ThinkSpatial: Katja Seltmann

thinkspatial_logoOn Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 The UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents

The informative bug: A case study defining areas of endemism

Katja Seltmann

Director, Cheadle Center for
Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration

University of California, Santa Barbara

12:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 18, 2016 | 3512 Phelps Hall (map)


Fig. 1 Miridae hosts and distributions.Abstract. It is thought to be difficult to study insects. Identification is not trivial and the majority of them are smaller than comfortably seen without assistance from a good microscope. In this talk, I hope to demonstrate that large amounts of highly interesting data about insects, and where they live, is already available through ongoing efforts to digitally capture specimen data found in natural history collections. Many of these specimens have high quality locality data, although some challenges exist to making these ready for research.

In a recent paper, my co-authors and I used about 1,399 species of insects to define the areas of endemism (i.e. areas defined by the congruent distribution of species) for North America. We compare our results with a similar study using mammals and find that insects are an excellent group to study in this context because they combine high species diversity, a history of modern taxonomic revisions, comprehensive electronic data capture, and often small distribution ranges.

12439290_10208034183565993_6091010502700048541_nBio. Katja Seltmann is the Director of the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) at University of California Santa Barbara. CCBER houses a large, regionally focused collections of plants, algae, insects and vertebrates. Her research focus is the field of biodiversity informatics, or data science research of digitized natural history collection records, arthropod diversity in restoration habitats and insect evolution.

The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts.

Please contact Werner Kuhn (805-893-8224, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial thinking.

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spatial@ucsb.local2016: Poster and Plenary Session


Spatial Information for Human Health

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Corwin Pavilion

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Invitation spatial-2016In addition to a poster exhibit, the event featured the Channel Islands Regional GIS (CIRGIS) presentation of their 2016 high-resolution LiDAR elevation data program and the 2015 aerial imagery acquisition project. The Plenary Session, featured presentations by David Kerr (Sansum Diabetes Center) and Aaron Blackwell (UCSB, Dept.of Anthropology), moderated by Susan Cassels (UCSB, Dept. of Geography). Presenters discussed their research and gave their perspectives on how spatial information technologies can be applied to the study and enhancement of human health.

While the theme is in regard to human health, posters and demos that illustrate the application of spatial thinking on any topic related to spatial studies were presented in the Poster Exhibit. Thirty-six posters and two demos were presented to a diverse audience from the private sector and academic communities.


Aaron Blackwell, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Market Integration and the Health of Amazonian Amerindians

Many Amazonian peoples are currently undergoing transitions from subsistence to market based
economies. Along with these changes in subsistence, come changes in diet, disease, and sociality. Here, I discuss work with two Amazonian populations, the Shuar of Ecuador and the Tsimane of Bolivia. Both have lived traditionally through small scale horticulture, hunting, fishing, and gathering, and both groups have seen substantial changes in market integration over the past decade. However, these changes have not been distributed uniformly in space. Often, those living closer to or with greater access to towns and roads experience market integration more quickly, while those living more remotely continue traditional livelihoods. We use this spatial distribution as a proxy for changes through time, to examine how market integration impacts children’s growth, body composition, disease transmission, acculturation, fertility, and other health outcomes.

Bio: Aaron Blackwell is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a human biologist and behavioral ecologist whose research examines health and life history in small scale Amazonian societies. His research examines how immune function develops in populations exposed to high levels of pathogens and how early life experiences shape health later in life in both small scale and industrialized populations. His research incorporates both field and laboratory work to examine biological outcomes. Blackwell’s other interests include examining how market integration affects health and development, senescence and aging, and ecological effects on parental investment and growth.

