Adam Chlus

I’m from Connecticut where I got my bachelor’s in environmental science and master’s in natural resources at UConn. During my time at UConn I had the opportunity to work on number of research projects using remote sensing to study a variety of ecosystems, from algal blooms in Long Island Sound and seagrass beds in the Florida Keys to the boreal forests of Canada and oak woodlands of northern California. I spent my first summer as a graduate student at NASA’s Ames Research Center working in collaboration with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to develop bird habitat maps that would be used for management decision making. The following year I spent several months working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory developing new methods for characterizing forest structure. The research, which became the subject of my master’s thesis, involved developing long term records of forest height and disturbance history using a combination of LiDAR, radar and optical remote sensing. I also had the invaluable opportunity of working in Dr. Heidi Dierssen’s COLORS lab on novel research using hyperspectral remote sensing to monitor and characterize coastal ecosystems. Our research has involved the detection and classification of algal and seagrass debris in the Florida Keys, characterization of seagrass beds in California and most recently the use of a hyperspectral imager aboard the International Space Station to identify algal blooms in Long Island Sound.Oboz_2012-0966

I am interested in how light interacts with vegetation and how relationships derived from those interactions can be used to monitor and measure ecosystems at multiple scales (leaf, suborbital and space). My research involves trying to understand the impacts of canopy structure on trait retrieval algorithms, the fusion of hyperspectral imagery and LiDAR to improve trait estimates and the development of multi-seasonal, cross-functional type leaf trait retrieval algorithms.

I also have an interest in electronics and optics, and as a hobby I’m working on developing open-source, low cost sensors for measuring light that can be used for ecological research and environmental monitoring. Right now I have couple of ongoing projects that I hope to finish by the time I graduate:

Other than that I enjoy swimming, watching UConn basketball and whenever I can I try to get out on the lake when the winds are howling to do some windsurfing.


John Clare

Born in D.C., raised in a lion’s den; recent history is not very interesting at all. So uninteresting, that the attached picture is perhaps 8 years old.  I apologize.


My research has typically had an emphasis on providing information requisite for immediately pressing management or conservation applications.  My interests fall under three general focus areas:

  • Building spatially explicit predictions related to where species and individuals are distributed across large scales, and evaluating the reasons for these patterns, both with regard to environmental characteristics, inter-specific interactions, and specific demographic processes underlying the current state.
  • Modifying and developing model frameworks that allow robust prediction.  Most of the parameters of interest in ecology cannot be perfectly observed, and standard statistical techniques are not robust to incomplete observation.  I typically prefer using models that treat parameters as latent variables, and when analytically tractable and computationally reasonable, I prefer to consider ecological and observation processes with explicit consideration for specific biological factors (e.g., individual space use, density dependence) that are rarely considered within predictive models.
  • Determining cost-effective and easily implemented methods/analyses for applied usage.  Most of my experience has involved carnivores that are inherently difficult and expensive to sample, and making incremental improvements in cost-efficiency or detectability can pay huge dividends in the success or failure of survey/monitoring efforts.  Moreover, it can be computationally expensive to fit complex models with large, multi-year data sets, and finding tractable and accurate alternative frameworks can make robust analysis more accessible.

At U-W, I work on the Snapshot Wisconsin project (in conjunction with WDNR) focusing on providing broad-scale assessments of species distribution, abundance, and dynamics in relation to changes in land cover and phenology.

Tedward Erker

Here’s my personal website

Born and raised in the mighty city of St. Louis, Missouri, I’m a native to the land of rivers, sweaty summers, brick houses, and sunday morning porch sitting.  I studied environmental studies at the Washington University in St. Louis.  My undergraduate interests were sustainable agriculture, which manifested as a year off of school working on farms around the country and a senior thesis investigating the practices of farmers selling at local farmers’ markets.  After graduation I stayed in St. Louis to teach high school biology and chemistry for two years as a Teach For America corps member.  In 2012 I moved north to Wisconsin where I worked as an arborist and a year later joined the Townsend Lab at UW Madison.  I enjoy being outside in all its facets–camping, biking, rock climbing, tree climbing, and sailing.
For my research I am broadly interested in the regional impact humans have on their environment, specifically, in using hyperspectral data to understand the interaction between cities and forests.  Urbanization–and its associated environmental impacts such Tedward_in_Hondurasas the urban heat island effect, increased rainfall and runoff, and increased nutrient inputs– is increasing across the globe.  Forests both within and near cities provide important ecosystem services for urban dwellers including carbon sequestration, air quality improvement, stormwater attenuation, and energy conservation.  Urban trees enhance the quality of human life in cities and is a strong personal motivation for my work.  I plan to investigate how forests’ capacity to provide ecosystem services might vary along an urban to rural gradient.


Urban Forest Ecosystems


Matthew Garcia

Hometown: Trenton, NJGarcia

Research Description: Landsat-based forest disturbance mapping, recovery tracking, and their impacts on atmospheric and hydrologic processes.



I was born and raised in Trenton, NJ, and consider myself a native of the Northeast Corridor. After college in northern NJ, I have lived in Colorado, Maryland, Arizona, Missouri, and now Wisconsin. I love both the eastern cities and the Rocky Mountains. I was married, now divorced, and have a tween daughter who lives in Missouri. I enjoy hiking, mountain biking, baseball, live music, and movies usually considered too slow and boring for most people.

Academic and Professional

I have an academic background in Physics and Geosciences (B.S. at Montclair State University, 1996), Atmospheric Science (M.S. at Colorado State University, 1999) and Hydrology (M.S. in Civil Engineering, also CSU, 2003). I worked for four years (2004-2008) as a Research Associate in the Hydrological Sciences Branch at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) on several projects, including software for the spatial interpolation of precipitation for land surface modeling applications in the NASA-GSFC Land Information System (LIS). I served for two years (2008-2010) as Project Manager for the Arizona Hydrologic Information System (AHIS) effort, initially with the Arizona Water Institute and later with SAHRA and the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona. I began my Ph.D. work at UW-Madison in Forest Ecology in 2011 with an emphasis on Landsat-based mapping and discrimination of forest disturbances and their impact on atmospheric and hydrologic processes. I am aiming for dissertation completion and graduation in 2016. I specialize in Earth and physical sciences, climate and weather, hydrology and water resource processes, surface water studies, programming and numerical modeling (Fortran, JS, Python), remote sensing, geography and mapping (Google Maps and ArcGIS), a lot of ecology, a dash of geology, lots of data collection and analysis (Matlab), authoring for proposals and reports and publication (professional journals and web), and information management for web-based visualization and dissemination. I keep a blog at where my CV is also available.


Forest Disturbance


Huan Gu


I was born and raised in the city of Yancheng, Jiangsu Province, China. I moved to Wuhan, Hubei Province for my undergraduate and graduate studies in 2003. I received my Bachelors degree in Geographic Information System (GIS) from China University of Geosciences in 2007, and earned my Masters degree in Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing from LIESMARS at Wuhan University in 2009. In August of 2009, I flew across the Pacific Ocean to start my Ph.D. life with Dr. Phil Townsend at University of Wisconsin-Madison. In my spare time, I like traveling, swimming and outdoor activities.

My research focuses on quantification and mapping of forest structure (including aboveground biomass), tree species gradient and forest growth in the city of Madison and neighboring municipalities using airborne discrete lidar and AVIRIS hyperspectral imagery. My objective is to understand urban ecosystem services and function by linking field measurements to different types of remote sensing data using statistical modeling approaches.


Urban Forest EcosystemsIMG_0129