Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students

David E. Capen is a Professor of Natural Resources. He is an avian ecologist with primary interests in wildlife habitat studies, especially landscape-level approaches to habitat analysis. He has degrees in Forestry from the University of Tennessee, Wildlife Management from the University of Maine, and Wildlife Science from Utah State University, and has been on the faculty at UVM for 30 years. He has studied GIS, remote sensing, and reserve design while on sabbatical leaves to Utah and Australia. Dr. Capen is Director of the Spatial Analysis Lab.

Austin Troy is an Assistant Professor of Natural Resources, having joined the School in 2001. His research interests include land policy, planning and economics, land use change analysis, urban spatial dynamics and urban growth modeling. He is interested in assessing the causes and environmental impacts of urban sprawl and in developing new spatial metrics for characterizing land use change using GIS and remote sensing. He is also interested in studying how property markets are affected by changes in the environment. He is currently working on a variety of research projects including modeling future urban growth in Vermont and predicting its effects on watershed function and habitat fragmentation under a variety of policy scenarios, assessing the suitability of hayfields and large suburban lawns as sustainable habitat for grassland birds, deriving ecosystem service values for all land cover in the state of New Jersey, and deriving environmentally functional spatial indicators of suburban sprawl for the northern forest. He is additionally a Co-PI on the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, for which he is conducting a number of research projects, including assessing the effects of parks and trees on property values, delineating urban environmental and socio-economic "patches" and understanding the relationship between urban street tree distribution and socio-economic status. He got his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management, his Master of Forestry degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and his B.A. from Yale University.

Jennifer A. Pontius is a new Research Assistant Professor in RSENR in a position that is cost-shared with the US Forest Service. Her research expertise is in landscape-level forest health, where she employs multi-spectral remote sensing techniques. Dr. Pontius was a Research Ecologist with the US Forest Service in Durham NH before coming to UVM. She received her M.S, and Ph.D. from University of New Hampshire.

Leslie A. Morrissey is an Associate Professor of Natural Resources, having joined the School of Natural Resources in 1995. Her research interests include trace gas exchange, wetlands, boreal ecosystems, and global change. Specializing in remote sensing and GIS, she has led several research programs sponsored by NASA. Presently, as a member of the Radarsat Science Team, ERS 1/2 Science Team, Alaska SAR Facility Advisory Group and numerous other NASA and NSF committees, her current research (three funded projects) involves the development of a circumpolar wetlands map. She received her Ph.D. in Geosciences from Oregon State University, with undergraduate degrees in Geography (minor in asian studies). Her research program supports several staff and graduate students utilizing the Spatial Analysis Laboratory.

J. Morgan Grove is Research Forester with the US Forest Service and an Adjunct Associate Professor with RSENR. Dr. Grove is a Co-PI on the Baltimore Ecosystem Study; in that capacity and on other projects, he works cooperatively with Austin Troy and Jarlath O.Neil-Dunne conducting urban tree canopy and forest opportunity spectrum analyses. Morgan is a social ecologist, with graduate degrees from Yale University.

Research Staff

Ernest W. Buford is a research specialist and systems administrator in the Spatial Analysis Lab. He earned a Master of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology at the University of Vermont in 1996. Ernie works on a diversity of research projects, such as the Vermont Biodiversity Project, and Gap Analysis for Vermont and New Hampshire. Ernie also serves as UVM's ESRI site license administrator.

Sean W. MacFaden is a GIS research specialist with degrees from Williams College and the University of Vermont. He has worked on a wide variety of wildlife and conservation-related projects, focusing on habitat assessment, reserve design, and conservation planning. Recently, he has begun using object-based image analysis for assessment of urban tree canopies and other ecosystems. Sean shares, with David Capen, responsibility for maintenance of the Conserved Lands Database for Vermont. Sean shares, with David Capen, responsibility for maintenance of the Conserved Lands Database for Vermont.

Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne is a geospatial analyst, and works in a position cost-shared with the US Forest Service. His current work has centers on urban ecosystems; results of his urban tree canopy assessments have been used by several major cities to establish tree canopy goals. Jarlath is well known for his expertise in object-based image analysis. In addition to degrees from University of New Hampshire and UVM, he has certificates in hyperspectral image exploitation and joint GIS operations from the National Geospatial Intelligence College. Jarlath is the recipient of the Vermont Spatial Data Partnership's 2008 Outstanding Achievement Award and a member of the team recognized with the New York State GIS Partnership Award in 2008.

Keith C. Pelletier is a Geospatial Specialist in the Spatial Analysis Lab. He received a B.A. in Geography from UVM and is currently finishing his M.S. in Natural Resources from UVM. His research has focused on Object-Oriented Image Analysis using high resolution imagery and LiDAR for identifying stream geomorphic features, impervious surfaces, and riparian vegetation. Keith is currently working on a number of urban tree canopy projects in the SAL. He has also worked on geospatial projects with Vermont's Department of Environmental Conservation and the USDA Forest Service.

Zoe Richards is a research biologist in the Spatial Analysis Lab. She graduated with a degree in biology from Brown University and received her M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from the University of Vermont. Her research interest is in avian ecology, and her thesis work focused on the effects of forest fragmentation on the Black-throated Blue Warbler. Recent projects in the lab have focused on habitat modeling of songbirds and wildlife conservation planning on the Green Mountain National Forest and watershed level wildlife analyses for the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge. Recent field projects include a multiple year study of the impacts of Double-crested Cormorants on nesting Great Blue Herons on Lake Champlain.

Graduate Students

Ken Bagstad 's research spans the fields of ecological economics and spatial analysis. His research interests include valuation of natural capital and ecosystem services and alternative measures of social welfare (e.g., Genuine Progress Indicator), and how these change across temporal and spatial scales across the urban-rural gradient. Ken began his professional life as a plant ecologist, receiving his B.A. in botany and environmental studies from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1999. He also completed his M.S. from Arizona State University in 2002, studying the conflicts between groundwater pumping and ecosystem health of the San Pedro River in southeastern Arizona. Before coming to UVM, he worked as an environmental consultant in Chicago, Illinois, and was active in restoration of native ecosystems in the Midwestern U.S.

Brian Voigt is a Ph.D. student studying under the careful guidance of Dr. Austin Troy. He is currently applying an urban growth simulation model (UrbanSim) to central Vermont to explore changes to the landscape and test land use policy options for guiding future development. Other research interests include land conversion, economics, and GIS. Brian has a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University and a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning. Prior to enrolling at UVM, Brian worked for 6 years at the Washington State Department of Ecology as the Coastal Planner for the Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study.

       Updated: 24 March 2009