology) is Ecorys Senior Associate and Support Team Member for the West Med Team. Marta is part of the EU MSP Platform and is responsible for those activities related to the Western part of the Mediterranean Sea and part of the  Technical Study team for the “Study of Blue Growth and MSP”. She is a former Ikerbasque Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), former visiting academic at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED; University of Queensland – Australia) and former Support Team representative of the Spanish National Unit of the Atlantic Action Plan. She has 8 years of professional experience in different lines of marine and coastal research applied to Marine Spatial Planning (MSP); Ecosystem Services Mapping/Modelling; Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM); Biological Valuation (BV) and Ecosystem Services Valuation (ESV). She has participated as a researcher in the following projects: MESMA (Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas); PERSEUS (Policy-oriented marine Environmental Research for the Southern European Seas); CoCoNET (Towards COast to COast NETworks of marine protected areas); GEF -Integration of climatic variability and change into national strategies to implement the ICZM Protocol in the Mediterranean; MARE/2013/11: Assistance Mechanism for the Atlantic Action Plan; AQUACROSS (Knowledge, Assessment and Management for Aquatic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services across EU policies). Her work has also succeeded in 16 publications in International peer-reviewed journals and book editorials.

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Javier Martínez-López
Researcher at BC3, Basque Centre for Climate Change, Bilbao, Spain.

I am a Biologist with a MSc on Freshwater Ecosystems Management and Assessment (University of Murcia, Spain) and a MSc on Environmental Engineering and Consulting (EOI – Escuela de Organizacion Industrial, Spain). In 2014 I received my PhD in Ecology on the topic “Modelling and establishment of plant indicators of ecological status for semiarid mediterranean saline wetlands” from the Ecology and Hydrology department of the University of Murcia (Spain). My main research topics are landscape ecology, remote sensing, ecosystem services and spatio-temporal ecosystem modeling using several open source programming languages, such as R, Python and GRASS GIS. I have worked on several projects, such as the ‘Integrated Modelling for the Sustainable Management of the Mar Menor lagoon’, the ‘Application of the European Water Framework and the Natura 2000 Network on the Segura Basin’ and the ‘Millenium Ecosystem Asessment in Spain’. I have been coordinating several international environmental projects as a project manager at ttz-Bremerhaven (Germany). I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission working in Ispra (Italy) on the Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA) developing spatial biophysical habitat models and indicators for monitoring the state and pressures of protected areas globally (eHabitat+). Currently I am working at BC3 (Basque Centre for Climate Change) for the ARIES and AQUACROSS projects.

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Ainhoa Magrach
Researcher at BC3, Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Bilbao, Spain.

Dr. Ainhoa Magrach is a community ecologist with a research emphasis on the effects of human activities on biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the delivery of ecosystem services. Throughout her career she has combined the study of forest fragmentation, selective logging and agricultural expansion across temperate and tropical locations. She is particularly interested in the use of pollinators as model systems, due to their key role in ecosystem functioning by mediating plant reproduction of both wild and crop plant species.

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Zuzana Harmackova
Postdoctoral fellow at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm, Sweden.

Zuzana is a postdoctoral fellow at Stockholm Resilience Centre, currently working on a comparative analysis of resilience outcomes across diverse social-ecological case studies. Prior to joining SRC, her PhD at CzechGlobe focused on multiple types of ecosystem-service assessments, including modelling ecosystem services trade-offs for local landscape planning in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in the Czech Republic and mapping ecosystem services for the purposes of ecosystem accounting (SEEA-EEA) in Kyrgyzstan. Zuzana has been involved in the IPBES Regional Assessment for Europe and Central Asia, contributing to the synthesis of regional future scenarios.

Faculty at previous ISU editions

Brian Wordpress
Brian Voigt
Researcher/Professor at Rubenstein School for the Environment and Natural Resources, USA.

Dr. Brian Voigt received his Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont, USA. Brian has a B.A. in Mathematics and Sociology from Miami University, OH, USA and a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Clemson University, SC, USA. He is currently a Research Professor in the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont and a lead developer of the ARIES modeling platform. Brian’s research interests include developing and applying computer based systems for modeling land use change and the interaction between humans and their environment. Current research topics include modeling freshwater ecosystem services and the spread of infectious disease in Tanzania, modeling environmental tradeoffs resulting from alternative development patterns in Chittenden County, VT, USA, and modeling the impacts to recreation and groundwater resources resulting from the development of oil, gas and mineral resources on federally owned public lands in the western USA.

Ioannis N. Athanasiadis
Researcher/Professor at Wageningen University

I am Assistant Professor with the Information Technology Group at Wageningen University, in the Netherlands. Previously, I was a faculty member with the Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, and a Researcher with the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence, in Switzerland.
I investigate complex environmental applications of computer science and the enabling role of computer science for investigating nature.  My areas of expertise include ecoinformatics, integrated modelling, data and model interoperability, intelligent systems, agents, decision support systems, knowledge engineering, metadata and ontologies and machine learning. My work has been applied in several domains, including agriculture, water management, air quality, ecosystem services, tourism, and meteorology. I serve as an Editor of Environmental Modelling and Software a scholar journal published by Elsevier.

Simon Willcock
Researcher at  the University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

I am  a Research Fellow studying Ecosystem Services at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom. My main research interests include monitoring, modelling and mapping natural resources and their use to help achieve sustainable use, with a particular focus on African tropical forests and food security. I currently work on two Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) projects, namely Attaining Sustainable Services from Ecosystems through Trade-off Scenarios (ASSETS) and Which Ecosystem Service Models Best Capture the Needs of the Rural Poor (WISER). Previously, I worked on the Valuing the Arc project which aimed to improve knowledge of the ecosystem services provided by the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania, of their contribution to human welfare, and to find solutions to managing these services in a sustainable way. Specifically, I was based within the carbon-related services module; focusing on measuring and modelling carbon storage and sequestration within the forests and woodlands of the Eastern Arc and on estimating the value of these services.

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Luke Scott
Software Developer, Seattle, USA

J. Luke Scott is a Software Engineer from Seattle, USA, with over 10 years of industry experience prior to returning to academia to complete a Masters program in Computer Science at the University of Luxembourg with a focus on Intelligent Systems and Green IT. He received his B.A. in Economics at The University of Washington and has since worked as a consultant and developer in Seattle and the Bay Area. His Master Thesis, a collaboration between the University of Luxembourg and BC3, and advised by Prof. Ferdinando Villa, was on the integration of spatio-temporal scales in agent systems, with Thinklab as the reference platform for the work. Through this project he has helped create the agent subsystem within Thinklab, and will continue to be involved in its development. Prior to working with Prof. Villa, he had done advisory and development work on the Ecosystem Valuation Toolkit for Earth Economics in Seattle, USA, and for the Green IT project under Prof. Pascal Bouvry at the University of Luxembourg. His most recent industry position was at Amazon.com in Seattle.classification.

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