Andrew Finley

Departments of Forestry and Geography

Geospatial Lab - Natural Resources Building - Michigan State University


Appointments and research interests

I am an associate professor at Michigan State University with a joint appointment in the Departments of Forestry and Geography, and am adjunct in the Department of Statistics & Probability. I am also a member of the interdisciplinary Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Graduate Program faculty.

My research interests lie in developing methodologies for monitoring and modeling environmental processes, Bayesian statistics, spatial statistics, and statistical computing. A central theme in my research is the use of hierarchical models to integrate information from disparate sources to improve inference and prediction. In terms of application areas, my research focuses on spatial-temporal modeling of changing ecosystem components and systems. My recent interest is in improving frameworks for modeling exposure to pollutants, climate change, and health outcomes (ecosystem and public).

Upcoming courses and workshops

Big Data Tsunami at the Interface of Statistics, Environmental Sciences and Beyond, March 11 - 13, 2016, Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS)

The goal of this workshop is to bring together a productive combination of various modern and yet relatively scarcely investigated perspectives on modeling and fusing massive multi-source multi-scale data and to encourage debate, which will lead to cross-fertilization of ideas and enhancing cohesion between experts from statistics, applied mathematics, computer science, social sciences, geography, ecology, hydrology and other environmental disciplines. → Details

ENVR/EnviBayes Workshop on Bayesian Environmetrics, March 31 - April 2, 2016, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

The Workshop on Bayesian Environmetrics will serve as the next biennial workshop of the Section on Statistics and the Environment (ENVR) of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and the first meeting of the new Section on Environmental Sciences (EnviBayes) of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA). The workshop will bring together environmetricians from across the world to discuss state-of-the-art Bayesian statistical methods applied to problems ranging from climate sciences to ecology to environmental health to natural resources management. The aim is to have a diverse collection of participants from academia, government, and industry, with a large number of students and junior researchers in attendance. → Details

Recent courses and workshops

STATMOS workshop on High Performance Computing for Spatial Statistics, September 1 - 2, 2015, University of Michigan, MI

The workshop will introduce statistical and data scientists to the use of high performance computing (HPC) (i.e. supercomputing environments) for the interpretation and statistical modeling of spatial data. Each participant will be given an account on NCAR Yellowstone supercomputer and this course will give hands-on experience using this facility. Part of the goal is to demonstrate the particular ways a statistical analysis can leverage an HPC environment. The instructors will highlight spatial analyses where the statistical computations can be separated into independent tasks and are easily tackled by parallel processors. → Details

Second Annual Graduate Workshop on Environmental Data Analytics, July 27 - 31, 2015, Boulder, CO

This is the second workshop in a series designed to help prepare the next generation of researchers and practitioners to work within, and contribute to, the data-rich era. Each workshop will bring together graduate students and senior scientists in environmental statistics and related fields to explore contemporary topics in applied environmental data modeling. The workshop will be held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. → Details

30th International Workshop on Statistical Modelling (IWSM), July 6-10, 2015, Linz, Austria

IWSM is one of the major activities of the Statistical Modelling Society, founded with the purpose of promoting and encouraging statistical modelling in its widest sense, involving both academic and professional statisticians and data analysts. Since its first edition, the spirit of the workshop has always been to focus on problems motivated by real life data and on solutions that make novel contributions to the subject. → Details

Joint 24th ICSA Applied Statistics Symposium and 13th Graybill Conference, June 14-17, 2015, Fort Collins, CO

The Graybill Conference has been hosted annually by the Department of Statistics at Colorado State University. Dr. Franklin A. Graybill came to Colorado in 1960 and was involved in the development of the statistics program, first as part of mathematics and then in its own department. He founded the Graybill Statistical Laboratory in 1961, which recently celebrated its 50th year in operation. → Details

G70: A Celebration of Alan Gelfand's 70th Birthday, April 19-22, 2015 Durham, NC

Alan E Gelfand is James B. Duke Professor of Statistical Science and Professor of Environmental Sciences and Policy at Duke University. He has made fundamental contributions to Bayesian statistics, spatial statistics, computation, hierarchical modeling, with applications to a wide range of disciplines including ecology, environment, law and other social and biomedical sciences. We welcome all former students and friends of Alan to join us in this special event. → Details

Graybill/ENVR Conference Modern Statistical Methods for Ecology, September 7-10, 2014, Fort Collins, CO

