Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests are focused on the development of remote sensing techniques and workflows for ecology research and wildlife conservation. I am particularly interested in how remote sensing can improve how we monitor habitat change, to better inform mitigation and restoration decisions. With, part of my PhD looking at coupling UAV and Satellite data to predict sub-canopy operative temperature of tropical forest lizards, to map spatially relevant thermal landscapes for use in risk modelling and conservation decisions. 

Some example research projects and research areas:

  • Disentangling controls on animal abundance: Prey availability, thermal habitat, and microhabitat structure
  • Using emerging technologies to determine within/ between land cover variation for endemic and invasive ectotherms.
  • Unoccupied Aerial Vehicles as a Tool to Map ectotherm Operative Temperature in Tropical Environments
  • Monitoring of endemic and invasive Anolis species on the island of Utila, Honduras
  • Developing and testing remote sensing workflows for ecological research and wildlife conservation.
  • Unoccupied Aerial Vehicles in wildlife conservation
  • Land use change on Utila, Honduras – restoration and development case studies.
  • Conservation of the critically endangered herpetofauna of Utila, Honduras.
  • Drivers of Elephant movement in Selati Game reserve, South Africa.
  • How can we use remote sensing to determine Elephant impact in South African game reserves.
  • Predator and prey movement ecology in Selati game reserve, South Africa.
  • Swansea bay stars of the night (Core committee member), Natur am Byth Project. Acoustic monitoring of Lesser Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) in Swansea Bay and the Gower Peninsula.
  • Drivers of avian casualties in Metro Vancouver.
  • Use of UAVs for detection of nesting Curlew (Numenius Arquata) in the Bannau Brycheniog national park.
  • The composition and factors affecting presence of a multispecies community of elasmobranchs in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa.
  • Factors influencing movement and home range in Mexican spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi vellerosus).
  • Using camera traps to improve survey outcomes for tree-roosting bats in the UK.

Expertise

My broad expertise covers the following;

  • Community Ecology
  • Herpetology
  • Tropical Forest Ecology 
  • Microclimate Monitoring 
  • Thermal Ecology 
  • Remote Sensing 
  • Earth Observation 
  • 3D Ecological Data 
  • Acoustic Analysis 
  • Machine Learning for Ecological Datasets
  • LiDAR 
  • Terrestrial and mobile laser scanning

Teaching interests

I teach on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the broad realm of ecology, conservation biology, statistics, and remote sensing.

I am module leader for:

  • BI0S06 Foundation Biology
  • BI1S206 Biodiversity
  • BI2S201 Behavioural Ecology
  • BI2S205 Ecological Consultancy

I also contribute to the following modules:

  • BI1S200 Skills and Professional Development 1
  • BI1S202 Wildlife Biology
  • BI2S203 Comparative Vertebrate Zoology
  • BI2S204 Conservation Genetics
  • BI2S206 Patterns and Processes in Biodiversity
  • BI2S200 Skills and Professional Development 2
  • BI3S119 Population and Community Ecology
  • BI3D105 Research Project
  • BI3S116 Advanced Vertebrate Zoology
  • BI3S110 Global Ecological Challenges
  • GE3D002 Natural History Research Project
  • GE4S003 Applied Geospatial Analysis
  • ES4T001 MSc Project
  • ES4D002 Professional Skills in Conservation
  • ES4S009 Restoration Ecology
  • ES4S010 Terrestrial and Aquatic Conservation

Skills

  • Extensive experience of using different sources of remote sensing data to both monitor land use change and extract relevant ecological measures to predict species abundances. Both in the UK and in tropical forests.
  • Experienced with numerous ecology surveys in the UK. Including, but not limited to, European protected species surveys, biodiversity assessment, botanical surveys, hedgerow surveys, forests structure surveys, river surveys, invertebrate surveys, wetland bird surveys, acoustic surveys etc.
  • Ecology and remote sensing specialism. Therefore, an understanding of what remote sensing derived measures may be relevant to determine abundance and diversity. And, how this varies depending on the species group(s) and environment you are focusing on.
  • Extensive experience at analysing satellite time series data – including LANDSAT, Sentinel-2, Sentiel-1, Worldview-2, PlanetScope and RapidEye. Also proficient in using relevant pre and post processing procedures (atmospheric correction, accuracy assessment etc.).
  • Extensive experience with image classification – including Random Forest, Supervised, Pixel and Object Based Image Analysis image classification approaches.
  • Georeferencing and using historic (1940 – 1970s) aerial imagery for land cover change analysis.
  • UAV surveys (RGB, Multispectral and thermal). Experience developing surveys, calibration and collecting ground control points from DGPS.
  • Fully qualified UK UAV pilot – GVC Visual Line of Sight Qualification.
  • Analysis of UAV images – including post-processing, classification, deriving secondary metrics and accuracy assessment (spatial and classification accuracy).
  • Experience processing airborne LiDAR, UAV derived structure from motion point clouds and Geoslam Zeb-Revo TLS data.
  • Experience extracting different landscape metrics from classified UAV and satellite data to look at spatial heterogeneity of the landscape.
  • Experience using appropriate machine learning techniques to link remote sensing data and ground measures. Specifically, forest microclimate and structure to predict operative temperature of lizards.
  • Extrapolation of ecologically relevant data at fine spatial scales, across large landscapes, using Worldview-2 data.
  • Working with convoluted neural networks (CNN).
  • Experience with several pieces of software– ENVI, R (including lidR package), Google Earth Engine, QGIS, ArcGIS, Maps Made Easy, Agisoft Metashape, eCognition. Cloud Compare and SNAP.
  • Analysis of large multivariate data in R.
  • Extensive experience of measuring forest canopies using in ground and remote sensing methods. Including, combining different optical measurements (indices and texture analysis) from remote sensing to represent tropical forest canopies.
  • Understanding of how forest canopies regulate species abundance, specifically ectotherms and implications for larger population and community dynamics.
  • Restoration, population, and community ecology training – including delivering classes at undergraduate MSc level.
  • Experience conducting a multitude of species and habitat surveys in the UK, Borneo, Honduras, South Africa, Botswana, and Portugal.
  • Experience Planning and running fieldwork.
  • Experience presenting scientific outputs to project partners, via scientific publications, at conferences and via blog posts/ social media.
  • Experience working with national park authorities and local communities. Including environmental education and public outreach activities.
  • Experience of working with UK policy.
  • Experience in working in multi-disciplinary teams.

