ESSM Awards & Merits 2017 Tan Zhou Receives NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant Tan Zhou, a Ph.D. student with Dr. Sorin Popescu in the department of Ecosystem Science and Management (ESSM), was recently awarded an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) starting June 2017 until May 2018. Tan was awarded $19,213 to support his dissertation research on “Biomass estimation and uncertainty analysis: Integrating Bayesian modeling and small-footprint waveform LiDAR data”. This grant will support the development of open source tools to process small-footprint waveform LiDAR data from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and explore their potential in real-world applications such as tree species identification and biomass estimation with uncertainty analysis. The methods developed from this project will enable ecology scientists to more easily access the 3D vegetation structure and advance our understanding of ecosystem patterns and processes. The quantification of errors and uncertainties of vegetation structure and forest biomass estimation are also conducive to designing effective plans for sustainable forest management and providing accurate inputs for biogeochemical models to inform science-based policy.