Professor Megan Lewis

Head of School
Professor Megan Lewis
  Org Unit School of Biological Sciences
  Telephone +61 8 8313 5328
  Location Floor/Room G31 ,  Molecular Life Sciences ,   North Terrace

I am Acting Head of the School of Biological Sciences.

In recent years I have been Associate Head (Research Education) in the School of Biological Sciences, Associate Dean (Future Students), overseeing e-Science, the free, electronic magazine produced by the Faculty of Sciences, and contributing to the 2015 pilot of an Early Entry Program for Year 12 students. I was Coordinator of the Sciences Faculty 2012 and 2015 ERA submissions, Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Sciences from 2010-2012 and previously Head of the Soil and Land Systems Discipline (2003-2006).

I have an extensive background in remote sensing, vegetation ecology, and environmental science and management, with many years of experience in teaching, postgraduate supervision and research at the University of Adelaide, Roseworthy Agricultural College, and the South Australian College of Advanced Education.

Research Profile

PhD, University of NSW, 2000 "Discriminating Arid vegetation Composition with Multispectral and High Spectral Resolution Imagery"

M. App. Sc. (Remote Sensing), University of NSW, 1993 "Land Cover Mapping for Barrow Island, W.A. using Landsat MSS"

M. Environmental Studies, The University of Adelaide, 1977 "Quantifying Arid Zone Recreation Impacts"

B.Sc. (Hons. First Class) - Botany, The University of Adelaide, 1974 "Ecological Studies Towards Management of Whyalla Conservation Park, SA"

I teach and coordinate courses in remote sensing and environmental mapping and monitoring.

Remote Sensing III interprets image-based information gathered by sensors on space and airborne platforms. The course introduces the principles and application of remote sensing to a range of disciplines - environment, geoscience, engineering and agriculture. Practicals give 'hands-on' experience with image analysis software, including processing and interpretation for projects. The course is offered at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Spatial Information and Land Evaluation introduces theory, history and current methods of spatial information generation, presentation and analysis including map reading and interpretation, GIS, GPS, surveying, remote sensing and image interpretation. It gives an overview of major Australian and South Australian mapping programs and spatial information in government agencies.

This level 2 course provides a foundation for level 3 study in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems.


Megan has supervised over 17 Honours students, 9 of whom have received First Class Honours. Opportunities for future Honours research projects are available in the Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Sciences booklet.

Postgraduate research students

I supervise and co-supervise a large group of PhD students in projects using remote sensing and spatial analysis tools for understanding terrestrial and marine environments. Current students are:

Alicia Caruso - Remote sensing to assist mineral exploration in covered terranes

Claire Fisk - Remote sensing of broad-scale land condition

Andrew Hennessy - Spectral discrimination of plants

Craig Jones - Image Geolocation: Using Big Data, Deep Learning and Visual Computing for image location prediction

Wallace Law - Remote sensing to Investigate past Aboriginal land use and archaeological site Distribution in the Australian arid zone

Brooke Schofield - Assessing crop leaf physiology through hyperspectral sensing


Completed PhDs

Chittana Pomphila - Mapping and monitoring forest cover change in Lao PDR, 2015

Erika Lawley - Mapping and monitoring land condition and its dynamics in arid Australia using satellite remote sensing, 2014

Ramesh Raja Segaran - Spatial modelling of multi-function green space in the urban environment, 2014

Tanya Doody - Quantifying water savings from willow removal in South East Australia, 2014

Victoria Marshall - Mapping and modelling the invasive weed, Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) in the Australian arid zone, 2013

Ian Overton - Methods to assess environmental flow and groundwater management scenarios for floodplain tree health in the lower River Murray, 2013

Paul Bierman - Remote sensing to monitor interactions between aquaculture and the environment of Spencer Gulf, South Australia, 2010

David Summers - Discrimination and mapping of soil variability with hyperspectral reflectance data, 2009

Dorothy Turner – Fire regimes in desert Australia on a continental scale, 2009

Tumi Bjornsson, Regional scale modelling of the lower River Murray wetlands: a model for the assessment of nutrient retention of floodplain wetlands pre- and post-management, 2008

Ken Clarke - Landscape scale measurement and monitoring of biodiversity in the Australian rangelands, 2008

Reza Jafari - Arid land condition assessment and monitoring using multispectral and hyperspectral imagery, 2008

Anna Dutkiewicz - Evaluating hyperspectral imagery for mapping the surface symptoms of dryland salinity, 2006

 Completed MSc

David Hart - On using airborne optical vertical polarisation to remove sea surface reflectance for enhanced visualisation of seagrass and other benthos, 2009.



2006 Winner, Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Award for Excellence in Education and Professional Development 

2006 Winner, Individual Award for Education and Professional Development, South Australian Spatial Excellence Awards

2007 Winner, Executive Dean of Sciences Prize and Award for Excellence in Teaching (staff with more than five years of teaching experience).


Research Profile

Application of remote sensing and geospatial data to environmental and agricultural management

Hyperspectral remote sensing for discriminating vegetation and landscape composition

Spectral properties of Australian plants and soils

Spatial patterns and temporal dynamics of Australian landscapes, in particular arid environments

This research has been funded by the Australian Research Council, National Water Commission, Land and Water Australia, Environment Australia, Murray-Darling Basin Commission, SA Government, Anglo-American Corporation and the South African National Research Council.

Megan is Leader of the SA Node Leader of AusCover, the remote sensing data facility within TERN (Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network; NCRIS funded) 2011-present: involves national collaboration of research organisations developing and delivering Earth-observation data and products for diverse research and management end-users


Remote Sensing  and Spatial Sciences

Education Sustaining Partner,  Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (2010-present)

Co-Chair, International Society of Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing Technical Commission VII Working Group 3: Processing of Hyperspectral Data (2004-present)

Member SA Regional Committee of the Spatial Sciences Institute (2003-04)

Director, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Association of Australasia (1998-2003)

Member of the Board of Directors, Spatial Australia (2003-04)

Convenor, Spatial Education Australia (2002)

Convenor, 10th Australasian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Conference, Adelaide (2000)

Member, Technical Organising Committee for the IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, Sydney (2001)

Environmental Management

Sessional Commissioner, South Australian Environment, Resources and Development Court

In addition, Megan has extensive experience as an environmental specialist on State and Australian Government statutory bodies including the South Australian Development Assessment Commission, Development Policy Advisory Committee, Advisory Committee on Planning, Pastoral Board, National Parks & Wildlife Council, Wilderness Advisory Committee, Soil Conservation Council, Coast Protection Board, Roadside Vegetation Advisory Committee and Aquaculture Committee. 

ExpertiseVegetation (conservation, mapping and survey, regeneration); remote sensing and geographic information systems (use of satellite and airborne imagery for environmental mapping and monitoring, new generation high resolution sensors); arid lands/rangeland ecology and management; mapping of vegetation; satellite technology; vegetation ecology
NotesAlt phone: (08) 8303 7210

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Entry last updated: Friday, 18 Aug 2017

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