top of page

Professor of Geography (Applied Geomatics)

Université du Québec à Chicoutimi

Courtesy Faculty of Marine Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis, School of Forest, Fisheries, & Geomatics Sciences, University of Florida

Affiliate faculty, School of Natural Resources & Environment, Center for Remote Sensing, Center for Coastal Solutions, Water Institute, Biodiversity Institute

Senior Editor: Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation          Guest Editor: Frontiers in Marine Science

Ph.D. Geography, Marine Geomatics Research Lab, Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), 2016

B.Sc. Geomatics Applied to the Environment, Université de Sherbrooke (Canada), 2011


I use technologies and methods from geomatics (e.g., remote sensing, spatial analysis, mapping) to study the natural environment, both on land and underwater. I am enthusiastic about using geospatial technologies and methods in interdisciplinary research to help scientists with other specialties make the best use of their spatial datasets and increase their research potential. In particular, I focus on addressing the challenges that can be encountered in using these technologies and methods. As a consequence, most of my recent research has focused on the marine and coastal environments since our ability to observe and sample those lags behind when compared to terrestrial environments. Despite my recent focus, my interest in the terrestrial realm remains, particularly in remote sensing and image analysis and in spatial analysis using geographic information systems.

Courses: Cartographie et Techniques Géographiques (4GEO128), Spatial Sciences for Marine Environmental Characterization (FAS4932/6932), Marine Geomatics (SUR4934/6934), Seminars in Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences (FAS4933, co-taught with Dr. Ed Camp), Spatial Ecology and Modeling of Fish Populations (FAS6416, co-taught with Dr. Juliane Struve)

Vincent Lecours

Student Members

Arturo Chequer (they/them/theirs & he/him/his)

M.Sc. Student, Interdisciplinary Ecology Program, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida

B.Sc. Natural Resource Conservation, University of Florida, 2021

B.A. Anthropology, University of Florida, 2021


Arti joined the lab in the Fall of 2021 to pursue their master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Ecology. During their undergraduate studies, he worked in both the Lab of Southeastern Archaeology and the Lab of Fire Ecology in several projects. His projects ranged from the effects of fire on individual native species in longleaf pine savannas to the effects COVID has had on the public’s perception of wildfires. In their current graduate project, funded by NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration, Arti will focus on producing habitat maps on the Paleo-Suwannee channel to inform both archaeological and conservation objectives in the area. They hope to develop their skills in remote sensing and geographic information systems to bridge human and natural resource interests, especially in marginalized communities.

Arturo Chequer Lab Pic.jpg

Fernando Noriega Betancourt

Ph.D. Student, Interdisciplinary Ecology Program, University of Florida

M.Sc., Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, University of Florida, 2016

B.Sc., Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Mexico, 2009


Fernando is a biologist and passionate outdoorsman from Mexico.  He has worked on several projects aimed at the conservation of marine environments and species on the Pacific Coast of Mexico and in the United States. He actively collaborates with the Mexican NGO “ECOBAC”, which is devoted to the research and protection of humpback whales in one of their main mating grounds in the North Pacific. Fernando also managed a sea turtle conservation project with the NGO “Nuestra Tierra A.C.”. His dissertation research will characterize the spatial distribution of Humpback whales and coastal navigation activities in the Banderas Bay, Mexico. He will identify areas of higher and lower density and probability of encounter between whales and vessels, helping point to areas where management efforts should be directed. He believes in the integration of different stakeholders to ensure the protection of marine resources, particularly the importance of working with and involving coastal communities.

Online Student Members

Arie Uber

M.Sc. Student, Online Geomatics Program, University of Florida

B.Sc. Geographic Information Technology, Slippery Rock University (PA), 2017


Arie started his online non-thesis master's program in Geomatics in September 2019. Here's how he describes himself: "I have always been fascinated with the ocean floor; its mysteries, its vastness, and its wonders. I would watch NOAA’s Ocean Exploration team as they mapped unknown and never before seen areas of the ocean bottom and I could not get enough. That’s what drove me into an academic and professional career working with LiDAR and GIS. After graduating from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors in Geographic Information Technology, I moved to St. Petersburg, Florida to start my career with Dewberry Engineers Inc. as a Geospatial Analyst. I have been working on exciting and very challenging projects such as producing topographic and topo-bathymetric LiDAR data for Puerto Rico, post-hurricane Maria, as well as post-hurricane Harvey for Texas. Recently I have been selected to be a Task Lead on a statewide project that involves producing topographic and topo-bathymetric LiDAR data for the entire state of Florida. My specific area is Pinellas County. My future goals are to get into a career that lets me map the ocean floor."

