Assistant Professor
Remote sensing, biodiversity conservation, South America

Carnegie Hall, 104F

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

Curriculum Vitae

RESEARCH

I am a land change scientist who studies patterns and processes of land and vegetation change at different geographic and temporal scales. My particular strengths within land change science rely on  the use of remote sensing approaches to assess vegetation dynamics, land-use / land-cover change analyses, and vegetation time series evaluations.

My research is highly interdisciplinary and lies in the intersection of the biological, social and, to a lesser degree, computer sciences. I tend to collaborate with colleagues from fields such as anthropology, sociology, ecology, biology and economics 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 multispectral (e.g. Landsat and Sentinel-2) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs; drones) data. At broader geographical scales, my research focuses more on evaluating long-term changes in vegetation in relationship to anthropogenic-induced changes in climate, particularly precipitation, using sensors that provide bi-weekly or monthly data.

While my geographic focus of research is the South American tropics, especially Ecuador, I am broadly interested in studying human-environment systems and am always open to expanding my horizons through collaborations.

Learn more about current research projects, publications, and opportunities for student involvement here!

See what students have worked on in the past at Remote Sensing @ Macalester

TEACHING

I believe teaching is one of the greatest responsibilities and privileges of a professor. We dedicate many years to deepening and advancing knowledge within a specific field. We share this knowledge in conferences and peer-reviewed publications with our academic peers, but it is in teaching that we have an impact beyond academic circles. Because of my research expertise and my regional focus of research, my teaching tends to involve two branches: biophysical sciences and regional courses about Latin America.

In terms of biophysical sciences, I teach introductory and advanced sections of remote sensing (RS) analysis. I enjoy bringing my research expertise into the classroom to guide students through their own learning process. I believe techniques are best learned by application. Therefore, my RS courses tend to have a strong lab and individual project component where students apply concepts in case studies and answer a RS research question of their own interest. At a more introductory level, I teach a class that covers basic knowledge of physical geography and that could be considered a foundations class for RS and for other biophysical fields. I also offer an advanced seminar in land change science, where students explore land system dynamics as coupled human-environment systems.

Related to my regional area of expertise, I offer classes about the Neotropics and Latin America.  As a biophysical scientist, I like to explore in my regional courses both ecological and social aspects of the different human-environment systems within the Neotropics. 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.

See detailed course descriptions here!

Courses

GEOG 239: Neotropical Landscapes (cross-listed with LATI 239)


GEOG 249: Environment and Society in Latin America (cross-listed with LATI 249)


GEOG 362: Remote Sensing of the Environment


GEOG 394: Advanced Remote Sensing 

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