Hannah L. Hubanks

Education and backgroundme and a monkey -) 

I grew up in the small town of Prairie du Sac, WI, and proceeded to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for college where I received a degree in Zoology, with certificates inEnvironmental Studies and African Studies. For as long as I can remember, I have asked the “why and how” questions about nature’s workings, cuddled any critter that will allow me to do so, and spent as much time as possible in the outdoors, the wilder the better. My love and fascination for nature developed into a career path aimed at preserving it. I furthered my global understanding of environmental issues and implications by backpacking internationally for a year and half, and have now brought back that perspective to life in the United States.



I began my involvement with the Townsend lab in 2012, where I conducted field research in the Greater Yellowstone Hannah1Ecosystem of Wyoming. During that field season, I collected forestry data on pine tree species, while sampling for the bark beetles that use and kill these trees during their life cycle. This project is affiliated with the effects of climate change, as these bark beetles are now moving to higher elevations, where previously, tree species did not need a defense against them. I am back on board with the Townsend Lab for the 2014 field season in the Rocky Mountains to continue researching the relationship between the bark beetle and pine species and more specifically, patterns in the genetic differences and chemical defenses that may better defend the trees from attack.



In addition to my awesome role as a hiker and camper of the wilderness for seasonal research, I teach yoga, and am preparing to apply to graduate school for a furthered degree in the ecology realm. When not working, I can typically be found in a yoga studio, out for a jog, wild crafting, or in the kitchen cooking up something to dazzle the taste buds.



Clayton Kingdon

I was bornIMG_20160626_131748 and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. I studied at Carleton University  (BSc Geology, 1995) and the Nova Scotia College of Geographic Sciences (Diploma of Remote Sensing, 1997). Over the course of spring/summer 2016 I completed 39 hours of training in Private Pilot Ground School (FAA Part 61) and obtained a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate (FAA Part 107).

My latest work has me focused on deploying a suite of instruments including the Piccolo Dual-view Spectrometer and NanoHyperspec imaging spectrometer on a heavy-lift UAV. My hope is that this platform will help “fill the gaps” between leaf- anIMG_20160721_193647d pixel-level spectroscopic measurements. I’ve also partnered with Wisconsin DNR’s Aeronautics Team to install and operate our newly acquired full-range imaging spectrometer system (Norsk Elektro Optikk HySpex) on a Cessna Skywagon 180.

In addition, I oversee EcoSIS.org, a system for documenting and distributing environmental spectroscopy data and metadata, and manage the development of SpecDAL, a Python library that makes working with spectral data easier.

I provide support for much of the research that happens here, but my primary focus is linking remote sensing, field spectroscopy, and ecological data. I’m interested in using remote sensing technology, in-situ data, quantitative methods, and statistical modeling to learn about how ecosystems function.

In recent history, I used AVIRIS imagery to map aspen genotypes in MN, WI, MI, CO, and UT. Previously, I’ve used multi- and hyperspectral imagery to characterize the effects of midge emergence from lakes in Iceland on the surrounding landscape.

In my free time I enjoy cycling, canoeing, camping, and playing hockey.

Click here to see all my publications in Google Scholar.

Recent Publications:
Cotrozzi, L., Couture, J.J., Cavender-Bares, J., Kingdon, C.C., Fallon, B., Pilz, G., Pellegrini, E., Nali, C., Townsend, P.A., 2017. Using foliar spectral properties to assess the effects of drought on plant water potential. Tree Physiol 37, 1582–1591. DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpx106

Cavender-Bares, J., J. E. Meireles, J. J. Couture, M. A. Kaproth, C. C. Kingdon, A. Singh, S. P. Serbin, A. Center, E. Zuniga, G. Pilz, and P. A. Townsend. 2016. Associations of Leaf Spectra with Genetic and Phylogenetic Variation in Oaks: Prospects for Remote Detection of Biodiversity. Remote Sensing 8:221. DOI: 10.3390/rs8030221

Serbin, S. P., Singh, A., Desai, A. R., Dubois, S. G., Jablonski, A. D., Kingdon, C. C., Kruger, E.L., Townsend, P. A., 2015. Remotely estimating photosynthetic capacity, and its response to temperature, in vegetation canopies using imaging spectroscopy. Remote Sensing of Environment. 167, 78–87. DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2015.05.024

Singh, A., Serbin, S. P., McNeil, B. E., Kingdon, C. C., & Townsend, P. A., 2015. Imaging spectroscopy algorithms for mapping canopy foliar chemical and morphological traits and their uncertainties. Ecological Applications. 25, 2180-2197. DOI: 10.1890/14-2098.1

Serbin, S.P., Singh, A., McNeil, B.E., Kingdon, C.C., Townsend, P.A., 2014. Spectroscopic determination of leaf morphological and biochemical traits for northern temperate and boreal tree species. Ecological Applications. 24, 1651-1669. DOI: 10.1890/13-2110.1

Madritch, M.D., Kingdon, C.C., Singh, A., Mock, K.E., Lindroth, R.L., Townsend, P.A., 2013. Imaging spectroscopy links aspen genotype with belowground processes at landscape scales. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Biological Sciences. 369(1643), 20130194. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0194

Benjamin A. Spaier

Personal Bio:

Although originally from Oxford, Ohio, I have lived in Madison since 1995 and am a proud, fully assimilated Wisconsinite.  Staying close to home, I graduated from the UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Geography and certificate in American Indian studies.  In 2010 I started volunteering in Professor Townsend’s Lab, and have worked here part-time as a technician since 2011.  Besides remote sensing and now forestry, I have quirky but passionate interests in dragonflies and geography trivia, but the true complement of my part-time work has been extensive volunteering in outreach with science and geography education, predominantly through the Science Olympiad program. As a result I have dozens of kids running around town, but I am nevertheless not remiss to leave them all to their different mothers – and fathers – when I go home at day’s end.

Research Bio:

My interest in remote sensing – which stems from my first introduction to it through Science Olympiad in high school – has grown through my undergrad college years all the way to the present, and I now work with many aspects of this awesome science on a daily basis.  I collect field data in support of many projects, and this includes taking forest biometry measurements, collecting and (later) differentially correcting GPS points, and also operating FERST’s high-end portable spectrometers, both in the lab and in the field, to acquire spectra of vegetation from across the country.  Outside of assisting with research, I often help Professor Townsend in the classroom with the courses he teaches during the fall
semester – which is one of my favorite jobs at FERST.  My work with students was recognized in 2013 when I won the outstanding service award given to a UW-Madison staff person by our campus’s office of International Student Services, after initially being nominated for consideration by a student who took Professor Townsend’s course in the fall of 2012.