Department / group: School of Geosciences, Earth and Planetary Science / Biosphere, Observation and Imaging
Google Scholar URL: Not available

Research interests:

I started my Lectureship in the School of GeoSciences in 2008 and am investigating the use of multi scale remote sensing (ground, airborne and satellite) for detecting seasonal changes in photosynthesis, light use efficiency and stress.

My research to date has principally been in developing the use of tower based and airborne hyperspectral data for detecting seasonal physiological changes in contrasting vegetation types and have worked at a number of sites in Canada, Brazil, Siberia, Africa, USA, UK, Finland and Italy.

Research vision

My research vision is to use optical and LiDAR remote sensing to understand canopy-level (particularly forests) physiology and biosphere-atmosphere processes. I am building an internationally competitive group, while continuing to lead the remote sensing capabilities within Airborne GeoSciences. My research addresses crucial scientific questions whilst employing and developing existing and new technologies to improve the way we measure the terrestrial carbon cycle. My research advances the science of understanding how forest and other terrestrial ecosystems respond to climate change and how these ecosystems act as sinks for CO2. Towards this end I have generated grant income (both as PI and co-I) from NERC, NERC/Centre for Earth observation Instrumentation, The Royal Society of London and EPSRC. As an integral part of my work, I will continue to build my multi-disciplinary group focusing specifically on integrating the fields of remote sensing, physiology and micrometeorology.

Career history:

Aug 2012 – present

Senior Lecturer in Remote Sensing, University of Edinburgh

Aug 2008 – July 2012

Lecturer in Remote Sensing, University of Edinburgh

Aug 2005-2008

NERC Fellowship, University of Edinburgh

May 2002 – Aug 2005

Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of GeoSciences/Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics, University of Edinburgh

Nov 2001 – May 2002

Visiting Scientist, Columbia University, Biosphere-2, Box 689, Oracle, AZ, USA

Oct 2000 – Oct 2001

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany

June 1998 – Sept 1998

NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre, Biospheric Sciences Division, Greenbelt, MD

October 1997 – 2000

PhD. University of Edinburgh “Remote sensing of photosynthetic light use efficiency of boreal forest”

Active research projects:

1. NERC CEOI £75,000. Demonstrating the quantitative recovery of structural and biochemical parameters from forest canopies using a new hyperspectral LiDAR (HSL). Joint grant between Heriot Watt University (Wallace, BUller: Physics and Engineering) and the School of GeoSciences (Nichol). Start Sept 2011 – May 2012.

2. EPSRC Discipline Hopping Grant £150,000 Developing new imaging algorithms to support the development of a novel LiDAR system. Nichol Co-I. Start Feb 2010- July 2012

3. EU COST Action European Cooperation in Science and Technology: 400,000 EURO ES0903: “Spectral sampling tools for vegetation Biophysical Parameters and Flux measurements in Europe” Feb 2010-2014. Nichol, Vice Chair and Management Committee member

4. NERC Standard Grant £519,000 Remote sensing of solar induced fluorescence and the Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI) for carbon uptake in two contrasting forest ecosystems Sept 2008- Jan 2014. Nichol PI

Recent publications:

Atherton, J., Nichol, C.J. and Porcar-Castell, A., 2016. Using spectral chlorophyll fluorescence and the photochemical reflectance index to predict physiological dynamics. Remote Sensing of Environment, 176, pp.17-30.

Drolet, G., Wade, T., Nichol, C.J., MacLellan, C., Levula, J., Porcar-Castell, A., Nikinmaa, E. and Vesala, T., 2014. A temperature-controlled spectrometer system for continuous and unattended measurements of canopy spectral radiance and reflectance. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 35(5), pp.1769-1785.

Mizunuma, T., Mencuccini, M., Wingate, L., Ogée, J., Nichol, C. and Grace, J., 2014. Sensitivity of colour indices for discriminating leaf colours from digital photographs. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 5(10), pp.1078-1085.

Guarini, R., Nichol, C., Clement, R., Loizzo, R., Grace, J. and Borghetti, M., 2014. The utility of MODIS-sPRI for investigating the photosynthetic light-use efficiency in a Mediterranean deciduous forest. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 35(16), pp.6157-6172.

Wallace, A.M., McCarthy, A., Nichol, C.J., Ren, X., Morak, S., Martinez-Ramirez, D., Woodhouse, I.H. and Buller, G.S., 2014. Design and evaluation of multispectral lidar for the recovery of arboreal parameters. Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on, 52(8), pp.4942-4954.