Aside from Plant Ecology Lab, I am also working with Dr. Garlapati at ULM, where we are trying to elucidate the role Giardia initiation factor 4A in Giardia lamblia. Outside my research and classes, I like listening to Nepali, Hindi and American music and enjoy playing classical Indian/Nepali instruments like tabla, dholak and madal. Also, I enjoy hiking and playing ping-pong, volleyball, soccer, and cricket.
During the summer of 2016, she had the remarkable opportunity to travel to the Himalayas for an internship with Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE). During the summer, she worked on ground-truthing to create accurate land-use/land-cover maps to assess the spatial and temporal changes in the Eastern Himalayas, a Biodiversity Hotspot. Melissa will be continuing the internship in summer of 2017 and will be focusing on the forest land cover. She will be using an unmanned aerial system (UAS) and a high resolution spectral camera to model the tree species distribution, diversity and abundance. With the spectral data collected, she plans to create a spectral library for multi-temporal observation of forest-climate interactions, such as shift in species range.She plans to continue her research through her masters and PhD.
Ecosystem Level Ecology
Land-Use and Land-Cover Mapping
Biodiversity and Conservation
Forest Canopy Spectral Dynamics
Global Change Ecology and Management
Current Project: Melissa is assessing the optical-phenological variability in the bottomland hardwood forest at Russell Sage WMA, the site of the Carbon Flux Tower. Using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and spectral cameras she has already mapped species distribution based on spectral profiles of delineated crowns. She is currently examining the seasonality of various spectral and biophysical indices. She is looking for connections between the representation of canopy spectral properties, weather conditions and carbon flux.