External Student Members

Sanduni Disanayaka Mudiyanselage

Ph.D. Student, School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences, University of Florida

M.Sc. Coastal Engineering, TU Delft, The Netherlands, 2017

B.Sc. Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, 2014


Sanduni is a graduate student in the Geomatics program under the supervision of Dr. Amr Abd-Elrahman and Dr. Ben Wilkinson working on a project analyzing remote sensing methods in coastal management applications. Originally from Sri Lanka, she started her Ph.D. at UF in January 2020. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. Having lived in an island nation, she is fascinated by the picturesque beaches and the seas. Perusing her passion, she obtained her master’s in Coastal Engineering from TU Delft in the Netherlands in 2017. As part of the master’s program, she studied at NTNU, Norway and University of Southampton, the United Kingdom which gave her a chance to learn about scenic Norwegian fjords and the unique British shingle beaches firsthand. Sanduni is enthusiastic about the field of geospatial analysis incorporating remote sensing techniques as it provides a robust tool to acquire information on the lesser-known coastal nearshore region and its ecological habitats. Sanduni currently studies the use of multi-spectral and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite data to derive coastal morphology. Machine learning techniques are applied to develop models which use large datasets acquired over substantial extents along the Florida coast. Her aim is to develop bathymetry inversion models which can be applied globally in a diversified coastal region. She believes her ongoing research would facilitate more cost-effective, frequent, and reliable solutions for coastal morphological assessments and aid improved sediment transport modeling in the nearshore region.



Alex Ilich

M.Sc. Marine Resource Assessment, College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, 2018

B.S. Environmental Science, Cornell University, 2015


Alex graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Cornell University in 2015 and earned his Master’s in Marine Resource Assessment from the University of South Florida, College of Marine Science in 2018 working in Dr. Steve Murawski’s lab (USF). Since then, he has continued to work in Dr. Murawski’s lab to pursue a PhD. Alex’s research is part of the Continental Shelf Characterization, Assessment and Mapping Project (C-SCAMP), and focuses on mapping seafloor habitats and understanding the relationships between habitat type and fish communities on the West Florida Shelf using a combination of underwater video and multibeam echosounder data. 



Matthew Newton

Ph.D. Student, Anthropology | Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Florida

M.A. Anthropology, University of West Florida, 2018


Matt is a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Ken Sassaman (Laboratory of Southern Archaeology, Department of Anthropology, UF). He began his PhD study at The University of Florida during the Fall of 2017 while simultaneously joining the staff of The Laboratory of Southeastern Archaeology.  He earned a Master’s degree during the summer of 2018 from the University of West Florida, where his research focused on the hydrogeomorphology of Blackwater Bay, Santa Rosa County, Florida. His primary interests traverse the topics of sedimentology, Southeastern archaeology, underwater archaeology, maritime survey methods, and GIS. Matt earned a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Central Florida in 2010, where he studied geophysical search methods, bioarchaeology, and Native American Ethnology. He is also an Associate Scholar for the Aucilla Research Institute. 


Alison Atchia (Master's of Science)

M.Sc., Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, University of Florida

B.Sc. Interdisciplinary Studies with Specialization in Marine Science, University of Florida, 2020


Alison joined the lab in Fall 2020 to pursue her master's degree: "While working on my undergraduate degree in marine science, I became very interested in the connection between organisms and their environment. I gained experience in field research studying Caribbean reef sponges and their position on the reefs in Quintana Roo, Mexico, under the supervision of Professor Steve Johnson from the University of Montana at Missoula.  During my junior year, I took Dr. Vincent Lecours’ course, ‘Spatial Sciences for Marine Environmental Characterization’. This was my first experience using GIS and working on a project that used habitat mapping. I really enjoyed working on spatially explicit models with the potential to be used as conservation tools. I hope to focus my research on connecting abiotic and biotic factors in the marine environment and creating helpful tools for decision-makers with the goal of conservation and restoration."

Alison's thesis is titled "Mapping and monitoring coastal ecosystems using satellite imagery analysis following an oil spill in Mauritius."



  • Espriella M, Schaper T, Atchia A, Rose K & Lecours V: Habitat mapping of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) and devil weed (Sargassum horneri) off the coast of Santa Catalina Island, California. McGill Science Undergraduate Research Journal, 14, 34-39, 2019.


