News

  • Weekly update 34 Well, I sent my second chapter back out this week. It's good to have it off the table for a week or two at least. Yesterday I may have ...
    Posted Oct 24, 2014, 7:20 AM by Austin Milt
  • Weekly update 33 Almost there! I am almost ready to send back out my second chapter. As always, it has taken way longer than I had hoped, but it's very close. I ...
    Posted Oct 17, 2014, 7:07 AM by Austin Milt
  • Weekly update 32 It seems I've been working on everything this past week. I just sent another draft of my second chapter manuscript off to my TNC collaborator, Tamara Gagnolet. I also ...
    Posted Oct 10, 2014, 7:02 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.