Our People

Steve Schill

Lead Scientist, Caribbean Division


Steve Schill headshot.

Dr. Steve Schill - Lead Scientist for TNC's Caribbean Division © TNC

Areas of Expertise

Habitat mapping, aerial and marine drone monitoring, ecosystem services, climate change adaptation

Media Contact

Cleveland Sam


Dr. Steve Schill is the Lead Scientist for The Nature Conservancy's Caribbean Division. As a marine conservation specialist, he has been promoting the use of technology to protect and manage marine resources for more than 15 years. His expertise includes remote sensing of marine habitats, systematic design of marine spatial plans and the development of GIS-based decision-support tools. His team works with governments and partners to map marine habitats and model ecosystem services, strategically expand marine protected areas and develop new monitoring techniques. Recently, he has been involved in developing multi-scale approaches for monitoring coral reefs and mangroves using satellite imagery as well as aerial and surface drone platforms.

Prior to working with The Nature Conservancy, he was a project manager for the NASA Affiliated Research Center at the University of South Carolina, developing innovative uses of remote sensing technology for commercial interests. Steve received his PhD in geography from the University of South Carolina and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Geography at Brigham Young University.

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View Steve's Google Scholar Profile for a full list of publications.

Silver, J.M., Arkema, K.K., Griffin, R.M., Lashley, B., Lemay, M.H., Maldonado, S., Moultrie, S.H., Ruckelshaus, M., Schill, S., Thomas, A. and Wyatt, K., 2019, Advancing coastal risk reduction science and implementation by accounting for climate, ecosystems and people, Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, p.556.

Li, J., Knapp, D.E., Schill, S.R., Roelfsema, C., Phinn, S., Silman, M., Mascaro, J. and Asner, G.P., 2019, Adaptive bathymetry estimation for shallow coastal waters using Planet Dove satellites, Remote Sensing of Environment, 232, p.111302.

Li, J., Schill, S.R., Knapp, D.E. and Asner, G.P., 2019, Object-Based Mapping of Coral Reef Habitats Using Planet Dove Satellites, Remote Sensing, 11(12), p.1445.

Raber, G.T.; Schill, S.R., 2019, Reef Rover: A Low-Cost Small Autonomous Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) for Mapping and Monitoring Coral Reefs. Drones, 3, 38.

Bustamante, M., Helmer, E. H., Schill, S. et al., 2018, Chapter 4: Direct and indirect drivers of change in biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people. In IPBES (2018): The IPBES regional assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services for the Americas. Rice, J.; Seixas, C. S.; Zaccagnini, M. E.; Bedoya-Gaitán, M.; Valderrama, N. (eds.). Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Bonn, Germany, pp. 335-509.

Rice, J., Seixas, C.S., Zaccagnini, M.E., BedoyaGaitán, M., Valderrama, N., Anderson, C.B., Arroyo, M.T., Bustamante, M., Cavender-Bares, J., Diaz-de-Leon, A. Fennessy, S., Márquez, J., Garcia, K., Helmer, E., Herrera, B., Klatt, B., Ometo, J., Osuna, V., Scarano, F., Schill, S., and Farinaci, J., 2018. Summary for policymakers of the regional assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services for the Americas of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. IPBES book, IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany. 41 pages.

Geller, G.N., Halpin, P.N., Helmuth, B., Schill, S, et al., 2017, Remote sensing for biodiversity. In The GEO handbook on biodiversity observation networks (pp. 187-210). Springer, Cham.

Goldstein, J.H., H. Tallis, A. Cole, S. Schill, E. Martin, M. Heiner, et al., 2017, Spatial planning for a green economy: National-level hydrologic ecosystem services priority areas for Gabon. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0179008.

