Ecosystem: We study the forest and freshwater ecosystems upon which society depends
Dynamics: We model how ecosystems change over time in response to land-use, climate change, atmospheric deposition, and management. We measure carbon, water, and energy exchange between ecosystems and the atmosphere using eddy-covariance and biometeorology sensors.
Forecasting: We predict the future of ecosystems by combining observations and ecosystem models using statistical techniques.
Lead PI of an NSF sponsored 5-year project that is leading workshops, conferences, and collaborative software development to address the following objectives:
Other current projects
Regionally specific drivers of land-use transitions and future scenarios: A synthesis considering the land management influence in the Southeastern U.S (NASA-NNX17AI09G)
Recent (2020 - )
Graham, M.W., R.Q. Thomas, D.L. Lombardozzi, and M.E. O’Rourke. In Press. Modest capacity of no-till farming to offset emissions over 21st century. Environmental Research Letters. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abe6c6
Meyer, M. F., R. Ladwig, H.A. Dugan, A. Anderson, A.R. Bah, B. Boehrer, L. Borre, R.J. Chapina, C. Doyle, E.J. Favot, G. Flaim, P. Forsberg, P.C. Hanson, B.W. Ibelings, P. Isles, F-P Lin, D. Lofton, T.N. Moore, S. Peel, J.A. Peters, D. Peirson, L.N. de Senerpont Domis, J.A. Schloss, M. Shikhani, A.P. Smagula, J.D. Stockwell, P. Thomas, R.Q. Thomas, T. Tietjen, and K.C. Weathers. 2021. Virtual Growing Pains: Initial Lessons Learned from Organizing Virtual Workshops, Summits, Conferences, and Networking Events during a Global Pandemic. Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin 30: 1- 11 https://doi.org/10.1002/lob.10431
Koplitz, S.N., C.G. Nolte, R.D. Sabo, C.M. Clark, K.J. Horn, R.Q. Thomas, and T.A. Newcomer-Johnson. 2021. The contribution of wildland fire emissions to nitrogen and sulfur deposition in the contiguous U.S.: Implications for tree growth and survival in the Northwest. Environmental Research Letters 16: 024028. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abd26e
Peters, J. and R.Q. Thomas. 2021. Going Virtual: What We Learned from the Ecological Forecasting Initiative Research Coordination Network Virtual Workshop. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 102: e01828 https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1828
Thomas, V.A., R.H. Wynne, J. Kauffman, W. McCurdy, E.B. Brooks, R.Q. Thomas, and J. Rakestraw. 2021. Mapping thins to identify active forest management in southern pine plantations using Landsat time series stacks. Remote Sensing of Environment 252: 112127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2020.112127
Thomas R.Q, R.J. Figueiredo, V. Daneshmand, B.J. Bookout, L.K. Puckett, and C.C. Carey. 2020. A near‐term iterative forecasting system successfully predicts reservoir hydrodynamics and partitions uncertainty in real time. Water Resources Research 56: e2019WR026138. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019WR026138
Carey C.C, W.M. Woelmer, M.E. Lofton, R.J. Figueiredo, B.J. Bookout, R.S. Corrigan, V. Daneshmand, A.G. Hounshell, D.W. Howard, A.S. Lewis, R.P. McClure, H.L. Wander, N.K. Ward, and R.Q. Thomas. In Press. Advancing lake and reservoir water quality management with near-term, iterative ecological forecasting. Inland Waters. https://doi.org/10.1080/20442041.2020.1816421
Daw, A., R.Q. Thomas, C.C. Carey, J.S. Read, A.P. Appling, and A. Karpatne. 2020. Physics-guided architecture rchitecture (PGA) of neural networks for quantifying uncertainty in lake temperature modeling. Proceedings of the 2020 SIAM International Conference on Data Mining: 532-540. https://doi.org/10.1137/1.9781611976236.60
Weaver, E.A., K. Kolivras, V.A. Thomas, R.Q. Thomas, and K. Abbas. 2020. Environmental factors affecting ecological niche of Coccidioides (spp.) and spatial dynamics of valley fever in the United States. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology 32: 100317. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sste.2019.100317
A.B. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (2005)
M.S. University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH (2007)
Ph.D. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (2012)
Post-doc, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (2012 - 2013)
Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA (2013 - 2019)
Associate Professor, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA (2019 - present)
John Smith (Statistics; co-advised with Leah Johnson)
Michael Graham (PhD; Geospatial and Environmental Analysis; co-advised with Megan O’Rourke)
Kevin J. Horn (Post-doc)
Annika Jersild (MS)
Wyatt McCurdy (MS)
Laura Puckett (UG)
FREC 3004: Environmental Informatics
FREC 5884: Ecological Forecasting
FREC 3604: Climate Science
FREC 5034: Ecosystem Dynamics
FREC 5204: Ecosystem and Climate
The Ecosystem Dynamics and Forecasting Lab led by Dr. Quinn Thomas at Virginia Tech has funding for a new Ph.D. student position to start January 2021 or August 2021. We are recruiting a Ph.D. student to apply innovative new techniques to combine lake ecosystem modeling with sensor data analyses to forecast future water quality in drinking water reservoirs. The Ph.D. student will help develop forecasts to inform drinking water management using state-of-the-art cyberinfrastructure and communicate their forecasts to water utility managers.
This position will be supported by two NSF projects (smartreservoir.org and flare-forecast.org) that are developing a water quality forecasting system for drinking water supply reservoirs, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) lakes, and Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) lakes. This highly interdisciplinary Ph.D. project will combine high-frequency sensor monitoring, modeling, ecosystem forecasting, and data-intensive analytical approaches from ecology, computer science, and social science. There will be opportunities for both computational and field-based research.
We seek a conscientious and energetic student with quantitative and computing skills who can work independently in a collaborative environment. The student will work closely with the Carey Lab at Virginia Tech (carey.biol.vt.edu) and the Advanced Computing and Information Systems Laboratory at the University of Florida on the project (www.acis.ufl.edu). Students are also encouraged to apply to be a fellow in Virginia Tech’s Interfaces of Global Change graduate program (globalchange.vt.edu) and interact with other students in the Virginia Water Research Center (vwrrc.vt.edu) that is housed within our department. Virginia Tech, as Virginia’s leading research and land grant institution, has a strong interdisciplinary focus on the environment and natural sciences and is located in scenic southwestern Virginia.
The student position will be funded on a combination of research and teaching assistantships, which include a competitive stipend, tuition waiver, and full health insurance benefits. Interested students should send an email letter of inquiry containing an overview of your research interests, your C.V., an unofficial transcript(s), and a list of past research experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to contact me with questions about the application process, graduate school at Virginia Tech, or potential research ideas.