Graduate Students

Claire Armour

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.


Madison Brown

Madison Brown grew up in Perth, Australia, and Bologna, Italy, but spent most of her childhood in Bend, OR, USA.  She moved to Vancouver in 2017; completing  Bsc. in Plant and Soil Sciences with a minor in Geological Science, where she was first inspired by the numerous applications of remote sensing.  After graduating she worked as Geologist/GIS Manager in Northern BC.

Her MSc. research focuses on monitoring structural and compositional development post-harvest. Outside of studies she enjoys skiing, cycling, trail running, and a good arts and crafts project






Andrew Chadwick

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 

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 Douglas

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.


Gonzalo Gavilan

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.

During 2016 Gonzalo decided to take the year off to explore and travel around the globe, and to gain experience in Forestry related projects. In this same year he volunteered for an NGO (Honko), quantifying Carbon storage in mangrove forest belonging to a small community in Tulear located in south-west Madagascar.
Upon his return to his home country Gonzalo started a career in forest research organization (BIOFOREST) ​​working specifically in soil nutrition and forest productivity. During this time, he realized how much he enjoyed working on research projects, and at the same time it started his interest in Remote sensing. At the beginning of 2021 Gonzalo joined IRSS as a PhD student, focusing on high resolution forest productivity models for Pine and Eucalyptus plantations in Chile based on ALS information.

Evan Gerbrecht

Evan was born and raised in North Vancouver, BC, then went and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Victoria in Geography, with a focus in Geomatics and GIS. This is where he got his first introduction into remote sensing, resource management and conservation, which led him now into working in the lab as a Masters student. His research focuses on the generation of fire fuel information across mountain pine beetle infestation mosaics, investigating how the level of beetle attack impacts wildfire behavior using drone based LiDAR.

Outside of the lab Evan enjoys nearly anything outdoors, in the summer he competes in trail running as well as stand-up paddleboard racing at an international level. While in the winter, he skis, snowboards and plays hockey when he has time.



Samuel Grubinger

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.

Liam Irwin

Liam was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. Backpacking in the local mountains during his teens lead him to develop a curiosity of the natural world. He received an undergraduate degree in natural resource conservation from UBC’s faculty of forestry; focusing on stream and riparian research during summers. After finishing undergrad, he worked in forestry consulting throughout northern BC where he was able to gain operational experience in the industry.
In 2019, Liam was drawn back to UBC to pursue the MGEM program which developed his geomatics skillset. His masters program revealed remote sensing as a solution to management uncertainty issues that became evident to Liam during his career and education in forestry/conservation. Liam is now a PhD student in the IRSS; seeking to develop a monitoring framework which integrates remotely sensed data like LIDAR to assess the state of silviculture and our regenerating forests. Liam hopes to integrate science and data to address the needs of Canadian forest management. In his free time, you’ll probably find Liam fly fishing, skiing, or taking photos of wildlife.


Kirk Johnson

Kirk is a PhD student exploring risks that are likely to impact forest landscapes using forest estate planning tools, climate-informed models, and remote sensing data. His work will also consider spatially-explicit management strategies and adaptive silvicultural treatments, assessing their cumulative impact on forest growth. Growing up in the forest country of Northern Idaho, Kirk completed his BSc in Forest Resources at the University of Idaho and moved north, pursuing an MSc in Forest Biology and Management at the University of Alberta. There, he focused on reforestation silviculture and modeling growth in juvenile white spruce plantations. After his MSc, Kirk worked at the University of Alberta and became an associate developer of the Mixedwood Growth Model (MGM), a tree-level growth model for mixed-species stands in the western Canadian boreal forest. While working with MGM, Kirk incorporated climate-sensitive functions into the model, created new modules for site index and self-thinning, and explored climate effects on stand yields. He also supported a comprehensive review of MGM for forest management planning in Alberta. Outside of work, Kirk enjoys hiking, skiing, and exploring the landscapes of western Canada.

James Maltman 

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 Melser

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

Evan Muise was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, obtaining his undergrad degree in environmental sciences with a GIS certificate. Evan is working towards his PhD in the IRSS using forest structure and productivity metrics to examine ecological integrity across the forested ecosystems of British Columbia. Outside of work, Evan spends his time with his dog, Shadow, cooking food for his friends (or just himself), and enjoying the variety of beers found in British Columbia.







Brent Murray

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

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.


