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Current team
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Lab lead

I am a NERC IRF fellow and a Senior Researcher at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. My interest lies in developing...

Kendall Jefferys

DPhil student


Xiongjie Deng

PhD student


Kendall is an DPhil student in Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Her current research, supervised by Jesús, combines remote sensing and modeling to investigate habitat change for the Rufous hummingbird, a species of conservation concern. She is broadly interested in pollinator health and the effects of large-scale drivers of land cover change such as forestry and agriculture on species distributions. Kendall attends Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship.

Before pursuing her DPhil and MPhil in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management at Oxford, Kendall earned a BA in Environmental Science and Policy as well as English from Duke University. She completed her undergraduate thesis on governance and social-ecological impacts of marine protected areas in Indonesia. She has also worked with the Duke Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab to monitor land cover change in the coastal North Carolina. With a background in English literature and a love of visual art, she is passionate about communicating environmental issues in creative ways.

Xiongjie is a Chinese DPhil (PhD) student from China. His doctoral research focuses on measuring, modelling, monitoring, and forecasting forest spatiotemporal dynamics across tropical ecosystems based on both active and passive remotely sensed data in junction with in-situ measurements.

Specifically, he investigates how to map and predict plant functional traits from space and how functional traits help to understand tropical forests’ responses to the changing environment.


Xiongjie earned his bachelor’s degree in Geomatics from Chongqing University and Masters degree in Resources and the Environment from Wuhan University. In his daily life, Xiongjie loves reading novels and history books, and hiking.

Waira Saravia Machida

PhD student


DPhil student

Jed Soleiman


Waira is a PhD. student from the Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil. She is a Bolivian and Japanese environmental science researcher that loves tropical biodiversity and its ecological processes, and biologist; with a Masters in Ecology from the University of Brasília.

Waira is currently a Graduate student in the Program on Ecology and Evolution at the Universidade Federal de Goiás, under the supervision of Dr. Luísa Carvalheiro and co-supervision of Jesús.

In her MSc thesis she shows how the recovery of woody plants in Brazilian savannahs depends on a fire regime with an interval of at least 8 years. Currently, in her Ph.D. thesis she endeavours to understand the effects of vegetation properties and their interaction with the landscape on pollinators assemblages. She hopes to demonstrate how the quality of natural and semi-natural fragments play an important role in pollinator conservation. She like singing and cats, and is always available for a chat, especially when there is an afternoon coffee.

Jed Soleiman is passionate about ecological restoration and rewilding, and the intersection this shares with agriculture to improve outcomes for both people and the planet. Jed has progressed from his MPhil in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management, to DPhil in the University of Oxford's ECI Ecosystems Lab.

He is currently working to understand how mycorrhizal communities and functions respond to rewilding and regenerative agriculture, to find synergies that could help galvanise landscape scale conservation in the UK. Jed holds a BA in Geography from the University of Cambridge, and prior to his MPhil worked in circular economy, consulting on reusable packaging design and managing C-suite stakeholders.

In his spare time, Jed is also a keen gardener and forager who loves to share his passions with anyone who’s keen to listen!


Dr Milton Barbosa

Postdoctoral researcher


Evie Huhtala

Graduate researcher


Milton, a post-doctoral researcher specializing in tropical ecosystems with over 15 years of field research experience, focuses on understanding and predicting the impacts of global environmental changes on biodiversity and human well-being. His current research involves using remote sensing data to detect climate-induced forest degradation in South America.


He is also part of SinBiose Trajetorias, a collaborative project among Brazilian institutions, leading research on the influence of socioeconomic and environmental factors on the emergence of vector-borne diseases in the Amazon region. Additionally, Milton actively contributes to one of Brazil's Long-Term Ecological Research Projects (LTER/PELD – CNPq), where he investigates global changes in mountaintop grasslands.

Evie is a graduate researcher working with the Ecosystems Lab and Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery, co-supervised by Jesús and Yadvinder Malhi. She is a recent graduate of the integrated masters in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford.

Her MBiol dissertation investigated a novel approach to efficiently characterise the footprint of small-scale fisheries in the Coral Triangle using freely available satellite data from Google Earth Engine; focusing on the fleets of Sarawak, Malaysia.  She has also worked with Oxford's SalGo lab on the use of drone-based multispectral surveying to predict calcareous grassland plant biodiversity in the UK.

In her current research she continues to pursue high-impact research for conservation, and this time climate-change mitigation too, studying the propensity of remotely sensed variables to predict the plant / invertebrate biodiversity of ecosystem restoration and rewilding projects in the UK.

