Chen Shang grew up in Beijing, China. When he was 18, he moved to Central China for his undergraduate degree in GIS and cartography at Wuhan University. Two years later, he started his journey in Canada through a joint program with University of Waterloo in Ontario, where he earned his second undergraduate degree in geomatics. Deeply impressed with the power of remote sensing, he stayed at Waterloo for his masters, working on a land cover change project using high spatial resolution imagery. Realizing the limitation of optical data, Chen moved to Kingston, Ontario, for his PhD at Queen’s University, where he got his hands dirty with LiDAR data for forestry applications.
Now as a Postdoctoral Fellow with IRSS, he is applying what he learned over the past years to Canada-wide land cover mapping with long time series of image composites. When Chen is not working in front of a computer, he enjoys reading, longboarding and the occasional flute playing.
Saverio Francini was born in Tuscany, in a city set in the countryside between Siena and Florence. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural and Environmental Sciences and a Master’s Degree in Forest Systems Sciences and Technologies with honors. He is a PhD student currently working on artificial intelligence remote sensing applications to automatically detect forest disturbances. His interests are programming, modelling, machine/deep learning and image processing in general. He has played piano since he was a child. He likes the sea, playing chess, eating well and drinking wine with friends.
Sam grew up between the countries of England and Northern California. He graduated from Bangor University with a degree in applied ecology in 2016. After graduating, Sam spent a short time researching dragonflies in Ugandan caldera lakes before starting a forestry internship in eastern Oregon for the US Bureau of Land Management and the Chicago Botanic Garden. At the IRSS, Sam explored how airborne laser scanning and multispectral time series can predict the occurrence of birds in boreal forests. Sam continues to live in Vancouver and works for a geological consulting company.
Chris was born in Illinois and raised in Texas, where he lived for 13 years. Following years of camping and too much running, Chris developed his passion for the outdoors and dreamed of moving west and living in the woods to learn more about the complicated ecosystems that only existed in pictures. Having finally been cooked to a medium rare in the sweltering Texas heat, Chris left to begin studying at the University of Oregon, where he would go on to earn a BSc in Environmental Science. There, Chris explored his interests in forest biology and geospatial technologies, eventually landing an undergraduate research assistantship under Dr. Chris Bone, investigating topics such as Mountain Pine Beetles, socioeconomic measures of poverty, US Forest Service supply chains, and forest treatments in the American West. Chris’s MSc research at UBC is part of the AWARE program and will examine the ability of ALS LiDAR to assess product mix in forest stands. He hopes to use this information to inform the decisions of forest managers and timber companies in order to improve the health and sustainability of forest resources.
Chris looks forward to life in Vancouver which includes lots of running, camping, eating, and pretending to understand hockey.
Growing up in an outdoorsy family in the outdoorsy little city of Nelson, BC, Bethany had little choice but to fall in love with lakes, rivers, mountains, and forests. She loves exploring and discovering more about the intricacies and beauty of the natural world, which she considers God’s Masterpiece. She decided that a career in wildlife/conservation sounded like a good excuse to spend more time in and learning about nature, and has so far enjoyed her summers working in environmental consulting. After graduating high school Bethany moved to the Big City of Kelowna, BC, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Biology. Now she is excited to up the ante again with her graduate studies at the IRSS lab where she will be building models of grizzly bear response to roads. She’s a bit wary of all the people and a campus six times the population of her home town, but locals encourage her that there are many places to escape. Bethany looks forward to spending her time growing to love Vancouver by experiencing the hiking, biking, kayaking, and maybe even some culture. When she needs to hole up and introvert for a while Bethany enjoys reading, walks in the woods, and singing while she pretends to play guitar.
Brandon is originally from California but he moved to Texas as soon as he could. Raised in Dallas, he graduated secondary school in 2008 and started school at Texas A&M University. He joined the US Army after 3 semesters, serving as a light infantryman with the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York. From 2011-2012 he deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in support of NATO International Security Assistance Forces. After leaving the Army, he returned to Texas A&M where he graduated with a double major in Spatial Sciences and Forestry. After an internship analyzing satellite imagery with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, his interests in remote sensing and geospatial technologies were confirmed, leading him to the IRSS at UBC.
Brandon enjoys international travel with his wife Christina, but on a typical night you’ll find him doing some online gaming. His research at the IRSS will use LiDAR to analyze the impacts of changes in forest structure on grizzly bear movement and survival.
Max is the son a forester, raised under the towering sand cliffs and the dense hardwood forests of Northern Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State University in the Summer of 2013 with a B.S. in Forestry, concentrating in Forest Conservation and Environmental Studies. While at MSU, Max participated in research projects including the development of genetically modified poplar for biofuels, firewood sterilization, and commercial Christmas tree production. After graduation, Max worked in Northern Lower Michigan as a district forester, as well as a professional consulting forester, assisting private landowners in the scientific and ethical management of their forests. Max maintains the credentials of Candidate Certified Forester with the Society of American Foresters. Attending graduate school has been a long-time goal of Max’s, with his motivation to join the IRSS Lab stemming from his experiences in the forest products industry. Max is currently pursuing his M.Sc. degree. He is working with a local Vancouver remote sensing start-up to develop innovative UAV applications for forest management. Max is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying camping, hiking, fishing, and good beer.
Félix Poulin grew up in the beautiful Quebec City, spending his time in the forest or in the water. He loves hiking, road biking, surfing, when the water come closer, and travelling. He always wanted to work with natural resources and found a way to do it through the Forest management and environmental science program in Laval University, in Quebec City. During those four years, he has learned how to manage a forest and how to use forest management in a proper way.
That undergraduate program helped him develop an interest in remote sensing, more precisely with LiDAR technologies and how you can use it in forestry. During an internship in Alexis Achim’s lab in 2017 and in Nicholas Coops’ lab in 2018, he continued to develop this interest and since May 2019, he work as a MSc candidate in the IRSS lab to mix his two interests: forests and LiDAR.