  • GeoHab Ron McDowell Award (2022)

  • Melnick Scholar Award, School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences, University of Florida (2021)

Jade Austin (M.FRC (Geomatics))

M.FRC, Online Geomatics Program, University of Florida, 2022

B.Sc. Environmental Geography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2016


Jade joined the lab in September 2018 to pursue her online non-thesis master's program in Geomatics with Dr. Lecours and Dr. Benjamin Wilkinson (SFFGS, UF). Here's how she describes her professional experience: "While pursuing my degree in Environmental Geography at the University of Hawaii, I also had the opportunity to work with the Coral Reef and Ecosystem Division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). At NOAA I worked on analyzing spatial data and creating both benthic habitat and coral classification maps that were used in restoration efforts in the Hawaiian Islands. After graduating I made the move to Washington State, where I currently work as a surveyor at an environmental consulting firm. I work on a variety of different projects, ranging anywhere from topographic maps, boundary work and AutoCAD drafting, all the way to UAV data analysis. I’m excited to have joined the Lecours Lab as a distance student and pursue my master’s degree in Geomatics while having the opportunity to weave in both ecological and environmental based topics."

Dr. Michael Espriella (Ph.D.)

Ph.D., Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, University of Florida

B.Sc. Environmental Studies, University of Southern California, 2017


Michael joined our lab in September 2018 to pursue his doctoral degree. Here's how he describes his professional experience: "I was first exposed to the technologies of remote sensing and habitat mapping through the Fisheries Acoustics Research Lab at the University of Washington. Through the guidance of the lab director, Dr. John Horne, and through collection of field data, I quickly realized the potential of acoustic and spatial data. Upon finishing my undergraduate education, I secured employment with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) working with the Young Fish Investigations team. At CDFW I collected data to assess the population health of fishes in the San Francisco Estuary and was exposed to restoration efforts in the watershed. While pursuing my degree in the Lecours Lab, I further explored how spatial data can be instrumental in conservation efforts as well as worked towards improving our understanding of how to manage habitat restoration best."

Michael's dissertation is titled "Developing methods for intertidal habitat mapping using unoccupied aircraft systems: linking geomatics, seascape ecology, and geomorphometry."


  • Espriella MC, Lecours V, Camp EV, Lassiter HA, Wilkinson B, Frederick PC & Pittman SJ: Drone lidar-derived surface complexity metrics as indicators of intertidal oyster reef condition. Ecological Indicators, 150(110190), 1-14, 2023.

  • Espriella MC & Lecours V: Optimizing the scale of observation for intertidal habitat classification through multiscale anaysis. Drones, 6(140), 1-19, 2022.

  • Lecours V & Espriella M: Can multiscale roughness help computer-assisted identification of coastal habitats in Florida? In: Alvioli M, Marchesini I, Melelli L & Guth P (eds): Proceedings of the Geomorphometry 2020 Conference, 111-114, 2020.

  • Espriella MC, Lecours V, Frederick PC, Camp EV & Wilkinson B: Quantifying intertidal habitat relative coverage in a Florida estuary using UAS imagery and GEOBIA. Remote Sensing, 12(677), 1-17, 2020.

  • Espriella M, Schaper T, Atchia A, Rose K & Lecours V: Habitat mapping of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) and devil weed (Sargassum horneri) off the coast of Santa Catalina Island, California. McGill Science Undergraduate Research Journal, 14, 34-39, 2019.


  • GeoHab Ron McDowell Award (2022)

  • Best Poster Award, Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Graduate Student Symposium (2021)

  • Best Ph.D. Poster Award, 57th Annual Meeting of the Florida Society of Geographers (2021)

  • University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Assistantship (2020-2024)

  • Outstanding Master's Student of the Year Award, Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, University of Florida (2020)

  • Best Full-Length Talk Award, Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Graduate Student Symposium (2020)

  • Melnick Scholar Award, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida (2020)

  • Best Poster Award, 39th Annual Meeting of the Florida Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (2019)

  • Travel Grant, Florida Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (2019)

  • Best Speed Talk Award, Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Graduate Student Symposium (2019)

  • Scholarship, The Hydrographic Society of America (2019)

  • University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Assistantship (2018-2020)

Kori Garza (MFAS)

MFAS, Online Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, University of Florida, 2023

