Biography

Kevin Leempoel is a postdoc in the department of Biology at Stanford University. After receiving his Ph.D. for research on the local adaptation of various species to their environment, Kevin decided to expand his horizons and orient his career on the multiple aspects of conservation. His main postdoc project aims to evaluate the reliability of environmental DNA (eDNA) for the monitoring of biodiversity. To do so, he exploits the rich data collected from camera traps installed at Jasper Ridge, part of Stanford University, that have recorded wildlife over the last 8 years. By collecting soil and water samples in proximity of these cameras and sequencing the extracted DNA, he expects to demonstrate the potential of this promising, cheap and rapid alternative to current biodiversity monitoring approaches. At the same time, Kevin developed a great interest for camera traps and is currently looking to implement new technologies in order to expand the potential of these devices.

Kevin completed his bachelors and masters studies at the Free University of Brussels (ULB) and defended a master thesis on proving the ability of high-resolution satellite images to model the spatial distribution of mangrove species. He then carried on with a Ph.D. in Molecular Ecology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). By combining environmental modeling, Geographic Information Systems and genetics, he proposed a novel framework to study local adaptation along environmental gradients and demonstrated the relevance of Digital Elevation Models to model plants' habitat at a fine scale.