Professional summary

Research Interests

Dr Gerard has over 25 years’ experience in Earth Observation (EO) of land and vegetation, in a wide range of ecosystems.  Her work focuses on the development of remotely sensed-derived data to constrain and validate models, support process understanding and monitor vegetation. Dr Gerard is currently PI of the NERC AHRC funded Newton project PARAGUAS (Colombia-Bio programme) that aims to establish the role of plant diversity and actions of local people in maintaining the water retention capacity of Paramos – the Andean wetlands of Colombia. A component of the work will involve drone hyper-spectral remote sensing to characterise Paramo plant traits and condition.  She is also PI of the NERC funded Newton project SURPASS2 (LATAM programme). Her remote sensing (RS) team is currently, as part of the National Capability ASSIST project, investigating (i) the impact of black grass on crop yield predictions using time-series of Sentinel radar and optical data, and (ii) grassland condition monitoring using drone hyperspectral technology. In the MRC-GCRF grant “Optimising sustainable forest use whilst minimising impacts of emerging zoonotic diseases” (Co-I), her EO team is characterising past changes in forest cover and fragmentation at different spatial scales across regions of India. She is also Co-I on the NERC funded projects ‘Vegetation Effects on Rainfall in West Africa’ and ‘Changing Land-Atmosphere Feedbacks in Tropical African Wetlands’ where the EO element is delivering, respectively, maps quantifying forest cover change and wetlands dynamics. She was Co-I in the NERC consortium grant project “WESSEX-BESS” (‘Linking biodiversity change with the delivery of ecosystem services across landscapes now and into the future’) for which her team focussed on a fine spatial resolution land cover map from combined airborne hyper-spectral and LIDAR imagery. She was involved in the EU funded project ROBIN characterising the vegetation leaf phenology across Meso - and South America to enhance spatial maps of biodiversity and support the validation of the Dynamic Global Vegetation Model of JULES and LPJ. She has been work package coordinator of the EU IP project EBONE (‘European Biodiversity Observation Network’). This work package was responsible for developing novel ways to integrate EO with in situ biodiversity data. In the recent past, she has been Co-I in the UK funded NERC-QUEST consortium grant ‘QUantifying Ecosystem Roles in the Carbon Cycle’ where the EO element built a benchmark dataset for JULES describing the phenology of the Amazonian forests and the potential drivers. She has also coordinated the EU GMES project BIOPRESS (‘Linking pan-European land cover changes to pressures on biodiversity’) and has been involved amongst others in the Nature Observatory of the Integrated EU GMES Projects GEOLAND and SIBERIA-II.

Brief CV

  • 2013 – present: Senior scientist, Earth Observation Wallingford, CEH
  • 2008 – 2013: Head of Earth Observation group, Wallingford, CEH
  • 2004 – 2008: Head of Biophysical Modelling, Monks Wood, CEH
  • 1992 – 2008: Earth Observation Scientist, Monks Wood, CEH (ITE)


2001 PhD., Dept. Geography, University of Leicester, University of Leicester.
1991 MSc., Environmental Remote Sensing, Dept. Geography, University of Aberdeen.
1990 MSc., Agricultural Engineering – Forestry Degree (5 yrs), University of Ghent, Belgium.