Shortlisted for Robert May Prize 2018

Our paper on Remap - our free online app for remote sensing - was shortlisted for the Robert May Prize in Methods in Ecology Evolution. Use Remap for quickly making maps with Landsat data thanks to the power of Google Earth Engine. Read more here.

ARC Linkage success

We have just been funded under the ARC Linkage scheme for the project A global standard for the status of Wetlands of International Importance. Led by Prof Richard Kingsford, the project brings together a large research team from academia, NGOs, and governments to develop a new standard to assess and report ecological condition of internationally important wetlands listed under the Ramsar Convention. Read more here.

Editing a special issue of Remote Sensing

Dr Mitchell Lyons (University of New South Wales), Professor Stuart Phinn (UQ) and I are editing a special issue of Remote Sensing. We are particularly interested in operational remote sensing for ecosystem monitoring, such as habitat mapping, the extraction of biophysical variables, the detection of biological and ecological parameters, detecting changes and disturbances, assessing risk, assessing the efficacy of management actions, and providing evidence for compliance with regulations and policy. Read more here.

Redlistr R package

Today we published a paper in Ecography describing our new Redlistr R package. Development of the package was led by PhD student Calvin Lee, and allows users to compute the spatial metrics required for the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems and IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Redlistr has already been installed a few thousand times. Read the paper here.

Nature paper published today

Our new Nature paper reports the global distribution and change of the intertidal zone. Our high-resolution maps are first maps of tidal flats, which we show are similar in extent to mangroves and are declining. The paper is a result of a grant we received from Google in 2016, aimed at solving the problem of mapping an ecosystem that is frequently obscured by the tide. Read more here.

ARC DECRA success

Yesterday I received the great news that I have been awarded a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) by the Australian Research Council. The award it to support research contributing to a global ecosystem risk assessment for coastal ecosystems, and includes aims related to remote sensing, coastal ecosystem modelling and risk modelling. Read more here.

Joining the Allen Coral Atlas

I've just joined the team developing the Allen Coral Atlas, a collaboration between Planet, University of Queensland, Carnegie and Vulcan. I'll be contributing cloud-based machine learning expertise to analyse a high-resolution global mosaic of Planet imagery to enable the production of high-resolution maps of coral reefs for the entire globe. Read more about the project in a recent National Geographic article here and on the project website here.

Global mangrove restoration

Congratulations to Tom Worthington and Mark Spalding (and many others!) from The Nature Conservancy on the launch the global mangrove restoration potential project, for which I contributed via a few workshops. Read more about the project here, read the technical report here and explore the map viewer.

New book chapter

I have a new book chapter in Allison Leidner (NASA) and Graeme Buchanan's (RSPB) recently launched book, Satellite Remote Sensing for Conservation Action. My chapter is on the use of remote sensing for conserving East Asia's declining coastal wetlands. Find the book here.

ARC Linkage success

We recently received the exciting news that our ARC Linkage Grant was successful. The project Ecosystem risk assessment: new solutions to the global biodiversity crisis aims to develop a typological framework for the world’s ecosystems, and undertake the first global risk assessment for ecosystems. Read more about risk assessment here.

Featured in Nature

Nature's recent article Ecology’s remote-sensing revolution features me and my work using remote sensing to investigate ecological questions at the global-scale. The article starts "When ecologist Nicholas Murray started digging into remote-sensing data for ..." Read more.

REMAP reaches 9k users

Some recent press coverage has pushed the number of users using our Google-funded free online remote sensing software ( to more than 9,000 users in less than a year since its launch.

New STOTEN paper

Our paper on the use of remote sensing for ecosystem risk assessment was just published in Science for the Total Environment. The paper was an output from a workshop that included Emily Nicholson, Nathalie Pettorelli, David Keith and Richard Lucas. Read it here.

New RSEC paper

We have published a review on using remote sensing for monitoring ecosystem functions. In particular, the review proposes the adoption of a set of definitions and a typology for ecosystem functions, and outlines how these functions could be monitored using earth observation. Read it here.

New animations of coastal wetland data

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology have recently produced a range of documentaries that highlight the alarming plight of migratory shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The most recent video includes incredible visualisations of the remotely sensed data delivered in our 2014 Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment paper.

Launching REMAP

In 2016 we received funding from Google to develop a cloud-based online remote sensing application that allows users to quickly develop classified maps for any location on Earth from Landsat data. After 15 months of work, we are pleased to launch remap, the remote ecosystem monitoring and assessment pipeline ( The paper describing REMAP was published in Methods in Ecology and the Environment, read it here.

Visualising collaborations

I finally found the time to compile and map the number and locations of all of my co-authors. In total, I have 141 co-authors from universities (51%), government agencies (22%), NGOs (21%) and the private sector (6%).

New paper in Nature Communications

In a new paper led by Colin Studds we demonstrate that shorebird species in Australia and New Zealand that are declining most rapidly are those that spend the most time in the Yellow Sea, where their tidal mudflat habitat is Endangered. Read more here and a nice write up of what's causing the world's shorebirds to decline here.

Google intertidal project

We have been funded by Google to to produce the first global map of tidal flat ecosystems. We plan to use the immense power of Google Earth Engine and nearly 1 million Landsat images to develop the maps, which will represent the first ever map of the global intertidal zone.

Eureka prize

Last night we were awarded the 2015 Eureka Prize for Environmental Research! Read more about the award, for the work of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems team towards assessing risks to ecosystems, here.