The Department of Statistics at Colorado State University (CSU) will host the 2014 joint Graybill/ENVR Conference on "Modern Statistical Methods for Ecology." The focus of the conference is on new developments in statistical ecology, broadly defined. The conference is jointly sponsored by CSU, for which this is the 12th Graybill Conference, and the American Statistical Association's section on Statistics for the Environment (ENVR), which has hosted biennial workshops since 2000. The program consists of a short course, invited plenary talks, contributed poster session and student poster competition. It is the aim of the conference to bring together a wide range of researchers, practitioners, and graduate students whose work is related to the conference theme in a wide sense. → Details

First Annual Graduate Workshop on Environmental Data Analytics, July 28 - August 1, 2014, Boulder, CO

This is the first in a series of workshops designed to help prepare the next generation of researchers and practitioners to work within, and contribute to, the data-rich era. Each workshop will bring together graduate students and senior scientists in environmental statistics and related fields to explore contemporary topics in applied environmental data modeling. The workshop will be held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. → Details

Biometry Workshop, November 6-8, 2013, Freising, Germany

This is a joint workshop between the "Ecology and Environment," "Bayes Methods," and "Spatial Statistics" working groups of the German Region of the International Biometric Society together with the "Forest Biometrics" unit of the German Association of Forest Research Stations. → Details

NCAR/IMAGe Next Generation Climate Data Products Workshop, July 15-19, 2013, Boulder, CO

This workshop will bring together statistical and data scientists with those modeling climate and climate impacts to share ideas on improving the creation of data products.

Workshop goals: 1) Identify data products and analytical tools needed by the climate impact research communities; 2) Explore and address challenges to creating high spatial- and temporal-resolution data products, with associated uncertainty, and; 3) Facilitate collaboration among the statistics, climate modeling, and climate impact communities, and, where appropriate, form working groups on specific topics that will persist beyond the workshop. → Details

SAMSI-NCAR Workshop on Massive Datasets in Environment and Climate, February 13-15, 2013, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO

This workshop is part of the 2012-13 Program on Statistical and Computational Methodology for Massive Datasets. The workshop will bring together researchers from the statistical and climate research communities to address challenges associated with assimilating massive environmental observation datasets and climate model outputs. → Details

SAMSI-SAVI Workshop on Environmental Statistics, March 4 - 6, 2013, Research Triangle Park, NC

This will be the first workshop held at SAMSI under the SAMSI-SAVI program that is joint with several Indian mathematical and statistical institutes. The objective of the workshop is to establish common research interests within the field of environmental statistics. → Details

International Workshop on Spatio-Temporal Modelling, September 12 - 14, 2012, Guimarães, Portugal

The Research Centre of Mathematics, Minho University, will host the VI International Workshop on Spatio-Temporal Modeling (METMAVI). The scientific program hosts invited and contributed sessions covering topics on the latest in theory, methods and applications.→ Details

GEOMED, October 20 - 22, 2011, Victoria, BC, Canada

GEOMED 2011 is the 7-th international, interdisciplinary conference on spatial statistics and geomedical systems. GEOMED brings together statisticians, geographers, epidemiologists, computer scientists, and public health professionals to discuss methods of spatial analysis, as well as present and debate the results of such analyses. I will give an invited talk entitled "Bayesian dynamic modeling for large space-time datasets using Gaussian predictive processes." → Details

Case Studies in Bayesian Statistics and Machine Learning, October 14 - 15, 2011, Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA

The workshop will focus on applications of Bayesian statistics and Machine Learning to problems in science and technology. The workshop builds upon the Case Studies in Bayesian Statistics Workshop which was held at CMU for the last two decades. My colleague Sudipto Banerjee and I will give an invited case study entitled "Advances in hierarchical spatial models for mapping forest attributes across large domains." → Details

Geography 890, Spring 2011

Hierarchical Bayesian Models for Environmental Spatial Data Analysis

This course explores recent advancements in hierarchical random effects models using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods. The focus is on linear and generalized linear modeling frameworks that accommodate spatial and temporal associations. The course blends modeling, computing, and data analysis including an introduction to the R statistical environment. Special attention is given to exploration and visualization of spatial-temporal data and the practical and accessible implementation of spatial-temporal models. → Details

Statistical Issues in Forest Management, May 2 - 4, 2011, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

Spatial statistics and forest inventories

The workshop covers advances in model-based and design-based estimation procedures, non-parametric models and smoothing methods, spatial modeling and nearest neighbor imputation, and post-stratification. I'll give a talk entitled "Advances in hierarchical spatial models for quantifying forest attributes." Should be a very good mix of participants. → Details

Contact Information

126 Natural Resources Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1222
Email: finleya (at)
Phone: 517-432-7219
Fax: 517-432-1143

Research positions


Work on a USDA funded project. The project focuses on method development for spatial-temporal analysis of large ecological inventory databases. Please contact me for more details.