Dr. Amanda H Armstrong

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Dr. Amanda H Armstrong

  • RESEARCH FELLOW
  • 434.242.1175
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 618
  • COLUMBIA , MD 21044
  • Employer: UNIVERSITIES SPACE RESEARCH ASSOCIATION
  • Education

    EDUCATION:

    Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 2009
    Area of Specialization: Rainforest Tree Growth Dynamics, Ecological Modeling, Multivariate Statistical Analyses, GIS.
    Dissertation Title: Growth and Distribution Modeling of Lowland Rainforest Tree Species in Eastern Madagascar. Advisor: Herman H. Shugart

    B.A. in Environmental Sciences and Anthropology, University of Virginia, 2000
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    Brief Bio

    Prior to becoming a Research Scientist at GESTAR, Dr. Amanda H. Armstrong was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Biospheric Sciences Lab at NASA GSFC with the NASA Postdoctoral Program (administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities). Her research applied methods in remote sensing and economic research in conjunction with ecological modeling applications to track and project patterns of land use change associated with staple food markets on the island nation of Madagascar. Dr. Armstrong has extensively studied Madagascar rainforests and the drivers and effects of their deforestation, building connections with its park managers and conservation organizations. Fluent in Malagasy language and culture, she worked on the East Coast of Madagascar both as a Peace Corps Volunteer (2001-2002) and a doctoral researcher (2003-2008). Dr Armstrong received her Doctorate in Environmental Sciences in 2009 from the University of Virginia with a focus on forest ecology of tropical rainforests. Following the achievement of her PhD, she taught multiple courses as an adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies at Washington and Lee University for one year before accepting a postdoctoral research associate position at the University of Maryland in 2011. Her previous research fellowship at UMD was focused on scaling down a large-scale ecosystem model as part of year-one of the NASA Carbon Monitoring Systems (CMS) program.

    Research Interests

    Ecological Modeling

    Application and fusion of individual based gap models with remote sensing data products (for both parameterization and initialization/calibration) to improve estimates of vegetation structure, carbon stocks and land cover change at multi-temporal and multi-spatial scales

    Environmental Change

    Characterizing the vulnerability and response of forested ecosystems to disturbances from land use and climate change

    Remote Sensing

    Development and use of high resolution remote sensing data products toward improvement of metrics and understanding of forest structure and biodiversity

    Current Projects

    Vulnerability of the Taiga-Tundra Ecotone: Predicting the Magnitude, Variability, and Rate of Change at the Intersection of Arctic and Boreal Ecosystem

    The research project is funded by NASA’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE), Phase 2 (80NSSC19M0111; PI: Armstrong). The goal of this work is to examine and quantify the likelihood of predicted changes in Tundra-Taiga Ecotone (TTE) forest structure patterns occurring within the ABoVE extended domain, using airborne imagery and lidar observations, site-scale forest and tundra vegetation modeling, and a Landsat-derived map of the extent & pattern of the TTE.

    Ecosystem Functional Diversity of the Circumpolar Arctic Tundra

    The main objectives of this project are: i) To develop and implement a processing stream for the production of Ecosystem Functional Types and Ecosystem Functional Diversity variables for the circumpolar arctic tundra, ii) To evaluate the environmental and anthropogenic controls on the spatial patterns of Ecosystem Functional Types and Diversity for the arctic tundra with respect to climatic, topographic/geological, and land use gradients, iii) To analyze the relationships between vegetation composition and Ecosystem Functional Types and Diversity for the arctic tundra biome, iv) To assess the inter-annual dynamics of Ecosystem Functional Types and Diversity throughout the arctic tundra over the past 16+ years, v) To assess the conservation priority (e.g. vulnerability) of areas within the arctic tundra biome, based on properties of Ecosystem Functional Diversity (e.g. functional richness, rareness) and their dynamics over time.

