Berg Postdoctoral Fellow of Geography (AY 2019-2020 / AY 2020-2021)
Remote sensing, biodiversity conservation, South America

Carnegie Hall, 110

Website: https://xavierhc.weebly.com/

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae

RESEARCH STATEMENT:

I am a land change scientist who studies patterns of land and vegetation change at different geographic and temporal scales. My particular strengths within land change science relies in the use of remote sensing approaches to assess vegetation dynamics; land-use and land-cover change analyses; and time series evaluations of remote sensing data. My research is highly interdisciplinary and lies in the intersection of human activities, climate, and land change. I tend to collaborate with social and biological scientists to answer questions related to the impact of changes in land-cover (especially forest cover) on biodiversity and the drivers of these changes. I typically conduct this type of research at local scales using multi-spectral sensors such as Landsat and Sentinel-2. At broader geographical scales, my research focuses more on evaluating long-term gradual changes of vegetation in relationship to anthropogenic-induced changes in climate, such as those observed in precipitation and CO2. This type of research at present involves sensors of coarser resolution such as AVHRR. While my geographic focus of research is the South American tropics, especially Ecuador, I am broadly interested in studying coupled human-environment systems. 

Research Projects

TEACHING and TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

At Macalester, I teach courses on Remote Sensing (RS) and Latin America. RS is a powerful and rapidly evolving tool for spatial analysis and it’s used to solve complex physical, biological and social issues affecting our interconnected world. I currently offer an introductory course, and I expect to be able to offer an advanced section during my appointment at Macalester. In my RS courses, I seek for students to i) acquire concepts, analytical methods and software competencies for satellite image analysis, with a focus on multi-spectral data; ii) develop critical thinking around the usefulness and limitations of remote sensing data and iii) apply learned techniques to case studies of their own interest. I believe concepts about techniques are best learned by application. Therefore, my courses tend to have a strong lab and individual project component where students apply learned concepts in case studies and answer a RS research question of their own interest. 

Remote Sensing @ Macalester

I also teach introductory courses related to Latin America. These are basic level courses that include that include the biophysical, social and environmental aspects of land change in Latin America. As a citizen of a Latin American country, I come to my classes with the overarching goal of sharing the various geographical aspects of the region I call home. My Latin America classes tend to be based on readings, discussions, documentaries and/or movies and projects in the form of essays or podcasts where students explore more in depth topics assigned by me or of their own interest. 

Courses

GEOG 362: Introduction to Remote Sensing


GEOG 249: Environment and Society in Latin America


GEOG 249: Neotropical Landscapes


GEOG 394: Advanced Remote Sensing (up-coming course)

Links for Geography course syllabi can be found on our Course Syllabi page.