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Susan Meerdink successfully defends PhD

posted Nov 15, 2018, 8:31 AM by Susan Meerdink   [ updated Nov 15, 2018, 8:33 AM ]
On Friday, November 9, 2018 at 10:00 am, Susan Meerdink successfully defended her dissertation titled "
Remote sensing of plant species using airborne hyperspectral visible-shortwave infrared and thermal infrared imagery". Her advisor was Dar Roberts, with committee members Jennifer King, Kelly Caylor, Paul Gader. Afterwards the lab celebrated with lunch at Hollister.


Dissertation Title: Remote sensing of plant species using airborne hyperspectral visible-shortwave infrared and thermal infrared imagery
    
Abstract:  In California, natural vegetation is experiencing an increasing amount of stress due to prolonged droughts, wildfires, insect infestation, and disease. Remote sensing technologies provide a means for monitoring plant species temporally across landscapes. The goal of this dissertation is to quantify our ability to temporally study plant species using hyperspectral visible-shortwave infrared, hyperspectral thermal, and combined hyperspectral visible-shortwave infrared and thermal imagery. Using unique NASA remote sensing datasets, I characterize species' temperature variability, classify plant species through the 2013-2015 drought, and map drought stress during that time in Southern California. Results demonstrate that fusing hyperspectral and thermal imagery together will improve efforts to monitor ecosystems at large spatial and temporal scales and develops a deeper, quantitative understanding of the functioning natural environment.

Bio: Susan Meerdink is a NASA Earth & Space Science Fellow who uses remote sensing to study plant species across broad spatial and temporal domains. Prior to UCSB, she graduated summa cum laude and magna cum laude from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in both Geographic Information Sciences and Ecology.