Nick Leach is a dyed-in-the-wool Pacific Northwest local. Born and raised in the Seattle area, Nick originally came to Vancouver in 2011 for his BSc in Physics and Astronomy, where he studied planetary astrophysics. After dabbling in different jobs– including working at a particle accelerator and a private medical devices lab– he eventually fell in love with satellite remote sensing and image processing. His research at IRSS will explore possibilities for using high-resolution commercial satellite data to quickly identify and understand forest disturbances.
Outside of the lab, Nick is a trail and ultrarunning junkie. He’s always looking for new ways to play outdoors, whether it’s running, climbing, scrambling, surfing, or just crawling into his trusty sleeping bag. He has also been known to pluck a tune on the banjo and has a lot of opinions about board games.
Shangrong Lin grew up in Guangzhou, a major city in Southern China known for its Cantonese culture. He obtained a BSc in geographical information system in South China Normal University, and then he moved to Beijing, the capital of China, to pursue his Master’s and PhD in the Institute of Remote sensing and digital earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences. After spending three years on his PhD in Beijing, Shangrong moved to UBC to work on a one-year research project at IRSS. His research at IRSS will explore the relationship between tower-based reflectance and canopy photosynthesis, which expands on the work of his idol, Thomas Hilker. Now his research interest is using ground-based instruments, such as radiometer, to understand the dynamics of carbon flux in forest ecosystems and developing new methods to estimate large-scale gross primary productivity with satellite data.
During his spare time, Shangrong loves swimming, hiking, and playing soccer. He enjoys travelling and wants to experience a different lifestyle in Canada.
Cam grew up just outside of small town Hinton, Alberta. Having spent most of his young life exploring the backcountry of the Wilmore Wilderness Park on horse back he knew he wanted to pursue a career in wildlife research and conservation. After completing his BSc in Environmental Earth Sciences at the University of Alberta he was able to realize this goal with the fRI Research Grizzly Bear Program. Cam spent four summers and a one year internship with the program working on projects ranging from population dynamics to predation. When not working with the fRI Cam split his time between travelling and ski bumming.
Wishing to expand his knowledge base, Cam will be working with the IRSS lab as an MSc candidate. He will be assessing how habitat availability influences space-time patterns of movement and survival of grizzly bears at fine spatial and temporal scales as well as differentiating movement patterns associated with different levels of landscape connectivity.
Alex is originally from North Vancouver and was a part of the UBC Baseball program during his undergraduate degree and completed his MSc in the IRSS between 2017 and 2019. His research explored the potential for drone-based photogrammetric surveys of disturbed conifer forests for terrain modeling and timber inventory purposes. Prior to that, Alex was a work-learn student in the IRSS while completing a BA in Geography.
Since 2019, Alex has been a GIS Analyst at BGC Engineering where he focuses on mass-processing of LiDAR change detection, photogrammetry and InSAR data for geotechnical hazard identification.
Alex now lives in Coquitlam, BC with his wife and two kids. Besides spending time with family, his hobbies include mountain biking and skiing.
Lukas grew up in a village in Austria, not far from Vienna. He occasionally helped his father with managing the family forest. He spent countless hours walking through the woods, marking trees, planting trees, erecting fences and crunching numbers for the tax office. During this time he first came into contact with remote sensing when he used aerial photographs to delineate land use maps in order for his father to receive Common Agricultural Policy subsidies. He attended mechanical engineering school for five years and then served his country as an ambulance technician for nine months. After that he left for the Netherlands to pursue a BSc in Aerospace Engineering. During this he spent a semester doing a minor in forestry at UBC. It was there that he re-discovered his passion for forestry and as the Netherlands were way too flat for a mountain boy like him anyways, he decided to return and join the IRSS.
During his master’s he will look into biomass quantification, change detection, camouflaged vehicle detection and/or species identification using multispectral optical and synthetic aperture radar images from Urthecast’s satellites. In his free time, Lukas spends as much time as possible in the North Shore Mountains with the Varsity Outdoor Club. He especially likes ski touring and hiking but he is open to try many new things.
Annie is a recent graduate of the Masters of Geomatics for Environmental Management Program at UBC, and before that she graduated from the University of Alberta (in her home town of Edmonton) with bachelor degrees in Ecology and Animal Biology. Annie has spent the last few summers working in Alberta as a Wildlife Biologist primarily conducting bird surveys and nest sweeps for industry. Over the winters she has worked as a Wildlife Management Technician mediating wildlife human conflict at the Vancouver Airport. In her free time, Annie likes to ski, hike and generally be outside… or in a coffee shop!
Annie started in the IRSS because she wished to build on the knowledge she gained through her masters studies, and feels that there is potential for geospatial analysis to play a role in understanding conservation ecology issues, hopefully reducing the human impact on wild spaces. As a research assistant, Annie will be using Digital Aerial Photogrammetry to assess forest regeneration and will link this with the regeneration survey practices currently employed in Alberta.
Lennart Noordermeer was born in the Netherlands, and has grown up in several countries: Denmark (from age 1-4), the Netherlands (4-8), Indonesia (8-12), Malaysia (12-16), and the Netherlands again (16-18). After finishing high school, he travelled around Australia for a year working in timber mills, apple orchards and vineyards. He carried out a four-year bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Nature Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Wageningen, the Netherlands. He fulfilled the last two years of the program as a visiting student in Norway, where he enjoyed spending his free time in the outdoors.
After his bachelor’s, Lennart worked as a forest machine operator for four years, operating a cut-to-length thinning harvester in Østerdalen, Norway. He then decided to move to Ås, Norway, to get his master’s degree in Forestry at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, where he continued with a PhD fellowship in forest inventory. He is now two years into his PhD on site productivity classification of forests using multi-temporal data from airborne laser scanning and aerial photogrammetry. As a visitor at the IRSS, Lennart will be testing an age-independent method for site index determination using a time series of point cloud data.
