Nezha Acil

PhD Student in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences


Nezha is one of our former BEAR Champions and is no longer at the University of Birmingham. 

What is your Academic background and current research field?

I am a PhD student at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, part of Dr. Thomas Pugh’s TreeMort research group. My background is in biodiversity conservation and geospatial analysis, with specialisation in forest assessment and land surface monitoring. I am particularly interested in the use of remote sensing to analyse changes and interactions among environmental factors, across time, space and scales. My current research is funded by the European Research Council and focuses on global forest dynamics and the influence of storm-related disturbances on carbon cycling.

Which BEAR Services have been most helpful to you in your research?

I heavily use BlueBEAR for data processing and BEAR Research Data Store for storing the resulting multi-terabyte databases. My project involves the use of high resolution global data products and BlueBEAR allows me to save a huge amount of time by parallelising and externalising all my Python and R processes, while continuing to use my computer for other tasks, such as data preparation and mapping. BEAR DataShare has also been extremely useful for sharing some of my databases with external collaborators.

Note from Editor: BEAR DataShare is now retired - see this KB article for alternative options.

How widespread do you think BEAR Services are known in your School and how do you plan to spread the word?

That differs between disciplines and whether modelling with massive data is needed. BlueBear seems heavily used in atmospheric sciences, but much less in geography and ecology. Some of my colleagues are discouraged by the coding aspects of BlueBear and/or are unaware of the different BEAR services offered, including the trainings and personalised coaching. Possible ways to spread the word could include peer mentoring to guide new BEAR users, regular meetings to share experiences and tips, and collaborative research activities, such as hackathons. My research group runs a coding club every two weeks to review codes and share best practices and similar initiatives could be undertaken for BEAR.