Jeffrey Hanson

Conservation Scientist
I model biodiversity patterns and processes, and use this information to optimize conservation efforts

About me

   
  • My research concerns the challenges involved in conserving biodiversity. I am interested in understanding how areas can be managed to achieve conservation objectives for minimal cost. In particular, I specialize in operationalizing ecological and evolutionary processes to develop plans for protected area systems that maximize the long-term persistence of biodiversity. I explored this topic in my PhD thesis, entitled “Conserving evolutionary processes”, and you can learn more about it by watching a recording of my exit seminar below.

  • Publications

       
  • Research articles

    2018

    2017

    2016

    2015

  • Popular science articles

    2015

  • Projects

  • prioritizr R package
    Visit web page

    The prioritizr R package uses integer linear programming (ILP) techniques to provide a flexible interface for building and solving conservation planning problems. It supports a broad range of objectives, constraints, and penalties that can be used to custom-tailor conservation planning problems to the specific needs of a conservation planning exercise. Once built, conservation planning problems can be solved using a variety of commercial and open-source exact algorithm solvers. In contrast to the algorithms conventionally used to solve conservation problems, such as heuristics or simulated annealing, the exact algorithms used here are guaranteed to find optimal solutions. Furthermore, conservation problems can be constructed to optimize the spatial allocation of different management actions or zones, meaning that conservation practitioners can identify solutions that benefit multiple stakeholders. Finally, this package has the functionality to read input data formatted for the Marxan conservation planning program, and find much cheaper solutions in a much shorter period of time than Marxan. Download the official version from CRAN, or the developmental version from GitHub. You can learn more about it by watching my talk at User! 2018 below.

  • raptr R package
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    Biodiversity is in crisis. The overarching aim of conservation is to preserve biodiversity patterns and processes. To this end, protected areas are established to buffer species and preserve biodiversity processes. But resources are limited and so protected areas must be cost-effective. This R package contains tools to generate plans for protected areas (prioritizations), using spatially explicit targets for biodiversity patterns and processes. To obtain solutions in a feasible amount of time, this package uses the commercial ‘Gurobi’ software package. Download the official version from CRAN, or the developmental version from GitHub.

  • Experiences

         
  • Casual Professional Staff at The University of Queensland
    Brisbane, Australia

    I developed software for the Field Ecology course (BIOL2015). During the course students would visit Fraser Island and collect data using applications on smart phones. I wrote a data formatting tool to streamline the process of harvesting and validating data collected using the smart phones. This program also prepared the data for statistical analysis. Additionally, I wrote a data visualization tool to help students explore trends in the data that they collected. I have contributed to the further development of these tools on-and-off over the last few years.

         
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  • Research Assistant in the Fuller Lab at The University of Queensland
    Brisbane, Australia

    I was primarily responsible for producing tidal flat maps for the East-Australasian Flyway. To achieve this, I compiled databases of LANDSAT satellite images and processed spatial data. Additionally, I helped compile a global database of protected areas using data from the World Database on Protected Areas and additional sources. This work contributed to the publication by Dhanjal-Adams et al. 2016.

         
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  • Research Assistant in the Rhodes Lab at The University of Queensland
    Brisbane, Australia

    My primary role was data preparation and analysis. I assisted with preparing genetic and spatial data for landscape genetics analysis. I generated connectivity models for Sugar Gliders, Squirrel Gliders, and the Yellow Footed Antechinus using landscape and genetic data. Additionally, I developed a decision support tool to help understand the impacts of development on the connectivity of these species in South East Queensland, Australia. This work contributed to the publication by Dudaneic et al. 2016.

         
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  • Workshops

    I have tutored in the following workshops.

    • 2017
      • Use of Machine Learning in Conservation, Moving beyond just Maxent and SDMs” coordinated by Falk Huettmann at the 28th International Congress of Conservation Biology, Cartagena, Colombia.
    • 2015
      • “Geospatial Analysis in R” coordinated by Hawthorne Beyer, Rebbecca Runting and Jutta Beher at the Student Conference of Conservation Science, Australia.
      • “Smoothing the Marxan Flow with R” coordinated by Matthew Watts at the Student Conference of Conservation Science, Australia.
    • 2013
      • “Introduction to Geospatial Analysis” coordinated by Hawthorne Beyer at The University of Queensland, Australia.
      • “Introduction to Spatial Data Analysis in R” workshop coordinated by Hawthorne Beyer at The University of Queensland, Australia.
    • 2011
      • “Introducing R” coordinated by Simon Blomberg at The University of Queensland, Australia.
         
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    Education

       
  • PhD
    Brisbane, Australia

    I completed my PhD at the School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland. During this time, I developed new methods for explicitly incorporating evolutionary processes into conservation planning, examined potential surrogates for guiding reserve selection when genetic data are not available, and examined how well the global protected area system may be representing the habitats that promote adaptation in nearly 20 thousand vertebrate species. My supervisors were Richard Fuller and Jonathan Rhodes.

  • Bachelor of Science (1st Class Hons) at The University of Queensland
    Brisbane, Australia

    My honors thesis was titled “Using stable isotopes to assess the relationship between body-size, habitat use and diet in estuarine crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus)”. This work contributed to the publication by Hanson et al. (2015).

  • Bachelor of Science at The University of Queensland
    Brisbane, Australia

    I completed my Bachelor of Science at The University of Queensland with a major in Ecology.

  • Skills

    Computational skills

    Programming languages

    • R
    • Python
    • C++

    Database

    • Microsoft Access
    • JSON/XML/YAML

    Network Adminisation

    • SSH/SFTP
    • Install and manage UNIX servers

    Statistical skills

    Statistical models

    • GLMs
    • GLMERs
    • occupancy-detection models

    Visualisation

    • ggplot2
    • R base graphics

    Modelling platforms

    • stan
    • MaxEnt
    • jags

    Spatial Analytical skills

    Geogrocessing

    • R
    • ArcGIS
    • Circuitscape

    Decision support tools

    • Marxan
    • raptr

    Tools

    Typesetting

    • Microsoft Word
    • LaTeX

    Operating system

    • Windows
    • Ubuntu (14.04)

    Version control

    • GitHub

    Information

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