    Publications

    Refereed

    Armstrong, A., A. Huth, B. Osmanoglu, et al. G. Sun, K. Ranson, and R. Fischer. 2020. "A multi-scaled analysis of forest structure using individual-based modeling in a costa rican rainforest." Ecological Modelling, 433: 109226 (Accepted) [10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2020.109226]

    Foster, A. C., A. H. Armstrong, J. K. Shuman, et al. H. H. Shugart, B. M. Rogers, M. C. Mack, S. J. Goetz, and K. J. Ranson. 2019. "Importance of tree- and species-level interactions with wildfire, climate, and soils in interior Alaska: Implications for forest change under a warming climate." Ecological Modelling, 409: 108765 [10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2019.108765]

    Hurtt, G., M. Zhao, R. Sahajpal, et al. A. Armstrong, R. Birdsey, E. Campbell, K. Dolan, R. Dubayah, J. P. Fisk, S. Flanagan, C. Huang, W. Huang, K. Johnson, R. Lamb, L. Ma, R. Marks, D. O’Leary, J. O’Neil-Dunne, A. Swatantran, and H. Tang. 2019. "Beyond MRV: high-resolution forest carbon modeling for climate mitigation planning over Maryland, USA." Environmental Research Letters, 14 (4): 045013 [10.1088/1748-9326/ab0bbe]

    Armstrong, A. H., and M. McGroddy. 2019. "An overview of soils and their relationship to protected areas." The Terrestrial Protected Areas of Madagascar, Chicago, IL: ISBN: 9782953892390.

    Armstrong, A., R. Fischer, A. Huth, H. Shugart, and T. Fatoyinbo. 2018. "Simulating Forest Dynamics of Lowland Rainforests in Eastern Madagascar." Forests, 9 (4): 214 [10.3390/f9040214]

    Armstrong, A. 2018. "Tropical Rainforest Ecosystems." International Encyclopedia of Geography, 1-16 [10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg0644.pub2]

    Shugart, H. H., B. Wang, R. Fischer, et al. J. Ma, J. Fang, X. Yan, A. Huth, and A. H. Armstrong. 2018. "Gap models and their individual-based relatives in the assessment of the consequences of global change." Environmental Research Letters, 13 (3): 033001 [10.1088/1748-9326/aaaacc]

    Fischer, R., A. H. Armstrong, H. H. Shugart, and A. Huth. 2014. "Simulating the impacts of reduced rainfall on carbon stocks and net ecosystem exchange in a tropical forest." Environmental Modelling & Software, 52: 200-206 [10.1016/j.envsoft.2013.10.026]

    Armstrong, A. H., H. H. Shugart, and L. E. Fatoyinbo Agueh. 2011. "Characterization of Community Composition and Forest Structure in a Madagascar Lowland Rainforest ." Tropical Conservation Science , 4 (4): 428-444 [Full Text (Link)]

    Fatoyinbo, T., and A. Armstrong. 2010. "Remote Characterization of Biomass Measurements: Case Study of Mangrove Forests."

    Positions/Employment

    5/2019 - Present

    Research Scientist

    Universities Space Research Association - GESTAR, Goddard Space Flight Center; Biospheric Sciences Laboratory; Greenbelt, Maryland

    ·      Principle Investigator of ABoVE Phase 2 project entitled: Vulnerability of the Taiga-Tundra Ecotone: Predicting the Magnitude, Variability, and Rate of Change at the Intersection of Arctic and Boreal Ecosystem

    ·      Oversight and participation in the development of a tundra-taiga ecotone spatially explicit individual-based gap model, including permafrost, litterfall, allometric and Arctic vegetation sub-routines.

    ·      Coordination of model initialization with airborne and space-borne tree-cover and tree-cover abruptness datasets.