David Kerr, M.D. FRCPE
Director of Research, Sansum Diabetes Center

A Diabetes Digital Village

For clinicians, scientists and diabetes industries, the online diabetes #wearenotwaiting community is making it clear that the traditional approach to healthcare is not providing the quality and outcomes that are desired by adults and children living with diabetes. One opportunity that has to the potential to improve diabetes care is the use of the smartphone as a platform for care delivery. The challenge is to make sure that this disruptive approach will (a) be used by the target audiences, (b) provide measurable “metrics of success,” and (c) has a sustainable return on investment. With the smartphone this will generate vast amounts of new information not limited by geography, economics or culture. Data will be empowering and it will also change the “balance of power” in favor of the patient-as-a-consumer which may be uncomfortable for the professions. The digital revolution is at an embryonic stage but its growth and influence, will, like the technologies themselves, be exponential.

Bio: David Kerr is Director of Research at Sansum Diabetes Center. He is a UK trained physician and endocrinologist and has spent many years trying to help people “tame the beast” that is diabetes. His research focuses on modifying and creating technology to benefit the maximum number of people with diabetes for the longest period of time and with the minimum disruption to their lives. Kerr is Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Visiting Professor at Bournemouth University and for many years has held a Gold Clinical Excellence Award from the National Health Service in the UK.

Susan Cassels, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor, Department of Geography
Research Associate, Broom Center for Demography
University of California, Santa Barbara

Bio: Susan Cassels, plenary session moderator, is an assistant professor of Geography and a research associate at the Broom Center for Demography at the University of California Santa Barbara. Her work spans many disciplines, including demography, epidemiology, and geography. Cassels’ research interests are in the areas of population health, migration, epidemic modeling, HIV/AIDS, and sexual networks. Currently, Cassel’s research is focused on migration and residential mobility and its effects on sexual risk behavior, sexual network structure, and HIV transmission. She has ongoing projects among heterosexuals in Ghana and among men who have sex with men in Seattle and Los Angeles.

Dangermond Lecture: ​Dirk Brockmann​ (video)

The Department of Geography and the Center for Spatial Studies, UCSB present

The Hidden Geometry of Complex, Network-driven Contagion Phenomena

 Dirk Brockmann

Institute for Theoretical Biology

Integrated Research Institute for the Life-sciences

Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, 2016, Buchanan 1930 (lecture); 3512 Phelps Hall (reception)

Abstract: The past decade has witnessed the emergence and global spread of new, often highly contagious and virulent pathogens that spread across the globe in a matter of weeks or months. Emergent infectious diseases have not only become a key threat to global public health, but carry the potential of yielding major economic crises. Understanding and predicting the geographic spread of emergent infectious diseases has become a major challenge to epidemiologists, public health organizations and policy makers. Large-scale computer simulations that harbor methods from statistical physics, complex network theory and dynamical systems theory have become a key tool in this context. Brockmann will report on state-of-the art research in this area and will focus on a recent theoretic approach that reveals hidden geometries in global contagion phenomena of today. Further, he will discuss how these methods have been employed to assess the import risk of cases during the 2013/14 Ebola crisis and related outbreaks.

Bio: Dirk Brockmann is professor at the Institute for Theoretical Biology, the Integrated Research Institute for the Life-sciences at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin where he lead the Complex Systems group. He also has an affiliation with the Robert Koch Institute, Berlin where he leads the research group “Epidemiological Modelling of Infectious Diseases.” Brockman is a theoretical physicist and received his degree in 2003 from the University of Göttingen, Germany. Before his relocation to Berlin, we was associate professor in the Dept. of Engingeering Sciences and Applied Mathematics and the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems at Northwestern University. His research focuses on complexity in the life-sciences, social sciences, and other disciplines including dynamical systems and complex networks and contagion phenomena on network structures.

Dangermond Lecture 2016 flyer

spatial@ucsb.local2016—Call for Posters

Submissions of demos or posters of research and creative works are invited for display at the annual spatial@ucsb.local2016 Poster and Plenary Session on Spatial Information for Human Health, which will be held on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at Corwin Pavilion. Representatives from the private sector and industry and campus-wide academics in the humanities, sciences, social sciences, and engineering programs are invited to showcase how spatial thinking facilitates research and creativity.

