Jennifer A Miller, PhD

Contact info

January 1, 2014 · Comments Off on Contact info

image304Jennifer A Miller is an Associate Professor of GIScience in the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin. She joined the faculty at UT-Austin in 2007 and is currently the director of the UT GIScience Center as well as an associated faculty member in the Division of Statistics and Scientific Computing.

Jennifer’s research focuses on the integration of GIScience and biogeography, particularly in the areas of species distribution and animal movement modeling.

Contact information:
Dept. of Geography and the Environment
303 E 23rd St. Mailcode A3100
Austin, TX 78712
jennifer.miller [at]


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Congrats to Dr. Brendan Hoover

May 13, 2020 · No Comments

Brendan Hoover successfully defended his dissertation (“Spatiotemporal Analysis of Animal Movement and Interactions”) on zoom May 1, followed by an even more successful zoom happy hour to celebrate with lab colleagues and alumni.




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Post-doc opportunity in SDM

February 5, 2020 · No Comments

Opportunity: 1-3 years post-doctoral position using species distribution models to track movement of pollen. This opportunity will be in the Geography Department at UT-Austin but part of a collaborative project with the Biology Department at UT, Arizona State University, and Emory University.

Responsibilities: This (potentially) 5 year project is focused on forensic palynology (NYMPHS) The post-doc position will primarily be involved in developing models that incorporate ‘movement’ (dispersal, accessibility) and human impacts, in addition to biotic and abiotic factors (see figure 1) in order to model the distribution of pollen and pollinators. Ultimately, we are interested in developing a geocomputation toolbox that is capable of predicting the movement paths of forensic pollen samples over space and time.

Experience: Ideal candidates will have PhD in Geography, Ecology/Biology, or similar discipline with excellent statistical and data management skills. In particular, we are looking for candidates with extensive experience using R for species distribution models (preferably experience using BIOMOD2 or similar ensemble forecasting package). Additional experience and interest in pollen/pollinator networks, data science, and/or GIScience is preferred. Candidate should also have a strong publication record and ability to work in a collaborative research environment.

Location: The University of Texas at Austin, one of the biggest and best research universities in the world, is located in the dynamic capitol city of Austin, recently named the best place to live in America for the 2nd year in a row. The position will be in the Department of Geography and the Environment.

More information: Start date can be as soon as March 2020 (negotiable). To apply, please send a single .PDF document with your CV, cover letter outlining your relevant experience and when you could start, and names and contact information for three references.  For more information, contact Jennifer A Miller

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New project on Forensic Palynology

April 8, 2019 · No Comments

Jennifer is one of six PIs on a new MURI-funded project on ‘Multi-layer Network Modeling of Plant and Pollen Distribution across Space’ (NYMPHS). The purpose of this research program is to make forensic palynology via metabarcoding a key operational contributor to national security by equipping the DoD with a set of reliable, globally validated, easy-to-use geocomputational tools, mathematical models, and SDMs for geolocating pollen samples.

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Gordon Research Conference on Animal Movement

March 9, 2019 · No Comments

Jennifer was invited to participate in a panel on Career Routes in Movement Ecology: The Academic World and Beyond at the Gordon Research Seminar at the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco in Lucca (Barga), Italy. The seminar was held in conjunction with the conference on “Animal Movement as a Link Between Ecology, Evolution and Behavior.”

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Book chapter on Tapir movement

January 28, 2019 · No Comments

Jennifer and 2 of her former and current doctoral students (Cody Schank and Brendan Hoover, respectively) published a chapter on the impact of Hurricane Otto on Baird’s Tapir movement in Nicaragua in Movement Ecology of Neotropical Forest Mammals

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January 25, 2019 · No Comments

Jennifer spent several weeks in Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe over the winter break. Part of this was related to a new project studying interactions between jackals in Etosha National Park.

Wild dog, Hwange National Park

Brown Hyena, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Black-backed jackal, Etosha National Park

Lion cubs, Etosha National Park

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New paper on Science of Movement in IJGIS

January 25, 2019 · No Comments

Jennifer was a co-author on a new foresight paper with Harvey Miller, Somayeh Dodge, and Gil Bohrer: ‘Towards an integrated science of movement: converging research on animal movement ecology and human mobility science.” This paper was a result of two NSF-funded workshops on movement analysis in Nov. 2016 (UT-Austin) and May 2017 (OSU).