Joe was born in the Franglais-speaking city of Montreal, QC. Running to the window to watch lightning storms from his room, he was certain from the age of 10 that he would become a weather forecaster. Demoralized by the physics requirements for atmospheric science, he instead decided to pursue his life-long fascination with maps. In 2015, Joe earned his BSc in Environment from McGill University. In his last year and subsequent gap year, he carried out research with Professor Jeffrey Cardille using Landsat 8 to estimate concentrations of coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in lakes of the Abitibi region of Quebec. He also used the optical data to categorize the area’s lakes in order to improve CDOM estimations from Landsat 5 and 7. Ultimately, inspired by the grandeur and aesthetic beauty of trees, Joe sought a project that would combine forestry and cartography. And so, Joe found his way to the IRSS lab to pursue his master’s. As a team member of AWARE, his research assesses the utility of LiDAR for the measurement of tree height-growth near Slave Lake, AB.
Zoltan Mityok’s life thus far can be summed up with one word: adaptation! Born in Calgary, AB and raised in a Hungarian household, his misadventures include growing up periodically in Europe, teaching English in Honduras, obtaining a B.Sc. in Natural Resources Conservation at UBC, and taking every opportunity to work through co-op internships in Wyoming, USA, interior BC and the Discovery Islands. Diverse work experiences called for as much adaptation as traveling: forestry engineering and reconnaissance, GIS mapping of the USDA’s Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, and helping to establish a newly licensed community forest via ecological assessments, mapping, and liaising with community and board members.
From these varied cultural and professional experiences, Zoltan has adapted and incorporated a medley of ideologies, values and beliefs into his work and sense of purpose. Life has helped to distil his broad interests into GIS and remote sensing; the application of such technologies to answering questions about our world and the biotic-abiotic interactions influencing humanity’s decisions and quality of life. Zoltan is thrilled to begin adapting to his new life as an MSc candidate, and will be modelling snow dynamics and its influence on wildlife behavior within the St’át’imc territory using sensor, field, and radio-telemetry data.
Ethan Berman’s upbringing between New Delhi, India and Cambridge, Massachusetts has led to his split personality as an adventurous vagabond and inquisitive academic. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a BA in Mathematics, he spent the better part of four years as a Princeton in Asia Fellow working with local communities in Thailand. He has worn many hats, including being a math teacher, IT technician, and experiential and environmental educator. Ethan’s first-hand exposure to environmental challenges in Southeast Asia and fascination with maps as a tool for sustainable management fueled him back across the Pacific to pursue an MSc as part of the IRSS. A little bit tired of the tropics, his research is focused on the complexities of mapping snow in forested and mountain environments and the effect of different snow variables on threatened wildlife populations.
You’re equally likely to find him plugging away in the lab as you are to find him slogging up to a cold mountain summit.
Txomin was born and raised in the medieval town of Portugalete, close to Bilbao, Spain. He studied Technical Engineering in Land Surveying at the University of the Basque Country (2002), Engineering in Geodesy and Cartography at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (2005), and obtained his MSc in Geographical Information Management at the Cranfield University (UK) in 2005. Afterwards, he moved back to the Polytechnic University of Valencia, earning his PhD in Cartography and Remote Sensing in 2011. Txomin first came to IRSS as a visiting Postdoctoral Fellow for six months between December 2012 and May 2013. Enjoying the experience and the people, he decided to return for further collaboration. His current project develops advanced methods for mass Landsat data processing for mapping and monitoring Canada’s forested ecosystems. In 2018 Txomin left his beloved IRSS to join the Canadian Forest Service as a Research Scientist, where he is currently continuing his research on integrating multiple-source remote-sensing data for forest ecosystem monitoring.
Txomin enjoys biking, gaming, and collecting unnecessary stuff such as PEZ dispensers, globes, starships, and stormtroopers.
Yuhao (Bean) Lu
Yuhao (Bean) Lu was born and raised in Wuxi in China. He received a B.Sc in Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia and a B.Sc in Forestry at Nanjing Forestry University. Yuhao joined IRSS lab as a research assistant in 2013, working on forest modelling specifically on Coastal Douglas fir and Chinese fir plantations.
Now as a PhD candidate at IRSS, he is detecting and analysing urban land use changes and urban green areas using Landsat imageries. Yuhao enjoys staying active, travelling and taking photos.
Ignacio San Miguel
Ignacio San Miguel was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. His passion for natural resources management led him to study a BSc in forestry at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. He then pursued his interests through a MSc in Forestry at the Universidad de Valladolid where he worked on the connectivity of brown bear habitat, here he realized the full potential of GIS and remote sensing. Ignacio then worked at the Joint Research Centre in Italy, where he used satellite image acquisition campaign for the Common Agricultural Policy check subsidies. This experience strengthened his resolution to continue working on remote sensing for natural environment assessments and management. His MSc research will be on wildfire patterns analysis using aerial and satellite images.
Paul was raised in the United States mid-west before landing at Puget Sound in Washington. In 2011, he graduated from the interdisciplinary Evergreen State College with a BAS in forest ecology. As a post-doctoral research fellow at IRSS, Paul is undertaking research of forest fires to better understand how the boreal forest landscape mosaic has evolved over time. Specifically, Paul works with aerially-derived forest inventory data and moderate scale satellite imageries to map forest fires and forest recovery. His work will provide tools and information necessary to re-create the historical boreal forest landscape as well as forecast future burning conditions.
Giona was born in Locarno and grew up in the sunny Italian-speaking corner of Switzerland surrounded by beautiful mountains and lakes. At 19 he moved to the French part of the country to study Environmental Sciences at the University of Lausanne. He received the M.Sc. degree in 2009 with a thesis on the forecasting of snow avalanches.