    ·      Production of study site forecasting change maps with CMIP6 climate scenarios

    ·      Communication of research and co-mentoring of PhD student hired for research project

    4/2018 - Present

    Research Associate

    University of Virginia, Department of Environmental Sciences, Charlottesville, VA

    ·      Development and implementation of a processing stream for the production of Ecosystem Functional Types and Ecosystem Functional Diversity variables for the Circumpolar Arctic Tundra in Google Earth Engine

    ·      Evaluation of the environmental controls and interannual dynamics of the spatial patterns of EFTs and Diversity for the arctic tundra biome with respect to topographical/geographical and climatic gradients

    Communication of EFT processing stream and results of pattern analyses to the scientific community

    10/2016 - 4/2018

    Research Associate

    University of Virginia, Department of Environmental Sciences, Charlottesville, VA

    ·      Development and Application of the UVAFME Forest Model for Alaskan and Canadian Boreal Forest for fusion with remote sensing imagery (Landsat, GLiHT) and climate change scenarios

    ·      Co-development of permafrost and litterfall subroutines for the UVAFME Model

    ·      Parameterization of UVAFME for Canadian Parklands drought simulation

    1/2015 - 4/2019

    Visiting Research Scientist

    Universities Space Research Association - GESTAR, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    ·      Co-Investigator on Remote Sensing Theory Research entitled: Forest Structural Parameter Retrieval from Coupled Models and Remote Sensing Data Fusion; Research objectives use individual based gap model output to simulate lidar waveform and radar backscatter returns to improve and extend look up tables for current and future lidar/radar missions

    ·      Investigator on a EO-1 funded project which was undertaken to assess a number of hyperspectral dataset-derived vegetation indices as inputs into individual-based models. Hyperspectral indices include: PAR, faPAR, water stress, plant functional type and chlorophyll.

    ·      Supporting Cal/Val scientist investigating the effect of satellite orbit degradation and overpass time on spectral stability of EO-1 Hyperion imagery at the Libya-4 and Dome-C PICS sites.

    ·      Responsible for building a database of forest inventory data collected from Corcovado, Costa Rica and Andros Island, Bahamas EcoSAR calibration sites. Calculated forest attribute and structure variables. Submitted report in June 2015.

    7/2012 - 11/2014

    Postdoctoral Research Associate, NASA NPP-ORAU

    Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Goddard Space Flight Center; Biospheric Sciences Laboratory; Greenbelt, Maryland

     • Postdoctoral Research Project entitled Politics and Rice: Deforestation Drivers in Madagascar

    • Research combines spatial/temporal remote sensing imagery analysis, ecological modeling, economic research, and forest inventory datasets to correlate fluctuations in the price of rice (the staple commodity) with the rate of deforestation of Madagascar’s remaining primary rainforest. Imagery analysis quantified deforestation rates (and therefore biomass loss) inform the FORMIX3 growth model, parameterized for Madagascar rainforest to project rates of future loss given by a range of price scenarios.

    • Responsible for all aspects of research, presentations, travel and manuscript preparations

    1/2011 - 1/2012

    Postdoctoral Research Associate

    University of Maryland, Department of Geography College Park, Maryland

     • Responsible for ED modeling effort component of year 1 of NASA’s Carbon Monitoring Systems Project under the direction of PI George Hurtt.

    • Developed technological capacity to run high resolution version of the Ecosystem Demography Model to characterize carbon and biomass flux over large domains at unprecedented 1 hectare resolution

    • Executed a framework of model experiments designed to isolate the effect of each multi-resolution input datasets and identify the value of each added data layer

    • Analyzed forest parameters at multiple scales over multiple input domains in the NE region of the US.

    • Presented preliminary results and ongoing research at CMS meetings in March, April, May and Science Definition Team Meeting, June 2011.

