Dr. Pedro J. Leitao

Dr. Pedro J. Leitão

Institute of Geoecology

Department Landscape Ecology and
Environmental Systems Analysis

Langer Kamp 19c

D-38106 Braunschweig

Tel.: +49 (0)531 391 5628

Fax: +49 (0)531 391 8170

email: p.leitao@tu-braunschweig.de

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Experience

2017  present Postdoctoral Researcher, Department Landscape Ecology and Environmental Systems Analysis, Technische Universität Braunschweig
2010 – 2016 Postdoctoral Researcher, Geography Department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
2009  2010 Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Conservation Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
2009 Substitute Assistant Professor (W1 Vertretungsprofessur), Geography Department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


2005  2009 PhD in Environmental Sciences, Centre for Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, England, UK
2003  2004 Postgraduate studentship, School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling, U.K.
1999  2000 MSc in Environmental Remote Sensing, Department of Geography, University of Aberdeen, UK
1992  1997 Licenciate (Diplom) in Animal Resources Applied Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal


  • Understanding the factors determining the spatio-temporal patterns of species and communities distributions
  • Investigate species responses to ongoing land use and climate change
  • Use of state of the art remote sensing, GIS and quantitative analysis to answer ecological questions
  • Characterise the landscape in a detailed manner for feeding into models of species distributions


Zur Publikation angenommen / im Druck

Leitão, P.J., Schwieder, M., Pötzschner, F., Pinto, J.R.R., Teixeira, A.M.C., Pedroni, F., Sanchez, M., Rogass, C., van der Linden, S., Bustamante, M.M., Hostert, P. 2018. From sample to pixel: multi-scale remote sensing data for upscaling aboveground carbon data in heterogeneous landscapes. Ecosphere. Accepted.


Leitão, P.J., Schwieder, M., Pedroni, F., Sanchez, M., Pinto, J.R.R., Maracahipes, L., Bustamante, M.M., Hostert, P. 2018. Mapping woody plant community turnover with spaceborne hyperspectral data – a case study in the Cerrado. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, doi: 10.1002/rse2.91

Koivula, M.J., Chamberlain, D.E., Fuller, R.J., Palmer, S.C.F, Bankovics, A., Bracken, F., Bolger, T., de Juana, E., Montadert, M., Neves, R., Rufino, R., Sallent, A., da Silva, L.L., Leitão, P.J., Steffen, M., Watt, A.D. 2018. Breeding bird species diversity across gradients of land use from forest to agriculture in Europe. Ecography, 41: 1331-1344, doi: 10.1111/ecog.03295

Lausch, A., Bastian O., Herzog, F., Hostert, P., Jung, A., Klotz, S., Leitão, P.J., Rocchini, D., Schaepman, M.E., Skidmore, A.K., Tischendorf, L., Knapp, S. 2018. Understanding and assessing vegetation health by in-situ species and remote sensing approaches. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9: 1799-1809.

Pettorelli, N., Schulte to Buhne, H., Tulloch, A., Dubois, G., Macinnis-Ng, C., Queirós, A.M., Keith, D.A., Wegmann, M., Schrodt, F., Stellmes, M., Sonnenschein, R., Geller, G.N., Roy, S., Somers, B., Murray, N., Bland, L., Geijzendorffer, I., Kerr, J.T., Broszeit, S., Leitão, P.J., Duncan, C., El Serafy, G., He, K.S., Blanchard, J.L., Lucas, R., Mairota, P., Webb, T.J., Nicholson, E. (2018): Satellite remote sensing of ecosystem functions: opportunities, challenges and way forward. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, 4: 71-93, doi: 10.1002/rse2.59

Rocchini, D., Luque, S., Pettorelli , N., Bastin, L., Doktor, D., Faedi, N., Feilhauer, H., Féret, J.-B., Foody, G.M., Gavish, Y., Godinho, S., Kunin, W.E., Lausch, A., Leitão, P.J., Marcantonio, M., Neteler, M., Ricotta, C., Schmidtlein, S., Vihervaara, P., Wegmann, M., Nagendra, H. (2018): Measuring β-diversity by remote sensing: a challenge for biodiversity monitoring. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9: 1787-1798, doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12941

