Jeremy Arkin grew up in the suburbs outside of Chicago before moving to Boulder, Colorado where he received a bachelor’s degree in EBIO (Evolutionary Biology and Ecology) and Geography. Aside from normal coursework, his first professional experience in forestry was the completion of his honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Veblen where he analyzed the upper montane tree regeneration following the 2002 Hayman Fire. After graduation he worked as a Forestry and GIS Technician for Boulder County Parks & Open Space as well Colorado Parks & Wildlife where he was able to gain insight on how to properly manage land in accordance with the very best methods and research available. These experiences helped him to explore what kind of research he wanted to complete in graduate school as well as what kind of career he wanted to pursue afterwards, both of which he hopes will facilitate the coalescence of sound science and land management. His research with the IRSS allows him to explore and develop methods that use drones to assist in fire behaviour modelling and post-fire forest management.
Claire hails from the wild west town of Calgary, Alberta, but has been in and out of UBC since 2013 when she started her undergraduate degree in engineering. After completing her Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM), she joined the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio (IRSS) as a doctoral student where she researches Predictive Ecosystem Mapping and LiDAR in Southwest BC. Between Claire’s undergrad and master’s, she was living in the mountain town of Canmore, AB where she worked for Parks Canada and a local ski resort called Sunshine Village within Banff National Park.
She enjoys visiting trails with her dog Otto, skiing, and acquiring random knowledge from the internet. Her favourite part of living in Vancouver is the multitude of breweries, restaurants, and coffee shops and she loves to try a beer, or three, while reading a book or trying to beat her own personal record on NYT crosswords.
Leonard grew up in a small village in the Black Forest in southern Germany. He earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Stuttgart in 2020 and then continued on to pursue a consecutive master’s degree. After taking some courses in pattern recognition and machine learning, his interest in remote sensing grew. Thus, he joined IRSS as visiting international research student in March 2022. During this time, he will work on quantifying the impact of mountain pine beetle infestation on wildfire fuel in Alberta, combining airborne surveys with species information and ALS data. He will continue at the IRSS in order to write his master’s thesis. His research will focus on using neural networks and image segmentation in forestry to move towards a more sustainable future.
When not working in the lab, Leonard spends his time in the mountains skiing, climbing, hiking, or whatever the outdoor season offers, and then preparing a well-deserved treat.
Andrew Chadwick was born and raised in Toronto, where from an early age he found himself enamored with the city’s ravine systems. Forever fascinated with the intricacies of the natural world, it is no wonder that Andrew pursued a Bachelor of Environmental Studies. In recognizing the need to better harmonize human and non-human systems, he specialized in Environmental Management during his undergraduate degree, where he soon discovered the powerful tools of GIS and Remote Sensing. This led him to the Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management program at UBC, of which he is a recent graduate.
Now, Andrew is developing an operational tool that will leverage UAV-derived orthographic imagery and photogrammetric point clouds to deliver enhanced post-harvest regeneration inventory data. This project bridges the burgeoning fields of remote sensing, computer vision, and machine learning and as such, Andrew is very excited and thankful to be working on it as part of the IRSS.
Cameron Cosgrove is an ecologist who joined the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio in 2020 as an MSc student. He grew up in the village of Grantown-on-Spey, in the Highlands of Scotland and studied Ecological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. While on a student exchange at UBC in 2017, Cameron took one of Professor Coops’ classes and got hooked on remote sensing. Cameron’s research interests are focused around conservation and land management and how data (particularly from remote sensing) can be effectively incorporated into decision making.
Cameron’s research in the lab is exploring how we can use ALS data to map the nesting habitat of the marbled murrelet (an old growth nesting sea bird), with the goal of supporting forest management and the conservation of this species in British Columbia.
Prior to joining the lab Cameron worked with Forest and Land Scotland, developing best practice to reduce the impact of forestry on endangered species and most recently was a Woodland Mapping Intern for the Cairngorms National Park Authority. You can follow him on twitter at @CryptidCosgrove
Spencer Dakin Kuiper
Spencer Dakin Kuiper grew up in Lethbridge, Alberta, and obtained his Bachelor’s degree in geography and a certificate in GIS & remote sensing from York University in Toronto, Ontario. As an undergraduate student, Spencer played varsity volleyball and was lucky enough to attend a field course along Iceland’s southern coast. Before starting at UBC Spencer worked as a cave guide on Vancouver Island, in human wildlife conflict at Waterton Lakes National Park, and a technician in the parks planning department at Credit Valley Conservation Authority in Mississauga, Ontario.
