Matt Jones

Matt Jones

Research Scientist

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Office Phone:  406-243-6318  


I am an ecologist and remote sensing scientist specializing in vegetation monitoring through synergistic use of remote sensing data sets.  Recent research has focused on accurately characterizing and modeling vegetation phenology through the implementation of a novel microwave satellite remote sensing vegetation index, AMSR-E Vegetation Optical Depth (VOD); validating VOD through comparisons to optical-infrared data (MODIS EVI, NDVI, LAI), flux tower estimates of GPP and respiration, field phenology measures, and a novel GPS vegetation water content measure.  My results show that the temporal and spatial variability between changes in canopy water content and biomass, and changes in foliar growth, are indicators of land cover specific phenological responses relative to climatic constraints.  In future research, I hope to implement my results to 1) Better characterize vegetation phenology in earth system models to more accurately capture land-atmosphere water, energy and carbon exchanges, 2) Advance ecosystem demography model development by tracking the phenological dynamics of leaf growth and carbohydrate storage and 3) Assess both plant and animal species vulnerability to climate change by assessing the impact of phenological changes on species interactions, ranges, and migration patterns.

I also co-lead the Land Product Validation (LPV) Phenology Sub-Group of The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV), which aims to address the challenges associated with the validation of global land products. The newly formed Phenology Sub-Group is in the process of developing a plan on how to effectively use ground to airborne level phenological measurements to validate satellite-based phenology products. This plan involves an internationally coordinated remote sensing phenology validation and inter-comparison effort. I am also a member of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Plant Phenology Technical Working Group helping to develop field protocols for phenology data collection.


  • Ph.D. Candidate, Systems Ecology, University of Montana (May 2015 graduation)
  • M.S. 2006, Resource Conservation, University of Montana
  • Teaching Credential Program 1998, Secondary Mathematics, San Francisco State University
  • B.A.1995, Philosophy - Emphasis on Ethics and Public Policy, University of California Santa Barbara

C.V.pdf image


My masters project assessed water quality of Flathead Lake using MODIS satellite imagery, GIS analysis and field data collection of water samples.   After my masters, I moved to California where I was a member of the Carnegie Airborne Observatory Science Team responsible for sensor installation, flight planning, airborne collection, data post-processing, analysis of LiDAR and hyperspectral data, and field/GIS data collection for invasive species detection.  I then became a member of the Landscape Ecology Team at the National Marine Fisheries Service where I helped develop a spatial and temporally explicit database of ecosystem indicators across terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems for stock assessments.  I also have a wide array of field experience in freshwater systems, aboard research vessels, and in ground campaigns.


  • Jones, M. O., Kimball, J. S., Nemani, R.R.  Asynchronous Amazon forest canopy phenology indicates adaptation to both water and light availability.  Environmental Research Letters, 2014
  • Guan, K., Wood, E. F., Medvigy, D., Kimball, J., Pan, M., Caylor, K. K., Jones, M. O. Terrestrial hydrological controls on land surface phenology of African savannas and woodlands.  Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 2014
  • Bi, J., Knyazikhin, Y., Choi, S., Park, T., Barichivich, J., Ciais, P., Fu, R., Ganguly, S., Hall, F., Hilker, T., Huete, A., Jones, M.O., Kimball, J.S., Lyapustin, A.I., Mõttus, M., Nemani, R.R., Piao, S., Poulter, B., Saleska, S.R., Saatchi, S.S., Xu, L., Zhou, L. and Myneni, R.B.  Sunlight Mediated Seasonality in Canopy Structure and Photosynthetic Activity of Amazonian Rainforests. Nature Geoscience (in review)
  • Brown, T. B., Richardson, A. D., Jones, M. O., and 23 others. Using phenocams to monitor our changing Earth: towards a global phenocam network.  Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (in review)
  • Jones, M. O., Kimball, J. S., Small, E.E., Larson, K.M. Comparing Land Surface Phenology Derived from Satellite and GPS Network Microwave Remote Sensing.  International Journal of Biometeorology, 2013
  • Jones, M. O., Kimball, J. S., Jones, L.A. Satellite Microwave Detection of Boreal Forest Recovery from the Extreme 2004 Wildfires in Alaska and Canada. Global Change Biology, 2013
  • Dash, J., Jones, M.O., Nightingale, J. Validating Satellite-Derived Vegetation Phenology Products. Eos, 2013
  • Jones, M.O., Kimball, J.S., Jones, L.A., McDonald, K.C.  Satellite Microwave Detection of North America Start of Season Phenology. Remote Sensing of Environment, 2012
  • Jones, M.O., Kimball, J.S., Jones, L.A., McDonald, K.C.  Microwave Remote Sensing for Monitoring Global Land Surface Phenology. Remote Sensing of Environment, 2011
  • Isoscape Maps and Graphics Contributions, Isoscapes: Understanding movement, pattern, and process on Earth through isotope mapping, West J.B.; Bowen, G.J.; Dawson, T.E.; Tu, K.P. (Eds.), 2010
  • Asner G.P., Knapp, D.E., Kennedy-Bowdoin, T., Jones, M.O., Martin, R.E., Boardman, J., Hughes, R.F.  Invasive species detection in Hawaiian rainforests using airborne imaging spectroscopy and LiDAR. Remote Sensing of Environment, 2008
  • Asner G.P., Jones, M.O., Martin, R.E., Knapp, D.E., Hughes, R.F.  Remote Sensing of Native and Invasive Species in Hawaiian Forests. Remote Sensing of Environment, 2008
  • Asner G.P., Knapp, D.E., Jones, M.O., Kennedy-Bowdoin, T., Martin, R.E., Boardman, J., Field, C.B.   Carnegie Airborne Observatory:  In-flight fusion of hyperspectral and waveform-LiDAR for 3-D studies of ecosystem structure and function. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, 2008
  • Cover Image, Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Spring 2007


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