Introduced to remote sensing, he decided to continue with a doctorate in this field, obtaining the Ph.D. degree in 2014. His research tackled the problem of the portability across images of land-cover classifiers and leveraged machine learning approaches to ease their adaptation.
After a year spent discovering Latin-America, he is now ready to start this new adventure here at IRSS. His post-doctorate focuses on the combination of LiDAR acquisitions and optical images through data-driven methods to study forest dynamics.
While in British Columbia, he is looking forward to explore and ski down as many powder-filled slopes as possible. Also, he is an avid hockey fan and passionate about travel photography.
Doug Bolton was born and raised on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. He received his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and his master’s degree in Remote Sensing and GIS from Boston University. Doug’s work at BU included predicting crop yields in the United States with MODIS data and mapping the spread of insect infestations through New England with Landsat time-series data. Following the completion of his master’s degree, he took off to the west coast to pursue his PhD at the University of British Columbia. Here at UBC, Doug’s work involves using a combination of LiDAR and optical remote sensing to better understand forest recovery following disturbances.
In addition to his work at UBC, Doug enjoys exploring British Columbia, snowboarding at Whistler, and learning (to love) the metric system.
Alison was born and raised in the east end of Toronto near the shores of Lake Ontario. Alison did her undergraduate studies in Kingston, Ontario at Queen’s University prior to moving to Vancouver to pursue a Masters degree in the Geography department in 2011. While at Queen’s and UBC Alison had the unique opportunity to travel twice to the Canadian high Arctic to participate in ecological field research on Melville Island in the Western Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Ellesmere Island at the eastern edge of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Alison began her academic career as a physical geographer/ecologist studying carbon cycling and botany in her undergrad and masters, respectively.
In 2015 Alison moved to Berlin, Germany to pursue a PhD in remote sensing at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam, Germany. Alison’s PhD research focuses on new applications of hyperspectral remote sensing data in Arctic ecosystems with a focus on vegetation phenology and change. She works closely with IRSS at UBC and partners at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks where she has conducted both laboratory and two Arctic field campaigns. In her spare time, she can usually be found in the mountains on her bike, skis, or mastering the German language.
Born in Vancouver and raised in Victoria, Dave Williams spent most of his teen years and early twenties with designs on a music and writing career whilst dabbling in food service, social work, and tree planting. It was his experience with the latter and a growing awareness of impending global ecological doom that led him to the Natural Resources Conservation degree program in UBC Forestry, finding that his interests lie in urban socioecological systems, dynamics of ecosystem services, and political ecology.
As a member of both the IRSS and the Landscape Ecology Lab (LEL) under Sarah Gergel, Dave is working as an MSc candidate on using LiDAR and RapidEye multispectral data to produce a high resolution land cover map of Metro Vancouver. From this map, Dave aims to model the sources and flows of ecosystem services and compare them with socioeconomic data to see how urban form relates to ecological justice.
Adam Erickson grew up in the temperate forests of the Puget Sound basin. He studied International Political Economy for his B.A and then worked in marketing while volunteering with The Nature Conservancy. Adam studied regional planning for his master’s degree, where he researched Pacific Northwest watershed management and salmon recovery planning. He then developed novel methods to visualise municipal land use in Oregon and to inform water quality monitoring efforts using GIS at a water quality laboratory in California. Adam’s research combines landscape-scale forest ecosystem modelling with remote sensing to simulate the long-term ecological effects of changing natural and anthropogenic processes on grizzly bear habitat in the foothills region of Alberta. Adam welcomes opportunities to collaborate. His ultimate goal is to help improve the social-ecological resilience of northwest North America.
Amanda Mathys was born in Vancouver, BC, and grew up in Zurich, Switzerland. Having spent most of her life surrounded by mountains, she enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and camping. After high school, Amanda returned to Canada to complete a B.Sc.H. in Environmental Science at Queen’s University. During this time she worked as a GIS/GPS Field Technician and as a CIDA Intern with UNESCO in Colombia. Amanda then moved back to her city of birth to complete a M.Sc. in Soil Science at UBC, where she investigated the effects of the mountain pine beetle and forest management on the forest carbon balance. Her interest in forestry led her to join IRSS and pursue a PhD. Her research will integrate remote sensing and public participation techniques to map forest species distribution in the Pacific Northwest.
Andrés was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, one of the most beautiful cities in the world where colonial architecture is surrounded by magnificent snow-capped mountains. In 1997, he started his undergraduate career as a Forest Engineer at Universidad Austral de Chile (Valdivia, Chile). After obtaining his degree in 2001, he was hired as the Silviculture Head for Aglomerados Cotopaxi —one of the most important forestry companies in Ecuador— where he held a wide range of responsibilities that included forest management, certification, fire protection, and research & development. After working there for five years, he decided to complete his education as a Forestry PhD Student at UBC. His research project focused on the application of remote sensing technologies to better characterize forest structure with the ultimate objective of improving hydrologic modelling. Andres continues to research and work at UBC as a sessional instructor in Geography and Forestry.
Anna was born in AB but was raised in picturesque Kelowna, BC. Growing up she developed a spirit for the mountains and has pursued activities including rock climbing and mountaineering. With a passion for the outdoors, she became interested in learning about the environment. In 2014 she graduated with a BSc in Natural Resource Conservation at UBC. During her undergraduate degree, she participated in a co-op program, working in a variety of positions, including time as a Wildlife Biologist for Parks Canada and a Forest Engineer with Western Forest Products. She is fascinated by remote sensing, LiDAR in particular and hopes to pursue a MSc in analyzing LiDAR-derived data in forested ecosystem.