    • Collaborator on “CMS1 Final Report”

    Brief Bio

    Prior to becoming a Research Scientist at GESTAR, Dr. Amanda H. Armstrong was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Biospheric Sciences Lab at NASA GSFC with the NASA Postdoctoral Program (administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities). Her research applied methods in remote sensing and economic research in conjunction with ecological modeling applications to track and project patterns of land use change associated with staple food markets on the island nation of Madagascar. Dr. Armstrong has extensively studied Madagascar rainforests and the drivers and effects of their deforestation, building connections with its park managers and conservation organizations. Fluent in Malagasy language and culture, she worked on the East Coast of Madagascar both as a Peace Corps Volunteer (2001-2002) and a doctoral researcher (2003-2008). Dr Armstrong received her Doctorate in Environmental Sciences in 2009 from the University of Virginia with a focus on forest ecology of tropical rainforests. Following the achievement of her PhD, she taught multiple courses as an adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies at Washington and Lee University for one year before accepting a postdoctoral research associate position at the University of Maryland in 2011. Her previous research fellowship at UMD was focused on scaling down a large-scale ecosystem model as part of year-one of the NASA Carbon Monitoring Systems (CMS) program.

    Publications

    Refereed

    Armstrong, A., A. Huth, B. Osmanoglu, et al. G. Sun, K. Ranson, and R. Fischer. 2020. "A multi-scaled analysis of forest structure using individual-based modeling in a costa rican rainforest." Ecological Modelling (Accepted) 433 109226 [10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2020.109226]

    Foster, A. C., A. H. Armstrong, J. K. Shuman, et al. H. H. Shugart, B. M. Rogers, M. C. Mack, S. J. Goetz, and K. J. Ranson. 2019. "Importance of tree- and species-level interactions with wildfire, climate, and soils in interior Alaska: Implications for forest change under a warming climate." Ecological Modelling 409 108765 [10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2019.108765]

    Hurtt, G., M. Zhao, R. Sahajpal, et al. A. Armstrong, R. Birdsey, E. Campbell, K. Dolan, R. Dubayah, J. P. Fisk, S. Flanagan, C. Huang, W. Huang, K. Johnson, R. Lamb, L. Ma, R. Marks, D. O’Leary, J. O’Neil-Dunne, A. Swatantran, and H. Tang. 2019. "Beyond MRV: high-resolution forest carbon modeling for climate mitigation planning over Maryland, USA." Environmental Research Letters 14 (4): 045013 [10.1088/1748-9326/ab0bbe]

    Armstrong, A. H., and M. McGroddy. 2019. "An overview of soils and their relationship to protected areas." The Terrestrial Protected Areas of Madagascar

    Armstrong, A., R. Fischer, A. Huth, H. Shugart, and T. Fatoyinbo. 2018. "Simulating Forest Dynamics of Lowland Rainforests in Eastern Madagascar." Forests 9 (4): 214 [10.3390/f9040214]

    Armstrong, A. 2018. "Tropical Rainforest Ecosystems." International Encyclopedia of Geography 1-16 [10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg0644.pub2]

    Shugart, H. H., B. Wang, R. Fischer, et al. J. Ma, J. Fang, X. Yan, A. Huth, and A. H. Armstrong. 2018. "Gap models and their individual-based relatives in the assessment of the consequences of global change." Environmental Research Letters 13 (3): 033001 [10.1088/1748-9326/aaaacc]

    Fischer, R., A. H. Armstrong, H. H. Shugart, and A. Huth. 2014. "Simulating the impacts of reduced rainfall on carbon stocks and net ecosystem exchange in a tropical forest." Environmental Modelling & Software 52 200-206 [10.1016/j.envsoft.2013.10.026]

    Armstrong, A. H., H. H. Shugart, and L. E. Fatoyinbo Agueh. 2011. "Characterization of Community Composition and Forest Structure in a Madagascar Lowland Rainforest ." Tropical Conservation Science 4 (4): 428-444 [Full Text (Link)]

    Fatoyinbo, T., and A. Armstrong. 2010. "Remote Characterization of Biomass Measurements: Case Study of Mangrove Forests."

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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