Lola Fatoyinbo Agueh

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Lola E. Fatoyinbo Agueh
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Born
Washington D.C., USA
NationalityAmerican
CitizenshipUnited States of America
Alma mater
  • University of Virginia
  • Environmental Sciences from University of Virginia, 2008
  • B.A. Biology from University of Virginia, 2003 Ph.D
AwardsPresidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers 2011
Scientific career
InstitutionsNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
ThesisGrowth Dynamics and Distribution of Mangrove Forests in Mozambique

Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo Agueh (Temilola Elisabeth Fatoyinbo Agueh), is an American Research Physical Scientist who studies forest carbon stores. She specializes in remote sensing, Earth Science, Coastal and Forest Ecology, and Radar and Lidar measurement of vegetation structure. Fatoyinbo works at NASA’s Goddard flight center using active remote sensing instruments to study carbon stores and forest structure. She produced the first three dimensional map of African mangrove forests.

Early life and education

Lola Fatoyinbo Agueh was born in Washington D.C. Her father worked as a journalist for international organizations, and their family moved every two to three years throughout her childhood. Throughout her K12 education she attended schools in Maryland, France, Germany, Benin, and the Ivory Coast[1]. Lola Fatoyinbo Agueh observed strong ties between environmental health and human health throughout her childhood. She recalls enjoying road trips with her parents across West Africa, and taking notice when familiar trees were cut down. Today, her research in remote sensing has allowed her to explore and continue traveling around the world[2].

In 2003, Fatoyinbo Agueh received her B.A. from the University of Virginia in Biology. In 2008, she finished her P.h D. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia. Her graduate work focused on carbon storage in mangrove forests in Mozambique, as well as the forest ecology of tropical wetlands[1].

While working on her PhD, she completed an internship with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory mapping mangrove forests. After receiving her PhD, Fatoyinbo Agueh was offered a postdoctoral fellowship position in NASA’s Radar Science and Engineering Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she researched tropical forest structure using interferometric SAR data and developed radar-lidar fusion algorithms.[2] She is a member of the American Geophysical Union[3]. Fatoyinbo Agueh lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband and children[4][5]. She speaks five languages[6]: English, French, German, Spanish, and Portugese.

Career

After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at NASA’s Radar Science and Engineering Section on tropical forest structure, Fatoyinbo Agueh was offered a position at NASA in 2010 in the Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC) Biospheric Sciences Laboratory to study forest ecology and ecosystem structure using active remote sensing instruments.

Fatoyinbo Agueh works to estimate land cover and land cover change (horizontal structure) as well as forest height and biomass (vertical structure)[7], both from on the ground imagery and satellite imagery from the international space station[2]. For this work she uses laser technologies such as lidar, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), and Polarimetric SAR (PolSAR). She has been the project leader on several NASA projects, including using Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) to estimate total carbon storage in African mangroves and coastal wetlands[8][9], and estimating total ecosystem carbon in blue carbon and tropical peatland ecosystems. She is currently leading a project using ICESat 2 data to map coastal ecosystem structure[9].

Research and publications

For her PhD, Lola Fatoyinbo Agueh defended her dissertation titled "Growth, Dynamics and Distribution of Mangrove Forests in Mozambique"[10].

Since joining GSFC, Fatoyinbo Agueh has led projects on using ICESat 2 data for coastal ecosystem structure, hurricane Irma - Rapid Response (HI-RRes) with NASA G-LiHT, estimating total ecosystem carbon in blue carbon and tropical peatland ecosystems, future mission fusion for high biomass forest carbon accounting, and total carbon estimation in African mangroves and coastal wetlands in preparation for REDD and blue carbon credits. She has been a co-investigator on the project pantropical structure and biomass mapping using the fusion of GEDI and TanDEM-X data[9].

Fatoyinbo Agueh's work on estimating carbon storage in mangrove forests[11] will be crucial in ensuring their conservation plans[12] and anticipating the consequences of global climate change. Fatoyinbo and her team use NASA lasers on the ground and from satellites to gather data on the height of mangrove trees at fourteen sites in seven countries.

Her work includes use of the new airborne P-band EcoSAR radar instrument to measure forest structure and biomass. She was the Principal Investigator on this instrument, which is the first of its kind at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center[2].

Fatoyinbo Agueh also uses remote sensing instruments to look at global forest carbon sequestration and habitat quality. She is using spaceborne lidar to sample vertical forest structure as part of the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI)[13].

