MARC Associates

Kit W. Wesler, Director, Mid-America Remote sensing Center; Department of Geosciences

Dr. Wesler's research interests encompass the late prehistoric and historical archaeology of Eastern North America, West Africa and the Caribbean, the comparative study of complex societies, and computer applications to archaeology. Currently, Dr. Wesler is continuing to analyze 15 years of excavations at the Wickliffe Mounds site in Ballard County, Kentucky, the 2005-2006 excavations and survey at Columbus-Belmont State Park in Hickman County, Kentucky and 2008 and 2010 excavations at Hematite, in the Land between the Lakes Recreation Area. He is collaborating on a book reporting a study of the Taino of the north coast of Jamaica, and has recently returned to Jamaica to begin an archaeological investigation of the town of Falmouth. Dr. Wesler served as a Project Archaeologist for the Maryland Historical Trust before coming to Murray State University, as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, while on leave from Murray State in 1985-1986, and as a Fulbright Professor at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica while on leave from Murray State in Spring, 2002. He was Director of the Wickliffe Mounds Research Center from 1983-2004. Dr. Wesler is also the Curator for the Murray State Archaeological Laboratory and the Corresponding Editor for the Journal of Kentucky Archaeology.

Courses taught include:

  • ARC-150 Introduction to Archaeology

Jane Benson, GIS/Remote Sensing Specialist, GSC Lecturer; WSI

Ms. Benson is the GIS/Remote Sensing Specialist for the Watershed Studies Institute. Her research interests include considerable work associated with the study of reservoirs, especially the USDA/Forest Service "Land Between the Lakes" National Recreation Area and the nearby Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Ms. Benson has studied local and regional watersheds, non-point source pollution, the effects of off-highway vehicles (OHV) on watersheds and embayments. She has worked with numerous biologists in migratory bird habitat analysis and mapping as well as the intrusion of invasive species, such as the zebra mussel. Currently, Ms. Benson is highly involved with local WaterWatch groups, and is an active contributor to the Four Rivers Watershed Watch. Jane is also a lecturer for the Department of Geosciences, teaching World Geography, and co-teaching GSC202 "Introduction to Geographic Information Science," and GSC522 "Digital Cartography."

Courses taught include:

  • GSC-110 World Geography
  • GSC-202 Introduction to Geographic Information Science

Michael Busby, Systems Manager/Programmer, MARC; GSC Lecturer

Mr. Busby is the Systems Manager/Programmer for the Mid-America Remote Sensing Center. His research interests include the use of technology within teaching, using technology in the pedagogy of geography, the prevalence of geography in higher education, the multidisciplinary use of mapping technologies, the Geography of the Holy Land, the Middle East and Southwest Asia, demographics, and economic geography. He also has a growing interest in the "hacking/making" realm, the re-purposing of technology for other applications, and being an advocate for the use of geography and mapping sciences in all applications. Mr. Busby administers all MARC hardware and software, manages the GIS/RS teaching labs, MARC research computer systems, and is the Murray State Technical Coordinator for MARC and for the Department of Geosciences. Mr. Busby is also a lecturer for the Department of Geosciences. Michael is the Murray State Site License Administrator for the ESRI-CPE Commonwealth of Kentucky statewide license agreement. He also manages the social media for the Department of Geosciences and the Mid-America Remote sensing Center.

Courses taught include:

  • GSC-110 World Geography
  • GSC-305 Introduction to Cartography

Haluk Cetin, Professor, Department of Geosciences

Dr. Cetin is a remote sensing specialist, having worked with many different sensors. Dr. Cetin's research has utilized most all forms of multi- and hyperspectral imagery, from handheld photospectrometers, IKONOS, MODIS, to more the common imagery formats of Landsat and Quickbird. Dr. Cetin's research interests include the use of GIS/RS in precision agriculture, forestry, landscape change as a result of mineral extraction, and the use of GIS/RS in disaster and emergency management. He has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Forest Ecology and Management, the Journal of Sensors, and is currently an Editorial Board Member of the Open Remote Sensing Journal. Currently, Dr. Cetin is serving as the National Director, American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Mid-South Region.

Courses taught include:

  • GSC-101 Earth and the Environment
  • GSC-125 Weather and Climate
  • GSC-199 Earth Science
  • GSC-312 Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • GSC-521 Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • GSC-593 Remote Sensing of Watershed Environments, Spatial Analysis Techniques
  • GSC-640 Advanced Remote Sensing
  • GSC-641 Digital Image Processing Research
  • GSC-693 Hyperspectral Remote Sensing, Digital Image Processing

Charletter Ellis, Executive Assistant, MARC

The Executive Assistant is responsible for the management and coordination of the daily operations of the Mid-America Remote sensing Center (MARC) including but not limited to serving in the MARC Director’s absence, providing oversight for grants and contracts, assisting with public relations for MARC, reporting, etc. Ms. Ellis also serves on a number of university committees, including the Black Faculty and Staff Association, and the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.

Bassil El-Masri, Assistant Professor, Department of Geosciences

Dr. El-Masri's research interests include remote sensing for terrestrial ecosystem functions, modeling ecosystem fluxes at various scales. Dr. El-Masri also examines climatic variables influence on ecosystem functions. Other research interests include using LIDAR remote sensing for terrestrial ecosystem structure, estimation of tree height and above-ground biomass, analysis of land surface and atmosphere interactions, and modeling biogeochemical processes at various scales using land surface models.

Courses taught include:

  • GSC-110 World Geography
  • GSC-522/622 Digital Cartography

Michael Flinn, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology; WSI

Dr. Flinn's primary area of expertise is assessing freshwater macroinvertebrate communities. He is also interested in studying fish, mussels, algae, and aquatic vegetation. Dr. Flinn's research has focused on disturbance ecology in settings from the Mississippi River to the Arctic tundra.