B.Sc. Marine Science, Hawaii Pacific University, 2014


"Originally from Missouri, I left the midwest for Hawaii in pursuit of a Marine Science degree from Hawaii Pacific University that I achieved in 2014. After the completion of my undergraduate studies, I transitioned into working as a field biologist in the realm of shark research. I have continued that path since then, working for various research institutes, non-profit organizations, National Geographic, and other organizations around the world. I am currently based out of Mo'orea, French Polynesia where I have resided and worked as a field biologist focusing on shark research for the Tahitian government's environmental agency, for local research institutes, and as an expedition leader for the last 5 years." Kori's work for her master's is titled "Horizontal movement ecology of the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) described for the first time in French Polynesia".


Ryan Henry (External Member)

M.Sc. Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida, 2023

B.S. Aquatic Sciences, Bemidji State University, 2017

In 2017, Ryan began to work as a temporary fisheries technician in South Dakota for the Game, Fish and Parks department where he conducted gill net, electrofishing, and creel surveys. He also assisted in the hatchery production of Chinook Salmon on Lake Oahe. Ryan then made his way to Indiana to work for the Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan Fisheries Office where he conducted gill net and creel surveys, lamprey removal efforts, and assisted in the hatchery production of Steelhead Trout. Once finished with the position for Indiana DNR he moved back to Minnesota and interviewed for a position as a fisheries research biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which he was offered. A year after starting his position with FWC, Ryan decided to pursue his Master of Science degree while working full time, and graduated in 2023. His thesis is titled "Impacts of Hurricane Michael on a vulnerable sportfish population: shoal bass in the Chipola River, FL".

Suman Jumani (External Member)

Ph.D. Candidate, Soil & Water Sciences Department, University of Florida

M.Sc. Wildlife Biology & Conservation, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Wildlife Conservation Society, India, 2012


Suman was a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Deitch (Soil & Water Sciences Department, UF). Her research interests lie in the applied interdisciplinary study of tropical river ecosystems. Suman's previous research dealt with assessing the hydro-ecological and social impacts of small hydropower projects in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot of India. For her Ph.D., Suman assessed the landscape-level hydrological impacts of existing and proposed river-based infrastructure and modeling subsequent impacts on fish species assemblages at various spatial scales, with the aim of better informing conservation and development planning. Suman's dissertation is titled "River fragmentation: quantification, empirical validation, & implications for conservation".



Kwanmok Kim (External Member)

Ph.D., School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Florida

Masters of Biology, Kyung Hee University (Republic of Korea), 2013


Kwan obtained his doctoral degree in the Summer of 2020. He worked under the supervision of Dr. Peter Frederick (Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, UF). For his Ph.D. project, Kwan studied the effects of structural complexity on community composition using oysters as a target species. Kwan's work in the lab involved using photogrammetry and 3D geomorphometry to characterize the structural complexity of oyster clusters, and studying how structural complexity in oyster clusters and reefs affect species interactions and community composition. Kwan's dissertation is titled "Relationship between structural complexity, refuge abundance, and species diversity in an oyster reef system".


  • Kim K, Lecours V & Frederick PC: Using 3D micro-geomorphometry to quantify interstitial spaces of an oyster cluster. In: Guth P, Grohmann CH & Peckham S (eds): Geomorphometry 2018, 2018.

Christina Mallica

M.Sc., Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, University of Florida, 2023

B.Sc. Marine Sciences, University of Florida, 2017


Christina graduated with a M.Sc. in Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences in December 2023. Here's what she says about herself: "After my undergraduate degree, I made the move to the Florida Keys, where I interned and then worked at the Coral Restoration Foundation (CFR) as a Restoration Associate. At CRF, I worked on a variety of different projects, including propagating and outplanting nursery-raised Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata along the Florida Keys Reef Tract, and monitoring coral survivorship to help determine future outplant locations. I also spearheaded the creation of publicly-accessible ESRI Story Maps for the Coral Restoration Consortium that highlights various mature “demonstration” restoration sites using spatial data and GIS software. My interests focus on how we can use mapping applications to enhance ecological restoration and monitoring efforts by understanding the spatial processes that drive the recovery of successfully ‘restored’ ecosystems." Christina worked as a coral biologist for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Research Institute of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission in St. Petersburg, FL, until graduation. She is now a GIS Specialist for the Florida Trail Association and U.S. Forest Service.


