News

  • Weekly update 38 I've had two significant happenings this week. On Tuesday, I presented my research and EnSitu/Bungee as a webinar to a diverse audience. Those who signed up were from ...
    Posted Nov 21, 2014, 7:06 AM by Austin Milt
  • Weekly update 37 Among other things, I had a committee meeting on Tuesday, which went well. I've gone to a couple talks. One talk was by Ben Levy, a math graduate student ...
    Posted Nov 14, 2014, 7:20 AM by Austin Milt
  • Weekly update 36 Just today I've finished yet another way to explore how changes in layouts lead to changes in impacts and costs for my third chapter. My new metric of differences ...
    Posted Nov 7, 2014, 11:06 AM by Austin Milt
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About Me
I am a PhD student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Here you can find out about my Research interests, view my CV, find a time to meet, and find me hidden away in one of the buildings on UTK's The Hill.

I am broadly interested in academic research that causes immediate advances in conservation practice. My dissertation focuses on the terrestrial habitat impacts of natural gas development in the Central Appalachian region. I work with The Nature Conservancy, Pennsylvania state agencies, and natural gas companies to create development strategies that reduce negative impacts from gas surface infrastructure without destroying developer profits. This enables me to answer exciting questions such as "What are the trade-offs between doing better for the environment and spending more on development?" and "How much less impacting would gas surface infrastructure be if gas companies were environment-oriented from the start?" By combining novel research with practical application, I am able to advance conservation science and practice simultaneously.

Many of the most pressing needs in conservation are spatial in nature. As such, much of my research interests and expertise center around spatial modeling, optimization, and GIS. For instance, a major component of my work on the impacts of natural gas is a tool that optimally sites gas infrastructure to minimize indicators of habitat impacts. This work takes the form of a multi-tier constrained optimization, which is both difficult to formulate and to solve. When solved, this optimization will become part of a tool that gas developers will use in their planning stages to go above and beyond regulatory compliance on many of the environmental factors that conservation practitioners prioritize.

I don't just work on natural gas. Visit my Research page to find out more about what I work on.