Spencer’s research with IRSS focuses on the application of ALS data to the mapping and characterization of stream networks and riparian vegetation metrics that are important to fish habitats.
When not in the lab you can find Spencer enjoying the outdoors, and playing volleyball at Kitsilano beach trying to relive his glory days.
Tristan grew up on the estuary of Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island. While pursuing his undergrad in micro/molecular biology, his interests gravitated towards microbial ecology and the bottom-up influence of microbes on ecosystem functions, including their role in global climate-change mitigation. After gaining his bachelor’s degree, Tristan became active with an NGO called the Cowichan Estuary Restoration and Conservation Association (CERCA) and began an MSc at the University of Victoria, looking at carbon sequestration in Cowichan Bay, British Columbia, with a particular focus on the primary production of the intertidal biofilms (a.k.a. microphytobenthos) on the mudflats. During this time, he also interned for CERCA and did microphytobenthos-related contract work for Environment and Climate Change Canada. As a PhD candidate at IRSS, Tristan is mapping and monitoring biofilms in Fraser River Delta, a critical stopover site for migratory birds.
When not in the field or lab, Tristan has a secret life as a musician where he releases and tours music on Planet Mu records, UK. He is also keen on the outdoors and food.
Francois du Toit
Francois du Toit was born in Pretoria, South Africa, before moving to Vienna, Austria, and eventually Vancouver to pursue a B.Sc. in Geology. After graduation, Francois spent some time working with a geological exploration company in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. The creation of the MGEM program drew Francois back to UBC as he looked to expand his skill set and learn more about remote sensing. The experience led him to the IRSS, where he is a PhD candidate using Airborne Laser Scanning to phenotype Douglas-fir trees in genetic improvement trials across British Columbia. Outside of work, Francois enjoys sports, and is currently an assistant coach with the UBC Men’s Rugby team.
Gonzalo Gavilan was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. After completing his bachelor degree in Forestry in 2012, he had his first working experience in Chilean department of forestry (CONAF), working with subsidies for the native forest management. In 2014 he went to the University of Melbourne to start a master degree in Forest Ecosystem Science, graduating at the end of 2015.
Samuel Grubinger grew up in the bucolic Green Mountains of Vermont and has always been obsessed with maps. He studied Environmental Sciences and Geography at the University of Vermont, where he was first exposed to remote sensing as a tool to explore how humans shape natural landscapes.
Before joining the IRSS, Samuel worked as a research technician on the Marin Carbon Project in Berkeley, California, and at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.
Samuel’s graduate research focuses on the use drones for forest phenotyping. Using ALS and multispectral data, he is exploring how UAS remote sensing can inform tree improvement and reforestation practices in British Columbia. Outside of the lab, Samuel enjoys exploring new places, listening to podcasts, learning languages, and caring for his collection of succulents and orchids.
His academic background includes a BSc in Natural Resource Conservation and a Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM), both completed in UBC’s Faculty of Forestry.
When not at work Paul enjoys spending time with his two daughters, as well as skiing and fishing.
Federico is a PhD candidate and his research explores the opportunities that arise from the use of big data in the valuation of forest non-market ecosystem services. Originally from Buriasco, a small village on the Italian Alps foothills, Federico studied forestry and environmental science within the University of Turin (Italy) where he received his master’s degree, later becoming a research assistant. Federico hopes that his work could contribute to a forest management able to take in account the entire array of ecosystem services that forests provide to humans. Outside the lab Federico enjoys swimming and admiring with his daughter the tireless movement of the columns of ants in the grass.
James grew up in and around Seattle, Washington. He completed a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington in Political Science, focusing on Environmental Politics. Deciding he wanted to pursue environmental science more, he gained a Masters in Environmental Protection and Management from the University of Edinburgh, with his dissertation examining the use of photogrammetry to evaluate the impact of rock climbing on cliffside biodiversity.
After spending a year out of academia working as a sustainability consultant, he joined the lab in 2021, with his current research attempting to predict forest age Canada wide using landscape level satellite data.
