Assistant Professor in Marine Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis

Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences | Geomatics, School of Forest Resources & Conservation, University of Florida

Affiliate faculty, School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Florida

UF affiliations: Center for Remote Sensing, Water Institute, Biodiversity Institute

Associate Editor: Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, PLoS One

Guest Editor: Geosciences, 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 work in the Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program, and part of my duties is to bridge it with the Geomatics Program to increase collaboration and research potential within both units. Broadly, 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 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: Spatial Sciences for Marine Environmental Characterization (FAS4932/6932), Marine Spatial Analysis (FAS6905), Optical Remote Sensing for Bathymetric Derivation (FAS6905), 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

Michael Espriella

M.Sc. Student, 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 master's 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 master’s degree in the Lecours Lab, I intend to further explore how spatial data can be instrumental in conservation efforts as well as understanding how to best manage habitat restoration."

Publication:

  • 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.

Wenhao Liu

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

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

 

Wenhao will be joining our lab in 2019 to pursue his master's degree. 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. During his master's degree, Wenhao will be working on improving bathymetric retrieval accuracy using optical data and coastal change monitoring.

Esteban Rodofili

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

Lic. Biological Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

Esteban will be joining our lab in September to pursue his Ph.D. 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."

Jade Austin

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

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

 

Jade virtually joined the lab in September 2018 to pursue her online non-thesis master's program in Geomatics with Dr. Lecours and Dr. Benjamin Wilkinson (SFRC, 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 join 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."

Christina Mallica

M.Sc. Student, Master's in Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida

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

 

Christina started her online non-thesis master's program in Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences in September 2019. Here's what she says about herself: "After graduating, 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. My experiences have led me to the Lecours Lab and I’m excited to continue my education and relevant training within the fields of geomatics and marine conservation."

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."

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.

Suman Jumani

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 is 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 is assessing 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.

Kwanmok Kim

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

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

 

Kwan is a Ph.D. Candidate under the supervision of Dr. Peter Frederick (Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, UF). For his Ph.D. project, Kwan is studying the effects of structural complexity on community composition using oysters as a target species. Kwan's work in the lab involves using photogrammetry and 3D geomorphometry to characterize the structural complexity of oyster clusters. He is trying to better understand how structural complexity in oyster clusters and reefs affect species interactions and community composition.

Publication:

  • 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.

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. 

Katherine Overly

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

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."

Bijeta Bijen Saha

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

Bijeta is a Ph.D. candidate in the Food and Resource Economics Department at UF, working under the supervision of Dr. Christa Court and Dr. Conner Mullally. Her research focuses on sustainability issues that are relevant to Florida: "In my dissertation, I use 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 be 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

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

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

 

Charles is an M.Sc. student working under the supervision of Dr. Ed Camp (Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences, UF). Charles is working on oysters and the ecosystem services they provide. He is performing 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.

Dr. Daniela Barros

Ph.D., Universidade Federal do Parà, Brazil

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 has been collaborating every since.

Lukáš Gábor

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

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

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

 

Lukáš is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Applied Geoinformatics and Spatial Planning at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, under the supervision of   Dr. Vítězslav Moudrý. 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.

Publications:

Brian McKenna

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."

Errol Ronje

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.

Interested in becoming a student in the Lecours Lab?

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© 2017 by Vincent Lecours

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