Fatoyinbo Agueh has been published in upwards of eighty articles, featuring topics on remote sensing using satellites, lidar and SAR technologies, and mapping and carbon estimations of mangrove forests and other ecosystems. Her top publications include:

  • Framing the concept of satellite remote sensing essential biodiversity variables: challenges and future directions Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, 2016
  • Height and biomass of mangroves in Africa from ICESat/GLAS and SRTM International Journal of Remote Sensing, 2013[14]
  • Landscape‐scale extent, height, biomass, and carbon estimation of Mozambique's mangrove forests with Landsat ETM+ and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission elevation data Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 2008[15]
  • Flood extent mapping for Namibia using change detection and thresholding with SAR Environmental Research Letters, 2014[16]

Public engagement

Fatoyinbo Agueh and her work have been featured in several productions for public audiences. Her work is highlighted in the NOVA and PBS documentary released in 2020 Can We Cool the Planet, where she discusses her research on imagery of global forest mass with remote sensing technology and satellites. Fatoyinbo Agueh also appears in the 2014 NASA video Vital Signs: Taking the Pulse of Our Planet that was presented at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. She was also the featured speaker at Smithsonian Magazines, The Future is Here, conference in 2013[17]. She also does work for NASA’s education and outreach programs[2].

Fatoyinbo is vocal about expectations and challenges she has faced while working in a male dominated environment, and appeared as a panelist in October 2020 on the career journeys of women in geosciences[5]. As a panelist, she notes the dual and often conflicting expectations to frequently move cross country for research and start a family, as well as the experience of being mentored by white males who did not experience the same Imposter syndrome she had.

Legacy

Fatoyinbo Agueh produced the first 3D map of mangrove forests structure and carbon storage for all of Africa, made using data recorded from satellites[17].

Awards

Fatoyinbo Agueh is the recipient of the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers (PECASE), the highest recognition by the US government for researchers beginning their careers. She received the award for her work on remote-sensing technologies and their use in ecosystem science[18].

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Ask SME: Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo Agueh - Research Physical Scientist - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Lola Fatoyinbo-Agueh -- Goddard Space Flight Center - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  3. Anonymous (2012). "Honors". Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union. 93 (31): 304–304. doi:10.1029/2012EO310008. ISSN 2324-9250.
  4. "Montgomery County and Frederick County Home Sales". Washington Post. April 25, 2018.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Career Journeys of Women+ in Earth Engine: Abena Asare-Ansah, Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo & Dr. Keiko Nomura - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  6. "Meet Lola Fatoyinbo, Research Scientist". My NASA Data.
  7. Fatoyinbo, Lola, 2013, Estimation of mangrove structure and biomass from SAR and lidar remote sensing, Kyoto & Carbon Initiative 4/2013 [1]
  8. "Who We Are". Mangrove Science. 2015-10-22. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Temilola (Lola) Fatoyinbo". NASA. November 6, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  10. "Virgo". search.lib.virginia.edu. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  11. "Mangrove", Wikipedia, 2020-12-07, retrieved 2020-12-17
  12. "NASA study maps the roots of global mangrove loss". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  13. "The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation: High-resolution laser ranging of the Earth's forests and topography". Science of Remote Sensing. 1: 100002. 2020-06-01. doi:10.1016/j.srs.2020.100002. ISSN 2666-0172.
  14. Fatoyinbo, Temilola E.; Simard, Marc (2013-01-20). "Height and biomass of mangroves in Africa from ICESat/GLAS and SRTM". International Journal of Remote Sensing. 34 (2): 668–681. doi:10.1080/01431161.2012.712224. ISSN 0143-1161.
  15. Fatoyinbo, Temilola E.; Simard, Marc; Washington‐Allen, Robert A.; Shugart, Herman H. (2008). "Landscape-scale extent, height, biomass, and carbon estimation of Mozambique's mangrove forests with Landsat ETM+ and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission elevation data". Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. 113 (G2). doi:10.1029/2007JG000551. ISSN 2156-2202.
  16. Fatoyinbo, Long, Policelli (March 2014). "Flood extent mapping for Namibia using change detection and thresholding with SAR". Environmental Research Letters. 9. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/3/035002.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Lola Fatoyinbo-Agueh — NASA Earth Scientist". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  18. "NASA - NASA Goddard Scientist Receives Presidential Early Career Award". www.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2020-12-17.

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