Ph.D. 2004, Department of Ecology, Montana State University; M.E.M. 1997, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University; B.A. 1993, Biology Department, Macalester College. Forest ecology and dynamics; integration of remote sensing data, GIS, and field data for ecological applications; modeling aboveground biomass and carbon sequestration; land cover and land use change analysis; invasive species monitoring.

Recent Publications

  • McCann, C., K.S. Repasky, M. Morin, R. Lawrence, and S. Powell. Using Landsat surface reflectance data as a reference target for multiswath hyperspectral data collected over mixed agricultural rangeland areas. 2017. IEEETransactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 55(9) doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2017.2699618


  •  McCann, C., K.S. Repasky, R. Lawrence, and S. Powell. Multi-temporal mesoscale hyperspectral data of mixed agricultural and grassland regions for anomaly detection. 2017. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 131: 121-133.


  •  Safari, A., H. Sohrabi, S. Powell, S. Shataee, S.J. Alavi. A comparative assessment of multi-temporal Landsat 8 and machine learning algorithms for estimating aboveground carbon stock in coppice oak forests. 2017. International Journal of Remote Sensing 38(22) 6407-6432 doi: 10.1080/01431161.2017.1356488
  • Kleindl, W.J., S.L. Powell, and F.R. Hauer. 2015. Relationship between map classification error and landscape scale multi-metric decision tools. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 187: 321 doi: 10.1007/s10661-015-4546-y.
  • Vsevolozhskaya, O.A., M.C. Greenwood, S.L. Powell, and D.V. Zaykin. 2015. Resampling-based multiple comparison procedure with application to point-wise testing with functional data. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 22:45-59 doi:10.007/s10651-014-0282-7.
  • Bellante, J.G., S.L. Powell, R.L. Lawrence, K. Repasky, and T. Dougher. 2014. Hyperspectral detection of a subsurface CO2 leak in the presence of water stressed vegetation. PLoS ONE 9(10): e108299.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108299.
  • Kennedy, R.E., S. Andréfouët, W.B. Cohen, C. Gómez, P. Griffiths, M. Hais, S.P. Healey, E.H. Helmer, P. Hostert, M.B. Lyons, G.W. Meigs, D. Pflugmacher, S.R. Phinn, S.L. Powell, P. Scarth, S. Sen, T.A. Schroeder, A. Schneider, R. Sonnenschein, J.E. Vogelmann, M.A. Wulder, and Z. Zhu. 2014. Bringing an ecological view of change to Landsat-based remote sensing. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment doi:10.1890/130066.
  • Powell, S.L., W.B. Cohen, R.E. Kennedy, S.P. Healey, and C. Huang. 2014. Observation of trends in biomass loss due to disturbance in the conterminous U.S.: 1986-2004. Ecosystems 17: 142-157.
  • Ament, R., Powell, S.L., Stoy, P., and Begley, J. 2014. Roadside vegetation and soils on federal lands – Evaluation of the potential for increasing carbon capture and storage and decreasing carbon emissions. A report prepared for the Western Federal Lands Highways, Federal Highway Administration, Vancouver, WA.
  • Vsevolozhskaya, O., M.C. Greenwood, G. Bellante, S.L. Powell, R. Lawrence, and K. Repasky. 2013. Combining functions and the closure principle for performing follow-up tests in functional analysis of variance. Computational Statistics and Data Analysis 67: 175-184.
  • Powell, S.L., A.J. Hansen, T.J. Rodhouse, L.K. Garrett, J.L. Betancourt, G.H. Dicus, and M.K. Lonneker. 2013. Woodland dynamics at the northern range periphery: A challenge for protected area management in a changing world. PLoS ONE 8(7): e70454. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070454.
  • Bellante, J.G., S.L. Powell, R.L. Lawrence, K. Repasky, and T. Dougher. 2013. Aerial detection of a simulated CO2 leak from a geologic sequestration site using hyperspectral imagery. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 13: 124-137.

Recent Grants

  • Soil acidity management of long-term no-till fields in Montana to prevent crop failure. Western Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education. Co-I with Rick Engel (PI), Clain Jones, and Pat Carr.
  • Frequent, high resolution observations of crop development to improve predictions of wheat yield and protein content. Montana Wheat and Barley Committee. 2017-2018. PI with Paul Stoy and Bruce Maxwell.
  • Remote technologies for precision agriculture in wheat agroecosystems: using eddy covariance and an unmanned aerial vehicle to understand the spatial variability of grain yields and protein. Montana Wheat and Barley Committee. 2016-2017. Co-I with Paul Stoy (PI) and Bruce Maxwell.
  • Multi-scale analysis of the effects of prescribed fire on terrestrial ecosystem dynamics in the Missouri and Musselshell River Breaks, central Montana. Bureau of Land Management. 2016-2021. Co-I with Jack Brookshire (PI) and Stephanie Ewing. 
  • Downscaling IPCC land use scenarios for global change adaptation planning in mountainous environments. NASA Land Cover/Land Use Change Program. 2014-2017. Co-I with Andrew Hansen (PI), Katrina Mullan, and David Theobald.
  • MSU UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) for Teaching and Research. 2014. Montana State University College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station Equipment Grant. PI with Diana Cooksey and Rick Lawrence.
  • Projecting climate change effects on aspen distribution and productivity in the Northern Rockies by coupling hydrological and landscape-disturbance models. USGS. 2014-2015. Co-I with Douglas Shinneman (PI), Timothy Link, Kathleen Kavanagh, Eva Strand, Susan McIlroy, Robert Scheller, John Campbell, Daniel Marks, Mark Seyfried, and Adam Winstral.
  • Integrated, observation-based carbon monitoring for wooded ecosystems in Washington, Oregon, and California. USDA, NIFA. 2011-2015. Co-I with Robert Kennedy (PI), Warren Cohen, Janet Ohmann, Jerry Franklin, Van Kane, and James Lutz.
  • Remote technologies for precision agriculture in wheat agroecosystems. Montana Wheat and Barley Committee. 2016. Co-I with Paul Stoy (PI) and Bruce Maxwell.
  • Evaluating management options to increase roadside carbon sequestration. Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates. 2015-2017. Co-I with Rob Ament (PI) and Tony Hartshorn

Current Instructional Responsibilities

  • LRES 571: Landscape and Ecosystem Ecology (Online only)
  • LRES 572: Frontiers in Remote Sensing
  • LRES 573: Remote Sensing Applications in Environmental Science (Online only)
  • ENSC 110: Introduction to Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
  • HONR 204CS: Great Expeditions: Frontlines of Climate Change: Active Ice, Glacial Politics with Tony Hartshorn and Douglas Fisher (Spring 2017)
  • UH 494: Disconnected Science: Exploring Climate Change Policy Deadlock