Kiker, Greg

Kiker, Greg
University of Florida

The focus of Greg Kiker's career is the ecological modeling and management of natural systems. He has studied management of elephants in South Africa's Kruger National Park and water distribution on the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida. These may seem like unrelated problems, but they have a lot in common. In both cases, and many others that Kiker works on, the problem centers on management of a natural resources.

Management means making decisions, acting on those decisions, and achieving results. Kiker is interested in every aspect of this process. He collects and analyzes data from natural systems. He develops options for decision-makers and explains the consequences. He has studied the decision-making process itself extensively. As a final touch, he studies the uncertainty in every stage of the process, beginning with the accuracy of the original data.

Kiker is especially interested in so-called "wicked problems." First identified in the late 1960s, wicked problems have many factors and high-stakes solutions, full of economic and political implications --- often with time limits. Many of them are now famous, such as global climate change and the American healthcare debate. Balancing human populations and natural ecosystems often creates wicked problems. Over the years, Kiker has developed the skills and analytical tools to tackle tough problems as the scale and complexity of his projects has steadily grown.