  • Best Speed Talk Award, Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Graduate Student Symposium (2021)


Tom Matthews (M.FRC (Geomatics))

M.FRC, Online Geomatics Program, University of Florida, 2022

Tom works for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, and completed his master's degree in Geomatics in 2022.

Brian McKenna (External Member)

MFAS, Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, University of Florida, 2019

Graduate Certificate in Mapping with small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), Geomatics Program, University of Florida, 2019

Graduate Certificate in Fisheries Management, Oregon State University, 2014

B.S. Business Administration, University of Missouri Saint Louis, 2007


Brian completed his MFAS under the supervision of Dr. Daryl Parkyn (SFRC, UF). Here's what he says about his background: "Since 2010, I have had the good fortune of being able to call Alaska my home. The King of Fish, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, also known as Chinook or King salmon has gifted me this tremendous opportunity. In return, I am responsible for conducting various fisheries investigations of salmon populations throughout the Yukon River drainage in both Alaska and Yukon, Canada to help maintain healthy and sustainable salmon fisheries. One of my more recent investigations is exploring ways to integrate remote sensing techniques using small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) into salmon research and management programs. More specifically, I am interested in utilizing sUAS to monitor salmon spawning activity and to conduct various spatial and temporal analyses of spawning habitats and usage. I am excited to be collaborating with both Dr. Parkyn and Dr. Lecours as their combined expertise in salmon fisheries and geomatics will help to better connect the two disciplines."

Bobby Moon (External Member)

M.S., Geomatics Program, University of Florida, 2021

B.A. Earth & Environmental Science, Columbia University, 2018

B.A. Economics, University of Florida, 2010


Bobby is a graduate student in the geomatics program working with Dr. Ben Wilkinson. Bobby has an interest in remote survey for Earth Science and Intelligence applications. His current research is focused on increasing the accuracy of UAS lidar in vegetated coastal dune environments. He served as an intelligence officer in the Marine Corps managing analysis and collection operations. He holds undergraduate degrees in Economics from University of Florida and Earth Science from Columbia University. His previous academic work includes utilizing structure from motion to analyze lava flow morphology in Chile and hyperspectral imagery analysis for surface mineral identification.


Katherine Overly (External Member)

M.Sc., Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, University of Florida, 2021

B.Sc. Marine Biology & Ecology, Michigan State University


"Upon graduation at Michigan State University with a B.Sc in Marine Biology and Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, I secured a job with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries lab in Panama City, FL. At NOAA I was exposed to multiple types of field work, habitat mapping, data analysis and production of population assessment reports for commercially important fish species in the Gulf of Mexico. Knowing that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree, I applied and was accepted into Dr. Will Patterson’s lab (SFRC, UF) working with Dr. Vincent Lecours (SFRC, UF), Dr. Virginia Shervette (USC Aiken) and Andy David (NOAA) as a distance student pursing my thesis-based master’s degree. The primary goal of my research is to provide critical information on queen snapper habitat associations and life history in order to improve management and conservation of this valuable deepwater fisheries resource in the US Caribbean. By analyzing habitat utilization and the distribution of queen snapper, not only will it add to our limited knowledge regarding habitat preference but it will also pave the way for future ecosystem based fisheries management. Additionally, the digitization of multibeam bathymetry data from groundtruthing conducted by my remote camera survey will allow habitat maps to be refined, and also enable the creation of habitat-specific queen snapper distributions."


Esteban Rodofili (Ph.D.)

Ph.D., Interdisciplinary Ecology Program, University of Florida, 2023

Lic. Biological Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina


Esteban joined our lab in September 2019 to pursue his Ph.D, and graduate in 2023. Here's how he describes his path so far: "During my biology program at the University of Buenos Aires, I developed an interest for the geospatial technologies. I realized their potential in the field of conservation biology, allowing us to analyze spatial patterns and also enabling better access to different environments. My first experience with GIS was during my undergraduate thesis analyzing the honey locust invasion in the Rolling Pampa. After completing my undergraduate program, I worked on designing a drone survey for the Marsh Deer Conservation Project in Argentina's wetlands while taking public policy courses at the Torcuato Di Tella University in Argentina. Afterward, I worked for the Cethus Foundation analyzing Commerson's dolphin mark-recapture data in San Julián Bay, Patagonia. This experience informed my choice of specializing in marine sciences, which combined with my interest in geomatics guided me to the Lecours Lab." Esteban's dissertation is titled "Semi-automated analyses of satellite and UAS imagery to inform marine mammal detection, migration route studies, and marine protected area design".

