Post-Docs and Graduate Students

The AWARE research team includes Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDFs), Graduate and Senior Undergraduate students. PDFs are scientific researchers working directly with the theme leaders and help to coordinate activities within the core and secondary sites. The AWARE team strives to create a nurturing environment for academic growth by providing HQP a fertile intellectual environment in which to develop new innovative ideas as well as providing them with resources so that they are not limited when putting these ideas into action. Graduate students and PDFs will be actively involved in the design and development of the research, field activities, and organization of, and participation in meetings and workshops. Senior undergraduate students will also be engaged to assist in data collection during the summer field seasons and carry out senior honours theses in their fourth year of study. Any undergraduate students interested in getting involved with AWARE should contact Nicholas Coops.

Mélodie Bujold is working on her master’s in Geographic Sciences at the Université de Sherbrooke, where she also obtained her undergraduate degree in “Geomatics Applied to the Environments”. Her research project is focused on the development of direct and indirect mapping methods. These methods uses a combination of ground plots, ALS transects, full coverage satellite imagery and ancillary data to map and estimate a suite of forest structural attributes over a large area of boreal forest in Newfoundland, Canada. Mélodie is working on Question 3 of Theme 1 for AWARE.
Karin van Ewijk is originally from The Netherlands where she studied wildlife management at Van Hall Larenstein, University of Applied Sciences. She obtained her Masters in Geographic Information Science at the University of Minnesota (USA) and her PhD in Geography at Queen’s University. Her PhD research focused on predicting forest successional stages and species composition using LiDAR and high spatial resolution optical imagery in a complex temperate forest ecosystem in Ontario. She also used LiDAR to parameterize a dynamic forest model to predict future forest stand structure and composition. Karin is working on Question 4 of Theme 2 for AWARE.
Shawn Donovan started his post-secondary education in forestry and environmental studies in 2009. He obtained a diploma in wildlife conservation technology and a certificate in conservation enforcement from Holland College in Prince Edward Island. In 2012 he moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick to continue his studies an obtained a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in 2015. Prior to beginning his master’s in Forestry at UNB, Shawn was vice-president of the Forest Association at the University, was project manager of an undergraduate course developing an urban tree management plan for the City of Fredericton, and has been a student member for The Association of Registered Professional Foresters of New Brunswick since 2013. Shawn’s research project is focused on assessing the capacity of LiDAR and other remote sensing imagery to augment forest health survey information, specifically the most recent spruce budworm outbreak in Eastern Canada. Shawn is working on Question 15 of Theme 2 for AWARE.
Shane Furze is a PhD candidate at the Forest Watershed Research Center at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) under the supervision of Dr. Paul Arp. Shane completed his BSc in Environmental Science in Biology at St. Francis Xavier University in 2010 before obtaining a Master’s of Environmental Management (MEM) at UNB in 2013. Shane’s contributions to AWARE focus on improving forest plantation growth predictions based on digital terrain and soil modelling. In this, soil properties are considered to change continuously from ridge top to valleys, as influenced by increasing soil moisture as well as landform type and position. Resulting from this work, Shane is the recipient of the 2015 ESRI International Young Scholar for Canada Award, presented at the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, California (July 24-27, 2015) and the 2015 New Brunswick Innovation Foundation Tri Council Doctoral Alternate Award. Shane is working on Question 10 of Theme 2 for AWARE.
Sean Lamb started his forestry studies at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario and moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick soon after to continue his education at the University of New Brunswick. During his undergraduate degree, he worked with Dr. Chris Hennigar assisting with data management for the New Brunswick Growth and Yield Unit and completed his undergraduate thesis focusing on the effects of silvicultural treatments on managed stands in New Brunswick. Prior to beginning his master’s in Forestry at UNB, Sean also worked with Dr. David MacLean installing and measuring permanent sample plots in Quebec to assess spruce budworm defoliation for a remote sensing-based research project. Sean is working on Question 6 of Theme 2 for AWARE.
chris_picture Chris Mulverhill is an MSc student in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC. He joins the department after completing a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Oregon. Having lived in Texas for most of his life, Chris’s eagerness to study the forests of the Western United States resulted in an undergraduate focus in biology and GIS applications. Chris’s research in the AWARE program will examine the ability of ALS LiDAR to assess product mix based on stem class distribution in forest stands. Chris is working on Question 7 of Theme 2 for AWARE.