Aria Guo was born and raised in Shijiazhuang, a city in the central north of China. She has embraced and appreciated the Canadian wildness through hiking, backpacking and many road trips since she arrived in Canada as a transfer student from China. Aria obtained her undergraduate degree in Forest Resources Management from UBC Forestry. Afterwards, she spent a short stint in the field as a timber cruiser, then started a career as a certified air photo interpreter, working in Ontario and Alberta mapping forest resources, land use changes for forest inventory and biodiversity monitoring projects.
Aria happily returned to UBC as a M.Sc. student in 2015 after she realized that remote sensing data were essential to provide ecological information and relevance effectively solving real-world problems. Her project is to develop forest-related biodiversity monitoring indicators and tools using LiDAR and other data sets to better our understanding of the linkage between forest structure, landscape connectivity and conservation of biodiversity.
Chris was born on the windswept grasslands of the Canadian Prairies sometime in the late seventies. After a youth wasted bussing tables by day and playing bass in shoddy bands by night, he studied physical geography at the University of Winnipeg. Indifferent to the fact that the Red River flood plain is the second flattest place on the planet, Chris specialized in geomorphology, eventually completing a thesis on the history of a small stream that no one has ever heard of. It was one of the happiest periods of his life.
Following the completion of his BAH in 2002, Chris spent eight months doing what the majority of people with geography degrees do: working in retail. He was then employed as a Quaternary geologist for the Manitoba Geological Survey, digging holes and trying to dream up interesting things to say about them.
Chris attended the Centre of Geographic Sciences for two years, where he completed advanced diplomas in GIS and geomatics. He then spent the summer of 2005 completing an internship at ESRI in Redlands, California.
Chris completed an M.Sc. in 2008 which involved researching the capacity of lidar remote sensing to assess indicators of forest sustainability. His study area was near Tofino, Vancouver Island. (Neither hippie nor surfer, he doesn’t understand why the powers-that-be decided he should be the one to spend his summers there, but he is grateful nonetheless.) Chris is currently involved on projects related to the mountain pine beetle outbreak, grizzly bear habitat mapping, and phonological monitoring. He is playing more bass than ever.
Colin Ferster studied the use of mobile personal communication devices, such as smartphones, to collect and map ecological data. Mobile personal communication devices are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, creating a global network of sensors equipped with instruments capable of collecting ecological data, such as a camera, compass, and GPS. In many cases, mobile personal communication devices may compliment airborne or spaceborne remote sensing instruments, for example, by making measurements under dense forest canopies, with high temporal frequency, recording rare events, and engaging citizen scientists to help answer critical research questions about earth systems. Colin has completed his PhD.
Previously, Colin completed an MSc (honours) in the IRSS in forest carbon science, integrating GIS, LiDAR, optical remote sensing, and forest inventory methods. Colin competed a BSc (with distinction) at the University of Victoria. In addition, Colin has completed co-op workterms for the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines Resource Information Section and Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre.
Born and raised in the Vancouver area, Curtis has always dreamt of becoming a Vancouver Canuck. Unfortunately, that dream was squashed when he didn’t make the rep hockey team in Grade 7. Since then, Curtis has been interested in owning a boat, as well as science of all sorts, and in 2014 he found himself graduating with a B.Sc. from UBC’s Faculty of Forestry. Immediately after, he started a job with a First Nation’s government in BC, producing land cover maps using remote sensing. In continuing his pursuit of knowledge (and a boat), Curtis’ master’s research explores the utility of hyperspectral imagery and LiDAR data to detect and map invasive species in urban forests.
Don was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and spent his childhood exploring the vast areas around the family farm south west of Edmonton. This was the beginning of his fascination of everything spatial. Don graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 2007 with a B.Sc. in Geography. It is in Lethbridge where his interest in and affinity for Remote Sensing and GIS took off. Some of his hobbies include reading and hockey. Don was a research assistant with the IRSS lab from May 2007 until March 2008.
Emily Shinzato was born and raised in Sao Paolo, Brazil. She obtained her forest engineering degree from the Federal University of Sao Carlos (UFSCar) in Brazil, and is currently an MSc student in Remote Sensing at Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). Emily is participating of the Emerging Leader in the Americas Program (ELAP) program as a visiting researcher at UBC, where her task involved estimation of forest parameters with lidar and orthoimagery. She is especially interested in challenges emerging from plantation-style forest management.
Fabio studied geography and biology at the Universities of Bern (Switzerland) and Stockholm (Sweden) and completed his MSc degree in geography at the University of Bern in 2005. After a couple of months as a research assistant in the Remote Sensing Research Group, University of Bern, Fabio started his PhD studies in the same group, specializing on the analysis of AVHRR and MODIS data to study land surface parameters in mountain regions. During that time he also spent three months at the Canada Center for Remote Sensing in Ottawa, Canada.
Suffering from a “Post-PhD-exhaustion-Syndrome”, Fabio fled from real life after his PhD degree in October 2009 and travelled through South America for three months. After his return to Switzerland, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bern on the validation of a new cloud mask for the MSG SEVIRI sensor. Fabio then joined the IRSS lab as a postdoctoral fellow in July 2010. His work includes the analysis of AVHRR data over the Canadian land mass to derive long-term variations in habitat conditions to indirectly analyze changes in biodiversity… But most of all, he enjoys being outdoors in beautiful B.C… hiking… biking… camping…skiing…
Greg Rickbeil grew up in the diverse metropolis of New Westminster, BC and was, of course, a Salmonbelly. After brief stints at SFU, UVIC and the circus, Greg finished a B.Sc. in Conservation at UBC. Greg’s MSc research focused on avian biogeography and diversity in British Columbia, integrating freely available RS data with large scale avian data sets to produce avian distribution estimates and inform conservation across the province. Greg’s PhD is focusing on slightly larger animals, tundra caribou, and how RS data can be used to test ecological questions regarding caribou – environment relationships and the effects of changing arctic ecosystems. Basically, if it involves animals and large scale patterns, it’ll be of interest to Greg. In his free time, Greg takes as much advantage of living in the lower mainland as possible by getting out of it, up the Sea to Sky for a bike or snowboard, or into the Kootenays for a beer.