Esteban R..JPG


  • Rodofili EN, Lecours V & LaRue M: Remote sensing techniques for automated marine mammals detection: a review of methods and current challenges. Peer J, 10:e13540, 2022.


  • Melnick Scholar Award, School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences, University of Florida (2021)

  • Robin E. Nadeau Graduate Research Award, School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Florida (2021)

  • Travel Grant, Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Graduate Students Organization, University of Florida (2020)

  • Grinter Fellowship, University of Florida Graduate School (2019-2020)

  • School of Natural Resources & Environment Assistantship, University of Florida (2019-2023)

Errol Ronje (External Member)

M.Sc., Fisheries & Aquatic Program, University of Florida, 2019

B.S. Business Administration, University of Houston, 2004


Errol completed his M.Sc. work in 2019 under the supervision of Dr. Juliane Struve (SFRC, UF) and Dr. Lecours. Here’s what he says about his background: “My initial exposure to marine mammals was with the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network over 10 years ago, where I was privileged to encounter a variety of our Gulf of Mexico cetacean species and assist with necropsies and other live animal rehabilitation. I now work as a contractor with the National Marine Fisheries Service in the Protected Species Division. My primary experiences lies with bottlenose dolphin populations in the Gulf of Mexico.  I have spent a lot of time on small vessels, scanning the horizon for dolphins or whales and collecting data. My work includes leading population surveys, boat operation, photography, and collecting biological samples." Errol’s thesis focused on modeling abundance and habitat parameters for bottlenose dolphin populations on the Texas coast.



Bijeta Bijen Saha (External Member)

Ph.D., Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida, 2021

Bijeta completed her Ph.D. in the Food and Resource Economics Department at UF, working under the supervision of Dr. Christa Court and Dr. Conner Mullally. Her research focused on sustainability issues that are relevant to Florida: "In my dissertation, I used quasi-experimental methods for measuring the impacts of environmental dis-amenities such as point sources of toxic releases, or risk of natural disasters. I am excited and grateful to have been a part of The Lecours Lab and get guidance from Dr. Lecours on using geographic information system for spatial analysis in my research. Through my research, I want to be able to answer pertinent questions which will help policy makers and stakeholders to take informed decisions."


Charles Wallace (External Member)

M.Sc., Fisheries & Aquatic Program, University of Florida, 2021

B.Sc. Natural Resources and Environmental Science, Delaware State University, 2018


Charles obtained his M.Sc. degree in the Summer of 2020 while working under the supervision of Dr. Ed Camp (Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences, UF). Charles worked on oysters and the ecosystem services they provide. He performed quantitative analyses of these ecosystem services to accurately estimate return on investment in restoration cost across varying management decisions. This will provide a better framework for managers that want to restore oysters. Charles is using the ecosystem service program inVEST to assess return on investment of the Lone Cabbage Reef Restoration Project in Suwannee Sound, Florida.

Other Past Members

Dr. Daniela Barros (Visiting Researcher)

Ph.D., Universidade Federal do Parà, Brazil, 2019

Masters of Environmental Sciences (Ecosystem and Land Use), Universidade Federal do Parà (Brazil), 2008


Dani successfully defended her Ph.D. in February 2019, at the Universidade Federal do Parà, in Brazil. She worked under the supervision of Dr. Victoria Isaac. Dani has a masters degree in environmental sciences with a concentration in ecosystems and land use. During her masters studies, she worked with fishing communities in small streams along the Amazon River. For her Ph.D. project, she added fishery ecology to her skill set: she looked at the influence of environmental variables on the small-scale fishery of the floodplains of the Brazilian Amazon. Dani worked in the lab in the Fall 2017 semester to learn about remote sensing and how it can help her better understand vegetation characteristics in these floodplains, and we have been collaborating every since.


Tyler Bowling

Ph.D. Student, Department of Biology, University of Florida

M.S., East Carolina University, 2018

B.S., Salisbury University

Tyler is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Gavin Naylor (Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research). Tyler is also the manager of the shark program in the Florida Museum of Natural History and oversees many things, including the International Shark Attack File. Tyler started at UF in the fall of 2018. Before coming to UF, Tyler earned his B.S. from Salisbury University. Where he did his undergraduate research on tree frog sexual selection and movement patterns. After graduating, he continued to work in his undergraduate lab as a research assistant at STRI in Panama. Tyler earned his M.S. at East Carolina University in 2018. His thesis detailed the seasonal color changes of the male stickleback fish. Currently Tyler’s PhD thesis at UF is focused on understanding the environmental conditions which make shark attacks more likely to occur at the shark bite capital of the world, New Smyrna beach FL.  Information gained from this project will not only improve local beach safety but also inform similar future work.