Rachel Perron is working on her master’s in Geography at the Université du Québec à Montréal, where she also earned her degree in biology. She previously worked as a wildlife technician and in the field of scientific communications. Her research subject is the recognition of species on the single tree level using LiDAR and aerial imagery. Rachel is working on Question 22 of Theme 4 for AWARE.
Jean-François Prieur is from Montreal, Quebec and has a B. Comm. (Accounting) from Concordia University. After working 15 years as an IT consultant in the fields of investment banking and ecommerce infrastructure, he changed career paths and completed a Graduate Diploma (GIS) and a M.Sc. Geography (GIS) at Université du Québec à Montréal under Benoît St-Onge. His M.Sc. research dealt with correcting and improving SRTM digital elevation models in order to better measure canopy heights across large areas of forest. Jean-François is working on Question 21 of Theme 4 for AWARE.
joe_rakofsky Joseph Rakofsky is working towards his master’s in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia (UBC) with supervisor Nicholas Coops. Born in Montreal, Quebec, he obtained his BSc in Environment at McGill University. In his last year and subsequent gap year, he carried out research with Professor Jeffrey Cardille using Landsat 8 to estimate concentrations of coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in lakes of the Abitibi region of Quebec. He also used the optical data to categorize the area’s lakes in order to improve CDOM estimations from Landsat 5 and 7. His current work will assess the effectiveness of integrating LiDAR and digital photogrammetry to measure canopy height growth near Slave Lake, Alberta. Joseph is working on Question 12 of Theme 2 for AWARE. Question 12 of Theme 2 for AWARE.
Jean-Romain Roussel studied mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology in France between 2008 and 2010. Autodidact in programming, he worked on an algorithm for the automatic detection of knots in computed tomography images of scanned logs in 2013. He completed an M.Sc. on the ecology of tropical rain forests in 2014, working on tension wood formation in the cell wall during ontegeny. He is currently doing his PhD at Laval University under the supervision of Alexis Achim, Martin Béland and John Carspersen (University of Toronto). His interests lie with the technical questions related to the effects of LiDAR parametrization on the structure of the acquired point cloud. Jean-Romain is working on Question 8 of Theme 2 for AWARE.
Abdelmounaime Safia s originally from Algeria where he studied geodesy and remote sensing at National Center for Space Techniques and obtained his Master (M.Sc) and Doctorate degrees. He moved to Canada to continue his research where he registered in the PhD program in remote sensing at the Université de Sherbrooke. He worked on a new texture model named Multi-Band Compact Texture Unit (MB CTU) for multispectral and hyper spectral images. Abdelmounaime obtained a Ph.D. in remote sensing from Université de Sherbrooke in 2015. He has a long experience on remote sensing image processing and information extraction applied to different topics including land cover, land use, change detection, forestry and urban area. Abdelmounaime recently joined the AWARE research team as postdoctoral fellow, under Richard Fournier. He will work on developing and validating algorithms adapted to estimate tree attributes from ground-based LiDAR data. Abdelmounaime is working on Question 19 of Theme 3 for AWARE.