Jean-Simon Michaud was born in December 1984 and raised in a suburb just north of Montréal, Québec. City life was appealing, so he enrolled in a geomatics program at the Collège Ahuntsic in Montréal. After getting his degree, J-S worked for one year as a distribution service manager for Hydro Québec. Although he enjoyed his time with Hydro Québec, he quickly realized that he missed doing cartography and managing natural resources as part of his daily job. Thus, he moved on to pursue a Bachelor`s degree in Applied Environmental Geomatics at the Université de Sherbrooke, QC. During this time, he worked with Nature Conservancy Canada to develop an evaluation system to assess the value of aquatic ecosystems which would serve to guide conservation efforts in southern Québec.
Jean-Simon’s growing interest in conservation and wildlife management using remote sensing and GIS have lead him to pursue a M.Sc. at the University of British Columbia. He is now researching the relationship between the biomass or the foliage vigor (driven by remote sensing) and wildlife behavior.
Although he may not hold the title of youngest PhD student in the faculty of forestry, Jean-Simon is the youngest of his group and greatly appreciates the advise of his colleagues. During his spare time, Jean-Simon likes to go hiking, sailing, biking, kayaking, snowboarding and wind surfing.
Born in Vancouver, BC John is a rare 5th generation Vancouverite. Growing up on rural Salt Spring Island he developed an intense interest and desire to learn about natural systems. In 2008, John joined the UBC Faculty of Forestry and graduated in 2012 with a B.Sc. in Natural Resources Conservation.
He has worked for a variety of institutions, including Parks Canada and The Salt Spring Island Conservancy. Prior to starting his MSc in the IRSS lab, John worked as a summer student creating a set of Landsat-derived cover change maps for the Nisga’a Lisims Government. John’s master’s research involves developing automated disturbance detection techniques using high resolution RapidEye Constellation data. When John is not in the lab, he is likely to be found riding his bike.
Sixteen years ago, Lorraine moved from Tofield, AB, a small farm town outside Edmonton, to the BC coast and since then has held a number of positions in the outdoor industry, including ski patrol and kayak instructing. She knew that her interests in ecology would influence her career decisions, leading her to complete a BSc in Conservation here at UBC Forestry and find a position in the IRSS as a summer research assistant. This interest in ecology—and a lifelong love of maps, of course—made her decision to attend graduate studies in the IRSS an unexpected but easy one. Lorraine’s MSc will investigate how LiDAR can be used to advance and improve BC’s terrestrial ecosystem mapping process.
In her spare time Lorraine can almost certainly be found rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, or otherwise enjoying the great British Columbian outdoors.
Martin van Leeuwen
Born in Holland, Martin was raised with the beauty of tulips, daffodils, and the sheer amount of colours that these flowers bring with them. Although he did like these little colourful gifts of nature, it may have been the rarity of seeing forests in his country that made him decide to pursue his career among trees. He started his undergraduate preparation at Wageningen University (The Netherlands) in Forest and Nature conservation. He soon realized the eminent value of remote sensing to forest science. Therefore, in 2005, Martin started his M.Sc. at Wageningen University in Geoinformation Science, where he developed a decent background in multi- and hyperspectral remote sensing. This study definitely boosted his enthusiasm. In fact, he liked it so much that he decided to have a look into LiDAR remote sensing as well at University College Dublin (Ireland). Gaining a second M.Sc., his ultimate goal was to combine all his knowledge in his Ph.D. research at the University of British Columbia to find improved means to determine light use efficiencies in Canada’s extensive forested ecosystems to support forest growth modelling.
Prior to joining the IRSS lab as a post-doctoral fellow, Nick obtained a BSc and PhD from the University of NSW in Australia.
His research areas relate primarily to remote sensing of forested environments using airborne LiDAR and passive optical imagery. However, he is also an EPiCC (Environmental Prediction in Canadian Cities) project participant which involves the derivation of urban land cover attributes using LiDAR data.
From Maine (the US), Nick developed a love for nature and the outdoors in this wooded state. His favourite thing to do was catching frogs and hiking. Not much has changed since then. He attended the University of Vermont and studied Natural Resources with a focus in Ecology. After college he worked on an ice cream truck and as a park biological technician. He worked at Big Thicket National Preserve in Southeast Texas, as a seasonal firefighter at Bryce Canyon National Park in Bryce, UT, as a resource assistant for the US Fish and Wildfire Service at the National Interagency Fire Center, and as a seasonal firefighter at Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington state, United States. He has a strong interest in fire management and remote sensing. After working at the US national office in Boise, Idaho he became increasingly aware of the complexity involved in fire planning and fire ecology on a landscape scale. His masters involved using Landsat imagery to inventory burn severity in Canadian parks. This work involves using a fire effects monitoring system used in the United States called FIREMON. Canadian parks to date have not inventoried their fire burns to this extent and this data will help to explain the effects of fire on ecosystems in places like Wood Buffalo National Park in North-eastern Alberta.
Olivier was born in Paris and immigrated to the beautiful and culturally diverse city of Montréal, Québec in the early 80’s. Raised in a family of culinary chefs and restauranteurs, Olivier at a young age developed a fondness for gastronomy and the culinary arts and is often seen eating. When not eating, Olivier managed to graduate from McGill University with a biology degree. Unsure what to do with his recent degree, he decided to take a plunge into the field of GIS and remote sensing and moved to Vancouver, B.C. to complete the Advanced GIS Diploma Program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
After graduating from BCIT, Olivier worked at MDA Geospatial Services, CH2M HILL, and Hatfield Consultants. Developing an increased interest in remote sensing, especially RADAR technology, Olivier decide to put aside his aspiration of opening is own culinary restaurant to further his knoweldge. Aside from always searching for the best noodle shop and hidden culinary gems, Olivier is currently pursuing a M.Sc. at the University of British Columbia. His current research project focuses on the application of polarimetric SAR and LiDAR integration to improve large area forest biomass estimates.