Kevin Burnette (Research Assistant)

B.Sc., Environmental Sciences and GIS Certificate, Appalachian State University, 2014


Kevin helped out with two of the lab's project in 2021-2022. He was involved with data collection for our NOAA-sponsored project "Marine archaeological investigation and habitat mapping of the Paleo-Suwannee River", and then worked on the remote sensing analysis of lake characteristics in Florida, using Google Earth Engine and data from the Florida LakeWatch program. Keven has been taking several GIS classes at the University of Florida, and he previously studied Environmental Sciences and GIS at Appalachian State University.


Bradley Ennis (Research Coordinator)

M.Sc., Coastal Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi, 2012

B.Sc., IDS-Biology, University of Florida, 2009


Brad was our research coordinator from 2021-2023, co-leading one of our projects associated with our West Florida Shelf Standardized Mapping Framework Center of Excellence. The purpose of this Center of Excellence is to build a process for and get community agreement on a framework to support effective and dynamic aggregation of current and future benthic mapping data. Brad also helped with other tasks in the lab and we put his knowledge of the Nature Coast of Florida to good use!

Brad is a GIS programmer with a Master's in Coastal Sciences from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has previously worked with Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) focusing on fisheries management, environmental monitoring, and coastal habitat assessment.


Maddison Frizzell

MFAS Student, Online Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, University of Florida

B.Sc. Geographic Information Science, University of Oklahoma, 2020


"I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor's degree in Geographic Information Science and a minor in Meteorology. Being from Oklahoma, aquatic or ocean science wasn't really an option for my undergraduate degree, so I'm excited to take the knowledge I've gained in remote sensing and GIS and apply it to studying our oceans. I'm currently working as a project manager for a start-up in the solar industry, using drones and airplanes to inspect solar farms all over the world through aerial thermography. I'm thrilled to learn how remote sensing can be used every day to inspect, survey, and map Earth's water bodies. I hope to one day be able to dedicate my life to the health of our oceans and hopefully learn the answers to at least a few of their many mysteries. "


Lukáš Gábor (Visiting Researcher)

Ph.D., Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague (Czechia), 2019

Ing. degree in Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague (Czechia), 2016

B.A. Applied Geography, Technical University of Liberec (Czechia), 2014


Lukáš works in the Department of Applied Geoinformatics and Spatial Planning at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague. He completed his doctorate degree under the supervision of   Dr. Vítězslav Moudrý, a frequent collaborator of our lab. His field of study is landscape and applied ecology. He uses virtual species to evaluate the effect of spatial data quality on species distribution models. Spatial data quality is currently one of the major limiting factors of such modelling, but it is difficult to study its influence using real species data. Virtual species, on the other hand, allows to easily determine how model parameters, for instance different methods of data collection, data quality, or scale, affect the models. Lukáš spent the summer of 2018 in our lab to work on studying the effect of positional error of species occurrence data on species distribution models' performance, and he has been collaborating with us ever since. Dr. Lecours and him reunited in September 2019 in Prague for a short visit!


Olivia Kelley

MFAS Student, Online Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, University of Florida

B.Sc. Cellular Biology, Central Michigan University, 2018


"While pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Cellular Biology from Central Michigan University, I had the opportunity to explore additional courses of study, including fish biology. Being from Michigan and surrounded by the Great Lakes, fisheries are a huge part of outdoor recreation and managing the state’s natural resources. After getting my feet wet, I jumped at the opportunity to receive a Graduate Certificate in Fish Health and Aquaculture from the University of Florida and am very excited to continue in my graduate studies. Currently, I am employed as an Internship Program Officer with Northwest Youth Corps where I manage conservation intern placements with federal agencies, such as the National Park Service and US Forest Service, in the Pacific Northwest to provide opportunities to young people to learn, grow and experience success. I was happy to join Dr. Lecours’ Lab and to further my understanding of the marine environment through geomatics-based habitat mapping. One day, I hope to utilize the knowledge I have gained from the University of Florida to impact management of aquatic ecosystems at state and federal agencies."