Experience

Research Experience

Lecturer in Ecology, University of South Wales (June 2022 – Present)

  • Analysing data and writing up scientific papers.
  • Supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate research projects.
  • Founding and organising Ecology lab group meetings.
  • Arranging and maintaining research collaborations with external partners. 

PhD Research, School of Geography, University of Nottingham (2017 – 2022)

PhD Researcher, thesis titled ‘Anoles & Drones:  revealing controls on anole abundance and mapping sub-canopy thermal habitat using remote sensing, on the island of Utila, Honduras’.

  Responsibilities outlined below: 

  •  Identifying key ecological interactions between forest understory, canopy structure, microclimate, prey availability and species’ abundance and distribution for Anolis bicaourm on Utila across a habitat gradient. Included conducting tropical forest structure surveys, LAI ceptometer measurements, anole perch surveys, plot biomass surveys, determining plot arthropod diversity and biomass and using 3D printed operative temperature models, fitted with iButton data loggers, to quantify thermal habitat suitability.
  • Creating and calibrating 3D printed lizard operative temperature models (from scans of NHM London specimens) to measure the thermal environment of tropical habitats.
  • Determining thermal preference range for bicaorum using standardised thermal biology experiments.
  • Conducting anole microhabitat use surveys, collecting biometric data on anoles and genetic sampling of different species on the island of Utila.  
  • Collecting Geoslam Zeb-Revo TLS data for survey plots.
  • UAV surveying of tropical habitats – including neotropical dry forest, mangrove, coastal and urban surveys. Including collecting ground control points with differential GPS.
  • Processing of UAV data – creating orthomosaics, structure from motion point clouds and optical calibration.
  • Downloading, post-processing and classifying several sources of satellite data (Worldview-2, Sentiel-2, Landsat-8 and PlanetScope). Including correctly using time-series data, atmospheric correction and correct procedures for sampling and accuracy assessment.
  • Deriving canopy cover and heterogeneity measures from UAV and Worldview-2 data.
  • Comparing UAV and Worldview-2 derived canopy measures to measure LAI, compared to in situ LAI data collected with ceptometers.
  • Using UAV and Worldview-2 derived canopy measures to predict sub-canopy bicaorum operative temperature using random forest models. Using the outcomes, mapped operative temperature across survey plots using UAV data and across the island of Utila using Worldivew-2 data. Then used maps to calculate plot and island wide suitable thermal habitat for A. bicaorum under different air temperature warming scenarios.
  • Analysing multivariate data using appropriate analyses and data management techniques.
  • Successful fulfilment of research objectives within grant timelines.
  • Writing research grant proposals for fieldwork and conference attendance funding.
  • Publishing scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals to support the research programme.
  • Regular attendance and presenting of results at national and international meetings to publicise and promote the research.

Kanahau Research and Conservation Facility, Utila, Honduras (2017 – Present)

  • Project leader for habitat surveys and land cover classification of the island (2017/18) using forest surveys and satellite classification methods.
  • Assisting on surveys carried out at the research centre (including herpetofauna, bats, mangrove surveys, UAV surveys, land cover classification and validation).
  • Continuously mapping the island using time-series satellite data (Sentiel-2) and high-resolution satellite data (Worldview-2, PlanetScope), to monitor land use change and habitat degradation on the island.
  • Supervising and assisting undergraduate and masters’ students, collecting data on the island of Utila, from universities worldwide.

Research Assistant - Rights lab, University of Nottingham (2020 – 2021)

  • Research assistant on several research projects at the Rights Lab, University of Nottingham. Specific project details are confidential but included testing Planet time series data to monitor illegal trade routes and activity across several regions worldwide.
  • Presented work to project leads to feed back to project collaborators.

Research Assistant - Peatland Assessment in SE Asia by Satellite (PASSES) project (2017 – 2018)

  • Research assistant on PASSES project, working with Sentinel-1 data to monitor land cover change in Borneo. Senitnel-1 calibration, supervised classification, and accuracy assessment in SNAP and ENVI.
  • Presented work to project leads, to feed back to the European Space Agency.

Additional Relevant Experience

Assistant Ecologist, Just Mammals Consultancy LLP (2014 – 2016)

  • Ecologist based in mid-Wales and South-West England. Experience in conducting several UK surveys including botanical assessments, habitat surveys and European Protected Species (EPS) surveys (bats, herpetofauna, dormouse etc.). Work included surveys, data analysis, report writing, licence applications, working with developers and recommending mitigation and compensation.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Geography , PhD, Anoles & Drones: revealing controls on anole abundance and mapping sub-canopy thermal habitat using remote sensing, on the island of Utila, Honduras, University of Nottingham

Award Date: 14 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • QL Zoology
  • QH301 Biology
  • GE Environmental Sciences
  • G Geography (General)
  • Q Science (General)
  • QK Botany

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