Schwieder, M., Leitão, P.J., Pinto, J.R.R., Teixeira, A.M.C., Pedroni, F., Sanchez, M., Bustamante, M.M. and Hostert, P. (2018): Landsat phenological metrics and their relation to aboveground carbon in the Brazilian Savanna. Carbon Balance and Management, 13:7, doi: 10.1186/s13021-018-0097-1

Suess S, van der Linden S, Okujeni A, Griffiths, Leitão PJ, Schwieder M, Hostert P (2018): Characterizing 32 years of shrub cover dynamics in southern Portugal using annual Landsat composites and machine learning regression modeling. Remote Sensing of Environment (219): 353-364, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2018.10.004


Leitão, P.J.; Schwieder, M.; Senf, C. (2017): sgdm: an R package for performing sparse generalized dissimilarity modelling with tools for gdm. International Journal of Geo-information, 6(1): 23

Mikoláš, M.; Tejkal, M.; Kuemmerle, T.; Griffiths, P.; Svoboda, M.; Hlásny, T.; Leitão, P.J.; Morrissey, R.C. (2017): Forest management impacts on capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) habitat distribution and connectivity in the Carpathians. Landscape Ecology, 32: 163-179


Ribeiro, P.F.; Santos, J.L.; Santana, J.; Reino, L.; Leitão, P.J.; Beja, P.; Moreira, F. (2016): Landscape makers and landscape takers: links between farming systems and landscape patterns along an intensification gradient. Landscape Ecology, 31: 791-803

Schwieder, M.; Leitão, P.J.; Bustamante, M.M.C.; Guimarães Ferreira, L.; Rabe, A.; Hostert, P. (2016): Mapping Brazilian savanna vegetation gradients with Landsat time series, International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 52: 361-370


Leitão, P.J.; Schwieder, M.; Suess, S.; Catry, I.; Milton, E.J.; Moreira, F.; Osborne, P.E.; Pinto, M.J.; van der Linden, S.; Hostert, P. (2015): Mapping beta diversity from space: Sparse Generalised Dissimilarity Modelling (SGDM) for analysing high-dimensional data, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 6(7): 764-771

Leitão, P.J.; Schwieder, M.; Suess, S.; Okijeni, A.; Galvão, L.S.; van der Linden, S.; Hostert, P. (2015): Monitoring natural ecosystems and ecological gradients: Perspectives with EnMAP. Remote Sensing, 7(10): 13098-13119

Bleyhl, B.; Sipko, T.; Trepet, S.; Bragina, E.; Leitão, P.J.; Radeloff, V.C.; Kuemmerle, T. (2015): Mapping seasonal European bison habitat in the Caucasus Mountains to identify potential reintroduction sites. Biological Conservation, 191: 83-92

Guanter, L.; Kaufmann, H.; Segl, K.; Foerster, S.; Rogass, C.; Chabrillat, S.; Kuester, T.; Hollstein, A.; Rossner, G.; Chlebek, C.; Straif, C.; Fischer, S.; Schrader, S.; Storch, T.; Heiden, U.; Mueller, A.; Bachmann, M.; Mühle, H.; Müller, R.; Habermeyer, M.; Ohndorf, A.; Hill, J.; Buddenbaum, H.; Hostert, P.; van der Linden, S.; Leitão, P.J.; Rabe, A.; Doerffer, R.; Krasemann, H.; Xi, H.; Mauser, W.; Hank, T.; Locherer, M.; Rast, M.; Staenz, K.; Sang, B. (2015): The EnMAP Spaceborne Imaging Spectroscopy Mission for Earth Observation, Remote Sensing, 7(7), 8830-8857

van der Linden, S.; Rabe, A.; Held, M.; Jakimow, B.; Leitão, P.J.; Okujeni, A.; Schwieder, M.; Suess, S.; Hostert, P. (2015): The EnMAP-Box—A Toolbox and Application Programming Interface for EnMAP Data Processing, Remote Sensing, 7(9): 11249-11266

Mikoláš, M.; Svitok, M.; Tejkal, M.; Leitão, P.J.; Morrissey, R.C.; Svoboda, M.; Seedre, M.; Fontaine, J.B. (2015): Evaluating forest management intensity on an umbrella species: Capercaillie persistence in central Europe. Forest Ecology and Management, 354: 26-34

