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Zhenhua Zou

Graduate Student

Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology/

Center for Spatial Analysis

University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, 73019.



Research interests

I am interested in land use and land cover change study using remote sensing images and GIS techniques in the background of climate change, urbanization, and global population increase. In my PhD. program, I focus on long-term water body area dynamic and its attribution analysis in the regional, continental, and global scales. I am also interested in water quality estimation using remote sensing images, especially chlorophyll-a concentration estimation. In my mater program, I worked on vegetation destruction due to earthquakes and landslides, and the forest biomass estimation.



PhD. (May 2019): University of Oklahoma, major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

MEng. (July 2015): Beijing Normal University, major: Cartography & Geographic Infor. Eng.

BSc. (Aug. 2012): South China Normal University, major: Geographical Sciences.


Professional Skills

Programming: Python, IDL, MATLAB, and Javascript.

Software: ArcGIS, ENVI, SPSS, and Google Earth Engine

Equipment: FieldSpec-ASD & Spectroradiometer PSR 3500+, Drone,LAI - 2000/2200, and Eddy covariance system (LI-7500, LI-7700).

Certificates: Chinese high school geography teaching certificate, and unmanned aircraft pilot certificate.


Professional and Research Experience

Research Assistant, Microbiology & Plant Biology/Center for spatial analysis, OU (2015-now)

  • Developed water detection algorithms based on Landsat images in the cloud computing platform, Google Earth Engine, using Javascript and Python programming languages.
  • Generated annual water body maps of Oklahoma during 1984-2015 in the spatial resolution of 30m. Based on this, the inter-annual variability of water body area and number and their potential influencing factors were analyzed.
  • Mapped water body distribution for the CONUS during 1984-2016 and analyzed water body area variations and trends in the last 3 decades. Analyzed water body reaction in drought years and their relationships with GRACE land water storage.
  • Developed water body quality estimation algorithms based on Landsat and Sentinel images.


Research Assistant, ADREM, Beijing Normal University (2012-2015)

  • Chinese forest biomass mapping, MODIS forest area calibration with national forest inventory for 31 provinces in China using algorithms developed in MATLAB.
  • Landslide identification and classification using satellite images and topographic map, geological disaster field investigation and validation of remote sensing, landslide inventory creation. Vegetation destruction due to earthquake and landslides were assessed.


Trainings and license

  • Small Unman Aircraft System Training, Feb. 11–12, 2017, Sooner Flight Academy, Norman, Oklahoma. Passed the test and got the Remote Pilot License.
  • Eddy Covariance Training, August 23–25, 2016, LI-COR Biosciences, Lincoln, Nebraska. Covered: 1) eddy covariance theories, applications and experimental design; 2) instrument introduction and hands-on installations of eddy covariance systems; 3) Software operations and hands-on data processing.
  • Teaching training, Sep. 2011–Jan. 2012, Guangzhou No. 86 High School, Guangzhou China, teaching geography for 6 classes, 12 lessons per week for a whole semester. Passed the test and got the teaching license of geography in high school.


Awards and Honors

  • Graduate Research Assistantship and full tuition remission, 2015–Now.
  • National Scholarship, Beijing Normal University, 2015.
  • Excellent Thesis, South China Normal University, 2012.
  • National Encouragement Scholarship, South China Normal University, 2010.
  • First Prize in the 2nd South China Geographic Culture Presentation Competition, 2009.



Peer reviewed papers

  1. Zou, Z., X. Xiao, J. Dong, Y. Qin, R. B. Doughty, M. A. Menarguez, G. Zhang, J. Wang. (2018) Divergent trends of open surface water body area in the contiguous US during 1984-2016, PNAS,
  2. Wang, J., Xiao, X., Qin, Y., Doughty, R. B., Dong, J., & Zou, Z. (2018). Characterizing the encroachment of juniper forests into sub-humid and semi-arid prairies from 1984 to 2010 using PALSAR and Landsat data. Remote Sensing of Environment, 205, 166-179.
  3. Zou, Z., J. Dong, M. A. Menarguez, X. Xiao, Y. Qin, R. B. Doughty, K. V. Hooker, and K. David Hambright (2017), Continued decrease of open surface water body area in Oklahoma during 1984-2015, Sci Total Environ, 595, 451-460, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.259.
  4. Qin Y., X. Xiao, J. Dong, Y. Zhou, J. Wang, R. B. Doughty, Y. Chen, Z. Zou, B. Moore. (2017) Annual dynamics of forest areas in South America during 2007–2010 at 50-m spatial resolution, Remote Sens Environ 201:73-87.
  5. Zhou, Y., J. Dong, X. Xiao, T. Xiao, Z. Yang, G. Zhao, Z. Zou, and Y. Qin (2017), Open Surface Water Mapping Algorithms: A Comparison of Water-Related Spectral Indices and Sensors, Water-Sui, 9(4), doi: 10.3390/w9040256.
  6. Lin, Q., Z. Zou, L. Lin, and Y. Wang (2017), Combining spectral and morphometric properties of landslides for separating individual landslides based on object-oriented method, paper presented at Workshop on World Landslide Forum, Springer.
  7. Qin, Y., X. Xiao, J. Dong, K. Ewing, B. Hoagland, D. Hough, T. Fagin, Z. Zou, G. Geissler, G. Xian, T. Loveland (2016), Mapping Annual Forest Cover in Sub-Humid and Semi-Arid Regions through Analysis of Landsat and PALSAR Imagery, Rem Sens, 8(11), doi: 10.3390/rs8110933.
  8. Li, M., Z. Zou, G. Xu, and P. Shi (2015), Mapping earthquake risk of the world, in World Atlas of Natural Disaster Risk, edited, pp. 25-39, Springer.
  9. Du, L., T. Zhou, Z. Zou, X. Zhao, K. Huang, and H. Wu (2014), Mapping Forest Biomass Using Remote Sensing and National Forest Inventory in China, Forests, 5(6), 1267-1283, doi: 10.3390/f5061267.


Conference Presentations

  1. Zou, Z., Xiao, X., Dong J., Qin, Y., Doughty, R., Menarguez, M., Zhang, G., Wang, J., The spatial-temporal dynamics of open surface water bodies in CONUS during 1984-2016 (H33F-1744). H33F: Remote Sensing of Rivers and Lakes IV Posters. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) 2017 Fall Meeting, New Orleans, LA 12/11-12/15/2017. (Poster)
  2. Zou Z., Xiao X., Menarguez M., Dong J., and Qin Y. Mapping inter-annual dynamics of open surface water bodies in Oklahoma from Landsat images in 1984 to 2015 at 30-m spatial resolution. H51H Remote Sensing Applications for Water Resources Management, Including Irrigation, Droughts, Floods, and Associated Water Cycle Extremes III Posters (H51H-1622). The American Geophysical Union (AGU), Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA 12/12-12/16/2016. (Poster)
  3. Zou. Z., Xiao, X. Assessment of Vegetation Destruction Due to Sichuan Earthquake and Its Recovery Process Using MODIS Data. B43C-0577: Characterizing Vegetation Structure with Remote Sensing I Posters (B43C). The American Geophysical Union (AGU), Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA 12/14-12/18/2015. (Poster)


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