Outside of work, he is an avid skier, climber, and hiker, who enjoys a good book as much as a big day in the mountains.
Ramon was born and raised in the Netherlands, but moved to the Vancouver area in 2012. He graduated with a BA in Environment & Sustainability from the UBC Geography department in 2019, which is where he was first introduced to applications of remote sensing and GIS for environmental issues and conservation. Eager to grow his geomatics skillset, he returned to UBC after a year of travelling and went on to complete the Faculty of Forestry’s MGEM program in 2021. The MGEM experience led him to join the IRSS, where he is a research scientist working on enhanced carbon dynamics and land cover change assessment using integrated satellite-derived datasets and analysis approaches. In his free time, Ramon is an avid foodie, explorer of the great outdoors, and enjoys going to concerts.
Evan Muise was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and a certificate in GIS from Dalhousie University. Between his third and fourth years of undergrad, he did a work term in Vancouver. Moving back and forth between Halifax and Vancouver has become a semi-frequent occurrence for Evan, with three moves between the cities in two years.
Evan’s a master’s student in the IRSS, whose research focus is on ecological integrity monitoring in BC’s Parks and Protected Areas. He enjoys coding for geospatial in both Python and R, and is trying to learn more about how to be an efficient, reproducible coder. Outside of work, Evan enjoys cycling, camping, and cards.
Brent Murray is from Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Geography with a focus in geomatics. He expanded his knowledge and skillset for remote sensing through the Master or Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM) program at UBC. After his time in MGEM, he worked as a GIS Specialist in Kelowna, BC, specializing in remote sensing. Brent is now a PhD student in the IRSS lab, focusing on tree species and wood quality prediction using multisource remote sensing data and deep learning algorithms. Brent enjoys spending time with friends over good food and beer. He also loves spending time hiking, canoeing, and camping.
Rik Nuijten is a PhD candidate using drone-based digital photogrammetry for monitoring regenerating vegetation on restoration sites in Northwest Alberta. He is exploring how mapped vegetation structure and community composition can help measure progress along a trajectory of recovery and inform adaptive restoration activities.
Rik was born and raised in the Netherlands and studied at Utrecht University before coming to UBC. He received a BSc in Human Geography and an MSc in Geographical Sciences. During his studies he became interested in GIS and Remote Sensing and started to enjoy coding in Python and R for geospatial data analysis. Besides his more technical work, he is learning new aspects of forest ecology every week from other lab members and readings.
Outside of work, Rik enjoys all sports that do not require good hand-eye coordination, including biking, hiking, skiing and running as well as a cinnamon bun or doughnut after.
Yangqian (Frederick) Qi
Yangqian (Frederick) was born and raised in Ningbo, a coastal city in East China. He spent two years studying ecology in China and transferred to UBC in 2017 to major in Natural Resources Conservation (Global Perspectives). Over the course of his degree, he worked as a research assistant in the Chinese Academy of Sciences to analyze the chronological changes of soil nutrients in forests and paddy fields. He also went to the University of Cambridge in the UK as an exchange student to examine the impacts of meteorological droughts on vegetation across diverse ecosystems using satellite-based solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence.
After assisting different projects in IRSS as a Work Learn student, Yangqian was impressed by the power of remote sensing technologies and decided to pursue a master’s degree. His graduate research investigates the use of quantitative structure models based on UAV and terrestrial LiDAR in monitoring the forest inventory. Yangqian is looking forward to exploring the applications of remote sensing in different scenarios. During his spare time, Yangqian enjoys hiking, jogging, and travelling.
Martin grew up in the French Alps, spending most of his time hiking and skiing in the mountains. His desire to learn more about the environment lead him to study Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland), where he received a BSc and MSc.
Martin is currently a PhD candidate in the IRSS and his research focuses on enhancing the characterization of forest structure and resources for forest inventory and monitoring using airborne and spaceborne single photon LiDAR.
