University of Nottingham Malaysia
School of Environmental and Geographical Sciences

Research Students

Stefan Marcus Baier

Supervisors: Ahimsa Campos Arceiz, Tim Brailsford, Chris Roadknight  

Computational Modeling of Community Changes in disturbed Virtual Environments  (Codename: SEED CAMAS)

Regions with elephant populations are likely deeply integrated on the community level of a forest, yet field studies struggle to verify some of the predictions, making it harder to predict impact and cost of changes within the forest community. This is related to the complexity of terrestrial habitats, where study predictions are hampered by a vast network of interacting, unequal parts. This often prevents modelling based on simplifying assumptions. As complex models are much more difficult to simulate, I sought a new approach in my research through a method where large ranges and timescales are not an issue.

I am using spatially-explicit computational models in an agent based framework simulating a patch of forest populated with competing plant species, fruit-bearing & wind dispersed, which are spawning seeds that can be displaced by vertebrate dispersers and thus spawn new conspecific offspring. The end goal is to run a full community simulation, with each tree explicitly located in coordinates, simulating generational succession and recruitment run on supercomputing clusters, and then analysing changes when a particular species is removed.



Darshana Wickramasinghe

Supervisors:  Tuong Thuy Vu, Tomas Maul, Ho Sooi Hock

High Resolution Remote Sensing Data Fusion for Mapping and Monitoring Large Scale Infrastructure Project

Construction project sites are distributed across the large vicinity. The current progress monitoring tasks rely on field visit, cross checking with submitted reports and hence, timely identifying the serious issue on the ground would be challenging. This study focuses on development of spatio-temporal data fusion approach using derived information from multi temporal and multi sensor remote sensing imageries. The outcomes will feed into a satellite-based monitoring framework for construction project management. 





Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu

Supervisors: Ahimsa Campos Arceiz

Biodiversity Governance: Enhancing Science Policy Interface in the Management of Protected Areas and Wildlife in Peninsular Malaysia

Malaysia as a mega diverse country is blessed with an amazing array of biodiversity. Like many other nations, Malaysia is faced with the fragile balance of promoting socio-economic development while conserving biodiversity in line with her aspiration to be a fully developed nation by 2020. This project on the initial phase will utilise a stakeholder participatory approach in identifying priority themes and issues that need to be addressed in enhancing the management of Protected Area and Wildlife in Peninsular Malaysia. This will lead to key priority areas to be researched upon to enhance biodiversity governance in these sectors. This research is envisaged to assist Malaysia in taking appropriate and adequate policy measures based on science to ensure the conservation of biodiversity in which sustainable, inclusive and equitable development hinges.


Wong Ee Phin

Supervisors: Ahimsa Campos Arceiz, Lisa Yon, Michael Stevens, Suzanne McGowan 

Non-invasive monitoring of stress in wild elephants (Elephas maximus) in Peninsular Malaysia

Dung is a goldmine of information for biologists. It contains steroid hormones, parasite eggs, dietary information and also DNA of the animal and its parasites. My project is to examine the possibility using faecal endocrinology and parasitology methods to study and monitor translocated and non-translocated wild elephants in the tropical forest of Peninsular Malaysia. There many hurdles to overcome as there are a lot of confounding factors that we need to pay attention to before making conclusions about the data. As part of my PhD, I have carried out an ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) challenge in captive Asian elephants to validate the enzymeimmunoassay’s ability in measuring faecal glucocorticoid (a hormone closely linked to stress response) metabolites (FGM). I have also conducted a semi-field experiment to look at the exposure of time and environment in affecting the stability of FGM levels in Asian elephants’ dung. For my third year, I am also attempting to link the FGM levels measured in translocated and non-translocated elephants to downstream effects of stress (eg. parasite egg loads, movement data). 



Huynh Chi Dai

Supervisors: Tuong Thuy Vu, Mike Jackson, Didier Leibovici

Interactive quality assessment of crowd-sourced data for agricultural research

The research will look at how data collected by non-specialists and volunteers, i.e. “the crowd” can be assessed for credibility and quality through the use of client and server-based validation techniques. The validation techniques will include the assessment of the crowd-sourced data against existing data and models. The approach will adopt the potentially iterative triggering of requests back to the crowd for location and topic specific confirmatory or associative information so that a credibility ranking or confidence rating can be assigned to the data and, where appropriate, quality and error-bounds calculated. 




Moataz Ahmed

Supervisors: Tuong Thuy Vu, Tomas Maul, Kasturi Kanniah

Remote sensing image understanding services on cloud-computing platform

Advanced remote sensing technologies nowadays provide huge data sets with better spatial, temporal and spectral resolutions. Dealing with large volume remote sensing data is a great challenge, a stability, scalability and high performance platform is required. This research looks into the feasibility of to deploy remote sensing processing services on the existing cloud computing platform. The study involve develop multi-source remote sensing image understanding algorithms and assess the feasibility prior to mounting them on a cloud-computing platform.





Jamie Wadey

Supervisors: Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz

Moving WITH Asian elephants in peninsular Malaysia now and into the future

The management and ecology of Malaysian elephants (MEME) is a 5 year research project to move towards a culture of evidence-based conservation practice in Malaysia. The project is a collaboration with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) and various important donors. The MEME project has taken a holistic approach and will I contribute to such by monitoring elephants with satellite GPS collars in: i) human-dominated landscapes ii) in natural habitat and iii) translocated elephants (due to human conflict). From the data we aim to analyze how highway roads, forest connectivity, human-dominated and natural landscapes affect the movement choices of Asian elephants in peninsular Malaysia to which conservation decision making can be at an evidence based level.





School of Environmental and Geographical Sciences

University of Nottingham
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