Dr. Erik Kvaleberg (Postdoctoral Associate)

Ph.D., Physical Oceanography, Florida State University, 2003

M.Sc., Physical Oceanography, University of Bergen (Norway), 2000

B.Sc., Physical Oceanography, University of Bergen (Norway), 1998

B.Sc., Maritime Science, University of Plymouth (U.K.), 2012


Erik joined our team in 2020 to work on a standardized framework for data integration and distribution on the West Florida Shelf, a project funded through the Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program. He says: "I am a physical oceanographer with a PhD from Florida State University. My previous research efforts focused on the dynamics of coastal currents and shelf circulation processes, both in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Labrador Sea. From 2007-2018 I worked for the Norwegian Armed Forces, where I was responsible for providing the best possible meteorological, oceanographic and geospatial information to support military activities. Through international collaboration with civilian and military institutions on a wide variety of topics and projects, I have gained insight into how different communities handle and utilize environmental information. It has also given me a solid appreciation for just how useful and versatile such data can be."


Wenhao Liu

B.Eng. Geospatial Information Engineering, China Shandong Agricultural University, 2018


Wenhao worked in our lab in 2019 and 2020. During his undergraduate studies, Wenhao focused on remote sensing using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), particularly with applications in agriculture. He performed geospatial data collection for  several projects related to crop monitoring, and worked in the State Laboratory of Intelligent Agriculture of the Shandong Provincial Department of Natural Resources where he was the leader of the UAV team. Wenhao has over ten years of experience building and flying drones. While studying one year at UF in the Geomatics program, Wenhao became interested in the diversity of the marine and coastal environment because of a term project in the UAS Mapping Practicum course for which he had to quantify and monitor the shoreline change of Seahorse Key.


  • Travel Grant, Florida Chapter of the American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing (2020)

  • Francis H. Moffit Memorial Scholarship, American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing (2020)

  • GeoWeek Volunteer Scholarship, American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing (2020)


Benjamin Misiuk (Visiting Researcher)

Post-doctoral Fellow, Dalhousie University, Canada

Post-doctoral Fellow, Marine Institute of MUN, Canada, 2019-2020

Ph.D., Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, 2019


Ben is one of the earliest collaborators of the lab since he completed his doctoral degree at the same time as Dr. Lecours. He visited in the summer of 2018 to work on multiscale approaches for deriving terrain attributes to be used in marine habitat mapping. He remains one of our primary collaborators.


Dr. Xiaohui (Sherry) Qiao (Postdoctoral Associate)

Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Brigham Young University, 2020

M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2012

B.Sc., Environmental Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, 2009


Sherry worked with our lab from 2020 to 2022 to work on the development of web-based geovisualization tools for UF/IFAS Extension and its stakeholders. The webGIS serves as a tool for informed decision-making in relation to the 2023-2028 University of Florida Extension Roadmap, and communicates the baseline socio-economic and demographic conditions within which UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension operates. Sherry earned a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering at Brigham Young University, where her research mainly focused on hydroinformatics and webGIS development. She devoted her efforts to several research projects that emphasize on geospatial computing, web services/apps, and cyberinfrastructure development to support environmental research. Her primary research interest is to leverage interdisciplinary technologies (GIS, data science, informatics) to solve research questions in agriculture and environmental science.


David Salgado

MFAS Student, Online Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, University of Florida

B.Sc. Marine Biology, Florida International University, 2018


David started his online program towards an MFAS in Fall 2021. Here's how he describes his background: "I first experienced fieldwork as part of the Heithaus Lab at the Florida International University, volunteering for the Global Fingerprint Program for the identification of sharks, rays, and turtles. After graduation, I went abroad to assist a program in the Philippines by mapping nearshore coral reefs in 3D models, species identification, and identifying poblacional structure. I also took an internship with Blue Corner in Bali as a research diver to learn about coral farming, planting, and reproduction to monitor reef health and coral conservation. In order to get as much experience as possible, I started IDing ragged-tooth sharks and using photogrammetry to measure the population near the coast. I also enjoyed making 3D models of different marine habitats, because it helps to determine habitat and patterns that some species of sharks follow. With technology nowadays, I want to learn more about the connection between the physical environment and population structure. Now, I am working as a fisheries observer for NOAA, and  I am thrilled to start using GIS and its infinite tools for marine conservation and fisheries monitoring efforts.   "


Interested in becoming a student in the Lecours Lab?

Visit the Opportunities page, and get in touch!

bottom of page