University of St Andrews


Vanessa Da Silva Maclellan

Photo of Vanessa da Silva Brum Bastos



Supervisors: Dr Urška Demšar & Dr Jed Long


Research Title

New methodological approaches for cross-scale integration of environmental remotely sensed data with spatio-temporal movement data


The movement ecology is a relatively recent research and until 15 years ago was weakened by the lack of tracking datasets to work on. Fortunately, this field has been changing quickly mainly due to the development of cheaper and more accurate GPS tracking devices; indeed nowadays, there are huge movement datasets available including online collaborative portals for ecologists.

The advent of these massive movement data sets introduced a new research question into movement ecology: How can we extract ecological meaning from these data? One way forward is the context integration, which means to relate tracking data to the characteristics of the environment where the movement is occurring.

This relation may be established through the linking between the GPS data and available environmental data, which are usually extracted from remotely sensed products. However, the approaches to connect these datasets in a meaningful way are not known and that is the main focus of my research. I intend to explore cross-scale analysis and cellular automata spaces along with GIS techniques to address this issue working on two datasets:

  1. A human movement dataset, relating movement patterns with weather and;
  2. An animal movement dataset (probably Roe Deer), relating it to surface temperature, vegetation and other environmental variables


I obtained a BSc. Degree in Geography at the São Paulo State University (UNESP) in 2011 and my undergraduate thesis approached the development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) methodology to Civil Defence’s risk mapping and management in Rio Claro city - Brazil. This was followed by an MSc. Degree in Remote Sensing at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) awarded in Sept/2014, my master’s dissertation involved the enhancement of a disaggregation technique for thermal satellite images for Urban Heat Island mapping as a tool for urban planning. Currently I am pursuing a Science Without Borders funded PhD degree in Physical Geography at the University of St Andrews with Dr Urška Demšar and Dr Jed Long. My PhD research is focused on the development of cross-scale data analyses and methodologies to introduce environmental context into movement ecology trajectories, mainly through environmental variables extracted by remotely sensed techniques.