Viennois, G., T. Stévart, J.P. Vande weghe, S. Saatchi, S. Schill, A. Aldous, M.C. Paiz, A. Boupoya, and N. Barbier, 2017, Cartographie de la végétation du bas Ogooué, Chapter 6 in Le delta de l'Ogooué, J.P. Vande weghe and T. Stevart (eds.), pp. 199-221, Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux (ANPN), Libreville, Gabon

Margles, S.W., V. N. Agostini, L. Roth, B. Gilmer, S. R. Schill, J. E. Knowles, and R. Blyther, 2016, Assessing Vulnerability: An Integrated Approach for Mapping Adaptive Capacity, sensitivity, and exposure to coastal hazards in Grenada. Climatic Change, 1-15.

Schill, S. R., G. T. Raber, J. J Roberts, E. A. Treml, J. Brenner and P.N. Halpin, 2015, No reef is an island: Integrating coral reef connectivity data into the design of regional-scale marine protected area networks. PLoS One, 10(12)

Evans, J.S., S.R. Schill, G.T. Raber, 2015, A Systematic Framework for Spatial Conservation Planning and Ecological Priority Design in St. Lucia, Eastern Caribbean, Chapter 26 in Central American Biodiversity: Conservation, Ecology and a Sustainable Future. F. Huettman (eds), Springer, NY  

Knowles, J. E., E. Doyle, S. R. Schill, L. M. Roth, A. Milam, and G. T. Raber, 2015, Establishing a marine conservation baseline for the insular Caribbean, Marine Policy, 60:84-97.

Agostini, V. N., S.W. Margles, J. K. Knowles, S. R. Schill, R. J. Bovino, R. and R. J. Blyther, 2015, Marine Zoning in St. Kitts and Nevis: A Design for Sustainable Management in the CaribbeanOcean & Coastal Management, 104:1-10.

Rose, R.A, et al., 2014, Ten Ways Remote Sensing Can Contribute to Conservation. Conservation Biology. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12397

Lagabrielle E., E. Crochelet, M. Andrello, S. R. Schill, S. Arnaud-Haond, N. Alloncle, and B. Ponge, 2014, Connecting MPAs – Eight Challenges for Science and Management, Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst., 24:94–110. doi: 10.1002/aqc.2500.

Moore, G. E., B. F. Gilmer, and S. R. Schill, 2014, Distribution of Mangrove Habitats of Grenada and the Grenadines. Journal of Coastal Research, 3(1): 155-162.

Mcleod, E., A. Green, E. Game, K. Anthony, J. Cinner, S.F. Heron, J. Kleypas, C.E. Lovelock, J.M. Pandolfi, R.L. Pressey, R. Salm, S. Schill, and C. Woodroffe, 2012, Integrating climate and ocean change vulnerability into conservation planning. Coastal Management, 40: 651-672.

Game, E., C.R. Groves, M. G. Anderson, M. Cross, C. Enquist, Z. Ferdaña, E. Girvetz, A. Gondor, K. Hall, J. Higgins, R. Marshall, K. Popper, S. Schill, S. L. Shaffer, 2012, The Imperative for Incorporating Climate Change in Systematic Conservation Planning, Biodiversity and Conservation, DOI 10.1007/s10531-012-0269-3.

Schill, S.R., J.E. Knowles, G. Rowlands, S. Margles, V. Agostini, and R. Blyther, 2011, Coastal Benthic Habitat Mapping to Support Marine Resource Planning and Management in St. Kitts and Nevis, Geography Compass, 5(12): 898–917.

Schill, S.R., D. Rundquist, A. Filippi, K. Kvamme, J. Cothren, and J. Tullis, 2009, In Situ Sensors and Field Methods. In Earth Observing Platforms & Sensors: Manual of Remote Sensing (3rd Edition) Volume 1.1, Mark Jackson (ed.), pp 321-386,  American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Bethesda, MD.

McPherson, M., S. Schill, G. Raber, K. John, N. Zenny, and K. Thurlow, 2008, GIS-Based Modeling of Environmental Risk Surfaces (ERS) for Conservation Planning in Jamaica,” Journal of Conservation Planning, 4:60-89.

