Wouter Hantson

Ph.D. candidate – Graduate Research Assistant

Faculty Advisor: Daniel J. Hayes

Office Location: 260 Nutting Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Biographical Statement: I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Forest Resources. I graduated from Wageningen University with an MSc in Geo-Information Science where I combined LiDAR and aerial imagery for invasive species detection. Afterward, I used UAVs to scale water body dynamics at Belgian farms and used camera traps to monitor Andean bear behavior in Ecuadorian cloud forests. In addition, we did expeditions to find Andean bear marking sites and map the canopy metrics with UAV photo point clouds. I moved to the US to characterize salt marsh habitat on the US East Coast and thereafter started my Ph.D. project, with yearly field campaigns to Alaska, to study the climate change impacts on Arctic ecosystems.

Research Statement: The overarching goal of my research is to improve the knowledge of ecological processes using remote sensing. My Ph.D. research has focused on studying the climate change impacts on Arctic ecosystems. During several field expeditions to the Seward Peninsula, the Yukon Delta, and interior Alaska where we used novel remote sensing technologies like unoccupied aerial vehicles (UAVs), combined with ground measurements, to characterize the fine-scale patterns of tundra vegetation and permafrost distribution, and scale them up to larger airborne and satellite observations to develop a regional understanding of climate-driven disturbances in the Arctic in collaboration with researchers from NASA’s Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment  (ABoVE) and Department of Energy (DOE)’s Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiment Arctic (NGEE-Arctic).