Jon is a current PhD student in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He specializes in remote sensing of the environment with a particular interest in socio-ecological systems. Jon also engages students in best practices in cartography and geographic information systems (GIS).

LAC-UCLA Tree Mapping Logo

Jon and his advisor, Dr. Thomas W. Gillespie, have been awarded a three-year grant from the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health to apply machine learning in remote sensing to urban forest health assessment. The project is entitled “Optimizing the planning and management of Los Angeles County’s urban forest”.

He was also selected as the first Fellow for NAHR_California. The Nature Art & Habitat Residency is an eco-laboratory of multidisciplinary practice and is typically hosted in the Taleggio Valley, Bergamo, Italy. This year, Jon will spend two weeks in March in the Santa Ynez Valley covering the residency’s theme, Interdependence Between Species. His project, “Picking Up Traces: Assessing Animal Response to Socio-Morphologies” will use mixed-methods to trace (non)human ecological relationships across the study site. Find out more at NAHR’s website.

2021 NAHR_CA Announcement Photo


Ph.D. Geography
University of California, Los Angeles, 2023 (Expected)
M.A. Geography
University of California, Los Angeles, 2020
A Global Analysis of Tropical Dry Forest Extent and Cover Based on Climatic Definitions
B.S. Policy, Planning & Development
University of Southern California, 2013


Current Fields of Interest
Biogeography, GIScience, Political Ecology, Remote Sensing, Socio-Ecological Systems, Urban Design & Ecology
How do socio-morphologies impact biodiversity presence?
Do impediments to historical (a)biotic movement help or hurt conservation goals?
Can coupling remote sensing with local ecological knowledge get us to this understanding?
Selected Publications
Ocón, J. P., Ibanez, T., Franklin, J., Pau, S., Keppel, G., Rivas-Torres, G., … & Gillespie, T. W. (2020). Bioclimatic definitions of tropical dry forest improve our ability to map this critically endangered biome at a global spatial scale. PLOS ONE (submitted for publication).

Ordway, E. M., Elmore, A. J., Kolstoe, S., Quinn, J. E., Swanwick, R., Cattau, M., … & Wilson, C. (2020). Leveraging the NEON Airborne Observation Platform for socio-environmental systems research. Ecosphere (submitted for publication).
Recent Awards
  • Graduate Dean’s Scholar Award - Graduate Division, UCLA