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Dr Huanyuan Zhang-Zheng

Postdoctoral researcher

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DPhil student

Lubasi Limweta

Huanyuan  is a Postdoctoral researcher with a profound interest in African forest ecology, carbon cycle modelling, and plant functional traits. Affiliated with both the University of Oxford and UC Berkeley, he is responsible for building the Global Ecosystem Monitoring (GEM) Forests carbon cycle database. Huanyuan is a member of the Ecosystems Lab and NGEE-Tropics lab. Huanyuan's, primary research endeavours encompass the compilation of the GEM forests carbon cycle database, data-model comparisons of forests' gross primary productivity, and meta-analyses of forest productivity across a multitude of tropical sites. He is also the sole author of CRAN R package 'ARTofR'.

Huanyuan earned a BSc in Environmental Science from Sun Yat-sen University in China, and the University of Birmingham. He also holds an MRes in Ecosystem and Environmental Change from Imperial College London. In 2023, he was awarded DPhil in Geography and the Environment from the University of Oxford with a thesis entitled "Gross primary production of West African tropical forests". 

Lubasi is a DPhil student in Biology, and Rhodes scholar at the University of Oxford. His current research  is supervised by Nathalie Seddon, William Thompson and Jesús Aguirre-Gutiérrez uses ecological remote sensing to assess the effectiveness of agroforests as Nature-Based solutions in enhancing agricultural landscapes and ecosystem resilience to climatic shocks. He is interested in understanding on-farm shade tree diversity and configuration influence on agroforest resilience and performance as wel as the impact of landscape composition on ecosystem health and resilience. 

Prior to DPhil, he pursued an MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management at Oxford. He earned his undergraduate in Environmental Engineering from the Copperbelt University - Zambia. His undergraduate thesis evaluated the impacts of tobacco cultivation on Natural forests using remote sensing and GIS. Before joining Oxford, he worked in the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation - Zambia as a district water development officer where he was involved in enhancing rural livelihood through the provision of clean water and sanitation, protection of the aquatic ecosystem in the district, as well as the implementation of Climate-resilient initiatives.

In his spare time, he loves travelling and viewing nature.


Dr Felipe Martello

Postdoctoral researcher


Felipe is a community and spatial ecologist focusing on how spatial structure influences biodiversity and related ecological processes.

In his research, he studies the effects of anthropogenic landscape structures on different facets of biodiversity, including taxonomic diversity, functional diversity and beta diversity. Currently, he also seeks to use the multidimensionality of biodiversity to gain insights into natural capital biological assets, both in pristine and recovering natural areas. Felipe has also developed computational spatial modelling tools for nature recovery, including the simulation of ecological corridors and the identification of priority areas for restoration and conservation. 

He is currently an ecological remote sensing postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford, funded by Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery, where he is working on the use of Earth Observation data to map aspects of ecosystem functionality and resilience, and to assess the temporal dynamics of land use and land cover change in areas dedicated to nature recovery. 

Past members

Banashree Thapa,  MSc student (2020 - 2021),University of Oxford, UK

Boipelo Tshwene Mauchaza, PhD student (2015 - 2020), University of Oxford, UK

Iris Berger, MSc student (2019 - 2020), University of Oxford, UK

Vaughn Lewis, MSc student (2019 - 2020), University of Oxford, UK


Matthew Livesey, MSc student (2019 - 2020), University of Oxford, UK

Laura Velasquez Casallas, MSc student (2018 - 2019), University of Oxford, UK


Carly Sivilia, MSc student (2018 - 2019), University of Oxford, UK

Article from MSc. thesis accepted for publication and awarded the Alfred Russel Wallace Dissertation Prize from Oxford University.

Julio Acosta, MSc student (2017 - 2018),  Wageningen University & Research, NL

Izak Yasrebi-de Kom, Bachelor student (2014 - 2017), University of Amsterdam, NL

Published article from thesis: “Yasrebi-de Kom I., JC Biesmeijer and Aguirre-Gutiérrez, J. Diversity and Distributions, 2019, (25), 1709-1720

Kim Renkens, MSc student (2015 - 2016), University of Leiden, NL

Koen Stam, MSc student (2015 - 2016), University of Leiden, NL


Robbert Poldermans, MSc student (2015 - 2016), University of Leiden, NL


Jolien Morren, MSc student (2014 - 2015), University of Leiden, NL


Bastiaen Boekelo, MSc student (2014 - 2015), University of Leiden, NL


Andoni Santander, MSc student (2013 - 2014), University of Leiden, NL


Leon Marshall, MSc student (2013 - 2014), University of Leiden, NL

Article from MSc. Thesis published: “Marshall, L…Aguirre-Gutiérrez, J. et al. Ecology and Evolution, 2014, 4426-4436.”

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