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Brian O’ Connor

Programme Officer | Science

Brian’s role in the Science Programme is to provide Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) support to the Centre’s internal and external projects as well as communicating with policy makers on the use of RS and GIS in conservation applications. His special interest is in the development of a global, long-term and sustainable landcover change assessment tool in to monitor biodiversity pressures and developing the emerging essential biodiversity variables for global change monitoring.

Previous experience & expertise

Brian’s PhD developed a method to monitor vegetation seasonality across the island of Ireland using time series analysis of remotely-sensed vegetation growth measures, examining how air temperature and landcover are linked to spatiotemporal patterns of seasonality at a national scale. Brian continued as a postdoctoral research assistant at Aberystwyth University, Wales followed by consultancy work at Environmental Research and Assessment (ERA), Cambridge. At Aberystwyth, he contributed to Object-Based Image Analysis techniques to assess landcover change in and around NATURA 2000 sites in Europe. At ERA, he produced landcover maps for to assess the impacts of oil development in East Africa. 

Recent work by Brian O’ Connor

A review of Earth Observation as a tool to assess progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets |

In collaboration with staff from the Ecosystem and Assessment Programme, Brian has written a report which addresses the gap between biodiversity policy needs – such as the 2020 Aichi Targets – and the opportunities afforded by Earth Observation (airborne and spaceborne remote sensing), as required by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

UNEP GEO6 Outlook Reports |

Brian has assisted in the production of maps showing ecosystem assets, pressures and biodiversity across the five UNEP Regions for the GEO6 Outlook reports. These maps will inform policy decisions and empower the UNEP Region member states to manage their ecosystem assets in the face of increasing human pressures.

Remote Sensing for Essential Biodiversity Variables |

With the need for a sustainable, harmonized and global monitoring system to measure biodiversity change gaining momentum, Brian has been involved in efforts to define the variables obtainable by satellite remote sensing. These variables may satisfy the future observation requirements of policy end users such as the CBD and IPBES.