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Jennifer invited to give seminar at University of Amsterdam

April 27, 2018 · No Comments

I was invited to give a seminar at the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam. The visit coincided with King’s Day, a national holiday to celebrate the King’s birthday.

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Special Issue on Spatial Ecology in IJGIS

November 15, 2017 · No Comments

CFP for the 5th special issue on Spatial Ecology in International Journal of Geographical Information Science is announced.

Special Issue Editors:

Assoc Prof Jennifer Miller, University of Texas at Austin, USA;

Assoc Prof Shawn Laffan, University of NSW, Australia; 

Prof Andrew Skidmore, ITC, University of Twente, The Netherlands;

Prof Janet Franklin, University of California-Riverside, USA

A 5th special issue on spatial ecology has been approved by the Editors and Publisher of the International Journal of GIS. You are encouraged to submit relevant and high quality manuscripts for this special issue (see details below). This special issue continues the tradition of Spatial Ecology publications in the IJGIS.

For this special issue, we are seeking the submission of papers from ecological and related environmental studies, as well as more technical articles including topics such as spatial data infrastructure relevant to ecological applications. We are especially interested in special and novel ways of addressing spatial ecology questions, managing spatial ecological data, and advancing open science in spatial ecology.

Key words and topics for this special issue include scale, geovisualization, spatial data infrastructure for ecological (biodiversity) data, methods to derive ancillary data required for ecological modeling (climate, terrain, soils etc), animal movement including both spatial and temporal analysis, phenology, global databases for ecological studies (biodiversity, NPP, carbon etc), fragmentation and connectivity, biodiversity hotspots and endemism, physical vegetation structure for biomass assessment, palaeoecology and reconstructing past environments with respect to climate change, innovative methods and models for spatial ecological analysis, and open science and new directions for spatial ecology research. Applications across terrestrial, marine and atmospheric ecology are welcome. Relevant cross-over papers between GIS and remote sensing will also be considered.

The deadline for submission of papers is 15-July-2018. The anticipated publication date will be in 2019.

Papers are to be submitted via Please choose ‘Special Issue Paper’ from the Manuscript Types field when doing so.

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PhD student Cody Schank lead author in Diversity & Distributions paper

September 30, 2017 · No Comments

Cody Schank (PhD expected 2018) is the lead author of a collaborative paper that compares different statistical methods to model the potential distribution of Baird’s Tapir. The abstract is below and the article can be found here:


We test a new species distribution modelling (SDM) framework, while comparing results to more common distribution modelling techniques. This framework allows for the combination of presence-only (PO) and presence-absence (PA) data and accounts for imperfect detection and spatial bias in presence data. The new framework tested here is based on a Poisson point process model, which allows for predictions of population size. We compared these estimates to those provided by experts on the species.

Species and Location

Presence data on Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) throughout its range from southern México to northern Colombia were used in this research, primarily from the years 2000 to 2016.


Four SDM frameworks are compared as follows: (1) Maxent, (2) a presence-only (PO) SDM based on a Poisson point process model (PPM), (3) a presence-absence (PA) SDM also based on a PPM and (4) an Integrated framework which combines the previous two models. Model averaging was used to produce a single set of coefficient estimates and predictive maps for each model framework. A hotspot analysis (Gi*) was used to identify habitat cores from the predicted intensity of the Integrated model framework.


Important variables to model the distribution of Baird’s tapir included land cover, human pressure and topography. Accounting for spatial bias in the presence data affected which variables were important in the model. Maxent and the Integrated model produced predictive maps with similar patterns and were considered to be more in agreement with expert knowledge compared to the PO and PA models.

Main conclusions

Total abundance as predicted by the model was higher than expert opinion on the species, but local density estimates from our model were similar to available independent assessments. We suggest that these results warrant further validation and testing through collection of independent test data, development of more precise predictor layers and improvements to the model framework.


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