Grad Students

Chelsea Robinson

Contact Information

Office  Not Available

Fields of Study

Forests, Remote Sensing, Biogeography, Carbon, Sequestration, Ecology, Diversity, Plants, Gradients


Sassan Saatchi (NASA's JPL/ UCLA IoES) 
Tom Gillespie (UCLA Geography department)


2016: Geography Department Research Travel Grant Award (~$3735)

2015: Outstanding TA Award in the Geography Department ($500), nominated for campus-wide TA award.

2013-2014: Latin American Institute Field Research Grant ($2000)                                                                        

2013: UCLA Sustainable Resource Center Graduate Student Grant ($500)                                                    

2012-2013: Graduate Research Mentorship Program 

2009: Undergraduate Departmental Highest Honors in UCLA Geography Department 

2008: UCLA Undergraduate Research Scholar


I am interested in using active remote sensing to study forest aboveground carbon storage (biomass), distribution, diversity, and forest structure. My MA research utilized radar data to estimate aboveground forest biomass (AGB) in the state of Maine. The aim was to develop algorithms that correlate radar backscatter values with AGB, that can then be extrapolated over the state. My current research towards my Ph.D. concerns an altitudinal gradient in Costa Rica's Braulio Carrillo National Park. I am assessing drivers of tree diversity and forest structure along this gradient using lidar and radar data. I am assessing forest structure and seeing the feasibility of relating remotely sensed structural information to alpha diversity in neotropical montane rainforests. In doing so, it will be possible to effectively map diversity and carbon sequestration across the region with the available remote sensing data.


C. Phil March 2016

Advanced to PhD Candidacy January 2016

M.A. Geography, UCLA, Winter 2012 
B.A. Geography/ Environmental Studies, UCLA 2009 
Minor in Conservation Biology


Robinson, C.; Saatchi, S.; Neumann, M.; Gillespie, T. Impacts of Spatial Variability on Aboveground Biomass Estimation from L-Band Radar in a Temperate Forest. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 1001-1023. 

Meyer, V., Saatchi, S. S., Chave, J., Dalling, J., Bohlman, S., Fricker, G. A., Robinson, C., and Neumann, M.: Detecting tropical forest biomass dynamics from repeated airborne Lidar measurements, Biogeosciences Discuss., 10, 1957-1992, doi:10.5194/bgd-10-1957-2013, 2013.

Gillespie, T.W., Fricker, A., Robinson, C, and Rocchini, D. 2015. Biodiversity of the World: A Study from Space. Land Resources Monitoring, Modeling, and Mapping with Remote Sensing. Prasad S. Thenkabail (ed.) pp. 489-503.


Ecological Society of America (ESA) 2012, Portland, Oregon: "Assessment of Variations in Taxonomic Diversity and Forest Structure Along an Altitudinal Gradient in Tropical Montane Forest of Costa Rica." 

EcoSummit 2012: Columbus, Ohio, "Spatial Variability of Aboveground Biomass Estimation in Maine Using UAVSAR L-Band Radar." 

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2012, San Francisco, California; "Assessment of Taxonomic Diversity, Topography, and Forest Structure Along an Elevational Gradient in Tropical Montane Rainforest of Costa Rica." 

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2013, San Francisco, California; "Lidar and Ground Assessment of Diversity, Wood Density, and Aboveground Biomass Along an Elevation Gradient in Tropical Montane Forest of Costa Rica."

Ecological Society of America (ESA) 2014, Sacramento, California; "“Landscape and forest structural controls on wood density and aboveground biomass along a tropical elevation gradient in Costa Rica”