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Brian O’ Connor

Programme Officer | Science

Brian’s role in the Science Programme is to bring Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) expertise to the Centre’s projects in biodiversity and ecosystem service assessments. His special interest is in the application of geospatial tools to monitor and map pressures on biodiversity and ecosystems. He is also part of a global collaboration seeking to standardise how we measure biodiversity from satellite sensors such as Sentinel -2 and Landsat.

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 greenness measures, examining how air temperature and landcover are linked to spatiotemporal patterns of vegetation 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. At ERA, he produced landcover maps for to assess the impacts of oil development in East Africa.

Recent work by Brian O’ Connor

Remote Sensing for Essential Biodiversity Variables (RS4EBV) |

Brian managed the RS4EBV project which established a monitoring and modelling framework for the retrieval of Remote Sensing Essential Biodiversity Variables (RS-EBVs) from Sentinel-2 to describe the functional diversity of terrestrial plant communities. This work was in support of the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON).

An integrated approach to biodiversity threat mapping and mitigation |

Brian has been central to developing a knowledge base on global threats to biodiversity categorised according to the direct threat classification scheme of the IUCN. This effort increased our understanding of where, when and how biodiversity is threatened. Brian also supported the development of a GIS database to map some of the key threats.

Advancing environmental risk management |

Brian has assisted in compiling a global inventory of spatially explicit natural capital data suitable for the integration of risks relating to natural capital into models used by the finance sector. This work aims to enable the systematic integration of natural capital related risks in financial institutions’ risk assessment approaches.