Although the theme this year is on Spatial Information for Human Health, posters reflecting some aspect of spatial thinking on any topic will be accepted. To reserve your space for a poster or to indicate your attendance and join us for lunch, please RSVP to Karen Doehner ( before May 20, 2016.

Spatial Tech Lunch: Beth Anderson

Please join us for our upcoming

Spatial Technology Lunch


Down the rabbit hole: New methods and tools for visualizing scientific information


Beth Anderson


Arkitek Scientific

Thursday, May 19, 2016; 12:00 p.m.; 3512 Phelps Hall (map)
Includes lunch, requires RSVP by morning of Wednesday May 18


Abstract. Beth Anderson of Arkitek Scientific explores how 3D animation can be used to visually illuminate complex science for both scientific communities and laymen alike. How science is being done is changing, as both groups are increasingly called upon to understand very complicated phenomena: to further the field of knowledge, for health decisions, for STEM requirements and in political election cycles. How best to bridge the divide between disciplines, as well as between scientists and the public?

Animations and simulations can provide mental grappling hooks for people seeking to learn about difficult subjects. They can open the door to greater interest and understanding because they are engaging, visually stunning and stimulate the viewer’s curiosity. New technologies like VR and MR will also be discussed.

IHC Lecture: Alva Noë

The Center for Spatial Studies and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center invite you to a presentation by Alva Noe (Department of Philosophy, UC Berkeley) to be held on Thursday, May 5 at 4:00 p.m. in the McCune Conference Room at HSSB.


Can Neuroscience Help Us Understand Art?

Alva Noë

Department of Philosophy
University of California, Berkeley

Thursday, May 5, 2016 / 4:00 PM McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB




Abstract. What is art? Why is it so important? What does it tell us about ourselves? These days it is tempting to look to neuroscience for answers to these questions. But for the most part neuroscience has yielded no insights. In this talk, Noë tries to explain why this is the case. Rather than use neuroscience to help us to better understand art and its place in our lives, he proposes that art can help us frame a more plausible conception, even a more plausible biological conception, of ourselves.

Bio. Alva Noë is a philosopher of mind, whose research and teaching focus on perception and consciousness as well as the theory of art (with special attention to dance as well as visual art). Other interests include phenomenology, Wittgenstein, Kant, and the origins of analytic philosophy, as well as topics in the philosophies of baseball and biology. He is a weekly contributor to National Public Radio’s science blog 13.7: Cosmos and Culture.

ThinkSpatial: Alan T. Murray

thinkspatial_logoThe UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents

Identifying the Center of a Spatial Object

Alan T. Murray

Professor, Department of Geography

University of California, Santa Barbara

12:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, 2016 | 3512 Phelps Hall (map)


Abstract. The center of a spatial object or set of objects is conceptually a rather straightforward and well understood concept. Practical interpretation and specification, however, suggests considerable ambiguity. This talk will review many contexts in which the center is or may be important, relevant and significant. A number of formal specifications are detailed, either as a single or multi-dimensional feature.Murray_Map

MurrayBio. Alan Murray (BS, MA, PhD UC Santa Barbara) is a Professor in the Department of Geography at University of California at Santa Barbara. He previously held academic appointments at Drexel University, Arizona State University and Ohio State University. He is editor of International Regional Science Review, associate editor for Socio-Economic Planning Sciences and Annals of the Association of American Geographers. His research and teaching interests include: geographic information science; spatial optimization; health informatics; urban growth and development; land use planning; urban, regional, and natural resource planning and development; and, infrastructure and transportation systems. He is the author of two books and over 210 research articles, book chapters and proceedings papers.

The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts.

Please contact Werner Kuhn (805-893-8224, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial thinking.

Follow spatial@ucsb on Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Google Calendar