Dr Sam Lavender

Dr Sam Lavender

Honorary Reader

Faculty of Science and Engineering


Employment background

  • 2012 - Director, Pixalytics Ltd
  • 2009 - Honorary Reader in Geomatics, University of Plymouth (UoP)
  • 2007 - 2012 Managing Director, ARGANS Limited
  • 2005 – 2009 Reader in Geomatics, UoP.
  • 2002 – 2005 Senior Lecturer in Geomatics, UoP.
  • 2000 – 2002 Lecturer in Geomatics, UoP.
  • 1997 – 2000 HSO Remote Sensing Scientist, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
  • 1995 – 1997 Manager of the NERC Remote Sensing & GIS Unit (RAGU), NERC.
  • 1992 – 2000 Part-Time Lecturer, UoP.

Academic Qualifications

  • 2000 – PgCert of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, UoP.
  • 1992 – 1996 PhD, Remote Sensing of Suspended Sediment, UoP.
  • 1989 – 1992 First Class BSc Honours Degree in Oceanography and Marine Computer Applications, UoP. Project: Digital Processing Used To Improve Underwater Video Pictures.
  • 1987 – 1989 Gillingham School, Gillingham, Dorset. A levels: Art, Biology, Chemistry and Pure & Applied Mathematics. AS level General Studies.

Professional membership

Professional membership:

  • 2009 - The Geological Remote Sensing Group
  • 2008 - The Oceanography Society
  • 2001 - The Hydrographic Society
  • 1992 - Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) and Challenger Society for Marine Science (CSMS)
  • 1989 - Royal Meteorological Society (fellow)

Roles on external bodies

  • 2012 - Treasurer of the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories (EARSeL)
  • 2010 - UK representative and Council member for EARSeL
  • 2010 - Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) Chairman
  • 2008 – Co-chair International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) Working Group VIII.6 on Oceans.
  • 2008 - RSPSoc Chair of external affairs
  • 2007 - 2008 Steering commitee member, NERC Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation
  • 2006 - 2010 International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG) committee member.
  • 2005 - Chair of the ISPRS Working Group VIII.6 on: Coastal Zones Management, Ocean Colour and Ocean State Forecasting.
  • 2002 - 2008 Centre for observation of Air-Sea Interactions and fluXes (CASIX) scientific team leader and scientific steering committee member.
  • 2001 - 2006 Atlantic Meridional Transect steering committee member and hypothesis lead.
  • 2000 - Coastal & Inland Water chairperson on the CHRIS steering committee.

Research interests

Dr Samantha Lavender has over 15 years research experience. Her research interests have focused primarily on the quantitative remote sensing of water bodies using their colour signature. Often called ocean colour, it’s used to quantify and concentrations and behaviour of what’s dissolved or suspended by modelling the optical properties. Research extends from the movement of sediments in the coastal zone to phytoplankton in the open ocean. Both topics link to wider issues, such as climate change, as remote sensing is an important monitoring tool. . She is also Chairman for the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetric Society and, at an international level, co-chair of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Working Group VIII.7 (Oceans). Previously she was a committee member on the International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG).

Other research

The aims of Pixalytics Ltd are to:

  • Development of end user software solutions and educational material to promote the usage of spaceborne imagery and its underlying information by non experts.
  • Scientific research into environmental mapping and change detection including marine, fresh water and terrestrial applications.
  • Promote the commercialisation of academic and scientific research, including actively supporting the growth of the UK and international remote sensing communities.

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Postdoctoral/Postgraduate Researchers:

  • Dr Yaswant Pradhan & Dr Christophe Lerebourg, GlobCOLOUR, 2006-2007.
  • Rabiah Nasir-Habeeb, Tamar Valley GIS, 2005-2006.
  • Dr David Doxaran, Marie Curie Fellowship, 2003-2005.
  • Dr Yaswant Pradhan, NERC CoE: CASIX, 2004-2005.
  • R.C. Nagur Cherukuru, NERC: Hyperspectral investigations of optically active material, 2003-2004.
  • R.C. Nagur Cherukuru, NERC: High spatial resolution airborne remote sensing, 2001-2002.

PhD students (completed):

  • Barker, K. 2009 - Novel Techniques for Estimating Primary Production Rates directly from Earth Observation (EO) Data. In collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
  • Brewin, R. 2011 - Detecting Phytoplankton Size Class Using Satellite Earth Observation. In Collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the UK MetOffice.
  • Cherukuru, R.C.N. 2005 - Remote Sensing of Optically Active Marine Components. In collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
  • Fishwick, J. 2008. Relationships between biological and optical properties of phytoplankton assemblages. In collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
  • Lowe, C. 2005 - Satellite remote sensing of characteristic properties and photosynthetic rates of phytoplankton ecosystems. In collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
  • Ostnes, R. 2006 - Use of Depth Perception for the Improved Understanding of Hydrographic Data. In collaboration with Aalesund University College, Norway.
  • Raitsos, D.E. 2006 - Understanding of the Variability of Phytoplankton Ecosystem Function Properties: A Synergistic use of Remote Sensing and In Situ Data. PhD thesis in collaboration with SAHFOS.

PhD students (ongoing):

  • Cristina, S. Optical Properties of the Ocean and Coastal Waters in the Southeast Coast of Portugal using Satellite Ocean Colour Remote Sensing Data. Based at the University of Algarve.
  • Hamid, I. Enhancing functionality of Chromo stereoscopy and assessing its usability for marine environment visualisation.
  • Krijnen, J. Remote sensing applied to variability in North Atlantic CO2 uptake. Based at the University of East Anglia.
  • Morakinyo, B. Flaring and Pollution Detection in the Niger Delta using Remote Sensing.
  • Wilkins, F. A Critical Review of the Application of Geospatial Techniques to Landscape Character Assessment in the Tamar Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  In collaboration with Tamar Valley Service.

Grants & contracts

Example funding obtained while member of academic staff at UoP:

  • ESA GlobColour, 2005 - 2009, as Lead Scientist 
  • ESA COASTCHART, 2004-2006, as a Sub-Contractor
  • NERC Small Grant, 2003 - 2004, hyperspectral investigations of optically active estuarine and coastal suspended material as Principle Investigator
  • ACE/AHRB, 2003-2004, Arts and Science Research Fellowship - collaborating scientist
  • UK & Chinese Offices of Science and Technology, 2002 - 2003, to investigate water quality in the Pearl River-Estuary using a combination of satellite remote sensing and sea-truthing as Co-Investigator
  • NERC Centre of Excellence in Earth Observation, 2002 - 2007, CASIX as Co-Investigator
  • NERC Consortium Grant, 2002 - 2006, the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) as Co-Investigator and member of the scientific steering committee. Also, co-editor of a special issue of Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography (Volume 56, Issue 15, Pages 895-986, 1 July 2009)
  • DTI, 2002-2004,   Application of Ocean Colour Satellite Remote Sensing Techniques for Monitoring of Water Quality in Coastal Waters - Co-Investigator
  • ESTEC/Vega, 2001 - 2004 further development and scientific support for SeaWiFS processing software – supplying code/scientific support.
  • EU/Raleigh International, 2001-2002, Watershed Reef Interconnectivity Scientific Study (WRIScS), Belize. Leading the satellite ocean colour pilot study.

Research groups

  • Geomatics