Dr Javier Leon is a geographer with broad interests in geomorphology and is particularly interested in the study and management of coastal systems including sandy beaches and coral reefs. He specialises in using drones, satellite imagery and underwater 3D and habitat surveying techniques to map physical geography over land and sea.
His long term research goal is to understand the evolution of coastal landforms, particularly sandy beaches and coral reef islands and to effectively communicate the science needed for their better understanding and management. His aim is to apply geospatial analysis and develop techniques such as terrain analysis and remote sensing-based geomorphic mapping to answer questions related to links between morphology, ecology and management in the current changing climate and sea-level context.
As Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography and Program Co-Coordinator for the Bachelor of Environmental Science at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Dr Leon brings extensive academic and field experience to the research and understanding of the environment, particularly marine and coastal landscapes. His mapping and monitoring experience provide important opportunities and synergies with the local community and the potential of establishing citizen science groups.
Experience and track record
Dr Leon worked as a geospatial and environmental consultant for a leading global provider of environmental consulting services before starting his academic career over a decade ago. He has more than 30 published scientific papers and has supervised several undergraduate and postgraduate students. As a researcher, he has developed and collaborated in multidisciplinary projects combining field data, geospatial techniques and modelling in study sites across the Great Barrier Reef and Eastern coast of Australia and Pacific Islands including Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
His recent collaborations with local community groups (Coolum Coastcare, NICA, Noosa World Surfing Reserve) and the Sunshine Coast Council has been very positive. He was invited to become an independent standing member of the Maroochy River Estuary Consultation Group to provide targeted, strategic, expert or community-based advice to Council and guide the Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (CHAS) project. Further, together with Sunshine Coast council, Dr Leon has also successfully established the first community beach monitoring photo-point fixture (CoastSnap) in Queensland which aims to engage the local community in the long-term monitoring of the shoreline.