Aurélie Schmidt is from France and is currently doing her Masters in Geographical sciences at the Department of Applied Geomatics of the Université de Sherbrooke. She completed an undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences at the Université de Paris Diderot in 2011 and a Masters degree in Geomatics specialized in remote-sensing at the Université de Strasbourg (France) in 2014. Her professional interest is to develop competence to guide sustainable management of terrestrial ecosystems, especially forests. In 2014 she realized a research internship at the Office National des Forêts where she was involved in the development of methods for characterizing forest stands (variety and structure) using ground, airborne and satellite remotely-sensed data to optimize forest management on the Ventoux area (France). Aurélie’s research project is focussed on the development of spatially-explicit indicators to quantify and map ecosystem services of Newfoundland in support of an assessment of aquatic ecosystem integrity. Aurélie is working on Question 17a of Theme 2 for AWARE. Question 17a was designed for a MSc precluding the PhD that will handle Question 17b. Question 17A focusses on how can landscape level ecosystem services be quantified using available geospatial data?
Piotr Tompalski was born and raised in Poland and studied forestry at the University of Agriculture in Krakow. He spent 6 months on exchange at Wageningen University in the Netherlands where he became very interested in GIS and remote sensing, then deciding to write a master’s thesis at UAKrakow concerning applications of terrestrial laser scanning in forestry. After obtaining his M.Sc. in forestry in 2008, Piotr began his PhD studies, expanding his research on the applications of various geotechnologies for forestry and nature conservation with a focus on vegetation growth in greatly disturbed areas. His research employs both airborne and terrestrial laser scanning data in addition to satellite imagery. He often uses OBIA tools to process his data, skills he acquired during his internship at Trimble Geospatial Division in Munich, Germany (2010). His research methods were influenced not only by the scientists at his home university but also by the researchers at Vienna University of Technology, where he spent a short time as a visiting PhD candidate.
Bastien Vandendaele completed a master degree (M.Sc.) in bio-engineering specialized in the “Management of Forests and Natural Areas” at the University of Liège – Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (Belgium) in 2015. His M.Sc. thesis focused on the development of methods for the use of terrestrial LiDAR to enhance current forest inventories. He worked six month at the University of Sherbrooke and at the UQAR. He is starting a Ph.D, project in May 2016 co-supervised by Pr. Richard Fournier, Dr. Udayalakshmi Vepakomma (FPInnovations), and Pr .Philippe Lejeune (University of Liège). His research focused for his Ph.D. project is on the use of terrestrial, UAV-based and airborne-based LiDAR sensors for the enhancement of forest inventories in temperate, boreal and tropical forests. His interests lie with the development, the adaptation of specialized algorithms for the use of LiDAR remote sensing datasets for forest management applications. Bastien is working on Question 24 of Theme 4 for AWARE.
Kaysandra Waldron completed a B.Sc. in biology in 2006 at Laval University and a master in soil sciences in 2008, in which she studied lateritic soils in Niger. She obtained a Ph.D. from Laval University in forest ecology in 2013, under the supervision of Jean-Claude Ruel and Sylvie Gauthier. Her Ph.D. research was concentrated on wind disturbance dynamics in boreal forest of eastern Canada and ecological impacts of salvage logging. She recently joined the AWARE research team as a postdoctoral fellow, under Alexis Achim. She will evaluate the relationship between wood properties and stand structural characteristics in long fire return interval boreal ecosystem. Kaysandra is working on Question 2 of Theme 1 for AWARE.
Rebecca Wylie is currently working on a master’s degree in the field of environmental science at Nipissing University.  She completed her undergraduate degree at Carleton University in 2012 where she studied biology.  Since graduating she has been teaching outdoor education in Temagami, Ontario. Her project will involve two specific objectives. The first objective will be to create a model that will estimate stand age based on vertical forest structure with information derived from Airborne Laser Scanning data across the Hearst Forest in northern Ontario.  The second objective will be to explore the variation of wood quality attributes in black spruce over the first 100 years of growth across a gradient of site quality as defined by Ecological Land Classification (ELC) ecosites. Ultimately, the project will support better prediction of wood quality attributes in the Boreal forest in northern parts of Ontario by bringing together two major drivers of wood quality (age and site quality) in a model that can be used with enhanced forest inventory data.  Rebecca is working on Question 14 of Theme 2 for AWARE.