Senf, C.; Leitão, P.J.; Pflugmacher, D.; van der Linden, S.; Hostert, P. (2015): Mapping land cover in complex Mediterranean landscapes using Landsat: Improved classification accuracies from integrating multi-seasonal and synthetic imagery, Remote Sensing of Environment, 156: 527–536

Silva, P.M.; Berg, M.P.; Silva, A.A.; Dias, S.; Chamberlain, D.; Leitão, P.J.; Niemela, J.; Serrano, A.R.M.; Sousa, J.P. (2015): Soil fauna through the landscape window: factors shaping surface- and soil-dwelling communities across spatial scales in cork-oak mosaics. Landscape Ecology, 30(8): 1511-1526

Suess, S.; van der Linden, S.; Okujeni, A.; Leitão, P.J.; Schwieder, M.; Hostert, P. (2015): Using Class Probabilities to Map Gradual Transitions in Shrub Vegetation from Simulated EnMAP Data, Remote Sensing, 7(8): 10668-10688


Cheong, Y.L.; Leitão, P.J.; Lakes, T. (2014): Assessment of land use factors associated with dengue cases in Malaysia using Boosted Regression Trees, Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, 10: 75-84

Kuemmerle, T.; Baskin, L.M.; Leitão, P.J.; Prishchepov, A.V.; Thonicke, K.; Radeloff, V.C. (2014): Potential impacts of oil and gas development and climate change on migratory reindeer calving grounds across the Russian Arctic, Diversity and Distributions, 20: 416-429

Levers, C.; Verkerk, P.J.; Müller, D.; Verburg, P.; Butsic, V.; Leitão, P.J.; Lindner, M.; Kuemmerle, T. (2014): Drivers of forest harvesting intensity patterns in Europe, Forest Ecology and Management, 315: 160-172

Schwieder, M.; Leitão, P.J.; Suess, S.; Senf, C.; Hostert, P. (2014): Estimating Fractional Shrub Cover Using Simulated EnMAP Data: A Comparison of Three Machine Learning Regression Techniques, Remote Sensing, 6: 3427-3445

Suess, S.; van der Linden, S.; Leitão, P.J.; Okujeni, A.; Waske, B.; Hostert, P. (2014): Import vector machines for quantitative analysis of hyperspectral data. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 11: 449-453


Cheong, Y.L.; Burkart, K.; Leitão, P.J.; Lakes, T. (2013): Assessing weather effects on dengue disease in Malaysia, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 10: 6319-6334

Cord, A.F.; Mentemeyer, R.K.; Leitão, P.J.; Vaclavik, T. (2013): Modelling species distributions with remote sensing data: bridging disciplinary perspectives, Journal of Biogeography, 40: 2226-2227

Dormann, C.F.; Elith, J.; Bacher, S.; Buchmann, C.; Carl, G.; Carre, G.; Marquez, J.R.G.; Gruber, B.; Lafourcade, B.; Leitão, P.J.; Muenkemüller, T.; McClean, C.; Osborne, P.E.; Reineking, B.; Schroeder, B.; Skidmore, A.K.; Zurell, D.; Lautenbach, S. (2013): Collinearity: a review of methods to deal with it and a simulation study evaluating their performance, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Ecography, 36: 27-46

Müller, D.; Leitão, P.J.; Sikor, T. (2013): Comparing the determinants of cropland abandonment in Albania and Romania using boosted regression trees, Agricultural Systems, 117: 66-77


Moreira, F.; Leitão, P.J.; Synes, N.W.; Alcazar, R.; Catry, I.; Carrapato, C.; Delgado, A.; Estanque, B.; Ferreira, R.; Geraldes, P.; Gomes, M.; Guilherme, J.; Henriques, I.; Lecoq, M.; Leitão, D.; Marques, A.T.; Morgado, R.; Pedroso, R.; Prego, I.; Reino, L.; Rocha, P.; Tomé, P.; Zina, H.; Osborne, P.E. (2012): Population trends in the steppe birds of Castro Verde in the period 2006-2011: consequences of a drought event and land use changes?, Airo, 22: 79-89


Leitão, P.J.; Moreira, F.; Osborne, P.E. (2011): Effects of geographical data sampling bias on habitat models of species distributions: a case-study with steppe birds in southern Portugal, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 25: 439-454