Rachel completed her BSc in Ecology at the University of East Anglia (UK) in 2003, having developed a strong interest in forest ecology during an exchange year spent studying in the US (UMaine). After an obligatory year of temporary admin jobs, waitressing and a bit of travel (in Canada and Alaska), she returned to academia and began a PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 2004. Her research examined the use of high resolution airborne remote sensing for identifying canopy gaps in Sitka spruce plantations and describing and quantifying spatial heterogeneity of forest structure. During her PhD, Rachel took some time out to work on a fellowship at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in London, further developing an ongoing interest in science communication and policy.
Even though she will greatly miss the impenetrable Scottish spruce plantations, Rachel jumped at the chance to spend time in Vancouver and joined the IRSS as a postdoctoral fellow in March 2009, leaving for more research in March 2010. Her research interests include spatial modelling of forest productivity using the 3PG forest growth model and more generally, ecological applications of remotely sensed data (especially lidar and hyperspectral imagery). When she escapes from work, Rachel enjoys being outdoors, whether hiking, attempting to windsurf or sitting in the sun with a beer.
The first of two brothers, Riccardo was born and raised in rural Secugnago, Italy, in the heart of the Po Valley. He first encountered remote sensing while studying Urban, Environmental and Landscape Planning (2005) at Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy. This interest was furthered while studying engineering after having joined the Laboratory of Remote Sensing. His research activity within the lab focused on the effects of hydrocarbon seepage on sparse vegetation, a topic that he continued to study in the two years following his Masters in Environmental Engineering (2009). In 2011 he crossed the pond and landed in Michigan’s beautiful upper peninsula, where he obtained his PhD in Geological Engineering (2015) at Michigan Tech. There, his research covered the effects of sulfur dioxide deposition from volcanic passive degassing on vegetation types.
Initiated to soccer in his early years, Riccardo is now an avid outdoor enthusiast and endurance freak: he loves trail ultrarunning, long mountain bike rides, and cross country ski tours. When not on the trails training for his next marathon or dabbling with landscape photography, you can find him enjoying a beer or espresso at his favorite Vancouver spots.
Rory was raised in rural Ontario on a small hobby farm with numerous barnyard beasts including horses, chickens, goats, rabbits, dogs, cats, and a donkey. Camping and canoeing were introduced to him at a young age, and many summers were spent in Ontario’s provincial parks. Rory’s enthusiasm for outdoor activities was a deciding factor in his relocation to Vancouver, BC, where he spent his summers on his bicycle and winters on his snowboard.
As an undergraduate student Rory had a taste of various courses from economics to philosophy until discovering his passion for Geography while attending the University of Otago in New Zealand. Between years of formal education, Rory took time to live and explore different societies and cultures in Canada and around the world. This mosaic of experience and education has inspired Rory to further investigate connections between place and people through his Masters degree where he studied relationships between physical land cover patterns and socio-economic variables in urban environments.
Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, Ryan attended Clark University and received a BA in Geography and an MA in Geographic Information Science. During this time he worked in a large area mapping and monitoring program that mapped forest cover over Massachusetts using multiple years of Landsat data. It was there that Ryan developed an affinity for Landsat. After leaving Clark, Ryan was employed as a GIS Analyst at an environmental consulting company. That position offered him the chance to map a little bit of everything all around the United States. Now at IRSS, Ryan is interested in using Landsat time series stacks to understand boreal forests in Canada.
Ryan Powers was born in Sechelt, BC, the small picturesque town tucked between the waters of Georgia Strait and the Sechelt Inlet. He was raised for most of his childhood on Vancouver Island, but returned to his birth place for his high school years. As a youth, he spent much of his time exploring the hundreds of kilometres of beautiful coastlines and the many mountains and old growth forests in the region. Ryan continues to enjoy the outdoors and has recently and enthusiastically taken up sailing.
Ryan received his BSc in Geography from the University of Victoria in 2006. During his BSc, Ryan specialized in Remote Sensing, Spatial Statistics, GIS, and wetland classification. Building upon his B.Sc work, Ryan completed his MSc from the University of Calgary in 2009, where his research involved employing a Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis (GEOBIA) approach to estimate the differences in detected wetlands when high-resolution imagery (<5m) and medium-resolution (>10m) imagery are used. As a PhD student at UBC, Ryan’s research focus is on the application of Remote Sensing imagery to biodiversity assessment and reserve selection across Canada’s Boreal Forests.
Sam is an MI-6 agent with Double-0 status who performs black-ops missions for the UK government. Sam has sworn an oath of secrecy to protect the nation, so don’t ask who killed JFK or whether the moon landing was faked. Of course he could tell you, but then he’d have to kill you, cover up the crime and relocate to another country.
Unfortunately Sam’s cover has yet again become compromised, forcing another relocation, this time to small town British Columbia, where the authorities have even less chance of catching up with him. Here Sam will continue to practice forestry, GIS, and remote sensing, while accepting missions that enable plenty of back country travel, skiing, and snowboarding.
Steve belongs to that rare breed of people who were actually born in Vancouver, BC and still reside there. He grew up skiing and windsurfing until he discovered climbing, at which time his life took a drastic turn into the dark world of big wall obsession. Steve worked in the forests of BC as a treeplanter, salvage logger, and woodlot manager and travelled as far as Asia where he spent two years. Upon returning from India Steve studied environmental science at Camosun College and Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC and eventually started a small environmental consulting firm. After several years in the world of small business, Steve decided to return to academia so he came to UBC to do a Masters degree exploring spatio-temporal patterns of mountain pine beetle infestation in the BC interior.
