Mexico & China in da haus!

(Scroll down for Chinese version)

It is with great pleasure that we officially announce the success of two incoming PhD students, Yanru Huang and Brasil Canales-Gordillo, who for different time periods are visiting the Salgo team. Below, a bit about them, their background, and what are working on with us:


Yanru Huang

Written by Yanru, revised in English by Fiona

Hello everyone~! My name is Yanru Huang (Fig. 1) and I am delighted to join the SalGo team and the Department of Biology at University of Oxford in 2022-2023. 


Fig 1. Yanru at Erhai Lake, Yunnan province, China | 黄滟茹于云南洱海


I come from Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, the city with the greatest concentration of pandas in the world. The city of Chengdu has long been considered the "Land of Heaven" because its fertile soils has provided its people bountiful food and sustained their livelihoods for millennia. The construction of Dujiangyan (an ancient irrigation system) more than 2,000 years ago had long protected this land from floods and droughts, and provided an invaluable resource to grow its agriculture and economy. During my undergraduate studies at Sichuan Agricultural University, I majored in Geographic Information Science. My work has allowed me to view many magnificent system of mountains, rivers, and farmland using modern technologies, namely with drones and remote sensing images (Fig 2). I sensed the unique romance that arises from agriculture and forestry in these artwork-like remote sensing data.


Fig 2. The Earth's Palette—Left: Photographs of Yueyang, China (photo by Yanru); Right: Sentinel-2 remote sensing images of Yueyang, China | 大地的调色盘中国岳阳市的照片和Sentinel-2遥感影像

After graduating from my undergraduate, I moved away from my hometown and started a PhD in Cartography and GIS, at the Aerospace Information Research Institute in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. I spent the first year of my PhD at the Yanqi Lake campus in Beijing, which was once dubbed the "closest place to science" in China. In Yanqi Lake, I had the opportunity to interact with some of China's most distinguished scientists and learn about their ground-breaking research. In 2020, I returned to the Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science in Haidian, Beijing, to continue my PhD research under the supervision of professor Wenjiang Huang from the RSCROP team.

At the early stages of my PhD, the notoriously migratory, polyphagous pest, the fall armyworm (FAW) (Spodoptera frugiperda), was in the process of rapid global invasion hailing from the tropics of America. In 2019, it damaged 1.125 million hectares of crops in China alone. Based on this special timeline that I share with the expansion of the FAW populations, I have made “The Monitoring of Environmental Suitability and Predicting Distribution of Fall Armyworm” as the subject of my PhD study (Fig 3). Using my expertise in remote sensing (sometimes considered the ‘CT scanning’ of the earth’s surface), I was able to detect the insect’s habitat at higher resolutions and in near real time. Combining this knowledge with the FAW’s its biological characteristics and life-history, I have developed models to explore the FAW’s distribution.