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John Kineman

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John J. Kineman

Contact Information

Senior Research Scientist
Office: Rm W265B Ekeley
Tel: 303-735-0288
Email: John.Kineman@colorado.edu

Research Activities

  1. Relational systems theory and Informatics for ecology and other fields.
  2. Ecological niche modeling and database development
  3. Ecological Literacy Education

My research involves relational systems theory, niche modeling, and applications to ecological research, management and informatics. Previous work involved establishing information systems for global ecosystems (the Global Ecosystems Database), global deltas (World Deltas database collaborative development), ocean biodiversity (Ocean Biogeographic Information System, US and India portal design), and biodiversity protection areas (Bahamas Protected Areas portal design). Current work is focused on developing modeling techniques, applications using Geographic Information Systems, and development of educational opportunities in these fields.

Theory Work

My theoretical research explores the foundations of complexity in ecological relations and nature generally. The work began in 1988 at a Chapman Conference on the Gaia Hypothesis and has developed today into a comprehensive theory of nature called "R-theory", with a recent synthesis published in 2011. I am exploring experimental and conceptual applications of R-theory in several fields, primarily ecology as a necessary combination of hard and soft systems approaches.

One result of this work was to clarify the critical role that ecological niche modeling can and, I believe, should play in practice and general ecological theory if it is re-designed as a scientific rather than descriptive tool. To that end I have developed a new technique called the "Generalized Ecological Niche" (GEN) model, which is currently in prototype and being re-written for wider use.

Field Work

Past field work was in East and Central Africa before focusing on global and regional issues. In 2005 I become involved with work in India leading to a Fulbright Research appointment at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) in 2008. Interactions spread to the Center for Ecological Sciences (CES) at the Indian Institute of Science, the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL), and recently Sikkim University. I have been working with Indian colleagues to test the GEN model in comparison with other models using data on the distribution of threatened and endangered species in India. I also developed an ecological modeling database for South India and am currently extending its coverage to all of India. Publication of this work is pending.

These interactions led to discussions about collaborative education opportunities based on the many fruitful technical and research opportunities available in India, obvious benefits of East-West collaboration and synthesis of perspectives. These opportunities and my own passionate belief that we need a critical change in thinking about nature, motivated me to propose the development of cooperative educational programs with India.  I am currently developing components of a proposed "Ecological Literacy Leadership" program, to help inform future generations of professionals in all fields of nature's principles and values.

Invitation to Faculty and Students

I am happy to collaborate on the following topics:

  1. Applications of Ecological Niche Modeling (including associated GIS techniques)
  2. Database development (currently for India)
  3. Development of ecological theory based on contextual relations
  4. Building an Ecological Literacy Leadership international education program.
    1. Developing core curricula for this program
    2. Developing virtual laboratory facilities for GIS and spatial-ecological modeling.