In 1989 Todd began his academic career studying the behavior of inebriated lab rats in the Department of Psychology at Hanover College. This unique academic experience left him working several uninspiring jobs including stints as a carpet-roller, condominium trader, yellow-page salesman and tennis teaching professional. Todd decided that going back to school might afford a more lucrative career path. While preparing for entrance into a master’s program in geology, Todd fell under the spell of the siren known as remote sensing. Love struck, Todd immediately changed career paths, and in 2002 he completed a master’s degree in Biogeography and Remote Sensing from Indiana State University.
Following the completion of his master’s degree Todd worked as a Remote Sensing Specialist for the Canaan Valley Institute located in Thomas, West Virginia. Still unfulfilled, or simply a glutton for punishment Todd decided school once again sounded fun. So Todd loaded up the truck and headed out west and in 2006 he completed a PhD in Forest Ecology from Oregon State University.
Now fully qualified as a psyhcogeoforester Todd landed a position as a post-doctoral fellow in the IRSS lab at the University of British Columbia. His research interests include integration of field inventory and satellite remote sensing data, characterization of forest disturbance and recovery dynamics with multi-image trajectories, tree species habitat modeling, and mapping forest productivity and site index of Pacific Northwest forests.
In his free time Todd enjoys hiking and camping, landscape photography, listening to reggae music and rooting for the world champion Indianapolis Colts.
Trevor Gareth Jones originates from the town of Kirkland in central New York State (NYS). After a youth spent primarily in NYS with two year-long stints in the UK, Trevor attended Clark University (CU) in Worcester, Massachusetts where from he received BAs in Geography and Studio Art (2005) and a MA in GIS (2006). Following CU, Trevor first came to Vancouver in 2006 as one of the original members of the IRSS. After completing his PhD in May, 2011, Trevor moved to Madagascar to work for the conservation NGO Blue Ventures. While in Madagascar, he helped establish the Blue Forests Project. In September, 2013, Trevor returned to the IRSS where from he remotely managed blue forests science and oversaw all things geospatial for Blue Ventures. In September, 2014, Trevor returned to the US, based at Portland State University as an Affiliate Faculty member in the Dynamic Ecosystems and Landscapes Lab in the Department of Environmental Science and Management. At PSU he taught Old Growth Forest Ecology and Management and transitioned into an advisory role with Blue Ventures. In April, 2016, Trevor once again returned to Vancouver, and is currently a lecturer in and coordinator of the Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM) program. He continues advising Blue Ventures on blue forests and geospatial science.
Wiebe Nijland was born and raised in The Netherlands and studied physical geography at Utrecht University, specializing in remote sensing and land degradation. For his MSc. he spent a few months of 2006 in Prince George, BC working on an internship with the Forest Service on the relation between pine-beetle and landslide hazards. During this time he got hooked on the great Canadian landscape and forests leading him later to UBC. Wiebe received his PhD in Utrecht on Mediterranean evergreen vegetation dynamics, in which he combined remote sensing, geophysical soil measurements, tree-ring analysis, and productivity modelling, with lots of field data collection in sunny France. After the PhD research, he stayed in Utrecht for one year on a teaching position, participating in courses on remote sensing, natural hazards, GIS, and an undergraduate field course in the French Alps. Wiebe defended his PhD thesis in 2011, after which he moved to Vancouver to work as a postdoc at UBC.
Wiebe is an enthusiastic photographer in visible wavelengths and beyond, for which he himself converts cameras. He also likes to ride his bike and enjoys the outdoors both above water and under, taking advantage of any opportunity to scubadive and obtain fascinating subsurface photographs.
Vanessa was born in the beautiful city of Guadalajara, one of the main cities in Mexico. At the age of seven, she moved to a small town where she discovered her passion for nature and outdoor activities. After high school, she returned to the city to complete her bachelor degree in Information Systems at the University of Guadalajara. In 2006, she joined the National Forestry Commission of Mexico, where for six years she led the National Forests Inventory Database. Her newfound interests in forests and forestry motivated her to join the IRSS to start an MSc. Her current research is part of a larger project titled “Integrated modeling and assessment of North American forest carbon dynamics and climate change mitigation options”, carried out by the forest services of Canada, Mexico and USA, and their partner organizations to support policy and decision making regarding climate change. Within this scope, she is focused on the integration of remote sensing data, forest inventories and ancillary datasets to develop comprehensive methods for multi-scale assessment of forest disturbances in Mexican ecosystems for carbon budget modeling.
Thomas obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry from the University of Applied Sciences Goettingen (2000), a Master in Photogrammetry and Geoinformatics from the University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart (2002) and a PhD from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Forestry (2008). After a 3 year postdoctoral position at UBC (2008-2011), he worked as a Research Associate at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (2011- 2012). From 2012 through 2016 Thomas held a position as Assistant Professor at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, leading the Remote Sensing Laboratory and teaching classes in remote sensing and spatial data analysis. In 2015 and 2016 he also was a visiting Researcher at the National Institute for Space Studies in Brazil (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais INPE). He looked forward to start a new position as an Associate Professor of Earth System Science and Remote Sensing at the University of Southampton, UK.
Thomas was a well-loved colleague of many remote sensing researchers world-wide. He built a network of collaborators in Canada, the US, Brazil, Europe and Australia. He approached environmental questions and challenges with vigor and zeal and had an enormous curiosity and passion for science. He was respectful of others opinions, eager to share ideas and approaches, and recognized science was a collaborative endeavor. He frequently returned to Vancouver to see old friends, and make new ones, and remained actively involved in UBC research projects enthusiastically supporting and mentoring old and new IRSS lab mates.
Beyond all, Thomas became a good friend to many. His infectious smile, energy and loyalty and sense of humor will be greatly missed.