Courses taught include:

  • BIO-216 Biological Inquiry and Analysis
  • BIO-221 Zoology: Animal Form and Function
  • BIO-561/661 Freshwater Invertebrates
  • BIO-583/683 Limnology

Paul Gagnon, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology; WSI

Ecological disturbances damage and kill individuals and thereby influence relationships among organisms and between organisms and their environment.  In so doing, disturbances can alter dynamics of entire ecosystems. Dr. Gagnon research seeks to understand ecological disturbances as drivers of change in populations, communities and ecosystems both over time and at their spatial boundaries. His research is especially focused on how disturbances influence the feedbacks and breakpoints that underpin biotic systems.

Courses taught include:

  • BIO-101 Biological Concepts
  • BIO-216 Biological Inquiry and Analysis
  • BIO-554/654 Dendrology and Forest Conservation
  • BIO-568/668 Wetland Ecology
  • BIO-590/690 Disturbance Ecology

Sung-ho Hong, Assistant Professor, Department of Geosciences; WSI

Dr. Hong's research interests include the estimation of spatio-temporal distributions of evapotranspiration and soil moisture over heterogeneous landscapes using remote sensing data; the Up- and Down-scaling of remote sensing estimated map from satellite imagery, and the investigation of the spatial variability of root zone soil moisture across scales. Dr. Hong has been a reviewer for the Korean Society of Remote Sensing and the Journal of Hydrology.

Courses taught include:

  • GSC 101 The Earth and the Environment
  • GSC-202 Introduction to Geographic Information Sciences
  • GSC-210 Hydrology
  • GSC-562/662 Hydrogeology
  • GSC-593 Application of Remote Sensing in Hydrogeology

George W. Kipphut, Professor and Chair, Department of Geosciences; WSI

Dr. Kipphut's research interests include physical and chemical limnology; reservoir ecology; arctic limnology. Dr. Kipphut's reservoir research at Murray State has been a cornerstone of the Watershed Studies Institute. In addition to being Chair, Department of Geosciences, Dr. Kipphut also teaches a number of courses at Murray State.

Course taught include:

  • GSC-199 Earth Science
  • GSC-102 Earth Through Time
  • GSC-200 Introduction to Oceanography
  • GSC-301 Understanding Scientific Communication
  • GSC-303 Introduction to Water Science
  • GSC-450 Topics in Biogeochemistry
  • GSC-665 Physical/Chemical Limnology
  • BIO-589 Reservoir Ecology

Anthony Ortmann, Assistant Professor, Department of Geosciences

Dr. Ortmann's research interests include North American archaeology with specialization in the prehistory of the southeastern United States. His topical interests include hunter-gatherer adaptive systems; development of social complexity; the interaction of humans with their environments; and the production and maintenance of cultural landscapes. Additionally, Dr. Ortmann's analytical interests include geoarchaeological investigation of earthworks and cultural landscapes, and lithic and ceramic technologies. His particular research landscape is the Poverty Point area of northern Louisiana. Dr. Ortmann is a member of the Society for American Archaeology and the Southeastern Archaeological Conference.

Courses taught include:

  • ANT-140 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANT-329 North American Indians
  • ANT-330 North American Archaeology

Howard Whiteman, Professor, Biological Sciences (ex officio); Director of Watershed Studies Institute (WSI)

Dr. Whiteman's research is currently centered in conservation biology and evolutionary ecology. The majority of his work focuses on conservation-oriented projects, such as the mechanisms and ecological consequences of population fluctuations; the role of trophic cascades in maintaining and restoring biodiversity; the effects of anthropogenic toxicants on development, life history, and population growth; the impact of invasive species management on native fauna; and the ecology of reintroduction efforts. His goal is to conduct fundamental science that will lead to positive management efforts and improvements in biodiversity conservation. Dr. Whiteman is also the biggest Pittsburgh Steelers fan in western Kentucky. (Source: The Whiteman Lab)

Courses taught include:

  • BIO-103 Saving Planet Earth
  • BIO-330 Principles of Ecology

Gary Stinchcomb, Assistant Professor, Department of Geosciences; WSI

With a population exceeding 7 billion, human-environment and -climate interaction studies are a global priority. To this end, I research three major geoscience-related problems: (1) soil/paleosols as proxies for paleoclimate and land-use, (2) ancient and modern floodplain/soil erosion, and (3) (pre)historic human impact on floodplains and soils. I rely on an interdisciplinary approach to address these problems. My work involves the following fields/techniques: soils and paleosols, fluvial geomorphology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, hydrology, geoarchaeology, and GIS. He also is an associate editor for "Frontiers in Earth Science: Quaternary Science, Geomorphology and Paleoenvironment."

Courses taught include:

  • GSC-424 Conservation and Environmental Geoscience
  • GSC-336 Principles of Geomorphology

Qiaofeng (Robin) Zhang, Professor, Department of Geosciences

Dr. Zhang's research interests include Remote sensing and GIS applications in urban environments; Information extraction from remotely sensed data; digital change detection and environmental monitoring; landscape ecology; geoscience education. She is currently working on projects related to urban development dynamics and mechanisms in China and the United States using nighttime lights data; fusion of multispectral and radar data for watershed mapping and modeling; GIS for habitat improvement modeling in Kentucky Lake.

Courses taught include:

  • GSC-110 World Geography
  • GSC-199 Earth Science
  • GSC-301 Understanding Scientific Communication
  • GSC-330 Economic Geography
  • GSC-507/607 Land Use Planning
  • GSC-512/612 Remote Sensing
  • GSC-680 Advanced GIS