Osborne, P.E.; Leitão, P.J. (2011): Species approaches to conservation in biogeography, Sage Publications, The SAGE Handbook of Biogeography, pp.572-568, London, UK


Leitão, P.J.; Moreira, F.; Osborne, P.E. (2010): Breeding habitat selection by steppe birds in Castro Verde: a remote sensing and advanced statistics approach, Ardeola, 57: 93-116


Osborne, P.E.; Leitão, P.J. (2009): Effects of species and habitat positional errors on the performance and interpretation of species distribution models, Diversity and Distributions, 15: 671-681


Moreira, F.; Leitão, P.J.; Morgado, R.; Alcazar, R.; Cardoso, A.; Carrapato, C.; Delgado, A.; Geraldes, P.; Gordinho, L.; Henriques, I.; Lecoq, M.; Leitão, D.; Marques, A.T.; Pedroso, R.; Prego, I.; Reino, L.; Rocha, P.; Tomé, R.; Osborne, P.E. (2007): Spatial distribution patterns, habitat correlates and population estimates of steppe birds in Castro Verde, Airo, 17: 5-30


Leitão, P.J.; Osborne, P.E.; Moreira, F. (2006): The use of large-scale remote sensing and map data to determine steppeland bird distributions in Baixo Alentejo, Portugal, Journal of Ornithology, 147: 201-202


Sousa, J.P.; Gama, M.M. da; Pinto, C.; Keating, A.; Calhôa, C.; Lemos, M.; Castro, C.; Luz, T.; Leitão; P.; Dias, S. (2004): Effects of land-use on Collembola diversity patterns in Mediterranean landscape. Pedobiologia, 48: 609-622. 


Melo, J.J.; Andrade, F.; Santana, P.; Leitão, P.; Afonso, J.R; Piedade, J. (2003): Surveillance technology and strategy for management of Portugal's EEZ. EEZ International, Summer 2003: 43-47.


Leitão, P.J.; Morgado, R.; Delgado, A.; Moreira, F. (2002): Influence of landscape metrics on bird populations of arable farmland in southern Portugal, Iale(Uk) / Bto, Avian landscape ecology: Pure and applied issues in the large-scale ecology of birds, pp.318-321, Norwich.


Current research projects

2017 – present GreenFutureForest (BiodivERsA)


Completed research projects (selection)

2013  2016 EnMAP Scientific Advisory Group /EnMAP Core Science Team: Natural Ecosystems and Ecosystem Transitions, DLR/BMWi
2010  2016 EnMAP-Box: Development of a software interface for the processing and analysis of EnMAP satellite imagery, GFZ/DLR/BMWi
2010  2013 EnMAP Scienfitic Advisory Group / EnMAP Core Science Team: Monitoring Ecosystem Transitions, DLR/BMWi
2012 CarBioCial: Carbon-optimized land management strategies for southern Amazonia, BMBF
2011 Project LIFE Estepárias (Conservation of the Great Bustard, Little Bustard and Lesser Kestrel in the Baixo Alentejo cereal steppe), EU LIFE
2011 HyMedEcos Gradients - Hyperspectral monitoring of Mediterranean ecosystems: gradients of land degradation, EUFAR
2009 – 2010 DIKO - Density and spatial coherence of landscape elements in agricultural landscapes of Saxony, LfULG Sachsen
2007  2010 BustardMap - Modelling the distribution of suitable habitat for Great Bustards in Europe, BirdLife International / CMS - Bonn Convention / Lebensministerium, Austria
2006 STEPPEBIRD – using multi-scale remote sensing to study habitat selection by cereal steppe birds in Portugal, EUFAR
2003 - 2004 FIREGUARD - Monitoring forests at the management unit level for fire prevention and control, EU FP5
2001 - 2003 BioAssess - Biodiversity Assessment Tools, Identifying indicators to assess the impact of European policies on biodiversity, EU FP5
2002 Competition ability and resource dynamics in coastal dune ecosystems: invasive vs. native plant species, FCT
2001 Green Belt Programme: Addressing the root causes for desertification, WWF
1999 - 2000 Methodological approach to identify and monitor biodiversity indicators for cork and holm oak montados at the management unit, EU PAMAF


  last changed 21.11.2018
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