Staff

Spatial Analysis Lab

Jessica Mitchell joined the Spatial Analysis Lab as director in 2018. Her interests combine remote sensing with environmental assessment experience to advance new techniques for analyzing impacts and land management decision making. She is currently evaluating methods for scaling vegetation structure, canopy chemistry and biodiversity variables from leaves and individuals to plots, landscapes and regions. Some of the data she works with are traditional plot-based measurements; ground and airborne laser scanning (lidar) and reflectance spectroscopy estimates; and time-series satellite observations. Vegetation applications include mapping plant chemistry and forage quality; linking plant diversity across trait, species, functional and environmental variables; developing scalable high-resolution shrub structure products; coordinating teams to quantify the impacts of habitat decline on environmental and socio-economic resources; and advancing spectral digitization of plant collections. (Mitchell CV)

Claudine Tobalske started working as a GIS Analyst/Ecologist at the Spatial Analysis Lab in 2008. She has over 25 years of GIS experience in the field of natural resources conservation and management, starting as a Ph.D. student working in this lab, then as a GIS analyst and ecologist for the Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, on to her current position at the SAL. Her interests range from wildlife habitat models to vegetation mapping using remote sensing at different scales, from 1m NAIP to 30m Landsat.  She has extensive experience with the full suite of ESRI products and image analysis software such as Erdas Imagine and eCognition. (Tobalske CV)

Ryan Rock began working at the Spatial Analysis Lab as an Image Analyst in January 2020, as he was finishing his Master’s degree in Geography at the University of Montana. His thesis focused on mapping forest vegetation in northwest Montana for the Montana Department of Natural Resource Conservation. Ryan received a Bachelor’s from Virginia Tech in Wildlife Science and spent many seasons working in the field on various wildlife monitoring projects. His current work at SAL is focused on developing tools and workflows for vegetation classification tasks using open source platforms like R and Google Earth Engine.  He also helps plan and implement field data collection efforts that support vegetation and land cover classifications. (Rock CV)

Ethan Shafron began working as a Field Coordinator/Data Analyst for the Spatial Analysis Lab in May 2021. After earning his Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies from University of Vermont in 2019, he worked on geospatial scientific computing and imaging spectroscopy at Arizona State University. His work there involved mapping coral reefs, foliar functional trait mapping, and survey design for marine biodiversity monitoring. Ethan then spent a winter season working with Glacier National Park's Citizen Science program helping to create wildlife surveys and analytical products for improving park management and visitor experience. He is interested in spatial ecology, land system science, algorithm development, and machine learning. (Shafron CV)
Melissa Hart  is a GIS Analyst/Ecologist who has been at the Spatial Analysis Lab since its inception.  Over the years, she has worked on a wide range of wildlife-related projects from timberline sparrows to wolverines, most notably serving as project coordinator for Montana Gap Analysis.  In addition to GIS work, she also does a fair bit of technical writing and editing. (Hart CV)