CFAES Give Today

School of Environment and Natural Resources


SENR Welcomes New Faculty Member

March 5, 2014
The School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) welcomes Kaiguang Zhao to the faculty this year.
Kaiguang Zhao, assistant professor of environmental modeling and spatial analysis joins SENR after completing his doctoral program at Texas A&M University and post-doctoral research at Duke University and the Pacific Northwest National Lab at the University of Maryland. Kai's research focuses on mapping, monitoring, modeling, and managing terrestrial environments across scales, especially in the context of global environmental change. To study terrestrial environments and their biophysical and ecological responses to disturbances and climate change, Kai employs a combined toolset, which includes geotechnology, spatial analysis, machine learning, biophysical and climate modeling, ecological modeling, Bayesian statistics and eddy-covariance. 

"Kai brings with him a wealth of experience to study some of our most pressing environmental and natural resource questions or issues of the day," notes Interim Director of SENR, Jeff Sharp. Some of those questions include how much carbon is stored in our forests and the relationship between land-use and forestry activities and climate regulation services, how crop productivity may change in a warming or dry world, how long-term vegetation activities have been driven by climate change and how compositions of vegetation communities can be mapped over extensive areas from the air. Kai's research has been published in scientific journals such as Science of the Total Environment, Ecological Monographs, Environmental Science & Technology and the Journal of Photogammetry and Remote Sensing.

Kai is excited to join a community with such a diversity of expertise and scholarship in approaching environmental issues and that he is able to find and cultivate his niche. He also observes that Ohio State attracts an excellent pool of young talents from across the world, which he notes is "another key ingredient to keep our scientific endeavors moving on smoothly and successfully." Students in SENR and across the university will have the opportunity to interact and learn about environmental and spatial analysis from Kai as he will be co-teaching Introduction to Spatial Information for Environment and Natural Resources (ENR 3700) offered by SENR in Autumn 2014. Kai looks forward to teaching this course and notes that the course is "an excellent opportunity to introduce geospatial thinking among students." A skill or perspective he believes is fundamental.

Kai's office and lab is located on the Wooster campus of The Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.