Harry grew up in Surrey, BC and has loved the great outdoors since he was young. Harry completed his undergraduate degree in Biology at the university of Guelph specializing in Wildlife conservation. After developing a passion for GIS, cartography, and remote sensing, he decided to further pursue these skills as a career. Identifying the parallels between Wildlife management and forestry, Harry applied to the Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM) program at UBC. During his time in MGEM, Harry realized that coding in R can be fun (except when it’s infuriating). He focused on a research project that used area-based LiDAR metrics to map snags in the Interior Douglas-Fir Zone of British Columbia. This research led him to pursue a PhD in the IRSS lab which applies deep learning algorithms to estimate tree biomass and carbon using LiDAR and Digital Aerial Photogrammetry. Overall, Harry’s research priority is ensuring effective science communication to improve environmental decision making in Canada. In his free time, Harry enjoys biking around Vancouver, backcountry camping, and hanging out with his cat.
Sarah is a proud Oregonian-British Columbia transplant. She spent her undergrad studying geosciences on the east coast at Wellesley College near Boston. Her research passions have taken her all around the world – Lake Baikal in Russia, Mongolia, and even two months sailing a tall ship across the South Pacific. Upon graduating undergrad, she couldn’t wait to move back west to complete an MSc in Geography at UBC (May 2021). Her research allows her to do one of her favorite things – tromp around burned forests.
Some of her other pass times include running, backpacking, and cycling. Sarah is an incoming PhD student modeling forest regeneration following the wide-spread and severe BC wildfires in 2017-18. To do so, she uses a combination of satellite data (landsat, MODIS) and high-resolution Lidar and drone data. She remains inspired by the great outdoors and wishes to help preserve what has made her life so wonderful for many generations to come.
Leanna Stackhouse grew up in suburban Philadelphia before starting at the University of Delaware as an environmental sciences major. She later switched her degree to geology after a paleontological expedition to Montana, where digging dinosaurs helped her realize a love for field work. Along with a BA in Geological Sciences, she obtained a graduate certificate in GIS and wrote an undergraduate thesis on the applications of satellite imagery to identifying areas of fossil potential in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. Leanna’s MSc research focuses on using airborne laser scanning data to characterize riparian vegetation on Vancouver Island. Outside of the lab, she enjoys baking, writing, and exploring the Canadian wilderness.
Hana grew up in Victoria, British Columbia and completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at the University of Victoria. Her Master’s research used remote sensing tools to explore how permafrost thaw and climate change have impacted lakes and ponds across the Northwest Territories and Yukon. She hopes to one day to return to the Arctic and experience the northern lights!
Outside of work Hana enjoys playing soccer, cycling and fostering many cats.
Tommaso grew up in the countryside of Venice, Italy, where he got to appreciate the beauty of nature. Tommaso completed his Bachelor’s degree in Forest and Environmental Technologies at the University of Padova, Italy. However, he was eager to pursue a career in Canada surrounded by forests, so, in 2021, he signed up for a double-degree program, named TRANSFOR-M, between the University of Padova and The University of British Columbia, and earned two Master’s in Forestry.
At UBC, Tommaso was first invited to join the IRSS lab as a Work-Learn student while writing his graduate thesis. He was enchanted by the power, versatility, and technicality of Remote Sensing, and he dreamed of driving drones and dealing with high-tech tools.
Currently, Tommaso is a PhD candidate in the IRSS lab, and his research uses LiDAR and provincial inventory data to perform a retrospective assessment of structural and functional attributes of forests across Canada, in order to develop a list of key features that have proven to be more resilient and resistant to disturbances over time. Tommaso hopes that his work could enhance the integrity of our woodlands in face of a changing climate.
When he is not working, he is probably enjoying his free time getting his hands dirty with gardening stuff, chilling on the beach, hiking or snowboarding in the mountains, or sometimes up in the air, parachuting.
Daisy was born in Suzhou, China and immigrated to Canada when she was 2 years old. Her childhood in Toronto and later in the Rockies when she moved to Calgary, exposed her to both the urban and natural parts of Canada. Upon moving to Vancouver for her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at UBC, she was inspired by the city’s integration of social and ecological values, and environmental research. After taking a remote sensing course with Dr. Paul Pickell, Daisy was astounded by the myriad of questions that remote sensing had the power to answer and joined the IRSS Lab as a WorkLearn. Enjoying her work in the lab, Daisy then joined on to pursue a Masters degree. Her work is focused on the detection, mapping, and attribution of mountain roads in forested Caribou habitat in northern BC. In her free time, Daisy enjoys playing basketball, cooking, watching TV, and going on spontaneous adventures.