Jay Chang Bio

12 Oct 2021

2021 Undergraduate Dissertation Prize Joint Winner

Jay Chang, University College London (UCL) - “A detailed assessment of the current and future spatial distribution of Loxodonta cyclotis in Central Africa: An application of ensemble species distribution model”

I studied Geography with Quantitative Methods (Q-step) for my BSc, graduating in 2021. During the duration of the programme, I’ve always wanted to combine my three disjointed interests of remote sensing, animal welfare, and statistical coding. My journey has led me to the discovery of the ecological concept “Species Distribution Model”, which was the focus of my undergraduate dissertation. I applied the technique to the forest elephants in Gabon in an attempt to map their current and future habitat suitability range.

SDM uses a wide range of machine learning algorithms to associate between areas where the animal is present and their environmental characteristics. Fully understanding the algorithms was the most challenging part of the project, followed by the process of collecting animal present data. Fortunately, the latter dataset was generously provided by Dr Stephen Blake from MoveBank, alongside with sources from various online biodiversity repositories. My research modelling reveals a fragmented current habitat for the species, which could be exacerbated by the presence of anthropogenic global warming.

Since graduating, I am now pursuing an MSc in Remote Sensing and Environmental Mapping also at UCL, in the hope of furthering my research.