Lucas Olson

Lukas is a Vancouverite who grew up sailing, hiking, and camping throughout the Gulf Islands. He earned his bachelor’s degree in urban forestry from the University of British Columbia in 2023. Lukas’s interest in remote sensing and geomatics was sparked after working as a programmer for a Geomatics Professor as an undergraduate student. Lukas joined the IRSS as a master’s student to assess the potential of using new technologies such as mobile LiDAR and photogrammetry systems, sensor networks, and drones within the forest understory to collect accurate and cost-effective measurements. When not in the lab, Lukas enjoys spending time camping, programming video games, and cooking.


Harry Seely

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.


Spencer Shields

Spencer is a master’s student whose research focuses on using constellations of micro-satellites to help characterize the nature and severity of forest disturbances. Prior to pursuing graduate studies, he also completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Natural Resource Conservation at UBC. His interest in ecology, conservation, and resource management is rooted in his own love of the outdoors and his background working in adventure tourism: from 2014 to 2019, he led wilderness trips in New Zealand, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, and his native British Columbia. This experience working in diverse ecosystems, with clients and co-workers from a variety of backgrounds, continues to shape his approach to environmental science and education. As a member of the IRSS, he is excited to be developing tools to help facilitate landscape-scale decision making. When he’s not in the lab, he can usually be found climbing, sea kayaking, or seeking out new brewery patios.



Sarah Smith-Tripp

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

Leanna grew up in suburban Philadelphia, USA. After realizing a love for earth science through a field paleontology course in Montana, she studied geology at the University of Delaware. Along the way she obtained a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Leanna started in the lab as a master’s student in 2021, with a project characterizing iparian vegetation structure using Airborne Laser Scanning data on Vancouver Island. She has since converted her master’s to a PhD, focusing on the function of riparian vegetation on stream temperature using LiDAR and thermal imagery. Outside of the lab, Leanna enjoys writing, biking the seawall, and creating new baked-good experiments for the lab to try.





Hana Travers-Smith

Hana is a PhD student who joined the IRSS in 2022. Their research investigates changes in vegetation productivity and structure along Canada’s northern treeline driven by a warming climate.
Hana grew up in Victoria, British Columbia and completed their Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at the University of Victoria. Their 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. They hope to one day to return to the Arctic and experience the northern lights! Outside of the lab Hana enjoys playing soccer and ultimate frisbee and taking cute photos of their cat, Chewbacca.





Tommaso Trotto

Tommaso was born in the countryside of Venice, Italy, where he once dreamed to become a forester in the Alps. Yet, he had always had the aspiration to move abroad and discover the wild and remote forests of Canada. Soon after, Tommaso made it to Vancouver and completed a double-degree Master’s program in Forestry (TRANSFOR-M) between the University of Padova, Italy, and UBC. During that time, Tommaso was so much surprised by the versatility, technicality, and integration of remote sensing into forestry that later it would have accompanied him during his PhD at UBC. Since 2022, Tommaso has joined the IRSS as a PhD student where he is discovering how lidar can detect and map fine temporal changes in the forest structure to make it resilient to small-scale disturbances, such as small fires and insect attacks.

When he is not in the lab, you can find him biking, climbing, enjoying the beach, or having a good Italian meal with his friends.





Elaine Ye

Elaine grew up in Guangzhou, China before coming to Canada at age 17. She finished her bachelor’s degree in Computational Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. After graduation, Elaine went to SkyWatch, a startup that sells satellite imagery and helped them develop a cloud detection algorithm. She then moved to AWS to work on distributed data streaming system. After two years in the industry, Elaine wanted a change and joined the IRSS lab as a master’s student to research forest stand segmentation. Outside work, she likes to play board games, read non-fiction and travel with her husband.





Sarah Zwiep

Sarah grew up in Port Coquitlam, BC, but now happily calls Vancouver home. In 2023, she obtained her BASc (Hons) in Computing Science with a certificate in GIS from SFU. She has worked as a STEM instructor, research assistant, and geospatial developer and credits all these experiences for helping foster her interest in the intersection of remote sensing and computing.


Sarah is joining the IRSS lab as a Research Scientist with the Mitacs Accelerate program, working with both IRSS and Hatfield Consultants on the ESA’s PEOPLE Ecosystem Restoration project.


When not in front of a computer, Sarah enjoys going on bike tours with friends, reading, making her nephew laugh, and resting.