Delivered invited talks at JpGU-AGU 2017 meeting and several universities in Korea

A couple weeks ago, I delivered an invited talk at JpGU-AGU 2017 meeting in Chiba, Japan. Title of the talk is “A behavioral approach to understanding human-water interactions under hydrological variability“. Honored to have met and spent time with leading scholars of socio-hydrology and global hydrology such as Murugesu Sivapalan and Taikan Oki. I also had an unexpected reunion with my PhD committee member there, Professor Rachata Muneepeerakul who is now at University of Florida.

After the JpGU-AGU meeting, I traveled to Korea to give invited talks at several Korean universities (Korea University, HongIk University, UNIST, Yonsei). I thank Professors KyoungRok Paik, Chon Jin Hyoung, Jeryang Park, and Yeonjoo Kim for hosting me. I also visited SNU and spent time talking with several professors. I especially thank Professor Dowon Lee. He invited me to spend time at SNU in 2011 when I was a graduate student. Professor Youngryeol Ryu also shared his heart-felt insights on how to manage a lab group. Thank you all for the wonderful time.

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A co-authored paper has been accepted for publication

Good news.

A paper that I participated as its corresponding co-author has been just accepted for publication by Ecology & Society. As you may know, Ecology & Society is an interdisciplinary journal that focuses on resilience thinking and social-ecological systems. It is the official journal of Resilience Alliance.

This paper used historical analysis to understand evolving robustness-fragility tradeoffs of a partly-engineered coastal social-ecological system.

This paper has been led by Asif Ishtiaque, a PhD student at the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University. The title and abstract of the paper are given below.

Robust-yet-fragile nature of partly-engineered social-ecological systems: A case of coastal Bangladesh

Asif Ishtiaque1, David J. Yu2, 3, 4, Nikhil Sangwan2

1School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, United States

2Lyles School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, United States

3Department of Political Science, Purdue University, United States

4Center for the Environment, Purdue University, United States

ABSTRACT. Modern social-ecological systems are often partly-engineered to enhance the robustness (or reduce the variance) of human welfare to environmental fluctuations over a foreseeable time horizon. Recent studies show, however, that subtle trade-offs are usually inherent in such efforts of enhancing short-term robustness. Managing variance on short time scales is likely to be associated with the buildup of hidden fragilities on longer time scales. Using a flood-prone social-ecological system (SES) of coastal Bangladesh as an example, this paper investigates some of the ways in which such robustness-fragility tradeoffs can manifest. This SES has been extensively modified in the last few decades through the construction of large-scale flood protection structures (polders) and the introduction of commercial shrimp farming to enhance the robustness of food production to hydrological variability. Our case study analysis of the long-term changes in the SES shows that, although the modifications helped with stability in short time scales, the resulting changes also induced unforeseen problems such as infrastructure maintenance issues, land degradation and sinking, and exposure to market volatility. This paper therefore contributes to better understanding of the notion of robustness-fragility tradeoffs by illustrating an exemplary case of the phenomenon in the engineered coastal environment context.


Key Words: robustness; robustness-fragility trade-offs; social-ecological systems; coastal resilience; coastal vulnerability; embankments; polder; cyclone; flooding; storm; saline water intrusion; land subsidence; infrastructure; socio-hydrology.

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Another internal seed grant received

As the principal investigator, I was recently awarded a small internal seed grant from the Center for the Environment at Purdue University. Excited and thankful.

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Delivered an invited talk at UIUC

Thanks to Professor Murugesu Sivapalan, I delivered an invited talk at the Hydrosystems Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) as part of Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Lab Seminar Series.

Below is the abstract of my talk:

David J. Yu Assistant Professor,

Department of Civil Engineering & Political Science, Purdue University

A growing number of hydrologists are now incorporating individual human and group behavior as a key component in their studies to understand interdisciplinary questions such as how water resources and human society co-evolve in the long-run. Much of the recent effort in this field has focused on developing and analyzing conceptual models consisting of coupled nonlinear differential equations that link hydrology and social dynamics. There is, however, another approach that deserves more attention: laboratory behavioral experiments that incorporate simple hydrological dynamics and human-subject participation. In such behavioral experiments, human-subjects face a game-theoretic interface that captures the essence of a real-world situation. Experimental social scientists observe the choices individuals make when they play such game theoretic exercises and analyze the collected experimental data to test specific hypotheses about human behavior. As such, this method provides a way to observe and test hypotheses on how individuals and groups of individuals react or the decisions they make in response to certain simulated hydrological events. In this presentation, I will present one such example of an experimental study for socio-hydrology. In this experiment, which is designed to study how humans solve collective action problems under disturbances, participants are faced with a set of decision problems on collective management of shared irrigation infrastructure under hydrological variability. I compare the learning processes of human subject groups that participated in the experiment in order to search for empirical clues on what kind of social learning helps resilience and under what conditions. 


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A small grant received

A small grant received from an external funding agency (Lloyd Register Foundation) to conduct research on resilience engineering! Will be collaborating with three other colleagues for this.

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My paper on socio-hydrology published

My work on socio-hydrology is finally published by Water Resources Research!

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Oral and poster presentations at 2016 AGU Fall Meeting @ San Francisco

Congratulations to Nikhil (oral presentation) and Kyungmin (poster presentation) at 2016 AGU Fall Meeting at San Francisco. I also gave an oral presentation based on a recently accepted paper by Water Resources Research. It was a productive conference participation by our research group.

*Yu, D. J., GN. Sangwan, GK. Sung, X. Chen, and V. Merwade. 2016. Modeling human-flood interactions: Collective action and community resilience. Presented at 2016 AGU Fall Meeting (San Francisco, CA, Dec. 2016).

*GSangwan, N., J. Eisma, GK. Sung, and D. J. Yu. 2016. A Socio-Hydrological Model of the Voluntary Urban Water Conservation Behavior during Droughts. Presented at 2016 AGU Fall Meeting (San Francisco, CA, Dec. 2016).

*GSung, K., D. J. Yu, GW. Oh, and GN. Sangwan. 2016. Poster: Land Sea Level Difference Impacts on Socio-Hydrological System. Presented at 2016 AGU Fall Meeting (San Francisco, CA, Dec. 2016).

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