Susan L. Ustin, PhD

Susan at the barn

Position Title
Director, Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing
Distinguished Professor, Emeritus


Ustin has more than 35 years of experience working with satellite and airborne earth observing remote sensing programs, including extensive field – based methods (spectral signature development, radiance/reflectance calibration, quantifying biophysical condition of targets). Ustin was a pioneer in the development of environmental applications of imaging spectroscopy data from spectral mixture analysis to leaf radiative transfer models and has worked on a wide range of terrestrial, freshwater, and near – shore aquatic ecosystems, advancing community scale mapping and more recently of species mapping, development of methods for quantifying canopy/soil/water chemistry.

Over the past 25 years, Ustin has served on or led several NASA satellite proposals to fly an imaging spectrometer in space. She has received various awards for her work, most notably being awarded an honorary Doctorate from the University of Zurich in 2010. She has managed two educational outreach programs, the UCD Space Grant (NASA) and CalView (USGS AmericaView) programs, and has published more than 200 peer reviewed journal articles and 130 scientific proceedings, among various other documents.

Education and Degree(s)
  • Distinguished Professor, Environmental and Resource Science; Vice Chair, Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources; Director, Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing (CSTARS); Ph.D, Botany (UC Davis); M.S. Biology (CSU Hayward); B.S. Biology