Helmer, E.H., T.A. Kennaway, D.H. Pedreros., M.L. Clark, L.L. Tieszen, T.S. Ruzycki, H. Marcano, S.R. Schill, C.M.S. Carrington, 2008, Distributions of Land Cover and Forest Formations for St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Eustatius, Grenada and Barbados from satellite imagery. Caribbean Journal of Science, 44(2): 175–198.

Schill, S.R., Porter, D.E., Coen, L.D., Bushek, D. and Vincent, J., 2006. Development of an automated mapping technique for monitoring and managing shellfish distributions. NOAA/UNH Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET), Durham NH, p.91.

Schill, S. R., J. R. Jensen, G. Raber, and D. Porter, 2004, "Temporal Modeling of Bidirectional Reflection Distribution Function (BRDF) in Coastal Vegetation," GIScience & Remote Sensing, 41(2):116-135.

Jensen, J.R., J.K. Luders, S.R. Schill and G.T. Raber, 2004, "Identifying Riverine Sand and Gravel Deposits Using High Resolution Thermal Infrared Imagery and Aerial Photography," GeoCarto International- A Multidisciplinary Journal of Remote Sensing and GIS, 19(2): 49-56.

Hodgson, M., J. Jensen, L. Schmidt, S. Schill, and B. Davis, 2003, “An Evaluation of LIDAR- and IFSAR-Derived DEMs in Leaf-on Conditions with Level 1 and Level 2 USGS DEMs,” Remote Sensing of Environment, 84(2): 295-308.

Vincent, Jeffrey, Porter, D. E., Coen, L. D., Bushek, D., and Schill, S., 2003, Using Hyperspectral Remote Sensing to Map and Assess Intertidal Shellfish Resources in the Southeastern US: Journal of Shellfish Research, 2(1):359.

Jensen, J.R., Olson, G., Schill, S.R., Porter, D.E. and Morris, J., 2002. Remote sensing of biomass, leaf‐area‐index, and chlorophyll a and b content in the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve using sub‐meter digital camera imagery. Geocarto International, 17(3), pp.27-36.

Raber, G., J. Jensen, S. Schill, and K. Schuckman, 2002, “Creation of Digital Terrain Models Using an Adaptive LIDAR Vegetation Point Removal Process,” Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 88(12):1307-1315.

Means, J., P. Hopkins, J. R. Jensen, S. R. Schill, J. Chipman, R. D. Ramsey, and D. Stow, 2001, “Incorporating Remote Sensing and GIS into Forestry,” Journal of Forestry, 99(6): 4-12.

Schill, S. R. and J. R. Jensen, 2000, "Predicting the Impacts of Coastal Development on Water Quality using Remote Sensing and GIS-assisted Hydrologic Modeling Techniques," GeoCarto International - A Multidisciplinary Journal of Remote Sensing and GIS, 15(4):5-14.

Cowen, D., J. Jensen, C. Hendrix, M. Hodgson, S. Schill, and F. Macchiaverna, 2000, "A GIS-Assisted Rail Construction Econometric Model that Incorporates LIDAR Data," Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 66(11):1323-1328. Won 2nd Place 2001 ESRI Award for Best Scientific Paper in Geographic Information Systems in Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing.

Jensen, J. R. and S. R. Schill, 2000, "Bidirectional Reflection Distribution Function (BRDF) Characteristics of Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) Obtained Using a Sandmeier Field Goniometer," GeoCarto International - A Multidisciplinary Journal of Remote Sensing and GIS, 15(2):21-28.

Jensen, J. R., C. Coombs, D. Porter, B. Jones, S. R. Schill, and D. White, 1998, "Extraction of Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) Biomass and Leaf Area Index from High Resolution Imagery," GeoCarto International - A Multidisciplinary Journal of Remote Sensing and GIS, 13(4):25-34.